Belief in mysterious agencies characterises a certain period in the religious development of every nation. Even the Jews, distinguished among the Semites by their soberness, consulted Yahveh through the Urim and Thummim, an oracle the nature of which is no longer definitely known.
Kindred institutions among most nations are based upon primitive animism, or a belief in spirits, but in China we have a very peculiar mixture of logical clearness with fanciful superstitions. Chinese occultism is based upon a rational, nay a philosophical, or even mathematical, conception of existence. An original rationalism has here engendered a most luxurious growth of mysticism, and so the influence of occultism upon the people of the Middle Kingdom has been prolonged beyond measure.
Text: Paul Carus, Chinese Astrology: Early Chinese Occultism, La Salle, Illinois, Open Court Press, 1907.