Talk:List of occultists

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Untitled[edit]

Was Faust an actual living person? Kingturtle 18:58 Apr 10, 2003 (UTC)

My understanding is that there was in fact a living Dr. Faustus, a German alchemist from around the 1500s. He's been more or less overshadowed by his legend, same as Merlin. There's a web discussion of the original Faust here: http://www.internationalliving.com/postcards.cfm?pcard=2379 -- IHCOYC 19:11 Apr 10, 2003 (UTC)

This article should be moved to the more inclusive List of occultists, as it already includes many whom the label magician does not fit (and paranormal magicians sounds rather weird to boot.) Mkweise 20:26 Apr 10, 2003 (UTC)


History probably makes this look like a big change, but it is not. Being extraordinarily unoccupied, I just sorted the names by alphabet. Okay, I also did some minor adjustments and added a couple of names, but nothing special. There definitely are a lot more occultists in Wikipedia that do not appear in this list yet.


Jesus Christ?[edit]

What idiot put Jesus Christ down as an occultist! Pitchka 22:24, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)

Many occultists are eager to claim Jesus Christ as one of their own. There is a long, long tradition of occult speculation that has Jesus, for instance, studying magic and hermetica or Hindu traditions in the years between his childhood and his public career. The Theosophical Society claimed him for an Ascended Master. Bear in mind that this is about people who have been claimed to be occultists, as the intro states. Jesus Christ definitely belongs on the list. -- Smerdis of Tlön 22:13, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This type of speculation (or fiction) has no evidentiary merit whatsoever, and should not be used as the basis for adding someone - unless this article is just going to be yet another list-of-unsupported-claims. AWilliamson 03:50, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
If your objection is one made in good faith, why do you not ask for sources instead of rather presumptively asserting, that such do not exist? -- Cimon 06:52, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)
Like the article states, this is a subject that has tended to attract hoaxes, tall tales, and folklore. Google on "Ascended Master Jesus" and you will find just under 400 pages of people advancing the POV that Jesus was an "Ascended Master;" some suggest that later figures might be his reincarnation -- and that's just one strain of esoteric claims about Jesus. (What the various flying saucer people make of him is even stranger.) With Solomon, the evidence is even clearer; long standing Jewish traditions have Solomon summoning and commanding demons via magic, and as such Solomon gets credited for all sorts of magical texts that supposedly contain his secrets. -- Smerdis of Tlön 18:50, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
As you say, there are certainly many available "hoaxes, tall tales, and folklore", and various theories promoted by internet sites; but given that other "List of..." articles at Wikipedia are generally based - and are certainly supposed to be based - upon proven information in keeping with the requirements of an encyclopedia article, I've changed the article to state that entries must be based on accepted historical fact. The common procedure I've seen used in other articles of this sort is to remove any doubtful cases until hard evidence is provided, and I have therefore changed the list accordingly (while adding others to compensate). The only 'evidence' that has been cited so far is the allegation that Jewish tradition supposedly describes Solomon as a sorcerer; but since Jewish theology actually condemns the use of magic as a sin, it hardly seems credible that Jewish tradition would make such a claim about a king of Israel.
