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Occult is a short-hand label for the entirety of European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern thought that emphasises developing a spiritual center within oneself or opening up to the one of which everyone is part. To refine further: the philosophical foundations of the occult tradition are most often within the bounds of Abrahamic, Hellenistic, Chaldean and Celtic inspired cultural groups; thus the word occult sums up the esoteric teachings of all the Indoeuropean peoples. The ways to achieve a deeper understanding of both the inner and outer world are varied; but most schools choose meditation and ritual as their primary teachings.

The modern meaning of the word occult is: "to be associated with magic, ritual and esoteric sub-culture". (The modern meaning given here is what anthropologists call an associative definition. This is not terribly precise. Actually the word "occult" is taken from the Latin and means literally "to hide" or "hidden". It is an adverb and has no philosophical connotations. For verification pick up any Latin grammar.) This portal will therefore concentrate on occult authors, practitioners, philosophy, rituals, and the related field of magic(k). Most often this is referred to either as the Western Esoteric Tradition, Western mystery tradition, the Western Mystery Schools, or Western Thought.

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