The term «New Age» or «New Age» -used since the second half of the last century- refers to the astrological «age» of Aquarius and is based on the belief that when the Sun «passes» a sign of the zodiac another influences human beings.
The term New Age refers to a heterogeneous set of religious or mythological beliefs and pseudoscientific practices.
He argues that with the arrival of the call was of Aquarius – The New Age – must begin a time of peace, welfare and global harmony, leaving behind the Piscean era that would have been 2,000 years of conflicts and wars, and promotes an incoherent hodgepodge of cults, philosophical currents, doctrines, ideologies, therapies, etc. Among these beliefs and practices put orientalism, esotericism, alternative «medicines», occultism, relativism, religious syncretism, vegetarianism, etc.
As astrology is what it is, they can not agree on the date of the beginning of their Aquarian Age. Some say it started just on February 4, 1962, but others tune it even further and claim that the Sun will not leave the Pisces constellation to enter the Aquarian constellation until the 27th century, yes, 27!
It could be called «movement» or something like that, since it lacks the institutional, dogmatic or cultural connotations that are commonly associated with other terms such as «church», «sect» or «cult».
Given the difficulty of defining the concept of «religion», it would be preferable to describe the New Age as one among the various «new spiritual movements» that have arisen recently, but as it lacks organization and administration, the word «movement» is not very appropriate .
The truth is that it is more widespread than it might seem due to the crisis of postmodernism and postmaterialism, in addition to the personal crisis; as well as the lack of information, ignorance, low cultural level, the crisis of education and lack of education in science, history and religion on the part of the population. It is nourished mainly by fools and ignorant, although there are people with studies caught in the same stupidities as their semi-literate co-religionists.
Their belief system is not only not unified, but it is an aggregate of syncretisms and mutually contradictory practices. Among this cocktail we find spiritual exploration, mysticism and health maintenance, the hygienism of the early twentieth century, shamanism, gnosis and modern mystical currents such as anthroposophy.
Some of these beliefs are biased reinterpretations of myths and religions, without being consistent with any of them. Thus, there are individuals who employ the «do it yourself», there are other groups with established belief systems that collect religions, and there are also those with other fixed belief systems.
Thus, they can perfectly reconcile the Christian dogma of the divinity of Jesus Christ, alias » the teacher » with karma as a mechanism of justice, and at the same time deny the existence of hell, all in the same package. As if it were a spiritual supermarket it is frequent that the beliefs that are adopted reject the most negative aspects of the mythologies or religions on which they are based, adopting only the most agreeable ones. Due to the variety of beliefs a la carte, any coherent category seems restrictive or incomplete.
The more incoherent, the more complete.
The most popular practices in the New Age movement are reiki, yoga, kabbalah, vegetarianism, in some cases reaching veganism, guided meditations, acupuncture, sessions with supposed angels, letters or tarot of the angels, power stones, divination, environmentalism based on pantheism (mother earth Gaia), ayurveda, esotericism, energy portals and extraterrestrials that do not lack, of course.
In practice, many people immerse themselves or are immersed in the new age movement without even noticing it, due to the strange nature of it: syncretism, informality and decentralization; and due to ignorance and lack of education and personal and social crisis.
This immersion is not casual. The followers of this movement make circles by affinity and interconnected with each other.
Followers of the New Age affirm that their beliefs derive from religious and philosophical Judeo-Christian or Middle Eastern traditions, and other Oriental ones, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. For example, the Theosophical Society (mid-nineteenth century), or the works of Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Alice Bailey (1880-1949), set out principles that can be considered as precedents of some of the current ideas of the New Was:
- Neognostic approaches to spiritual matters.
- Mediumistic channels.
- Clairvoyance and modern television viewing.
- Belief in healing powers of certain stones and crystals.
- Use of prayer, mantras and meditation as paths to enlightenment.
Over time, the degree of acceptance in society of these creeds and practices has changed.
Like many of these neo-religious movements, its origin is in the United States, where the first antecedents of this sociocultural phenomenon are, because the Theosophical Society, which can be considered as the initiator of this movement, arises in that founded country, in its majority, by freemasons.
Helena Blavatsky, Henry Olcott and William Judge, among others, founded the Theosophical Society in New York City on November 17, 1875. Its purpose was the study and explanation of the phenomena related to mediums and spiritism, together with the study methodical of oriental occultism and comparative religions. All this program would be framed in a fundamental objective, which would be to foster the fraternal relationship in all humanity.