I've added other, more plausible, entries to make up for those which were removed, and can add more if need be. Hopefully this can be worked out amicably. AWilliamson 04:21, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The Bible also goes on about how Solomon worshipped false gods in his later years, and blames these sins on the influence of his wives. The article on Solomon specifically mentions his magical legends, summoning demons, and so forth. Jesus may be a somewhat harder example, but it isn't hard to verify that these claims are out there; again, a Google search will yield a fair number of 'em. For that matter, the claims of the Gospels that Jesus worked miracles and rose from the dead are enough to qualify him as a person who is said to have worked paranormal feats. We aren't going to establish the absolute truth about Jesus or Solomon here; we can only repeat the claims that have been made about them. -- Smerdis of Tlön 20:30, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would make two brief points: 1) A "List of Occultists" is not the place for any and every person who has supernatural feats of any kind credited to them - unless this particular list page is going to be so broadly defined as to have overlap with numerous others, in which case it would be redundant. 2) Since it is common practice in other "List" pages to remove any persons for whom hard proof has not been provided, "magical legends" and internet theories would not be sufficient to justify a person's inclusion. AWilliamson 03:27, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
There seems to be some sort of perverse will here to remove anyone mentioned favorably in the Christian Bible from this list. The latest example is the Three Magi, who are called magoi in Greek in the New Testament, identifying them with the group after whom "magic" is named. They are going to be returned to the list tonight. So are Solomon, after whom the magical text The Key of Solomon is named, and Jesus Christ, claimed numerous times in print by Theosophists, Elizabeth Clare Prophet's outfit, and many others as a magician of some sort. Because Christians revere these folks, a higher standard of proof is claimed to be needed for them than for anyone else, and that is simply wrong. The claims that these people were occultists of some sort are widely attested and out there, for those who care to look. They're all going back in. -- Smerdis of Tlön 05:37, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I would add that omitting these attested beliefs when they are attached to Biblical figures is inherently POV and unbalanced. No doubt, Christians who reject characterization of their own beliefs as "occult" will reject them. Others make these claims, and the purpose of this list is simply to report them.
For example, the article on Solomon itself states, "The Gnostic Apocalypse of Adam, which may date to the 1st or 2nd century, refers to a legend in which Solomon sends out an army of demons to seek a virgin who had fled from him, perhaps the earliest surviving mention of the later common tale that Solomon controlled demons and made them his slaves. This tradition of Solomon's control over demons appears fully elaborated in the early Christian work called the "Testament of Solomon" with its elaborate and grotesque demonology. Solomon's mastery of demons is a common element in later Jewish and Arabic legends, and is often attributed to possession of a magic ring called the Seal of Solomon." Legendary? Probably. Attested in history? Certainly. Solomon belongs here? Unquestionably.
The article on Jesus says, "The New Age movement has reinterpreted the life and teaching of Jesus in a large variety of ways (For example, see A Course in Miracles). He has also been claimed as an Ascended Master by Theosophy and some of its offshoots; related speculations have him studying mysticism in the Himalaya or hermeticism in Egypt in the period between his childhood and his public career."
I submit that any attempt to remove Solomon, Jesus, or the Magi from the page should be considered POV. Moreover, further discussion about the accuracy of these attested tales told about them probably ought to be undertaken in Talk:Solomon, Talk:Jesus rather than here. -- Smerdis of Tlön 19:57, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Poll: Inclusion of Biblical figures[edit]

