New Age

New Age

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The New Age movement is a Western
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 and motivational psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, holistic health
Holistic health
Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. As defined above, the holistic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine...

, parapsychology
Parapsychology
The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

, consciousness research and quantum physics". It aims to create "a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas" that is inclusive and pluralistic
Religious pluralism
Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religions, and is used in a number of related ways:* As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values...

. Another of its primary traits is holding to "a holistic worldview," thereby emphasising that the Mind, Body and Spirit
Dialectical monism
Dialectical monism, also known as dualistic monism, is an ontological position that holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from monism by asserting that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms...

are interrelated and that there is a form of Monism
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

and unity throughout the universe. It further attempts to create "a worldview that includes both science and spirituality" and thereby embraces a number of forms of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

.

According to author Nevill Drury
Nevill Drury
Nevill Drury is an editor, publisher, and professional in many aspects of the publishing business, as well as the author of over forty books on subjects ranging from shamanism and western magical traditions to art, music, and anthropology. His books have been published in fifteen languages...

, the origins of the movement can be found in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly through the works of the esotericists Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

, Franz Mesmer
Franz Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer , sometimes, albeit incorrectly, referred to as Friedrich Anton Mesmer, was a German physician with an interest in astronomy, who theorised that there was a natural energetic transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called magnétisme animal ...

, Helena Blavatsky and George Gurdjieff, who laid some of the basic philosophical principles that would later influence the movement. It would gain further momentum in the 1960s, taking influence from metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

, self-help psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, and the various Indian gurus who visited the West during that decade.

The New Age movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 and monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 through classical pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, naturalistic pantheism
Naturalistic pantheism
Naturalistic pantheism is a naturalistic form of pantheism that encompasses feelings of reverence and belonging towards nature and the wider universe, but is realist and embraces rationalism and the scientific method...

, pandeism
Pandeism
Pandeism or Pan-Deism , is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism and deism Pandeism or Pan-Deism (from and meaning "God" in the sense of deism), is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of...

 and panentheism
Panentheism
Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it...

 to polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 combined with science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and Gaia philosophy
Gaia philosophy
Gaia philosophy is a broadly inclusive term for related concepts that living organisms on a planet will affect the nature of their environment in order to make the environment more suitable for life. This set of theories holds that all organisms on an extraterrestrial life-giving planet regulate...

; particularly archaeoastronomy
Archaeoastronomy
Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky how they used phenomena in the sky and what role the sky played in their cultures." Clive Ruggles argues it is misleading to consider archaeoastronomy to be the study of ancient astronomy, as modern...

, astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

, the Gaia hypothesis
Gaia hypothesis
The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.The scientific investigation of the...

, psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions
Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice...

: Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

; with strong influences from East Asian religions
East Asian religions
In the study of comparative religion, the East Asian religions form a subset of the Eastern religions...

, Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

, New Thought
New Thought
New Thought promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.Although New Thought is neither...

, Spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

, Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, Universalism
Universalism
Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

, and Western esotericism. The term New Age refers to the coming astrological
Astrological age
An astrological age is a time period which astrology postulates parallels major changes in the development of Earth's inhabitants, particularly relating to culture, society and politics. There are twelve astrological ages corresponding to the twelve zodiacal signs in western astrology. At the...

 Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius is either the current or new age in the cycle of astrological ages. Each astrological age is approximately 2,150 years long, on average, but there are various methods of calculating this length that may yield longer or shorter time spans depending upon the technique used...

.

Origins


The author Nevill Drury
Nevill Drury
Nevill Drury is an editor, publisher, and professional in many aspects of the publishing business, as well as the author of over forty books on subjects ranging from shamanism and western magical traditions to art, music, and anthropology. His books have been published in fifteen languages...

 claimed there are "four key precursors of the New Age," who had set the way for many of its widely held precepts. The first of these was Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

 (1688–1772), a Swedish scientist who after a religious experience devoted himself to Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

, believing that he could travel to Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 and Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 and commune with angels, demons and spirits, and who published widely on the subject of his experiences. The second person was Franz Mesmer
Franz Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer , sometimes, albeit incorrectly, referred to as Friedrich Anton Mesmer, was a German physician with an interest in astronomy, who theorised that there was a natural energetic transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called magnétisme animal ...

 (1734–1815), who had developed a form of healing using magnets, believing that there was a force known as "animal magnetism
Animal magnetism
Animal magnetism , in modern usage, refers to a person's sexual attractiveness or raw charisma. As postulated by Franz Mesmer in the 18th century, the term referred to a supposed magnetic fluid or ethereal medium believed to reside in the bodies of animate beings...

" that affected humans. The third figure was the Russian Helena Blavatsky (1831–1891), one of the founders of the Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society is an organization formed in 1875 to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments has several successors...

, through which she propagated her religious movement of Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, which itself combined a number of elements from Eastern religions like Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 with Western elements. The fourth figure was George Gurdjieff (c. 1872–1949), who founded the philosophy of the Fourth Way, through which he conveyed a number of spiritual teachings to his disciples. A fifth individual whom Drury identified as an important influence upon the New Age movement was the Indian Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda , born Narendranath Dutta , was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansa and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission...

 (1863–1902), an adherent of the philosophy of Vedanta
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

 who first brought Hinduism to the West in the late 19th century.

The term New Age was used as early as 1809 by William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 who described a coming era of spiritual and artistic advancement in his preface
Preface
A preface is an introduction to a book or other literary work written by the work's author. An introductory essay written by a different person is a foreword and precedes an author's preface...

 to Milton a Poem by stating: "... when the New Age is at leisure to pronounce, all will be set right ..."

Some of the New Age movement's constituent elements appeared initially in the 19th-century metaphysical
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 movements: Spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

, Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, and New Thought
New Thought
New Thought promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.Although New Thought is neither...

 and also the alternative medicine movements of chiropractic
Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. It is generally categorized as complementary and alternative medicine...

s and naturopathy. These movements have roots in Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

, Mesmerism, Swedenborgianism, and various earlier Western esoteric or occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

 traditions, such as the hermetic
Hermeticism
Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs based primarily upon the pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus...

 arts of astrology, magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, alchemy
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, and Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

. The term New Age was used in this context in Madame Blavatsky
Madame Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky , was a theosophist, writer and traveler. Between 1848 and 1875 Blavatsky had gone around the world three times. In 1875, Blavatsky together with Colonel H. S. Olcott established the Theosophical Society...

's book The Secret Doctrine
The Secret Doctrine
The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, a book originally published as two volumes in 1888, is Helena P. Blavatsky's magnum opus. The first volume is named Cosmogenesis, the second Anthropogenesis...

, published in 1888.

A weekly journal of Christian liberalism
Liberal Christianity
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

 and socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 titled The New Age
The New Age
The New Age was a British literary magazine, noted for its wide influence under the editorship of A. R. Orage from 1907 to 1922. It began life in 1894 as a publication of the Christian Socialist movement; but in 1907 as a radical weekly edited by Joseph Clayton, it was struggling...

was published as early as 1894; it was sold to a group of socialist writers headed by Alfred Richard Orage
Alfred Richard Orage
Alfred Richard Orage was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While working as a schoolteacher in Leeds, he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party, and theosophy...

 and Holbrook Jackson
Holbrook Jackson
George Holbrook Jackson was a British journalist, writer and publisher. He was recognised as one of the leading bibliophiles of his time.-Biography:...

 in 1907. Contributors included H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

, George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

, and William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

; the magazine became a forum for politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, and the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

. Between 1908 and 1914, it was instrumental in pioneering the British avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 from Vorticism
Vorticism
Vorticism, an offshoot of Cubism, was a short-lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century. It was based in London but international in make-up and ambition.-Origins:...

 to Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

. Orage met P. D. Ouspensky
P. D. Ouspensky
Peter D. Ouspensky , , a Russian esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915.He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with...

, a follower of Gurdjieff, in 1914 and began correspondence with Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts...

; he became less interested in literature and art with an increased focus on mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 and other spiritual topics; the magazine was sold in 1921. According to Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

, The New Age "... helped to shape modernism in literature and the arts from 1907 to 1922."

Development


Popularisation behind these ideas has roots in the work of early 20th century writers such as D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

 and William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

. In the early- to mid-1900s, American mystic, theologian, and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment
Association for Research and Enlightenment
The Association for Research and Enlightenment , also known as Edgar Cayce's A.R.E., was founded by Edgar Cayce in 1931 to research and explore subjects such as holistic health, ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, dreams and dream interpretation, intuition, philosophy and reincarnation...

 Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce was an American psychic who allegedly had the ability to give answers to questions on subjects such as healing or Atlantis while in a hypnotic trance...

 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
Mediumship
Mediumship is described as a form of communication with spirits. It is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo and Umbanda.- Concept :...

. The psychologist Carl Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

 was a proponent of the concept of the Age of Aquarius. In a letter to his friend Peter Baynes, dated 12 August 1940, Jung wrote a passage: "... This year reminds me of the enormous earthquake in 26 B.C. that shook down the great temple of Karnak
Karnak
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II . Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some...

. It was the prelude to the destruction of all temples, because a new time had begun. 1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star
Star
A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by gravity. At the end of its lifetime, a star can also contain a proportion of degenerate matter. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth...

 in Aquarius
Aquarius (constellation)
Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for "water-bearer" or "cup-bearer", and its symbol is , a representation of water....

. It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age ..." Former Theosophist Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

 and his Anthroposophical Movement
Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development...

 are a major influence. Neo-Theosophist
Neo-Theosophy
The term Neo-Theosophy is a term, originally derogatory, used by the followers of Blavatsky to denominate the system of Theosophical ideas expounded by Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater following the death of Madame Blavatsky in 1891...

 Alice Bailey
Alice Bailey
Alice Ann Bailey , known as Alice A. Bailey or AAB to her followers, was an influential writer and theosophist in what she termed "Ageless Wisdom". This included occult teachings, "esoteric" psychology and healing, astrological and other philosophic and religious themes...

 published the book Discipleship in the New Age (1944), which used the term New Age in reference to the transition from the astrological age
Astrological age
An astrological age is a time period which astrology postulates parallels major changes in the development of Earth's inhabitants, particularly relating to culture, society and politics. There are twelve astrological ages corresponding to the twelve zodiacal signs in western astrology. At the...

 of Pisces to Aquarius. While claims of racial bias in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey were made, Bailey was firmly opposed to the Axis powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

; she believed that Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 was possessed
Demonic possession
Demonic possession is held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying...

 by the Dark Forces, and Steiner emphasized racial equality
Racial equality
Racial equality means different things in different contexts. It mostly deals with an equal regard to all races.It can refer to a belief in biological equality of all human races....

 as a principle central to anthroposophical thought and human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

ity's progress. Any racial elements from these influences have not remained part of the Anthroposophical Society
Anthroposophical Society
The General Anthroposophical Society is an organization dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the form of spiritual philosophy known as anthroposophy. The society was initiated during 1913 by members of the Theosophical Society in Germany, including Rudolf Steiner who was at...

