In technical Theosophy flows an undercurrent of pure and deep occultism. There is evidence that occultism has been confused in the minds of many earnest students with esotericism.
Esoteric, a word used at first by the ancient Greeks among those initiated into the Mysteries, was later applied in ancient as in modern times to mark a distinction supposed to exist between certain classes of writings or discourses of Aristotle. The esoteric works designed for the disciples were thought to be less popular, either in style or treatment, and to contain more technical doctrines, than the exoteric works, which were designed for the public.
Technical doctrines, esoteric because taught in secret to a select circle, are, like symbols, inseparable from dangers. Though a necessary path, it is a dangerous one by which to approach one's own Inner Divinity.
Names which stand for things are confounded with the things themselves; the means are mistaken for the end; the vehicle of interpretation for the object; and thus the technical comes to assume an independent character as truth. All our Teachers have had a deep feeling about this danger and have emphatically warned us of the intellectual mischief present.
Yet it is easy for human indolence to linger among the familiar and well-defined and refuse to pass further on. So the timid remain content to dogmatize the technical, consider it profound if taught esoterically, and continue to rotate in the same close-cropped circle where they first learned to browse, while the progressive soul roves forth "to fresh fields and pastures new" in the regions of occultism.
Technical Theosophy is the most complete embodiment of occultism in the world today. It contains more meanings than words, its expressions are as figurative as poetry and as exact as numbers.
Existing but partly concealed from observation, this living truth is clearly perceived only by disciplined investigation; which investigation is the science of occultism. It cannot be immediately or easily known under its envelopes of paradoxical enigmas that seem impenetrable to the less wise. Revealed by experimentation, occult science, being the Universal Synthesis, supplies the investigator with the lost factors in human science, and the lost keys to human progress; but he alone understands how to avail himself of it who comprehends the necessity of never misusing it.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE