9. General bibliography
7.1. Some brief formulations of New Age ideas
William Bloom's 1992 formulation of New Age quoted in Heelas, p. 225f.:
*All life – all existence – is the manifestation of Spirit, of the Unknowable, of that supreme consciousness known by many different names in many different cultures.
*The purpose and dynamic of all existence is to bring Love, Wisdom, Enlightenment... into full manifestation.
*All religions are the expression of this same inner reality.
*All life, as we perceive it with the five human senses or with scientific instruments, is only the outer veil of an invisible, inner and causal reality.
*Similarly, human beings are twofold creatures – with: (i) an outer temporary personality; and (ii) a multi-dimensional inner being (soul or higher self).
*The outer personality is limited and tends towards love.
*The purpose of the incarnation of the inner being is to bring the vibrations of the outer personality into a resonance of love.
*All souls in incarnation are free to choose their own spiritual path.
*Our spiritual teachers are those whose souls are liberated from the need to incarnate and who express unconditional love, wisdom and enlightenment. Some of these great beings are well- known and have inspired the world religions. Some are unknown and work invisibly.
*All life, in its different forms and states, is interconnected energy – and this includes our deeds, feelings and thoughts. We, therefore, work with Spirit and these energies in co-creating our reality.
*Although held in the dynamic of cosmic love, we are jointly responsible for the state of our selves, of our environment and of all life.
*During this period of time, the evolution of the planet and of humanity has reached a point when we are undergoing a fundamental spiritual change in our individual and mass consciousness. This is why we talk of a New Age. This new consciousness is the result of the increasingly successful incarnation of what some people call the energies of cosmic love. This new consciousness demonstrates itself in an instinctive understanding of the sacredness and, in particular, the interconnectedness of all existence.
*This new consciousness and this new understanding of the dynamic interdependence of all life mean that we are currently in the process of volving a completely new planetary culture.
Heelas (p. 226) Jeremy Tarcher's “complementary formulation”.
1. The world, including the human race, constitutes an expression of a higher, more comprehensive divine nature.
2. Hidden within each human being is a higher divine self, which is a manifestation of the higher, more comprehensive divine nature.
3. This higher nature can be awakened and can become the center of the individual's everyday life.
4. This awakening is the reason for the existence of each individual life.
David Spangler is quoted in Actualité des religions nº 8, septembre 1999, p. 43, on the principal characteristics of the New Age vision, which is:
*holistic (globalising, because there is one single reality-energy);
*ecological (earth-Gaia is our mother; each of us is a neurone of earth's central nervous system);
*androgynous (rainbow and Yin/Yang are both NA symbols, to do with the complementarity of contraries, esp. masculine and feminine);
*mystical (finding the sacred in every thing, the most ordinary things);
*planetary (people must be at one and the same time anchored in their own culture and open to a universal dimension, capable of promoting love, compassion, peace and even the establishment of world government).
7.2. A Select Glossary
Age of Aquarius: each astrological age of about 2146 years is named according to one of the signs of the zodiac, but the “great days” go in reverse order, so the current Age of Pisces is about to end, and the Age of Aquarius will be ushered in. Each Age has its own cosmic energies; the energy in Pisces has made it an era of wars and conflicts. But Aquarius is set to be an era of harmony, justice, peace, unity etc. In this aspect, New Age accepts historical inevitability. Some reckon the age of Aries was the time of the Jewish religion, the age of Pisces that of Christianity, Aquarius the age of a universal religion.
Androgyny: is not hermaphroditism, i.e. existence with the physical characteristics of both sexes, but an awareness of the presence in every person of male and female elements; it is said to be a state of balanced inner harmony of the animus and anima. In New Age, it is a state resulting from a new awareness of this double mode of being and existing that is characteristic of every man and every woman. The more it spreads, the more it will assist in the transformation of interpersonal conduct.
Anthroposophy: a theosophical doctrine originally popularised by the Croat Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who left the Theosophical Society after being leader of its German branch from 1902 to 1913. It is an esoteric doctrine meant to initiate people into “objective knowledge” in the spiritual-divine sphere. Steiner believed it had helped him explore the laws of evolution of the cosmos and of humanity. Every physical being has a corresponding spiritual being, and earthly life is influenced by astral energies and spiritual essences. The Akasha Chronicle is said to be a “cosmic memory” available to initiates.
Channeling: psychic mediums claim to act as channels for information from other selves, usually disembodied entities living on a higher plane. It links beings as diverse as ascended masters, angels, gods, group entities, nature spirits and the Higher Self.
Christ: in New Age the historical figure of Jesus is but one incarnation of an idea or an energy or set of vibrations. For Alice Bailey, a great day of supplication is needed, when all believers will create such a concentration of spiritual energy that there will be a further incarnation, which will reveal how people can save themselves.... For many people, Jesus is nothing more than a spiritual master who, like Buddha, Moses and Mohammed, amongst others, has been penetrated by the cosmic Christ. The cosmic Christ is also known as christic energy at the basis of each being and the whole of being. Individuals need to be initiated gradually into awareness of this christic characteristic they are all said to have. Christ – in New Age terms – represents the highest state of perfection of the self. 
