The Dangers of New Age Narcissism (*)


Kate Thomas

I am rather tired of observing nominally spiritual communities. For over thirty years, I have noticed repeatedly that such organisations do not live up to their professed ideals. However, the situation is far worse now than it was in the 1950’s, and it was very far from being ideal even then.

There were many minority trends of the 1950’s and 1960’s which have since been smothered by the permissive degeneracy that mushroomed during the hippy boom. These earlier trends focussed variously on Eastern mysticism, Western psychism, and so forth, and were frequently very diffuse and inadequate vehicles. Yet they were superior in their motivation, despite their limited concepts, to the subsequent New Age wave which obscured the quest for spiritual priorities. The New Age entrepreneurs have demonstrated a preoccupation with nurturing the human ego, not in sublimating it (despite their statements to the contrary). Their heroes have notably included the questionable Wilhelm Reich, whose sex-obsessed mentality exercised a disastrous influence. New Age entrepreneurs have captured large markets, and vary from book distributors who sell vast numbers of “sex and magic” books, to the many “workshop” therapists who arrange expensive courses and take advantage of hardworking people. Workshop entrepreneurs pass muster as “experts”; they certainly gain the limelight and a profitable livelihood. It is no wonder that sociologists have described the New Age movement in terms of narcissism.

My definition of the word “narcissism” extends to that of an uncurbed egotism and self-love that is so averse to (constructive) criticism that it will actively suppress a non-hostile critic in the most undemocratic manner, even to the point of slander, in evident fear of a rival. It is much easier to object to such totalitarian policy in the face of the declared auspices of unconditional love. The inability to acknowledge, or even to investigate, a differing point of view (politely proffered), is its own proof of an inflexible standpoint that deems itself perfect. Perhaps that is even worse than dogmatism.

In my experience, the social scientists are also correct about the “indoctrination and brainwashing” that has been discerned to occur in New Age and related “spiritual” groupings. In too many organisations, nobody will stand out as an independent conscience against wrongs they know to be occurring within their community. This is not the hallmark of spiritual perception, but of bondage to organisational ideology and authority figures invested with significance accordingly. The brain-washing may not be obvious, but it effectively exists with regard to criticisms of the elite, criticisms which are taboo and treated as heinous crimes.

The New Age is a hybrid of doubtful groupings, cults and organisations. The seemingly responsible voice of some organisations can be strongly questioned. The sad and dangerous consequence of the trend as a whole is that the resultant composite of therapy and presumed “spirituality” is now finding acceptance as a body of knowledge, and furthermore, one which is openly proclaimed to be expertise in the realm of the psyche. In actuality, it is only an excursion into the realm of the narcissistic psyche, which has nothing to do with spirituality.

A number of persons in the New Age movement are drop-outs and related categories left over from the hippy era of the sixties and seventies. Reared on a diet of drugs and free love, they found unexpected and unmerited status as exponents of fringe ideas and therapies which were increasingly dispensed to the general public in the name of spiritual education. What this amounts to is alternative therapy and alternative belief, not spirituality. Some attempts to protest at this situation have been strongly suppressed, and under the auspices of charitable status.

One of the reasons why the New Age has gained credence more rapidly that otherwise might have been possible is the paid by spokesmen to the ecological drive. This is usually conducted by persons other than therapists, and is now a very popular cause. But it is not equivalent to spirituality, despite the undoubted relevance of ecology to world problems.

From the standpoint of belief in an inner growth, it is possible to strongly assert that exposure to “techniques” widely used in “workshops” is detrimental to such growth, because the psychology can be damaged or malformed as a consequence. Such techniques breed self-deception, greed, excessive emotion, and even violence. They are generally accompanied by an aversion to anything “intellectual,” e.g., written work and self-analysis. Such techniques have nothing whatsoever to do with “spiritual education,” despite the advertisements of certain influential organisations. Attempts to express such a critical viewpoint, from the perspective of an inner growth, are met with suppression, defamation of character, and even personal threat.

The permissive altitude towards Crowleyana (literature and accessories associated with Aleister Crowley) promoted by some New Age centres reflects the irresponsibility of the governing authority figures. This in the face of ventures like “Childwatch” which have attempted to urgently point out the increasing involvement of children in practices termed “black magic” and witchcraft.