 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
Walter Russell
Walter Bowman Russell was an American artist and mystic known for his achievements as a painter, sculptor, author and builder and less well known as a natural philosopher and for his unified theory in physics and cosmogony. He posited that the universe was founded on a unifying principle of...

, who spoke of "... this New Age philosophy of the spiritual re-awakening of man ... Man's purpose in this New Age is to acquire more and more knowledge ..." in his essay "Power Through Knowledge," which was also published in 1944.

Contemporary usage of the term


The subculture
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

 that later became known as New Age already existed in the early 1970s, based on and adopting ideas originally present in the counterculture
Counterculture of the 1960s
The counterculture of the 1960s refers to a cultural movement that mainly developed in the United States and spread throughout much of the western world between 1960 and 1973. The movement gained momentum during the U.S. government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam...

 of the 1960s. Two entities founded in 1962: the Esalen Institute
Esalen Institute
Esalen Institute is a residential community and retreat in Big Sur, California, which focuses upon humanistic alternative education. Esalen is a nonprofit organization devoted to activites such as meditation, massage, Gestalt, yoga, psychology, ecology, and spirituality...

 in Big Sur
Big Sur
Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The name "Big Sur" is derived from the original Spanish-language "el sur grande", meaning "the big south", or from "el país grande del sur", "the big...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and the Findhorn Foundation
Findhorn Foundation
The Findhorn Foundation is a Scottish charitable trust registered in 1972, formed by the spiritual community at the Findhorn Ecovillage, one of the largest intentional communities in Britain....

—an intentional community
Intentional community
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They...

 which continues to operate the Findhorn Ecovillage
Findhorn Ecovillage
Findhorn Ecovillage is an experimental architectural community project based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland, near the village of Findhorn. The project's main aim is to demonstrate a sustainable development in environmental, social, and economic terms...

 near Findhorn
Findhorn
Findhorn is a village in Moray, Scotland. It is located on the eastern shore of Findhorn Bay and immediately south of the Moray Firth. Findhorn is 3 miles northwest of Kinloss, and about 5 miles by road from Forres....

, Moray
Moray
Moray is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It lies in the north-east of the country, with coastline on the Moray Firth, and borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland.- History :...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

—played an instrumental role during the early growth period of the New Age movement.

Widespread usage of the term New Age began in the mid-1970s (reflected in the title of monthly periodical New Age Journal
New Age Journal
New Age Journal, or New Age: The Journal for Holistic Living was an American periodical prominent in the late 20th century, and defining itself as covering topics related to the period's "New Age"; it has been succeeded, in turn, by Body & Soul, and under new ownership by Body + Soul.It was founded...

) 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
Harmonic Convergence
The Harmonic Convergence is the name given to the world's first globally synchronized meditation, announced by José Argüelles, and which occurred on August 16–17, 1987, which also closely correlated to an exceptional alignment of planets in our solar system, see below .The timing of the Harmonic...

 in 1987, the American mass-media further popularised the term as a label for the alternative spiritual subculture, including practices such as meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, channeling, crystal healing
Crystal healing
Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique that employs stones and crystals as healing tools.The practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to chakras, or places crystals around the body in an attempt to construct an "energy grid", ...

, astral projection
Astral projection
Astral projection is an interpretation of out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of traveling outside it...

, psychic
Psychic
A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception , or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot...

 experience, holistic health
Holistic health
Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. As defined above, the holistic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine...

, simple living
Simple living
Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want...

, and environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

; or belief in phenomena such as Earth mysteries
Earth mysteries
The term Earth mysteries describes an interest in a wide range of spiritual, quasi-religious and pseudo-scientific ideas focusing on cultural and religious beliefs about the Earth, generally with regard to particular geographical locations of historical significance.The study of ley lines...

, ancient astronauts
Ancient astronauts
Some writers have proposed that intelligent extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth in antiquity or prehistory and made contact with humans. Such visitors are called ancient astronauts or ancient aliens. Proponents suggest that this contact influenced the development of human cultures,...

, extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

, unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

s, crop circle
Crop circle
A crop circle is a sizable pattern created by the flattening of a crop such as wheat, barley, rye, maize, or rapeseed. Crop circles are also referred to as crop formations, because they are not always circular in shape. While the exact date crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented...

s, and reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

. Several 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 Publishers and Retailers Alliance.

Several key events occurred, which raised public awareness of the New Age subculture: the production of the musical Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Hair (musical)
Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement...

(1967) with its opening song "Aquarius
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni , and Galt MacDermot , released as a single by The 5th Dimension. The song peaked at number one for six weeks on the U.S...

" and its memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius"; publication of Linda Goodman
Linda Goodman
Mary Alice Kemery popularly known as Linda Goodman was a New York Times bestselling American astrologer and poet.-Early life and background:...

's best-selling astrology books Sun Signs (1968) and Love Signs (1978); the release of Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine is an American film and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author, well-known for her beliefs in new age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs as well as her Hollywood career...

's book Out on a Limb
Out on a Limb (Shirley MacLaine book)
Out on a Limb is an autobiographical book written by American film actress Shirley MacLaine in 1983. It details MacLaine's journeys through New Age spirituality. The book follows McLaine from California to various locations including New York, Hawaii, and Europe, culminating in a life-changing...

(1983), later adapted into a television mini-series with the same name (1987); and the "Harmonic Convergence
Harmonic Convergence
The Harmonic Convergence is the name given to the world's first globally synchronized meditation, announced by José Argüelles, and which occurred on August 16–17, 1987, which also closely correlated to an exceptional alignment of planets in our solar system, see below .The timing of the Harmonic...

