The summary includes:
- Common beliefs
- Main influence throughout history
- Representative materials for this worldview
- Symbols: rainbow, planet Earth/Gaia
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics“.
The major world religions whose beliefs and practices are entwined with the New Age Movement are Hinduism (ca. 3,000 B.C.), Buddhism, (ca. 560 B.C.), and Taoism, (ca. 500 B.C.). Another prominent occultic influence is Druidism, the religion of the Celts, which extended from 300 B.C. into the middle ages.
Common beliefs that seem to predominate the movement as a whole are Pantheism, Reincarnation, Esotericisim and Relativism.
The New Age movement can also be defined as a new syncretistic working of individuals and organizations dedicated to a mystical interpretation of reality and the pursuit of occult practices to enhance spirituality. Its followers range from those seeking metaphysical experience to those searching for enhanced human potential through a holistic view.
The expression “New Age” came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s. It was encouraged along by the circulation of the “New Age Journal,” and a book by Mark Satin called New Age Politics. Marilyn Ferguson’s best selling Aquarian Conspiracy was a presentation of the social agenda and philosophical vision of the New Age. Ferguson’s writing attained status as the unofficial scripture of the movement. As Russell Chandler, one time religious writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in his small booklet, ‘Understanding The New Age’: “If Ferguson wrote the New Age ‘Bible,‘ Shirley MacLaine is its high priestess.”
Astrology, Aura, Black and White Magic, Chakras, Chi Energy, Crystals, Channeling, Druidism, Eastern Mysticism, Extraterrestrials and UFOs, Energy healing, Fire-walking, Gaia, Gnosticism, Hare Krishna, Hinduism, Human Potential Movement, Mind Science, Meditation, Native American Spirituality, Near-death Experiences, Nirvana, Parapsychology, Psychic, Shamanism, Spiritism, Tai Chi, Taoism, Tarot Cards, Theosophy, Trance-Channeling, Transcendental Meditation, Transpersonal Psychology, Witchcraft, Yin-Yang, Yoga, Zen- all these practices, once held within a niche of the 60s counter-culture, have in the past 2 decades become increasingly popular, establishing themselves as part of the loose form of religiosity known as New Age. The movement tends to reject traditional religion and to adhere to a form of religious syncretism that stresses magical and paranormal beliefs, along with certain physical and mental techniques that aim to promote higher levels of consciousness (Hanegraaff, 1996).
These techniques are borrowed from virtually all kinds of religious traditions, from shamanism to Buddhism, but also from modern psychotherapy, and are put together by the individual in order to promote one’s self-development.
It is important to note that unlike for the other worldviews existing in our world, New Agers adopters vary considerably from the ‘initiated’- who know well what and why they believe and why they have become part of the movement- to a vast majority who are involved quite ‘innocently’ lacking knowledge of the ideology.
Main influence throughout history
New Age is literally new and raised as a riposte to Christianity huge historical influence on the world as well as secularism’s present and strong influence. The entrance into the Aquarius Age is seen as opposed to the Pisces Age that is just ending according to New Agers and that represents Christianity (symbol fish).
Representative materials for this worldview: ‘The Secret’, ‘What the bleep do we know’, ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle, Marilyn Ferguson’s ‘Aquarian Conspiracy’, Neale Donald Walsch’s ‘Conversations with God’