Written in the Stars? The occult as risk management in the Age of Aquarius

  • Charlotte Hackett


The times in which we live are punctuated by events of unrest, uncertainty, and fear for many in society. Although many theories seek to explain the turbulent landscape of modern life, Beck’s theory of Risk Society (1992) is one that is often explored when one aims to understand contemporary socio-political crises. Alongside its exploration of the theory of Beck’s ‘Risk Society’, this paper will begin to understand occultism, or what Christopher Partridge (2004: p.4) calls “Western ‘occulture’”. For Partridge, “occulture” includes a ‘vast spectrum of beliefs and practices, sourced by Eastern spirituality, Paganism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, alternative science and medicine, popular psychology, and a range of beliefs emanating out of a general interest in the paranormal’ (Ibid.). This paper explores the use of occultism in the search for new knowledge, as a form of risk management in modern society, as well as providing insight into its growing popularity and commercialisation over the past decade.