Vocabulary of Occult Terms

Vocabulary of Occult Terms (K to Z) by Manly P. Manly

In Occult by Chris A. Parker1 Comment

Reading Time: 13 minutes

(For “Vocabulary of Occult Terms (A to J)” click here)

KNOWLEDGE. -Science, based upon the perception and understanding of a truth. It should never be confounded with “learning,” which means the adoption of certain opinion or theory on the strength of some hearsay or logical speculation. We cannot really know anything except that which we are able to perceive with our external or internal senses.

LAPIS PHILOSOPHORUM.-(Alch.) A mystery, known only to the practical occultist who has experienced its power

LEAD. -(Alch.) symbolized by Saturn; the emblem of Matter; the element of Earth.

LEO. -(Alch.) Lion. The symbol of strength and fortitude; corresponding to Mars. “The Blood of the Red Lion,” the vehicle of the Life-principle.

LlFE. -A Universal principle; a function of the universal Spirit.

Note: -Life is present everywhere, in a stone or plant as well as in an animal or man, and there is nothing in nature which is entirely destitute of life; because all things are a manifestation of the One Life, which fills the universe. In some bodies the activity of life acts very slow, so that it may be looked at as dormant or latent, in others it acts rapidly; but a form which is deserted by the life-principle ceases to exist as a form. Attraction, Cohesion, Gravitation. etc., are all manifestations of life, while in animals this activity enters a state of self-consciousness, which is perfected in man. To suppose that Life is a product of the mechanical or physiological activity of an organism is to mistake effects for causes, and causes for effects. See Creation.

LlGHT. -An external visible manifestation of an internal invisible power. The Divine Light of Grace is a spiritual Light, the Light of the Logos, illuminating the mind of the Adept. The Light of Nature in the Astral Light.

LlMBUS. -The universal matrix of all things. See Archæus.

LOGOS & LOGOI. -A centre or centres of spiritual activity, Life and light, existing from all eternity in the manifested GOD (the Absolute). The Christprinciple, which, shining into the heart of man, may produce an Avatar or Christ.

Note:  It is taught that at certain periods such an incarnation of the divine Light of the Logos takes place upon the Earth, and thus causes a new saviour, redeemer, and reformer to appear among mankind, teaching the old and half-forgotten truths again by word and example, and thus producing a new revival of the religious sentiment. The ancient religions speak of several such Avatars in which “the Word has become Flesh. “

LOVE. – Spiritual Love is an all-penetrating spiritual power, uniting the higher elements of Humanity into one inseparable whole. It is not led by external sensuous attractions. It is the power by which man recognizes the unity of the All, and the product of that knowledge which springs into existence, when man recognizes the identity of his own spirit with the spirit of every other being. This spiritual Love should never be confounded with sexual desire, parental affection, etc., which are merely sentiments, subject to attraction and change.

LUCIFER. -The bearer of Light. An angel of Light, possessed of Wisdom. Lucifer in his fallen state is Intellectuality without Spirituality; knowledge without the light of wisdom.

LUMEN. -A power emitting Light.

LUNA. -See Moon.

LUX. -See Light.

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MACROCOSM & MICROCOSM. -The great and the little world; the latter being an image or representation of the former, but on a smaller scale. The microcosm of Man resembles the macrocosm of the universe in all his aspects except in external form.

MATRIX. -(AJch.) Womb. The mother wherein a germ, seed, or principle is brought to ripening.  Every germ requires a certain appropriate matrix for its development. Minerals, plants, or animals require a matrix in the incipient state of their growth.

MATTER. -An external manifestation of an internal power.

MERCURY. -(Alch.) One of the Three Substances. The Astral Light. The principle of Mind. The spiritual quintessence of all things.

METALS. -(Alch.) Certain occult powers. The “metals” of which a man is made and which produce his virtues or vices are more permanent and lasting than the body composed of flesh and blood.

MOON. -(Alch.) A reflection caused by the rays of the Sun. The InteIIect being a reflection of the divine light emanating from the Fire of the heart.