Crystals: are reckoned to vibrate at significant frequencies. Hence they are useful in self-transformation. They are used in various therapies and in meditation, visualisation, 'astral travel' or as lucky charms. From the outside looking in, they have no intrinsic power, but are simply beautiful.
Depth Psychology: the school of psychology founded by C.G. Jung, a former disciple of Freud. Jung recognised that religion and spiritual matters were important for wholeness and health. The interpretation of dreams and the analysis of archetypes were key elements in his method. Archetypes are forms which belong to the inherited structure of the human psyche; they appear in the recurrent motifs or images in dreams, fantasies, myths and fairy tales.
Enneagram: (from the Greek ennéa = nine + gramma = sign) the name refers to a diagram composed of a circle with nine points on its circumference, connected within the circle by a triangle and a hexangle. It was originally used for divination, but has become known as the symbol for a system of personality typology consisting of nine standard character types. It became popular after the publication of Helen Palmer's book The Enneagram, but she recognises her indebtedness to the Russian esoteric thinker and practitioner G.I. Gurdjieff, the Chilean psychologist Claudio Naranjo and author Oscar Ichazo, founder of Arica. The origin of the enneagram remains shrouded in mystery, but some maintain that it comes from Sufi mysticism.
Esotericism: (from the Greek esotéros = that which is within) it generally refers to an ancient and hidden body of knowledge available only to initiated groups, who portray themselves as guardians of the truths hidden from the majority of humankind. The initiation process takes people from a merely external, superficial, knowledge of reality to the inner truth and, in the process, awakens their consciousness at a deeper level. People are invited to undertake this “inner journey” to discover the “divine spark” within them. Salvation, in this context, coincides with a discovery of the Self.
Evolution: in New Age it is much more than a question of living beings evolving towards superior life forms; the physical model is projected on to the spiritual realm, so that an immanent power within human beings would propel them towards superior spiritual life forms. Human beings are said not to have full control over this power, but their good or bad actions can accelerate or retard their progress. The whole of creation, including humanity, is seen to be moving inexorably towards a fusion with the divine. Reincarnation clearly has an important place in this view of a progressive spiritual evolution which is said to begin before birth and continue after death.
Expansion of consciousness: if the cosmos is seen as one continuous chain of being, all levels of existence – mineral, vegetable, animal, human, cosmic and divine beings – are interdependent. Human beings are said to become aware of their place in this holistic vision of global reality by expanding their consciousness well beyond its normal limits. The New Age offers a huge variety of techniques to help people reach a higher level of perceiving reality, a way of overcoming the separation between subjects and between subjects and objects in the knowing process, concluding in total fusion of what normal, inferior, awareness sees as separate or distinct realities.
Feng-shui: a form of geomancy, in this case an occult Chinese method of deciphering the hidden presence of positive and negative currents in buildings and other places, on the basis of a knowledge of earthly and atmospheric forces. “Just like the human body or the cosmos, sites are places criss-crossed by influxes whose correct balance is the source of health and life”.
Gnosis: in a generic sense, it is a form of knowledge that is not intellectual, but visionary or mystical, thought to be revealed and capable of joining the human being to the divine mystery. In the first centuries of Christianity, the Fathers of the Church struggled against gnosticism, inasmuch as it was at odds with faith. Some see a reborth of gnostic ideas in much New Age thinking, and some authors connected with New Age actually quote early gnosticism. However, the greater emphasis in New Age on monism and even pantheism or panentheism encourages some to use the term neo-gnosticism to distinguish New Age gnosis from ancient gnosticism.
Great White Brotherhood: Mrs. Blavatsky claimed to have contact with the mahatmas, or masters, exalted beings who together constitute the Great White Brotherhood. She saw them as guiding the evolution of the human race and directing the work of the Theosophical Society.
Hermeticism: philosophical and religious practices and speculations linked to the writings in the Corpus Hermeticum, and the Alexandrian texts attributed to the mythical Hermes Trismegistos. When they first became known during the Renaissance, they were thought to reveal pre-Christian doctrines, but later studies showed they dated from the first century of the christian era. Alexandrian hermeticism is a major resource for modern esotericism, and the two have much in common: eclecticism, a refutation of ontological dualism, an affirmation of the positive and symbolic character of the universe, the idea of the fall and later restoration of mankind. Hermetic speculation has strengthened belief in an ancient fundamental tradition or a so-called philosophia perennis falsely considered as common to all religious traditions. The high and ceremonial forms of magic developed from Renaissance Hermeticism.
Holism: a key concept in the “new paradigm”, claiming to provide a theoretical frame integrating the entire worldview of modern man. In contrast with an experience of increasing fragmentation in science and everyday life, “wholeness” is put forward as a central methodological and ontological concept. Humanity fits into the universe as part of a single living organism, a harmonious network of dynamic relationships. The classic distinction between subject and object, for which Descartes and Newton are typically blamed, is challenged by various scientists who offer a bridge between science and religion. Humanity is part of a universal network (eco-system, family) of nature and world, and must seek harmony with every element of this quasi-transcendent authority. When one understands one's place in nature, in the cosmos which is also divine, one also understands that “wholeness” and “holiness” are one and the same thing. The clearest articulation of the concept of holism is in the “Gaia” hypothesis.
