occult art; occultism

Originally, scientific experimentation was classed as occultism. At present, occult art is limited to practises in which invisible, spiritual powers or agencies are experimented with for the purpose of securing information from them or enlisting their aid; such as magic, theosophy, spiritism, divination, and witchcraft. Magic is traceable back to the Chaldeans and Persians whose priests, because they were supposed to be learned in secret lore, were called magi (plural of magus). The art of magic consists in actually experimenting with spiritual beings or forces, consulting them, enlisting their aid. Witchcraft and sorcery were forbidden by God. Magic may be harmless; like the "white" magic of sleight-of-hand artists as the late Herman or Houdini, who combined cleverness and skill with some knowledge of psychology. Phenomena produced by the help of the demon are sinful and harmful. The reality of such phenomena and of the power to produce them is admitted in the Christian Church, but the practise, or art, of magic is condemned. Theosophy is also a phase of occultism, inasmuch as it affects to investigate occult laws in nature and life.

New Catholic Dictionary

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