Updated: Dec 22, 2022
I thought it necessary to create a preliminary article to define and properly explain the word "Occult," to unravel the essential qualities and philosophies behind it. We can also use this time to clear up much of the confusion and superstition entangled within it. I realize that perhaps this should have been one of my first articles, but as the saying goes, "better late than never." This topic has been not only misunderstood, but also falsely associated only with evil and the supernatural. Likewise, many who think the Occult is nothing more than astrology or spirit communication, this is ignorance at its finest, and while aspects of occultism can be classed under astrology, witchcraft, and the dark arts, it is akin to saying psychology is only composed of Pavlovian conditioning (i.e. the conditioning experiment with Pavlov's dogs). Obviously, psychology is a broad term that covers many aspects of the mind and human behavior, drawing from many philosophies and schools of thought. Occultism is much the same, because the two are very much related.
Demystification and Definition of Occult Science.
Let's demystify and reiterate what the occult is for those of my readers still unaware of what the term actually means and the science it includes, The word "occult," has its origins in the Latin word occultare and occultus meaning "concealed," "hidden from sight or understanding." It has the association with ocular, being of eyes and vision, from Late Latin ocularis such as "of the eyes," from Latin oculus, as in "an eye," [2[ In its most essential form, the word occult can be defined as that which is hidden or concealed from sight; not easily apparent on its face. The word evil is not included in the definition of the word occult, as the occult is not evil in and of itself, it all depends upon the context of how it is used. Occultism is a body of science that applies to the inner mechanics of the mind and its relation to the larger whole. It is essentially a broad-spectrum of ancient psychology, but more inclusive with the mind's relation to the outside world, as well as its association to spiritual and archetypal realities. This includes the emotional, mental, spiritual realms, and the search for meaning and purpose within the human experience. 
The most essential focus of occultism is on the Will of the individual and how it is used or not used. Others having knowledge of how these mechanics work are at an advantage over those who are ignorant of these laws, and this becomes the point of focus for manipulation by those who seek power over others. A person's inability to know how the engine of the mind works, their inability to know how to apply their Will to effect change in the real world is a weakness that those who do understand it are able to exploit with ease. However, those knowing how the inner mind works and its relation to the larger whole, that is, the real world and its collective, puts the individual in a place of empowerment and self-ownership. We are the creators of this reality, only when we are well-versed and educated on how our own mind and inner being operates, in its most simple explanation.
Occultism could be comparable to the blend of psychology, religion, and art, as one large body of science that utilizes these realms. Psychology is understanding the inner mental process, religion connects the individual to the larger whole and its spiritual nature, while art is a form of deep meditation and focus to create what the mind seeks to express through imagery and symbolism. Christians practice occultism every day when they pray to God and recite prayers. Sunday mass is no different, it is a concentrated recital and praise of God as a group, using the Will to focus on specific aims and outcomes. That is a form of occultism, using the mind to effect change in the world we live in. There is nothing evil about that until it is used to rob or harm individuals of their well-being for offensive purposes. As I stated in previous articles, self-defense is a different story.
The Occult is also inclusive of symbolism, in marketing, in religious and spiritual worship, or aligning the Will with the associated, essential qualities of a symbol, using symbols as a form of influence, inspiration, or communication, and this can even include the use of symbols as code, or concealed messages. This is done today in military and intelligence operations, though it is not commonly understood to be associated with or considered a form of occultism, even though it is by definition a technique of occult science. Occult groups in more ancient times had systems of coded language, for the same legitimate purposes, because like today, rulers and royal families had not only armies, but trusted networks that operated like today's intelligence agencies, respective to their times, so they were less formal about it. The Secret Societies of today are likely remnants of these older groups, which served as ancient intelligence networks to different rulers, countries, royal families, and religious institutions.
Practical Systems of Occult Science from Ancient Times to the Middle Ages.
Older factions of Secret Societies like the Freemasons, the Jesuits (Society of Jesus), Knight Templars, and Bavarian Illuminati were more likely serving as primitive forms of today's intelligence agencies, operating in geopolitical agendas in world events, which back then had more of an influence by religion, spirituality, and the occult sciences. Many times concealed messages had to be conveyed between them, and they used occult techniques and technologies to do this. They likely incorporated elements of the mystical and supernatural, not as much from the belief in superstitious or mystical standpoints, but as a way to further cloak and conceal its inner mechanics, agendas, and essential operations.
