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Author Topic: Alright: Occult vs Paganism  (Read 3582 times)

r2squared

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Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« on: June 20, 2012, 12:44:41 am »
I've been reading around the board a bit, and though I feel a little silly asking this question, I'd like to have a clear understand of the two in my head. The difference, if any at all, in Paganism and the Occult. Both are very broad, both seem to be very secretive for the most part. What separates them?

I apologize if a thread like this already exists.

Aster Breo

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Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 01:35:19 am »
Quote from: r2squared;60922
The difference, if any at all, in Paganism and the Occult. Both are very broad, both seem to be very secretive for the most part. What separates them?


Don't feel silly.  This is a perfectly valid question.

Paganism is an umbrella term that refers to an incredibly diverse group of spiritual and religious paths.  The definition we use here on TC is a spiritual or religious practice or belief system that is not Judaism, Christianity, or Islam ("JCI") AND whose practitioner(s) self-identify as pagan.

Occult actually just means "hidden" or "occluded".  The term refers to information that is not generally widely known or available (a definition that seems to be losing a good deal of meaning in the "Information Age"  ;)  ).  

Most people use it to refer specifically to things like divination, astrology, spell casting, communicating with spirits, etc., and sometimes more broadly to include things like herbalism, using crystals, amulets, and such.  Many people also include things they consider more dangerous or "dark", like cursing people and summoning demons.

*Some* -- but definitely NOT all -- pagan practices use one or more occult elements.  But occult practices can be used within any spiritual or religious system, or completely separate from any religion.

Does that make sense?

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Aster Breo

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Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 01:36:30 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;60927
("JCI")

I have no idea why the software put a smiley there.  It was not intended.
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

r2squared

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 12:25:27 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;60927

Does that make sense?
~ Aster


Oh, absolutely! Thanks so much :)
I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

If a reader has another idea, feel free to respond!

earth_dragon

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 01:45:04 pm »
Quote from: r2squared;60980
Oh, absolutely! Thanks so much :)
I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

If a reader has another idea, feel free to respond!

 
Really, I think Aster pretty much nailed it! Smart lady!

Aster Breo

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Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 05:19:23 pm »
Quote from: earth_dragon;60993
Really, I think Aster pretty much nailed it! Smart lady!

Thank you!  You just made my day.  :)
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

monsnoleedra

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 05:28:50 pm »
Quote from: r2squared;60922
I've been reading around the board a bit, and though I feel a little silly asking this question, I'd like to have a clear understand of the two in my head. The difference, if any at all, in Paganism and the Occult. Both are very broad, both seem to be very secretive for the most part. What separates them?

I apologize if a thread like this already exists.


When it comes to the term Occult one also has to consider the audience they are speaking to.  Occult in the medical profession indicates a hidden condition or illiness from what i've read.  Within some closed societies occult refers to oath bound material yet has nothing to do with paganism, for instance i've seen it used with Free Masons.

I think for me one critical facet is pagan seem to typically indicate a religious position.  Occult normally implies a practice which may be found within a pagan based religion but is also capable of standing on its own merit.

Maps

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2012, 07:33:51 pm »
Quote from: r2squared;60922
I've been reading around the board a bit, and though I feel a little silly asking this question, I'd like to have a clear understand of the two in my head. The difference, if any at all, in Paganism and the Occult. Both are very broad, both seem to be very secretive for the most part. What separates them?

I apologize if a thread like this already exists.

 
To add onto what Aster said (not that it wasn't excellent!): some cultures and religions have practices that, taken out of context, would appear to be similar or even identical to more traditional western occult practices, like herbalism, communication with the dead, summoning of otherworldly entities, cursing, and so on, and this knowledge may even be oath-bound or lineaged or experiential, but within the culture has no such implications that the word "occult" does for us.

Jabberwocky

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2012, 07:59:40 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;60927

Occult actually just means "hidden" or "occluded".  The term refers to information that is not generally widely known or available (a definition that seems to be losing a good deal of meaning in the "Information Age"  ;)  ).  

Most people use it to refer specifically to things like divination, astrology, spell casting, communicating with spirits, etc., and sometimes more broadly to include things like herbalism, using crystals, amulets, and such.  Many people also include things they consider more dangerous or "dark", like cursing people and summoning demons.

 
I think that brings another interesting element into it.  A lot of 'occult' practises aren't actually based on hidden knowledge at all now.  By this point, I think it's largely a subcultural identification by this point.

I certainly fall into that category.  I identify as an "occultist" because it's useful shorthand and I don't have a religion per se.

But, at the same time, the only 'hidden' knowledge I have is that which comes from my own personal subjectivity.  Which is obviously something everyone has.
Your heart is a muscle as big as your fist.

monsnoleedra

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 11:19:57 pm »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;61035
I think that brings another interesting element into it.  A lot of 'occult' practises aren't actually based on hidden knowledge at all now.  By this point, I think it's largely a subcultural identification by this point.

..

I'd disagree to the extent that a lot of the knowledge still remains hidden until revealed.   Tarot is wide spread but the actual knowledge each spread will reveal remains hidden until done.  Astrology is right before ones eyes, but again until the layout is read it remains hidden from view in understanding.  Even the answer to ones question remains hidden until discovered and revealed to them by whatever means is used, think of things like oracles for instance.

So in that sense Occult pertained to knowledge that lay hidden and out of sight and only a select few actually had the ability and / or understanding to discover it.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 11:20:50 pm by monsnoleedra »

Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2012, 09:32:33 am »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;61051

So in that sense Occult pertained to knowledge that lay hidden and out of sight and only a select few actually had the ability and / or understanding to discover it.

By that standard IT is an occult science. :)  I don't know the answer to my computer problems until the IT person reveals it to me.  But it would be fairly straight-forward, if time consuming, for me to learn to do it myself.

I would say that it is more than that the answers are unknown until looked at/revealed.  I think that the actual methods being hidden or hard to find is what makes something occult.  I agree with Jabberwocky that very little is truly hidden anymore, at least if the plethora of books and websites are anything to go by.  They may not all be accurate, but you don't have to join a secret club, be initiated, and pass a test in order to get a glimpse at the grimoire hidden in the basement.  Nor do you have to be learned enough to be able to figure out what has been left out or put in the wrong order.  That information, or theories about it, can be found almost everywhere these days.

Mind, I approve of that.  I think knowledge should be out on the shelves in the open.  It won't upset the balance of the world that much, simply because the number of people with an actual interest and the discipline to learn and practice, is fairly small.  I don't think anything special is gained by jumping through hoops.

I do think one can still use occult as a classification, even if it now means 'what used to be secret and hidden'.  It's a romantic word and I like it.

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« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 09:34:14 am by Marilyn/Absentminded »
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monsnoleedra

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Re: Alright: Occult vs Paganism
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2012, 10:15:33 am »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;61075
By that standard IT is an occult science. :)  I don't know the answer to my computer problems until the IT person reveals it to me.  But it would be fairly straight-forward, if time consuming, for me to learn to do it myself.

In some ways I suppose it could be.  I think the significant difference though would be in the "understanding" of what was revealed.  Through Tarot, Astrology, divination, etc one not only has to read the signs but also interpet those signs based upon whatever method the reader uses.  For IT reading the signs is pretty cut and dried unless you have to go line to line within a program and start looking for formatting and coding.  For equipment most times its done to the board level and one simply replaces the errored board as componet level maintenance is seldom done less it void a warranty.  But even then its not highly mystical in that every sign may have multiple meanings and potential.

Quote
I would say that it is more than that the answers are unknown until looked at/revealed.  I think that the actual methods being hidden or hard to find is what makes something occult.  I agree with Jabberwocky that very little is truly hidden anymore, at least if the plethora of books and websites are anything to go by.  They may not all be accurate, but you don't have to join a secret club, be initiated, and pass a test in order to get a glimpse at the grimoire hidden in the basement.  Nor do you have to be learned enough to be able to figure out what has been left out or put in the wrong order.  That information, or theories about it, can be found almost everywhere these days.

I agree the methodology is probably a significant defining thing with regards to occult practices.  I also think the human facet of interpretation is a key componet as well, especially when things seldom have a universal meaning.

Not sure a plethera of books or sites really is truthful either.  I'm an initiated Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.  Spent 23 years in the Navy seeing the initation process every year.  Yet until I actually underwent it and saw it from the inside with all the purposes and hidden things I did not know what I saw from the outside actually held so little truth.    Yes all the parts are possible to be found on the net but like the parts of an automobile, you still need the manuel to see it all together and how it all interacts and works together.  That's typically the part that goes missing and is seldom fully understood.

Quote
Mind, I approve of that.  I think knowledge should be out on the shelves in the open.  It won't upset the balance of the world that much, simply because the number of people with an actual interest and the discipline to learn and practice, is fairly small.  I don't think anything special is gained by jumping through hoops.

That one I'll be honest about, I think it depends upon the knowledge in question.  Especially in regards to academic and practical application of academic principles.  Somethings should be more difficult to gain access to and have restrictions on it.

Quote
I do think one can still use occult as a classification, even if it now means 'what used to be secret and hidden'.  It's a romantic word and I like it.

I don't disagree.  I just think its still a word that will have different meanings, implied and factual, depending upon the audience one is speaking to.  One just needs to be aware that what is sent in the usage of the word may not be what is received by those who hear it.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 10:17:51 am by monsnoleedra »

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