Human Potential Movement: since its beginnings (Esalen, California, in the 1960s), this has grown into a network of groups promoting the release of the innate human capacity for creativity through self-realisation. Various techniques of personal transformation are used more and more by companies in management training programmes, ultimately for very normal economic reasons. Transpersonal Technologies, the Movement for Inner Spiritual Awareness, Organisational Development and Organisational Transformation are all put forward as non-religious, but in reality company employees can find themselves being submitted to an alien 'spirituality' in a situation which raises questions about personal freedom. There are clear links between Eastern spirituality and psychotherapy, while Jungian psychology and the Human Potential Movement have been very influential on Shamanism and “reconstructed” forms of Paganism like Druidry and Wicca. In a general sense, “personal growth” can be understood as the shape “religious salvation” takes in the New Age movement: it is affirmed that deliverance from human suffering and weakness will be reached by developing our human potential, which results in our increasingly getting in touch with our inner divinity.
Initiation: in religious ethnology it is the cognitive and/or experiential journey whereby a person is admitted, either alone or as part of a group, by means of particular rituals to membership of a religious community, a secret society (e.g. Freemasonry) or a mystery association (magical, esoteric-occult, gnostic, theosophical etc.).
Karma: (from the Sanskrit root Kri = action, deed) a key notion in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, but one whose meaning has not always been the same. In the ancient Vedic period it referred to the ritual action, especially sacrifice, by means of which a person gained access to the happiness or blessedness of the afterlife. When Jainism and Buddhism appeared (about 6 centuries before Christ), Karma lost its salvific meaning: the way to liberation was knowledge of the Atman or “self”. In the doctrine of samsara, it was understood as the incessant cycle of human birth and death (Huinduism) or of rebirth (Buddhism). In New Age contexts, the “law of karma” is often seen as the moral equivalent of cosmic evolution. It is no longer to do with evil or suffering – illusions to be experienced as part of a “cosmic game” – but is the universal law of cause and effect, part of the tendency of the interconnected universe towards moral balance.
Monism: the metaphysical belief that differences between beings are illusory. There is only one universal being, of which every thing and every person is a part. Inasmuch as New Age monism includes the idea that reality is fundamentally spiritual, it is a contemporary form of pantheism (sometimes explicitly a rejection of materialism, particularly Marxism). Its claim to resolve all dualism leaves no room for a transcendent God, so everything is God. A further problem arises for Christianity when the question of the origin of evil is raised. C.G. Jung saw evil as the “shadow side” of the God who, in classical theism, is all goodness.
Mysticism: New Age mysticism is turning inwards on oneself rather than communion with God who is “totally other”. It is fusion with the universe, an ultimate annihilation of the individual in the unity of the whole. Experience of Self is taken to be experience of divinity, so one looks within to discover authentic wisdom, creativity and power.
Neopaganism: a title often rejected by many to whom it is applied, it refers to a current that runs parallel to New Age and often interacts with it. In the great wave of reaction against traditional religions, specifically the Judaeo-Christian heritage of the West, many have revisited ancient indigenous, traditional, pagan religions. Whatever preceded Christianity is reckoned to be more genuine to the spirit of the land or the nation, an uncontaminated form of natural religion, in touch with the powers of nature, often matriarchal, magical or Shamanic. Humanity will, it is said, be healthier if it returns to the natural cycle of (agricultural) festivals and to a general affirmation of life. Some “neo-pagan” religions are recent reconstructions whose authentic relationship to original forms can be questioned, particularly in cases where they are dominated by modern ideological components like ecology, feminism or, in a few cases, myths of racial purity.
New Age Music: this is a booming industry. The music concerned is very often packaged as a means of achieving harmony with oneself or the world, and some of it is “Celtic” or druidic. Some New Age composers claim their music is meant to build bridges between the conscious and the unconscious, but this is probably more so when, besides melodies, there is meditative and rhythmic repetition of key phrases. As with many elements of the New Age phenomenon, some music is meant to bring people further into the New Age Movement, but most is simply commercial or artistic.
New Thought: a 19th century religious movement founded in the United States of America. Its origins were in idealism, of which it was a popularised form. God was said to be totally good, and evil merely an illusion; the basic reality was the mind. Since one's mind is what causes the events in one's life, one has to take ultimate responsibility for every aspect of one's situation.
Occultism: occult (hidden) knowledge, and the hidden forces of the mind and of nature, are at the basis of beliefs and practices linked to a presumed secret “perennial philosophy” derived from ancient Greek magic and alchemy, on the one hand, and Jewish mysticism, on the other. They are kept hidden by a code of secrecy imposed on those initiated into the groups and societies that guard the knowledge and techniques involved. In the 19th century, spiritualism and the Theosophical Society introduced new forms of occultism which have, in turn, influenced various currents in the New Age.
Pantheism: (Greek pan = everything and theos = God) the belief that everything is God or, sometimes, that everything is in God and God is in everything (panentheism). Every element of the universe is divine, and the divinity is equally present in everything. There is no space in this view for God as a distinct being in the sense of classical theism.
Parapsychology: treats of such things as extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, telekinesis, psychic healing and communication with spirits via mediums or channeling. Despite fierce criticism from scientists, parapsychology has gone from strength to strength, and fits neatly into the view popular in some areas of the New Age that human beings have extraordinary psychic abilities, but often only in an undeveloped state.