" planetary alignment on August 16 and 17, 1987, organized by José Argüelles
Jose Arguelles
Joseph Anthony Arguelles , better known as José Argüelles, was a world-renowned author, artist, visionary and educator. He was the founder of Planet Art Network and the Foundation for the Law of Time. He held a Ph.D...

 at Sedona
Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona...

 in the U.S. state of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. The claims of channelers Jane Roberts
Jane Roberts
Jane Roberts was an American author, poet, psychic and spirit medium, who said she had "channeled" a personality she called "Seth". Her publication of the Seth texts, known as the "Seth Material", established her as one of the preeminent figures in the world of paranormal phenomena...

 (Seth Material), Helen Schucman
Helen Schucman
Helen Schucman was an American clinical and research psychologist from New York City. She was a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York from 1958 until her retirement in 1976...

 (A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles is a self-study curriculum that aims to assist its readers in achieving spiritual transformation. The book describes a non-dualistic philosophy of forgiveness and includes what are meant to be practical lessons and applications for the practice of forgiveness in one's daily life...

), J. Z. Knight (Ramtha), Neale Donald Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch
Neale Donald Walsch , is an American author of the series Conversations with God. The nine books in the complete series are Conversations With God , Friendship with God, Communion with God, Conversations With God for Teens, The New Revelations, Tomorrow's God, and Home with God: In a Life That Never...

 (Conversations with God
Conversations with God
Conversations with God is a sequence of books written by Neale Donald Walsch, written as a dialogue in which Walsch asks questions and God answers...

) (note that Walsch denies being a "channeler" and his books make it obvious that he is not one), and Rene Gaudette
Rene Gaudette
Rene Gaudette is a Deep Trance Channeler. Since 1993, Réné has been actively channeling The Wonders.Together, Rene and Maggie have authored three books; and present study groups, workshops and retreats featuring The Wonders, a collective energy consciousness...

 (The Wonders) contributed to the movement's growth. Relevant New Age works include the writings of James Redfield
James Redfield
James Redfield is an American author, lecturer, screenwriter and film producer. He is notable for his novel The Celestine Prophecy .-Biography:...

, Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is a German-born Canadian resident, best known as the author of the The Power of Now and A New Earth, which were written in English. In 2011, he was listed by the Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world...

, Barbara Marx Hubbard
Barbara Marx Hubbard
Barbara Marx Hubbard is a prolific futurist, author and public speaker. She is credited with the evolutionary concepts of ‘The Synergy Engine’ and the 'birthing' of humanity.-Personal history:...

, Christopher Hills
Christopher Hills
Christopher Hills was a well-known author, philosopher, scientist, popularly described as the "Father of Spirulina," for popularising spirulina cyanobacteria as a food supplement...

, Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that...

, Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an Indian medical doctor, public speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body medicine. Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on...

, John Holland
John Holland (psychic)
American John Holland is an artist, author, public speaker, and psychic medium.-Early life:John Holland was born on December 20 1961 into an East coast, Irish-Italian, Roman Catholic home. One of his parents suffered from alcoholism...

, Gary Zukav
Gary Zukav
Gary Zukav is a spiritual teacher and author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers. Beginning in 1998, Zukav appeared more than 30 times on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss transformation in human consciousness concepts presented in The Seat of the Soul.-Life Story:Gary Zukav was born in...

, Wayne Dyer
Wayne Dyer
Wayne Walter Dyer is an American self-help advocate, author, and lecturer.- Early life :Dyer was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Melvin Lyle and Hazel Irene Dyer and spent much of his adolescence in an orphanage on the east side of Detroit. Dr. Wayne Dyer is a 1958 graduate of Denby High School;...

, and Rhonda Byrne
Rhonda Byrne
Rhonda Byrne is an Australian television writer and producer, best known for her New Thought works, The Secret—a book and a film by the same name. By the Spring of 2007 the book had sold almost 4 million copies, and the DVD had sold more than 2 million copies omt. She has also been a producer...

.

While J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton
John Gordon Melton is an American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently a research specialist in religion and New Religious Movements with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara...

, Wouter Hanegraaff
Wouter Hanegraaff
Wouter Jacobus Hanegraaff is full professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands...

, and Paul Heelas
Paul Heelas
Paul Lauchlan Faux Heelas was Professor in Religion and Modernity in the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Lancaster until June 2010....

 have emphasised personal aspects, Mark Satin
Mark Satin
Mark Ivor Satin is an American political theorist, author, and newsletter publisher. Although often referred to as a "draft dodger" or "draft resister", he is better known for contributing to the development and dissemination of three political perspectives – neopacifism in the 1960s, New...

, Theodore Roszak
Theodore Roszak (scholar)
Theodore Roszak was professor emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay. He is best known for his 1969 text, The Making of a Counter Culture.-Background:...

, Marilyn Ferguson
Marilyn Ferguson
Marilyn Ferguson was an American author, editor and public speaker, best known for her 1980 book The Aquarian Conspiracy and its affiliation with the New Age Movement in popular culture....

, and Corinne McLaughlin
Corinne McLaughlin
Corinne McLaughlin is an American author and educator. She is executive director of The Center for Visionary Leadership and a Fellow of The World Business Academy and the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. McLaughlin and her partner Gordon Davidson founded Sirius, an ecological village in...

 have described New Age as a values-based sociopolitical movement.

