The Occult: A Silly Game for Goth Dorks

The obsessive study and practice of the occult is really just a type of playacting at intellectualism couched in ancient knowledge readily available on Wikipedia.

For westerners interested in alternative ideologies, study of the occult is a popular way of expressing a difference from the status quo. With its reputation for hidden, dark and esoteric content, occultism seems like an affront to Judeo-Christian beliefs. It has given rise to an entire counterculture and supports a widespread media industry that cater to occultism as a profitable demographic. As this interest and popularity have grown, the occult has become an identity. A brand name for those living comfortably in the suburbs of the fringe.

The belief that the occult represents some hidden, secretive knowledge is an anachronism. With the advent of the internet, occult knowledge is now widely available to almost every human being alive, and is certainly not difficult to find. No longer must the occultist seek out rare grimoires from underground bookstores and private sellers, then spend months translating and decoding the contents to become an authority on them. You can just Google it now.

Another belief is that occult information is somehow a source of power. There is about as much evidence for this as there is for Noah’s Ark, invisible pink unicorns and reptilian overlords who control the Illuminati. Were there actually any practical benefits of occult studies and practices you can bet your ass they would have been co-opted by corporations long ago and wizards would have replaced CEOs. Of course the people who believe in the reptilian Illuminati overlords think that is already the case.

On top of the obfuscation and uselessness of occultism, it has long been a playground for the very worst sort of people. Misogynists, fascists and an assorted menagerie of fucking creeps have all been drawn into occultism and helped add to its narrative. Much modern occult thinking was conceived of by these ethical outliers, and as such modern occultism is imbued with the values of white nationalists and psychopaths, who have become heroes to occultists willing to overlook these problematic people and their cracker voodoo.

In essence, the occult has become little more than a political identity mostly populated by the kind of people who constantly blame everyone else for participating in identity politics, with no trace of irony, esoteric or otherwise. It is cosplay for people who prefer mythology to superheroes. It is obsessive data consumption and regurgitation that differs only in specific content from the kind displayed by nine year olds who memorize stats from their vast collection of baseball cards. Quite simply, it boils to down to playacting and signaling, while wearing a pretense of intellectual depth and superiority.

However I am willing to be proven wrong. The first one of you edgy goth monkeys that can demonstrate beyond a doubt the power of the occult will receive a hundred bucks that I cannot afford to give away, but am 100% certain I won’t have to. Until then I look forward to angry stammering and unsubstantiated claims, which if were of any value whatsoever, would immediately make the occult a lucrative practice.


READ THIS FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION

“I myself am a magician. My rejection of the occult does not equate with a rejection of magic in general. I specifically reject the prepackaged mass of ideas and symbols that generally fall under the term ‘occultism’ and believe that a magical system should be one’s own creation from ground up, and not just a traditional recycling of ancient religious and mythological bric-a-brac. While I understand that investigating what others have done can help you create your own unique magical systems, my specific issue is with repetitive validation and advocacy of the same old things, which actually deter magical efforts and give magicians a reputation which resembles stock characters out of some silly cartoon. Discussion of the occult (and Crowley) in magic circles is so obvious and expected that the entire culture of modern magicians has begun to feel scripted and stale.”


READ THIS FOR AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF MAGIC

“To this end I suggest that you stop thinking of magic as something you do on schedule, like Meatloaf Monday, with roughly the same recipe each week. Instead try changing your perceptions and responses by devising nifty tricks that work in the course of your day to day lives. Create good habits instead of rituals. Forget everything you ever thought you knew about magic and make stuff up off the top of your head. You don’t need specific symbols or spirits or archetypes, you need mental discipline. Don’t go looking outside yourself for ways of achieving it, but instead work with what is already happening in your life.”

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28 thoughts on “The Occult: A Silly Game for Goth Dorks

  1. The status of anything as occult merely indicates that it is hidden from view. Kept secret. Most of what is “occult” today is just remnants of old religions that people tried to keep alive by hiding it from the church. Actually, I shouldn’t say that – that’s what most occult ‘knowledge’ was up until a few hundred years ago. Now it’s mostly a bunch of men and women hawking books of fake spells and pseudo-spiritual garbage.

    That said, a thing shouldn’t be written off because one powerful empire or cult or other suppressed it. Not because https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDc5CGVVp38&t=2s but more because history. It’s informative both to know about past cultures, and the motives of more recent powerful ones (which can be deduced in part by what they fought to suppress).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think everything is worth a bit of study, to be sure. However the increasing amounts of occult advocacy need a counter voice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And why is that exactly?
        Maybe you’re right, I should just write an article denouncing people studying history and effortlessly try to persuade them into just forgetting it all

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    1. Not nearly as negative as all the misogyny, psychopathy and fascism that has accompanied the occult for over a century.

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      1. Black people is not an ideology. Blackness doesn’t transfer as a consequence of belief. There is a major difference between my critique and your counter example. Please take some time to consider the subtlety and nuance of it.