Planetary Consciousness: this world-view developed in the 1980s to foster loyalty to the community of humanity rather than to nations, tribes or other established social groups. It can be seen as the heir to movements in the early 20th century that promoted a world government. The consciousness of the unity of humanity sits well with the Gaia hypothesis.
Positive Thinking: the conviction that people can change physical reality or external circumstances by altering their mental attitude, by thinking positively and constructively. Sometimes it is a matter of becoming consciously aware of unconsciously held beliefs that determine our life-situation. Positive thinkers are promised health and wholeness, often prosperity and even immortality.
Rebirthing: In the early 1970s Leonard Orr described rebirthing as a process by which a person can identify and isolate aoreas in his or her consciousness that are unresolved and at the source of present problems.
Reincarnation: in a New Age context, reincarnation is linked to the concept of ascendant evolution towards becoming divine. As opposed to Indian religions or those derived from them, New Age views reincarnation as progression of the individual soul towards a more perfect state. What is reincarnated is essentially something immaterial or spiritual; more precisely, it is consciousness, that spark of energy in the person that shares in cosmic or “christic” energy. Death is nothing but the passage of the soul from one body to another.
Rosicrucians: these are Western occult groups involved in alchemy, astrology, Theosophy and kabbalistic interpretations of scripture. The Rosicrucian Fellowship contributed to the revival of astrology in the 20th century, and the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) linked success with a presumed ability to materialise mental images of health, riches and happiness.
Shamanism: practices and beliefs linked to communication with the spirits of nature and the spirits of dead people through ritualised possession (by the spirits) of a shaman, who serves as a medium. It has been attractive in New Age circles because it stresses harmony with the forces of nature and healing. There is also a romanticised image of indigenous religions and their closeness to the earth and to nature.
Spiritualism: While there have always been attempts to contact the spirits of the dead, 19th century spiritualism is reckoned to be one of the currents that flow into the New Age. It developed against the background of the ideas of Swedenborg and Mesmer, and became a new kind of religion. Madame Blavatsky was a medium, and so spiritualism had a great influence on the Theosophical Society, although there the emphasis was on contact with entities from the distant past rather than people who had died only recently. Allan Kardec was influential in the spread of spiritualism in Afro-Brasilian religions. There are also spiritualist elements in some New Religious Movements in Japan.
Theosophy: an ancient term, which originally referred to a kind of mysticism. It has been linked to Greek Gnostics and Neoplatonists, to Meister Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa and Jakob Boehme. The name was given new emphasis by the Theosophical Society, founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1875. Theosophical mysticism tends to be monistic, stressing the essential unity of the spiritual and material components of the universe. It also looks for the hidden forces that cause matter and spirit to interact, in such a way that human and divine minds eventually meet. Here is where theosophy offers mystical redemption or enlightenment.
Transcendentalism: This was a 19th century movement of writers and thinkers in New England, who shared an idealistic set of beliefs in the essential unity of creation, the innate goodness of the human person, and the superiority of insight over logic and experience for the revelation of the deepest truths. The chief figure is Ralph Waldo Emerson, who moved away from orthodox Christianity, through Unitarianism to a new natural mysticism which integrated concepts from Hinduism with popular American ones like individualism, personal responsibility and the need to succeed.
Wicca: an old English term for witches that has been given to a neo-pagan revival of some elements of ritual magic. It was invented in England in 1939 by Gerald Gardner, who based it on some scholarly texts, according to which medieval European witchcraft was an ancient nature religion persecuted by Christians. Called “the Craft”, it grew rapidly in the 1960s in the United States, where it encountered “women's spirituality”.
7.3. Key New Age places
Esalen: a community founded in Big Sur, California, in 1962 by Michael Murphy and Richard Price, whose main aim was to arrive at a self-realisation of being through nudism and visions, as well as “bland medicines”. It has become one of the most important centres of the Human Potential Movement, and has spread ideas about holistic medicine in the worlds of education, politics and economics. This has been done through courses in comparative religion, mythology, mysticism, meditation, psychotherapy, expansion of consciousness and so on. Along with Findhorn, it is seen as a key place in the growth of Aquarian consciousness. The Esalen Soviet-American Institute co-operated with Soviet officials on the Health Promotion Project.
Findhorn: this holistic farming community started by Peter and Eileen Caddy achieved the growth of enormous plants by unorthodox methods. The founding of the Findhorn community in Scotland in 1965 was an important milestone in the movement which bears the label of the 'New Age'. In fact, Findhorn 'was seen as embodying its principal ideals of transformation'. The quest for a universal consciousness, the goal of harmony with nature, the vision of a transformed world, and the practice of channeling, all of which have become hallmarks of the New Age Movement, were present at Findhorn from its foundation. The success of this community led to its becoming a model for, and/or an inspiration to, other groups, such as Alternatives in London, Esalen in Big Sur, California, and the Open Center and Omega Institute in New York”.
Monte Verità: a utopian community near Ascona in Switzerland. Since the end of the 19th century it was a meeting point for European and American exponents of the counter-culture in the fields of politics, psychology, art and ecology. The Eranos conferences have been held there every year since 1933, gathering some of the great luminaries of the New Age. The yearbooks make clear the intention to create an integrated world religion. It is fascinating to see the list of those who have gathered over the years at Monte Verità.
