What constitutes the occult can vary from person to person. In general, it is used in Western culture to refer to any magical or paranormal practices. Many occultists seek enlightenment or even spiritual fulfillment outside of mainstream religion. Perhaps because of this "fringe" aspect of the occult, the term has taken on a negative meaning. There are several main areas of study for occultists: astrology, spiritualism, divination, extra-sensory perception, alchemy, and magic.
Some argue that most religions incorporate at least some occultist practices, but most do not agree with this assessment. There are a few religions that openly embrace the occult, namely Wicca and other neopagan movements.