MORTIFICATIO.-(Alch.) Mortification. The art of rendering the lower elements passive, so that the higher ones can become active. The art of dissolving the body, so that the spirit may become free.

MULTIPLICATIO.-(Alch.) Multiplication. Increase. The Character is the great multiplicator. Note: -Not only is man thus an image of “God,” but every part of our organism has the character of the Whole impressed upon it, in the same sense as the qualities of a tree are latent in the seed. It is, therefore, possible for those who can read in the Light of Nature, to know the character, attributes, and history of a thing by examining one of its parts.

MAGIC. -The science and art of employing spiritual powers to obtain certain results. No one can exercise Magic unless he possesses magic powers, and to Obtain such powers man must be spiritually developed. “Magic” should never be confounded with “Sorcery.” The former deal s with the Real, the latter deals with Illusions. Magic is the culmination of all sciences, and includes them all; but there can be no true science without wisdom, and no wisdom without sanctification.

(Further Reading: “Magick – Definition and Etymology”)

MAN.-The real man is an invisible internal and spiritual power which in its outward manifestation, appears as a human being.

Note :-Man may be looked upon as an individual ray emanating from the great spiritual Sun of the universe. having become polarized in the heart of an incipient human organism, endows the latter with life and stimulates its growth. At a certain state of its development that organism becomes conscious of its existence in the phenomenal world, and with this the illusion of self is created. There is nothing real and permanent about the being called Man, except this internal divine power which is called the Spirit, which is ultimately identical with the universal Spirit­ the Christ.

MARS. -The power which endows beings with strength. See Leo.

MARIA. -The universal matrix of Nature. Ceres, Tris, etc. See Eve.

MATERIA PRIMA. -(Alch.) Primordial Matter. A’Wasa. A universal and invisible principle, the basic substance of which all things are formed. By reducing a thing into its prima materia, and clothing it with new attributes, it may be transformed into another thing by him who possesses spiritual power and knowledge. There are several states of matter, from primordial down to gross visible matter, and the Alchemists, therefore, distinguish between Materia proxima, Materia remota , and Materia ultima.

NATURAL, UNNATURAL. SUPERNATURAL. -Relative terms, referring to the relations existing between certain things and certain conditions. Everything in Nature is natural in the absolute meaning of this term; but not everything is surrounded by such conditions as according to the laws of its own nature it ought to be surrounded by. Air is natural, but to a fish it is not his natural element; a supernatural being is one who exists in a spiritual condition superior to that of lower beings, and in which gross material beings cannot exist.

NATURE. -The external manifestation of an internal creative power. The whole of nature can be nothing else but a thought of God, having been thrown into objectivity by the power of his Word and grown into forms according to the law of evolution. “The nature of a thing” means the summary of its attributes.

NOTHING. -The antithesis of something. The term nothing is sometimes applied to signify something which is inconceivable and therefore nothing to us. Form is nothing; it is merely a shape and does not exist in the Absolute. If a thought becomes expressed in a form, that which was nothing to us becomes something.

OCCULTISM. -The science of things which transcend the ordinary powers of observation. The science of things whose perception requires extraordinary or superior faculties of perception. Everything is occult to us as long as we cannot see it, and with every enlargement of the field of our perception a new and heretofore “occult” world becomes open to our investigation. We may speculate about the Unseen; but we cannot actually know anything about it, unless we can mentally grasp its spirit. See Knowledge. (Take the test: What do You Know about Occult Sciences?– Quiz)


OCULUS DIVINUS. – The symbol of spiritual consciousness and knowledge.

OCULUS NATURAE. -The Astral Light.

OMBIA AB UNO. -“Everything originates from the One.”

PATER. -Father.

PERFECTIO.-(Alch.) Perfection.

PERSON. -An individual, organized, self-conscious being or principle, capable to think and to will differ from other beings or principles. An indivisible unity.

PERSONALITY. -Mask. The sum and substance of the attributes which go to distinguish one individual from others. As one and the same actor may appear in various costumes and masks; likewise, one individual spiritual entity may appear successively on the stage of life as various personalities.

