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Occultism
(2,147 words)

1. Europe

Occultism took institutional shape in Europe in 1875, with the foundation of the Theosophical Society by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (Theosophy). At the same time, it developed as a theoretical system opposed to contemporary materialism and directed against the established churches, and closely associated with 19th-century esoterica. The essence of this theory was the assumption of immaterial, supra-sensory forces arising from a “fluid,” “astral light,” or “animal soul” tha…

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Stengel, Friedemann and Reichmuth, Stefan, “Occultism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 01 December 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_024959>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128



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