Section 1: What Is It?

What Is?
  • Occult (Wikipedia definition) – (“The occult (from the Latin word occultus “clandestine, hidden, secret”) is “knowledge of the hidden”.[1] In common English usage, occult refers to “knowledge of the paranormal”, as opposed to “knowledge of the measurable”,[2][3] usually referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that “is meant only for certain people” or that “must be kept hidden”, but for most practising occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical sciences.[4] The terms esoteric and arcane have very similar meanings, and the three terms are interchangeable.[5][6] It also describes a number of magical organizations or orders, the teachings and practices taught by them, and to a large body of current and historical literature and spiritual philosophy related to this subject. Occultism is the study of occult practices, including (but not limited to) magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, and divination. Interpretation of occultism and its concepts can be found in the belief structures of philosophies and religions such as Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Theosophy, Wicca, Thelema, Satanism, and neopaganism.[7] A broad definition is offered by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: “OCCULTISM has its basis in a religious way of thinking, the roots of which stretch back into antiquity and which may be described as the Western esoteric tradition. Its principal ingredients have been identified as Gnosticism, the Hermetic treatises on alchemy and magic, Neo-Platonism, and the Kabbalah, all originating in the eastern Mediterranean area during the first few centuries AD.[8]””)
  • Occult (Oxford English Dictionary definition) – (“noun
    (the occult)

    • mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena:a secret society to study alchemy and the occult

    • 1involving or relating to mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena:an occult ceremonya weird occult sensation of having experienced the identical situation before
    •  communicated only to the initiated; esoteric:the typically occult language of the time
    • 2 Medicine (of a disease or process) not accompanied by readily discernible signs or symptoms:careful palpation sometimes discloses occult spina bifida
    •  (of blood) abnormally present, e.g. in faeces, but detectable only chemically or microscopically.

    Pronunciation: /ɒˈkʌlt/

    [with object]

    • cut off from view by interposing something:a wooden screen designed to occult the competitors
    •  Astronomy (of a celestial body) conceal (an apparently smaller body) from view by passing or being in front of it:the Moon occults Mars during daylight on March 22“)
  • Paganism (Wikipedia definition) – (“Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism, and neopaganism,[1] is a group of contemporary religious movements influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe.[2][3] Although they do share commonalities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse and no single set of beliefs, practices, or texts are shared by them all.[4] Contemporary paganism is a synthesis of historical practice and modern innovation,[5] drawing influences from pre-Christian, folkloric andethnographic sources. The extent to which contemporary Pagans use these sources differs. Many follow a spirituality which they accept as entirely modern, whilst others attempt to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources as accurately as possible.[6] Polytheism, animism, and pantheism are common features in Pagan theology. Of the various days for celebration among Pagans, the most common are seasonally based festivals of the Wheel of the Year.[7]”)
  • Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) (Wikipedia definition) – (“Satanic ritual abuse (SRA, sometimes known as ritual abuse, ritualistic abuse, organised abuse, sadistic ritual abuse and other variants) was a moral panic that originated in the United States in the 1980s, spreading throughout the country and eventually to many parts of the world, before subsiding in the late 1990s. Allegations of SRA involved reports of physical and sexual abuse of individuals in the context of occult or Satanic rituals. At its most extreme definition, SRA involved a worldwide conspiracy involving the wealthy and powerful of the world elite in which children were abducted or bred for sacrifices, pornography and prostitution. Nearly every aspect of SRA was controversial, including its definition, the source of the allegations and proof thereof, testimonials of alleged victims, and court cases involving the allegations and criminal investigations. The panic affected lawyers’, therapists’, and social workers’ handling of allegations of child sexual abuse. Allegations initially brought together widely dissimilar groups, including religious fundamentalists, police investigators, child advocates, therapists and clients in psychotherapy. The movement gradually secularized, dropping or deprecating the “satanic” aspects of the allegations in favor of names that were less overtly religious such as “sadistic” or simply “ritual abuse” and becoming more associated with dissociative identity disorder and government conspiracy theories. The panic was influenced to a large extent by testimony of children and adults that were obtained using therapeutic and interrogation techniques now considered discredited. Initial publicity generated was by the now-discredited autobiography Michelle Remembers(1980), and sustained and popularized throughout the decade by the McMartin preschool trial. Testimonials, symptom lists, rumors and techniques to investigate or uncover memories of SRA were disseminated through professional, popular and religious conferences, as well as through the attention of talk shows, sustaining and spreading the moral panic further throughout the United States and beyond. In some cases allegations resulted in criminal trials with varying results; after seven years in court, the McMartin trial resulted in no convictions for any of the accused, while other cases resulted in lengthy sentences. Scholarly interest in the topic slowly built, eventually resulting in the conclusion that the phenomenon was a moral panic. Official investigations produced no evidence of widespread conspiracies or of the slaughter of thousands; only a small number of verified crimes have even remote similarities to tales of SRA. In the latter half of the 1990s interest in SRA declined and skepticism became the default position, with only a minority of believers giving any credence to the existence of SRA.”)
  • Satanism (theistic and atheistic) (Wikipedia definition) (“Satanism is a broad term referring to a group of Western religions comprising diverse ideological and philosophical beliefs. Their shared features include symbolic association with, or admiration for the character of, Satan, or similar rebellious, promethean, and, in their view, liberating figures. There were an estimated 50,000 members in 1990. There may be as few as a few thousand in the world.[1] Particularly after the European Enlightenment, some works, such as Paradise Lost, were taken up by Romantics and described as presenting the biblical Satan as an allegory representing a crisis of faith, individualism, free will,wisdom and enlightenment. Those works actually featuring Satan as a heroic character are fewer in number, but do exist; George Bernard Shaw, and Mark Twain (cf. Letters from the Earth) included such characterizations in their works long before religious Satanists took up the pen. From then on, Satan and Satanism started to gain a new meaning outside of Christianity.[2] Although the public practice of Satanism began in 1966 with the founding of the Church of Satan, some historical precedents exist: a group called the Ophite Cultus Satanas was founded in Ohio by Herbert Arthur Sloane in 1948.[citation needed] Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity. In contrast, atheistic Satanists[3]consider themselves atheists, agnostics, ignostics or apatheists and regard Satan as merely symbolic of certain human traits. Despite criticism from other religious groups, there are signs that Satanistic beliefs have become more socially tolerated. Satanism is now allowed in the Royal Navy of the British Armed Forces, despite opposition from Christians,[4][5][6] and in 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States debated over protecting the religious rights of prison inmates after a lawsuit challenging the issue was filed to them.[7][8] Contemporary Satanism is mainly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading with the effects of globalization and the Internet.[2] The Internet promotes awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for the definitions of Satanism today.[2] Satanism started to reach Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.[9][10] Satanism developed in the context of the Christian faith, as an ideological backlash to certain tenets promoted in Christianity. The character of Satan revered by Satanists, therefore, is mainly regarded as the prototypical anti-Christian figure. There have been some Satanists, however, who have shown reverence for the similar, albeit differently-characterized Islamic concept of Satan(Arabic: شيطان Shayṭān), also known as Iblis (Arabic: إبليس ʾIblīs) although this is much more uncommon as Satanist philosophy has primarily flourished in the Occident, and has likely not reached any Muslim-majority countries. As he is an antagonist in all of the major Abrahamic traditions, Satan is also mentioned in certain Jewish literature.”)

