THE OCCULT: BRIEF EXPLANATIONS OF VARIOUS TERMS AND CONCEPTS

by Marcia Montenegro (page 4 of 4)

Sorcery - Manipulation of energy or forces to bring about a desired end through visualization; invocation or summoning of powers/spirits; ritual; occult techniques using ideas based on principles such as "like attracts like" and other principles. Sorcery comes from Gnostic-type beliefs in several levels of reality or planes, and that one can visualize & bring something into the material plane from the non-material plane. Sorcery may include what is known as ritual magick and/or ceremonial magick, a highly evolved and complicated form of sorcery involving complex rituals. Some sources of contemporary sorcery are the Kabbala (Qabala), mostly based on Gnostic mysticism & aberrant Judaism; some of the teachings of Taoist occultism; Tantric teachings (Eastern); and the writings of notorious ritual magician Aleister Crowley, who died in 1947. In some occult circles, sorcery is a pejorative term for black magick. See Magick.

Spirit Guides - Also referred to as guides, guardian angels, angels, spiritual masters, or other names. It is common for people in the occult and New Age to have several spirit guides, which they unknowingly receive through their involvement in the occult or New age, or which they purposely invite into their lives, thinking these to be benevolent and helpful beings. Spirit Guides are believed to be enlightened beings, either dead humans or entities from "higher" planes that desire to assist those following esoteric spiritual paths. Spirit Guides are often introduced to people via guided meditation or visualization exercises, or come through the regular use of certain drugs, especially hallucinogens. All actual spirit guides are fallen angels, also known as demons. In some elementary schools, educators use guided visualization to introduce a supposed "imaginary friend" to children for children to confide in and feel safe with. Although done with good intentions, this practice may introduce children to demonic beings. See Angels, Spiritism.

Spiritism - Contact with spirits through methods such as summoning, channeling, evoking or invoking, using a spirit guide, using drugs, using a Ouija Board, worshipping spirits, or various rituals. The spirits contacted are believed to be one or more of the following: the dead, angels (angels are spirits, good or bad, not people), ascended masters, higher spiritual entities, advanced discarnate spirits on other planes, or spirits associated with nature such as fairies, elves, gnomes, devas, and others. Some spiritists may channel a spirit; that is, they give their bodies over to a spirit to speak through them. This is called channeling. Spirit contact is one of the occult practices most strongly condemned by God. See Automatic Writing, Seance.

Synchronicity - The belief, usually ascribed to Carl Jung, but popularized by James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy, that nothing happens by coincidence and that one can be led to truths through the messages implicit in events that seem to happen or be connected randomly. According to astrologer Stephen Arroyo, synchronicity (a basic principle in astrology) is what Jung believed was an "a-causal connecting principle" that something born at a certain moment "bears the qualities of that moment," (Arroyo, 40; also Guiley, 595-97). In other words, every person or event that comes to be is magically connected to the moment when it comes into being.

Talisman - An object, drawing or symbol which is believed to confer power on the owner for a specific purpose through magickal or supernatural means. It may also attract good luck health, love, or power. Used in magickal practices. Whereas an amulet is passive, a talisman is seen as possessing an active force (Guiley, Paranormal, 599; Guiley, Witches, 327)). See Pentagram, Sigil.

