Occult Mysteries FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the Occult answered

The following questions have all been put to us at various times by our readers. We have tried to answer them simply, clearly and candidly. Longer answers to some questions can be found in the sidebar.

We know from our website analytics than many visitors spend a lot of time using our search page to find what they're looking for when many of the answers they are seeking are given in this FAQ! We have now added subheadings to make it easier to use. Many answers on this page contain links which lead to further information. In this way our FAQ provides an extra index to the content of the website. This page is updated on a regular basis, so do check it often for new questions and answers. Finally, if you have a question that is not answered here or in our articles, please feel free to ask it.

To read what our readers themselves think about our many articles about the Occult, see our Readers' Comments page.

General questions about the Occult

Occult teachers and teaching

Conspiracy theories, ETs and 'Ascension'

Karma, reincarnation and the astral world

Magic, alchemy, etc.

Health, drugs and dreams

General questions about the Occult

What is the occult?

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Hidden knowledge. You can read what the occult is and what it is NOT in the sidebar on your right, in the many articles listed on our Homepage, as well as in Masters of Mischief—a humorous story with a serious message about two typical occult students in search of occult mysteries and 'masters.'

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Can I get rich through the occult?

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Yes, very easily. All you need to do is to convince a large enough number of people to give YOU their money by promising to make THEM rich. Simple, isn't it? And we haven't charged you a penny for this priceless advice! We would add that the kind of person who hopes to get rich quick through the occult invariably lacks the will-power, concentration and self-discipline to achieve anything in life. For if they possessed any of these qualities they would not need to employ 'occult' methods to improve their material conditions.

Having said that, there are occult methods by which we may improve our material conditions in a sensible manner, provided that we do so for the benefit of others as well as ourselves. But these methods (which are quite simple) can only be revealed to the tried and tested pupil of a genuine spiritual teacher or Master. You won't find such methods on the Internet or in any books! What you will find online and in countless so-called 'magical' books are a host of completely useless and nonsensical rituals which promise to MAKE YOU RICH. But. . .as we said earlier. . . such methods invariably make their authors rich at YOUR expense!

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Can I get power through the occult?

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Yes, see above question. Simply substitute the word 'power' for 'rich' and you'll have your answer. If, on the other hand you wish to acquire real power; that is, the power to change yourself and the world around you for the better through learning the true occult sciences, then you can expect a very long and difficult journey with no reward except the knowledge that every selfless act you perform brings you closer to the only power worth having; the power to serve, bless and save mankind.

If you have stumbled on this page because you believe or have been told that it is possible to gain all sorts of 'occultic powers' by using the rituals and spells to be found in the many 'magical' books and 'grimoires' then we must disappoint you. All you will gain (assuming you do not give up after a few half-hearted attempts), is contact with evil men and women who will use YOU until you are of no further use to them. See Chapter 4—on Witchcraft—in The Golden Star.

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Is it possible to predict the future by occult means?

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Yes, but it may not always be wise to do so. You can read more about such occult arts as the tarot, numerology and astrology in our article about Divination.

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Is the occult evil?

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No, although like everything in this world, it can be put to evil uses. Shakespeare said that "nothing is good or evil but that thinking makes it so". We agree. It is the intention and the intention alone that makes any occult activity good or evil. We are aware that many religious persons are told, or believe that the occult is 'evil', but we are afraid that this simply demonstrates their lack of knowledge. You can read what the occult is and what it isn't in the column on your right.

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Can you be Christian and an occultist?

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Why not? There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus that is incompatible with the study and practice of occultism. 'Occult', as we explain above, simply means 'hidden'. Jesus himself withheld 'hidden' or occult knowledge from the multitudes, as anyone can read in the Bible.

From this it should be clear that both Jesus and St Paul were occultists. That is, if by 'occultist' we mean one who is instructed in the occult, or hidden knowledge. We would add that there have been (and are) many devout Christians who have been occultists. Among them we would mention Sir Isaac Newton, and, in more recent times, the Christian Mystic, Anna Kingsford, and the Theosophical writer, Geoffrey Hodson. See also our answer to the next question below.

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What is sin?

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Occult science does not acknowledge the dogma of sin as it is commonly understood, or as it is taught by most organised religions. The only 'sin' occult science acknowledges is that of ignorance. All other human behaviour comes under the category of right and wrong thinking and action, which is either rewarded or punished. But that punishment is inflicted by ourselves, not by any supernatural agency. See our occult studies course article on Karma and The Teachings of Li Wang Ho for more information about sin.

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If God is good why does he allow evil?

