Category:Working Within the New Age Tradition

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The Golden Temple of the Ascended Masters, from a 1936 painting by Charles Sindelar (1875-1947)

The term New Age Movement is generally applied to a range of spiritual and religious beliefs and practices that came into being in Europe and the Americas from the 1870s through the1970s, and continue to the present day as a religious tradition, a magical tradition and a way of working with spirits, angels, and the Divine Source. New Age practitioners and ministers sometimes refer to themselves as Lightworkers.


History and Origins of the New Age Tradition

A powerful "vortex tree" such as this can be called upon as an ally in spiritual development: Nature's spirituality is all around us
The New Age Movement reveres the vastness and limitless variety of the Universe, both material and spiritual
Meditation and healing work with polished crystals is a popular method of spiritual development
Belief in the reincarnation of the soul is a common trait among most New Age adherents
Mount Shasta, California, one of several sacred mountains associated with the Ascended Masters
Asian and Indian subtle energy systems are favoured for therapeutic and spiritual development; these include meditation practices and work with the chakras
Reiki is a subtle form of energy healing that can be performed in person or at a distance

Although the New Age Movement draws some important ideas from the earlier New Thought Movement, the two are not the same. The name “New Age” refers to the widespread belief in a coming new era of peace, plenty, justice and kindness -- the “Age of Aquarius,” brought about by the progressive spiritual development of earth’s population.

The New Age Movement is a group of traditions arising out of the 19th century religion of Theosophy, which was founded in 1875 in New York City by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–91), Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907), and William Quan Judge (1851–1896). Their ideas concerning the nature of divinity, human evolution, and the presence on Earth of Ascended Masters was expanded upon and carried further by a series of Ascensionist and Universal Light organizations of the 20th century, each of which extended the list of Ascended Masters.

These schismatic groups included the I Am Activity of the Saint Germain Foundation, founded in 1932 by Guy Ballard (1878–1939) and Edna Ballard (1886–1971); the Summit Lighthouse, established in 1958 by Mark L. Prophet (1918-1973); and its continuation after his death by his wife Elizabeth Claire Prophet (1939-2009) as The Church Universal and Triumphant; the Aetherius Society, founded in 1955 in England by George King, which emphasized UFO contacts and a system of yoga training; and the Association for Research and Enlightenment, founded in Virginia in 1931 by the clairvoyant Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), which linked spirituality with holistic health practices. Many of these groups affirmed belief in the existence of perfected human beings who spread their teachings through a secret organization variously known as the Great White Brotherhood, the Ascended Masters, the Cosmic Masters, the Masters of Ancient Wisdom, or the Church Invisible.

The teachings of these groups eventually mingled with the 1960s counterculture movement, and the melding was encapsulated in the term "New Age," which first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, and spread to other countries over the next few years. No longer merely a collection of new religions and teaching centers, the New Age Movement expanded to incorporate aspects of the Human Potential Movement, Esalen and other spiritual retreats, Transcendental Meditation, Rosicrucian and other esoteric forms of Christianity, Buddhist and Hindu training centers and teachers in the west; Wicca, Neo-Paganism, UFO sightings, the use of psychedelic drugs for spiritual development, experiments in communal living and self-sustaining agriculture, research into extra-sensory perception (ESP), and exploration of indigenous American nature religions.

As an eclectic and syncretic practice, New Age ideas draw from older traditions of Western metaphysical religions and from Asian religious traditions which go back thousands of years: Buddhist and Hindu teachings have been known in the West, at least in passing, since the end of the 18th century. These were developed and disseminated within the new religion of Theosophy and, to a lesser extent, by the New Thought tradition, whose published works were rediscovered by the members of the counterculture movement. Increased opportunities for global travel led many Europeans and Americans to make the "Journey to the East" to experience Asian cultures first-hand, and they melded what they had learned with their perceptions of Native American and European Pagan beliefs and customs.

Beliefs of the New Age Tradition

“New Ager” is a term that participants sometimes use to describe themselves, but many prefer terms such as “spiritual seeker,” "eclectic," and "light worker," and some may identify themselves as members of other religions — Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist — because they do not consider New Age beliefs to be a distinct “religion” at all.

The Nature of God

The bedrock belief of the New Age Movement is that the Divine Source is inherent within all things, including each human being, and the Divine is often conceived of as Light. Because the Divine or Divine Light is within all, each human is able to understand the nature of God for him- or herself. Furthermore, if everyone, or even the majority, undertake the task of understanding God, it will go far to eliminate evil, suffering, and injustice in the world. This spiritual development is not self-indulgence, but a noble work, even a responsibility. A wide variety of practices have developed from this belief.

Quite a few New Age denominations incorporate Christian teachings, but they generally do not fully endorse traditional Christian theology when it comes to describing God. For instance, according to Dr. Josephine Trust (1886 -1957), the founder of Superet Atom Aura Science, "Superet Light Doctrine teaches that reincarnation is a fact," "Jesus Christ's Religion is the Religion of Light," the Holy Spirit is "the Wondrous and Almighty Mother God," and "Superet is the Sacred Purple Heart of God" -- none of which are standard Christian beliefs.

Cosmology and Cosmogony: The Origin and Nature of the Universe

New Age cosmology varies among denominations, but generally draws from Hinduism and Buddhism, with some elements of Christian mysticism and perhaps a nod to the so-called “Big Bang” scientific theory. For most believers, the universe passes from age to near-infinite age, as living individuals pass from life to life.

In some New Age religions, Christian ideals concerning the universal nature of divine love or the recognition of Jesus Christ as a role model form a portion of the cosmology. In others, the divine is seen as Light, and the dissemination of Light in varied rays of colour gives rise to our universe. In those denominations in which God is not seen as a single omnipotent personality, cosmology and cosmogony, or theories as to the origin of the universe and why life exists, never arise, and the most that can be said is that the existence of the universe was as inevitable as the sprouting of a seed.

