by Anthony North
There has been a distinct western occult tradition that arose out of the European period of questioning that stretched from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and this did, in a way, pollute the original roots of the system.
The average occult adept is not a witch
Rather, witchcraft has been described as the magic of the people, whereas the western occult adepts have been described as the ‘aristocrats’. And it is here where I think the pollution occurred.
The occult adept uses specific ritual to produce entities, do magic, and to discover the deeper meanings of consciousness and reality. I’m not interested, here, in what actually occurs, but the reason behind it.
Take Aleister Crowley
Known as the ‘wickedest man in the world’, he died in 1947, following a full life of ‘occultism’, becoming one of the most influential occultists of all time. But there was more to Crowley than this.
Crowley was also a hedonist who considered himself to be a great poet. And he was also influenced by many non-occultists who classed themselves as decadent. And it is here where the pollution comes in.
Crowley did immense damage to the occult
He severely changed the public’s perception from one of simple ignorance to downright hostility. And this was so because they mistook the decadent influence for the occult.
Infact, Crowley’s decadence seems to me to be predominant. And it was part of a movement in the occult where the adept’s individuality and ego rose above the original meaning of such practices.
This is seen in the entities manifested
I’ve studied enough such ‘entities’, including Crowley’s, to realize that what is manifested in not so much some archetypal entity, but a direct representation of the adept’s ego.
In effect, occultism changed from a genuine exploration of deeper meanings, to an individualistic practice where it is themselves who are centre of the universe, and not some unrelated god-head.
This is counter to the influences from which the practice came due to the simple fact that occultism is supposed to be holistic and about the connectedness of man to the universe – ‘as above, so below’, as it were.
From the ‘mythological’ Hermes Trismegistos, right up to the instigation of the ‘legendary’ Faust, this seemed to be the case. But with Faust it began to change. We can, of course, argue this initial change was Christian propaganda, but not with Crowley.
Such deeper connectedness is identified in the ‘One’, the idea that the part and the whole are one and the same. But ‘one’ can also mean the individual. It seems to me that, with some occultists, only half the meaning of this word is understood. And public perception of occultism suffers because of it.