Skip to Content

New Age

During the latter half of the 20th century, many interrelated systems of beliefs came to be called “new age.” For the most part, Americans interested in new age practices seek a unity of mind, body and spirit as a means to spiritual awareness and progress, avoiding or rejecting the offerings of traditional organized religion. New age borrows much from both eastern and western religions, focusing on meditation, but it also owes a great deal to psychology and to the American cultural tradition of self-improvement.

A holistic health newspaper in one American city publishes advertisements for practitioners that give a good cross section of some new age pursuits and concerns: “Advanced Healing,” “Alternative Wellness,” “Angelic Guidance,” “Ascended Masters Meditation,” “Channeling,” “Emotional and Spiritual Wellbeing,” “Energy Psychology,” “Integrative Medicine,” “Past Life Revelations,” “Shamanic Self-Mastery,” to name but a few.

Beyond the mind, body, spirit connection, a certain new age element also exists that focuses on extrasensory perception (ESP) reincarnation and past lives, auras, channeling, speaking with the dead, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), astrology, tarot cards, palm reading, numerology or any of an assortment of belief systems that are usually at odds with established religion.

The term “new age,” of course, is one of convenience in general conversation and in the press. Despite the fluidity of the description, tens of millions of American are to some extent interested in so-called new age activities of one kind or another.

Next Section:Atheism

Religion in America: Chapter Home

Life in the USA Home Page.