Children have not merely suffered shock and fear through such involvement, but have been procured by magical groups and abused. There have even been murders reported in relation to such groups, for whom Crowleyana is a prime fuel and goad. Magical accoutrements are big business in some New Age sectors, and there are worse things on sale than ouija boards.

When even the most obvious forms of sadistic violence are ignored and pardoned by the vogue of “unconditional love,” it is evident that it is impossible to communicate more intangible dangers. It is my contention that the energies utilised in what is known as sorcery, magic or witchcraft, are not imaginary, at least in a fair number of cases. Such energies can be utilised by the unscrupulous, and should never be treated lightly. People who allow themselves to be drawn into dubious rituals and groupings are asking for trouble. The artificial heightening of emotion is a veritable Pandora’s box. When manipulated with intent to harm, such energies are not performing the “work of the devil” as believed in former centuries, but are very much the work of humans behaving devilishly of their own choice.

The commercial New Age delights in the decadence of the present human culture, which it exploits to the full in communes, semi-communes, and endorsements of witchcraft and ritual magic. Doubtless it will soon extend tolerance to the pedophiles who murder children while making horrific videos – and it is relatively easy to do this under the influence of Aleister Crowley and satanism.

The narcissism of the New Age abuses such well known concepts as karma. Instead the therapists and counselors prefer dictums like “Love Myself”, a slogan singularly convenient for narcissists. I refuse to call it mysticism, as they imagine it to be. They do not create their own reality, only their own falsehood.

Ego-trips flourish in the atmosphere of narcissism, including false guruism in all its forms. New Age workshops and courses do not produce enlightenment. Instead they predominantly produce fantasy, singularly resistant to self-discipline and self-analysis. Fantasy is currently encouraged as a form of excursion into the psyche. That is the easiest way to gain control of gullible people with a lot of money to spend. Such people also lose all options of inner development. The uncritical mind has no chance in today’s climate of subliminal suggestion and “creating your own reality.”

Many misplaced ideas in the New Age sphere are creating serious distortions of a nominally mystical nature. These distortions swiftly gain credence if they suit various sectors of the human community. Feminists are guilty of such distortions in an increasingly large measure. There is, for instance, a completely erroneous view that has recently gained much exposure and even support. I am referring to what is quaintly labelled “sacred prostitution,” a prime contradiction in terms. This is a New Age aberration promoted by self-designated “liberated” women, usually intellectuals with an academic degree that gains them a hearing. I will here quote from the “blurb” of a book intent on furthering these dangerous ideas concerning the feminine principle. This write-up appeared, not long ago, in the distribution catalogue of “The Great Tradition” (based in America), in the section misleadingly advertised as “The Foundation Stages: Psychology”:

“… the author argues that in ancient times there was a deep connection between the sensual life of the body and the religious life of the spirit. Such a connection was obvious to people who respected the feminine principle, or the Goddess. The connection was clearly manifested in the sacred prostitute, who was to be pure in spirit at the same time that she welcomed strangers into her arms with a sensuous embrace. Her true function was to bring the Goddess’s love into effective contact with mankind. The author maintains that the connection between spirit and passion has in modern times become lost in the depths of the unconscious, leaving a broad sense of dissatisfaction and boredom in relationships. This book sets out to show how our capacity for true joy depends on restoring this body-spirit connection to consciousness.” (**)

And from an American magazine comes the following:

“The article is a serious and reasoned argument for a reinstatement of the holy prostitute as the conduit of the sacred. The author, however, does not simply have temple attendants in mind. She is advocating the role for all women as a means of sacralising the body and regaining spiritual power lost with the advent of patriarchal religion.” (***)

This arrant nonsense can only be written in sheer ignorance. Human passion is in no sense bonded to the divine, it merely reflects it in a minute form; and the production of multiple orgasms in any mode of erotic love cannot, by its intrinsic nature, lead any individual towards a higher range of experience. In such higher states the human functions of sex are in abeyance. They cannot be linked, it is impossible. One type of event takes place in the transient physical mechanism, the other in a finer, non-physical vehicle. The interior self must transcend the bodily functions at the time of other dimensional experience. There is a confusion here with debased forms of Tantra and various (unproven) theories in Western psychology. The “pure in spirit,” meaning those who have achieved their spiritual completion, or nearly achieved this (i.e. the genuine “saints”) do not engage in sexual prostitution in any form, on any level, for any purpose whatsoever; and these, if female, are the only members of the human race who are capable of imparting the “feminine principle” to those in need of it, and of annulling the “sins” or inadequacies of others, including sexual aberrations, and they do not use prostitution as a means to this.

