This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Rjwilmsi at 23:11, 4 November 2009 (→Spirituality: cite web cleanup using AWB). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the .
The New Age (also known as the New Age Movement, New Age spirituality, and Cosmic Humanism,) is a decentralized Western social and spiritual movement that seeks "Universal Truth" and the attainment of the highest individual human potential. It includes aspects of cosmology, astrology, esotericism, alternative medicine, music, collectivism, sustainability, and nature. New Age spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practices and philosophies, and the rejection of religious doctrine and dogma.
The New Age Movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism and monotheism through classical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, and panentheism to polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy: particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, psychology, and physics. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Western esotericism. Additional terms for the movement include All is One and Mind-Body-Spirit.
The modern New Age Movement emerged in a distinct form in the late 1960s and early 1970s, although its roots can be traced back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gained momentum in the 1980s and strengthened with the Harmonic Convergence event in 1987. Diverse individuals from around the world practice New Age spirituality.
- 1 Movement
- 2 Spirituality
- 3 Lifestyle
- 4 Reception
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The term New Age was used as early as 1809 by William Blake who described a belief in a spiritual and artistic "New Age" in his preface to Milton: a Poem. The Freemasonry journal of the 1800s was titled The New Age.
Some of the New Age Movement's constituent elements appeared initially in 19th century metaphysical movements: Spiritualism, Theosophy, and New Thought; also, alternative medicine movements chiropractic and naturopathy. These movements in turn have roots in Transcendentalism, Mesmerism, Swedenborgianism, and various earlier Western esoteric or occult traditions, such as the hermetic arts of astrology, magic, alchemy, and Kabbalah. The term New Age was used in this context in Madame Blavatsky's book The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888.
A weekly journal of Christian liberalism and socialism titled The New Age was published as early as 1894; it was sold to a group of socialist writers headed by Alfred Richard Orage and Holbrook Jackson in 1907. Other historical personalities were involved: H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats; the magazine became a forum for politics, literature, and the arts. Between 1908 and 1914, it was instrumental in pioneering the British avant-garde from vorticism to imagism. After 1914, publisher Orage met P. D. Ouspensky, a follower of G. I. Gurdjieff, and began correspondence with Harry Houdini, becoming less interested in literature and art, with an increased focus on mysticism and other spiritual topics; the magazine was sold in 1921. According to Brown University, The New Age "... helped to shape modernism in literature and the arts from 1907 to 1922."
Popularisation behind these ideas has roots in the work of early 20th century writers such as D. H. Lawrence and William Butler Yeats. In the early to middle 1900s, American mystic, theologian, and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment Edgar Cayce was a seminal influence on what later would be termed the New Age Movement; he was known in particular for the practice some refer to as channeling. Former Theosophist Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophical Movement are a major influence. Neo-Theosophist Alice Bailey published the book Discipleship in the New Age (1944), which used the term New Age in reference to the transition from the Astrological Age of Pisces to Aquarius. While claims of racial bias in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey were made, Steiner emphasized racial equality as a principle central to anthroposophical thought and humanity's progress. Any racial elements from these influences have not remained part of the Anthroposophical Society as contemporary adherents of the society have either not adopted or repudiated these beliefs. Another early usage of the term, was by the American artist, mystic, and philosopher Walter Russell, who spoke of "... this New Age philosophy of the spiritual re-awakening of man ..." in his essay "Power Through Knowledge", which was also published in 1944.
Carl Gustav Jung was an early articulator of the concept of the Age of Aquarius. In a letter to H. G. Baynes, dated 12 August 1940, he wrote in a passage concerning the destruction of the temple of Karnak by an earthquake in 26 BC: "1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius. It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age."
The subculture that would later be called New Age already existed in the early 1970s, based on and adopting ideas originally present in the counterculture of the 1960s. The Findhorn Foundation – an intentional community near Findhorn, Moray, Scotland founded in 1962 – played an instrumental role during the early growth period of the New Age Movement; it continues to operate the Findhorn Ecovillage.
Widespread use of the term New Age began in the mid 1970s (reflected in the title of monthly periodical New Age Journal) and probably influenced several thousand small metaphysical book and gift stores that increasingly defined themselves as "New Age bookstores". As a result of the large-scale activities surrounding the Harmonic Convergence in the mid 1980s – the term was further popularised by the American mass media to describe the alternative spiritual subculture – including practices such as meditation, channeling, crystal healing, astral projection, psychic experience, holistic health, simple living, and environmentalism; or belief in phenomena such as Earth mysteries, ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, crop circles, and reincarnation. A range of New Age publications appeared by the late 1980s such as Psychic Guide (later renamed Body, Mind & Spirit), Yoga Journal, New Age Voice, New Age Retailer, and NaPRA ReView by the New Age Publishing and Retailers Association.
There were several key moments in raising public awareness of this subculture: the publication of Linda Goodman's best selling astrology books Sun Signs (1968) and Love Signs (1978); Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (1967) with the opening song "Aquarius" and its memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" [emphasis added]; the broadcast of Shirley MacLaine's television mini-series Out on a Limb (1987); and the Harmonic Convergence (1987) organized by José Argüelles in Sedona, Arizona. Also influential were the claims of channelers Jane Roberts (the Seth Material) and J. Z. Knight (Ramtha), as well as revealed writings A Course in Miracles (1976) by Helen Schucman, The Celestine Prophecy (1993) by James Redfield, and Conversations with God (1995) by Neale Donald Walsch. Relevant works also include the writings of Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, John Holland, Gary Zukav, and Wayne Dyer; also, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which was based on the writings of Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks.
While authors J. Gordon Melton, Wouter Hanegraaff, and Paul Heelas have emphasised the mentioned personal aspects; Mark Satin, Theodore Roszak, Marilyn Ferguson, and Corinne McLaughlin have described New Age as a values-based sociopolitical movement.
While there is no unified belief system, many spiritual practices and philosophies are common among adherents of the New Age Movement.
Philosophy and cosmology
- There is a general and abstract idea of God, which can be understood in many ways; seen as a superseding of the need to anthropomorphize deity. Not to be confused with pantheism.
- Spiritual beings
- Gods, angels, Ascended Masters, elementals, ghosts, faeries, Spirit guides and extraterrestrials can spiritually guide a person, if they open themselves to their guidance.
- Consciousness persists after death as life in different forms; the afterlife exists for further learning through the form of a spirit, reincarnation and/or near-death experiences. There may be a belief in hell, but typically not in the traditional Christian sense or Islamic sense of eternal damnation. Universalist views of the afterlife are common.
- Age of Aquarius
- The current time period is claimed by some astrologers to be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius correlated to various changes in the world and some claim that the early 1960s was the actual beginning of the Age of Aquarius, though this claim is highly contentious. Common claims about the developments associated with the Age of Aquarius include, but are not limited to, human rights, democracy, innovative technology, electricity, computers, and aviation. Esoteric claims are that the Age of Aquarius will see a rise in consciousness.
- Horoscopes and the Zodiac are used in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.
- Life has a purpose; this includes a belief in synchronicity—that coincidences have spiritual meaning and lessons to teach those whom are open to them. Everything is universally connected through God and participates in the same energy. There is a cosmic goal and a belief that all entities are (knowingly or unknowingly) cooperating towards this goal.
- Indigo children
- Children are being born with a more highly developed spiritual power than earlier generations.
- Interpersonal relationships
- There are opportunities to learn about one's self and relationships are destined to be repeated until they are healthy.
- An important aspect of perception – offset by a somewhat strict rationalism – noted especially in the works of psychologist Carl Jung.
- Positive thinking supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything; this is based on the concept that Thought Creates. Therefore, as one begins focusing attention and consciousness on the positive, on the "half-filled" glass of water, reality starts shifting and materializing the positive intentions and aspects of life. A certain critical mass of people with a highly spiritual consciousness will bring about a sudden change in the whole population. Humans have a responsibility to take part in positive creative activity and to work to heal ourselves, each other and the planet.
- Human Potential Movement
- The human mind has much greater potential than that ascribed to it and is even capable of overriding physical reality.
- Spiritual healing
- Humans have potential healing powers, such as therapeutic touch, which can be developed to heal others through touch or at a distance.
Religion and science
- New Age writers argue people should follow their own individual path to spirituality instead of dogma.
- Some adherents of traditional disciplines such as the Lakota people, a tribe of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, reject the term New Age. They see the movement it represents as either not fully understanding, deliberately trivializing, or distorting their disciplines.