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The Church cannot answer these questions. Nor can material science, much less 'humanism' and the other pseudo-sciences which have replaced true religion in the hearts and minds of mankind. But Occult Science can! Read more in our investigation of the problem of Good and Evil.

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Is there a right way and a wrong way to pray?

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Yes. The greatest crime that was ever perpetrated upon mankind was committed on the day when the first priest invented the first prayer with a selfish object in view. A God who may be propitiated by iniquitous prayers to bless the worshipper, and send death and destruction to thousands of his enemies—his brothers and sisters—is not a God, but a devil. It is this idea of God that has fostered selfishness in man, and deprived him of his self-reliance. The Greek philosopher Socrates described the right way to pray more than 2,000 years ago when he said: "Our prayers should be for blessings on all, in general, for the Gods know best what is good for us."

We agree. True prayer is an ennobling action when it is an intense feeling, an ardent and sincere desire rushing forth from our very heart for the good of other people, and when entirely detached from any selfish personal object. Prayer in favour of one nation, or for the benefit of one individual, irrespective of losses to other nations or individuals, is the most ignoble of crimes, besides being an impertinent conceit and a superstition.

We would also add that it is best to pray alone and in silence. In the Bible Jesus tells his disciples: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:6). 'Closet' in this sense simply means a small room, in other words a private place where you will not be disturbed or distracted.

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Can I find the meaning of life in the occult?

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Yes, if you are sincere and learn to discern the difference between truth and falsehood, half-truths and downright lies. We suggest you have a look at the list of Occult Studies articles, one or more of which may appeal to you.

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How do I learn the occult?

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Through consistent study and hard work. We have published a FREE online occult studies course to introduce all sincere seekers after Truth to the Sublime Occult Mysteries. Much of the material in our course is not available anywhere else, or in any books. We also suggest that you read and study the many occult and philosophical books we recommend. An open mind is also essential. A closed mind is a narrow mind that will not admit the smallest particle of Truth, lest it upset the apple cart of preconceptions and prejudices narrow minds cling to with blind tenacity. Humility is necessary too, for the person who thinks he has nothing to learn has learned nothing. Finally, we would also add sincerity, patience and perseverance to the list, for those who are insincere in their search, or who imagine they can master Occult Science in a few months with no effort, will waste their time and energy.

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What are the best occult books to read?

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The ones that teach you the most! To expand on that, there are countless books on the occult to suit all tastes and pockets. Which ones are best is something only you can decide. We have published electronic editions of five rare occult books which you can read here. In addition, we review and recommend a number of classic occult books on this website.

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Can occult books harm me?

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We are not sure what is meant by this question, but as several visitors have asked it, we shall try to answer it. Firstly, the only way in which any book might harm you is if you believe it can. Secondly, the mere reading of an occult book (which is what we think our questioners meant) cannot possibly harm you in any way. If, on the other hand, such a book contains magical rituals, so-called 'words of power', occult breathing exercises and similar practises, then, trying them out indiscriminately MAY well harm you, both physically and mentally. See the fourth of our Astral Conversations articles for more information about the dangers of so-called occult breathing.

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How do I learn how to read occult writings and understand mystic symbols?

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The same way you learned to read your native or any other language; by consistent study and practise over several years. This may come as a shock to those who imagine there is a secret 'Da Vinci' code which at a stroke will magically 'unlock' the obscure allegories, arcane symbolism and archaic language used by occultists. We're afraid that no such 'code' exists, has existed, or ever will exist, except in the minds of novelists and conspiracy theorists. What does exist are certain KEYS, such as allegory, symbolism, geometry and astronomy. It is through the use of these keys that we can discover the hidden meaning in such books as the Bible. See our articles on occult symbolism, astrology, and the hidden meaning in the Bible.

Instructions on how to use these key are few and far between. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that there are some truths which cannot be revealed, either because they appertain to the secrets of Initiation, or because they might place dangerous knowledge into the hands of those who would misuse it. Having said that, we know of a few books in which correct explanations of some of these keys are given, together with instructions in their use. These include H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled, Gerald Massey's Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World, and the books of J. Michaud PhD, especially The Golden Star.

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Did Atlantis exist and where can I find out more about it?

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Yes, we are convinced it DID exist. We say this after a lifetime of study of the best scientific books on the subject. You can read more about Atlantis and find a list of recommended books for further study in our article on the Facts and Fancies of Atlantis.

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Occult teachers and teaching

Are occult Teachings dangerous?

