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The occultist Aleister Crowley was dubbed in his lifetime "the most wicked man on earth". Aleister Crowley stated: "I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff."[1]

An occult thing is something that is clandestine, hidden, or secret. The word comes from the Latin occultus, meaning "knowledge of the hidden". Webster's defines the verb occult thus: "To shut off from view or exposure."[2]

In modern usage, "occult" refers to any one of a number of forbidden supernatural practices. These may include tarot cards, ouija boards, psychic powers, astrology, witchcraft, charms and spells of various forms, voodoo, pagan and cultic rituals, engaging in the study of demonology and mysticism, Satan worship, spirit communication, and divining for resources. (This list is not exhaustive.)

Concerning occult practices, the Israelites were told:

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD…”[3]

Many of these practices are widely regarded as superstition with no functional basis, and thus ineffective - the divination rituals will provide no insight into the future, the spells have no influence and the demons will not appear. However, the occult does have fervent believers. In 2006 the Anglican Bishop of Bolton implored retailers not to stock traditional Halloween merchandise, saying that 'occult practices should not be condoned, even if they are only being presented in a caricatured, light-hearted form.'[4]

Atheism and the occult

See also: Atheism and the occult

Atheists with a sociopathic personality structure and the occult

See also: Atheism and sociopathy and Irreligion and superstition and Atheism and satanic deception and Atheism and the supernatural and Atheism and life after death

The journal article Atheism and the occult published in the Journal of Social Sciences indicated:

Atheists with a sociopathic personality structure have a greater degree of predisposition to express different forms of occult practice. The results of canonical discriminant analysis have shown that occultist syndrome in atheists is a component of a kind of sociopathic aggression whose latent structure is defined by materialistic-hedonistic orientation, impulsive aggression and asocial aggression in the positive direction, and altruism in the negative direction. Atheists with a sociopathic personality structure have a greater degree of predisposition to express different forms of occult practice.

(Google translated version of the journal article).[5]

A very prevalent view of the occult is that it is Satanic (see also: Atheism and satanic deception).


  1. https://books.google.com/books?id=k_uVVznqdssC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=I+was+not+content+to+believe+in+a+personal+devil+and+serve+him,+in+the+ordinary+sense+of+the+word.+I+wanted+to+get+hold+of+him+personally+and+become+his+chief+of+staff.&source=web&ots=w0mmSaLOcC&sig=rSH3vqIlpfp3U5-mSLKD5vsVG5w&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result
  2. http://m-w.com/dictionary/occult
  3. Deuteronomy 18:9-12a (KJV).
  4. Church of England
  5. Atheism and the occult, Journal of Social Sciences, 32 (2008), 2; 357-366]