For most New Age adherents, the universe has room for subtle energies, spiritual realities, and etheric qualities; these give rise to an alternative approach to science, which more resembles the scientific systems of Asia, medieval Europe, ancient cultures, or the occult, than modern materialist science.

Afterlife, Reincarnation, and Ascension

New Age adherents generally believe that human nature, soul, or individuality survives death, because its fundamental nature is spiritual consciousness. Each tradition within the larger New Age community has its own view of what experiences and states follow this earthly life. These can include reincarnation as a living, embodied creature on this earth, or on another planet, or as a spiritual entity in some other spiritual realm. Many adherents believe that those who are spiritually aware of their own natures can remember their past incarnations and choose future ones.

Each lifetime or incarnation allows for further spiritual development, that is, realization of everyone’s Divine nature. For this reason, New Age adherents view reincarnation as something to be sought, an ascension or spiritual journey rather than a series of trials and tests. Entities who achieve the ability to cease incarnating are known as Ascended Masters, who chose to guide and teach humanity, in a manner similar to that of Buddhist bodhisattvas. Eventually the Master achieves union with the Divine Source, never to return to the material world again.

Spirit Guides and Ascended Masters

For more information, see Spirits and Spirit Guides

For more information, see Ascended Masters

It is natural for spiritual people to look beyond living teachers to those in the spiritual realm. New Age adherents often place special emphasis on what they have learned from teachers, mentors, and guides who are not currently embodied in human form.

From Spiritualism, some New Age denominations adopted concepts such as mediumship and channelling, not only with one's own ancestral dead but also with great humans of the past. Among these groups, those who speak for the invisible ones are generally called "Messengers."

From Theosophy, which taught followers that a group of Mahatmas or great souls guided the destiny of humanity, Guy Ballard, an early leader of the New Age Movement, developed the concept of the Ascended Masters, spiritual adepts who began as ordinary humans and have undergone extensive training and spiritual transformations in order to become secret teachers and administrators of the world. Some of the best known of these are Koot Hoomi, El Morya, Serapis Bey, and Saint Germain. These beings, as well as revered nature spirits, are commonly associated with the ascension of sacred pilgrimage sites, including the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet, Mount Shasta in California, and Grand Teton in Wyoming.

Many New Agers accept Christ, Hindu gods and goddesses, Buddha, Angels, and other great spiritual teachers as personal spirit guides.

Extraterrestrials are believed by some adherents to offer personal guidance, and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS are said to be vehicles by which these extraterrestrials visit Earth.

Nature spirits, animal spirits, plant spirits, and mineral spirits are also welcomed as spirit guides and teachers by many in the New Age community, especially those with interests in Pagan and Neo-Pagan traditions. To these adherents the interpretation of dreams, signs, and omens from nature form an important form of experiential learning.

Sin, Suffering and the Problem of Evil

New Age teaching maintains that, because sin, suffering and evil are contrary to Divine Nature, they result from ignorance of the Divine. The manifestations of evil in the material world are regarded as the result of imbalance or social failure. This may be counteracted and mitigated by self-development which enables one to participate in the evolution of society, even over many lifetimes. Ultimately, relief from suffering is the believer’s own responsibility.

There is another reason for suffering that depends on the truth of reincarnation: before birth, one can choose a difficult life in order to learn its lessons. This gives existential meaning to all kinds of pain -- and working through that pain while maintaining ahimsa, the Hindu concept of harming none, is of benefit to oneself and to all.

Spiritual Authority and Sacred Texts

Since most New Age teachers say that each of us is connected to, or contains within us, a spark of the Divine, each believer is free to be his or her own source of spiritual authority. Personal gnosis, the concept that one's own knowledge is as valid as any form of received wisdom, is thus accepted as a natural way of learning and evolving one's understanding.

In light of this, sacred texts may not be not perceived to be the “inerrant word of God” or the "authoritative word of the Teacher," or "the teachings of the Messenger," which cannot be changed or contradicted. They may instead be thought to be texts from many traditions which the individual believer may or may not find helpful for personal spiritual development. Such texts might include memoirs, instruction in various forms of meditation and divination, channeled teachings from Ascended Masters, extraterrestrials, and spirit guides, and the works of mystics from many world religious traditions.

Practices of the New Age Tradition

The New Age tradition covers a widely eclectic variety of practices, ranging from the mundane to the divinatory, spiritual, and magical. These practices are typically presented as forms of Blessing, Cleansing, Healing, and Tranquility for the client, and not as forms of magically influencing the lives of others in the the client's family or circle of acquaintances.

While not every New Age practitioner will engage all of these methodologies (some of which exclude the others), most will be familiar with various forms of diagnostic and healing bodywork, including holistic healing, herbal medicine, homeopathy, dietetic healing, nutritional therapy, vegetarian and vegan cookery, massage therapy, biofeedback, yoga training, bio-energetics, chiropractic, aromatherapy, iridology, chromotherapy, and kinesiology.

In addition, many also practice magical and spiritual modes of assistance to clients. These may include spiritual development by means of solo meditation, guided meditation, visualisation, reincarnation therapy, psychic healing, reiki, chakra work, and healings or energy alignments using crystals, metals, music, colours, and flowers.

The creation of a better life for the client may also include visualizations and manifestations for the purpose of experiencing financial abundance and the joys of love and romance.

These services can be conducted one-on-one or in a group setting, and may be offered in person, via the internet, through books, or as public teaching.


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Pages in category "Working Within the New Age Tradition"

The following 14 pages are in this category, out of 14 total.













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