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Some are. Especially those that teach various 'occult' breathing exercises, or offer to 'develop' the chakras, or sacred centres of the astral body in a few weeks or months. Unless you are under the PERSONAL supervision of a GENUINE teacher these things are best left well alone. Wrong breathing in particular can do you very great harm, spiritually, mentally and physically. Many teachings and teachers mean well, but only succeed in leading their disciples into deeper confusion. If you read the TRUE STORY we have published, you will find a very good description of the dangers of some occult teachings and the tricks used by false teachers to trap and manipulate the unwary and uninstructed seeker.

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How do I tell the difference between good and bad teachers?

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By their FRUITS! Study them and their teachings. Are they men and women you would admire, who possess the qualities of compassion, tolerance, humility, kindness, patience, generosity, decency and service to others without thought of reward? Or do they display the opposite of these virtues? Do their teachings provide clear answers to the great questions of Life? Or do they consist of vague statements, pious platitudes and incomprehensible psycho-babble? Only YOU can judge!

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Is it wrong to charge for occult teaching?

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No. Does not the Bible say that 'the workman is worthy of his hire?' What greater service can anyone render than to lead others to the Light? Should we expect such men and women to live on bread and water and dress in sackcloth and ashes? To expand on this, books cost money, ink and paper cost money, tuition, whether face-to-face or through correspondence, costs money. Unless a teacher is fortunate enough to be independently wealthy (and by their very nature, GENUINE teachers have little interest in material things), they need money just like the rest of us.

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How do I find a true Teacher?

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See the above answer. To enlarge on this, true Teachers and Masters still exist today, have always existed, and will exist so long as there is one sincere seeker who longs for Truth and enlightenment. You can read about this on the website of Real Hidden Masters. How then, may such teachers be found? They do not advertise themselves in the pages of New Age magazines, YouTube videos, or social media websites. Nor are they to be found within the lesser occult orders or groups, though they may keep a watchful eye on such organisations in order to help a promising and deserving seeker take a few steps further on the path to the Light. This is one meaning of the occult aphorism that "when the pupil is ready, the master appears."

In other words, if you sincerely and selflessly desire to learn the great Truths, the true Teacher will appear. This may come about in any number of different ways. You may find a book, or books that open your mind and heart to Truth. You may encounter a website like this one, or a kind friend may point you in the right direction, as was the case with the author of The White Brother, reviewed on our books page. In this and similar ways the true Teacher can be found. You can read more Masters in our article about initiates and initiation and in our article about Tibetan Lamas: the cult of the masters.

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What do you think of Samael Aun Weor?

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As little as possible! For a variety of reasons we have no liking for 'knocking' specific authors. Nor is it within our purview to discuss the merits or demerits of particular occultists unless there is some compelling reason to do so, such as in the case of Franz Bardon, whose books we review elsewhere on our website. But as several readers have asked us to say something about Samael Aun Weor, we will do our best to satisfy them, though frankly the answer lies in the man's name!

Now, although one might be forgiven for not wishing to go by one's given name when it is "Victor Manuel Gómez Rodríguez (his real name), he could simply have opted for Victor Rodríguez, or even 'Vic Rogers' if he wished for a shorter, American-friendly name. But, no, like so many of his egocentric ilk, he had to have something that sounded grand, 'mystical' and important, the better to impress his UNthinking followers, though we think that 'Samael' rather gives the game away, for the name is that of the Angel of Death in the Jewish Zohar and Kabbalah!

Samael Aun Weor's so-called 'teachings' are a very mixed bag of Gnosticism, Catholicism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Tibetan Tantricism, shamanism, transpersonal psychology, necromancy, Extraterrestrial moonshine and 'New Age' mysticism laced with a heady cocktail of sex-magic (always a popular ingredient to attract the thrill-seeker). We are sorely tempted to insert a 'yawn' here, for this list of ingredients is exactly the same as the 'teachings' of a hundred other would-be 'adepts', 'masters' and other colourful charlatans who prey on the inexperience and gullibility of seekers the world over. As soon as one of these 'great adepts' dies, a dozen others pop out of the woodwork to replace him (or her) and always will do so long a people prefer fantasy and thrills to the simplicity of the plain, unvarnished Truth we TRY to disseminate. . . though mostly it feels like pushing water uphill with a rake. . .

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Was H. P. Blavatsky a Fraud?

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The short answer is an emphatic 'NO'. This question is invariably asked by those who approach the occult sciences from either a rigid scientific or orthodox religious background and have not bothered to do their own research, preferring as all too many seekers do, to obtain their information at second-hand from third-rate writers who often have a hidden agenda for their attacks against Blavatsky.