The basic teaching of this organization is that all religions have a » truth in common » that is in the essence of each of them. Its founder, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, builds a doctrine based on the teachings of her «teachers», who are evolved beings whose goal is the evolution of humanity. The leaders of the Theosophical Society believed that they were under the direct supervision of these «masters», belonging to the White Lodge. The Theosophical Society has an eclectic ideology and aims to unify science, philosophy and religion in a doctrine called «secret», but at the same time within reach of those who are willing to disclose it.
After the death of Blavatsky in 1891, Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant of falsifying letters of the mahatmas. In 1895 his association with Olcott and Besant ceased, taking most of the American section of the Society with him, creating the first schism.
After the death of Blavatsky in 1891, Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant of falsifying letters of the mahatmas. In 1895 his association with Olcott and Besant ceased, taking most of the American section of the Society with him in what constitutes his first schism.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the Anglican writer and bishop Charles Leadbeater was expelled from the Society accused of acts at odds with morality. When President Olcott died, Leadbeater was reinstated in the Society through Annie Besant, the new director, which generated new schisms of various theosophical branches. Leadbeater found on the beaches of India a Hindu child named Jidhu Krishnamurti, whom he considered «the next incarnation of an» instructor of the world «». Annie Besant then created the Order of the Star of the East, with the purpose of meticulously preparing the young man for his «world mission». However J. Krishnamurti ran out of there.
Subsequently emerged from the trunk of the Theosophical Society various groups of esoteric and religious character, where famous esotericists such as Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey, among others, entered the scene. Some of them separated from the Mother Society after the proclamation of the young Indian Jiddu Krishnamurti as the vehicle of the world’s instructor, through the organization created to spread his message: the Order of the Star of the East.However, Krishnamurti dissolved the Order in 1929, since his message would be based on the rejection of all kinds of external authority in the spiritual field.
The continuation group of the work of the president-founder HS Olcott and of A. Besant maintains its headquarters in India (Adyar, Madras) being known as «Theosophical Society – Adyar», while the followers of Judge have adopted the name Theosophical Society, usually with the clarifying addition of headquarters in Pasadena, California. A third association, the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) of Robert Crosbie, was spun off in 1909 from the previous organization.
The last two groups are characterized by the study of the original work of Helena Blavatsky and William Judge, while in the Adyar Society its members have also integrated the legacy of later Theosophists such as Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, among others.
In the Theosophical Society there have been several specialized organizations, among them the Order of the Temple of the Rose Cross founded in 1912 to revive the Mysteries of Western Tradition; the Liberal Catholic Church, created to revive the Christian mysteries; The Theosophical Commissariat and the Theosophical Service Order, among others.
The declared objectives of the Company were evolving during the first years of its existence until they were drafted as follows:
- Form a nucleus of the universal fraternity of humanity, without distinction of race, sex, caste or color.
- Promote the comparative study of religions, philosophies and sciences .
- Investigate the unexplained laws of nature, and the latent powers in man.
The Theosophical Society currently has its headquarters in Adyar, south of the Indian city of Chennai, former Madras, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Each national section of the Society would have an autonomous administration. Its legal figure is that of a «non-profit civil association». The Company is financially supported by a fee paid by members (members), in addition to other activities such as the sale of books or the performance of some payment courses. Its members meet regularly in study and research groups called «branches».
The expression «New Age» is attributed to an English occultist named Alice Anne Bailey (1880-1949), who used it in some of his works as Discipleship in the New Age or Education in the New Ageand who in 1932 founded a association called Goodwill World in order to prepare humanity for a radical change.
Geographically speaking, there are two centers that have stood out since the beginning of the New Age movement, the «Garden Community of Findhorn», located in Big Sur in northeastern Scotland and the «Center for the Development of Human Potential of Esalen», in California, United States of America.
The Findhorn Foundation is a Scottish charitable trust registered in 1972, formed by the spiritual community of Findhorn Ecovillage, one of the largest intentional communities in the United Kingdom. It has been home to thousands of residents of more than 40 countries.The Foundation runs several educational programs for the Findhorn community; it also houses some 40 community businesses, such as Findhorn Press and an alternative medicine center.
Prior to the Findhorn Foundation in 1972, there was a Findhorn Trust as more people joined Eileen Caddy, Peter Caddy and Dorothy Maclean, who had arrived at Caravan Park in Findhorn Bay on November 17, 1962. The Findhorn Foundation and the surrounding community do not have a formal doctrine or creed. The Foundation offers a range of workshops, programs and events in the surroundings of a working ecovillage. The programs are intended to provide participants with a hands-on experience of how to apply spiritual values in daily life. Approximately 3,000 residential participants from around the world participate in programs each year.
