Beyond God and Devil: Cultural Misconceptions about the Occult

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Christianity, Occult Philosophy, Theosophy

Somehow, through the culture, we imagined in a silly way, an occultist to be a person who must live in groves, and occasionally even likes to do dirty things in the groves, and in graveyards atop bones; or otherwise in some dingy dark apartment as a loner and outcast, or in grandmother’s basement or some farm-shack doing weird ritualism in black robes sold off of Ebay. The occultist is essentially mocked, and carries a cartoon-esque idea about it no one would take seriously, until probably, some Zodiac killer appears in history, or some possession story inspires people’s childhood fears taught to them through religious, rather occult and demonological beliefs. Well, perhaps there are those of us out there doing those exact things. Yet, a most notable 19ᵗʰ century occult philosopher and priest, Abbe Eliphas Levi advised to beginning and impudent students in Jordan Peterson-fashion (Eliphas Levi’s “Warning to the Impudent” on Occultism), that the occult studies is not an occupation, so get a career!

It is important to get out of the way of common thinking, and actually understand the subject on Occultism. As explained numerously, the term occult: applies to all things hidden; not yet made known or manifest; unseen; which includes the ABSOLUTE itself in its immutable subjectivity. Evil, being co-eval (or in origin) with matter, with its inherent duality. This duality, as many schools teach us however is in essence, an illusion

As to the idea of Satan, so tied to people’s conceptualization of Occultism, it does not make sense, philosophically. The religious do, as Levi wrote once, adore a Devil in God and God in the Devil; and Lucifer is the exaggerated ideal of the human free will. As personal Entities (personages), there is neither God or Devil for Levi. Levi wrote, ‘that to resist the Infinite, infinite force is necessary, and two infinite forces opposed to each other must neutralize each other.’ Satan is a type, not a person. It is the defining and necessary characteristics of a condition, any mortal human knows all too well, when those characteristics have manifested in themselves. 

Just as one can become through identification with the pure Essence of that law, immortal in good, one can become, the deeper the fall into matter, identified with what our human imagination terms Devil (Diabolo), and become (take on the qualities of) spiritual evil: wicked; depraved; even highly intellectual; and “acutely spiritual for evil.” When we have written, that Satan and God as persons do not exist, we are not being sly, nor do we negate the existence of daemonic evil (or wisdom), an arcane belief in the archaeological record.

However, to regard “the occult” purely as evil is far too ignorant of a man to hold to.

For theosophists, and because Christian and Muslim beliefs have so spread and influenced Europeans, Americans and Asians respectively more now than the past, we sort of “have” to philosophically “talk” (or explain) the occult philosophical significance of the Satan and Lucifer myth, but Blavatsky’s “trans-Himalayan occult system” itself does not have, or need the myth, or belief. The two correspondents, K.H. and M. in The Mahatma Letters are much more clear, when stating that the Devil is an invention of the human imagination, and God, while paraphrasing a French atheist, is a power that has never manifested. Then, it is only fair for us to be asked by you further, “well how come certain occultists or ritualists claim to invoke and see Lucifer, Azazel, etc., and explain the possessions of individuals,” since the Spiritualists and Theosophists alike held that people can get possessed, and that ceremonial magic is real. The ideas people commonly hold about these religious theories are too influenced by centuries of multiple Biblical interpretations, and our attachment and tendency to interpret through or relate all our spiritual experiences to Biblical literature has its limitations. Those limitations are found, when we’re not involved in the comparative studies component of their work, but just purely explaining Theoretical Occult doctrines, “Budhist esotericism,” or the “trans-Himalayan occult system,” and those ideas of Satan and God vanish.

“The idea of God and Devil would make any chela of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other.”


Theosophy teaches a cosmology, which suggests that matter/energy is the sole substance of existence (see David Reigle “God’s Arrival in India” and T. Subba Row on Pragna in Hindu Esotericism).

