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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/necromancer
  • 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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