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Image credit: Victor GAD

Marija Dalbello

New Age


School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies

[email protected]

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New Age


identity crisis product (secular modernity; loss of community)

response to the cultural uncertainty of our times

Rooted in 2 key utopian ideologies of modernity:

utopianism of the Enlightenment project

de-traditionalized NA monism

motto of secular Enlightenment: “Have courage to use your own reason!

theistic utopianism

the self of the NAger is intrinsically good (inner experience)

God in traditional theism is infinitely more than anything we can hope to be

God in NA is being what, in essence, we already are

Christian seeks salvation through worship, prayer, obedience, and discipline, understanding of texts

NA actualization through working on ego-attachments to master what is inside

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New Age


internalized form of religiosity


need to shed ego-constraints brought about by socialization and institutions


autonomy and freedom highly valued

authority lies within the experience of the Self or the natural realm

self-ethic important


metanarrative operationg on the experiential level

perennialized outlook (wisdom is found at the heart of all religious traditions)

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New Age


self-directedness vs. external authority / dogma / doctrine

teachers and leaders (learning to experience) vs. anthropomorphic gods

monism (New Age) vs. theism (Christianity-Judaism-Islam; Hinduism) vs. secularism (Enlightenment project)

spirituality (theism allows for explanation of God transcending human comprehension;NA works within human measure - God cannot exceed human comprehension; in horror, there is no God just anxiety, some scientific resolution possible but God is also above human comprehension)

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New Age



18th / 19th -century

deists, freethinkers, Swedenborgians - influence of eastern or pagan ideas, rejected orthodox religion in favor of sacralized rendering of nature and other esoteric themes

self-spirituality, sacralized self in the 18th&19th century Romanticism

The London Theosophical Society, founded by Rev. Jacob Duche in 1783 (William Blake)

Counter-culture of the Fin de Siècle

Mme Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society active and attracting followers

Mirra Alfassa (Auroville - ashram in Pondicherry)

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1888)

Aleister Crowley joined Ordo Templi Orientis, a German occult order in 1912; in 1922 founded Abbey of Thelema in Sicily (‘magical’ community from which to launch a new era)

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New Age


Blavatsky, Jung, Gurdjieff

Mme Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) (Theosophical Society most influential 19th century rendering of New Age: fundamental unity of all existence and faith in perennialized view of religious traditions; international offshoots)

Jung (1885-1961) archetypal (perennial components of the human psyche)

Gurdjieff (1866-1949) taught that we are able of obtaining ‘objective consciousness’ (‘enlightened state” but we are not aware of it because we are prisoners of external circumstances; emphasis of transformantional techniques; impact on est and other seminars focusing on the harmonious development of man; formative for NA repertoire which is established by 1920s)

The ‘sixties’ and the Age of Aquarius

the commune movement in the 1960s

Institutionalization of counter-cultures in the 1970s (changing the mainstream & civil rights movement)

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New Age


Counter-cultural spirituality since the ‘sixties’

alternative values and experiences but not advocating to drop-out of society


harmonial spirituality (seminar spirituality and prosperity; entitlement; matching internal/external processes; holistic interconnectedness)

Prosperity beyond the counter-culture

Self-spirituality in the corporate context

est-influenced movements; Gurdjieff-inspired Krone Associates for Pacific Bell

specialized trainings, events, businesses

Publicationsdirected at business people