The ancient Mystery Schools were specialized cults of the Priest Class in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and other older kingdoms. The initiates were trained into these systems through the occult sciences, which only they were privy to. They were educated using the proper methodologies for processing information, such as the Trivium Method of learning, which first taught grammar, logic, rhetoric, as the basis or methodology of learning anything and how to think for oneself. This was then followed by the Quadrivium Method, which included arithmetic, geometry, musical theory, and astronomy, in that order. This gave those initiated into these systems an advantage over the common people, as they had entrained their minds to know how to think and critically analyze, to know the inner psychological processes for applying their Will to achieve and accomplish their agendas, which oftentimes coincided with the agreed upon customs within that class of initiates. 
These groups included many of the ancient medical authorities, as factions of the priest class that could hold an advantage over the common people by knowing how health worked, while the average person did not, and this formed dependencies based on the ignorance of the regular minds. Ignorance by the average person always gave the advantage to those above them, it actively put others above them by not learning. Today, everyone is so dependent on the public health authorities, who are operating on flawed systems of immunology and overall health, which puts their patients in a dangerous position, because political agendas have occulted things like immune tolerance, which is a form of immunodeficiency that establishes chronic infections and lasting health problems, despite the lack of antibodies to the infections and no abnormal blood work, due to using flawed and outdated diagnostics.  The result is that people with very legitimate health problems are being denied proper diagnoses, treatments, and necessary care.
Occultism in Spiritualism & the Occult Revival.
In the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, a revival of occult science sprung forth with the formation of many new occult orders and organizations that went mainstream, along with many influential figures in spiritual, religious, and occult philosophies, having large influence in world affairs and the future of spirituality. This included people like Helena P. Blavatsky, Henry S. Olcott, Annie Besant, Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, Alice Bailey, Grigori Rasputin, and many others. Organizations came forth, such as The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Theosophical Society, the Anthroposophical Society, Germany's Brotherhood of Saturn (Fraternitas Saturni), and so on. [
Due to the influence of spiritism, along with many frauds that used these themes to manipulate people and put themselves in a position of authority by appearing to have mystic powers, the genuine aspects of occult science were largely discredited, with the genuine aspects of occultism being lumped into pseudo-science and the fringe elements of occultism that are hard to validate or prove and had a lot of potential for abuse by charlatans and frauds looking for a quick way to make a buck, much like many of the psychic mediums out there today. That is to say, while these abilities and aspects of reality may be entirely real phenomena, they were hard to validate and the potential for abuse was very high, so fraudsters took full advantage of it. Because the realm of spiritism and those forms of fringe occultism are still technically forms of occultism, they still fall under the broad-spectrum term "occult." Unfortunately, they have been wrongly given the credit for the entire field.
Even during the Occult Revival of the late 19th Century and early- to mid- 20th Century, associations to intelligence activities were present in these times, as I laid out in my previous article, The Nature of Control & the Power Differential: An Occult Science in Social Dominance, Aleister Crowley had deep connections to British Intelligence from a very early time after his education at Oxford University, a notorious place for recruitment into both British and Russian Intelligence. Crowley took trips to Moscow in his early days. Madame Blavatsky of Theosophy, was from the same areas as Grigori Rasputin who had close associations with the Russian Tsar Nicholas II, and Tsarina Alexandra, the last of the Romanov's to rule Imperial Russia.
The advent of Russian systems of occultism that migrated to the Western countries had their early start in these Russian territories of Rasputin and could have been vulnerable to the setup of intelligence activities overlapping into these grassroots occult organizations, through cut-outs and intelligence assets, that is, key individuals that either wittingly supplied information or were inadvertently or loosely involved in surveillance or espionage activities. This does not mean that the organizations like Theosophy or similar organizations like it are not authentic, valid, or credible sources of study, as intelligence operations seek to penetrate any and all organizations at their disposal.