Those who doubt the motives, sincerity and probity of H. P. Blavatsky and her teachings may find much to enlighten them in our article about the accusations made against her, as well as in the following resources: The teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and the occult books of H. P. Blavatsky. In addition, we suggest interested readers obtain a copy of either of the following biographies of Blavatsky's life and teachings: The Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsky by Daniel H Caldwell and Extraordinary Life of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky by Sylvia Cranston.

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Conspiracy theories, ETs and 'Ascension'

Is the world really controlled by the Illuminati Conspiracy?

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No. The theory that a super-secret society has infiltrated every conceivable area of government, finance, science, business (and the local Womens' Institute!) is complete and utter nonsense. We say this not only from our personal knowledge of 'secret' societies of all kinds but from a lifetime's study of the true laws of Occult Science; laws which prove that no assembly of human beings, however 'clever', 'devious' or powerful can control the 'world', for that is the prerogative of the spiritual powers under the direct guidance of the Supreme Ruler, or Architect of the Universe.

This does not mean that we deny the existence of smaller or larger groups of individuals which seek to manipulate and exploit their fellowmen and women for their own, questionable ends. Why is this news? By their very nature such agglomerations of power-hungry, selfish men and women have always been in acrimonious competition with other groups seeking a slice of the same pie, whether the cake be financial, political, scientific or any other flavour. This must be self-evident to all thinking minds. This being so, the utter impossibility of such suspicious and mendacious individuals or groups collaborating together for hundreds of years in mutual pursuit of the goal of universal domination, is simply laughable. Even the average business can't manage to pursue a common goal for more than a few months without something (or someone) screwing up. Quite why the so-called 'illuminati' are immune to these human failings only the conspiracy theorists who dreamed them up, know.

You can read more about the REAL Illuminati in John Temple's excellent article on this subject.

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What is the New World Order?

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Another colourful figment of the overheated imaginations of conspiracy theorists. We are sorry to pour cold water on the myths and speculations surrounding the existence of the 'New World Order', but we speak the truth. See our answer to the previous question. We feel compelled to add that any serious seeker after Truth should take all conspiracy theories with a very LARGE pinch of salt. Whilst there may be something in some of these theories, none of them can tell us anything worthwhile about the things that truly matter on the path to the Light. You can read more about the most popular conspiracy theories in our article of the same name.

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Do we live on some kind of prison planet which is covertly controlled by an elite group of devil-worshippers?

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No. Nor is there a secret worldwide cabal that practices satanic worship and blood sacrifices hell-bent on killing off 90% of the world's population and sparing the rest to serve the needs of their sadistic masters. Such popular conspiracy theories defy all reason and commonsense as we explain in several of our articles, notably The Illuminati and Cosmic conspiracies. This is not to say that evil men and women do not exist who follow all kinds of devilish agendas, some of whom may well practise black magic, including human sacrifice. But this is nothing new. Such misguided souls existed in the past too, and will always exist so long as greed, selfishness and the lust for material wealth and power motivate some human beings to commit evil acts of all kinds.

But it is also true that the suspicious, envious and arrogant nature of such individuals makes it quite impossible for them to cooperate on a sufficiently large scale to bring about the so-called 'New World Order' and global domination discussed in our answers to the previous two questions. This is simply commonsense, or we hope it is!

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Are evil ET's occupying this planet?

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No. Any race that possessed the technology to travel the immense distances which separate our tiny, insignificant little planet from the nearest potentially habitable world, would surely also have the ability to wipe out the entire population of earth without harming the planet in any way. So why go to the bother of controlling mankind 'covertly'? It simply defies all reason, a quality sadly lacking in those who come up with these fantasies and those who swallow them without a second, or even any, thought. Probably because it is so much easier to lay the blame for all the evils that beset mankind at the door of a scapegoat—in this case, ETs—rather than ourselves!

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Is a planetary Ascension taking place right now?

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No. Benevolent ET's are emphatically not going to rescue us from the results of our own stupidity, greed, cruelty and selfishness and miraculously create some kind of New Age paradise on earth with the aid of their advanced technology. Mankind has had every opportunity to create its own paradise but has chosen instead to turn this earth into a living hell for millions. What man has corrupted and despoiled only man can heal and repair. To argue otherwise is to regard humanity as mere robots with no minds or free-will of their own, who must be 'rescued' like irresponsible little children who cannot be trusted to manage their own affairs in an intelligent and constructive manner. To believe in such mad fantasies is to 'ascend' into complete imbecility.

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Karma, reincarnation and the astral world

What is Karma?

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A figment of the imagination of those who do not know the true hidden laws of Nature. We hope that we shall thoroughly shock you when we say that there is no such thing as Karma. We do not believe in it, any more than we believe in the dogma of sin and punishment, as such. See our occult studies course for more information.