Note: -To comprehend the doctrine of Reincarnation, it should be remembered that at and after the transformation called “death” only those attributes of a person which have reached a certain degree of spirituality, and are therefore fit to survive, will remain with the individual spirit. When the latter again overshadows a newborn form, it develops a new set of attributes, which go to make up its new personality.

PHILOSOPHY. -True “Philosophy” is practical knowledge of causes and effects, but what is today called “Philosophy” is a system of speculation based upon logical deductions, or opinions arrived at by reasoning from that which we imagine to know to the unknown.

Note:-The fundamental basis upon which our modern philosophy rests is erroneous and illusive, because it rests upon the assumption that man could know something without knowing himself; while, in truth, man can possess no positive knowledge of anything whatever except that which exists within his own self, and he can know nothing about divine things as long as the divinity within himself has not become alive and self-conscious. Philosophy without Theosophy is, therefore, mere speculation, and frequently leads to error.

PHOENIX. -(Alch.} A fabulous bird: the symbol of death and regeneration.

PRAYER. -An effort of the will to obtain that which one desires. Prayer on the physical plane consists in acts; prayer on the plane of thought consists in thoughts; prayer on the spiritual plane consists in the act of rising in thought up to the highest, and to become united with it.

PRIMUM. -(Alch.) Primordial Motion. The first Life-impulse.

PRINCIPIUM. -Principle, Cause, Beginning of Activity.

PRIMA MATERIA. -See Materia Prima.

PROJECTIO.-(Alch. ) Projection. The act of endowing a thing with a certain power or quality by means of an occult power whose root is the Will.

PUREFACTIO. -(Alch.} Purification.

PUTREFACTIO. -(Alch.) Putrification.

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RAVEN.-(Alch.) A symbol for a certain occult power.

REBIS. – (Alch. ) Refuse. Matter to be remodeled.

REGENERATIO. -(Alch.) Regeneration. The act of being reborn in the spirit. The penetration of the soul and body by the divine heat of love and the light of intelligence, emanating from the divine fire within the heart. The awakening and development of spiritual self-consciousness and self-knowledge.

RESURRECTIO. -(Alch.) Resurrection. Initiation into a higher states of existence. The new life into which the perfected elements of a being enters after the imperfect ones with which they have been amalgamated have been destroyed.

ROSE. -(Alch.) The symbol of evolution, and unfolding and beauty.

ROSICRUCIAN. -A person who by the process of spiritual awakening has attained a practical knowledge of the secret signification of the Rose and the Cross. A Hermetic philosopher. A real Theosophist or Adept. One who possesses spiritual knowledge and power.

Note:-Names have no true meaning if they do not express the true character of a thing. To call a person a Rosicurcian does not make him one, nor does the act of calling a person a Christian make him a Christ. The real Rosicrucian or Mason cannot be made; he must grow to be one by the expansion and unfoldment of the divine power within his own heart. The inattention to this truth is the cause that many churches and secret societies are far from being that which their names express.

SAL. -(Alch.) Salt. Substance. One of the three substances. The Will. Wisdom.

SATURN. -(Alch) The symbol of the universal principle of matter; the producer and destroyer of forms.

SEED. -(Alch.) A germ, element, or power from which a being may grow. There are germs of Elementals, Minerals, Plants, Animals, Human Beings, and Gods.

SILVER. -(Alch) An emblem of Intelligence, symbolized by the Moon. Amalgamated with Mercury (the Mind) and penetrated by the Fire of divine Love, it becomes transformed into the Gold of Wisdom.

SOL.-(Alch.) See Sun.

SOL-OM-ON. -The name of the Sun of Wisdom expressed in three languages.

SOLUTIO.-(Alch.) Solution. The act of bringing a thing into a fluid condition.

