From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.
Subject: Occult Sciences
From: "Jim Rodak"
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000
I often come across the term "occult sciences" in theosophical literature. Would anyone care to expound on this subject in some detail and also relate it to the term often associated with it, "laws of nature." JLR
Subject: Occult Science
From: Gerald Schueler
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000
Occult science is a broad umbrella-like term, on the lines of "magic," and has many definitions. Basically, it pre- assumes that there are hidden laws. This means that there are causal principles behind the world of our physical senses that we are unaware of.
My attempt to address these "laws" resulted in a book called ENOCHIAN PHYSICS in the late 80s (now out of print). My book looked at the laws of occult science through the lens of Enochian Magic and I relied heavily on the works of both Blavatsky and Crowley (putting aside their personalities, their teachings are remarkably similar). My magical critics complain that my book was too Theosophical, while most Theosophists feel it too magical.
The so-called "laws of nature" have as many definitions as "occult science." In general, the laws of nature are those laws of physics that we know about, while occult science treats of the laws of physics that we do not know about, largely because they cannot be demonstrated in laboratory-like conditions and thus are statistically unreliable. Occult science thus addresses such things as divination, prophecy, ESP, NDE, OBE, telepathy, and the like.
Within the Theosophical community (large T intended) occult science is respected while magic is abhored although truth-to-tell few Theosophists seem to know the difference (i.e., that occult science is largely theoretical while magic is largely the practical application of occult science).
Hope this helps
It seems to me that HPB uses the term to mean quite simply magic and the theory behind that magic. And then, I suppose the theory includes the laws of nature. On the other hand HPB also uses the term *occultism* to mean white magic - or that magic which is used solely and exclusively for the good of humanity, with self-knowledge and pure motive included.