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Occultism: The Root of Modern Science And Paganism (Michael Niccols)

Occultism: The Root of Modern Science And Paganism

Michael Niccols

Although it is common for modern philosophers, scientists, and ironically, even many pagans, to overlook or simply dismiss occultism, in Europe’s millennial life-span, occultists stand as the original philosophers, scientists, and pagans of our culture. They first sought knowledge in Europe for its existential sake, and pursued knowledge in a true and unprejudiced spirit, free or partially free from the dogma of Judeo-Christianity.
The European occultists were profoundly impressed with the fact of cyclical change, of birth and growth, decay and death, and re-birth. Spring and Autumn in the world of Nature, childhood and old age in the life of man, coming-into-being and passing away– these were the obvious and inescapable facts of the universe, and as Hermeticists applying the ancient doctrine of “as above, so below; as below, so above” to such experiences, the occultists laid a solid though seldom recognized foundation for all the subsequent thought of Europe.
Even the “sinister” or “left hand path” traditions of Europe, including the works of Nietzsche, Crowley, and the Church Of Satan, began in the 11th century with the Picatrix, the Latin version of the Ghayat Al-Hakim written in Spain. This work was the origin of the “grimoire” traditions of Europe, and almost certainly was in the possession of the Cathars, and later, the Rosicrucians. The early occultists in Europe were first to acknowledge in a scientific as opposed to superstitious (Christian) manner that there are two sides to the European character and culture: there is the side of reason, of art, of Apollo and the Olympian deities if we use Nietzsche’s depiction, and there is the side of emotion, unbridled self-assertion, of Dionysian frenzy, as seen portrayed in Nietzsche’s Blonde Beast, Crowley’s Do What Thou Wilt, and La Vey’s Satan. As beneath the splendid heights of Cathedral building we see the shadow of the Crusades, so beneath the wise realm of Odin we see the abyss of Lokian frenzy.

Yet in a homeopathic manner, this acceptance of the darkside of European character, this embracing of the constant process of change, of transition from life to death and from death to life, led not to self-negation, but rather, helped lead Europe to the beginning of philosophy, science, and Empire; for these wise men saw that, in spite of all the change and transition, there is something permanent.

There is something which is primary, which persists through all cycles, which takes various forms and undergoes this process of change changes from something into something else. Thoughtful occultists were convinced that there was something behind all opposites a thought quite alien to the absolutism of the Church and thus we see that the occult thinkers of Europe were the predecessors of all great European thought, often with direct links discoverable for those who seek them, including Hegel, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Spengler.
One may properly say, therefore, that the early European occultists were not just mystics and Christian heretics, but also were Europe’s first scientists, trying to account for the internal and external world, two disciplines that would later become Psychology and Natural Science. But it is important to remember that as mystics they did not stop, as later materialistic disciplines did and continue to do, at the senses, but went beyond this epistemic limitation to include experience as factual data. In order to arrive at the conception of life, it is necessary to go beyond appearance, sense, and reasoning, and experience the essence of being. In this sense, the occult tradition was the beginning of existential philosophy, preceding the acknowledged “beginning” of such in Nietzsche by centuries.
The early occultists pursued all sorts of scientific considerations, but these were never separated from their underlying existentialism. They were wise men, usually acting in great secrecy, who in seeking the philosopher’s stone of man’s Being, made remarkable discoveries in the field of science for which they are not recognized because discoveries separate from a science of man’s being  was not their goal; thus Descartes created his Analytical Geometry with the aid of the Rosicrucian book Book Of The World; Newton was given the Rosicrucian book on Hermetic Science which helped him during his famous 18 months in which he “discovered” the Laws of Motion and his theories on Optics and Gravity; Leibniz studied the Rosicrucian Monadology in order to arrive at his own theory of the Monad; Copernicus was inspired to formulate his helio-centric theory of the solar system by an occultist’s “Hymn to the Sun”; Kepler discovered the planetary motions while seeking the occultic “geometric solids”, and so on but never did European occultism get credit for these discoveries, only the unceremonious title of “superstition”.

As real philosophers and scientists, however, who played a major role in lifting Europe out of the superstitious styles of Judeo-Christian dogma, our occultic ancestors formed a significant and world-changing stage in the development of our culture indeed, its very salvation from the anti-life agenda of the Church that cannot be properly omitted from the history of European science and European paganism.

The first beginnings of European wisdom, and the first stirrings of true European spiritual inspiration, cannot be a matter of indifference to the modern Man of Destiny; our new paganism will evolve from knowledge to experience only when we evoke and assimilate the occult roots of our Culture’s Being.
“Christianity has emptied Valhalla, felled our sacred groves, extirpated our national image as a shameful superstition, as a devilish poison, and given us instead the imagery of a nation whose climate, laws, culture and interests are strange to us, and whose history has no connection with our own. A David or a Solomon lives in our popular imagination, but our own country’s heroes slumber in learned history books.” -George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


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