The Weird Origins of the Occult
Occultism is such a hard topic to approach from a historic perspective. Magick didn’t come from humans, it was given to us by spirits. Almost every tradition, if you look deep enough, attributes their knowledge to the spirits. Who decided that the 5 elements are associated with the aspects of life that we understand them to be tied to in modern occultism? Who created the very first glyph of the tree of life? People will quickly mention names like Agrippa and others while citing books where things are first mentioned , but where did they come up with these ideas? They surely didn’t invent them on their own, they had help from spirits and higher beings. I doubt these men had such heightened perception that they could just see all the building blocks of reality on their own.
I believe Isaac Luria was the first to produce the glyph of the tree of life. He based his work on the kabbalah, but who gave us the kabbalah? Spirits. It was probably spirits who inspired Isaac to create his version of the tree in the first place.
Who decided that the planets and zodiac signs have the qualities that we understand today? Who first thought to even try to associate the movement of the planets with events on earth? It would be difficult to be the first person to work all of this out. Getting to the root of it all is a monumental task and much has been lost to the passage of time. You can trace astrology so far back that finding out who the very first astrologer was is impossible. There is no record of the origins of this practice, everywhere we see astrology in history there is already a system worked out. My guess, once again, it came from spirits.
Personally, I believe that in the old days the subconscious was much closer to the surface of perception and the conscious mind was not nearly as developed as it is today. This would make communication with, and awareness of, spiritual beings a much more direct experience since the subconscious is the gateway to the astral realm. The the barriers of the conscious mind and the default mode network (aka ego) were likely not as developed as they are today. The brain blocked out much less of the information making the wall between the mundane and the astral, or malkuth and yesod, much easier to peer through.
The ancient rabbis maintain that the qabalah was given to us by the archangel Metatron and other cultures magical systems often have their own version of the tree of life which , again, were handed down by spirits. The elemental and planetary associations are not just arbitrary metaphors that someone just made up and said “good enough”, they are accurate descriptions of the structure of reality… experimenting with magical systems like the Golden Dawn will show you that when you work with the elements in ritual you get experiences that match the traditional descriptions of the elements.
I often say that when practicing magick you have to start in the middle and work your way forward until you hit some roadblocks and then go back to the basics to see what you missed. Through working with the rituals and interacting with the elements you learn more about them. These fundamental building blocks of the universe are not at all immediately obvious. The true nature of reality is indeed ‘occult’ or hidden. This understanding must have come from beings with a bird’s eye perspective on the structure of creation.
At first, you just have to take the word of those who have gone before and who have worked out the methods of magick that we have today. Through experimenting with these methods and experiencing their effects you come to see for yourself how it all works and you stop having to rely on books and human teachers. It is only through working with the symbols that you can come to understand the energies they represent on a level that goes beyond the conceptual. This means that the origins of the occult philosophy are most likely not human.
If the symbol comes first and the understanding of the symbol comes second, how could anyone have created them in the first place? Perhaps God really did give the knowledge to the angels and the angels gave it to us. My own workings with the archangels confirm this to be true but like most aspects of magick, I could never prove this to anyone. The term ‘Unverifiable Personal Gnosis’ definitely applies here.
The geometrical formations like the pentagram or hexagrams were not invented by humans. They existed in nature first and humans found ways of examining and recreating them. The symbol existed first and the understanding came after discovering and interacting with them. If you try to trace the origins of occultism back into history you find there are many gaps and unanswered questions. For this reason, I am not nearly as interested in the history of magick as much as the practice of magick.
The willingness to take a deep dive into the unknown is necessary if you hope to come to any kind of personal understanding of the foundations of magick. This is why discussing magick with ‘armchair magicians’ can be so frustrating. They are approaching things from a purely conceptual standpoint and tend to be rather rigid and fixed in their opinions, presenting themselves as experts. The lack of experience and tendancy to cling to a strictly book-based learning approach is apparent in the walls of text citing history without giving the slightest account of personal experience with performing magick.
This perspective is sure to cause the self proclaimed gatekeepers of the occult to rise up in outrage and try to smear and slander my name, but in doing so they are only exposing their lack of understanding. Reading a book without applying the techniques described and then positing yourself as an expert is an excercise of pure ego. It is unfortunate that the occult is so often used as a way to feel special and superior to others rather than used as a spiritual practice.
I am not by any means saying the study of the history of the occult is useless, far from it. But to claim to be an expert because you read some books is just silly. Knowledge without application is mental masturbation.Cue the outrage of wounded egos. Personally, I am much more interested in seeing what works and trying to figure out why or even asking the spirits themselves to teach me about the aspects of reality they correspond with. I will leave the historical analysis to those who have a passion for such things. My field of study lies in playing with the building blocks of the universe as described in the Kaballah, using the ritual formula of invocation of the elements and planets of the Golden Dawn, as well as branching out into less traditional applications of the divine names and kabbalistic principles.
I hope to contribute something worthwhile to the overall body of occult knowledge or at least clear up some of the hazy and difficult to understand aspects of magical practice. If you would like to join me in this exploration of Kaballah, magick, astrology, ritual analysis, meditation, etc, etc… feel free to follow me on Twitter or become a patron on Patreon where I offer exclusive articles, lessons, and exercises. It is only through your support that I can take the time to explore these ideas in-depth and eventually put together a book worthy of publication.
Until next time, thank you for reading and take care!