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If reincarnation is true why is the world population increasing?

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Many people believe that as all souls are eternal and no new souls are ever created, the increase in world population means that the number of human bodies will eventually exceed the number of reincarnating souls. These and similar objections to the truth of reincarnation depend on three assumptions. Firstly, that population is always increasing. Secondly that the number of human souls is finite, and thirdly that the period of rest between two incarnations is fixed and has remained constant throughout human history. All three assumptions are false.

Occult science affirms that there have been times when the world population was even greater than it is now and there will be times in the future when it is very much smaller. Even within continental Europe some countries such as Norway have an extremely low population density, while large parts of eastern Russia (which is larger than north and south America combined), are almost uninhabited.

Occult science also affirms that 'new' souls are constantly coming into incarnation to replace those who have completed their cycle of earthly incarnations and evolved to higher dimensions. Finally, although the time of rest between incarnations is generally said to be about 144 years, there always have been, are, and will be, exceptions to this rule, such as the untimely death of infants, who often reincarnate almost immediately. See our occult studies course articles on Reincarnation and Evolution for more information.

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What is the best way to meditate?

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The advice we were given many years ago was "Do it thoroughly!" There is much truth in this. Half-hearted meditation can only bring half-hearted results, if any at all. Relaxation is important too, for unless we relax body and mind completely, we are not meditating but 'day dreaming'. We give a safe, simple spiritual meditation exercise all may benefit from in the afterword to our article on occult studies and meditation. You may also find our short story Meditation; the Way of Escape, of interest.

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What is Cosmic Consciousness and how can I attain it?

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It may refer to the Consciousness of the Kosmos Itself, which is God, or to the human consciousness of Cosmic Truth—which is also God, as you can read in our article about consciousness after death. This realisation can be only be attained by contemplation and meditation; withdrawing from the outer world and focusing our inner sight upon the Light.

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What is an Initiate and how do I become one?

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There are many grades of Initiates. Many know little or nothing of the occult sciences. There are others who are complete charlatans. To become one of these is easy. Anyone can call themselves an 'initiate' and wait for admiration (and perhaps money) to descend upon them. A genuine initiate of the Mysteries, however, is something quite different, as you can read in our article about Initiates and initiation.

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Does Hell exist?

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The short answer is 'yes'. You can read more about this in the section on 'Heaven and Hell' in our article on Life after Death, as well as in the sidebar at right.

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Is there life after death and what happens when we die?

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Yes. Recent scientific studies of near-death experiences (NDEs) have shown quite conclusively that consciousness persists after the death of the physical body. You can read more about this in the sidebar at right and in our articles about Life after Death and consciousness after death.

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Do our loved ones watch over us after they have died? Do they know about us and our lives? If they do, why don't they don't make themselves known to us?

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Before we can answer these questions we need to ask ourselves what we mean by 'loved ones'? Do we mean those whom we love, or those who love us? The two do not necessarily go together or there would not be so many unhappy marriages, divided families and acrimonious relationships. Moreover, many of us know from bitter experience that 'loved ones' are often the first to desert us in out time of genuine need. The truth is that few human beings truly love one another and even fewer are constant in their love. From this it follows that unless the bond between two people is a spiritual one it will not persist after the death of the material body, for what drew them together was only a temporary connection, whether of the body or personality.

If the bond is a spiritual one and especially if it has endured through many incarnations, then and only then, is there any possibility of continued contact between loved ones. In such cases the departed may well watch over the loved ones they left behind on earth and be fully aware of their circumstances. Such contacts generally manifest as sudden moments of great joy, inspirational thoughts or simply an overwhelming feeling of being loved and cared for. In very rare cases we may even see and hear the departed loved one, but NOT via séances, 'channeled' messages and the similar charades believed in by some people. But such contact is only possible if the departed one was trained in the Occult Sciences while still on Earth, or underwent such training in previous incarnations.

In this and similar ways can our loved ones make themselves known to us and even help us, if we are worthy of such help and do not shut ourselves out from contact by excessive grieving. By dwelling in sorrow on the absence of a loved one, we erect a prison around us which our departed loved ones cannot penetrate. There is another possibility too, and that is when we reach out in thought to a loved one who has passed away. If we do this peacefully, powerfully and positively, our thoughts will reach them, and if they are able, they will respond in the ways we mentioned above. For there is no barrier to the power of real Love, as you may read in The Quest of Ruru.

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What is the astral world or plane?