        Also, do not mistake this as a rejection of magic. Only a rejection of a certain kind of discipline that recycles eurocentric religions into a package that conveniently gets absorbed by every fascist movement that comes up. That is more than just a coincidence. The occult provides the perfect validation for the toxic ideas of individualism wrought on us by Protestantism. Magic is about agency, not selfishness.

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      2. I wish I didn’t have to pre-emptively address equivocations. That is a sad state of things.

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      3. Tell you what — I can see that no willingness exists to process my input constructively, or, really, at all. So here’s what we’re going to do. You may write anything you like in response to this current comment of mine, and feel good to have had the last word. For my part, I will both unsubscribe and bypass notification of that reply, thereby maintaining the tranquility of an inclusive and affirmative preference. I’ll go ahead and do my part right now! Buh-bye 😎

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  2. One of the main “Secrets” of the occult is that your thoughts create your reality. This knowledge is thousands of years old and is not hogwash. It is actually being scientifically proven more and more every day. I would suggest doing some research. Before being so dismissive. Here are some examples.

    1. The Double slit experiment first proved that our thoughts affect the physical world in the early 1900’s:

    2. Studies on the maharishi effect have proven time and time again that more than one person focusing their thoughts on the same thing increases the effect.

    https://www.mum.edu/about-mum/consciousness-based-education/tm-research/maharishi-effect/Summary-of-13-Published-Studies

    Upon examination of these studies, you will find that the reason ancient and current people study the occult is one and the same……. to learn how to use these scientifically proven things to their advantage.

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    1. The occult has no monopoly on that idea. It has been around for a long time. And you are using a generic definition of the occult, not the one I have outlined.

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    2. More importantly, people also study this to try to find the deeper meaning in this proven connection between our conciousness and the physical world.

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      1. You insinuated in your post that Occult studies have no practical benefit. Judging by your response to my post, you are already aware that statement is misleading and entirely false.

        Also, the study of hidden knowledge does not have to have a monopoly on said knowledge to provide practical benefits.

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      2. Ah, a faithful realist/materialist. Peace and prosperity to you. No more use in trying to reach you than an evangelical christian.

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    1. If you are interested, disinfo.com is looking for writers on these kind of topics. Let me know if you wanna give it a go, or repost relevant older works there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d love to! I have a few pieces that might work, but summer is coming up and I’m planning on churning out some articles. What’s your email address so I can run some stuff by you? If you don’t want to post it here, maybe just shoot a mail to dukederichleau666@gmail and I’ll respond. Thanks!

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  3. The occult is a rediculusly broad topic that you are painting with an incredibly reductive brush. “Show me the power of the occult for 100$” already has in it weird assumptions about the goal of occult scholarship, and frankly your whole artical smacks of trying to extricate the ‘good and pure’ magick from the ‘nazi racist’ occultists. This is basicly refusing to examine the log in the eye of magick. These currents you’ve identified exist, and they are a problem we have to address as a community. It’s not something we can just decide is part of this ‘totallty other occult thing’.

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    1. I reject traditionalism in general.
      *Cue argument for historical context, as applicable to most disciplines.*
      Magic is not most disciplines. Time to weed out the religiosity.

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  4. I think you make a lot of valid points here, but I must raise a couple of issues. The idea that you can find it all on Wikipedia isn’t quite accurate – you can find the outlines of most scientific, philosophical and other concepts on there but that doesn’t equate to the understanding that comes from the study of the source texts. Understanding the texts can help us develop our own systems and also learn to respect the wisdom of our predecessors. As you said in your Crowley article, some of the old texts are problematic, but I feel we can still learn from them, though it’s important to view them with modern eyes and not take anything as gospel. Your criticism of the study as “playacting at intellectualism” is, I think, a little harsh. Why can’t it just be a hobby? Some people collect stamps, some people collect grimoires. Your point about the ineffectiveness of the occult on a practical level is valid – in my view, it’s a spiritual pursuit with no material effects. Perhaps I’m arguing with you for no reason, maybe we’re actually seeing eye to eye. I fundamentally agree that dogmatic practice is stupid and that you should create your own system, though I do see value in old methods. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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    1. “learn to respect the wisdom of our predecessors”

      Occultists are a problematic lot.
      (see: ‘It Is Impossible to Separate the Art from the Artist’)
      I have no desire to repeat traditions created under that kind of problematic logic and will. Their personality flaws arise from the same defective source as their magical ideas, and should be equally suspect.

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      1. That’s not unreasonable in terms of characters like Crowley, though I still feel that there is some value in studying his methods. But what do you think of the really old texts, like medieval/Renaissance grimoires, alchemical manuscripts or even the ancient Hermetic texts? I don’t see a lot of ‘problematic’ material in many of these.

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      2. I think…why bother. Creating traditional frameworks is a religious enterprise. Magic should be novel, creative and personal.

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