| up a level
from the crowned-and-conquering-inner-child dept.
Recently the term "New Age" came into discussion, and it set me to thinking about the relationship between Thelema and the New Age movement. In some ways, Thelema is an outgrowth of the same wave of interest in the esoteric that brought us Theosophy and Spiritism, the nineteenth century equivalent to the New Age of the 1960s-80s. The more recent New Age probably owes more to Theosophy than Thelema (e.g., Atlantis, pyramids, crystal power), but there are still areas of overlap.
Of course, "New Age" is a nebulous term. There is probably no doctrine shared by all New Age groups. Also, amongst all of the many groups commonly considered to be New Age, very few refer to themselves that way. But since I've worked on the edges of the New Age industry -- and an industry there is -- I think that there are some generalizations that can be fairly made, always allowing for exceptions.
The main similarity that comes to mind is that both movements feature the idea of a momentous change taking place in human history. Generally, this is held to be an evolutionary event of some kind; sometimes, a matter of destiny.
Also, the concept of a group of "Secret Chiefs" who guide mankind's path is common to Thelema and to much of the New Age, but this in particular can be traced back to Theosophy on both sides.
I'd be interested in knowing of people's ideas regarding the contrasts between the two.
To me, the principle difference is that the New Age is often envisioned as an era of diminished conflict. In the vision of the New Aeon (as I understand it) conflict lives on. If there is to be progress, it lies in the direction of the increased refinement of these conflicts.
Another point that interests me is the eclecticism of the New Age, in contrast to the way that the New Aeon is often defined in terms of the acceptance of The Book of the Law.
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