Apr 5th, 2012
by Jim Burklo
I attended a conference at Esalen Institute at Big Sur this past week, which gathered filmmakers and activists to share media strategies for promoting reconciliation among the religions of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At one point the conversation focused on how to prevent war between Iran and Israel and America. People professed strong feelings about the brewing crisis.
More "reconciliation" at Patheos
New Age is based on a body of thought that derives ultimately from the Spiritualism movement of the 19th Century and the Theosophy faith created by Helena Blavatsky (as well as from the beliefs of societies such as the Order of the Golden Dawn). Alice Bailey's Theosophy-influenced occult writings of the 1930s and 1940s are sometimes cited as the origin of the modern New Age movement, although the extent of this is debatable. Some Alice Bailey followers, most notably Benjamin Creme, were influential in popularizing New Age ideas in the 1980s and giving the movement its modern form.
Other early possible progenitors include the Urantia Book (1955) and The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ (1908), both consisting of allegedly channeled material mixing Christianity with Eastern religious thought and in the case of Urantia a cosmology of extraterrestrial spirit beings; the channeled "readings" of Edgar Cayce; and the practicies of Spiritism which included such things as table rapping, Tarot cards, and the Ouija board, which later re-emerged in popularity among the hippie movement. The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland (founded 1963) and the Esalen Institute in California (founded 1962) are also cited as origins of the New Age.