- Feminine forms of spirituality, including feminine images of the divine, such as the female Aeon Sophia in Gnosticism, are deprecated by patriarchal religions.
- Ancient civilizations
- Atlantis, Lemuria, Mu, and other lost lands existed. Relics such as the crystal skulls and monuments such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza were left behind.
- Psychic perception
- Certain geographic locations emanate psychic energy (sometimes through ley lines) and were considered sacred in pagan religions throughout the world.
- Eastern world practices
- Meditation, Yoga, Tantra, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, martial arts, Tai chi chuan, Falun Gong, Qigong, Reflexology, Reiki, and other Eastern practices can assist in realizing one’s potential.
- Food influences both the mind and body; it is generally preferable to practice vegetarianism by eating fresh organic food, which is locally grown and in season. Fasting can help achieve higher levels of consciousness.
- An appeal to the language of nature and mathematics, as evidenced by numerology, Kabbalah, Sacred geometry, and gnosticism to discern the nature of God.
- Quantum mechanics, parapsychology, and the Gaia hypothesis have been used in quantum mysticism to validate spiritual principles. Authors Deepak Chopra, Fritjof Capra, Fred Alan Wolf, and Gary Zukav have linked quantum mechanics to New Age spirituality, which is presented in the film What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004); also, in connection with the Law of Attraction, which is related to New Thought and presented in the film The Secret (2006). They have interpreted the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, quantum entanglement, wave function collapse, or the many-worlds interpretation to mean that all objects in the Universe are one (monism), that possibility and existence are endless, and that the physical world is only what one believes it to be.
- In medicine, such practices as therapeutic touch, homeopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy involve hypotheses and treatments that have not been accepted by the conventional, science-based medical community through the normal course of empirical testing.
New Age spirituality has led to a wide array of literature on the subject and an active niche market: books, music, crafts, and services in alternative medicine are available at New Age stores, fairs, and festivals.
People who practice New Age spirituality or embrace its lifestyle are included in the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) demographic market segment, currently in a growth phase, related to sustainable living, green ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively affluent and well-educated segment. The LOHAS market segment in 2006 was estimated at USD$300 billion, approximately 30 percent of the United States consumer market. According to The New York Times, a study by the Natural Marketing Institute showed that in 2000, 68 million Americans were included within the LOHAS demographic. The author Paul H. Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creatives in his book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (2000), states, "What you're seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous."
Practitioners of New Age spirituality may use alternative medicine in addition to or in place of conventional medicine; while some conventional physicians have adopted aspects or the complete approach of holistic health.
New Age music is peaceful music of various styles, which is intended to create inspiration, relaxation, and positive feelings while listening. Studies have determined that New Age music can be an effective component of stress management. Some New Age music albums come with notes to encourage use in meditation.
This style began in the 1970s with the works of free-form jazz groups recording on the ECM label; such as Oregon, the Paul Winter Group, and other pre-ambient bands; as well as ambient music performer Brian Eno and classical avant-garde musician Daniel Kobialka. In the early 1970s, it was mostly instrumental with both acoustic and electronic styles. New Age music evolved to include a wide range of styles from electronic space music and acoustic instrumentals using Western instruments to spiritual chanting from other cultures – including Native American flutes and drums, synthesizers, and instrumental world music sounds.
Activist Constance Cumbey offered the first major criticism of the New Age Movement from a Christian perspective in The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and Our Coming Age of Barbarism (1983).
The author Ken Wilber posits that most New Age thought falls into what he termed the pre/trans fallacy. According to Wilber, human developmental psychology moves from the pre-personal, through the personal, then to the transpersonal (spiritually advanced or enlightened) level. He claims that 80 percent of New Age spirituality is pre-rational (pre-conventional) and relies primarily on mythic-magical thinking; this is in contrast to a post-rational (includes and transcends rational) genuine world-centric consciousness.
First Nations groups, particularly Native Americans, have denounced what they see as misappropriation of their cultural heritage within the New Age Movement. They have coined the term plastic shaman to describe individuals who are attempting to pass themselves off as shamans, holy people, or other traditional spiritual leaders, but who have no genuine connection to the traditions or cultures they claim to represent. The academic Ward Churchill has criticised the New Age Movement as an instrument of cultural imperialism that is exploitative of indigenous cultures, including Native American, by reducing it to a commodity to be traded. In Fantasies of the Master Race, he criticises the cultural appropriation of native American culture and symbols in not only the New Age Movement, but also in art and pop culture.
