There is so much about history and about different beliefs and how they have changed from culture to culture and even from community to community. The things that people have believed have been passed down from generation to generation and this can include a belief system or even a religious organization or idea.

Not every person is going to agree on the different beliefs and that is why there are so many different thoughts and different branches. These different ideas and branches often lead to a cult. Most people will not practice these things and when something is accepted as part of the mainstream it isn’t considered a cult, but it is considered an occult.

Cults and occult is different, and you might be someone that thinks about things like drinking the Kool-Aid or of someone that is a flower child that runs around changing and being ceremonial. Or you might think of people that do make believe.

There is mystery, magic and different spiritual ideas that work with both the occult and cults, but you have to look at the differences so that you don’t misunderstand them. Are cults and occults different? Is being part of the occult a dangerous thing? What is a cult, really?

Understanding Cults

A cult is a religious belief that is a belief that is often accepted by a society, but it becomes complicated when it is about ending times or about doomsday. You might think about a cult as being a book or about being magical with wizards and witches, but the truth is that most cults are harmless unless they become extreme.

What is a Dangerous Cult?

Here are some of the cults that have become dangerous over time:

  • Heaven’s Gate Cult.
  • Peoples Temple Cult.
  • Manson Family Cult.

A cult is something where a leader takes control of the group and is often strong in their beliefs and very charismatic in what they think and feel. They are people that are considered to be on a level higher than others and they have followers that believe everything that they say. Most of the time the leader is full of lies and manipulation, but they know how to give a profound meaning to the world, and this brings about universal truths that the people are looking for. A cult can have a leader that brainwashes the followers.

Brainwashing is a real thing and even though it is often seen in the movies as something of fantasy, which is full of spells and other magic, it is something that happens when a leader talks over and over for a period of time while manipulating the truth. Then when someone stands up against the ideas of the leader, they are shown to be wrong, and this is how mind control happens.

Cults are often hidden while others are out in the open. Cults can attract people all around you from your family to your friends. Here are some signs that you might be in a cult:

  • You start isolating yourself from people that you know and that love you.
  • There are changes that come in the views that you always believed in.
  • You get obsessed with a single group.
  • You have no interest in the things that you used to love to do.

Kinds of Cults

There are different kinds of cults that have different ideas or different situations and here are a few of the different cults:

  • Illuminated Cults

These are cults that are focused on supernatural things. One cult is Heaven’s Gate, and they were around in the 90’s. These are people that believed that freeing the soul through a mass suicide would allow them to go to heaven and there were 38 followers. They believed that the Hale-Bopp comet would play a role in the earth ending.

  • Instrumental Cults

These are cults that go out to find a way to become powerful. They will find someone that is smart and someone that is enlightened, and they will be the leader. Bikram Choudhury was a yoga guru that developed a cult following because he was able to use his wisdom and power to influence people to harass others, use sexual battery and discrimination. Even though yoga isn’t a cult, the group that was in charge was manipulating the followers.

  • Service Cults

Cults that give to others to help them to grow in their spiritual self are called service cults. There are many that will volunteer to help others and one example is the World Mission Society, which was also called ASEZ, and it was a group of students at college campuses that would work without rest, food or pay and they would get no sleep or food so they could be controlled.

  • Professional Cults

Some cults aren’t based around religion, but some are based around different organizations or self-help. The marketing company called NXIVM was an organization that would do leadership training and would brainwash the followers. With this brainwashing they would defraud the members and were accused of sexual abuse.

Even though these cults are all different, the thing that they have in common is exploiting their members.

Understand the Occult

The occult is a completely different thing, and it means “knowledge of the hidden.” This is when someone has knowledge, or they are able to do different rituals that are not seen by the people around them. One writer, Arthur C. Clark said, “Magic is just science we don’t understand yet,” and this sums up what the occult is. It has to do with science, supernatural, magic and the paranormal.

Some see the occult as something full of mysterious, but others see it differently. Those that practice the occult are often known to use tools such as astrology, tarot cards, crystal ball reading and more. People that don’t understand there practices are people that are often fearful of the occult because of the society around them.

There is a lot of misinformation that comes with the occult, and this can be based on fear and based on false claims. Some have blamed the occult for being involved in sex trafficking and abusing others. This is one of the reasons that the occult has a bad name and why it causes society to be divided on the beliefs.

Even movies and television shows have shown the occult to be something dangerous because of devil worship and human sacrifices. These are negative things that come up with the occult and so the occult is often put together with cults and that is wrong.

Are Cults and the Occult the Same?

Cults and the occult both existing on the same plane but just because you are part of the occult doesn’t mean you are in a cult. Cults are based on having strong beliefs and about being controlled while the occult is about knowing things and practicing gifts. Both can be done in secret and that is sometimes why they are booked together.

The occult doesn’t have to be based around religion, but it is more based around knowledge that is kept secret from the world around them.

When you want to look at the difference between a cult and occult, you have to understand that a person might do witchcraft but might not be part of wicca. Wicca is a pagan religion that was founded in the 20th century, and it focuses on energies that are found in the universe. This is a belief that energy can be changed so that people can be healed or that people can get things that they want or need.

Worshipping Gods and Goddesses

Another thing that often happens with the occult is worship. Many will worship ancient gods or goddesses and others will worship a single god or two gods. There are different spiritual ideas on who the people will worship and wicca is part of the occult that practices New Age, but they are not a cult.

New Age is a spiritual belief that requires people to share what they know and to choose the energies that are inside of them. Some will look to be enlightened in their spiritual being while others will feel responsible to help others have this same enlightenment.

Practicing the Occult

Anyone can choose to join a cult or to practice the occult. The occult will help you to reach out into the universe and to use tools to understand life. While cults are something that might seem dangerous, the occult is something that is not going to be dangerous and will use spiritual tools to become better and to make a connection with the universe and the spiritual world.


  1. The differentiation between cults and the occult is indeed significant. It’s essential to understand their distinct definitions to avoid misconceptions.

  2. While the occult may seem mysterious, it’s often just unexplained phenomena. Critical thinking is crucial when exploring such topics.

  3. The categorization of cults into illuminated, instrumental, service, and professional is useful. It helps in understanding the diverse ways they can manifest.

  4. What strikes me is the role of charismatic leaders in cults. Their influence on followers can be both profound and dangerous.

  5. The examples of dangerous cults like Heaven’s Gate and the Manson Family provide a stark reminder of the potential for harm when beliefs become extreme.

  6. The concept of ‘brainwashing’ in the context of cults is a complex one. It raises questions about free will and the power of persuasion.

  7. The quote by Arthur C. Clark about magic being misunderstood science resonates with me. It captures the essence of how the occult can be perceived.

  8. The historical perspective on cults and the occult is fascinating. It’s intriguing how beliefs and practices evolve over time and across cultures.


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