New Age


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New Age,

a term popularized in the 1980s to describe a wide-ranging set of beliefs and practices that are an outgrowth of the counterculture of the 1960s and 70s in the United States. Adherents of the New Age movement believe that a spiritual era is dawning in which individuals and society will be transformed. The movement encompasses a wide range of ideas, including personal spiritual growth and self-realization, holistic medicineholistic medicine,
system of health care based on a concept of the "whole" person as one whose body, mind, spirit, and emotions are in balance with the environment. Stressing personal responsibility for health, a holistic approach may include conventional medicine and various
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 (including the use of crystals for healing), reincarnationreincarnation
[Lat.,=taking on flesh again], occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the former body. Beliefs vary as to whether the soul assumes the new body immediately or only after an interval of disembodiment.
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, astrologyastrology,
form of divination based on the theory that the movements of the celestial bodies—the stars, the planets, the sun, and the moon—influence human affairs and determine the course of events.
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, and the mystical energies said to be induced by pyramids. Many critics of the movement regard it as anti-intellectual. In music, the term refers to meditative, relaxing, usually instrumental styles.

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

New Age

 

an Indian English-language weekly, the central organ of the Communist Party of India. Founded in 1953, the newspaper is published in New Delhi.

REFERENCE

Kruglov, E. V. Kommunisticheskaia pechat’ Indii. Moscow, 1966.

New Age

(dreams)

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.

New Age

a. a philosophy, originating in the late 1980s, characterized by a belief in alternative medicine, astrology, spiritualism, etc.
b. (as modifier): New Age therapies
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