Solomon[edit]

Belongs in this list[edit]

  1. -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

2. --Thew Morte (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 17:08, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Does not belong in this list[edit]

Discussion[edit]

From the article on Solomon:

The Gnostic Apocalypse of Adam, which may date to the 1st or 2nd century, refers to a legend in which Solomon sends out an army of demons to seek a virgin who had fled from him, perhaps the earliest surviving mention of the later common tale that Solomon controlled demons and made them his slaves. This tradition of Solomon's control over demons appears fully elaborated in the early Christian work called the "Testament of Solomon" with its elaborate and grotesque demonology.
Solomon's mastery of demons is a common element in later Jewish and Arabic legends, and is often attributed to possession of a magic ring called the "Seal of Solomon".

Based on the foregoing, Solomon belongs on this list -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Jesus[edit]

Belongs in this list[edit]

  1. -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Does not belong in this list[edit]

Discussion[edit]

From the article on Jesus:

The New Age movement has reinterpreted the life and teaching of Jesus in a large variety of ways (For example, see A Course in Miracles). He has also been claimed as an Ascended Master by Theosophy and some of its offshoots; related speculations have him studying mysticism in the Himalaya or hermeticism in Egypt in the period between his childhood and his public career.

Based on the foregoing, Jesus belongs on this list -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This poll seems premature given that the article itself is confused about its subject. The title is List of occultists whereas the list of individual occultists is headed Famous magicians and opens: "Some historical or legendary magicians, wizards, witches, or people who have been claimed to be so, are:". I think that the section title would be consistent if it read Notable occultists and I would have a separate section for people for whom the description has been claimed by others. This simplifies the identification of contentious claims (such as Jesus) whilst facilitating their imclusion in the list. --Theo (Talk) 13:10, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This may be a good idea, at least for Solomon. Virgil and probably Albertus Magnus might bet fit in such a category. (For Jesus himself, I'd submit that he belongs on the list in any case, on account of his reputation for performing supernatural wonders: see Miracles of Jesus. It is POV to claim that supernatural marvels ascribed to Jesus are not magical because you believe a religious doctrine that defines this particular wonderlore differently.) -- Smerdis of Tlön 13:44, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I have created a new category. I moved Gyges of Lydia, Virgil, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and Livingstone Bramble there, and added or re-added Moses and Olaus Wormius there also. If Solomon is re-added, he belongs there also. Jesus and the Three Wise Men belong in the chronological categories on their own merits, I think. -- Smerdis of Tlön 14:23, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The Three Wise Men[edit]

Belongs in this list[edit]

  1. -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Does not belong in this list[edit]

Discussion[edit]

From the article on the Three Wise Men:

Neither their names nor their gender nor their number are given: the Greek text of Matthew refers to them merely as μαγοι απο ανατολων, "Magi from the East". μαγοι should probably be interpreted as Persian-style (Zoroastrian) seers, philosophers, astrologers, and maybe even strictly as members of the sect of Magi (see the many references throughout Pliny, for example). Greek grammar makes it not inconceivable that one or more of them may have been women, while the traditional reference to "three" seems to derive from the number of gifts mentioned in the Gospel.

Based on the foregoing, the Three Wise Men belong on this list. In addition, according to Thayer's Bible Lexicon [1], the Greek word magos, traditionally translated as "wise men" in the Nativity account, is translated "sorcerer" in the KJV at Acts 13. --Smerdis of Tlön 14:50, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would add, furthermore, that the removal of Biblical figures who historically have been linked with divination and magic strikes me as inherently POV. It's as if someone doesn't want Bible heroes to be labelled "occultists" despite the fact that history bears out that they have been associated with occultism. No one is asking anyone to believe these reports; but to dismiss them because they contradict religious beliefs is inherently POV. -- Smerdis of Tlön 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Problems with article[edit]

Hi,

I saw this article on WP:CS and thought I'd take a look. I believe the poll is specious in that it will not solve the underlying problems with the article, which are serious:

  • The first problem I see is the name of the article itself; although I am highly ignorant of the subject, I do know "occultist" is a loaded word with negative connotations for a large number of people. Is it possible to come up with a more neutral title? Perhaps something like "list of supernatural practitioners"??? Regardless of whether occult is an accurate term, it is probably not the best choice (similar to words that have come to be interpreted as derogatory, ex. "fag" in America for homosexual, accuracy does not mean neutral).
  • There is a crucial difference between those who claimed themselves to be occultists (ex. Nostradamus), and those who others have claimed were occultists (ex. Jesus). These should at the very least be separated within this list, although more preferably, separated into different lists on different articles.
  • References are crucial in a controversial topic like this. While those who themselves claim to be occultists are relatively uncontroversial, for those to whom occultism has been attributed, readers need to know who attributed them so. See Wikipedia:cite sources. An annotated list would be especially useful, with in-line or in-text references, for people like Jesus. Those who object to his inclusion on this list would have less of an argument if, instead of essentially saying "Jesus was an occultist (see relevant WP articles x,y,z), the list says "Groups x, y, and z say Jesus was an occultist, but groups a,b,c disagree".
  • No original research on Wikipedia. Original research includes: defining "occultist", reading an original document (say the Bible) i.e. a primary source, and then including a figure on this list because their attributed actions in that document match the adopted definition of "occultist". We can only put someone on this list if somebody else describes him as an occultist in some other document - i.e. a secondary source.