Documents of the Catholic Church's magisterium
John Paul II, Address to the United States Bishops of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska on their “Ad Limina” visit, 28 May 1993.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to Bishops on Certain Aspects of Christian Meditation (Orationis Formas), Vatican City (Vatican Polyglot Press) 1989.
International Theological Commission, Some Current Questions Concerning Eschatology, 1992, Nos. 9-10 (on reincarnation).
International Theological Commission, Some Questions on the Theology of Redemption, 1995, I/29 and II/35-36.
Argentine Bishops' Conference Committee for Culture, Frente a una Nueva Era. Desafio a la pastoral en el horizonte de la Nueva Evangelización, 1993.
Irish Theological Commission, A New Age of the Spirit? A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon, Dublin 1994.
Godfried Danneels, Au-delà de la mort: réincarnation et resurrection, Pastoral Letter, Easter 1991.
Godfried Danneels, Christ or Aquarius? Pastoral Letter, Christmas 1990 (Veritas, Dublin).
Carlo Maccari, “La 'mistica cosmica' del New Age”, in Religioni e Sette nel Mondo 1996/2.
Carlo Maccari, La New Age di fronte alla fede cristiana, Turin (LDC) 1994.
Edward Anthony McCarthy, The New Age Movement, Pastoral Instruction, 1992.
Paul Poupard, Felicità e fede cristiana, Casale Monferrato (Ed. Piemme) 1992.
Joseph Ratzinger, La fede e la teologia ai nostri giorni, Guadalajara, May 1996, in L'Osservatore Romano 27 October 1996.
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Instrucción Pastoral sobre el New Age, 7 January 1996.
Christoph von Schönborn, Risurrezione e reincarnazione, (Italian translation) Casale Monferrato (Piemme) 1990.
J. Francis Stafford, Il movimento “New Age”, in L'Osservatore Romano, 30 October 1992.
Working Group on New Religious Movements (ed.), Vatican City, Sects and New Religious Movements. An Anthology of Texts From the Catholic Church, Washington (USCC) 1995.
Raúl Berzosa Martinez, Nueva Era y Cristianismo. Entre el diálogo y la ruptura, Madrid (BAC) 1995.
André Fortin, Les Galeries du Nouvel Age: un chrétien s'y promène, Ottawa (Novalis) 1993.
Claude Labrecque, Une religion américaine. Pistes de discernement chrétien sur les courants populaires du “Nouvel Age”, Montréal (Médiaspaul) 1994.
The Methodist Faith and Order Committee, The New Age Movement Report to Conference 1994.
Aidan Nichols, “The New Age Movement”, in The Month, March 1992, pp. 84-89.
Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, Il Cristo del New Age. Indagine critica, Vatican City (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) 1999.
Ökumenische Arbeitsgruppe “Neue Religiöse Bewegungen in der Schweiz”, New Age – aus christlicher Sicht, Freiburg (Paulusverlag) 1987.
Mitch Pacwa s.j., Catholics and the New Age. How Good People are being drawn into Jungian Psychology, the Enneagram and the New Age of Aquarius, Ann Arbor MI (Servant) 1992.
John Saliba, Christian Responses to the New Age Movement. A Critical Assessment, London (Chapman) 1999.
Josef Südbrack, SJ, Neue Religiosität - Herausforderung für die Christen, Mainz (Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag) 1987 = La nuova religiosità: una sfida per i cristiani, Brescia (Queriniana) 1988.
“Theologie für Laien” secretariat, Faszination Esoterik, Zürich (Theologie für Laien) 1996.
David Toolan, Facing West from California's Shores. A Jesuit's Journey into New Age Consciousness, New York (Crossroad) 1987.
Juan Carlos Urrea Viera, “New Age”. Visión Histórico-Doctrinal y Principales Desafíos, Santafé de Bogotá (CELAM) 1996.
Jean Vernette, “L'avventura spirituale dei figli dell'Acquario”, in Religioni e Sette nel Mondo 1996/2.
Jean Vernette, Jésus dans la nouvelle religiosité, Paris (Desclée) 1987.
Jean Vernette, Le New Age, Paris (P.U.F.) 1992.
9 GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
9.1. Some New Age books
Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, Berkeley (Shambhala) 1975.
Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising
Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of Christ
and the Masters of Wisdom,
Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy. Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time, Los Angeles (Tarcher) 1980.
Chris Griscom, Ecstasy is a New Frequency: Teachings of the Light Institute, New York (Simon & Schuster) 1987.
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago (University of Chicago Press) 1970.
David Spangler, The New Age Vision, Forres (Findhorn Publications) 1980.
David Spangler, Revelation: The Birth of a New Age, San Francisco (Rainbow Bridge) 1976.
David Spangler, Towards a Planetary Vision, Forres (Findhorn Publications) 1977.
David Spangler, The New Age, Issaquah (The Morningtown Press) 1988.
David Spangler, The Rebirth of the Sacred, London (Gateway Books) 1988.
9.2. Historical, descriptive and analytical works
Christoph Bochinger, “New Age” und moderne Religion: Religionswissenschaftliche Untersuchungen, Gütersloh (Kaiser) 1994.