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A world of lesser or greater density than the physical, material one we dwell in. 'World' should be interpreted both as a state of consciousness and an actual place. Occult Science teaches that there are many 'worlds' surrounding the earth, each of which is an 'astral world', plane or realm invisible to our physical senses. Read our occult studies course and also The True Gospel of Chrishna-Jeseus, Chapter 22 for more information.

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How do I explore the astral world?

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Through clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, so-called 'astral travelling' etc., which are natural abilities we all possess—though dormant in most persons. But like any ability, these must be developed through proper training under guidance from a qualified instructor. Frankly, we know of no such instructors outside the genuine Occult Orders. Any attempt to contact the astral world without such instruction and guidance is foolhardy and can be dangerous. See our occult studies course article on the astral world for more information.

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Where can I find a description of the astral world?

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In our Occult studies course article of the same name. You can also find further descriptions of the conditions in, and the inhabitants of, the astral world in The Golden Star and in The Gospel of Chrishna-Jeseus, both written by J Michaud PhD. Parts of the astral world are so much like conditions on earth that those who penetrate into these regions would not notice any difference at all. There are other regions of great beauty, tranquility and happiness and regions of unbelievable ugliness, squalor, disorder and misery, just as we find on earth. The astral world is many times LARGER than the physical world we know on earth.

Consequently, it is quite impossible to even attempt to give a comprehensive description of it, since the conditions in its various regions or sections (each as large as our world, or larger), vary enormously. You can find further descriptions of parts of the astral world in the books of Emanuel Swedenborg (see answer below) and in many other books written by genuine seers. We emphasise the word 'genuine' as there are now many more modern books that purport to describe the astral world which are simply the figments of their authors' overheated imaginations.

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Are the descriptions of heaven by Swedenborg true?

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Yes and no. They are true inasmuch as Immanuel Swedenborg was a genuine seer who was able to behold the invisible planes of the astral world and record what he saw and experienced there in his books. They are false because, like other clairvoyants who are not trained occult scientists, he did not know the various divisions of the astral world and the occult laws that govern the appearance of the scenes, beings and conditions he saw in his glorious visions.

To him they were all 'Heaven' and every inhabitant was an 'Angel'. For this reason many of his descriptions have been challenged by other seers (who did not know the real differences or laws either). The untrained clairvoyant who is ignorant of the laws of occult science cannot help but mistake the denizens of one astral plane for another. Some clairvoyants have seen some of the great spiritual Masters who dwell in the higher astral planes and mistaken them for God and his Archangels, as Swedenborg did. In short, the number of wrong interpretations and errors the untrained seer can make in his explorations of the astral world are legion, and therefore all the more misleading to those who read such accounts.

The only true description Swedenborg gives of a higher astral plane can be found in his book Heaven and Hell, in which he writes: "I have seen palaces in heaven of such magnificence as cannot be described. Above they glittered as if made of pure gold, and below as if made of precious stones, some more splendid than others. It was the same within. Both words and knowledge are inadequate to describe the decorations that adorned the rooms. On the side looking to the south there were parks, where, too, everything shone, in some places the leaves glistening as if made of silver, and fruit as if made of gold; while the flowers in their beds formed rainbows with their colours." Here, Swedenborg glimpses the plane which forms the subject of Vision 6 of The Golden Star by J Michaud PhD, in which chapter you can find a full description of this glorious realm, which we may rightly call 'Heaven'.

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What are elementals?

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Beings that belong to one of the four occult elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. They exist in the non-physical dimensions, or astral world and can only be seen by clairvoyant vision, not by physical eyes. You can find accurate descriptions of elementals in Vision 3 of The Golden Star by J Michaud PhD, as well as several of the books we review and recommend on our website. See also our answer below. Note than elementals should not be confused with ELEMENTARIES, which are the astral shells of the personalities of departed human beings. No good can come of contact with these beings. See our article on channeling for more information about elementaries.

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What are elves?

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The word may mean several different things. Elf or elves can refer to the fictional characters invented by J. R. R. Tolkien in his mythology which underpins the Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion. It can refer to the elemental beings that belong to the occult element of Earth, as described in our article about Nature Spirits and Fairies. Or it can refer to so-called 'machine elves', also known as 'fractal elves' and 'self-transforming elf machines', first popularised by Terence McKenna, an author and advocate of the use of psychedelic drugs to expand consciousness. In this case, they are either the hallucinatory figments of the imagination of drug takers or elementary entities dwelling in the astral world. If the former, they are mental illusions and nothing more, like the 'pink elephants' supposed to be seen by alcoholics. If the latter, they what our ancestors rightly referred to as 'demons'—low grade spirits bent on mischief and evil. You can read about these entities in our occult studies course article about the Astral World, as well as in our Astral Conversations articles on Shamanism and Channeling.

