What Do People mean when they say New Age? The Search for Spiritual Meaning

Since starting his Feng Shui journey more than 20 years ago, Dean French has discovered much along the way. In this article he shares information about the New Age movement that you might not be aware of to help you on your spiritual meaning journey.

New Age Spirituality

Over the millennia, the human race has turned to different therapeutic and unconventional spiritual practices. In the modern day, a surge in the realisation of human potential and counterculture practices in the 1960s, many people disenfranchised with society formed tight-knit spiritual communities.

The term new age had an astrological beginning, and according to believers, they were trying to leave behind the age of Pisces characterised by violence (western astrological ages move in retrograde). The movement was established to lead the believers into the Age of Aquarius metaphorized to an age of harmony, peace, and restoration. These pursuits lend to the birth of the new age movement that despite appearing to flow and mould itself to newer ideas, has held tight to some religious and spiritual beliefs and practices.

The movement continued and grew into the 1970s, with new age beliefs and practices becoming more diverse. Definitions of the new age differ from one scholar to another. However, it is largely based on a diverse paradigm of theories, ideas or styles to gain a complementary understanding of what is spiritual or religious. Many settle for such titles as spiritual, or mind, body and spirit and the broad belief structures they follow.

Mixed reviews concerning the definition of new age spirituality led to extensive use of the term “new age movement”. Those who contest its varied designations suggest it is better seen as a social environment meaning spirit of the age. However, the exact origins of the phenomenon are widely questioned in the community as the movement spread throughout the UK and USA immensely.

By the start of the 21st century, the term new age was being rejected and scoffed at by many people. For many believers of the new age movement, its inclusive nature is still evident in a number of beliefs. Hence, the topic has become a subject of research among many scholars of religious studies.

Beliefs and Practices that Define New Age

Many people who joined the new age movement have one common characteristic. They were all trying to offer a counteractive response to the excessive impact of mechanisation and rationalisation of western life. The majority wanted to dissociate from the civilisation in the west and the consumptive desires that lie at its foundation.

The defeat of the 1960s political and social movements by the government during the 1980’s and 1990’s by the ‘greed is good’ generation empowered the new age. Many of those involved in anti-war and anti-corporatism movements wanted something new, and looked to their spiritual values as a continuance of their social and political values. This is a tangible benefit of the new age that inspired many followers in recognising that their spirituality encompasses their entire person.

The new age traditions held many practices that opened a new chapter in their reasoning and perception. Many people got an opportunity to introduce these practices into their life and change to experiment with different options. Many of new age spirituality beliefs were a postmodern phenomenon with deep-rooted Pagan, Gnostic, Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, psychology, tarot, magic, psychotherapy and other metaphysical roots. The movement became a “spiritual store or supermarket” where individuals were free to pick which beliefs best suit their needs.

These were spiritual beliefs and practices that they (or a Guru) identified would help them achieve peace of body, mind and spirit as well as realize their full human potential. These beliefs and practices can include:

Psychic Abilities

Mind reading and ability to foretell the future are things you may come across many communities. Probably you have watched a movie or read a book that tells a lot about these activities. Most psychic claims tend to be vague and general, but there are others that can be specific and provide valuable information. For instance, I personally know a client of an Australian clairvoyant that helped them avoid a trip that would have seen them involved in a large train crash while they were on holidays.

The downside is that some believers of psychic phenomena are prone to “innate” thinking rather than “rational” thinking, tending to be less analytical about people and situations. There is a tendency to interpret things on the surface that may not be in their own best interests.

Existence of Ghosts

Current science may not prove the existence of ghosts, but new age movement beliefs and practices tackled such phenomena. Many want to believe in ghosts and definitely think that they have been in homes where ghosts have been around them. Others believe that if you see ghosts, you should get out of there as fast as possible. Among people I have spoken to, the belief in ghosts is definitely experiential. Some have had a room that is far colder than all the other rooms in the house. Some people that have lived in old, spooky houses that have woken up being choked and believe that they were visited by the ghost of a deceased tenant.

