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New Age(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
A modern term given to a spiritual movement originating in the 1960s that embraces meditation, belief in reincarnation, creation of one's own reality, nonconventional religion, channeling, astrology, tarot, holistic medicine, use of crystals, various healing techniques, and many of the arts and sciences previously listed under the heading of "occult." As a label, it serves a useful purpose in attracting seekers and querants who might otherwise be repulsed by the occult heading.
N OV E M B E R E V E see SAMHAIN
an Indian English-language weekly, the central organ of the Communist Party of India. Founded in 1953, the newspaper is published in New Delhi.
REFERENCEKruglov, E. V. Kommunisticheskaia pechat’ Indii. Moscow, 1966.
As a social movement held together by specific ideas, the New Age can be traced to the late 1950s. The following four essential ideas came to distinguish the movement. None are particularly new ideas, their distinctiveness lying in their being brought together in a new gestalt.
- The self as Divine. Within the New Age one theological affirmation has found popular support: the identification of the individual as one in essence with the divine. Underlying this notion, which takes a wide variety of forms, is a monistic world in which the only reality is “God,” usually thought of in predominantly impersonal terms such as “mind” or “energy.”
- The possibility of personal transformation. The New Age movement offers the possibility of personal transformation in the immediate future. The transformative process is most clearly seen in the healing process, and transformation often is first encountered as a healing of the individual, either of a chronic physical problem or a significant psychological problem. Healing has become a metaphor for transformation and adoption of a healthy lifestyle, a prominent concern of New Agers.
- The hope of broad cultural transformation. The New Age movement offered hope that the world, which many people, especially those on the edges of the dominant culture, experience in negative terms, would be transformed and enter into a golden era. It is, of course, the millennial hope of the coming of a golden age of peace and light that gave the New Age movement its name.
- The transformation of occult arts and processes. The New Age movement embraces the familiar occult practices, from astrology and tarot to mediumship and psychic healing. Yet in the New Age movement the significance of these practices has been considerably altered. Astrology and tarot are no longer fortunetelling devices, but tools used for self-transformation.
The New Age movement has tended to latch onto several aspects of the faddish interest in dreams in contemporary culture. For example, new dream dictionaries, containing interpretations of specific dream images, have been composed to express a New Age perspective. Betty Bethard’s The Dream Book: Symbols for Self-Understanding (1983), is a useful example. As do the occult arts, the New Age sees dreams as tools for transformation and healing, as discussed in Patricia Garfield’s popular book The Healing Power of Dreams.
Some New Agers have also shown interest in lucid dreaming, the practice of becoming conscious during one’s dreams and learning to control their direction. Of note in this field are the works of Stephen LaBerge and Carlos Castaneda. Various forms of dream yoga from Eastern religions have also influenced New Age thought. As with other kinds of dreamwork, lucid dreaming is viewed as a potential tool for healing and self-transformation.