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What are Nature spirits and Fairies?

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Elemental beings which dwell in the astral world. There are many different classes of nature spirits, ranging from the semi-conscious agents of universal laws, through fairies, gnomes, mermaids etc., to the great Devas, or angels who rule over the four occult elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. See our article on Fairies and Nature spirits for more information.

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Are there such beings as devils and demons?

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Yes. Some are the elementaries referred to above, others are evil beings of all kinds and classes who either have been human beings or will become so at some point in their evolution. You can find accurate descriptions of devils and demons in Symphonie Fantastique by J Michaud PhD.

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Magic, alchemy, etc.

What is Magic?

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The exercise of the will and imagination in the employment of natural laws. Perhaps you hoped for a more colourful answer, such as "the casting of spells" or burning candles, chanting mantras, or invoking demons? Whilst some of these things may come under the broad heading of the 'magical arts' we are afraid that they are as far removed from real Magic as the Sun is removed from a dirty candle in a dark cellar filled with bats. For more information read and study our occult studies course.

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What is Black Magic?

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The misuse of ANY knowledge or power for selfish purposes. You can find a fuller answer to this question in the sidebar on your right.

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How do I protect myself from black magicians?

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By having nothing to do with them! To enlarge on this, it must be clear to you that like attracts like. If we experiment with dubious magical practises with selfish aims in view, especially if such practises involve the shedding of blood, communication with so-called 'spirits' or harm to ourselves or others, we will draw evil conditions and evil men and women towards us. See also our answer in the sidebar about black magic for further information.

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What is Alchemy?

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The science of transmutation, whether we regard this from a philosophical, spiritual or physical point of view. This is based on the Occult scientific law that all matter is of one and the same basic origin and that all forms of matter contain the same spiritual principle which is permanent, although the body or outer form is transitory.

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Is Alchemy black magic?

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No. As we explain above (see 'What is black magic?'), it is always the intention which makes any act of so-called 'magic' black or white, and this applies to any act, 'magical' or not. Thus we may say that a chemist who brews poison in his laboratory with the intention of taking human life, or a nuclear physicist who develops a more 'efficient' hydrogen bomb, are black magicians whether they realise it or not.

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Where can I find books in which the secrets of magic are revealed?

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These secrets cannot be found in ANY books. As you can read in The Golden Star: "they were never put in plain words, but always written in such a way that only with the help of the real Adept, or Master, can one can apply the key that opens the door to the secret occult knowledge. Such knowledge is a double-edged Weapon and unfit for the ignorant or the selfish." This is true, for those who want power, fame, glory and riches will never discover the real secrets of magic, no matter how many occult books they read or how many so-called 'magic spells' and rituals they employ.

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Is spiritualism dangerous?

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It can be. The average spiritualist séance is generally quite harmless. The weak mentality, low psychic development and poor physical vibrations of the participants mean there is very little real power available for the elementals. However, when a genuine medium has the ability (inherent or acquired through so-called 'development') to get en rapport with the entities and conditions in the astral world, there is the possibility that these may cause real harm, both to the medium and the sitters. You can read more about Spiritualism and its dangers in The Golden Star, chapter 5.

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Is New Age Shamanism dangerous?

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Yes, we believe it is. You can read more about the dangers New Age Shamanism in our article of the same name.

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Is channeling dangerous?

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Channeling is simply a new word for Spiritualism—see answer to the previous question—and can be just as dangerous. The messages that are received by channelers range from the nonsensical through the blindingly obvious to the almost wise. The latter are the most dangerous of all, for in mixing up a few basic occult truths with fantasies, the seeker is more completely deceived than if they were the victim of downright lies. You can read more about channeling and its dangers in our article of the same name.

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Is Tibetan Buddhism dangerous?

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The short answer is yes, it can be, particularly if you involve yourself in what is known as the Vajrayana school of Tibetan Tantra, wrongly called 'Buddhism' by those who know no better. You can read more about Tibetan Buddhism and its dangers in our three-part in-depth investigation of this subject.

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Are you against New Age teachings?

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No. Some contain much that is of value. But there is very much more that is both wrong and dangerous. Moreover, in indiscriminately mixing up so many 'isms', 'ologies' and 'osophies' without a clear understanding of any of them, New Age teachings lead to greater confusion and can do much harm, both to the mind and the body, as you can read in Astral Conversations. You can find further information about the differences between New Age thought and Occult Science in several of our articles, notably Losing your way, Searching for Truth, and in the commentary to our Occult Studies Course article on the Astral World.