Mystery of Reincarnation

Reincarnation is a common belief that has created a lot of debates since time immemorial. It is the philosophical belief that the spirit or soul will begin a new life and in a new body after biological death. Also known as rebirth or palingenesis, it’s a belief that gives rise to the cycle of death and reincarnation.

Interestingly, a believer has to have been morally upright in previous life to go through such a process. Here is where the Laws of Karma come into play and make such claims true to many people who believe in reincarnation and new age spirituality.

Besides Hinduism, other religions or practices that believe in reincarnation include Jainism, Buddhism, or Sikhism even though they may use different terminologies. Religions like Christianity, Muslim, and Judaism refute claims of reincarnation in one way or another.

Universal Love

This is a belief that encompasses the concept that when you experience universal love, you understand the actions of love. It is a gentle action that will influence many aspects of life. And to experience universal love, you also have to be free and nothing should hold you from showing love and being loved.

Spirit Healing

Belief in Spirit healing is also widespread in new age practitioners. The practice explores the origin of challenges like illness and the sources of true healing. While not limited to the new age, as there are plenty of Christian spirit healers, challenges occur when believers don’t see medicine and medical practice as the right place for treatment for very dangerous conditions.

Feng Shui

When looking at the new age movement, the popularity of Feng Shui as a practice rose and peaked in the 90’s and early 2000’s and has since taken a role with one foot planted in the new age and the other in modern society.

Feng Shui is a practice and belief that uses energy forces (Chi) to harmonise people and their surroundings. It includes beliefs in structures such as tombs and auspicious sites defined by the presence of mountain ranges, water bodies, the moon and the inner planets.

With modernisation and the new age movement, a new Feng Shui was created and believers abide by things like good luck charms, trinkets, and ornaments. New age Feng Shui requires belief in the results for things to work so there is considerable cross-over with the “Law of Attraction”. Suffice to say, there is a great deal more to the workings of the universe than a simple belief that things will just go well.

The New Age conclusion

New age spirituality is a broad topic that is still quite popular in many communities around the world. Scholars such as myself have undertaken incalculable amounts of study on ancient beliefs, practices and methods of this movement. It is a topic that exposes many people to new information and ideas they never knew existed, which to me is always a wonderful thing.

From a Feng Shui perspective, we start a New Age of 9 in 2024 in the Flying Stars Feng Shui school. We’ve already started from 2017 according to Xuan Kong Da Gua Feng Shui and other Imperial schools. I believe there is a strong connection between the Feng Shui ages and the new Age of Aquarius in western astrology.

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Dean French

With over two decades of practical Feng Shui experience, Dean French is known for his down-to-earth attitude, perceptive observational skills, and his direct and honest communication. Amongst his clients, he has a reputation as an accomplished consultant that has grown through perseverance, professional diligence, conscientious integrity, and the outstanding transformative life shifts they receive.

One Response

  1. I’ve wondered about the state of spirituality for a while now. Whether its the practice of Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology, western astrology, it all points back to a nexus. New age sought to dissociate the gratification of one’s desires (which IMO came about due to a misinterpretation of freedom) but of of course, I’m left with a worry and an assurance at the same time. Since it is built on numerous phenomena, it points man back to one truth: that man is spiritual by nature (and should live by it). The worry is that since it combines a lot, at first sight, it may not be convincing for a person well versed (since he/she expects a more concise belief system). I could go on but just wanted to air a little of my views.

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One Response

  1. I’ve wondered about the state of spirituality for a while now. Whether its the practice of Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology, western astrology, it all points back to a nexus. New age sought to dissociate the gratification of one’s desires (which IMO came about due to a misinterpretation of freedom) but of of course, I’m left with a worry and an assurance at the same time. Since it is built on numerous phenomena, it points man back to one truth: that man is spiritual by nature (and should live by it). The worry is that since it combines a lot, at first sight, it may not be convincing for a person well versed (since he/she expects a more concise belief system). I could go on but just wanted to air a little of my views.

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Your email address will not be published.