The joys of the flesh are sweet but limited. To prolong them unduly can create serious psychological patterns of obsession, and to amplify them by certain forms of erotic titillation takes sexual experience into areas for which it was not intended. Former eras knew all about the subtleties of eroticism. They also knew how to artificially induce the arousal of the “sacred fire” or kundalini, and the use of techniques of sublimation during sexual intercourse was one of the preliminary means sometimes effective in achieving this; but this is illicit activation, as are all occult “forced entries,” for they are not aligned to the correct requirements for such experience, and incur serious problems. Mastery of one’s own sexuality has always been a prerequisite of spiritual development, and those continually seeking sexual excitement and eroticism have certainly not mastered it. To take such discipline into the realm of sex for the purpose of acquiring power is a deviation that was all too common in past centuries, when control was first established through Yoga and Tantric practise (and their equivalents) and then applied to deliberate activation of the kundalini. Control of the sexual urge for this purpose was therefore not aligned to true development, as was likewise the case in many instances of Taoist Yoga. Long-term sexual problems resulted.

Certain purificatory practices, including meditation, can develop the will, and hence bestow immense willpower and even heightened states of awareness, but unless the will itself is surrendered to a higher principle, these techniques are useless for spiritual growth and can create the reverse, a developed mind that seeks to impose its own will for egoistic purposes – a mind concerned solely with gaining its own desires through means other than those operating in the physical world. In such a situation, the ego has merely transferred its focus of attention from the physical realm to the one above, where the ability to manipulate is magnified one hundredfold. Many gurus and occultists are located at this level of experience, which derives from intensive chakra activation giving premature access to the subtle realm (the lowest of the non-physical realms, and potentially dangerous).

This hazardous access bequeaths tremendous magnetism and hypnotic force, and sometimes the ability to perform what are considered to be miracles. People flock to such occultists and believe them to be genuine teachers when they are, in fact, themselves trapped in the snares of a partial and inverted development, and far from “liberating” others, can only bind their followers to this same level of experience from which it is even more difficult to gain release than from the physical world.

Such gurus and occult practitioners enmesh their followers in static pursuits and drain off the vitality and magnetism of their own pupils, an action for which there are very serious penalties, though these can take time to operate. Some also involve their pupils in tantric sexual “initiations” for reasons that have nothing to do with spirituality. Many persons desiring sensation follow such people, which affords a test for genuine seekers. Man has been too clever in the past, and has found ways of obtaining power not rightfully his. When he lawfully gains this attribute he has gone beyond using it in sexual practices or for personal gain. These temptations then no longer exist. The body is transitory and simply a vehicle in which to attain higher consciousness – a crucible, no less. It can be rightly used or wrongly used. Physical sex in mundane life (in moderation) is one matter; but sexual desire fueled by misplaced energies is an insatiable force that has brought thousands into ruin. Such appetites take over the entire mental horizon and eventually lead to satiation and degeneration, and attempts at “sacred prostitution” are no exception to this.

Only those with very strong wills reach the level that breeds the thoroughly magnetic Guru, and this is an even worse state than the one preceding, if people could but see the very severe karmic bindings involved.

Contemporary writers steeped in Jungian concepts and psychotherapy do not comprehend the mechanics of evolutionary development and tend to confuse the sacred with the profane. The Jungian version of archetypes is inaccurate, and is strongly implicated in the predilection for fantasy that is rampant amongst “therapists and counselors.”

Correct orientation is essential before interior growth begins. The will must be sublimated, and the ego can then be dealt with. Correct orientation is obtained in worldly life, and a sane, normal, hardworking, and sincere man or woman has far greater hope of evolutionary completion than egoistic deviants located on the subtle or “halfway” planes and wielding occult power. If more people understood this, they would conform more readily to the inherent patterns reflected from above to below throughout the kingdoms of nature. These patterns are archetypal and provide a blueprint for our growth, but the more vocal feminist trends we have in our midst are not allied to this, and have endorsed a promiscuity that is now lethal in society.