The origin of this Foundation dates back to the late 1940s, when Sheena Govan emerged as an informal spiritual teacher to a small circle that included her then husband, Peter Caddy, and Dorothy Maclean. Eileen Caddy, as she had experience in the Moral Re-Armament movement , joined them in the early 1950s. The main focus of the group was dedication to the ‘Inner Christ’and following God’s guidance.
In the early 1960s, Caddy and other people who called themselves channelers believed they were in contact with aliens through telepathy and prepared a landing pad for flying saucers on nearby Cluny Hill.
At the end of 1962, Caddy lost his job in the hotel chain that owns Cluny Hill, at the time he worked at the Trossachs. He and Eileen settled in a caravan near the village of Findhorn; At the beginning of 1963 an annex was built so that Dorothy Maclean could live close to the Caddy family. Eileen Caddy’s direct relationship with God began with an experience in Glastonbury, where she recorded that she heard a voice saying: «Be still and I know that I am God.» Peter Caddy followed «a spontaneous and intuitive internal knowledge» and had many other influences from theosophy to the moral rearmament movement, from which he developed positive thinking methods and other methods he had learned in the «Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship».
Dorothy Maclean initially followed the practices of the Sufi group centered on the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, and from there developed her contact with the divine to focus on communication with the » spirits of nature » that she named as devas. All three agreed that Dorothy’s contacts should be useful for growing food that complemented her income (the family at this point is fully supported by the Family Allowance). The Caddy couple attributed the success of the orchard to the production of «exceptionally large vegetables» to these practices.
More conventional explanations have been suggested by locals from outside the community who feel that garden successes can be explained by Moray’s unique microclimate or substantial amounts of horse manure donated by a local farmer.
There were many other people involved with different importance and different influences in the early years, through connections such as these and the distribution of the writings of Eileen Caddy to a New Age mailing list in the form of a booklet entitled » God spoke to me» , people came to live in Caravan Park, and finally formed the ‘Findhorn Trust’ and gave rise to the nascent form of the ‘Findhorn Community’.
Beginning in 1969, following Eileen’s guidance, Peter Caddy slowly transferred his order from day to day. David Spangler became co-director of Education almost immediately after his arrival in 1970, which resulted in the gradual transformation into a residential spiritual education center with a permanent staff of more than 100 and the creation of the Findhorn Foundation in 1972. In 1973 David Spangler and Dorothy MacLean, along with other members of the Findhorn Foundation, set out to found the Lorian Association, near Seattle, United States.
In 1979, the marriage of Peter and Eileen disintegrated and left the Foundation. Peter Caddy died in a car accident in Germany on February 18, 1994 while Eileen Caddy died at home on December 13, 2006. Dorothy Maclean continued giving talks and workshops around the world, visiting Findhorn regularly, and in August 2009 he returned to Findhorn to live.
Regarding the Center for the Development of Human Potential of Esalen, or Esalen Institute is a center in Big Sur, California, United States, for alternative humanistic education and a non-profit organization dedicated to interdisciplinary studies that are generally unattended or disadvantaged by the traditional academic establishment. Esalen offers more than 500 public workshops per year, as well as conferences, work-study programs, research initiatives and internship programs. Part think tank for an emerging global culture, part university institute and laboratory for transformation practices, and part retreat for restoration, Esalen is dedicated to exploratory work in humanities and sciences that promotes the full realization of what Aldous Huxley called the movement of potential human.
The institute was founded by Michael Murphy and Dick Price in 1962. Esalen was soon known for his fusion of Western and Oriental philosophies , his experiential and didactic workshops , his influx of philosophers, psychologists, artists and religious thinkers.
The historians of the religion James Lewis and J. Gordon Melton (1992) define the New Age as a «decentralized religious subculture» that has its origin in the counterculture of the sixties and whose inspiration comes from different sources of the Judean tradition. Christian
The New Age movement began in the 60s in the United States and Europe for political reasons, and today it is very effective in hundreds of nations.
¨ … in the United States, in the seventies, those who concentrated their attention were the Eastern spiritual masters, in the eighties the interest focused on the channeling of spiritual entities, and in the nineties they were shamanism and Native American spirituality that seems to be fashionable ¨
-María Julia Carozzi, definitions of the New Age
Figures that stood out as spiritual masters, most of them migrated from east to west are Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (for a time guru of the Beatles and also related to Deepak Chopra), Sathya Sai Baba, Osho, Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, etc. Many of them have had legal problems, including sexual abuse.
