8.2. THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT
Even though it is a hundreds-year-old concept, the Age of Aquarius is currently closely connected with the hippie and the New Age tendencies of the 1960s and 1970s. The New Age movement is a sociocultural phenomenon that seeks universal truth by combining elements of spirituality, cosmology, esotericism, science and alternative medicine. It aims to create great spiritual and material changes, being at the same time the harbinger and the initiator of the Age of Aquarius. New Age supports on monism (“everything is one”) and pantheism (“everything is God”). The movement is not a group; in order to become a New Age adept no formality, such as vows or confessing certain religious beliefs, is required. It is a very diverse and malleable system, which can be defined neither as a cult nor as a religion, although it is frequently described in this way. Nobody can speak in the name of the entire community. Nevertheless, it incorporates a particular species of self-proclaimed prophets and visionaries who behave like the contactees, but they claim to be the modern successors of the biblical prophets.
Depending on the astrological, anthropological or psychological perspective, the beginning of the movement varies from Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century until the end of the Maya calendar on December 21, 2012. One of the important moments of the movement came to pass in 1875, at a time when spirituality was put under question by Darwinism and scientific progress. Henry Scott, William Judge and Helena Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in New York. The beginning of New Age can also be associated with the years 1920-1930s, after the sequelae caused by the First World War, when the disciple in theosophy Alice Bailey proclaimed the return of Christ and the necessity to form groups of spiritualization. The pseudo-prophet Edgar Cayce is nominated at the origin of the movement as well, but he copied many of Blavatsky’s ideas.1414 It is almost certain that the movement is not the product of a single man, but it has been built on the support of certain factors and on a certain background. New Age came into existence within the religious supermarket of America, standing on the pillars of spiritualism, transcendentalism and theosophy.
The first, spiritualism, refers to the communication with human spirits left from this world or with immaterial superior spirits (never incarnated on Earth) through a human medium. The purpose of spiritualism is to obtain information about other spheres of existence or about the future. The exchange of information between man and spirits is almost always telepathic, identical to the experiences of the contactees.
The second, transcendentalism, states that intuition is superior to the senses in discovering the truth, God can reveal himself to man through his intuition, and the purpose of religion is to bring conscious connection between mankind and divinity. Ralph Emerson was the chief exponent of 19th-century transcendentalism.
And finally, theosophy is a term which means “divine wisdom” and it was invented by Blavatsky after she, allegedly, had studied in Tibet. The following New Age ideas are theosophically supported: …
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