American Occultism leans heavily toward self improvement & social change due to seeking to integrate its practices as mainstream & workable from an everyman perspective. In the lasting wake of John Dee’s one-sided public reputation, the perceived Faustian nature of magic, and the demonization of occultism, solidified by Aleister Crowley 300 years later, the occult in the ‘Old World’ was seen as dark and sinister. In America, the ‘New World’, the land of economic hope & religious freedom, by its very nature, sought to bring the potential of occultism to the masses. Many practices themselves remained the same though the grim & grime were scraped off in the sunlight of exoteric potential.
Popular magazines are littered with horoscopes. Make a wish on your birthday candles or the first star you see in the evening sky. Recently I’ve seen periodicals on the science of mindfulness, positive thinking, and yoga beside the chips & crackers in grocery store checkout lines. This isn’t the back section of your local video store. These practices have ingrained themselves into the American public eye.
What is self improvement?
Self improvement is the realization that human experience is subject to transformation. There are areas in our lives that can be improved upon & utilized for positive change. Bodily, emotionally, intellectually, socially, financially, artistically, spiritually. There are perhaps endless ways we can improve ourselves. We are not required to be stuck in life’s mutable circumstances.
That we desire positive change is a courageous step and one not lightly taken. Small steps turn into large steps and before you know it you are raging down the tracks of life like a Wild West locomotive blowing billows of steam, forging one’s own way through life. This is self improvement. Taking what we’re given in life and turning what seem like limiting circumstances into the pure potential of change. Maybe you can’t change the laws of nature but you can nurture those laws into workable aid on your life’s journey.
The Universe wants to play.