SON OF GOD. -One of the three powers constituting the Trinity. The Light’ or Christ. The regenerated spiritual man. The celestial Adam. The Logos. Only the inner spiritual and divine man is a direct Son of God; the unregenerated man is his indirect descendant. The Spirit is the Son of God; the Soul is the son of the Sun (astral influence) ; the Body the son of the Earth.

SOPHIA. -Wisdom.

SOPHIST. -Originally this term meant a “wise man” but now it means a false reasoner, a skeptical speculator, a person who is cunning but possesses no wisdom; one who judges things not by what they are, but by what he imagines them to be; one who dogmatizes about things which he cannot grasp spiritually; a material scientist, a would-be-wise, an intellectual person without love; one who lives, so to say, in his brain and receives no light from his heart.

SOUL. -The semi-material principle connecting matter with spirit. It leads so to say, an amphibious existence between these two poles of substance, and may ultimately become amalgamated either with one or the other. The Body is the mask of the Soul; the Soul, the body of the Spirit. (Further reading: Occult Q&A By Manly P. Hall)


SPIRITUS. -Spirit. God in his aspect as an eternal, universal, and invisible principle or power in a state of the greatest purity and perfection. The divine element in Nature. The antithesis of Mallet, yet “material” in a transcendental stance. Spiritual substance. A conscious, organized, invisible principle. The Substance or Body of Christ. The term “Spirit” is also used to signify the essence or character of a thing, the sum of the highest attributes or powers.

SPIRITS. -Powers.

Note: -The modern usage to apply the term “spirits” to disembodied astral form s and souls of men and animals has originated in the modern misconception of the true nature of man.

SUBLIMATIO. -(Alch.) Sublimation. The rising of a lower state into a higher one. Vices may become sublimated into virtues.

SUBSTANCE. -That unknown and invisible something which may manifest itself either as matter or force; in other words, that substratum of all things, which is energy in one of its aspects, and matter in another.

The Three Substances: Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury represent the trinity of all things. They are the basis of all existence, and in each of these three substances the other two are contained. They form an inseparable Unity in a Trinity, differing, however, in its aspects and manifestations. Consequently, in some things the Salt, in others the Sulphur, and in still others the Mercury is preeminently manifest. They represent Thought, Word, and Form; Body, Soul, and Spirit; Earth, Water, and Fire; Fire, Light, and Heat, etc. See Trinity.

SULPHUR-(Alch.) One of the three substances. The principle of Love. The invisible fire.

SUN.-(Alch.) The symbol of Wisdom. The Centre of Power or Heart of things. The Sun is a center of energy and a storehouse of power. Each living being contains within itself a center of life, which may grow to be a sun. In the heart of the regenerated, the divine power, stimulated by the Light of the Logos,  grows into a Sun which illuminates his mind.

  • The spiritual Sun of Grace. The Logos or Christ.
  • The Natural Sun. The center of all powers contained in our solar system.

Note: -The terrestrial sun is the image or reflection of the invisible celestial sun; the former is in the realm of Spirit what the latter is in the realm of Matter; but the latter receives its power from the former. See Logos.

SUPERIUS & INFERIUS.-(Alch.) The Above and Below, the Internal and External, the Celestial and Terrestrial. Everything below has it ethereal counterpart above, and the two act and react upon other; in fact, they are one and merely appear to be two.

TARTARUS. -(Alch.) Matter. Residuum. A substance which has been deposited by a fluid, or crystallized out of the latter. The gross elements of the soul.

TERRA. -Earth.

TERRESTRIAL. -An earthly or imperfect state.

THEOLOGY. -A system which teaches the nature and action of divine powers and their relation to Man. Some ancient theologies are the products of certain spiritually developed persons who were capable to perceive and understand spiritual truths, and who laid down the results of their experience in certain systems, and described what they knew, usually in some allegorical forms. Modern Theology is a system of speculation based upon the knowledge of external symbols and allegories without any understanding of the true meaning of the latter.

THEOSOPHY. -Supreme Wisdom. The knowledge of divine powers obtained by him who possesses such powers. “Theosophy” is therefore identical with self-knowledge. THEOSOPHIST. -A person whose mind is illuminated by the spirit of Divine Wisdom. One who is able to mentally grasp the spirit of a thing, and to understand it. One who has attained a self-knowledge of the divine powers existing in his own organization.

