Just to put my $0.02 into this thread: I happen to be a chaote (not an occultist, mind you, and arguably not an deist), and I can tell you from experience that *something* happens.
I don't have the level of arrogance to proclaim to know what it is. I'm a pragmatist at heart, and so as much as I try to figure out what it could be, I realize that I can never be 100% sure of anything except that things work. To me, whether it is purely psychology, memetics, and subconcious communication or whether it involves something supernatural, VALIS mind rays, hyperdimensional tricksters, space pancakes from Venus, or whatever is immaterial to its function.
I typically lean towards explanations that involve autosuggestion and the subconscious propagation of primings via the subtext of normal communication, but even that doesn't fit all the data all the time, nor am I willing to cut the data down with straw men and emotional second-circuit faeces-throwing to adhere to my idea of what the One True Theory should be. Science ain't an exact science, but we're getting better
Keep in mind that according to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, there are an infinite number of realities branching off at any given instant, so that making things happen is more a question of controlling your travel through these alternate universes rather than applying any sort of direct force on things.
As for occultism, I have been accused of practising it in print. As Jay Kinney wrote in The Inner West
"In Tarot history, any connection is fair game. For instance, because there are fifty-six filled in holes at Stonehenge and fifty-six cards in the Minor Arcana, to an occult commentator such as Stephen Franklin the two not only might be but must be connected. (Franklin, who connects the cards with astrological figures in a far-reaching argument based on Pythagorean, Hindu, and Chinese sources, would recoil at being called an occultist, but in the strict sense of the word he is one.)"
Why I would "recoil" is beyond me. I have no problem with occultism, though my analysis was much more detailed than indicated by Mr. Kinney. The point here, however, is that "occultist" is bandied about by the keepers of scientific orthodoxy the way "Communist" used to be broadcast about by Senator McCarthy and "terrorist" (or "terr'ist" in the former case) was and is bandied about by George W and Barack H in the service of their newly discovered executive authority, that of treating their fellow human beings like targets in a particularly violent video game.
"Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice." —Franklin's razor (inverse of Hanlon's razor)