In this, the second article in our occult studies course we will examine the world of the Occult, about which there are so many misconceptions.
You can find full details about our occult studies course by clicking the link above.
We have used the word Jungle deliberately, because that is exactly what the occult is for the unwary and uninstructed seeker who ventures into it without the guidance of a True Teacher. Sadly, such Teachers are NOT to be found among the 'influencers' spouting soundbites on YouTube, posting on social media, or on the end of a psychic 'hotline.' There is no shortage of half-truths, speculations and fantasies to be found online and in the pages of books on 'magick', but of real Truth, there is none. No wonder many people dismiss the occult as half-baked nonsense! In general they are quite right to do so, for more often than not it involves nothing more than the rankest superstition, pseudo-science, psycho-babble and muddle-headed thinking. In Serpents of Wisdom, the author sums up the occult jungle in words which will resonate with many seekers:
"We were besieged by hordes of so-called shamans, gurus, channelers, high priests, clairvoyants, magicians, yogis, wizards, witches, necromancers, dream interpreters, transcendentalists, spiritualists, diviners, and a variety of other dolts, all frantically waving wands, rods and pointed fingers; chanting mantras, developing chakras, burning candles and incense, drawing holy circles, squares and triangles; selling talismans and charms, raising the dead, mouthing incantations, reaching ecstasy through Tantra, gaining power and healing by means of crystals; practicing Norse magic, Celtic magic, Enochian magic, Teutonic magic, ceremonial magic, temple magic and herb magic."
You can read a review of this unusual book—written by a seeker especially for seekers—on our books page and download a copy to read offline or print out in PDF format. The passage we have quoted above is an accurate description of the 'occult' as it is perceived in the popular imagination, and we are sad to say, as it is experienced by those who venture into it without a trustworthy guide, whether that guide is a True Teacher, sincere religious faith, or the ever-watchful Higher Self—if they listen to it's warning voice—which most do not! Our files are full of emails from genuine seekers who have spent years wandering through the deceitful tracks of the Occult Jungle, to emerge completely disillusioned and confused by their experiences.
You may think we exaggerate, but if you have any experience of the many false teachers who prey upon the weaknesses, preconceptions and fantasies of the inexperienced and gullible seeker, you will know we speak the truth. If you do not, we hope you will take our word for it, for we claim no mysterious 'powers'; we assume no grand titles or list of qualifications; nor are we interested in 'selling' you anything. So you may take it that we speak the truth when we say that all too many of those who set themselves up as occult 'guides' and 'gurus' are often very clever psychologists, who know just what bait to pass under the eager noses of their admiring followers, for such dupes to follow them in droves, until the day of disillusion arrives, and the teacher departs (usually with the victim's cash!). If they lose only their cash they may count themselves lucky, for it is possible to lose a great deal more than money at the hands of such charlatans as you may read in The White Brother:
We who had desired to gain spiritual knowledge in a quick and easy manner had been whipped for our pains . . . we had imagined the texture of our souls finer and our clay more holy than the common clay of mortals—but when we gazed more deeply into the mirrors of our minds we were shocked to find how swiftly we had descended; the reflection certainly did not flatter us. Nevertheless we felt that we had gained an invaluable experience, and that we at least had escaped before it was too late...
Imposters of Truth and pretenders to Wisdom
Those seekers who DO 'develop their critical faculties' and gain 'invaluable experience' through their encounters with the fantastical teachings of the many charlatans who infest the Occult Jungle are the fortunate few. Many are not so lucky. We could recount many true stories from our own personal experience of those who have lost their health, homes, families and in some cases, their sanity, through falling into the clutches of such imposters of Truth and pretenders to Wisdom. The sad part of all this is that Aleister Crowley, who is widely regarded by many occultists as the greatest teacher of 'magick' (sic), allegedly died muttering "I am perplexed."