- Higher consciousness
- New Age communities
- Paradigm shift
- Planet Earth
- Social equality
- Spiritual evolution
- New Age Transformed J. Gordon Melton, Director Institute for the Study of American Religion. Retrieved on 2006-06.
- Lewis 1992, pp. 15–18
- What Is “New Age? Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Cult Observer, 1993, Volume 10, No. 1. Retrieved on 2006-07.
- Spencer, Neil (2000). True as the Stars above: Adventures in Modern Astrology. Victor Gollancz. pp. 115–27. ISBN 0575067691.
- History of the New Age periodical, Brown University, Modernist Journals Project
- Modernism In and Beyond the “Little Magazines”, Winter 2007, Professor Ann Ardis, Brown University
- "The New Age" Encyclopedia Britannica article on Orage
- "Modernist Journals Project Has Grant to Digitize Rare Magazines". Brown University. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- York, Michael (1995). The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 60. ISBN 0847680010.
- Shnirelman, Victor A. Russian Neo-pagan Myths and Antisemitism in Acta no. 13, Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism. The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 1998. Retrieved 2007-08-22
- Hansson, Sven Ove (2002). "The racial Teachings of Rudolf Steiner". SkepticReport. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- mit einem Vorwort von Justus Wittich und einer Analyse nach deutschem Recht von Ingo Krampen ; die Überarbeitung in deutscher Sprache wurde von der Kommission "Anthroposophie und die Frage der Rassen" autorisiert ; Übersetzung: Ramon Brüll. (2000). Anthroposophie und die Rassismus-Vorwürfe (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Info3-Verlag. pp. 309ff. ISBN 9783924391249.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Kerkvliet, Von Gerard. "Commission on "Anthroposophy and the Question of Race"". Anthroposophical Society in The Netherlands. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- "Position Statement on Diversity". The General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America. 1998. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
We explicitly reject any racial theory that may be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner's writings. The Anthroposophical Society in America is an open, public society and it rejects any purported spiritual or scientific theory on the basis of which the alleged superiority of one race is justified at the expense of another race.
- Stein, Murray (2005). Transformation. Texas A & M University Press. p. 138. ISBN 1585444499.
- C G Jung Letters, Volume I, 1906-1950, p. 285
- Algeo, John (1991). Fifty Years Among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms, 1941-1991. Cambridge University Press. p. 234. ISBN 0521449715. Unknown parameter
- Materer, Timothy (1995). Modernist Alchemy: Poetry and the Occult. Cornell University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0801431468.
- Melton, J. Gordon (1989). New Age Encyclopaedia. Routledge. ISBN 0810371596. Unknown parameter
- Hanegraaff 1996, pp. 1ff
- Heelas, Paul (2004). The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality (Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World). WileyBlackwell. ISBN 1405119594. Unknown parameter
- Satin, Mark (1976). New Age Politics
- Roszak, Theodore (1978). Person/Planet
- Ferguson, Marilyn (1980). Aquarian Conspiracy
- Davidson, Gordon; Corinne McLaughlin (1994). Spiritual Politics
- "Ascended Masters Research Center". Retrieved 2001-07-01.
- "Reincarnation and NDE Research". Retrieved 2006-10-01.
- Lewis 1992, pp. 187–88
- "Only God Exists". Retrieved 2006-07-01.
- "CNN News transcript of interview with Sandy Bershad, an Indigo Child". Cable News Network. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "Indigo Children – Crystalline Children". Awakening-Healing News. 2002-06-04. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
- Rudhyar, Dane. Chapter 6: The Time For Mutation is Now. Directives for New Life.
- Hanegraaff 1996, pp. 217–24
- Supercharged Affirmations The Salem New Age Center. Salem, Massachusetts, US. Retrieved on 2007-08.
- Carroll, Robert Todd (2005). "The Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon". Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- Accepting Total and Complete Responsibility: New Age NeoFeminist Violence against Sethna Feminism Psychology. (1992) 2: pp. 113–19
- Clarke, Peter Bernard (2006). New Religions in Global Perspective: A Study of Religious Change in the Modern World. Routledge. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0415257476.