Spirituality


While the New Age lacks any unified belief-system, many spiritual practices and philosophies are common among adherents of the movement—sometimes referred to as New Agers.
Philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and Cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

Concept Description
Theism
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

 
General and abstract idea of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, understood in many ways and seen as superseding the need to anthropomorphize deity.
Spiritual beings  Many believe that gods
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, devas
Deva (New Age)
A deva in the New Age movement refers to any of the spiritual forces or beings behind nature. According to Theosophists Charles Webster Leadbeater and Alice A. Bailey, devas represent a separate evolution to that of humanity. The concept of devas as nature-spirits derives from the writings of...

, angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s, Ascended Master
Ascended master
Ascended Masters, in the Ascended Master Teachings is derived from the Theosophical concept of Masters of the Ancient Wisdom or "Mahatmas", though they differ in important aspects...

s, elemental
Elemental
An elemental is a mythological being first appearing in the alchemical works of Paracelsus in the 16th century. Traditionally, there are four types:*gnomes, earth elementals*undines , water elementals*sylphs, air elementals...

s, ghost
Ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

s, faeries, Spirit guide
Spirit guide
"Spirit guide" is a term used by the Western tradition of Spiritualist Churches, mediums, and psychics to describe an entity that remains a disincarnate spirit in order to act as a guide or protector to a living incarnated human being....

s and extraterrestrials
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 can spiritually guide people who open themselves to such guidance.
Afterlife
Afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

 
New Age sets no restrictions on ones beliefs for the after life. Each person is to find their own path be it reincarnation, non-existence, or a higher plane of consciousness. Some believe consciousness persists after death as life in different forms; the afterlife exists for further learning through the form of a spirit
Spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

, reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 and/or near-death experiences. The New Age belief in reincarnation can be different than the Buddhist or Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 concepts such as a soul can be born into a spiritual realm or even on a far-away planet and there is no desire to end this process; there are also beliefs that either all individuals (not just a minority) can choose where they reincarnate, or that God/the universe always chooses the best reincarnation for the person. There may be a belief in hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

, but typically not in the traditional Christian sense
Hell in Christian beliefs
Christian views on Hell vary, but in general traditionally agree that hell is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved suffer the consequences of sin....

 or Islamic sense
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

 of eternal damnation. Universalist views of the afterlife are common.
Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius is either the current or new age in the cycle of astrological ages. Each astrological age is approximately 2,150 years long, on average, but there are various methods of calculating this length that may yield longer or shorter time spans depending upon the technique used...

 
Some astrologers regard the current time-period as 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
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, innovative technology, electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, computers, and aviation. Esoteric claims are that the Age of Aquarius will see a rise in consciousness.
Eschatology
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 
Related to the above; a belief that we are living on the threshold of a great change in human consciousness usually focused on the date December 21, 2012 when a major, usually positive, change is anticipated. See 2012 phenomenon
2012 phenomenon
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar...

.
Astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 
Horoscope
Horoscope
In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words meaning "a look at the hours" In...

s and the Zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

 are used in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.
Teleology
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

 
Life has a purpose; this includes a belief in synchronicity
Synchronicity
Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner...

—that coincidences have spiritual meaning and lessons to teach those open to them. Everything is universally connected
Universalism
Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

 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
Indigo children
Indigo children is a pseudoscientific label given to children who are claimed to possess special, unusual and/or supernatural traits or abilities. The idea is based on New Age concepts developed in the 1970s by Nancy Ann Tappe...

 
Children are being born with a more highly developed spiritual power than earlier generations.
Interpersonal relationship
Interpersonal relationship
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the...

s
Opportunities to learn about one's self and relationships are destined
Destiny
Destiny or fate refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual...

 to be repeated until they are healthy. Those in the New Age movement accept women's complete equality in all aspects of society including religion and the complete acceptance of one's sexual orientation
Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality,...

, whether heterosexual, homosexual (gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

 or lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

) or bisexual and gender identity
Gender identity
A gender identity is the way in which an individual self-identifies with a gender category, for example, as being either a man or a woman, or in some cases being neither, which can be distinct from biological sex. Basic gender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to...

, whether cisgender
Cisgender
Cisgender is an adjective used in the context of gender issues and counselling to refer to a class of gender identities formed by a match between an individual's gender identity and the behavior or role considered appropriate for one's sex.Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook defined "cisgender"...

, transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

, or intersexual as a means of spiritual development.
Intuition
Intuition (knowledge)
Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. "The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning 'to look inside'’ or 'to contemplate'." Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify...

 
An important aspect of perception – offset by a somewhat strict rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 – noted especially in the works of psychologist Carl Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

.
Optimism
Optimism
The Oxford English Dictionary defines optimism as having "hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favourable or hopeful view." The word is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning "best." Being optimistic, in the typical sense...

 
Positive thinking supported by affirmations
Affirmations (New Age)
Affirmations in New Age and New Thought terminology refers primarily to the practice of positive thinking—fostering a belief that "a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything." More specifically an affirmation is a carefully formatted statement that should...

 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
Human Potential Movement
The Human Potential Movement arose out of the social and intellectual milieu of the 1960s and formed around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential that its advocates believed to lie largely untapped in all people...

 
The human mind has much greater potential than that ascribed to it and is even capable of overriding physical reality.
Spiritual healing
Faith healing
Faith healing is healing through spiritual means. The healing of a person is brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or...

 
Humans have potential healing powers, such as therapeutic touch
Therapeutic touch
Therapeutic touch , also known as Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch , is an energy therapy which practitioners claim promotes healing and reduces pain and anxiety. Practitioners of therapeutic touch state that by placing their hands on, or near, a patient, they are able to detect and manipulate the...

, which can be developed to heal others through touch or at a distance.

Religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and Science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

Concept Description
Eclecticism
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

 
New Age spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

s and philosophies, and the rejection of religious doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 and dogma
Dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

.
Matriarchy
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

 
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
Atlantis
Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC....

