Occultism is the “belief in or study of the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers”, and the word “occult” stems from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” is “knowledge of the hidden”.
Beyond the mystical implications of the word/field of study, the term can also be viewed as the research of knowledge that “is meant only for certain people” or that “must be kept hidden”. However, for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical sciences.
The perennial philosophy which flows through occult studies and governs this school of thought has been ingrained in the collective consciousness since time immemorial, however as spirituality and the “New Age” movement continues to gain momentum in popular culture – we must not forget some of the lesser-known “founding visionaries” that allowed these words to become tangible to the public.
Below, browse a selection of 30 powerful quotes from some of history’s most influential female occultists, and be sure to comment with whatever words resonate most with you, and why!
25 Powerful Quotes From Some of History’s Most Influential Female Occultists
H.P. Blavatsky (8/12/1831 – 5/8/1891) was a Russian occultist, spirit medium, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. She gained an international following as the leading theoretician of Theosophy, the esoteric movement that the society promoted. In New York City, Blavatsky co-founded the Theosophical Society with Olcott and William Quan Judge in 1875. In 1877 she published Isis Unveiled, a book outlining her Theosophical world-view. Associating it closely with the esoteric doctrines of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism, Blavatsky described Theosophy as “the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy”, proclaiming that it was reviving an “Ancient Wisdom” which underlay all the world’s religions. Blavatsky was a controversial figure during her lifetime, championed by supporters as an enlightened guru and derided as a fraudulent charlatan and plagiarist by critics. Her Theosophical doctrines influenced the spread of Hindu and Buddhist ideas in the West as well as the development of Western esoteric currents like Ariosophy, Anthroposophy, and the New Age Movement.
- “The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards.”
- “Do not be afraid of your difficulties. Do not wish you could be in other circumstances than you are. For when you have made the best of an adversity, it becomes the stepping stone to a splendid opportunity.”
- “Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.”
- “What writes history is the power of ideas. And every moment offers the potential to write something new.”
- “Virtue and wisdom are sublime things, but if they create pride and a consciousness of separateness from the rest of humanity, they are only the snakes of self reappearing in a finer form.”
“Time is only an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists in which the illusion can be produced; but “lies asleep.”"
Annie Besant (11/1/1847 – 9/20/1933) was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator, and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years, her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she traveled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu College and in 1922 she helped establish the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India.
- “A myth is far truer than a history, for a history only gives a story of the shadows, whereas a myth gives a story of the substances that cast the shadows.”
- “Quick condemnation of all that is not ours, of views with which we disagree, of ideas that do not attract us, is the sign of a narrow mind, of an uncultivated intelligence. Bigotry is always ignorant, and the wise boy, who will become the wise man, tries to understand and to see the truth in ideas with which he does not agree.”
- “Not out of right practice comes right thinking, but out of right thinking comes right practice. It matters enormously what you think. If you think falsely, you will act mistakenly; if you think basely, your conduct will suit your thinking.”
- Man is spiritual intelligence, who has taken flesh with the object of gaining experience in worlds below the spiritual, in order that he may be able to master and to rule them, and in later ages take his place in the creative and directing hierarchies of the universe.
- “Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd.”
- “The generous wish to share with all what is precious, to spread broadcast priceless truths, to shut out none from the illumination of true knowledge, has resulted in a zeal without discretion that has vulgarised Christianity, and has presented its teachings in a form that often repels the heart and alienates the intellect.”
- “As the heat of the coal differs from the coal itself, so do memory, perception, judgment, emotion, and will, differ from the brain which is the instrument of thought.”
Alice A. Bailey (6/16/1880 – 12/15/1949) was a writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age. She moved to the United States in 1907, where she spent most of her life as a writer and teacher. Bailey’s works, written between 1919 and 1949, describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the solar system, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a Master of Wisdom, initially referred to only as “the Tibetan” or by the initials “D.K.”, later identified as Djwal Khul. Her writings were somewhat similar to those of Madame Blavatsky and are among the teachings often referred to as the “Ageless Wisdom”.
- “Know thyself, for in thyself is to be found all that there is to be known,” is still the rule for the wise student. If each one of us would scientifically regard ourselves as centers of force, holding the matter of our bodies within our radius of control, and thus working through and in them, we should have a hypothesis whereby the entire cosmic scheme could be interpreted.”
- “Much must remain esoteric and veiled. The risks of too much knowledge are far greater than the menace of too little. With knowledge comes responsibility and power,—two things for which the race is not yet ready. Therefore, all we can do is to study and correlate with what wisdom and discretion may be ours, using the knowledge that may come for the good of those we seek to help, and recognizing that in the wise use of knowledge comes increased capacity to receive the hidden wisdom.”
- “Initiation, or the process of undergoing an expansion of consciousness, is part of the normal process of evolutionary development, viewed on a large scale, and not from the standpoint of the individual.”
- “Healing does not come through an intense affirmation of divinity, or by simply pouring out love and the expression of a vague mysticism. It comes through mastering an exact science of contact, impression, of invocation plus an understanding of the subtle apparatus of the etheric vehicle.”
- “The entire universe is a great theatre of mirrors.”
- “Instinct relates man to the animal world, intellect unites him to his fellow-men, whilst the intuition reveals to him the life of divinity.”
Dion Fortune (12/6/1890 – 1/6/1946) was a British occultist, Christian Qabalist, ceremonial magician, novelist, and author. She was a co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light, an occult organization that promoted philosophies which she claimed had been taught to her by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters. A prolific writer, she produced a large number of articles and books on her occult ideas and also authored seven novels, several of which expound occult themes. She came to believe that she was being contacted by the Ascended Masters, including “the Master Jesus”, and underwent trance mediumship to channel the Masters’ messages. In 1922 Fortune and Charles Loveday claimed that during one of these ceremonies they were contacted by Masters who provided them with a text, The Cosmic Doctrine. Although she became the president of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, she believed the society to be uninterested in Christianity, and split from it to form the Community of the Inner Light, a group later renamed the Fraternity of the Inner Light.
- “Symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand–an extended application of its powers.”
- “To say that a thing is imaginary is not to dispose of it in the realm of mind, for the imagination, or the image-making faculty is a very important part of our mental functioning. An image formed by the imagination is a reality from the point of view of psychology; it is quite true that it has no physical existence, but are we going to limit reality to that which is material? We shall be far out of our reckoning if we do, for mental images are potent things, and although they do not actually exist on the physical plane, they influence it far more than most people suspect.”
- “Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness to occur in accordance with the will.”
- “We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them.”
- “The Door Without a Key is the Door of Dreams; it is the door by which the sensitive escape into insanity when life is too hard for them, and artists use it as a window in a watch-tower. Psychologists call it a psychological mechanism; magicians call it magic, and the man in the street calls it an illusion or charlatanry according to taste. It does not matter to me what it is called, for it is effectual.”
- “The driving forces of the universe, the framework upon which it is built up in all its parts, belong to another phase of manifestation than our physical plane, having other dimensions than the three to which we are habituated, and perceived by other modes of consciousness than those to which we are accustomed.”
Learn more: Exploring the Mystical Life of Madame Blavatsky