Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices by Steven J. Sutcliffe

By Steven J. Sutcliffe

The 1st precise social heritage of the phenomenon referred to as New Age tradition, youngsters of the hot Age offers an summary of the various sorts of New Age trust and perform from the Thirties to the current day. Drawing on unique ethnographic examine and barely noticeable archival fabric, it calls into query the belief that the hot Age is a discrete and unified 'movement', and divulges the unities and fractures obvious in modern New Age perform.

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Thus Marian Green, editor of Quest magazine in England, is said to be typical of some British Pagans in the early 1990s in that she ‘entertains the New Age idiom as a compatible frame of reference’ (York 1995: 151). And in the US, Adler (1981: 402) reproduces a 1973 ‘Aquarian Manifesto’ celebrating ‘Aquarians Together’, denoting ‘Witches, Warlocks, and Wizards, Psychics, Priests and Parapsychologists; Mystics, Mediums, and 28 THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ‘NEW AGE’ Magicians; Astrologers, Diviners and Occultists’.

Meher Baba’s Zoroastrian parents had emigrated to India from Persia; he himself claimed initiation first from a female Sufi (itself an arresting status) and later by a Hindu guru, and his ashram at Bombay in the early 1920s attracted followers of all these religious systems. He synthesised these perspectives in spectacular fashion when, in 1932, in an interview on the front page of the Sunday Express in London, he claimed ‘I am one with God. I live in Him like Buddha, like Christ, like Krishna’ (cited in Landau 1935: 131).

There were inevitably many levels of engagement with these practices. Uncomplicated recreation was one. In 1935 the Daily Express published a popular compendium called The Book of Fortune-Telling: How to Tell Character and the Future by Palmistry, Cards, Numbers, Phrenology, Handwriting, Dreams,Astrology, Etc (Daily Express 1935). ). Serious spiritual diagnosis was another angle, vigorously defended by the Theosophical practitioners ‘Sephariel’ and ‘Leo’; Alice Bailey also delved here (her Esoteric Astrology was published posthumously in 1951).

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