, Lemuria
Lemuria (continent)
Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical "lost land" variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The concept's 19th century origins lie in attempts to account for discontinuities in biogeography; however, the concept of Lemuria has been rendered obsolete by modern theories of plate tectonics...

, Mu
Mu (lost continent)
Mu is the name of a hypothetical continent that allegedly existed in one of Earth's oceans, but disappeared at the dawn of human history.The concept and the name were proposed by 19th century traveler and writer Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of...

, and other lost lands
Lost lands
Lost lands can be continents, islands or other regions supposedly existing during prehistory, having since disappeared as a result of catastrophic geological phenomena or slowly rising sea levels since the end of the last Ice Age. Lost lands, where they existed, are supposed to have subsided into...

 existed. Relics such as the crystal skull
Crystal skull
The crystal skulls are a number of human skull hardstone carvings made of clear or milky quartz rock, known in art history as "rock crystal", claimed to be pre-Columbian Mesoamerican artifacts by their alleged finders. However, none of the specimens made available for scientific study have been...

s and monuments such as Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

 and the Great Pyramid of Giza
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact...

 were left behind.
Psychic perception
Psychic
A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception , or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot...

 
Certain geographic locations emanate psychic energy (sometimes through ley line
Ley line
Ley lines are alleged alignments of a number of places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords...

s) and were considered sacred in pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 religions throughout the world.
Eastern world
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 practices
Meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, Tantra
Tantra
Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

, martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

, T'ai chi ch'uan, Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

, Qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

, Reflexology
Reflexology
Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion...

, Reiki
Reiki
is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. The teaching was continued and adapted by various teachers. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing as a form of complementary and alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some...

, and other Eastern practices may assist in focusing spirituality.
Diet
Diet (nutrition)
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management...

 
Food influences both the mind and body; it is generally preferable to practice vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 by eating fresh organic food
Organic food
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.For the...

, which is locally grown and in season; fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

 may be used.
Mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 
An appeal to the language of nature and mathematics, as evidenced by numerology
Numerology
Numerology is any study of the purported mystical relationship between a count or measurement and life. It has many systems and traditions and beliefs...

, Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, Sacred geometry
Sacred geometry
Sacred geometry is the geometry used in the planning and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments, altars, tabernacles; as well as for sacred spaces such as temenoi, sacred groves, village greens and holy wells, and the creation of religious art...

, and gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 to discern the nature of God.
Science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

, parapsychology
Parapsychology
The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

, and the Gaia hypothesis
Gaia hypothesis
The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.The scientific investigation of the...

 have been used in quantum mysticism
Quantum mysticism
Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations...

 to explain spiritual principles. Authors Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an Indian medical doctor, public speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body medicine. Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on...

, Fritjof Capra
Fritjof Capra
Fritjof Capra is an Austrian-born American physicist. He is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, and is on the faculty of Schumacher College....

, Fred Alan Wolf
Fred Alan Wolf
Fred Alan Wolf is an American theoretical physicist specializing in quantum physics and the relationship between physics and consciousness. He is a former physics professor at San Diego State University, and more recently has helped to popularize science on the Discovery Channel...

, and Gary Zukav
Gary Zukav
Gary Zukav is a spiritual teacher and author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers. Beginning in 1998, Zukav appeared more than 30 times on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss transformation in human consciousness concepts presented in The Seat of the Soul.-Life Story:Gary Zukav was born in...

 have linked quantum mechanics to New Age spirituality, which is presented in the film What the Bleep Do We Know!?
What the Bleep Do We Know!?
What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 film that combines documentary-style interviews, computer-animated graphics, and a narrative that describes the spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness...

(2004); also, in connection with the Law of Attraction, which is related to New Thought
New Thought
New Thought promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.Although New Thought is neither...

 and presented in the film The Secret (2006). They have interpreted the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, quantum entanglement
Quantum entanglement
Quantum entanglement occurs when electrons, molecules even as large as "buckyballs", photons, etc., interact physically and then become separated; the type of interaction is such that each resulting member of a pair is properly described by the same quantum mechanical description , which is...

, wave function collapse, or the many-worlds interpretation
Many-worlds interpretation
The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

 to mean that all objects in the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 are one (monism
Monism
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

), 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.

Lifestyle


New Age spirituality has led to a wide array of literature on the subject and an active niche market, with books, music, crafts, and services in alternative medicine available at New Age stores, fair
Fair
A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. ...

s, and festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s.

Demographics


People who practice New Age spirituality or who embrace its lifestyle are included in the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS
LOHAS
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability is a demographic defining a particular market segment related to sustainable living, "green" ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively upscale and well-educated population segment. The author Paul H...

) demographic market segment
Market segment
Market segmentation is a concept in economics and marketing. A market segment is a sub-set of a market made up of people or organizations with one or more characteristics that cause them to demand similar product and/or services based on qualities of those products such as price or function...

, currently in a growth phase, related to sustainable living
Sustainable living
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and his/her own resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet...

, green ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively affluent and well-educated segment. The LOHAS market segment in 2006 was estimated at USD$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

300 billion, approximately 30 percent of the United States consumer market. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, a study by the Natural Marketing Institute showed that in 2000, 68 million Americans were included within the LOHAS demographic. The sociologist Paul H. Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creatives
Cultural Creatives
Cultural Creatives is a term coined by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson to describe a large segment in Western society that has recently developed beyond the standard paradigm of Modernists or Progressives versus Traditionalists or Conservatives...

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."

The New Age is strongly gendered; sociologist Ciara O'Connor argues that it shows a tension between commodification and women's empowerment.

Community


Some New Agers advocate living in a simple
Simple living
Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want...

 and sustainable
Sustainable living
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and his/her own resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet...

 manner to reduce humanity's impact on the natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s of Earth; and they shun consumerism
Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen...

. The New Age movement has been centered around rebuilding a sense of community
Sense of community
Sense of community is a concept in community psychology and social psychology, as well as in several other research disciplines, such as urban sociology, which focuses on the experience of community rather than its structure, formation, setting, or other features...

 to counter social disintegration
Social disintegration
Social disintegration is the tendency for society to decline or disintegrate over time, perhaps due to the lapse or breakdown of traditional social support systems. In this context, "society" refers to the social order which maintains a society, rather than the political order that defines its...

; this has been attempted through the formation of intentional communities, where individuals come together to live and work in a communal lifestyle.

Holistic health



Practitioners of New Age spirituality may use alternative medicine
Alternative medicine
Alternative medicine is any healing practice, "that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine." It is based on historical or cultural traditions, rather than on scientific evidence....

 in addition to or in place of conventional medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

; while some conventional physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s have adopted aspects or the complete approach of holistic health
Holistic health
Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. As defined above, the holistic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine...

.

Music



New Age music
New Age music
New Age music is music of various styles intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is often...

 is peaceful music of various styles 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
Stress management
Stress management is the alteration of stress and especially chronic stress often for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.Stress produces numerous symptoms which vary according to persons, situations, and severity. These can include physical health decline as well as depression. According...

.

The style began in the 1970s with the works of free-form jazz groups recording on the ECM
ECM (record label)
ECM is a record label founded in Munich, Germany, in 1969 by Manfred Eicher. While ECM is best known for jazz music, the label has released a wide variety of recordings, and ECM's artists often refuse to acknowledge boundaries between genres...

 label; such as Oregon, the Paul Winter Consort
Paul Winter Consort
The Paul Winter Consort is an American musical group, led by soprano saxophonist Paul Winter. Founded in 1967, the group mixes elements of jazz, classical music, world music, and the sounds of animals and nature. They are often classified as new age music or "ecological jazz", and their unique...

, and other pre-ambient bands; as well as ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

 performer Brian Eno
Brian Eno
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno , commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno , is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex,...

 and classical avant-garde musician Daniel Kobialka
Daniel Kobialka
Daniel Kobialka, founded LiSem Enterprises Inc., in 1985 and created Wonder of Sound in 2009. Inspired by his time performing with major symphonies such as The Boston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony, and a desire to showcase violin music in a way it had not been...

. 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
Space music
Space music, also called spacemusic, is an umbrella term, synonymous with a segment of New Age Music and Ambient Music, used to describe music that evokes a feeling of contemplative spaciousness. Space music can be found within a wide range of genres. It is particularly associated with ambient, New...

 (like Constance Demby's
Constance Demby
Constance Mary Demby is an American multi-instrument musician and composer. Demby is identified with the New Age movement , while some of her output is also classified as ambient or space music. She is also a singer, instrument designer, painter, sculptor, and multi-media producer...

) using synthesizer
Synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

s and acoustic instrumentals using Native American flute
Native American flute
The Native American flute has achieved some measure of fame for its distinctive sound, used in a variety of New Age and world music recordings. The instrument was originally very personal; its music was played without accompaniment in courtship, healing, meditation, and spiritual rituals. Now it...

s and drum
Drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

s, singing bowl
Singing bowl
Singing bowls are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting...

s, and world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 sounds to spiritual chant
Chant
Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures Chant (from French chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing...

ing from other cultures.

Organized religion



Mainstream religious institutions have been largely critical of New Age spirituality. Author Johanna Michaelson published her own experiences with various New Age practices in The Beautiful Side of Evil (1982); after concluding these activities were demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

ic, she converted
Conversion to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life...

 to Christianity. Michigan attorney and activist Constance Cumbey
Constance Cumbey
Constance Cumbey is a lawyer and activist Christian author.-Background:Cumbey was born as Constance Elizabeth Butler to a family of English, German, and French ancestry in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and raised as a Seventh-day Adventist.She was the first of seven children born to her parents...

 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 Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 published A Christian reflection on the New Age
A Christian reflection on the New Age
A Christian reflection on the New Age refers to a six year study by the Roman Catholic Church on the New Age movement. The study, published in 2003, is highly critical of the New Age movement and follows the 1989 document Aspects of Christian meditation in which the Vatican warned Catholics against...

in 2003, following a six-year study; the 90-page document criticizes New Age practices such as yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, feng shui
Feng shui
Feng shui ' is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu ....

, and crystal healing
Crystal healing
Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique that employs stones and crystals as healing tools.The practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to chakras, or places crystals around the body in an attempt to construct an "energy grid", ...

. According to the Vatican, euphoric states attained through New Age practices should not be confused with prayer or viewed as signs of God's presence. Cardinal Paul Poupard, then-president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Pontifical Council for Culture
The Pontifical Council for Culture is a department of the Roman Curia charged with fostering the relationship of the Catholic Church with different cultures. Pope John Paul II founded it on 20 May 1982...

, said the "New Age is a misleading answer to the oldest hopes of man." Monsignor Michael Fitzgerald, then-president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, erected by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988....

, stated at the Vatican conference on the document: the "Church avoids any concept that is close to those of the New Age."

Expressing agreement with the Vatican's position, Richard Land
Richard Land
Dr. Richard D. Land, aka Chief Red Bull, is the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission , the moral and ethics concern entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States, a post he has held since 1988...

 of the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

 stated that many Baptists would regard New Age ideas as contrary to Christian tradition and doctrine.