Too often the “liberated” woman is simply an assertive individual who has not only liberated herself from the bondage of men but also from womanhood in essence and the maternal-instinct in particular. These women are not subordinate to men, but neither are they subordinate to anyone or anything, and most are simply apeing the opposite sex, taking as their models the most macho and egocentric. This could quite legitimately cause one to think that they had just emerged themselves from a cycle of male incarnations of this very type. Lesbians are a case in point. They have inverted the feminine aspect of their own psychologies in much the same manner as homosexuals invert their masculine aspect. In the latter case, men become increasingly passive; in the former, women become markedly strident and unfeminine.

Lesbianism and homosexuality are the inverse of femininity and masculinity. They proceed from damaged psychologies and are aberrations in human development caused by various specific factors that require correction in the same way as all other human disorders. Many lesbians, for instance, have turned to other women through the psychological damage caused by the brutality of men. The root causes for these inversions are frequently complex, but they are not, as some people like to proclaim, symptomatic of becoming androgynous. This latter, uncomprehended state is entirely non-physical and unconnected to human sexuality.

Jungian therapists are the worst misrepresenters of these matters; not willfully, perhaps, for Jung himself did not fully understand the mechanics of human psychology and spiritual development, and worked from a series of theories and hypotheses – as did Freud and others – and his adherents blindly accept his work as a body of sacrosanct knowledge despite the fact that they are themselves adding to the confusions all the time.

I am still totally convinced that male and female have mutually compatible, balanced functions which are manifest in sincere and considerate people. Nevertheless, these are different functions, and a woman’s role is the care of her children if she opts to have them, and care of the man with whom she unites herself, just as his is to provide for, protect, and cherish those in his charge. These views are extremely unpopular in the West, as I know well. This does not, however, alter the laws underlying the whole of creation.

In breaking these laws we have a nation, indeed a world, of undisciplined, greedy, self-seeking egoists. The fault lies in individuals, not in the traditional masculine/feminine roles. Even in a matriarchal society, before its inevitable decline and distortion, women were noble, compassionate, caring – not man-eating Amazons with over-stimulated sexual appetites, as depicted by those who glibly reconstruct past civilisations from the point of their corruptive fall. A breed of “sacred prostitute” would have been quite sufficient to destroy any civilisation.

Some New Age enthusiasts speak glibly of a “Golden Age,” and it is widely believed we are about to enter one at the end of this century. How they can reconcile this with the increasing and obvious deterioration and decline of our Western culture, I do not know. The general immersion in greed, violence and obscenity, absorbed willingly by the populace as a whole (and to such an extent that massive fortunes are made by those peddling vice), is no basis for such illusory expectations.

As I see it, there will be a drastic reduction of the population on this planet in the next few centuries. At the commencement of the time cycle which is just ending, it was literally possible for individual freewill to select one route, or another (of lesser quality), as life unfolded in the earlier phases of the era. But at this twelfth hour, only a form of interior choice remains, since the predispositioning karmic patterns are already formed – and in most cases, set and crystallized. This is a very complex subject, impossible to briefly define, but one aspect of it boils down to the situation that, although a mechanical pattern has been fixed by individual and collective initiative, this can be modified on certain wavelengths by an intensive form of constructive effort and conscience. By interior choice, I mean the will and wish to do what is correct in any given situation, however restrictive or seemingly impossible the circumstances, and even more crucially, the constant aspiration towards the divine centre-point that is our source. Humans exile themselves from this centre-point, including those humans who pose as gurus and occult adepts. In fact, the ordinary and unassuming man in the street has a greater chance of inclusion in increased possibilities, given the right efforts, than the many spokesmen currently assuming mystical honours.

Humanity is now in a damaged state, with a standard of materialistic environment that brings widespread discontent. Yet this same materialism is rampant in supposed New Age centres, where it gains an even worse complexion.

I do not see anything like the situations some New Age enthusiasts wish to believe lie in the future. I am here contradicting their belief that everyone will be developing occult powers; that sensual gratifications can be unlimited; that obscenity is not an evil; that everyone can live more or less as they want, making their boldest dreams come true, secure in their unique personal creativity which can grant material success at every tum.

As I perceive the future, most of the humans on the globe will be absorbed in strenuous work in the interests of sheer survival, as part of a very difficult environmental transition that will be attended by much hardship. All the aberrant values of today will have to go, including the aberrant “New Age” values which are fast contributing to cultural decline as much as any other single factor. There will be no “Golden Age” in the poetic sense, though there will be an increase in the beginnings of insight, leading to true comprehension of the purpose of life. This latter achievement is very rare, much rarer than is commonly assumed, and is worth any and every effort the human self can make towards it, for life is ephemeral and swiftly passes, yet the centre of gravity formed within us by these efforts endures, and is our eventual guarantee of release from all bondage. Otherwise, the individual cycle repeats, or makes fresh innovations, as uselessly as before.

