Occultism

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The pentagram is a common Occult symbol. Reintroduced through Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.

Occultism is the practice and study of purportedly "secret" knowledge, which began to poke its head out from behind the curtain in the Christian world during the 15th century, in association with Renaissance humanism. The word itself derives from the Latin occultus, which simply means "hidden". The Occult encompasses a vast array of currents in the Western esoteric tradition (although the worldview itself draws heavily from and fetishises the Orient). Several esoteric movements and concepts particularly associated with the Occult are; alchemy, Gnosticism, neo-Platonism, Hermeticism and the Kabbalah.

After the Renaissance in Europe, an occult cryptocracy began to form amongst certain segments of society; usually with highly suspect relations with the Jews and generally, but not always, in opposition to traditions associated with the Ancien Régime of the Medieval world. The anonymous circulation of the Rosicrucian manifestos in the early 17th century from the University of Tübingen was an important step in this direction. Eventually this led to the foundation of Freemasonry and since that time many Occult movements, up to contemporary times, have coalesced around it as satellites.

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