This is a tough article, I wish the editors working on it much luck! - Bantman 18:34, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)

IIRC, this article was originally created under the title List of people associated with paranormal magic. This was rather wordy, and it was moved to the current title, "occultists" seeming to be the broadest category for dealing with the several traditions and streams. I tend to think it reasonably neutral given the ground it's meant to cover, although those for whom "the occult" is a bogeyman may react differently.
The bits about documentation, especially for the controversial figures, are beginning to be addressed. Almost all of them relate to ancient or medieval figures; the modern ones are mostly self-professed occultists or diviners with published material in the field.
As I've said before, we're dealing with material here that attracts legends, tall tales, and folklore by its very nature. The article once said this, and included the caveat to the effect that people on the list may not have in fact practiced occultism, but rather are claimed to have practiced it. I've attempted to separate out these later legends in a separate section. Since this one is just a list, documenting these claims may belong on pages about the figues in question, but some brief notice or an external link here may be appropriate. -- Smerdis of Tlön 20:23, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Given that we had already discussed and resolved (or so I thought) all of this last year, and given that Ihcoyc's current effort to revitalize the debate again has not included any new arguments, I would ask again that the matter be allowed to rest. Moreover, as TheoClarke and Bantman touched upon somewhat in their above comments, the chief problem with this list page has always been that it is so broadly and vaguely defined - not only does it overlap with numerous other list pages, but it also employs hazy definitions which are guaranteed to lead to continuous disputes over categorization and inclusion. If the article's chief supporter wants to rehash even those matters which had previously been allowed to rest, I think it might finally be time to ask that this article be deleted entirely - there are plenty of other list pages which already cover the numerous and varied topics which have been lumped into this one, and they do so with far less ambiguity. AWilliamson 03:19, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I might not have noticed, were it not for the latest attempt to vandalize or censor the page, which removed the Three Wise Men, who are called "magi" in the only source that records their existence. There never was any consensus to remove Solomon or Jesus, nor any attempt to address the fact that for the reasons stated they both belong here. History records that some of the several beliefs people have had about both of them is that they were workers of magic. -- Smerdis of Tlön 03:58, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Removing the three recently disputed entries from the list is only a beginning for cleaning up this article. The evidence for putting the Three Wise Men on this list is especially flimsy, having nothing more to support it than an alternative reading of Greek text. We know absolutely nothing about what they did, so how can we say that they were "occultists".

The entire list is meningless. It does not even begin with a definition of what it means by "occultist", which in some circles is regarded a derogatory. Occultism may be treated as collective term for a wide variety of practices, but if that is the case we would do better to divide the article into its component parts and abandon the present soup that confuses fact and fiction. In its present form it is totally unreliable. Eclecticology 00:21, 2005 Apr 13 (UTC)


To briefly address Ihcoyc's comments: We've been over this many times, when this was discussed last year. I think the main concern, as others have pointed out above, is how to deal with the clear problems concerning the article's scope, definitions, and relevance. AWilliamson 03:22, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

