What is New Age?
New Age is not a movement in the sense normally intended in the term “New Religious Movement”, and it is not what is normally meant by the terms “cult” and “sect”. Because it is spread across cultures, in phenomena as varied as music, films, seminars, workshops, retreats, therapies, and many more activities and events, it is much more diffuse and informal, though some religious or para-religious groups consciously incorporate New Age elements, and it has been suggested that New Age has been a source of ideas for various religious and para-religious sects.(9) New Age is not a single, uniform movement, but rather a loose network of practitioners whose approach is to think globally but act locally.
What are its central themes?
The essence of New Age is the loose association of the various activities, ideas and people who might validly attract the term. So there is no single articulation of anything like the doctrines of mainstream religions. Despite this, and despite the immense variety within New Age, there are some common points:
– the cosmos is seen as an organic whole
– it is animated by an Energy, which is also identified as the divine Soul or Spirit
– much credence is given to the mediation of various spiritual entities
– humans are capable of ascending to invisible higher spheres, and of controlling their own lives beyond death
– there is held to be a “perennial knowledge” which pre-dates and is superior to all religions and cultures
– people follow enlightened masters…
Source: PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE & PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE “JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE”