Lore of the Occult - Spiritualism and the Occult in the 19th century
February 8, 2018
Many folks want to come into game with some sort of knowledge of the occult. However, they have no idea what this could mean in the context of the game or real history. So this short post will help flesh out player understanding. This will not address the level of supernatural activity in the game world as that is covered in another blog post. The reader should also keep in mind that what the various orders and system given below may believe, doesn't make it true in the wider world.
The 19th century was a hot period of activity in the world of Spiritualism and the Occult, and the first thing you need to understand is that Spiritualism and the Occult ARE NOT THE SAME. In fact they are in opposition to one another. To keep this post from being several pages long, here are a few definitions along with the names of organizations from History that can exist in the game world.
Spiritualism - Speaking to THE DEAD to get guidance and information.
Spiritism - Similar to Spiritualism but with a belief in reincarnation.
Occult - USING spirits (not necessarily the dead) to gain knowledge and power.
Hermeticism - Specific occult system based on the writings of Hermes Trismegistus. As hermeticism is not accepted by the Christian churches, secret orders were formed.