So what, exactly, is it that you want? Again, this article used to be List of paranormal magicians or people associated with paranormal magic; its coverage may be broad, but at least under that name it correlated obviously with the article magic (paranormal), which defined its scope; anyone alleged to have practiced magic as discussed there should be included here. Under the title "List of occultists" that connection is not obvious. The original title was thought by some to be ungainly. It was ungainly; the list was called that because List of magicians was already used for stage magicians.
When we're speaking of magic, especially as practiced by historical figures, "fact" and "fiction" are necessarily going to be elusive. In this context, it is POV to privilege some sources or viewpoints and disparage others. The Key of Solomon and the Books of Kings must stand on an equal footing.
What, exactly, would you prefer? My chief concerns are NPOV and censorship based on religious viewpoints. There must be a list under which Solomon, Jesus, and the like figure as magicians. If we break up this list into multiple sub-lists like:
List of diviners, oracles, prophets, and fortune tellers
List of magical practitioners
List of occult authors
List of alchemists
List of reputed magicians
.
would anyone be happier? A couple of these already exist, I see. I'm not convinced this would fix anything; again, the real problem seems to me to be the disparagement of certain historical traditions, or POV-based objections to the labels of "occultist" or "magician." We would be eliminating the value coming from having a master list of all figures associated with paranormal magic in its several forms. There needs to be a way to find all of these sublists from here. If it helps achieve consensus I am willing to try this. -- Smerdis of Tlön 13:53, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Is there any compelling reason to keep agitating over this issue, given that it had been dropped last year? In any event, I think there's a reasonable consensus, based on several other persons who have posted above, that the entire list is senseless to begin with, and overlaps with many other existing list pages. AWilliamson 03:22, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

A good beginning would be to add exactly how you define "occultist" for the purpose of this article. Then set strict criteria for exactly what belongs in this article; if a person does not meet these criteria he's off the list. In some cases the individual's presence on the list is based on allegations and rumours alone, e.g. Livingstone Bramble. Some entries are based only on information from other occult sources such as the Rosicrucians or Gnostic; there is no evidence there to distinguish corporeal reality from religious symbolism. The activity of legendary figures is as dubious as their existence. If you want to include someone on the list you would do well to follow the "cite your sources" principle. Eclecticology 05:17, 2005 Apr 16 (UTC)

Euro-centric list?[edit]

I've been scanning over the list, and I must say it's very limited, listing "occultists" from European and Middle Eastern origin, but nothing from East Asia or non-Egyptian Africa, let alone the pre-colonial Americas. Surely there must be more legendary, semi-legendary and real people that should be included from these areas. 24.80.108.205 22:31, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Johnson[edit]

Would Robert Johnson be better included under "People subjected to magical legends"? The legend of his DwtD seems to have circulated mostly after his death, rather than by his own efforts. -FZ 23:21, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

21st Century Occultists[edit]

Hey folks - I just wanted to suggest we add a section for 21st Century occultists. I am an occultist and author (see: http://kheph777.tripod.com/ ) who came up in the 90s, and my first full-length book (Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires - see: http://kheph777.tripod.com/indexsecrets.html ) was finally published in 2005. I also think there may be other up-and-coming occultists of the 21st Century who would like to see a space for them in this list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.91.45.226 (talkcontribs)

Do be aware that autobiographies, self-promotion and advertising are not permitted on WP. Thanks. -999 (Talk) 16:27, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Why were the 21st century occultists removed? Are there no occultists in the new century?—Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.91.45.226 (talkcontribs)
Please see notability requirements. Also, if you are serious about contributing to Wikipedia then please create an account an familiarize yourself with Wikipedia standards and policies. One of these is that autobiographies and other self-promotion are actively discouraged. As far as I know, there are not yet any notable articles on 21st century occultists, and therefore no need for a list of red links to non-existant articles. -999 (Talk) 15:13, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Aha! Thanks for the "notability requirements." Plus, the last line of your above comments answered my question perfectly.  :)

Allan Kardec[edit]