Bernard Franck, Lexique du Nouvel-Age, Limoges (Droguet-Ardant) 1993.
Hans Gasper, Joachim Müller and Friederike Valentin, Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen. Fakten, Hintergründe, Klärungen, updated edition, Freiburg-Basel-Vienna (Herder) 2000. See, inter alia, the article “New Age” by Christoph Schorsch, Karl R. Essmann and Medard Kehl, and “Reinkarnation” by Reinhard Hümmel.
Manabu Haga and Robert J. Kisala (eds.), “The New Age in Japan”, in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Fall 1995, vol. 22, numbers 3 & 4.
Wouter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture. Esotericism in the Mirror of Nature, Leiden-New York-Köln (Brill) 1996. This book has an extensive bibliography.
Paul Heelas, The New Age Movement. The Celebration of the Self and the Sacralization of Modernity, Oxford (Blackwell) 1996.
Massimo Introvigne, New Age & Next Age, Casale Monferrato (Piemme) 2000.
Michel Lacroix, L'Ideologia della New Age, Milano (Il Saggiatore) 1998.
J. Gordon Melton, New Age Encyclopedia, Detroit (Gale Research Inc) 1990.
Elliot Miller, A Crash Course in the New Age, Eastbourne (Monarch) 1989.
Georges Minois, Histoire de l'athéisme, Paris (Fayard) 1998.
Arild Romarheim, The Aquarian Christ. Jesus Christ as Portrayed by New Religious Movements, Hong Kong (Good Tiding) 1992.
Hans-Jürgen Ruppert, Durchbruch zur Innenwelt. Spirituelle Impulse aus New Age und Esoterik in kritischer Beleuchtung, Stuttgart (Quell Verlag) 1988.
Edwin Schur, The Awareness Trap. Self-Absorption instead of Social Change, New York (McGraw Hill) 1977.
Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, The Future of Religion. Secularisation, Revival and Cult Formation, Berkeley (University of California Press) 1985.
Steven Sutcliffe and Marion Bowman (eds.), Beyond the New Age. Exploring Alternative Spirituality, Edinburgh (Edinburgh University Press), 2000.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self. The Making of the Modern Identity, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 1989.
Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, London (Harvard University Press) 1991
Edênio Valle s.v.d., “Psicologia e energias da mente: teorias alternativas”, in A Igreja Católica diante do pluralismo religioso do Brasil (III). Estudos da CNBB n. 71, São Paulo (paulus) 1994.
World Commission on Culture and Development, Our
Creative Diversity. Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Paris
M. York, “The New Age Movement in Great Britain”, in Syzygy. Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture, 1:2-3 (1992) Stanford CA.
1. Paul Heelas, The New Age Movement. The Celebration of the Self and the Sacralization of Modernity, Oxford (Blackwell) 1996, p. 137.
2. Cf. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 164f.
3. Cf. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 173.
4. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Dominum et vivificantem (18 May 1986), 53.
5. Cf. Gilbert Markus o.p., “Celtic Schmeltic”, (1) in Spirituality, vol. 4, November-December 1998, No 21, pp. 379-383 and (2) in Spirituality, vol. 5, January-February 1999, No. 22, pp. 57-61.
6. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, (Knopf) 1994, 90.
7. Cf. particularly Massimo Introvigne, New Age & Next Age, Casale Monferrato (Piemme) 2000.
8. M. Introvigne, op. cit., p. 267.
9. Cf. Michel Lacroix, L'Ideologia della New Age, Milano (il Saggiatore) 1998, p. 86. The word “sect” is used here not in any pejorative sense, but rather to denote a sociological phenomenon.
10. Cf. Wouter J. Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture. Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, Leiden-New York-Köln (Brill) 1996, p. 377 and elsewhere.
11. Cf. Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, The Future of Religion. Secularisation, Revival and Cult Formation, Berkeley (University of California Press) 1985.
12. Cf. M. Lacroix, op. cit., p. 8.
13. The Swiss “Theologie für Laien” course entitled Faszination Esoterik puts this clearly. Cf. “Kursmappe 1 – New Age und Esoterik”, text to accompany slides, p. 9.
14. The term was already in use in the title of The New Age Magazine, which was being published by the Ancient Accepted Scottish Masonic Rite in the southern jurisdiction of the United States of America as early as 1900 Cf. M. York, “The New Age Movement in Great Britain”, in Syzygy. Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture, 1: 2-3 (1992), Stanford CA, p. 156, note 6. The exact timing and nature of the change to the New Age are interpreted variously by different authors; estimates of timing range from 1967 to 2376.
15. In late 1977, Marilyn Ferguson sent a questionnaire to 210 “persons engaged in social transformation”, whom she also calls “Aquarian Conspirators”. The following is interesting:
The Aquarian Conspiracy. Personal and Social Transformation in Our Time, Los Angeles (Tarcher) 1980, p. 50 (note 1) and p. 434.
16. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., p. 520.
17. Irish Theological Commission, A New Age of the Spirit? A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon, Dublin 1994, chapter 3.
18. Cf. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago (University of Chicago Press), 1970, p. 175.
19. Cf. Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, Il Cristo del New Age. Indagine critica, Vatican City (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) 1999, passim, but especially pp. 11-34. See Also section 4 below.
