"Camouflage it as you will, Spiritualism, with its kindred superstitions, such as necromancy and occultism, is a recrudescence of the old, old practices cultivated in the days of long ago"

(Father Bernard Vaughan, quoted in Montague Summers' History Of Witchcraft and Demonology)

"There shall not be found among you anyone . . . who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you."

(Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 ESV)

I wasn't sure what my first blog would include, partly due to the fact there are so many things to say or rant about when it comes to the worlds of Divination and Magic. The last thing I thought I'd be including was a passage from the Bible! But then I had a conversation with a friend who had heard from one of my clients - this client being a self-avowed Tarot reader herself - that this lady was "worried" about my involvement in the "Occult".

This seemed rather strange to me. The client in question claimed 20 years history of reading the Tarot, so why on Earth would she get itchy about Occult practise? What is Divination? An Occult practise. I thought about this and realised it wasn't the first time I had come across the strange dichotomy of an Occult practitioner claiming they were not involved in "the Occult" and casting aspersion on someone who makes no bones about being an active and practising occultist.

Indeed, while working on the phone lines I came across a number of people, seeking to consult the Tarot or talk to the dead (the latter of which, of course, I am unable to help with!) reacting with horror when I used the word 'Occult':

Client: "Oh, I've heard you're interested in the Occult and I find all that rather scary!"

Me: "But you're having a Tarot reading,"

Client: "Yes, but that's not the Occult is it . . ."

This got me wondering, what exactly is it about the word, 'Occult', that panics these people? Is it because in the muddled theologies of the Spiritualist movement, the "Art" of Mediumship is apparently all worked through "the love of Jesus"? is it because the word 'Occult' suggests some Dennis Wheatley twilight world of goat-sacrifice and Satanic worship? There's a very definite divide seemingly put there by Spiritualists - let's call them Necromancers for the sake of controversy - to perhaps make them seem a bit more safe and family-friendly.

I think at this point it's worth having a look at the definition of the word 'Occult':


(the occult)
  • mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena: a secret society to study alchemy and the occult


  • 1involving or relating to mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena: an occult ceremony a weird occult sensation of having experienced the identical situation before
  • communicated only to the initiated; esoteric: the typically occult language of the time
  • 2 Medicine (of a disease or process) not accompanied by readily discernible signs or symptoms: careful palpation sometimes discloses occult spina bifida
  • (of blood) abnormally present, e.g. in faeces, but detectable only chemically or microscopically.


Origin: late 15th century (as a verb): from Latin occultare 'secrete', frequentative of occulere 'conceal', based on celare 'to hide'; the adjective and noun from occult- 'covered over', from the verb occulere

So, according to the OED, the word relates to the mystical or supernatural. 

There is too much of this hypocrisy in modern-day 'Spiritualist' Circles. People looking to cloak their activities with pseudo-respectable epithets such as 'Spiritualism' or 'New Age' while pursuing paths identical to those of self-avowed Occult practitioners. If seeking to speak to the dead, or to gain answers from the Tarot, isn't Occult practise, then what is? And why try and coddle yourself with narrow-minded ideas of what the 'Occult' actually is? In fact, it is my opinion that meddling with Necromancy or Spirit Communication with no Occult knowledge is far more dangerous that anything any self-respecting Occultist would ever involve themselves in.

I don't mind at all if a fervent Christian berates me for my Occult activities. If they go to Church and follow the lead of the Bible (Old Testament and New) which forbids Divination, Magic and speaking with Spirits, they have every right to hold me at arm's length and be suspicious of what I do. That is their belief and, even if there is a latent hypocrisy in anyone of religious bent condemning the word Occult (what is God if not the personification of the word?), they cannot be blamed for following their chosen dogma and sticking to it.

But when someone who seeks hidden knowledge of the past, present and future, from the cards, from the Dead or from any non-physical intelligence, condemns me for my Occult study, I question their intelligence.

Let's not pretend that these practises are anything other than 'Occult'.