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What is the Occult?



The word “occult” is generally associated with secret knowledge and practices dealing with the supernatural or “psychic” phenomena, often for the purpose of obtaining personal power. Some occult practices rely on demons or “spirits” to achieve their goals. Occultism is rapidly increasing throughout the world. There are now thousands of publishers of occultic books and magazines (not to mention Web sites). Interest in the occult has been promoted by the New Age movement, the rise of neo-paganism, movies and even some heavy-metal rock bands.

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What does the Bible say about the occult? Answer

Please understand that the terms “occult” and “cult” refer to completely different things—although there can be crossover in some specific instances. That is, some cults have occultic practices.

The following practices are considered to be occultic:
(partial list, in alphabetical order)

Alchemy
Animism
Astrology
Automatic speaking (through spirits)
Automatic writing (spirit-guided)
Cabalistic knowledge
Calling up the dead
Candomble
Celtics (the religion, not the Celtic “race”)
Channeling
Chaos Magic
Chiromancy
Clairaudience
Clairvoyance
Crystalmancy
Demon worship and consultation
Discordianism
Divination
Eckankar
Enchantments
Fetishism
Fortune telling
Freemasonry
Glass looking
Gnostic wisdom
Hermetic Traditions
Horoscopes
Hydromancy
I Ching
Illuminated organizations
Illuminati
Incantations
Kabbalah
Knights Templar
La Regla Lucumi
Lukumi
Lycanthropy
Macumba
Magic, magick (magical arts)
Mediums
Mirror gazing
Necromancy
Neo-paganism
Omens
Oracles
Ordo Templi Orientis
Ouija boards
Paganism
Palmistry
Prognostication
Psychometry
Qabalah
Quimbanda
Radiestesia
Rosicrucianism
Runes
Santeria
Satanism
Scrying
Secret societies
Sevi Lwa
Shamanism
Soothsaying
Sorcery
Spells (casting, conjuring)
Spirit-guides
Spiritists
Spiritualism
Tarot cards
Tea cup reading
Thelemite
Umbanda
Vedic astrology
Vodun (Voodoo)
White witchcraft
Wicca
Witchcraft
Wizardy

Recommended Resources

  • Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, The Occult: The Authority of the Believer Over the Powers of Darkness (San Bernardino, California: Here's Life Publishers, 1992), 249 pp.
  • Danny Korem and Paul Meier, The Fakers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1980).

Author: Paul S. Taylor of Films for Christ.

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