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Health, drugs and dreams

Is vegetarianism necessary for spiritual progress?

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No. We know that we go against a host of 'occult' teachings from so-called 'authorities' when we say this, but nevertheless we speak the truth. We say this not only from our own, personal experience, but also because all the great Messengers and Teachers of the past have said the same. Need we quote the Bible here? "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man" (Matthew 15:11). In other words spiritual progress is gained within through the purity and goodness of our thoughts, words and deeds, not in externals. You can find fuller answers to this question in our article on vegetarianism and spirituality.

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Are sexual abstinence and asceticism necessary for spiritual progress?

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No. See answer to the above question. Sexual abstinence and asceticism are often the cloak of the worst kind of bigot and religious fanatic. No true Teacher, much less a GENUINE Master of the Holy Mysteries, such as Jesus was, would ever tell their disciples to refrain from purely natural functions, such as sex, provided they are natural and exercised in moderation. Sexual abstinence and asceticism do not develop so-called 'occult powers', much less lead to spiritual enlightenment.

Nor is it the slightest use to attempt to starve, torture or beat the body in order to kill out physical desires. Such misguided practises may suppress desires for a time, but do not eliminate them, and often lead to bodily and mental disease. We can only obtain control over the body and its turbulent desires by the rigorous control of our thoughts. See our article on Inner balance through applied Wisdom.

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Is homosexuality wrong?

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This is a question only YOU can answer. Moreover, sex is a thing of bodies, not of souls, as Hermes taught. Sexual desire is of little importance to the genuine mystic and occultist provided it does do not interfere with, or retard, our spiritual progress and enlightenment. Sex, regarded from the point of view of the Hermetic Laws of Polarity and Gender, is another matter, as you can read in our article on the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt. That is all we have to say on the subject.

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Are recreational and psychoactive drugs harmful?

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They can be, particularly if they are used indiscriminately and regularly, as they are among recreational drug users in the West. No genuine spiritual teacher has ever countenanced the use of cannabis or psychoactive drugs such Ayahuasca, DMT or MDMA to develop psychic abilities or 'expand' consciousness. Our advice is avoid the use of any drugs unless they have been prescribed for a specific medical condition by a qualified physician. You can read more about the damage cannabis and other drugs can cause to the delicate mechanism of consciousness in the brain in the afterword to our article about New Age Shamanism.

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Are prescription drugs harmful?

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Some are, especially the many powerful anti-depressants used to treat various psychological conditions and disorders. Recent reports have shown that prescription drugs were linked to over 200,000 adverse reactions from 2000 to 2011 which resulted in 12,000 deaths in the UK alone. You can read more about the dangers of prescription drugs in our article on Health and the occult student.

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Is it wrong to have fun?

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Some so-called occult and spiritual teachers seem to think so, but they are completely wrong. The person who is always serious is thoroughly unbalanced. Amusement and fun counterbalance serious thought and study, and the person who spends a certain amount of time in having fun is more ready for the deeper aspects of life than the one who is always gloomy.

Good wholesome fun, as you may read in the wise Teachings of Li Wang Ho, "keeps young the heart and mind, is like true virtue: we cannot do without it, and it will keep people away from vice."

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Is it wrong to get drunk?

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There are very few persons who have not got drunk at some time, both today and throughout recorded history. Having said that, it should be obvious to all that EXCESS in any form is bad for us, and this applies to drinking as well as any other habit. Alcohol has a direct and often harmful influence on man's psychic nature. We see this in the crime and violence which often result from 'binge drinking' in our major cities. It is also true that excessive alcohol consumption damages both the body and the mind and is destructive to the development of the higher powers in man.

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What are Dreams?

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There are many sorts of dreams, from the muddled and confusing experiences we are all familiar with that appear to make no sense to our waking consciousness, to clear, lucid dreams, such as those which warn us of dangers. You can read more about dreams in our article on occult studies and meditation as well as in the 9th part of Astral Conversations investigations.

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What about dream interpretation?

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You may be surprised to learn that no one can possibly interpret your dreams for you. The simple reason for this is that we each have our own inner life which no one else can share, much less interpret, and those who claim to do so are imposters and charlatans, whether they realise it or not, or mean well or not.

We know we go against the accepted 'wisdom' when we say this—nonetheless we speak the truth. Another reason why dream interpretations are invariably wrong is that no two human beings think exactly alike, or are alike, physically, mentally or spiritually. This is only common sense. Consequently, only YOU can discover what (if anything) your dreams may mean.

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This page was last updated on 18 May 2017 — © Copyright occult-mysteries.org.

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