The notion that intelligence operations or channels of blackmail and espionage were setup within such organizations during the Occult Revival, was likely a very real possibility. As I stated in the aforementioned article, The Nature of Control & the Power Differential: An Occult Science in Social Dominance, the inclusion of immoral, debauched activities within the rituals or activities of any given magical order or occult organization, would have been an easy channel for the setup of blackmail. According to a very credible source of mine who was very high up in the intelligence community, Russian intelligence had very effective counterintelligence networks known as the Kolonii, first under the Tsar, and then assimilated into the Communist regime after the murder of the Romanovs.
Back to the objective of this article, I hope the reader can see how the occult serves as a tool or area of focus that can be used in many capacities, as the occult has implications and uses for both spiritual organizations, as well as intelligence networks, because both use the art of psychological processes to effect change in the real world. The former using these processes to create spiritual inspiration and a focused direction of Will to bring the individual and group in alignment with the "divine," while the intelligence operatives use psychological manipulation to penetrate groups through psychological forms of deception and manipulation to serve their respective agencies. I hope this makes the word occult a little more easily understood. Both use methodologies that are not very well understood or apparent on the surface. The observer cannot see the methodologies of either at work, unless they are initiated into either the spiritual philosophies of the organization, or the intelligence activities of those penetrating it. It is occulted to the outside world.
Occultism in Traditional Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Spirit Worship
Some forms of occultism are also at play in traditional religions and pagan systems that practice forms of spirit worship, witchcraft, and sorcery. These are rooted mostly in the African Traditional Religions (ATRs) that originated in Africa and migrated to the Americas and Caribbean islands near Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. These began in more ancient form through indigenous peoples in Kenya, such as the Bantu and Kikuyu tribes in Africa.  These were likely forms of even older systems that may be traced back to Sumerian and ancient Babylonian systems of paganism. However, today they consist of Yoruba, Santería, Vodou (what Haitian Voodoo is actually called), with darker variations like Palo mayombe, Kimbisa, Quimbanda, Macumba, and the Mexican variant known as Brujería.
These systems are not necessarily evil, per se, but they can be used to do harm. Not all initiates in these systems will commit to doing harm to others, but like all things, those with power comes the ability for its abuse. Those who consider these systems nothing more than superstitions ought to reconsider their views, look deeper into the reality behind them through more concentrated study. One book I recommend is Society of the Dead: Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba, by cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Todd Ramón Ochoa.  These systems fall under the occult because of course the system utilizes aspects the mind, focus, symbolism, and using the subconscious mind in ways to effect change in accordance with the Will, as well as essential qualities in living material, such as sticks, bones, and blood. While it is true that these systems often practice animal sacrifice, it is hard to argue that they are doing anything worse than when farmers kill their animals for food, because most of these systems will consume what they sacrifice.
Satanism & the Occult
In the dark reaches of spiritual philosophies, the name Satanism comes up as both terms for established systems in operation today that cover anything from focus on Self, the inner darkness as a way to progress your life, Satan as an archetype, chaos as spiritual salvation, Satan as a real spiritual entity, and those who consider Satanism as the overarching system associated with world control, which I attributed to nothing more than control systems using the term and imagery of Satanism as a cloak to enshroud a non-mystical system of blackmail and control in a mystical blanket to instill fear and mystery in the hearts of their members.
Essentially, the problem on the question of Satanism depends on who you ask. There are some more or less harmless forms of Satanism out there, or at least groups that consider themselves Satanists, that don't necessarily seek to hurt others or cause anyone else problems, as in "leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone." However, throughout the last century or so, the term has been used to denote groups and philosophies so variable, that the problem lies in how one defines it. Satanic philosophies will oftentimes be referred to as Left-Hand Path (LHP), and the term is generally the core of what most Satanic systems will consider themselves. Stephen Flowers, Ph. D., described the tenets of Left-Hand Path as the following:
1. Self-deification: the attainment of an enlightened (or awakened), independently existing intellect and its relative immortality.
2. Individualism: the enlightened intellect is that of a given individual, not a collective body.
3. Initiation: the enlightenment and strength of essence necessary for the desired state of evolution of self are attained by means of stages created by the will of the magician, not because he or she was "divine" to begin with.
4. Magic: the practitioners of the left-hand path see themselves as using their own wills in a rationally intuited system or spiritual technology designed to cause the universe around them to conform to their self-willed patterns. 
