Editor's Note: This article is by About.com Guest Author Carmen Turner-Schott, MSW, LISW.Occult: Hidden from view; concealed.
I remember when I first started studying spiritual topics that were different from my traditional religious teachings. I was always drawn to the mysterious and astrology was something that I read about in the Bible. Many verses contradicted themselves and I became confused. I knew that Jesus said “There would be signs in the sun, moon and stars,” but then other verses were very negative and judgmental about astrology.
When I began reading books about the secret teachings of Jesus and learning the symbols in astrology I remember feeling as if I was doing something wrong. There was a small voice inside my head that tried to convince me that studying these things was somehow evil or sinister. I realized for the first time what a powerful influence that my raising and upbringing had on me. Even after all the “unexplained experiences” that I had since I was a child, I still had reservations about obtaining knowledge that was unique and even considered taboo. I often wondered why I felt this way. I remember reading in the Bible about the word “occult” and often had a fascination with things that were hidden from open communication. I often asked myself, “What am I afraid of?” I realized that I was afraid of the unknown.
Astrology was never truly occult. It was actually practiced openly in biblical times and evidence shows it was a tool used by the ancient civilizations starting in Babylonia. It was not created as an occult science, because it was never hidden or secret on its own. The Christian Church actually transformed astrology into something that was considered taboo, supernatural and mysterious.
Figures like Nostradamus practiced astrology behind the scenes because if they practiced it openly they would be persecuted. It was a controversial time in human history with the Church fighting to maintain control of the people. Anything that encouraged free thought was considered blasphemy. Astrologers had to begin practicing behind the scenes, even Christian ones. The Catholic Church actually has the largest astrological library in the world and in the early church astrology was actually accepted by many. Astrologers do not worship the stars and the planets.
Most astrologers I know, especially Christian astrologers believe that the energy of the planets impacts life on earth. They believe that God created the heaven, the sun, moon and stars as it states in many verses in the Bible. They do not believe astrology is their God and many of them believe only that the energy impacts us here on earth. We know that the Moon affects the tides of the ocean and water sources. The human body is made up of over 80 percent water and God made our flesh perfect for his plan.
We know that the Moon does affect people’s emotions. When I worked with runaway teens in a youth service program years ago, every time there was a full moon the teens ran away more frequently. There is even research out there that more people report to the emergency room during, more cars break down on the side of the road and more violence in general is reported by law enforcement personnel. God created the solar system based on his divine plan. In the past people were persecuted for even suggesting that the earth was round. They were killed for their beliefs. These historical facts are what led to astrology being practiced in secret, behind closed doors by many religious figures including Pope’s, Rabbi’s and Nuns.
The word “occult” actually means, “beyond the realm of human comprehension, hidden from view, concealed, available only to the initiate, and secret.” I definitely knew that my personal spiritual experiences were beyond my comprehension and that is what led me to research and study various books to help validate my experiences.
As a Christian, I had to step out of my safety zone and tread rocky territory that was kept secret from me. I remember when I had a vivid dream about a friend of mine. The next night, the entire dream happened in waking reality just as I had envisioned it in my dream. My friend called me and was crying. He told me that he needed to come over even though it was late at night. I remember sitting on the porch at my parent’s house in anticipation of his arrival. When he got out of the car, he walked towards me just as he did in the dream. He had a white t-shirt on and glasses. What stuck out the most were his glasses, I had never seen him wear glasses before. We sat down on the curb as he told me exactly what he did in my dream, “My parents are getting divorced.” I held him as he wept with sadness and I comforted him.
I remember telling him, “I dreamed this.” I don’t even know how to describe the feeling with words. If I had to state this experience in one word, it would be symbolic. When I asked my preacher about my dream, he told me “It is just your imagination.” I will never forget that. It was a true, real, and life transforming experience to me. I could not understand it, it was beyond my comprehension, but it was valuable to my belief system and I was forever changed.