I don’t necessarily think of it in terms of “before and after.” Occult knowledge and practice, to me, can be a fluid and ongoing process.
I was quite interested in spiritual matters as a kid, and that included things outside acceptable mainstream thought.
The occult changed my life by opening up certain levels of awareness. I found the occult early, or perhaps it found me. Because of that, I knew that there was more going on than the mundane happenings in my hometown and its local religious groups.
The occult led me to ask, “What else is out there?” That’s an important question, especially if you live in a restrictive society.
There’s always something else just beyond the fringes of what you currently know and accept. To me, that’s where the occult leads. Some paths will lead nowhere at all, or to idiotic and fanatical theories, but some can change one’s life for the better.