In any event, the term Satanism falls under the occult, because the essential quality of the inner mechanics of the mind is still at play regardless of the form involved. It is, like religion, a system in which the psychological mechanics of the mind are at play. They all use aspects of occultism, yet for wildly different things, some can be truly sinister, some more or less benign and harmless. even if dark in appearance. There is nothing wrong with dark imagery, I like dark imagery, but it all comes down to what something is in substance, at the very heart of it.
Some embrace the concept of "evil" as going against the cultural norms and to be antinomian, not bound by labels, without causing others harm. The definition of evil, too, depends on who you ask. I disdain most cultural norms, and I reject most labels to place myself under. If that makes me evil to some, so be it, but my definition of evil is much different. My definition of evil would be using the destructive energies to harm and inflict suffering on others, in cruel ways. These would include brutal dictatorships, genocidal rulers, mass murderers, serial killers, rapists, etc. The use of deception is also something I consider evil. So, to me, evil is more along the lines of this kind of destructive or deceptive behavior, which I detest and reject, while others would consider evil as going against cultural norms, embracing freedom of expression without harming innocent people, which I do not disagree with, but I do not consider that under my definition of evil.
Occultism as Mechanics of Mind.
In conclusion, we have now covered some of the general areas in which the word occult is used. The term can denote things in everyday reality, without any qualities of mysticism or the paranormal, as well as those that are, and just about everything in between. In essential terms, it is the inner mechanics of the mind, the gears of the mind turning that we cannot see, they are not easily apparent. Some of the occult principles of Natural Law are focused on morality and living with discernment and discipline, while occult principles of intelligence operations and activities of psychopathic individuals are focused on immoral aspects of deceptive and concealed intentions of the mind. Occult aspects of religions use symbolism and prayer to effect the world through the mechanics of the mind and subconscious mind, while those of politics use symbolism and repetitive talking points or punch lines. The occult principles of fringe occultism that cross into the domain of spirit communication, psychic abilities, predictions, paranormal encounters or activities, fall under even less understood areas of the mind and subconscious mind, but certainly do not make the entirety of the word occult.
As one can see, the term occult covers many areas, which can be used for good or ill, depending on the intention of the operator of its use. The word has become unnecessarily scrambled and redefined by a view of ignorance, to associate the word occult with evil. Even within the occult organizations, there are many good sides of it, which can be used to better humanity, to empower humanity. We are living in utter discord today because no one has any idea how this stuff works and how to use the occult mechanics of the inner mind to make the world a better place to live, for themselves and for others. The superstitious fear of occultism by some of the organized religions are perhaps doing more to stall human progress than any of the evils they proclaim to be the problem, yet even Jesus Christ in the Bible talked about the evils of the organized religious institutions, because like all organizations and institutions, they become corrupted and fall to the decay of human behavior in entrenched power, due to the ignorance of the mechanics of human behavior in power systems and the effect they have on the overbearing ego.
To solve any problem, one first has to admit it is a problem. Next, the problem and its mechanics has to be understood in order to change it, and that is essentially where the occult lies, in the mechanics of how everything operates. Since human society and culture started in mind first, the key to all things of human kind are found in the occult, that is, how the mind works and operates. It is this study we must all understand, or things will never change, because those in power who do understand it, will always use our lack of it to take full advantage of us.
 Occult: Search Online Etymology Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=occult.
 Ocular: Search Online Etymology Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=ocular.
 Great example of educational terms of Occult is Mark Passio, at What on Earth is Happening, www.whatonearthishappening.com
 Odening, G. (2012, February 09). Trivium Notes by Gene Odening. Retrieved August 21, 2020, from https://tragedyandhope.com/trivium/notes-by-gene-odening/
 Traub, E. Observations on immunological tolerance and "Immunity" in mice infected congenitally with the virus of lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM). Archiv Fur Die Gesamte Virusforschung, 10(3), 303-314. doi:10.1007/bf01250677. (1960).
 Hobley, C. W. (1967). Bantu beliefs and magic: With particular reference to the Kikuyu and Kamba tribes of Kenya Colony together with some reflections on East Africa after the war (2nd ed.). London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd.
 Ochoa, T. R. (2010). Society of the dead: Quita Manaquita and Palo praise in Cuba. Berkeley, CA: University of California.
 Flowers, S. E. (2012). Lords of the left-hand path: Forbidden practices and spiritual heresies. Rochester, VT, VT: Inner Traditions.