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The Hermetic Kabbalistic Tree of Life

The above very useful diagram, which I found at a Wiccan blog (external link Understanding the Tree of Life, and the Qliphoth, presents the Qabalistic Tree of Life as taught by the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn. It shows the ten Kabbalistic sefirot (each representing a numerological value, astrological planet, angel, archangel, and divine name) with the colour correspondences for each sefirot in each of the four worlds (key at lower right), the three pillars (representing polarity), and the 22 paths (one for each Hebrew letter), each associated with a Tarot card and particular elements and astrological (zodiacal) signs. Taken as a whole, it consititutes a rich iconographic system of occult knowledge, which makes it possible to explore and interact with the astral universe (albiet through heavily stylized thoughtforms).


"Occultism" simply means that which is "hidden" (from the Latin occultus). In astronomy for example, the word "occult" refers to one celestial body passing in front of another, thereby hiding it from view. More generally, Occultism refers either to knowledge that is secret or hidden from the profane (c.f. esoteric - inner) or to knowledge about things that are hidden from or invisible to the senses and to scientific senses and rational understanding. Today the word "Occultism" is associated with such diverse topics as forms of divination and pre-modernity psychologies like astrology and tarot, Hermeticism, Ceremonial Magic, Neopagonism, Jungian Psychology, ancient western wisdom traditions like Gnosticism, as well as paraspychology (Rhine etc), ufos, fortean phenomena, cryptozoology, and anything else valid or not outside the province of science, various village folk-superstitions and folk-magic (e.g. the evil eye, tribal witch doctors, etc), diabolism and satanism, sensationalised and misunderstood religions like Voudoun, ghost stories, charismatic characters like Cagliostro, Mesmer, Blavatsky, Crowley, and Gurdjieff, and more besides. All of this can be found in any "Encyclopedia of Occultism" or similar books in print or on-line (my particular favourite is the Encyclopedia of the Unexplained, by Richard Cavendish, see also the 24 volume Man, Myth and Magic: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural edited by the same author (long out of print but available at any good library)

In the simplistic worldview of secular-religious western consciousness, Occultism is considered equivalent to superstition and hence outmoded pre-scientific understanding in secular-acedemic modernity. But this is nothing compared to the sensationalism of fundamentalist Christian mindset, according to which occultism includes not only everything in the previous paragraph, but also Roleplaying Games (especially the original one Wikipedia link Dungeons & Dragons, which is the only one they are usually aware of) and heavy metal music, the New Age movement, meditation and Eastern philosophy. In keeping with their dualistic worldview, this is all identified with the Devil of their religion

A few occult teachers (incomplete list)
Robert Anton Wilson Illuminati diagram
Occultism links
Occultism books

Child nodes: Alchemy | Astrology | Augoeides | Hermeticism | Tantra | Theosophy

See also: Astral reality | Cosmology | Esotericism | Planes of Existence | Subtle Body

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 30 August 2009 (definition from old occultism page 22 August 2004), last modified 10 January 2010