  • Wicca (Wikipedia definition) – (“Wicca (English pronunciation: /ˈwɪkə/) is a modern pagan, witchcraft religion. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and it was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. It draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice. Wicca is a diverse religion with no central authority or figure defining it. It is divided into various lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to such lineaged traditions, while other eclectic traditions do not. Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping a god and goddess traditionally viewed as a mother goddess and horned god. These two deities are often viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic godhead[disambiguation needed]. However, beliefs range from hard polytheism to even monotheism. Wiccan celebration follows approximately eight seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats. An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is the traditional basis of Wiccan morality. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.”)
  • What is witchcraft? (Alternative Religions Forum Definition) There is no universally accepted definition of witchcraft and the term means different things to different people in different places. In many places, superstition has caused people to view witchcraft primarily as a negative, malevolent force which is used by people – witches – in the spirit realm to bring about harm in the physical realm. They understand the term “witchcraft” as being the art of doing harm to others. However, there are some people, primarily in Europe and the United States, who call themselves ‘Witches’, many of whom follow a reconstructed neo-pagan religion, an example of which is called Wicca, although there are also self-identifying Witches who do not consider themselves to be theistic in terms of following any deities in their practice of their religion. Most Witches follow a system of ethics such as the Wiccan Rede or the Law of Three which sets forth the consequences of the Witches actions for the Witch using magic toward any end.
  • What is a witch? (Alternative Religions Forum Definition) Many people hold the understanding that a witch is an evil person who has the ability to bring about all manner of harm and uses this power almost exclusively to cause this harm. Most of the characteristics of the witch as understood by these people are the result of generations of misinformation, a powerful stereotype presented in fiction, and misunderstanding through lack of interaction with real practicing Witches. These include: psychic cannibalism, being able to fly and being able to take animal form in order to bring about harm. It is often believed that the soul of the suspected witch leaves the physical body during the night and enters into the spirit or “witchcraft” world. Here, along with other witches, they cause all manner of harm such as road accidents, spreading illness, eat human flesh, joblessness, inability to save money, impotence, infertility, mental health problems etc. These are superstitions fostered by ignorance and often fueled by religious zealotry or hostility, and have little or no basis in fact. Most Witches in fact practice herbology, divination and assist people and animals with health issues and healing using herbs and other materials found in nature, counselling and advice, and cause no harm to others.

Where can I read information about these topics from the perspective of those being persecuted?

Satanism: The Acid Test (STAT) – The ULTIMATE resource for understanding Satanic Panic Hysteria, Satanic Ritual Abuse Hysteria, Occult religions such as Paganism, Theistic or Atheistic Satanism and Luciferianism, the Vampi(y)re subculture, and Gothic subculture.

“Satanism: The Acid Test” – a tome over 500 pages long – discusses various forms of Neo-Pagan religion, at least 5 different forms of Satanist and Luciferian spirituality, and the modern Goth and Vampyre subcultures, while also focusing on the inaccuracies of material circulated by the media which inflame what is called “satanic ritual abuse hysteria” by providing unique viewpoints from each of these communities in the context of material which defames them.

The document also discusses the conflation of religious Satanism and Pagan religions by evangelicalist elements who often work via Media and law enforcement (often while also influencing these elements) with ‘legend tripping’ or ‘mythical satanism’, which results in a hysterical and woefully inaccurate portrayal of alternative religions, identities and subcultures, and goes on to examine why this unfortunate process of stereotyping happens, both unintentionally – and intentionally. “Satanism: The Acid Test” presents clear reasons why the public should not simply accept the statements of self-proclaimed ‘occult experts’ at face value, encourages the public to question, to evaluate, and to discover the facts for themselves. It suggests powerful solutions to the problems discussed, chiefly of which is the cancellation of the main factor in the equation – that of ignorance – by means of education.

Further, to make it even more interesting, it has formal recognition and approval from several academics, as well as from several occult, Satanist, Pagan, Goth and even Vampyre groups around the world.

“It’s a unique piece. Nothing else like it has ever been done before.”

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