01 February 2022
Let's take a look at this stuff, shall we?
First, let me remind you that this will require you be able to synthesize a bit on your own. I'm not going to chase all the implications for you. On some historical review, you'll need to see how things were not so simple, but were a mixture of threads that fed into decisions made by the people at the time. Some of what I'll share is simply characterization, because that's the only way to understand things. Characterization is an element of parable; it's how Christ said we should discuss things when clinical language is impossible. A lot of this can't be defined with facts, but with moral truth.
Aleister Crowley's teachings are broadly referred to as "Thelema" based on the Greek word for will or intention. I pick on Thelema because it is by far the largest and most influential body of occult teaching in the West. Yes, Scientology is derived from his stuff. There is a significant amount of overlap in ideas.
So far as I can tell, much of what passes for occult teaching is broadly a reaction to the bad teachings of the mainstream churches in the West. You see, most occultists take the church leadership at their word when those leaders insist what they teach is the Christian gospel message. Some occultists react directly to the Catholic Church; others are better educated and react to the broader shared assumptions of mainstream Christian religion. So guys like Anton LaVey did a rather narrow parody of Catholicism, but Thelema is more the latter case. LaVey was just a goofy publicity hound. Crowley did understand Christianity, as it was presented to him, from an intellectual point of view.
Thus, we need to understand how the churches departed from the Hebrew assumptions of the Old Testament, because that's part of what breathed life into these weirdos. The particular issue here is the church efforts to hide things they didn't want the people to know. We could explore what kinds of things the church leadership tried to hide, but that's not really the point. The point is that churches were consumed with controlling people politically, and that meant they had to completely abandon the otherworldly Kingdom of Heaven for a kingdom of men. They had an obsession with forcing everyone into being a political churchian. They used political and social pressure and totally forsook the covenant identity and power of the Holy Spirit.
So, it's only natural that people who aren't Elect would rebel. Worse, as the churches became fundamentally about outward rules and laws, and turned away from the heart-borne consciousness, you should expect that Satan would offer a heart-borne path away from God. The essence of occult stuff is pagan idolatry.
Granted, the mainstream reaction to false church doctrine is the secularism of the Enlightenment. That's the mainstream problem. There is a smaller group of people with a talent for seeing things from a higher realm. Those folks can reject the church message in lots of ways; I'm one of them. But I contend that the church is wrong from my position closer to the Bible. The occult rejects the Bible, too. They do read it, and often understand it better than most churchians, but that's not the point. They reject the unique claims of Jehovah. They claim other sources are His equal, or perhaps superior. The mainstream church rejects the Hebrew God of the Bible in favor of the Western human intellect, a sort of religious secularism with a thick cover of Bible terminology.
In the Old Testament, we can read how God did His best to keep the Covenant Nation away from pagan practices. Thus, a great many specific prohibitions are aimed at established pagan religious practices. If you don't get that, it can be hard to understand some of those restrictions, like not mixing linen and wool in your clothing -- that had religious significance in some pagan cults. You'd be amazed at some of the mundane stuff that actually turned out to be idolatrous practices.
But you might notice that God didn't tell people not to be aware of those practices. It's not enough to know the prohibitions; you have to understand how they defile you and why. There are several issues raised that were actually okay in themselves, so long as you had no intention of pursuing the favor of some false god, like sex with a menstruating woman (see Leviticus 15 and 18; two different attitudes altogether about that). That sex act could be a pagan ritual, but didn't have to be.
There would have to be someone in Israel's leadership -- mostly the priesthood -- who kept track of pagan rituals and beliefs of those nations around them that might influence the Covenant people. The priestly scholars didn't hesitate to distill that down to a body of knowledge for anyone who wanted to know. Do you not understand how people like Joseph had to learn pagan rituals, and Daniel had to read tons of pagan literature to fulfill their divine missions? Abraham himself came from a long line of scholars who were well acquainted with pagan mythology. It's not that the esoteric knowledge could defile them, but the danger was in slipping away from your loyalty to Jehovah.
When you understand what God is willing to tell us about divine election and predestination, you realize that hiding information cannot save anyone's soul. It could make political affairs easier for a limited time, but it won't make any difference at all in someone's eternal future. You aren't damned by occultism itself; you are cultic because you are damned. Yes, it's possible for the Elect to ignore the heart-borne path and destroy their lives with pagan defilement. That's the real problem we face in the West today. So when we talk about these things, our foundation is that, if you are committed to the Covenant path by your heart and convictions, then this stuff can't hurt you. If you lack that commitment, nothing can help you.
Censorship is inherently wrong. If you don't have the moral strength to protect the vulnerable under your spiritual covering by your Covenant testimony, then the problem is you. What we have today is a mass of church leaders hiding things from the people and from themselves by refusing to understand it.
For occult folk to promote "Satanism" usually is nothing more than a joke against the mainstream church leadership. Since the church leadership defined certain things as "satanic" as a means to censorship, those who explored the hidden knowledge would mock the leadership's fear-mongering. They would say, "Oh, this is satanic? Fine, then we are doing satanism. Woo-woo! Devil horns!" While the Bible flatly states that all pagan worship is by default the worship of demons, Crowley didn't worship Satan intentionally. He thought of himself as pagan.
Furthermore, Crowley had a big obsession with Egyptian occult stuff in particular. That was his favorite flavor of pagan idolatry. Would it bother you to know that both Joseph and Moses knew more about it than Crowley ever could have learned? Joseph served in Pharaoh's court and engaged in the pagan rituals required of him. Moses grew up in Pharaoh's household; how could he not know all about it? Do you not understand how fundamental Hebrew assumptions about reality were partially informed by ancient Egyptian mythology? People who have a good education in those ancient backgrounds can recognize elements of it in the Books of Moses. The Hebrew religion was intellectually a mixture of Egyptian and Mesopotamian pagan mythology, but it was clarified and rectified by God on those forty days on the mountain with Moses. Moses wasn't up there merely staring at his navel.
All truth is God's truth. The issue is that those two ancient cultural backgrounds had partial truths. In the presence of God Almighty, those things get washed so that only God's truth stands. It's totally wrong-headed to assume that there could not be bits of truth in those mythologies. But the filter is the revelation of God by His living Presence in your heart and convictions, not an intellectual exercise on a human level.
The danger of Crowley and his ilk is that their teachings are heart-borne without the Holy Spirit. They do have bits and pieces of God's truth, but it's obscured under Satan's lies. The greatest lie is a truth with just one or two errors that change the whole thing. It's like that image of leaven in the Law of Moses. Such a small thing defiles by its overwhelming influence. Our mission is to toss out the leaven, not all the flour, too.
So, it's important to understand occult stuff in truth. If you feel the need to know about it, don't fear it. Your soul cannot be yanked out of God's hand by someone else's madness. However, if we don't understand the dynamics of the heart-borne path, then their darkened version of that path can derail our Spirit-led existence by what we don't know. We take away their power -- Satan's power -- by knowing the real deal.
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