Tarot Cards - Cards used for divination and/or meditation with symbolic pictures carrying hidden meanings. They are considered by some to have been playing cards in 14th century France (Guiley, Paranormal, 502), and claimed by others to be from the Rom (Gypsies) brought from Chaldea to Egypt, into Israel, and then Greece (Gray, 6). The origin of these cards, bound in legend and myth, are disputed and murky. The cards are used in present times for divination as well as "the cultivation of intuition and psychic ability," (Guiley, Paranormal, 602). The pictures on the cards are interpreted symbolically in an occult context, and represent the soul's journey to spiritual awakening, or the individual becoming whole (Gray, 14; Guiley, Paranormal, 603). There are 78 cards which are divided into the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana, made up of 56 cards, are divided into four suits, Pentacles, Wands, Cups, and Swords, which are usually linked to the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire. The Major Arcana is comprised of 22 cards with richly symbolic pictures, some of which are The Emperor, The Tower, Death, The Hanged Man, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, The Sun, The Moon, Justice, Strength, The Devil, and others. The Major Arcana represent "astrological, numerological, and Kabalistic teachings of the ancients" and are based on "the legends, myths, philosophies, religions, and magic beliefs of the human race," (Gray, 2). It is claimed that the 22 cards of the Major Arcana originally corresponded to the 22 paths on the Tree of Life (see Kabbalah) and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (used in a magickal manner) (Ibid., 13, 14). However, this link to the Kabbalah and the Hebrew letters is a disputed one (Guiley, Paranormal, 603). There is acceptance among occultists that the Tarot has "occult powers," (Gray, 2.). The most popular deck is the Rider-Waite deck, developed first by occutlist A. E. Waite (a member of the occult Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and published by William Rider & Son, Ltd. in the early 20th century. Waite claimed that he "restored" symbols on the cards from the Hermetic Kabbalah (Guiley, Paranormal, 603). There are hundreds of types of Tarot decks available today, such as round cards for feminists (the Motherpeace deck), cards with Native American themes, decks for witches, decks with Celtic themes, decks with fairy tale themes, etc. In laying out the cards for a reading, it is believed that the cards will "fall into positions that inevitably relate to the subject of the reading," (Gray, 14). See Divination.

Telekinesis or Teleportation - A form of psychokinesis in which physical bodies or objects are moved over distances, and in which solid objects are materialized and dematerialized in order to pass through matter.

Telepathy - The paranormal ability to send or receive a thought over distance without verbal or visual help. See ESP.

The Third Eye - This usually refers to the area between the eyes which is where, according to Hindu beliefs, the sixth chakra is located. This chakra is alleged to be the center of psychic powers or the ability to see psychically, that is, without physical vision. One writer cites Yoga as calling the Third Eye "the seat of human consciousness and the point of contact between mind and spirit," (Gonzalez-Wippler, 99). See Chakras, ESP.

Tree of Life - See Kabbalah.

Warlock - A term once used to describe a male witch but which is generally not used today. This term has negative connotations associated with an old meaning that warlocks gained power through pacts with demons (Guiley, Witchcraft, 350).

White Magick - The belief that one is using magickal powers for good, for healing, and/or for self-transformation. See Magick.

White Witchcraft - Practicing witchcraft or Wicca with good intentions for helping or healing others. The idea of white and black magick and witchcraft are based in the idea of polarity, that the universe is balanced between dark and light forces. See Wicca.

Wicca - A subset of Neo-paganism; contemporary movement of witchcraft, started by Gerald Gardner in 1950's England to revive the "Old Religion" of witchcraft. Wicca & contemporary witchcraft mainly honor nature & the earth through rituals honoring nature, the seasons, and the male & female energies as embodied by the Goddess & her consort. Witches/Wiccans do not believe in Satan. Some Wiccans believe in the Goddess as the main deity who has a consort (often called "the horned one," a Pan-like being representing the wildness of nature and sensuality); others may believe in many gods and goddesses. Some believe that the Goddess manifests as many goddesses. The only creed of Wicca is the Wiccan Rede: An' ye do no harm, do what thou wilt, which was adopted by Gardner from Aliester Crowley's Thelemic Law: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law (Gardner knew Crowley). Holidays: Greater Sabbats- Candlemas (Imbolc/g) (Feb. 2); Beltane/May Day (4/30 or 5/1); Lammas (Lughnasadh) (7/31 or 8/1); & Samhain (10/31). Lesser Sabbats- the first day of each season: spring equinox (Ostara), summer solstice (Midsummer), autumn equinox, & winter solstice (Yule). The most common symbol is the pentacle/pentagram, a 5-pointed star, representing air, earth, water, and fire, with the top point being Spirit. A witch's pentacle usually has one point up, two points down. Satanists use the same symbol, but with the two points pointing up, sometimes with a goat's head drawn in, which is called the Baphomet. There are many branches of Wicca and witchcraft (there is dispute as to whether Wicca and witchcraft are the same thing, with some witches not accepting Wicca as a genuine religion of witchcraft) such as Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Celtic, Native American shamanism, the worship of Isis, Italian witchcraft known as Strega, and Dianic. There are pagans who worship the Goddess, sometimes known as Goddess worshipers, who do not consider themselves Wiccans. Male witches or Wiccans are known as witches or Wiccans, not warlocks or wizards. See Pentagram.