Integral theory



The author Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber
Kenneth Earl Wilber II is an American author who has written about mysticism, philosophy, ecology, and developmental psychology. His work formulates what he calls Integral Theory. In 1998, he founded the Integral Institute, for teaching and applications of Integral theory.-Biography:Ken Wilber was...

 posits that most New Age thought falls into what he termed the pre/trans fallacy. According to Wilber, human developmental psychology
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

 moves from the pre-personal, through the personal, then to the transpersonal (spiritually advanced or enlightened) level. He regards 80 percent of New Age spirituality as pre-rational (pre-conventional) and as relying primarily on mythic-magical thinking; this contrasts with a post-rational (including and transcending rational) genuinely world-centric
Worldcentrism
The American integral philosopher Ken Wilber uses the term worldcentric to describe an advanced stage of ethical development. Synonyms of worldcentric include global and planetary. At the worldcentric ethical stage, the subject is concerned with the welfare of all human beings...

 consciousness. Despite his criticism of most New Age thought, Wilber has been categorized as New Age due to his emphasis on a transpersonal
Transpersonal
The term transpersonal is often used to refer to psychological categories that transcend the normal features of ordinary ego-functioning. That is, stages of psychological growth, or stages of consciousness, that move beyond the rational andprecede the mystical...

 view, and more recently, as a philosopher.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas



Some adherents of traditional disciplines, such as the Lakota people—a tribe of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, reject "the expropriation of [their] ceremonial ways by non-Indians." They see the New Age movement as either not fully understanding, deliberately trivializing, or distorting their disciplines.

They have coined the term plastic medicine men to describe individuals, from within their own communities "who are prostituting our spiritual ways for their own selfish gain, with no regard for the spiritual well-being of the people as a whole." The term plastic shaman
Plastic shaman
Plastic shaman is a pejorative colloquialism applied to 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...

has been applied to outsiders who identify themselves 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
Ward Churchill
Ward LeRoy Churchill is an author and political activist. He was a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007. The primary focus of his work is on the historical treatment of political dissenters and Native Americans by the United States government...

 criticised the New Age movement as an instrument of cultural imperialism
Cultural imperialism
Cultural imperialism is the domination of one culture over another. Cultural imperialism can take the form of a general attitude or an active, formal and deliberate policy, including military action. Economic or technological factors may also play a role...

 that is exploitative of indigenous cultures by reducing them 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
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 and popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

.

Goddess movement



Followers of the Goddess movement have severely criticized the New Age as fundamentally patriarchal, analytical rather than intuitive, and as supporting the status quo, particularly in its implicit gender roles. Monica Sjöö
Monica Sjöö
Monica Sjöö, , was a Swedish painter, writer and a radical anarcho/eco-feminist who was influential in the Goddess movement. She first came to Britain in the late 1950th and eventually settled in Bristol where she lived for many years, before she died of cancer...

 (1938–2005) pointed out that New Age "channelers" were virtually all women, but the "spirits" they purported to channel, offering guidance to humanity, were nearly all male. Sjöö was highly critical of Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, the "I AM" Activity, and particularly Alice Bailey
Alice Bailey
Alice Ann Bailey , known as Alice A. Bailey or AAB to her followers, was an influential writer and theosophist in what she termed "Ageless Wisdom". This included occult teachings, "esoteric" psychology and healing, astrological and other philosophic and religious themes...

, whom she saw as promoting Nazi-like "Aryan" ideals. Sjöö's writings also condemn the New Age for its support of communication and information processing technologies which, she believes, may produce harmful low-level electromagnetic radiation.

See also


  • 2012 phenomenon
    2012 phenomenon
    The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar...

  • Eco-communalism
    Eco-communalism
    Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and local economies. Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected...

  • Higher consciousness
    Higher consciousness
    Higher consciousness, also called super consciousness , objective consciousness , Buddhic consciousness , cosmic consciousness, God-consciousness and Christ consciousness , are expressions used in various spiritual traditions to denote the consciousness of a human being who has reached a...

  • New Age communities
    New Age communities
    New Age communities are places where, intentionally or accidentally, communities have grown up to include significant numbers of people with New Age beliefs. The intentional communities have specific aims but have a variety of structures, purposes and means of subsistence. These include...

  • Paradigm shift
    Paradigm shift
    A Paradigm shift is, according to Thomas Kuhn in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science...

  • Philosophy of happiness
    Philosophy of happiness
    The philosophy of happiness is a direction by which philosophical inquiry approaches the nature of happiness and the ways by which to attain it...

  • Social conditioning
    Social conditioning
    Social conditioning refers to the sociological process of training individuals in a society to act or respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which refers to the process of inheriting norms,...

  • Social equality
    Social equality
    Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the...

  • Spiritual evolution
    Spiritual evolution
    Spiritual evolution is the philosophical, theological, esoteric or spiritual idea that nature and human beings and/or human culture evolve, extending from the established cosmological pattern or ascent, or in accordance with certain pre-established potentials...

  • Starwood Festival
    Starwood Festival
    The Starwood Festival is a seven-day Neo-Pagan, New Age, multi-cultural and world music festival presented in mid- to late July. Approximately 1,500 people attend including staff, speakers and entertainers. The Starwood Festival is a camping event which holds workshops on a variety of subjects...

  • Transpersonal psychology
    Transpersonal psychology
    Transpersonal psychology is a form of psychology that studies the transpersonal, self-transcendent or spiritual aspects of the human experience....



External links