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New Age

(1,348 words)

Author(s): Hammer, Olav
The Concept The concept ‘New Age’ emerged during the 1970s and 1980s as a common term for a variety of contemporary popular practices and beliefs. Among these one finds an interest in the paranormal, a belief in → reincarnation, methods of healing including varieties of self-improvement and positive thinking, messages putatively revealed from various transcendent sources (a process referred to within the New Age milieu itself as → channeling) and several forms of divination (→ astrology and the tarot in particular). The term itself originally arose in theosophical literature…

Jungism

(1,549 words)

Author(s): Hammer, Olav
The impact of → Carl Gustav Jung's ideas in contemporary society has been both considerable and selective. To mention just a few areas, there are modes of therapeutic intervention, psychological tests, forms of myth analysis, branches of Christian theology as well as a host of literary and artistic products that betray the influence of Jungian thought. Specifically for the domain of religion, Wulff (1997) distinguishes six areas in which Jung's influence is particularly strong. Jung's critique of mainstream forms of Christianity has inspired theologi…

Human Potential Movement

(4,923 words)

Author(s): Hammer, Olav
The term Human Potential Movement (HPM) arose in the 1960s as referring to a highly eclectic mix of therapies, many of which were poised on the border between a psychological and a religious framework. They must be regarded as belonging to the history of gnosis and Western esotericism both for historical reasons and because of doctrinal similarities: historically, since by mediation of the mind cure or → New Thought movements, the intellectual foundations of the HPM may be found in the psycholog…

New Age Movement

(4,864 words)

Author(s): Hammer, Olav
The New Age has emerged during the 1970s and increasingly during the 1980s as a common denominator for a variety of quite divergent contemporary popular practices and beliefs. Among other things, healing, channeling, the interest in crystals, varieties of positive thinking and several forms of divination [→ Divinatory Arts] have been linked to this term. The New Age also includes various “alternative” interpretations of history and of the sciences. The term itself originally arose in theosophical literature and in UFO cults [→ UFO Traditions] after World War II i…

Essenes, Esoteric legends about

(2,214 words)

Author(s): Hammer, Olav | Snoek, Jan A.M.
The Essenes were a distinct group of Jews which, until the 20th century, was known only from a few descriptions in Greek and Latin texts. They are described by Philo in Hypothetica (11.1-18) and Every Good Man Is Free (12.75-13.91). Josephus writes of the Essenes in passages of several of his books. The most detailed description is found in The Jewish War (2.119-161). A shorter passage on them is included in Jewish Antiquities (18.18-22). Pliny the Elder wrote briefly about the Essenes in his Natural History (5.73). Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in 1947, …

Astrology

(25,236 words)

Author(s): Bara, Joelle-Frédérique | Stuckrad, Kocku von | Faracovi, Ornella Pompeo | Hammer, Olav
Astrology I: Introduction Astrology presupposes a relation between the positions and movements of the planets, stars and celestial orbs and zones on the one hand, and earthly events and/or human life on the other, and claims to explain this relation and predict future events in terms of the properties and relative positions of these heavenly agents. The most general idea behind this is expressed in the Emerald Tablet as “as above, so below”. The questions why such a relation should exist, how it works, how we can know it, and of what use it might be to human beings h…