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New Age Spiritualist
New Age Spiritualist

The New Age (also known as the New Age Movement, New Age spirituality, and Cosmic Humanism) is a decentralized Western social and spiritual movement that seeks "Universal Truth" and the attainment of the highest individual human potential. It combines aspects of cosmology, astrology, esotericism, alternative medicine, music, collectivism, sustainability, and nature. New Age spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practices and philosophies, while rejecting religious doctrine and dogma.

The New Age Movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism and monotheism through classical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, and panentheism to polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy: particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, psychology, and physics. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Western esotericism. Additional phrases which may refer to the New Age Movement include All is One and Mind-Body-Spirit.

The modern New Age Movement emerged as a distinct lifestyle from the late 1960s through the early 1970s, although elements can be traced back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gained momentum in the 1980s and strengthened with the Harmonic Convergence event in 1987. Diverse individuals from around the world practice New Age spirituality.

The term New Age was used as early as 1809 by William Blake who described a belief in a spiritual and artistic "New Age" in his preface to Milton: a Poem. The Freemasonry journal of the 1800s was titled The New Age.

Some of the New Age Movement's constituent elements appeared initially in 19th century metaphysical movements: Spiritualism, Theosophy, and New Thought; also, alternative medicine movements chiropractic and naturopathy. These movements in turn have roots in Transcendentalism, Mesmerism, Swedenborgianism, and various earlier Western esoteric or occult traditions, such as the hermetic arts of astrology, magic, alchemy, and Kabbalah. The term New Age was used in this context in Madame Blavatsky's book The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888.

A weekly journal of Christian liberalism and socialism titled The New Age was published as early as 1894; it was sold to a group of socialist writers headed by Alfred Richard Orage and Holbrook Jackson in 1907. Other historical personalities were involved: H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats; the magazine became a forum for politics, literature, and the arts. Between 1908 and 1914, it was instrumental in pioneering the British avant-garde from vorticism to imagism. After 1914, publisher Orage met P. D. Ouspensky, a follower of G. I. Gurdjieff, and began correspondence with Harry Houdini, becoming less interested in literature and art, with an increased focus on mysticism and other spiritual topics; the magazine was sold in 1921. According to Brown University, The New Age "... helped to shape modernism in literature and the arts from 1907 to 1922."

Popularisation behind these ideas has roots in the work of early 20th century writers such as D. H. Lawrence and William Butler Yeats. In the early to middle 1900s, American mystic, theologian, and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment Edgar Cayce was a seminal influence on what later would be termed the New Age Movement; he was known in particular for the practice some refer to as channeling. The early New Age Movement in Russia during the 1910s was influenced by Nicholas Roerich and Helena Roerich, who taught in the Theosophical tradition and founded the Agni Yoga Society. Former Theosophist Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophical Movement are a major influence. Neo-Theosophist Alice Bailey published the book Discipleship in the New Age (1944), which used the term New Age in reference to the transition from the Astrological Age of Pisces to Aquarius. While claims of racial bias in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey were made, Steiner emphasized racial equality as a principle central to anthroposophical thought and humanity's progress. Any racial elements from these influences have not remained part of the Anthroposophical Society as contemporary adherents of the society have either not adopted or repudiated these beliefs. Another early usage of the term, was by the American artist, mystic, and philosopher Walter Russell, who spoke of "... this New Age philosophy of the spiritual re-awakening of man ..." in his essay "Power Through Knowledge", which was also published in 1944.

Carl Gustav Jung was an early articulator of the concept of the Age of Aquarius. In a letter to H. G. Baynes, dated 12 August 1940, he wrote in a passage concerning the destruction of the temple of Karnak by an earthquake in 26 BC: "1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius. It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age."

The subculture that would later take on the descriptive term New Age already existed in the early 1970s, based on and continuing themes originally present in 1960s counterculture. The Findhorn Foundation – an intentional community near Findhorn, Moray, Scotland founded in 1962 – played an instrumental role during the early growth period of the New Age Movement; it continues to operate the Findhorn Ecovillage.

Widespread use of the term New Age began in the mid 1970s (reflected in the title of monthly periodical New Age Journal) and probably influenced several thousand small metaphysical book and gift stores that increasingly defined themselves as "New Age bookstores". As a result of the large-scale activities surrounding the Harmonic Convergence in the mid 1980s – the term was further popularised by the American mass media to describe the alternative spiritual subculture – including practices such as meditation, channeling, crystal healing, astral projection, psychic experience, holistic health, simple living, and environmentalism; or belief in phenomena such as Earth mysteries, ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, crop circles, and reincarnation. A range of New Age publications appeared by the late 1980s such as Psychic Guide (later renamed Body, Mind & Spirit), Yoga Journal, New Age Voice, New Age Retailer, and NaPRA ReView by the New Age Publishing and Retailers Association.

There were several key moments in raising public awareness of this subculture: the publication of Linda Goodman's best selling astrology books Sun Signs (1968) and Love Signs (1978); Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (1967) with the opening song "Aquarius" and its memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" [emphasis added]; the broadcast of Shirley MacLaine's television mini-series Out on a Limb (1987); and the Harmonic Convergence (1987) organized by José Argüelles in Sedona, Arizona. Also influential were the claims of channelers Jane Roberts (the Seth Material) and J. Z. Knight (Ramtha), as well as revealed writings A Course in Miracles (1976) by Helen Schucman, The Celestine Prophecy (1993) by James Redfield, and Conversations with God (1995) by Neale Donald Walsch. Relevant works also include the writings of Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, John Holland, Gary Zukav, and Wayne Dyer; also, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which was based on the writings of Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks.

New Age spirituality has led to a wide array of literature on the subject and an active niche market: books, music, crafts, and services in alternative medicine are available at New Age stores, fairs, and festivals.

People who practice New Age spirituality or embrace its lifestyle are included in the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) demographic market segment, currently in a growth phase, related to sustainable living, green ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively affluent and well-educated segment. The LOHAS market segment in 2006 was estimated at USD$300 billion, approximately 30 percent of the United States consumer market. According to The New York Times, a study by the Natural Marketing Institute showed that in 2000, 68 million Americans were included within the LOHAS demographic. The author Paul H. Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creatives in his book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (2000), states, "What you're seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous."

Practitioners of New Age spirituality may use alternative medicine in addition to or in place of conventional medicine; while some conventional physicians have adopted aspects or the complete approach of holistic health.

New Age music is peaceful music of various styles, which is intended to create inspiration, relaxation, and positive feelings while listening. Studies have determined that New Age music can be an effective component of stress management. Some New Age music albums come with notes to encourage use in meditation.

This style began in the 1970s with the works of free-form jazz groups recording on the ECM label; such as Oregon, the Paul Winter Group, and other pre-ambient bands; as well as ambient music performer Brian Eno and classical avant-garde musician Daniel Kobialka. In the early 1970s, it was mostly instrumental with both acoustic and electronic styles. New Age music evolved to include a wide range of styles from electronic space music and acoustic instrumentals using Western instruments to spiritual chanting from other cultures – including Native American flutes and drums, synthesizers, and instrumental world music sounds.

New Age spiritualists may dress however, but they tend to wear light loose clothing, reject overly-consumerised brands, and often have new age related jewellry.

Image from deviantart, info -save for the last paragraph, which is mine- from wikipedia.


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