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Children of the New Age: A History of Spirituality Practices (New)
by Sutcliffe, Steven
Book ID: 9780415242998, 0415242991
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Children of the New Age, a pioneering history of the New Age phenomenon, combines original ethnographic research with rare archival material to give a definitive overview of New Age belief and practice from the 1930s to the present day. It chronicles the development of alternative spirituality from embryonic beginnings to a universal trend: from its inception within the underground enclaves of Rosicrucians, occultists and Alice Bailey's neo-theosophists to its modern-day incursion into mainstream political, musical and artistic culture. But this is also a distinctly critical history. New Age culture, says Steven J. Sutcliffe, is notoriously variegated and hotly contested, exposed to competing strands of revelation and apocalypse. Caught between the hippy explosion and the doomsday scenarios of millennial Christianity and UFO groups, it has been the preserve both of extreme religious individualists and of humanistic countercultures lauding the Edenic perfection of this worldly existence.
At stake in its history are controversial questions of value, and of its perceived status as a discrete and unified "movement." Supported by firsthand accounts of the author's adventures in counterculture, including firewalking, spiritual healing workshops and life within a Findhorn communitiy, and by archival correspondence and publications recovering "lost" history of alternative spirituality during the 1950s and 1960s; this is a thoughtful and colorful survey of the trends and controversies that accompany the concept of New Age. It calls for a fresh understanding of New Age as an emergent and fragmented form of folk idiom, complete with its own revealing loyalties and fractures; not a unified "movement" or "new religion", but a diffuse cultural force reflecting ever-shifting currents of popular sentiment.
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