What is meant here by "occultist"? As far as I'm concerned, this concept doesn't fit with Allan Kardec. He was an educator who proposed a new way of relationship with the Spiritual, a humanist and progressist approach. He tried to show that Spiritual phenomena could and should be studied experimentally, instead of the traditional occultist, mystical way it had been done for centuries. He was someone who believed in the power of the dialogue between scientific, philosophical and religious knowledge as the best way to achieve a more complete perception of reality. I can't realise how come someone strongly influenced by Illuminism and Rationalism, who didn't even believe in "supernatural", could be called an "occultist"... Arges 14:45, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Spiritualism is a subcategory of occult, as can be seen from the first title in the references to that article, The Spiritualists: The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Occultism is not mystification. Many occultists were scientific and experimentally oriented, for example Isaac Newton and Aleister Crowley. -999 (Talk) 16:22, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Sir Isaac Newton[edit]

Speaking of Newton, how was he an occultist ?!? He shouldn't be here. Discussion? Grye 22:51, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

An obvious point[edit]

Why is this article given the misleading term 'List of occultists' and then goes on to in the subsections to list Magicians? Is the use of the term 'occultist' to describe Magicians used anywhere else other than here in the wikipedia? If not, the title should be changed. The wikipedia should not be the place to advance new definitions and new semantic entities: it should reflect normal scholarly usage. Colin4C 11:55, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Good point. Dictionary.com defines an occultist as someone who is "a believer in occultism..." [2] and this would preclude magicians who do not believe in occultism. Chris 13:21, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Undiscussed deletion reverted[edit]

I have reverted the undiscussed deletion of the entire contents of this page, and the substitution of a redirect to Occult, by User:Violetriga. The scope of this page and the criteria for inclusion have been discussed extensively, and I don't think any unilateral action is justified. The justifications for inclusion of any figure here should be referenced -- on their own articles in chief. - Smerdis of Tlön 15:25, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Never use admin rollback for such things - that should be used only for reverting vandalism.
The deletion was based on BLP and the findings of the AfD of a similar article. There is simply no acceptable reason for having a list calling people "occultists" without any sources. violet/riga (t) 21:27, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Unilaterally deleting the entire content of the page is vandalism. - Smerdis of Tlön 20:09, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
And, even if there were WP:BLP concerns for recent figures who have not done things like, say, publishing books about this sort of topic, this fails to justify deleting the entire list all the way back to classical mythology. - Smerdis of Tlön 20:15, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
You have not addressed the issues and have acting inappropriately. The article is not allowed to stand based on WP:BLP, WP:V and the precedent set by List of anarchists and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Christians (3rd nomination). This article should not be undeleted without further discussion. violet/riga (t) 23:49, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
The claim that an entire article that goes back to ancient history must be removed in its entirety because of the policy on biographies of living people is rather difficult to respond to civilly and rationally, so excuse me if I don't try. Deleting the entire list based on this concern also strikes me as killing flies with a shotgun. You also seems to operate under the dubious assumption that being labelled as an "occultist" is something pejorative. The first and best place to look for references as to whether any person merits inclusion is on their own page; individual entries may not merit inclusion, this doesn't justify deleting the entire page. This page has been around for about 5 years, and it was originally spun off from Magic (paranormal) if I remember right. I've tried to deal with your vandalism as civilly as I can, but if I see you removing data here again, it's WP:RFC time. - Smerdis of Tlön 03:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Couldn't we just remove all living people until sourced, and then someone go through the dead ones with a comb to ensure they're sourced? Checking each blue linked article to see if they're sourced as occultists on their relevant individual articles, etc.? I mean, Roger Bacon, Pythagoras, and Moses were on the old list, so BLP seems a bit much to clear an entire useful list when not everyone is obviously alive on it. Just a thought. Link to pre-redirect version for review. • Lawrence Cohen 04:57, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Blanking or deleting the entire article as a "fix" for BLP is very much over the top.. -- Ned Scott 05:29, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

The removal of living people was based on BLP but the removal of the rest was based on the precedent of similar lists that have been deleted on AfD. violet/riga (t) 10:33, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I think this list, if that is the case, should go to proper AfD. Unilateral is fine, but if I revert it, or someone else does, you'll need to review it wider. • Lawrence Cohen 16:44, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
WP:BRD is a sensible policy as long as it doesn't violate BLP. I won't AfD the article as we now have discussion about the way forward. violet/riga (t) 18:21, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Moving forward constructively[edit]

Yes, this article continues to have problems. The title is problematic. Historically, it was forked out of the article magic (paranormal), which was the original article that defined its scope, such as it is. The article on occultism appeared much later.

