The word Occult means secret or knowledge of the hidden. Its early masters were regarded as true magicians, and they were also the first scientists. Discoveries in the occult arts of astrology and alchemy gave birth to modern science.
Many people still view the occult with suspicion, but modern science is often working on the edge of the supernatural.
Physicists today study things like time travel, and parallel universes, trying to de-code ancient myths of the past, using the art of magic and fantasy to some degree.
Where the early occult master’s keepers of secrets that modern science is only beginning to discover? We can trace the occult teachings back 5000 years ago in Egypt, just before the rise of Egypt’s great pharaohs or hieroglyphics on the wall.
The Egyptians believed this knowledge was given to them by Thoth, the Egyptian God of magic, who gave the world writing, language and numbers.
Legends held that a book of magic written by Thoth contained the secrets of the Gods. This book was considered to be in the astral plane, not physical, but something we have to travel in consciousness to get to.
Modern archaeologists say they have discovered that the Babylonians had actually created much of the knowledge Egyptians credited to Thoth, as early as 4000 BC. They were the first to measure planetary movements. They invented the Abacus, the first sequential numeric system, and some of the earliest forms of Astrology and Astronomy.
It is said that this information spread to Egypt and helped develop one of history’s greatest cultures. Similar to the Egyptians, the Babylonians regarded their knowledge as divine.
The Babylonians used the Occults oldest arts to understand their worlds divination or accessing the supernatural.
In the Stone Age, Shamans would invoke spirits for guidance, knowledge, and protection.
The Pharaohs of Egypt must have been head of their religion and most likely understood and practiced the art of magic.
Much of what is called ceremonial magic, such as casting spells, the use of magic words, and incantations comes from the ancient Egyptians. Phoenicians learned this knowledge and then began to spread it throughout the Mediterranean world.
They understood the code of alphabet that would line up the sounds of speech, the number cannon, zodiac signs and planets, so that with this alphabet, you could spell sacred words, count and calculate. The origin of these teachings was gradually forgotten.
In 1212 BC Ramses the second, the last Pharaoh of Egypt died, invading armies conquered, and the occult secrets were lost, but not for long.
In the 6th century BC, Pythagoras of Greece taught very similar or the same teachings to a select few that could comprehend and appreciate this knowledge. His pursuit of wisdom made him travel broadly searching for lost occult knowledge and he found it, in mystery schools scattered throughout many different cultures.
He captured the elements of these teachings into a new discipline called philosophy. His foundation was from numbers. He believed that philosophy, mathematics and the divine all went together.
Pythagoras looked at numbers as the most fundamental elements of creation. “All is number”.
He believed that numbers were a way to connect with God, and so from there came symbolism that later became numerology and Kabbalah. Pythagoras discovered that the mystery schools shared the belief that all of creation was one with God.
Pythagoras also applied numbers to decode music, which the Greeks regarded as the language of the Gods. He believed that he had solved the mysteries of the Universe. His idea that music of the spheres was that heaven itself was playing an orchestral music piece.
In 508 BC his school was burned down and destroyed. Some of his followers were killed or imprisoned. Generations later would build on Pythagoras philosophy and Aristotle turned it into science. After that came Christianity and religion would cast a dark shadow over occult knowledge. Since then, Judeo-Christianity became the enforced model. Magic and the occult knowledge became dark and forbidden subjects.
The church then guarded its secrets with political influence and manipulation. Suggesting that the Pope was the only one who had access to the divine and God. The church singled out occultist, condemning them because they believed that an individual could have direct access to God.
In the 14th century, the occult would rise again. The church’s holy war, the Crusades was in part responsible. People began to rediscover ancient mystic knowledge, and this ushered in the Renaissance era, were art and science would flourish leading the people to new ways of learning old knowledge. This was a threat to the power of the church. The Renaissance brought a new spirit of learning.
In the 15th century, Marsilio Ficino acquired and translated a collection of documents, authored by a mysterious Egyptian magician named Hermes Trismegistus. These documents became known as the Hermetica and contained teachings from the early Christian era that had been lost for centuries. The Hermetica restated the teaching of the early mystery schools, that human beings possessed a divine nature.
The mysterious author, Hermes Trismegistus was a combination of the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth. The 2 greatest Gods of ancient magic. Ficino considered these documents to be extremely old, predating Plato and coming from Egypt. These teachings displayed how one could learn more about consciousness and become more enlightened until they are like the Gods.
One of the documents was called the Emerald Tablet, which became the bible for occultist. A combination of religion, science and magic.
John Dee would risk his life to study these teachings. He was the embodiment of an enlightened soul who had the spiritual understanding of his role and mission in life and was gifted with superior intelligence. Using experimentation to become a gifted scientist, inventor, and mathematician.
He was also an occultist, sorcerer, and astrologer, in fact, in 1558 Queen Elizabeth installed John Dee as court astrologer. With John Dee’s guidance, Queen Elizabeth officially legitimized Alchemy. They believed success could be achieved by finding the Philosophers Stone.
Alchemy had existed since the early Egyptians, but in the hands of Renaissance scientists it reached new heights.
Everything that we know and do today in our modern science was developed by the alchemists. Laboratory techniques were part of the alchemical tradition first.
Alchemists were on the leading edge of science. They discovered phosphorus, zinc, the distillation of alcohol, the germ nature of diseases, they were the first to understand how blood circulates throughout the body.
Despite John Dee’s work in alchemy, Dee believed that he could apply occult methods to communicate with supernatural beings. The art of manipulating objects, such as bones and Tarot cards arrived from the Muslim culture in the 14th century and became a popular method of fortune-telling.
Dee used a divination method, known as scrying. Looking into an amethyst crystal-ball, mirror, or water reflection that would reflect back supernatural information.
Around this time, the church and its inquisition were cracking down on anyone who was suspected of using this knowledge and deemed them demonically possessed. John Dee’s fall was the beginning of the occults end. From the 14th to the 16th century, more than 40,000 people would be executed for witchcraft.
What began as occult magic has transformed into chemistry, science and medicine today, benefiting from alchemist and occultist.
We think of alchemy today as turning regular base metal into gold, but it is so much more than that. The true purpose of alchemy is to transform the human soul into a God-like being, realizing your full potential in a life.
In the future, what we think of as magic may play a role in even greater discoveries. It is the unknowable, the mystery is the center of the spiritual quest, it is also the center of the scientific quest, and the artistic quest. That is what we are here on Earth to do, is seek after that mystery.
❝Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing, and even today words retain much of their magical power. ❞
― Sigmund Freud