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'The occult' is roughly composed of arcane (magical, divinatory) and nonordinary communicative (spirit contact, summoning) practices designed to influence, derive information from, or interact with some aspect of the world primarily using systems of applied symbolism, and myriad associated theories or contextual descriptions intending to provide explanation for how they work and under what circumstances they ought to be used.

Along with numerous other targets of conservative religion, occult disciplines and arts have been affixed with the suffix 'ism' ('occultism') in order to pretend that they have a singular ideology behind them, or singular system of operation associated to them, and dismiss them from some vantage point.