We have no doubt he was very 'perplexed'! After death this poor unfortunate 'magus' probably found himself in conditions his life of self-indulgent hedonism and unbridled sensuality had not prepared him for; conditions very similar to those encountered by Howard Storm in his Near Death Experience (NDE). This must have come as a very great surprise to '"the Beast 666", as he called himself, given that he had spent the better part of his days and nights employing innumerable spells, conducting rituals, invoking demons, taking drugs, madly waving wands, pentacles, swords, daggers, and all the other weird and wonderful paraphernalia associated in the popular imagination with the so-called 'occult.' What a farcical and fruitless waste of time and energy it all was. . .to awaken from the dream of earthly life to find it all counted for NOTHING! No wonder he was 'perplexed'!!
Our wide experience of individual occultists, magicians, and mystical and occult groups of all kinds would provide enough material for a large book, exposing such nefarious organisations and vultures in human form in no uncertain manner. But knowing also that the great occult Laws can take abundant care of all such beings, and not wishing to be the instrument that gives the first impetus to the operation of these Laws, and feeling a great deal of pity towards these troubled individuals, who are sometimes driven to their unholy endeavours to make a living out of the follies of the unsuspecting, we have mostly refrained. Among the rare exceptions to this rule are Franz Bardon and 'Dr' Maurice Doreal, whom we have written about at some length elsewhere on our website.
The nonsense taught by such imposters of Truth and pretenders to Wisdom almost beggars belief at times, yet thousands suck it up like manna from Heaven as you can read in our Astral Conversations series of articles. Such teachers often entice the unwary seeker into their clutches by promising them social advancement or wealth. Others invite the gullible student to take part in weird rituals, or intone Tibetan 'mantras' in order to 'cleanse their aura', and acquire occult powers. What utter clap-trap it all is. Fortunately, in most cases the practitioners of these rites have no more knowledge of real occult science than a monkey has of the works of Shakespeare, so the poor dupes who fall for their mystical moonshine lose nothing more than their pride, and may learn a valuable lesson. No wonder so many sincere, spiritually-minded people flee from the very mention of the word 'occult'. Yet all the word means, as we explain on our homepage, is that which is HIDDEN.
Being hidden, only the very Few ever find it. These are those, who unlike the unfortunate Aleister Crowley mentioned above, are ready to divest themselves of their intellectual pride, preconceptions and illusions and learn occult TRUTH. Such will have no need of 'spirit-guides', mantras, grimoires or wands, for their illuminated Higher Self alone will carry them wherever they may wish to go, be it anywhere on earth or into the highest realms of Light and Bliss. If they persist in their devotion to Truth and apply all they learn in the service of others, they will, in time, acquire occult powers undreamed of by those who grub about amongst the poisonous flora and fauna of the Jungle floor. Their lives will not end in perplexity but in rapturous joy and full understanding of the shining realm in which they find themselves. This is what awaits the sincere seeker on the path to the Light. What awaits those who turn to the darkness—or drift in the twilight—is something else entirely . . . which we will discuss in a later article in this course.
Many seekers are drawn into the Occult through an interest in psychology and astrology, healing, philosophy, metaphysics, or simply because they want to 'become a better person' and help others. But there are seekers whose motives are less pure . . . Some are looking for new, forbidden 'thrills' to fill the vacuum of their empty, selfish existence, others want to contact 'spirits' (or command demons), and acquire "magical" powers with which to impress their silly friends. Very often such desires contain a strong sexual element and a lust for power, which are invariably impure because entirely selfish. Then there are idealistic female mystics looking for someone or something to worship and adore. Sadly, all too often the object of their adoration turns out to have feet of clay, sometimes very dirty clay indeed. Others long to be transported to "Rapture" (whatever they may mean by this) by aliens who have come to planet earth to rescue them from the trials and tribulations of earthly existence. Though what they think they have done in the world to deserve "rescuing", we leave you to answer . . . Yet others suffer from various mental disorders, often exacerbated by the habitual use of recreational or prescription drugs. It is these deeply troubled individuals for whom the occult jungle holds the greatest dangers.
