New Age is not a religion as such. It is movement of recent origins (since 1920s) and a developing belief system encompassing  a variety of sometime contradictory beliefs. Its roots derive from a variety of sources, Christianity, Eastern religions, transcendentalism, new revelations and the occult. It has no official leader, headquarters, nor membership list, but instead is a network of groups with a number of common world views.  Nevertheless, it is estimated that worldwide there are over ten million followers of various New Age groups that share one or more of their major beliefs.

The New Age Movement has a broad-minded openness to all religions, for its basic underlying philosophy may be said to be derived from a variety of Judeo-Christian beliefs. While some New Age organizations are concerned with the establishment of some sort of semi-theocratic government, many others are focused on individual spiritual development.

 

Origins:

 

In the late 19th century Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, cofounder of the Theosophical Society, announced a coming New Age. She believed that theosophists (who embraced a number of Buddhist and Hindu ideas) should assist the evolution of the human race and prepare to cooperate with one of the Ascended Masters of the Great White Brotherhood whose arrival was imminent.  Mme. Blavatsky believed that, as the world’s hidden leaders, members of this mystical brotherhood guided the destiny of the planet. Her ideas contributed to expectation of a New Age among practitioners of Spiritualism and believers in astrology, for whom the coming of the new Aquarian Age promised a period of brotherhood and enlightenment.

 

 

             What is an Age?

The astrological ages are based on the precession of the equinoxes and the backwards wobble of the earth's axis through the constelations, which lie  in a circle around the earth along the ecliptic, the belt of the equator. Ages are measured by the wobble of the earth's axis as the North Pole points down towards and marks each age or constellation in succession. This wobble takes 25,920 years to complete, and in one complete cycle there are twelve ages of 2160 years each. That marker now points to the constellation Aquarius, and we are said to be in the 'Age of Aquarius'. These ages flow backward through the astrological signs as the earth's axis wobbles in a pre-cessional or backward direction through the zodiac. In addition to this movement through the signs, history indicates that the signs opposite the primary signs also have a powerful influence on the history of each age.

Mme. Blavatsky’s successor, Annie Besant, predicted the coming of a messiah, or world saviour.  In the 1920s Alice A. Bailey, founder of the Arcane School coined the term "New age".  She also suggested that the new messiah was the Master Maitreya, who would appear in the last quarter of the 20th century.

 

History:


The Harmonic Convergence is the name given to one of the world's first globally synchronized meditation events, which occurred on August 16–17, 1987. This event also closely coincided with an exceptional alignment of planets in the Solar System.

Although the event had been predicted 1971 by Tony Shearer in his book Lord of the Dawn, the principal organizer of the Harmonic Convergence event was Jose Arguelles José The timing of the Harmonic Convergence was thought to be significant in the, with some consideration also given to European and Asian astrological traditions. The chosen dates have the distinction of allegedly marking a planetary alignment with the Sun, Moon and six out of eight planets being "part of the trine.


According to Argüelles, the Harmonic Convergence also began the final 25-year countdown to the end of the Long Countwhich would be the so-called end of history and the beginning of a new 5125-year cycle. The evils of the modern world, e.g. war, materialism, violence, abuses, injustice, oppression, etc. would end with the birth of the 6th Sun and the 5th Earth on December 21, 2012.


An important part of the Harmonic Convergence observances was the idea of congregating at "power centers. Power centers were places, such as Mount Shasta in California,Mount Fuji in Japan, the Vortexes in Sedona, Arizona, and Ayer's Rock in Australia, where the spiritual energy was held to be particularly strong. The belief was that if 144,000 people assembled at these power centers and meditated for peace, that the arrival of the new era would be facilitated. And, in fact, perhaps several million people did get together at these points, and in hundreds of meditations groups around the world. 

 

Ideas

 

There are a number of  distinctive views that are generally shared by all New Agers: all is one; all is God; humanity is God; a coming change in consciousness; God does not favor any religion; the illusory nature of the material world; reincarnation and karma; the spiritual evolution of man back to his spiritual origins; continuing revelations from beings beyond this world; the need for meditation or other consciousness-changing techniques; divinatory practices (astrology, mediums, etc.); vegetarianism and holistic health.

 

While many New Agers denounce the material world as an illusion, many others attach great importance to artifacts, relics, and sacred objects. Tibetan bells, pyramids, crystals,  and a plethora of electronic energy devices. Crystals are the favorite New Age object. These are not only thought to have  healing powers, but are considered programmable, like a computer, if one only concentrates hard enough. Other New Age symbols would include the rainbow, butterfly, pyramid,  eye in triangle, unicorn,  swastika, yin-yang, pentagram, concentric circles, rays of light, crescent moon, etc. Most of these symbols are derived from various religious sources.

 

New Age music is a term applied to the works of various composers and musicians who strive to create soothing audio environments rather than follow song structures. Born of an interest in spirituality and healing in the late 1970s, it is often used as an aid in meditation. The defining features of New Age music are harmonic consonance, contemplative melodies, nonlinear song forms, and uplifting themes. New Age performers may use traditional ethnic, acoustic, electric, or electronic instruments, or even sounds from nature. New Age compositions can sound like minimalist music or like lush evocations of the natural environment.

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Here are highlights of what New Agers believe concerning their source of authority, God, Christ, sin and salvation, good and evil, Satan, and future life:

1. Source of Authority. New Agers claim no single external source of authority -- but their primary scriptures are the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and A Course in Miracles.  All scripture is subject to the authority of "the god within".


2. God. 
New Agers believe that creation is part of God. God is the only reality and everything else is a part of that total deity.  New Agers view God as an impersonal consciousness with a loving, caring nature. They claim every human has a divine spark within him because each of us is a part of the divine essence. New Agers view God as either male or female or both.


3. Jesus Christ.
 A major idea in New Age thinking is that of the "Christ Consciousness."  They teach that Christ is the "only begotten son of God" from the beginning and that Jesus, at best, merely expressed the Christ Consciousness which he received at his baptism.  This idea of "Christ Consciousness" asserts that Jesus was not the only person to achieve  "Christ Consciousness," but so also did Buddha, Krishna, and others.  Many New Agers believe Jesus spent 18 years in India absorbing Hinduism and the teachings of Buddha.

4. Sin and Salvation. New Agers find nothing which is of the nature of sin. They speak of "troublesome desires" which appear to be misdirected natural human impulses which are hardly sinful. Since New Agers believe that each person is part of God, thereby having endless potential for self-improvement, sin (as defined by the Jesus cult) does not exist.. They think that any perceived lack that man might have is merely a lack of enlightenment  Generally, they teach that the idea of Jesus, or anyone else, having to die for our sins is an insane corruption of truth.

5. Good and Evil.
 New Agers do not treat good and evil as properties or forces. Evil is purely a subjective evaluation, not actual force. It is the dimming of divine light.

6. Satan. New Agers believe there is no other force than God.

 

7. Reincarnation. Though there are some who do not teach it, the majority of New Agers believe in reincarnation -- that through a long process of rebirths, man will eventually reach perfection or union with God.  Some New Agers believe animals are reincarnated humans, but most merely recognize the sacredness of all life. Along with reincarnation comes the doctrine of "karma" -- that what a person sows in this life, he will reap in the next life in his reincarnated state. This belief in reincarnation has led to believing in the power of "spirit guides" or "channels" -- those who allow spirits from another dimension to speak through their bodies. These entities always seem to repeat the three-fold message: (1) There is no death, (2) man is an expression of God, (3) enlightenment is the path to divinity.