TINCTURA. -(Alch.) Tincture. An ethereal or spiritual substance which, by impregnating another substance, endows (tinctures) the latter with its own properties. If a gross principle is penetrated by a higher one, the former is said to be tinctured (colored) by the latter one.

TRINITY. -The All. The whole of the Universe. Everything is a trinity, and Three is the number of Form. Every conceivable thing consists of Matter and Motion in Space, and the three are forever one and inseparable. “God” is a trinity, and the Universe being a manifestation of God, every part of the Universe must necessarily be a trinity. Everything is a product of thought. will, and substance (form); i. e. Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt.

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UNIFICATION. -At-one-ment. The art of uniting into one. Unification with the eternal One is the only aim and object of all true religion. All things are originally one; they are all states of one universal divine consciousness; they merely (appear to be different from each other on account of the illusion of Form. Differentiation and separation exist merely at the surface of the periphery of the All; the Centre is one. To become reunited with the Centre is to enter the Real, and to become divine and immortal. After a man has become united with his own higher self, he may become united with Christ.

Note: -This process of regeneration and unification is taught in all the religions of the East, but-although the whole Christian religion is based upon this truth-it is nevertheless universally misunderstood by modern Christians, who expect to obtain salvation rather through the merit of another than by their own exertion. To understand the process of regeneration and unification requires an understanding of the real nature of man and of his relations to nature; a science which in our modern times is nowhere in Europe taught in schools, because our theologians and scientists are themselves ignorant of the true nature of man, and because mankind finds it easier to accept a belief than to acquire knowledge.

UNIVERSE. -The Cosmos. The All; beyond which nothing can exist, because there is no “beyond.” The whole of the visible universe is a manifestation of the internal invisible divine power called the Spirit of God. It is the substance of God, shaped by his thought into images and thrown into objectivity by an exercise of his Will. Whatever God thinks, that he expresses in the Word, and what he speaks becomes an Act. All this takes place according to Law, because God is himself the Law, and does not act against himself.

VENUS. -(Alch.) The principle of Love.

VERBUM. -The Word, the Alpha and Omega. The Christ or Logos. The expression of a divine thought. The power emanated in the beginning from the Eternal Centre. The origin of all life.

VIR -Man. A human being in whom the male elements are preponderating.


VISIBLE & INVISIBLE. -Relative terms; referring to things which are usually beyond the powers of perception of ordinary man in his normal state. What may be invisible to one may be visible to another.

WATER-See Elementa. (Further reading: A Brief Primer on The Four Elements Throughout Mystic Tradition)

WILL. -The one universal and fundamental power in the universe, from which all other powers take their origin. Fundamentally it is identical with Life. It manifests itself in the lower planes of existence as Attraction, Gravitation, Cohesion; on the higher planes as Life, Will, Spiritual Power, etc., according to the conditions in which it acts. The WiII is a function of the universal Spirit of God, and there is no other power in the Universe but the Will of God, acting consciously or unconsciously, natural or unnatural, if perverted by man. Man can have no will of his own; he is merely enabled to employ the universal will acting in his organization during his earthly existence, and to pervert and misuse it on account of his ignorance with the eternal laws of nature.

WISDOM. -The highest conceivable attribute of the Spirit; conceivable-like all other powers–only by him in whom wisdom has become manifest, and who is thereby rendered wise. Wisdom is not of man’s making; he cannot invent, but he can acquire it. The same may be said of all other spiritual powers; they exist in the universe, and are to be attained by Man.

WOMAN. -A human being in whose organization the female elements are preponderating over the male ones.

WORD. -See Verbum. Alpha and Omega.

ZODIAC. -The twelve signs of the Zodiac represent the twelve universal principles which form the basis of the construction of the material universe.

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Source: “The All-seeing Eye” Magazine (1927) By Manly P. Hall
Featured Image By Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

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