The notion that being labelled an "occultist" is somehow pejorative has been a consistent cause of friction. This is not the intent; the original idea was to compile a chronological list of the most salient figures who practiced magic, divination, and alchemy; or influenced their development. It helps not to look at activities of the past through twenty-first century eyes; some alchemists and wizards of the past thought they were practicing some variety of the natural sciences, and the modern concepts of miracle and the paranormal are just that - modern. Helpful suggestions as to better labels that will not be read as pejorative by some readers are worthy of consideration.

As to sourcing: my thoughts are that lists of people do not need separate references, but only if :

  • they also contain a few words of explanation as to why a name has been included;
  • we have an article on that person; and'
  • the article on that person contains sourced information that confirms the explanation.

As to modern figures, if they are living I understand that WP:BLP may make it necessary to provide separate references here.

But for modern figures, my chief concern is not so much that they might be offensively labelled as "occultists", as it is with historical significance. The problem with lists is that they attract me-too-isms; the followers of various figures wish to make sure that their leaders are represented. At least for their followers, "occultist" is not pejorative; their concern instead is that their leaders are recognized as significant figures. That said, there surely are at least some modern and living figures, such as Margot Adler, that do in fact merit inclusion.

Related to this issue is the treatment of folklore, tall tales, and contemporary urban legends. History is full of texts and grimoires that were falsely attributed to famous figures: Solomon, Pope Honorius III, and Moses and more recently Ole Worm have all been falsely credited with magical texts. A large body of legend turns the poet Vergil into a wizard. For some groups, Jesus is an ascended master, and a body of lore proposes that he travelled to India or Egypt to study mysticism of various sorts in the interval between his childhood and his public ministry. This sort of lore needs to be addressed somehow, and prior versions of the article attempted that. How to do that while remaining sensitive to biographical sensitivities is something I'm open to constructive suggestions about.

I'm open to constructive suggestions here. We already have spun off a couple of superior articles on the history of Western magic, such as Renaissance magic. It might be that portions of the list might be forked back into relevant articles on a series about the history of paranormal magical belief, and the significance of these figures discussed in text in those articles. - Smerdis of Tlön 15:16, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

It would probably help if the thoroughly historic people were restored. Aleister Crowley has been dead for sixty years; I fail to see the BLP concern. It seems even weaker for King Solomon or Doctor Faustus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:21, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Alphabetical Order[edit]

I think the sub listings of the various occultists listed should be listed in alphabetical order. It would make it so much more easy to search or research the individuals.

--Bill--

June 17 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.231.201.225 (talk) 22:30, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Matthew Hopkins[edit]

Lead section has for example: witchcraft, sorcery and wizardry. But then, how does inclusion of Matthew Hopkins, commissioned English witch-finder fit in the "Enlightenment" section? He was not a witch, he hunted witchs. Isn't that quite the opposite? 85.217.20.33 (talk) 21:06, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

It's a list of occultists, as the title says, not a list of witches. — Jean Calleo (talk) 23:51, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
The header says:
This is a list of notable people, whether contemporary, historical or legendary, who are or were involved in any of the following practices and traditions:
* occult science
* paranormal magic, "black" or "white"
* witchcraft
* sorcery
* wizardry
* astrology
* alchemy
* practical mysticism
* West African Vodun, Haitian Vodou, or Louisiana Voodoo
* divination and fortune-telling
* theurgy
Matthew Hopkins was not notable in any of these fields. He was notable of hunting people belonging to some of those categories. 85.217.20.33 (talk) 04:14, 18 November 2011 (UTC)