20. It is worth recalling the lyrics of this song, which quickly imprinted themselves on to the minds of a whole generation in North America and Western Europe:
21. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 1f. The August 1978 journal of the Berkeley Christian Coalition puts it this way:
Quoted in Marilyn Ferguson, op. cit., p. 370f.
22. Cf. Chris Griscom, Ecstasy is a New Frequency: Teachings of the Light Institute, New York (Simon & Schuster) 1987, p. 82.
23. See the Glossary of New Age terms, §7.2 above.
24. Cf. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., chapter 15 (“The Mirror of Secular Thought”). The system of correspondences is clearly inherited from traditional esotericism, but it has a new meaning for those who (consciously or not) follow Swedenborg. While every natural element in traditional esoteric doctrine had the divine life within it, for Swedenborg nature is a dead reflection of the living spiritual world. This idea is very much at the heart of the post-modern vision of a disenchanted world and various attempts to “re-enchant” it. Blavatsky rejected correspondences, and Jung emphatically relativised causality in favour of the esoteric world-view of correspondences.
25. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., pp. 54-55.
26. Cf. Reinhard Hümmel, “Reinkarnation”, in Hans Gasper, Joachim Müller, Friederike Valentin (eds.), Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen. Fakten, Hintergründe, Klärungen, Freiburg-Basel-Wien (Herder) 2000, 886-893.
27. Michael Fuss, “New Age and Europe – A Challenge for Theology”, in Mission Studies Vol. VIII-2, 16, 1991, p. 192.
28. Ibid., loc. cit.
29. Ibid.,p. 193.
30. Ibid.,p. 199.
31. Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Letter to the Bishops
of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation (Orationis Formas), 1989, 14.
32. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., p. 448f. The objectives are quoted from the final (1896) version, earlier versions of which stressed the irrationality of “bigotry” and the urgency of promoting non-sectarian education. Hanegraaff quotes J. Gordon Melton's description of New Age religion as rooted in the “occult-metaphysical” tradition (ibid., p. 455).
33. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., p. 513.
34. Thomas M. King s.j., “Jung and Catholic Spirituality”, in America, 3 April 1999, p. 14. The author points out that New Age devotees “quote passages dealing with the I Ching, astrology and Zen, while Catholics quote passages dealing with Christian mystics, the liturgy and the psychological value of the sacrament of reconciliation” (p. 12). He also lists Catholic personalities and spiritual institutions clearly inspired and guided by Jung's psychology.
35. Cf. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., p. 501f.
36. Carl Gustav Jung, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, quoted in Hanegraaff, op. cit., p. 503.
37. On this point cf. Michel Schooyans, L'Évangile face au désordre mondial, with a preface by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Paris (Fayard) 1997.
38. Quoted in the Maranatha Community's The True and the False New Age. Introductory Ecumenical Notes, Manchester (Maranatha) 1993, 8.10 – the original page numbering is not specified.
39. Michel Lacroix, L'Ideologia della New Age, Milano (il Saggiatore) 1998, p. 84f.
40. Cf. the section on David Spangler's ideas in Actualité des religions nº 8, septembre 1999, p. 43.
41. M. Ferguson, op. cit., p. 407.
42. Ibid.,p. 411.
43. “To be an American... is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than inherit one. We have always been inhabitants of myth rather than history”: Leslie Fiedler, quoted in M. Ferguson, op. cit., p. 142.
44. Cf. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 173f.
45. David Spangler, The New Age, Issaquah (Mornington Press) 1988, p. 14.
46. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 168.
47. See the Preface to Michel Schooyans, L'Évangile
face au désordre mondial,
48. Cf. Our Creative Diversity. Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Paris (UNESCO) 1995, which illustrates the importance given to celebrating and promoting diversity.
49. Cf. Christoph Bochinger, “New Age” und moderne Religion: Religionswissenschaftliche Untersuchungen, Gütersloh (Kaiser) 1994, especially chapter 3.
50. The shortcomings of techniques which are not yet prayer are discussed below in § 3.4, “Christian mysticism and New Age mysticism”.
51. Cf. Carlo Maccari, “La 'mistica cosmica' del New Age”, in Religioni e Sette nel Mondo 1996/2.
52. Jean Vernette, “L'avventura spirituale dei figli dell'Acquario”, in Religioni e Sette nel Mondo 1996/2, p. 42f.
53. J. Vernette, loc. cit.
54. Cf. J. Gordon Melton, New Age Encyclopedia, Detroit (Gale Research) 1990, pp. xiii-xiv.
55. David Spangler, The Rebirth of the Sacred, London (Gateway Books) 1984, p. 78f.
56. David Spangler, The New Age, op. cit., p. 13f.
57. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 9.
58. Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, San Francisco (Harper & Row) 1988, p. 135.
59. Cf. the document issued by the Argentine Bishops' Conference Committee for Culture: Frente a una Nueva Era. Desafío a la pastoral en el horizonte de la Nueva Evangelización, 1993.
60. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Orationis Formas, 23.
61. Ibid.,3. See the sections on meditation and contemplative prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, §§. 2705-2719.
62. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Orationis Formas, 13.
