The Basics of the New Age Movement
It’s almost impossible to go through life these days without coming across the term “New Age.” It seems more and more people are joining this interesting and phenomenal movement. Yet, for as many people that become interested in this movement, there is still a great many other people that have uncertainty about what exactly the “New Age” is.
A Brief Overview of the New Age Subculture
The New Age Movement, sometimes called New Age Spirituality, is a movement that is primarily a part of Western Society. It is a movement that, for the most part, attempts to seek out and find universal truth by attaining the highest degree of human potential. Within the New Age Movement, you will find astrology, alternative medicine, sacred music, numerology, divination through tarot cards and rune stones, and a focus on love. There is usually present a strong urge toward positive thinking and finding one’s own spiritual path as opposed to following a set of religious doctrines or dogmas. The idea of “It may not be my path, but your path is ok with me” is strongly present in the mindset of most people that engage in and follow the New Age line of thought.
Various elementals of older religious traditions including monotheism, pantheism, natural pantheism, and polytheism are usually combined with science (including physics), psychology, and philosophy. The main focus is not just on the spirit, but also on the mind and body and how those three aspects must be in total harmony for one to be at their highest and greatest potential.
Some say that the New Age Subculture began in the 1960s because of the “tree-hugging hippies,” but in reality, it can be traced back as far as early 1900s with the emergence of the esoteric society The Golden Dawn. The movement as a whole has been growing in momentum and is among one of the most dominant forms of spirituality present in today’s world.
Interesting to note is that the first known use of the word New Age can be traced back to 1809. A man by the name of William Blake wrote a poem in which he described a belief system that was linked to spiritual and artistic pursuits. He, himself, got the idea from a Christian Mystic named Emanuel Swedenborg.
Among the personalities that have been involved, influential, and/or interested in the New Age Movement include:
- Madame Blavatsky wrote the famed Secret Doctrine that was published in 1888.
- Arthur Edward Waite
- Bram Stoker
- Pamela Colman Smith
- Aleister Crowley
- Israel Regardie
- Alfred Richard Orage
- Holbrook Jackson
- H.G. Wells
- George Bernard Shaw
- William Butler Yeats
- Harry Houdini
- The Christian Edgar Cayce helped to make channeling famous.
- Linda Goodman is known for the highly popular astrology book Sun Signs which was first published in 1968.
- Shirley MacLaine
- Jose Arguelles organized the Harmonic Convergence in 1987.
- Jane Roberts
- J.Z. Knight
- Helen Schucman
- James Redfield wrote The Celestine Prophecy. This is a must-read book for those interested in the New Age Movement.
- Neale Donald Walsch
- Eckhart Tolle
- Marianne Williamson
- Deepak Chopra
- John Holland
- Wayne Dyer
- Rhonda Byrne created the very popular movie the Secret.
- James Van Praagh
- Sylvia Brown
Perhaps the person who has impacted the movement the most in modern times is John Edward, with his ability to connect to those who have crossed over, he continues the long lasting tradition of helping people to evolve toward understanding the importance of love both in this life and in the one to come.
The following are some of the important beliefs that many, but certainly not all, New Age people hold. Keep in mind people that are involved in the New Age Movement tend to pick and choose the beliefs that work best for them and what one New Age follower may believe does not necessarily reflect what another believes.
- Many in the subculture/field have learned to link quantum physics and parapsychology to a vast majority of spiritual principles. The movie What the Bleep do We Know most clearly demonstrates this
- Math is important and the “in” thing. Topics such as numerology and sacred geometry are growing to be important.
- Eastern Practices such as meditation, yoga, Tantra, Chinese Medicine, Tai Chi, Qigong, Reflexology, and Reiki are not only known but strongly practiced.
- The notion that all people are psychic and are capable of connecting to the spirit world and other dimensions is largely held. Most people seek out guidance from psychics, mediums, intuitive counselors, spiritual counselors, Witch Doctors, Shamans, and those that have trained to more strongly develop these inborn gifts.
- Many hold the belief that we come from much more ancient civilizations. Atlantis and Lemuria, as well as Mu and other lost lands, are studied and explored. The mythology that comes from these places tends to be woven into many of the divination arts histories.
- There is a rising decline in masculinity and patriarchy. A strong degree of respect is given to females and the feminine. Females are, many times, seen as holding more power than males.
- Spiritual healing is practiced by most. It is believed that all humans have the ability to heal others through touch, magic, or prayers.
- Optimism reigns supreme. The Law of Attraction is quoted again and again. A negative thought, according to most New Ager Belief Systems, breeds negativity in life. Positive thinking brings about a happier and healthier life.
- Children are regarded as very important and special with the ability to teach adults a great many lessons. These days the Indigo, Rainbow, and Crystal children are said to be more intuitive and spiritually connected than the majority of adults.
- Most believe that life has a purpose. Most also believe that predestination does not exist, but rather certain lessons are meant to be learned while in the physical world.
- Most believe strongly in an afterlife. Mediums are used to make connections with those that no longer exist in the physical world, but whose energy is still ever present in the cosmos. Most believe in some form of reincarnation and karma, though there are variations on what exactly those are.
- Spiritual beings exist. Spirit Guides, Angels, Ascended Masters, ghosts, elementals, fairies, and even extraterrestrial beings are part of our universe and are there to help us on our spiritual path if we are open-minded enough to hear and allow them to do so.
A Different Way of Living
Those who choose to deeply integrate the New Age Movement into their life ultimately usually end up finding themselves a part of an interesting subculture that has a life all to itself.
The New Age Subculture truly has its own literature, art, crafts, services, and festivals. Most people who embrace the subculture want a healthy lifestyle that takes care of not only the physical body, emotions, and spiritual aspects of humanity, but also takes care of the ecological aspects of the world.
People involved in the New Age Subculture have a tendency of either rejecting modern medicine altogether or, at the very least, combining modern medicine with holistic and alternative medicine.
Practices such as acupressure, acupuncture, application and consumption of herbs, Chinese Medicine, Aromatherapy, Reiki, and Meditation/Contemplation are chief among the many forms of alternative medicine that are available.
Additionally, new musical styles have and are developing because of this movement. Music that focuses on inspiring one’s soul and relaxing the physical and emotional aspects of the human body is becoming more and more prevalent. Everything from space music and instrumentals to chanting and Native American instruments has been considered as New Age Music. Perhaps the best sampling of New Age Music can be found in the Pure Moods albums. It’s also not uncommon for natural sounds such as ocean waves or rain to dominant listening preferences.
If you are one of many that have taken an interest in this movement and subculture you are to be praised. It is vast and truly a lifelong pursuit. There will be times when, during your studies, you’ll feel as though you are overwhelmed. There will be other times when you’ll want to just keep consuming as much information as you can. No matter what, learning to find you is perhaps one of the most important aspects of this field. For it is when you truly know and understand yourself and your own personal beliefs that all other things become possible.