Avoiding wrong teachings
We could go on indefinitely listing all the varied reasons that draw seekers to the occult. But we hope we have given you enough examples to show you what to avoid in the Occult Jungle. So let us pass on to those normal, balanced individuals who are genuinely in search of Truth, the better to improve themselves and serve their fellow men and women. We hope that you, who are reading this, are such an one. If you are, you can expect much opposition from the silly sheep we mentioned above, who will do everything in their power to frustrate your efforts. You will also meet many difficulties, for "Gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity", as we can read in The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach. But this for your comfort; the sublime heights the great Masters and Messengers of the past reached on the path to the Light, you, too, can reach, if you are sincere and loyal in your pursuit of Truth.
You will not go too far astray in the occult jungle if you will only cleave to the Spiritual Ideal of true love and service toward others in all that you think, say and do. Those who enter the Jungle with this ideal cannot be forced into evil, but they can be trapped by evil men and women. But the false teacher always betrays himself through his acts. Do we need to quote the Bible here? "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.Ye shall know them by their fruits." YES! fruits! Not by their words, not by their shining locks and sandalled feet, nor by their sanctimonious smiles, feigned piety, vegetarianism, magic tricks (assuming they can produce any), and least of all by the long list of titles and "qualifications" with which they seek to awe the silly sheep who bow down before them. The "fruits" we mean should be familiar to all of us, but perhaps we should add the qualifying adjective rotten to make our meaning clearer. Do we need to name them? Selfishness, arrogance, bigotry, anger, impatience, cruelty, despotism, dogmatism and hypocrisy are all examples of such "fruits." We feel sure you can name a good many more yourself. You may think yourself far too sensible ever to fall for such charlatans and their tricks, but let us assure you that their methods are so cunning and the bait so tempting, that many a sincere seeker has fallen into their clutches, not knowing what he was led into until it is too late.
Learning REAL Occult Truth
The early Christian Father, Lactantius said:
"the first point of wisdom is to discern that which is false, and the second, to know that which is true."
We hope that we have revealed enough of the false for you to recognise its opposite; the One Light of Truth. This is the Truth that was revealed in the Sacred Mysteries. Many of you may have heard or read about Mysteries without having any clear idea of what they were or what was taught in them. We may say in general that they unveiled the secrets of Man and the Universe. By familiarizing themselves with these great Themes the Students who belonged to the schools that taught them attained such Mastery over all these Principles that they led more useful and happy lives, which, by force of example, helped mankind along its path of more or less blind existence. The Greek Mysteries flourished until the 3rd to 4th centuries A.D., after which the ancient Wisdom was lost to the world. Thus we arrive at the modern age, when a multitude of "masters of the mysterious", "channelers", psychics and self-styled "adepts", blind as blackberries, hold forth on what they do not understand, being believed and aped by their misled followers. The unwise leading the stupid, the lame leading the limbless, the deaf not hearing Truth, for it remains unrevealed, like the mole in his tunnel where the sun does not penetrate and darkness is the god of Light.
Apart from the true teachings of genuine Initiates such as we may find in the occult books of J Michaud PhD and H. P. Blavatsky, we know of only one truly great occult order which has restored the teachings of the Mystery Schools of ancient Egypt and Greece in their entirety during modern times. But their teachings may not suit every kind of seeker. What may profit one person in the way of occult, mystical and philosophical studies and teachings, may be wholly inappropriate for another. This is not meant pejoratively or unkindly; it is simply a statement of fact. Consequently, only you can decide what teachings meet your own personal needs and expectations. What we can say is that we are familiar with the teachings of every contemporary mystery school, occult order and esoteric organisation, and while many of them do good work, none of them go far enough, or could do even if they wished, for they lack the secret keys to the Ancient Wisdom which we discuss on our homepage. But insofar as any school, order or group teaches its students the Divine Love and Goodness of the Creator and how to be of true service to our fellowmen and women, we applaud their work.
If you DO make the effort to discover and learn what is True and distinguish it without fail from untruth and half-truths, you will pass safely through the Occult Jungle, and doctrines such as KARMA—which is the subject of our next article in this occult studies course—will cease to trouble you. You will have risen above these false and deceitful shadows, to dwell in a purer light. That Light from which all that lives and breathes sprang into Being at God's behest.
Published 12 March 2012 — © Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Last updated 10 June 2023.