- Hanegraaff 1996, pp. 203–55
- Hunt, Stephen (2003). Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0754634108.
- "Reality Shifters news".
- Lewis 1992, p. 14
- James V. Fenelon, Culturicide, resistance, and survival of the Lakota ("Sioux Nation"), pp. 295–97. New York: Garland Pub., 1998. ISBN 0815331193.  Retrieved on 2009-03-16.
- Hanegraaff 1996, pp. 309–10
- Witcombe, Christopher L. C. E. "Sacred Places". Retrieved 2006-07-01.
- Heindel, Max (1968). New age Vegetarian Cookbook. Rosicrucian Fellowship.OCLC 4971259
- Max, Peter (1971). The Peter Max new age organic vegetarian cookbook. Pyramid Communications.OCLC 267219
- Fast Fasting – New Age Spirituality Dictionary at The Global Oneness Commitment. Retrieved on 2008-04.
- "Kabbalah". Light for the Last Days. 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "Quantum Interconnectedness". Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- Shine, KI (2001). "A critique on complementary and alternative medicine". J Altern Complement Med. 2001;7 Suppl 1:S145-52. Retrieved 2001-01-04. Unknown parameter
|affiliation=ignored (help); Check date values in:
- Singh, Simon (2008). Trick or Treatment, The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. Norton. ISBN 0393066614. Unknown parameter
- University of Montana (Winter 1998). "Alternative medicine: from New Age to mainstream". Montana Business Quarterly.
- Heelas, Paul (1996). The New Age Movement: Religion, Culture and Society in the Age of Postmodernity. Blackwell Publishing. p. 116. ISBN 0631193324.
- David Moore (2002-06-17). "Body & Soul, yoga w/o the yoyos". Media Life.
- Judith Rosen (2002-05-27). "Crossing the Boundaries:Regardless of its label, this increasingly mainstream category continues to broaden its subject base". Publishers Weekly.
- Cohen, Maurie J. (2007). "Consumer credit, household financial management, and sustainable consumption" ([dead link] – Scholar search). International Journal of Consumer Studies. 31 (Volume 31 Issue 1): 57–65. doi:10.1111/j.1470-6431.2005.00485.x. Unknown parameter
- Halweil, Brianink (2004). State of the World 2004: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 167. ISBN 0393325393. Unknown parameter
- Cortese, Amy (2003-07-20). "Business; They Care About the World (and They Shop, Too)". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- Everage, Laura (2002-10-01). "Understanding the LOHAS Lifestyle". The Gourmet Retailer Magazine. The Nielsen Company. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- "National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine". Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- Lehrer, Paul M. (2007). Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition. New York: Guilford Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 159385000X. Unknown parameter
- Spring, Joel H. (2004). "Chapter 4: Love the Biosphere: Environmental Ideologies Shaping Global Society". How Educational Ideologies Are Shaping Global Society: Intergovernmental Organizations, NGO's, and the Decline of the Nation-state (illustrated ed.). Mahwah, New Jersey, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 119. ISBN 0805849157. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Satin, Mark Ivor (1979). New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society (revised ed.). Dell Publishing Company. p. 199. ISBN 0440557003.
- Lewis 1992, pp. 154–56
- "JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE: A Christian reflection on the "New Age"". The Vatican. 2003. Retrieved 2009-07-19. Unknown parameter
- Wilber, Ken (1999). "Introduction to the Third Volume". The Collected Works of Ken Wilber. 3. Boston, MA, US: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1590303210. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Hanegraaff 1996, p. 250
- Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (1996). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Boston, MA, US: Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9789004106963. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Lewis, James R. (1992). Perspectives on the New Age. Albany, New York, US: State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780791412138. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- Hammer, Olav Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age Brill Academic Publishers, 2003 ISBN 900413638X
- Heelas, Paul The New Age Movement: Religion, Culture and Society in the Age of Postmodernity Blackwell Publishing, 1996 ISBN 0631193324
- Kemp, Daren. New Age, a Guide: Alternative Spiritualities from Aquarian Conspiracy to Next Age Edinburgh University Press, 2004 ISBN 0748615326
- Kemp, Daren and James R. Lewis, eds. Handbook of New Age Brill Academic Publishers, 2007 ISBN 9004153551