Wizards - A term used in the past to describe a man with magical powers, or a magician or sorcerer. Used in connection with folk magic and alchemy.

SELECTED SOURCES:

Arroyo, Stephen. Astrology, Psychology, and the Four Elements. Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1975.

Brennan, J. H. Magick for Beginners. St. Paul: Lllewellyn Publications, 1999.

Butler, W. E. How to Read the Aura, Practice Psychometry, Telepathy, and Clairvoyance. NY, NY: Warner/Destiny, 1978.

Carr-Gomm, Philip. The Elements of Druid Tradition. Rockport, MA: Element Books, Inc., 1991.

Chevalier, Jean and Alain Gheerbrant. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. Trans. John Buchanan-Brown. NY,NY: Penguin Putnam, 1994.

Chopra, Deepak. How To Know God. NY, NY: Harmony Books/Random House, 2000.

Cicero, Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. Experiencing the Kabbalah. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1997.

Cooper, David A. God Is A Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism. NY, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Putnam Inc., 1997.

Cross, Stephen. The Elements of Hinduism. Rockport, MA: Element, Inc., 1994.

Cunningham, Scott. The Truth About Witchcraft. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1994.

De Givry, Grillot. Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy Trans. J. Courtenay Locke. NY, NY: Dover Publicatons, Inc., 1971.

Dunwich, Gerina. WiccaCraft. NY, NY: Citadel Press/Carol Publishing Group, 1991, 1994.

Epstein, Perle. Kabbalah, The Way of the Jewish Mystic. Barnes & Noble Books/ Shambhala, 1998.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart. A Witches' Bible. Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1984.

Feuerstein, Georg and Jeanine Miller. The Essentials of Yoga. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1998.

Fuller, J. F. C. Yoga For All. Bombay: D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co., 1993.

Gawain, Shakti. Creative Visualization. Mill Valley, CA: Bantam Books/Whatever Publishing, Inc., 1978.

Gonzalez-Whippler, Migene. The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1996.

Gray, Eden. A Complete Guide to The Tarot. NY, NY: Bantam/Crown Publishers, 1970, 1972.

Guiley, Rosemary. Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. NY, NY: Facts on File/Checkmark Books, 1999.

________. Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 1991.

Hillstrom, Elizabeth. Testing the Spirits. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

La Vey, Anton Szandor. The Satanic Bible. NY, NY: Avon Books, 1969.

Matt, Daniel C. The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1995.

Osborne, Richard & B. Van Loon. Introducing Ancient Eastern Philosophy. NY, NY: Totem Books, 1995.

Parfitt, Will. The Elements of the Qabalah. NY, NY: Barnes & Nobel, 1999; Elements Books Limited, 1991.

Ravenwolf, Silver. Teen Witch. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1998.

Redfield, James. The Celestine Prophecy. NY, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 1993.

Regardie, Israel. The Eye in the Triangle: An Interpretation of Aleister Crowley. Phoenix:

New Falcon Publications, 1993.

Roberts, Jane. The Nature of Personal Reality. NY, NY: Bantam Books, 1974.

Tyson, Donald. The Truth About Ritual Magic. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1994.

________. The Truth About Runes. 2d ed. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1995.

________. The Truth About Witchcraft. 2d ed. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1994.

Unger, Merrill. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. R. K. Harrison, Ed. Revised. Chicago: Moody Press, 1988.

Whitcomb, Bill. The Magician's Companion. 2d ed. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1994.  

| << Previous Page |       1 2 3 4     | Next Page >> |

Support
This Ministry
Gospel Communications Alliance Member