63. Cf. Brendan Pelphrey, “I said, You are Gods. Orthodox Christian Theosis and Deification in the New Religious Movements” in Spirituality East and West, Easter 2000 (No. 13).
64. Adrian Smith, God and the Aquarian Age. The new era of the Kingdom, Great Wakering (McCrimmons) 1990, p. 49.
65. Cf. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, London (Tara Press) 1979, p. 116.
66. Cf. Jean Vernette, Le New Age, Paris (P.U.F.) 1992 (Collection Encyclopédique Que sais-je?), p. 14.
67. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 52.
68. Cf. Alessandro Olivieri Pennesi, Il Cristo del New Age. Indagine Critica, Vatican City (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) 1999, especially pages 13-34. The list of common points is on p. 33.
69. The Nicene Creed.
70. Michel Lacroix, L'Ideologia della New Age, Milano (Il Saggiatore) 1998, p. 74.
71. Ibid., p. 68.
72. Edwin Schur, The Awareness Trap. Self-Absorption instead of Social Change, New York (McGraw Hill) 1977, p. 68.
73. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, §§ 355-383.
74. Cf. Paul Heelas, The New Age Movement. The Celebration of the Self and the Sacralization of Modernity, Oxford (Blackwell) 1996, p. 161.
75. A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon, Irish Theological Commission 1994, chapter 3.
76. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Orationis Formas, 3.
78. William Bloom, The New Age. An Anthology of Essential Writings, London (Rider) 1991, p. xvi.
79. Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 387.
80. Ibid., § 1849.
81. Ibid., § 1850.
82. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on human suffering “Salvifici doloris” (11 February 1984), 19.
83. Cf. David Spangler, The New Age, op. cit., p. 28.
84. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 6, 28, and the Declaration Dominus Jesus (6 August 2000) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 12.
85. Cf. R. Rhodes, The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement, Grand Rapids (Baker) 1990, p. 129.
86. Helen Bergin o.p., “Living One's Truth”, in The Furrow, January 2000, p. 12.
87. Ibid.,p. 15.
88. Cf. P. Heelas, op. cit., p. 138.
89. Elliot Miller, A Crash Course in the New Age, Eastbourne (Monarch) 1989, p. 122. For documentation on the vehemently anti-Christian stance of spiritualism, cf. R. Laurence Moore, “Spiritualism”, in Edwin S. Gaustad (ed.), The Rise of Adventism: Religion and Society in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America, New York 1974, pp. 79-103, and also R. Laurence Moore, In Search of White Crows: Spiritualism, Parapsychology, and American Culture, New York (Oxford University Press) 1977.
90. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical letter Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 36-48.
91. Cf. John Paul II, Address to the United States Bishops of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska on their “Ad Limina” visit, 28 May 1993.
92. Cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa (14 September 1995), 103. The Pontifical Council for Culture has published a handbook listing these centres throughout the world: Catholic Cultural Centres (3rd edition, Vatican City, 2001).
93. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Orationis Formas, and § 3 above.
94. This is one area where lack of information can allow those responsible for education to be misled by groups whose real agenda is inimical to the Gospel message. It is particularly the case in schools, where a captive curious young audience is an ideal target for ideological merchandising. Cf. the caveat in Massimo Introvigne, New Age & Next Age, Casale Monferrato (Piemme) 2000, p. 277f.
95. Cf. J. Badewien, Antroposofia, in H. Waldenfels (ed.) Nuovo Dizionario delle Religioni, Cinisello Balsamo (San Paolo) 1993, 41.
96. Cf. Raúl Berzosa Martinez, Nueva Era y Cristianismo, Madrid (BAC) 1995, 214.
97. Helen Palmer, The Enneagram, New York (Harper-Row) 1989.
98. Cf. document of the Argentine Episcopal Committee for Culture, op. cit.
99. J. Gernet, in J.-P. Vernant et al., Divination et Rationalité, Paris (Seuil) 1974, p. 55.
100. Cf. Susan Greenwood, “Gender and Power in Magical Practices”, in Steven Sutcliffe and Marion Bowman (eds.), Beyond New Age. Exploring Alternative Spirituality, Edinburgh (Edinburgh University Press) 2000, p. 139.
101. Cf. M. Fuss, op. cit., 198-199.
102. For a brief but clear treatment of the Human Potential Movement, see Elizabeth Puttick, “Personal Development: the Spiritualisation and Secularisation of the Human Potential Movement”, in: Steven Sutcliffe and Marion Bowman (eds.), Beyond New Age. Exploring Alternative Spirituality, Edinburgh (Edinburgh University Press) 2000, pp. 201-219.
103. Cf. C. Maccari, La “New Age” di fronte alla fede cristiana, Leumann-Torino (LDC) 1994, 168.
104. Cf. W.J. Hanegraaff, op. cit., 283-290.
105. On this last, very delicate, point, see Eckhard Türk's article “Neonazismus” in Hans Gasper, Joachim Müller, Friederike Valentin (eds.), Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen. Fakten, Hintergründe, Klärungen, Freiburg- Basel-Wien (Herder) 2000, p. 726.
106. Cf. John Saliba, Christian Responses to the New Age Movement. A Critical Assessment, London, (Geoffrey Chapman) 1999, p.1.
107. Cf. M. Fuss, op. cit., 195-196.
This Version: 6th February 2003