New Age Religion

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Time Period
1960
Description
With the rise of the 1960s counterculture and Human Potential, New Age religion emerged as an alternative religious movement. Spiritual communities known as "light centers" spread across the country, emphasizing transformation, enlightenment, and higher spiritual awareness. Words like "energies," "auras," and "transformation" are common among New Age followers, and practices like astrology, yoga, and crystal healing are prevalent. In the 1970s, "channeling" through mediums became incorporated into the movement, a remnant of 19th century spiritualism.

New Age religion is diverse, but it has five main characteristics: 1) optimistic belief that humans are on the verge of great spiritual transformation; 2) self-empowerment and fulfillment; 3) the harmony between scientific progress and spirituality; 4) universal spirituality (humans and the cosmos are connected); 5) and healing, often through experimental "natural" methods and meditation.

Although sometimes mocked for its unrelenting optimism and unorthodox beliefs/practices, New Age religion has nonetheless attracted many in the United States.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Social Movements and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Social Movements and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Biographies
Bailey, Alice
Prophet, Elizabeth Clare
Photographs

New Age Rainbow Gathering- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Mladifilozof (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sound Healing at the Harmony Festival- Flickr- photo by Robbi Baba (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Center for the New Age sign- Flickr- photo by Alan English CPA (CC BY-NC 2.0)

New Age shrine- Geograph.org.uk- photo by Glyn Baker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Yoga 4 Love outdoor yoga class- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Yoga4love
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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