After a stage of fascination by the gurus, mainly in the United States between people of the artistic and political environment; For the year 2015 in Mexico, a certain trend for yoga has been expanded and the venues where this practice is performed are even more visible, even promoting or practicing in schools, television and gyms. Most yoga centers do not comply with the regulations. Centers for reiki, alternative medicine, acupuncture, divination, reiki, transcendental meditation, homeopathy, etc. have also been expanded.
The phenomenon in general of the new era has already been filtered in several countries of Ibero-America and also in Spain.
The advance of the new phenomenon has as one of its factors the crisis of postmodernity and postmaterialism as well as the profound ignorance of a large part of the population. This phenomenon has come to filter even in Catholic religious spheres forcing the Archbishop of Mexico himself to publish a pastoral instruction on the New Age, alerting his faithful about some of the risks involved in this phenomenon. Recall its origin Mason.
The phenomenon has also been filtered in the literature, with the Syrian editorial and Hay House Inc. some of the publishers that publish related literature, mixed or properly the new era. The founder of Hay House Inc. Louise Hay, has been considered by the New York Times Magazine as the queen of the new era, in his article The Queen of the New Age. The Hay House publishing house is one of the leading publishers for new age authors; thus propagating the phenomenon and pseudoscience in general.
Companies like IBM, AT & T and General Motors came to adopt New Age seminars to try to increase the productivity and efficiency of their employees, which in several cases had as a consequence that the employees themselves sued these companies alleging that these seminars damaged their psychological health and they infringed on their religious creeds.
Several Eastern gurus who have had a boom with the New Age movement have had sexual incidents or faced charges of sexual crimes, prosecution, homicide, drugs or prostitution.
«Yes, there was a big commotion about when he (Maharishi) tried to rape Mia Farrow or tried to date Mia Farrow and several other women, things like that.»
-John Lennon, The Beatles
» A growing number of supporters allege that he (Sathya Sai Baba) sexually abused them or their families.»
Western Sanniasins financed stays at the Osho ashram through prostitution and drug trafficking.
In Mexico, most places where yoga is taught are not certified by the Mexican Institute of Yoga. All these irregularities in the operation of the places where several practices related to the New Age are carried out, added to the characteristics of decentralization, syncretism and informality of the phenomenon, put people at risk of suffering from fraud, fraud, deception, risks sexual and legal, sectarianism, psychological problems, health problems or anything else unpleasant.
New Age supporters tend to redefine the vocabulary borrowed by various belief systems.Having adopted terms taken from various branches of science, such as quantum physics and psychology , adapting or redefining them to try to support their hypotheses about supernatural healing, the New Age has ended up being considered a pseudoscience .
Like the occult movements of past centuries, many groups that identify with the postulates of the New Age tend to use a particular jargon, which is cryptic to those who do not know the doctrine.
The meaning of a term in the New Age domain is often quite different from common usage, and is often described as » intentionally inaccessible «. The language can serve to listen that you should not give too much information to the one that presumably would not understand it.As already mentioned, this behavior is not intrinsic to the basic doctrine of the New Age.
So it’s normal there’s no way to find out what they talk to each other.
Others think that, although in the past there may have been a need for intentionally inaccessible vocabulary and secrecy because of the persecutions currently, due to freedom of expression, knowledge is accessible to all, followers or not, of every movement, ideology or current. For example, yoga techniques that were secret or confidential for millennia are now described in numerous books written by yogis and non-yogis, and, of course, on the Internet.
What really hides its cryptic language is its complete and total ignorance, so the use of these incomprehensible terms is ideal to be able to give «coherence» to the incoherent.
Among the variety of creeds and practices, certain modes of thinking are recurrent:
- The primacy of subjective experience. According to its roots of countercultural phenomenon and its syncretic nature, followers of the New Age intend to seek a relativistic approach to truth, frequently referring to the Vedic statement of » one truth, but many ways » that is also found in the affirmation Zen Buddhism’s spirituality of » many roads, one mountain «. This belief is not only an assertion of personal choice in religious matters, but also an assertion that truth itself is defined by the individual and his experience of it.
This relativism is not merely a spiritual relativism, but also extends to physical theories.Reality is considered in an experimental and subjective way . It is not intended that many phenomena be repeatable in the scientific sense , since they are presumed to be apparent only to the receiving mind; for example, it is asserted that a skeptical mind can not achieve telepathy, since it is conditioned to close in band to the phenomenon. This is another point of criticism of the New Age: its inability to produce falsifiable results , despite making statements that intersect in the field of science and not only in spirituality.
