"Occult" in terminology is associated with a Latin word occultus meaning hidden or secret. It pertains to what's unknown or obscure about existence. It's also related to another Latin word umbra meaning shade or shadow.
Occultism has many correlations with religion, but occultism itself is not exclusive to religion. Occultism can be a supernatural means of predicting the future or an unorthodox form of esotericism. Astrology, tarot, séance ritual and esotericism are all a part of occultism, but so is the scientific method.
It's totally possible to be secular in addition to being an occultist.
Occultism has roots in modern science. Ancient alchemy predated organic chemistry. Before physics, people made observations about storms and figured them gods. Storms may not be sentient entities like some ancestors believed and left offerings to, but the capacity for mammalians to observe and inquire our surroundings establishes this arena of occultism.
In the experience of our brains' exposure to gated information, occultism naturally emerges.
Our brains function by making predictions about futures we don't yet have access to. We anticipate our next steps. Plants and animals make predictions, also! Read the SPLOOK: Bio-Oracles: Brains as Predictors
Today's science isn't a deviation from occultism. It's still a huge part of it. Separating science from the occult is a mistake more likely made due to a misunderstanding of what occultism is.
Discovering what's unknown is relevant to all people. The occult is relevant to all people, and although we could agree to use different verbiage to conceptualize this phenomena, it is the encounter of uncertainty that makes the occult credible.
Our brains are especially adapted to make observations, interpret existence and predict phenomena because we are so overly exposed to the occult unknown. These are the basic ingredients of occultism and have been since ancient times.
Religious occultists may approach the unknown with set beliefs about a transcendental consciousness or godlike entity has access to all existence and secrets about individual people. Religious devotees may use supernatural means of prediction like prayer, tarot or rituals to channel information from gods or divine entities.
Secular occultists are less likely to be religious or retain beliefs in such entities. Rather than consulting spiritual entities for insight, secular occultists are drawn to peer-reviewed academia, language arts and sciences to inform magick process.
One helpful way of differentiating religion from secularism is to consider humanity's relationship to the word "God." Although God can mean many things to many people, God is usually regarded as a higher, transcendental or supreme power in authority of humanity and with supernatural, telepathic powers.
Gods are often spoken as having superhuman abilities that far surpass or outperform the skills of mundane mortals. Many religious and spiritual paths are designed to interact with such gods and transform the human status to something more divine and supreme.
Secularists do not believe in this type of higher authority or spiritual demand, and there may be heavy speculation about the existence of ghosts, an afterlife or a divine mission for the human species. However, a secular occultist can still consider bizarre possibilities, like telepathic extraterrestrials, and be interested in preserving consciousness.
Secularists and religious occultists are both members of the occult. In an interesting way, the occult is an innate human experience because we experience uncertainty as a normal part of life. We experience filtered and gated information. As adults, we become responsible for raising children and deciding when to have certain conversations or pass knowledge sets to them.
Information is gated, not always because it is being intentionally withheld or cloaked. Consider biological cells and plant cell walls, numerical data sets, anatomical limitations and so forth.
The occult is formatted by celled or gated information processing. Some of it is intentional such as with the human species, but no religion has proved that their entity of choice is indeed responsible for existence or has omnipresent and omnipotent access to its contents.
One reason occultism can be looked at badly is because some people think it's only involving black magick. Perhaps their religious system instructs that anything occult-related is evil.
In hindsight, however, all religions and spirituality have sets of information that could be considered occult to certain audiences in various degrees. The occult exists at the fringe of consciousness with unconscious uncertainty.
Occultism is in the bones of society. Occult curiosity moved us to craft seaships and explore new, foreign terrains. Today, we're developing reusable rocket technology to explore the stars.
Consider the classic term, "UFO" — unidentified flying object. Aliens are considered a part of the occult, too.
Occultism is wildly present in democracy, government and all human communities. The abilities to anticipate the future, establish sustainable lives and network with other predictive sources builds a garden of occult magick. As occultists, we build our lives around gazing into the unknown and bravely seeking out secrets of existence.
Occultism is directly linked with our learning, prediction abilities and a measurability about uncertainty. Uncertainty is associated with probability, and we use various forms of prediction-making to anticipate and manipulate our outcomes.
Next time you're not sure whether to take a sweater or wear a tank top a road trip and have to check the weather channel, thank your local weather forecaster for their aeromancy!
Image Description: Man struggling to stand up straight without an umbrella in the winds of a heavy rain storm