Beyond God and Devil

“Universal Esotericism preserved by certain cosmopolitan fraternities, and the key to which has long since been lost by the Brâhmanas in general, presents a cosmic and human genesis which is logical and based on natural sciences, as well as on a pure transcendental philosophy. Judeo-Christian exotericism gives but an allegory based on the same esoteric truth, but so smothered under the dead letter that it is taken for mere fiction. Jewish Kabbalists understand it to some extent. Christians having appropriated to themselves the possession of others could not possibly expect to be enlightened regarding the truth by those whom they had despoiled; they preferred to believe in the fable and to make of it a dogma. This is why the Genesis of the ancient Hindûs can be scientifically demonstrated, while the Biblical Genesis cannot.” (Blavatsky, Misconceptions, Collected Writings Vol. 8, p. 74)

“Once Theosophy and its principles are known, it will be demonstrated that our philosophy is not only a “close relative of modern science,” but its forbear, though greatly transcending it in logic; and that its “metaphysics” is vaster, more beautiful and more powerful than any emanating from a dogmatic cult. It is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste nakedness, both physical, moral and spiritual, alone capable of explaining the apparent miracle by means of natural and psychic laws, and of completing the mere physiological and pathological notions of Science, and of killing for ever the anthropomorphic Gods and the Devils of dualistic religions. The Neo-Buddhism of the religion of Prince Siddhârtha Buddha will never be accepted by Europe-America for the simple reason that it will never force itself on the Occident. As to the Neo-Budhism or the “Revival of the Ancient Wisdom” of the Ante-Vedic Âryas, the actual evolutionary period of the Occidental peoples will end in a blind alley, if they reject it. Neither the true Christianity of Jesus—the great Socialist and Adept, the divine man who was changed into an anthropomorphic god—nor the sciences (which, being in their transition period, are, as Haeckel would say, rather protistae than definite sciences), nor the philosophies of today which seem to play at Blind Man’s Buff, breaking each other’s noses, will allow the Occident to attain its full efflorescence if it turns its back upon the ancient wisdom of bygone centuries. (…) Whereas the Theosophists are the only ones at present to preach this sublime altruism (even if two-thirds of The Theosophical Society should have failed in this duty), and some of them alone, in the midst of a defiant and sneering mob sacrifice themselves body and soul, honor and possessions, ready to live misunderstood and derided, if only they can succeed in sowing the good seed of a harvest which will not be theirs to reap, those who are interested in the destiny of the miserable people should at least abstain from vilifying them.” (ibid, 76-77)

As Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan put it, ‘Satan is a type, not a person,’ for in accordance to the secret understanding, even confessed devil-worshipers who deify “evil passions” traduce upon the name and mysteries of Pluto (Πλούτων), or SATAN (Satan in the Occult Philosophy: Refutations of Past Accusations against Modern Theosophists). In his mythical origin, this god is a judge and angel of God sent to test men; and who is made to ask man in one Talmudic tract, why do you curse me? While, it is an entertaining exercise to philosophically explain this literary character in unorthodox ways, our accusers still go on trying to convince gullible people of our sympathy for the Devil, rather than understand our explanations. 

“To say that occult sciences claim to command nature arbitrarily, is equivalent to saying that the sun commands the day-star to shine. Occult sciences are nature itself; intimate knowledge of their secrets does not give to the Initiates the power to command them. The truth of it is that this knowledge teaches the Adepts the manner in which to furnish certain conditions for the production of phenomena, always due to natural causes, and to the combination of forces analogous to those used by the scientists. The real difference between modern science and occult science consists in this: The first opposes to a natural force another natural force more powerful on the physical plane; the second opposes to a physical force, a spiritual or psychic force, in other words, the soul of that same force. Those who do not believe in the human soul nor in the immortal spirit cannot recognize a fortiori a vital and potential soul in every atom of matter. This soul, whether human, animal, vegetable, or mineral, is but a ray loaned by the Universal Soul to every manifested object during the active cycle or period of the Kosmos. Those who reject this doctrine are either materialists or sectarian bigots who dread the word “Pantheism” more than the devil of their unwholesome dreams. The idea of the “Great Work” associated with the idea of God and Devil would make any chela of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other. They believe in the Great ALL, in Sat, i.e., absolute and infinite existence, unique and with nothing like unto it, which is neither a Being nor an anthropomorphic creature, which is, and can never not be. Theosophists see in the priest of any religion a useless if not a pernicious being. They preach against every dogmatic and infallible religion and recognize no other deity, which dispenses suffering and recompense, than Karma, an arbiter created by their own actions. The only God which they worship is TRUTH; the only devil which they recognize and which they fight against with unabated fury is the Satan of egotism and human passions.” (ibid, 79-80)

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