- Rejection of scientism or » orthodox » science: There is a typical view based on mysticism (more than on theory and experience) to describe and control the external world. For example, it is believed that tarot reading works due to the principle of interconnectivity , rather than seeing the success (or failure) of that reading as evidence of the principle of interconnectivity. The various vitalist theories of health and disease held by the supporters of the New Age are other examples.
Unlike the scientific method, the lack of results of some practices to achieve the expected response is not considered a failure of the underlying theory, but is attributed to the interference of subtle factors, difficult to take into account and that are still unknown .
In this context of relativism, you can find several common concepts:
Forces It is commonly stated that there are subtle forces or agents, capable of interacting and producing changes on the spiritual world (in emotions, for example) and the physical world (causing different phenomena to happen). These forces would be agents of change of nature, but unknown by science; and it is maintained that they operate according to rules such as physical forces. The concept can be compared to the traditional magic.
Power If the forces are agents of change, the power would be the accumulation of those forces or the capacity to produce changes by paranormal means, usually it is considered concentrated in an object, place or person. Many believe this power is transferable through physical contact or mere proximity to sources of power. Some believe that it can accumulate or deplete in a person or object through a variety of mechanisms, as well as the way of life and the proclivity to esoteric practices that «spend» or «recover» the power. It is argued that this power is observable by certain individuals endowed in the form of «auras» or energy; and when it is in great concentration, there are those who believe that it can be dangerous.
Spirit : the belief in a subtle and transcendent entity in self-conscious beings is shared in all aspects of the New Age.
An interconnected cosmos . The idea that entities are united at a fundamental level, and that such union is sometimes manifested in the form of synchronisms or miracles, is also recurrent.
Additionally, many practices and beliefs in the New Age field resort to what can be called magical thinking , as defined by Frazer in his monumental work The Golden Bough. Common examples are the principle that once objects come into contact, they maintain a practical link , or that objects that have similar properties exert effects on each other; and the law of attraction .
The followers of the New Age believe that they do not contradict many of the traditional belief systems, but complete the ultimate truths contained in them, separating these truths from false tradition and dogma .
On the other hand, members of other religions often point out that the New Age movement misunderstands these religious concepts, and that their attempts at religious syncretism are vague and contradictory, a point at which skeptics and atheists agree, suggesting that all religion is the misinterpretation that man gives to natural causes, adding supernatural elements of his own superstition.
Many individuals are responsible for the recent popularity of New Age spirituality, especially in the United States. James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy and other books related to the New Age present an open life system, based on the spirit and derived from his own macrocosmic doctrine concerning the state of the evolution of consciousness of the humanityMarianne Williamson wrote her » A return to love » when she finished working in person on » A Course in Miracles «. The spirituality of the New Age coexists and correlates with the fundamental paradigm change of each individual.
The Gnostic approach of the experimental inner look and the revelation of the truth may be close to the methodologies of prayer and spirituality used by New Age followers. Due to the individualistic personal nature of the revealed truth, some critical authors identify the New Age as a neo-Gnostic movement related to the ancient gnosis with elements of modern eclecticism. In «Experiential spirituality and contemporary gnosis,» Diane Brandon writes:
And this emphasis on spirituality and consciousness reflects a recognition that we are, in essence, spiritual beings – and beings of pure energy, since consciousness is a form of energy – although we believe we are in the body.
«We are spiritual beings who have a human experience.»
-Neale Donald Walsch
«Our bodies are contained within our consciousness, and our consciousness is not contained within our body.»
Many have theorized that the current interest in spirituality can be seen partly as a reaction against rationalism and the excessive emphasis on the strictly material and empirical: there is a desire for spiritual transcendence, instead of being stuck in a strict immersion in what physical. For example, after a couple of centuries of emphasis on the empirically probable and concrete, there is a desire for the spiritual as antidote or antithesis.
It is surprising, then, that the supporters of the New Age wish to experience their spirituality, so that they can feel it, rather than simply thinking about it, and that they want to have some control over their practice or manifestation, rather than going strictly through an intermediary. external. This shift to a feeling of control over one’s spiritual expression also reflects the tendency towards personal responsibility.
The New Age movement has an obvious influence on the manifestations of Eastern religions in the West. A huge percentage of those who call themselves Buddhists in the West are nothing but New Ages whose syncretism has included some stronger dose of Buddhism than the rest.