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How to "Level Up" Your Occult Skills - Part 3

A skill set guide inspired by the video game “The Council” that an occultist can apply to their personal goals.

By Kris LelielPublished about a year ago 6 min read
How to "Level Up" Your Occult Skills - Part 3
Photo by Sergey Sokolov on Unsplash

I think it’s important to understand how to explore occult knowledge more objectively, which is what inspired this “Level Up” series (read Part One and Part Two here). Part Three focuses on the personal reasons behind learning and/or believing in occultism. For those of us who believe and take witchcraft, sorcery, or whatever seriously, we accept that our work is experiential above all else. For those who just love the topic and want to further understand why people adopted occultism and mysticism as the fundamentals of their core beliefs back then and today, this article should provide some insight.

The Occultist Skill Set

This isn't a "how to become an occultist" kind of guide. In The Council, advancing your skills as an occultist before the others was a choice the player make if they suspected there was a more supernatural explanation behind the game's story and wanted to use more secretive means to get the information they wanted. I'm definitely not encouraging any stealing or lying here. This is more about how these skills when they're "leveled up" add fuel to whatever fire drives us to explore the occult and its uses. I’ll be using the Poison Path, which is “a branch of occult herbalism combined with entheogenic ritual practice, phyto-chemistry, and magic,” (Michael 2021) to each skill’s description.


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The allure of occultism comes from a place of curiosity. In literature, films, shows, and obviously video games, we find magical concepts paired with foreboding warnings, like “magic comes at a price” or “you must sacrifice something important to you and you’ll never get it back”; consequences, consequences, blah blah blah. That’s usually how an introduction to the occult goes, but that doesn't scare us away. Many of us want to know why occultism is such a dangerous thing or if it’s a real thing to worry about in the first place. All sorts of people are interested in the occult. They range from those who want to integrate their spirituality with occult practices and those who don’t believe in it, but can't help but learn more. There’s something empowering about challenging the stereotypical fear around sorcery, whether you consider occultism fact or fiction. Either way, it’s knowledge and experience under your belt.


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Comparing supernatural suspicions of the past with the scientific theories of today can be really fun and life-saving. Magic-based practices such as following the poison path or studying alchemy have laid the foundation of herbology and chemistry. Science can clearly distinct what’s superstition and what’s reality, but science and the arcane are often complementary. I went to a psychic ability/mediumship class taught by a psychiatrist who had us record our successes and failures when using our intuitive ability to learn something about a person we’ve never met. Tracking my successes and failures was not only fun, but also challenged my views on the strength of intuition and what factors affect it. There’s nothing wrong with testing a magical hypothesis or addressing the facts that mysticism missed. Either method provides the opportunity to learn.

Additionally, science will also inform you if trying out an occult technique from the past or created recently is just plain stupid. Many new witches were warned not to put particular crystals in water or on their skin due to the different types of minerals that are soluble in water. Another instance is the poison path in herbalism, which demands understanding what alkaloids are and their physiological effects on a person’s body and mind.


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In part two, I emphasized how using the “detective” skills will help you detect the con artists, cult leaders, and the spread of misinformation. The manipulation skill helps with that too. There are those who genuinely do practice magic as a part of their spirituality who later get pulled into covens, secret societies, or cults that create hierarchical rankings within their groups. Patronizing the new members, they might be called “acolytes” or something, is usually a huge psychological game. This is very different than practices that require initiation to become a priest or priestess like figure, which is more common in closed practices. I joined a secret society where the lessons were so convoluted and full of partially scientific jargon (And now I officially hate people who think they understand the universe and quantum physics). All I got from it was getting pissed at a very condescending mentor and had a few bucks less in my wallet.It was a sour experience, but I’m glad I know what to look out for.

Taking things from a more spiritual perspective, manipulation might spark an interest in the history of energy work. Martial art styles like Qigong and Tai Chi, for example, teach the movement of chi and how it can be manipulated through physical movements and poses. Various types of yoga and an understanding of chakras do the same. Reiki is another popular practice, which has been Westernized to oblivion like the other practices (I strongly suggest applying the skills from part one and two to these practices because their cultural origins have been overwhelmed with so much nonsense). Studying these practices could have calming effects and can be enlightening to some, but please know that any claims about these practices curing mild to severe medical illnesses and injuries are false.


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There is a long track record of people using mysticism to trick others, but you can also learn how mystics have learned to trick themselves. For example, the Poison Path uses a variety of herbs that can be smoked or infused to help someone achieve a trance-like state for meditation. This technique has been used across many cultures. A self-induced trance can provide a different perspective on a situation, which could be considered prophetic visions/dreams or aid someone performing divination. Many of these herbs obviously have a history of causing hallucinatory effects or just straight up poisoning someone, which is why their metaphysical associations are paired with chthonic themes. Calling this is “trick” isn’t meant to invalidate the practice itself. Personal subterfuge can help us get ourselves unstuck from a rigid way of thinking, and for some people the occult provides many ways to make that happen.


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When we call someone an “erudite” person, we consider them to be very knowledgeable or scholarly. Those of us who love learning about the occult have a natural passion for learning. The way occultism overlaps with many fields of study can is inspiring and humbling. We’ll realize there are gaps in our knowledge about particular topics and it’s our responsibility to fill those gaps. Occultists are pushed to learn things we weren’t expected to. The Poison Path has a lot of chemistry and cognitive science I did not expect (and I’m grateful my psychology degree helped bridge the gap a bit).

My love for studying occultism comes from a fascination of understanding humanity’s views on magic and spirituality throughout history. I think there are many who feel the same, and perhaps you’re one of them. From accounts from centuries past to the subreddits and Tumblr posts, there are all sorts of testimonies about spiritual phenomena and the wonder between the lines. I will forever encourage you to check the validity of every resource you find, but keep an open mind so you don’t kill the fun that comes with learning more and more.

Thanks for Reading!

Part One-Diplomat Skills and Part Two-Detective Skills are here if you haven’t read them yet.

This has been so fun to write and I hope it was intriguing, helpful, and at least entertaining.


Michael, Coby. The Poison Path Herbal: Baneful Herbs, Medicinal Nightshades, and Ritual Entheogens. Simon and Schuster, 2021.


About the Creator

Kris Leliel

Kris Leliel is a strange writer who posts about the occult and spirituality, goth stuff, horror, creative writing, mental health, and her own creative ventures. She has a Masters in Liberal Studies and a BA in English & Psychology.

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