I must confess that I was very keen on the New Age from about 1975 onwards (from when I was, say, 25, when I was very young). Now much later, I can look back at it with mixed feelings - with gratitude, but also ruefully and regretfully, and certainly I hope with more awareness.
I am regretful and disappointed because:-
- we have not built the New Jerusalem yet (circumstances even seem likely to destroy the old one),
- King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table have not re-emerged and re-established Camelot, the Christ does not seem to have re-appeared,
- and neither do we seem to have entered a new era of peace and love.
Perhaps my dreams in ’75 were unrealistic ! I’m slightly embarrassed about it all, but, I want to write honestly about it.
I am deeply disappointed if I go to a new age festival, also with some guilt, because I myself played a big part in the Findhorn shop, which in its way supported the development of a "commercial new age’. I find these festivals scary - the number of products available, the claims made fo them, everyone with their book to market, their living to make, their stuff to sell, their workshops, their place on the lecture circuit. I am particularly unhappy with channellings from ‘higher realms’, ‘new age music’ and the use of crystals I feel it is mis-leading to newcomers, and exploitative. I know many of the people have good intentions, and they are just trying to make a living, but overall it has gone astray into a 'spiritual materialism'
But, I don’t think this is the full picture. There is some really good stuff there that can help people. Some of the keys to the positive New Age are as follows :-
- Some form of Group Consciousness is possible, some element of ‘the whole is greater then the sum of the parts', and that a group of equals can create new patterns and projects of great power.
- A new synthesis is possible of the best (most useful) bits of all the different schools of thought
- A new personal centering is possible, with a re-integration of the self around a new centre
- New potentials can be sensed and reached for the self and for society, new potentials which were always there, but they were previously hidden or difficult to find.
Unfortunately, few of these are saleable products ! (though I can let you have a few grams of new potential if you want), though there are some very useful techniques which I describe in the Psychology Techniques section
But, there is still the question of the Astrological New Age - Did it arrive and I didn’t notice it ? Who is in a good position to recognise it ? How can you tell the difference ?
The New Age as a movement seems relatively unchanged in the last 20 years, as if it reached a plateau, but things are changing elsewhere:-
- I can communicate in this way over the internet - this is real progress to something new !
- I have phoned people on mobile phones in Greece, India, China and Saudi Arabia, and now I have used Facetime to talk to people in the USA and Sweden
- I was able to go and live in Germany and Belgium. I became a European !
- I can now come from 'my direction' and have the opportunity to do a MSc in ‘policy and thought’ type of issues. This door has opened in a way that didn't exist before.
- There are always new movements springing up - I'll try and find a map of them ! (There is can even an academic 'New Social Movement Theory')