Occultism is theories, practices, and rituals based on esoteric knowledge of the world of spirits and unknown forces. The wide range of occult beliefs and practices includes astrology, alchemy, divination, magic, and witchcraft and sorcery. Devotees of occultism seek to explore spiritual mysteries through what they regard as higher powers of the mind. The Western tradition of Occultism has its roots in Hellenistic magic and alchemy (especially the Hermetic writings ascribed to Thoth) and in the Jewish mysticism associated with the Kabbala.
Occultism also is belief in supernatural sciences or powers, such as magic, astrology, alchemy, theosophy, and spiritism, either for the purpose of enlarging man's powers, of protecting him from evil forces, or of predicting the future. All the so-called natural sciences were in a sense occult in their beginnings; most early scientists were considered magicians or sorcerers because of the mystery attending their investigations. In the modern world occultism has centered in small groups that seek to perpetuate secret knowledge and rites alleged to be derived from the ancients.
Related, but distinct, is telepathy, mental communication at a distance with the dead or the living. Such beliefs appeared in nineteenth-century Europe with the weakening of Christian churches, which had traditionally fought these phenomena, and as a form of resistance to rationalism, which claimed to be able to explain everything by means of logical reasoning. Occultism and telepathy are also related to an interest in mystery and the mysterious: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, devoted much his later life to the study of occultism, and a number of successful Authors have taken an interest in paranormal phenomena.
Psychology and psychiatry in the late nineteenth century were strongly influenced by spiritualism and magnetism. Belief in a "celestial fluid" was not wholly unrelated to the growing use of an invisible energy (electricity), or a new device for communicating at a distance, known as the telephone. Freud referred specifically to this last invention to characterize the relationship between conscious and unconscious, between doctor and patient ("Recommendations to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis," 1912e). The word telepathy was created in 1882 by the English psychologist Frederick Myers (1843-1901), who was the first British author to discuss Freud's work.
Books You Might Enjoy:
Charles Webster Leadbeater - Occult Chemistry
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - Studies In Occultism
Anonymous - Hypnotism Spells
Baron Tschoudy - Alchemical Catechism
Sepharial - A Manual Of Occultism