Time is a complex structure with many gradients, and a re-streaming process is operative when each major cycle of time ends. I see it as a time-bridge, a separation of those souls with evolutionary potential from those who have wasted their potential and are producing violent and degenerate emanations which have saturated the entire planet. It is only this time-bridge that can produce a “Golden Age” or anything resembling it. Romantic notions will not suffice here, since the content of the new cycle of time depends entirely upon what the participants contribute to it.

Spirituality is currently at a very low ebb. The glamour and easy options provided by New Age practitioners have nullified completely the impact of genuine non-sensationalist teachers, and have neutralised and retarded God-knows how many potential students of the evolutionary process. The old traditions are lost; thrown away in an excess of “do what you want” with no mention at all of the ultimate consequence. In fact, it is no longer generally believed that there is a consequence. This “anything goes” syndrome was bequeathed to us by the followers of Crowley, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Satya Sai Baba and others, and can be classified as subversive infiltration.

By the latter phrase, I mean the usurpation of genuine developmental values, which always involve a high degree of personal discipline. This usurpation is currently furthered by many New Age “therapists” and “counselors,” as they like to call themselves. They are a new plague of Western guru, displaying an egotism and ignorance which is impossible to deal with in any form of rational confrontation – even, be it noted by the more scientific, when the questioner evinces sympathy with the better and more viable concepts adhering to the New Age movement. I used to say. “The entire New Age movement needs now to take sound stock of itself,” but events have moved beyond such optimism.

Experimentation with “techniques” is not knowledge of inner dimensions, but instead proof of ignorance, despite the simplistic New Age notion that everyone can develop their inner faculties. In practice such a sentiment is impossible, and merely lends itself to the worst forms of exploitation – producing a wave of greedy occultists who dispense with elementary cautions, and who indulge in everything from voodoo to verbal obscenity.

Nobody can develop inner faculties safely without sound preparation. The preliminaries of genuine spiritual unfoldment are only ignored at the peril of the practitioners. What is really being produced by the New Age is a breed of manipulating monster who has no inner knowledge, no self-control, no scruple, and no effective credential in spiritual matters. Their teachings are often dangerous at worst, and distorted and misleading at best.

The real teaching on inner development has always been in existence. It does not need any “New Age” to come into being. Nor should it ever be confused with therapy. It is an intact science, and does not experiment, which is a dangerous pastime. Guidance in the endeavour of spiritual unfoldment can only come from those who have gone ahead and completed within themselves the process they set before others (if they ever choose to do so, that is). This endeavour, owing to the pitfalls involved, cannot be accomplished without a guide, and those who promote the erroneous belief that no teacher is necessary are guilty of side-tracking thousands of people for their own petty ends. The New Age concepts of “creating your own reality” and “self-development” are cases in point. These concepts further the interest of nobody except New Age course tutors who, without sufficient interior growth and its resultant knowledge, quote each other like parrots. The confusion of the personality self with something truly creative is symptomatic of the frequent blunders made by these people. They do not even know what to develop, let alone who to develop, or how. This might go a long way towards explaining why so many of them are the incarnations of egotism, despite the glib talk about non-ego that tends to justify their roles.

One of the major problems encountered by would-be students of the spiritual is the discernment of a genuine teacher – a category far outnumbered by charlatans and opportunists. Only absolute honesty, sincerity, and integrity in any potential student can succeed here, since those with clouded motivations are very prone to following the spurious, who reassure their failings. Some people only learn through disillusionment and tragedy. An ability to discriminate is not easily gained in many cases, matched by the delusions and vanity of those who purport to teach what they do not understand. Real high grade teachers in this area are very rare – so rare that it is practically impossible in the current climate of acute misinformation to describe their traits successfully. They are the very opposite of the brash commercialists who are eager to enroll pupils at every turn. They sometimes use intermediaries, and will not always themselves teach directly, a further complexity for those who do not understand what spiritual unfoldment actually involves. There can be no effective teaching unless the “destiny challenge,” as I have chosen to call it, is successfully negotiated. Until that is accomplished, people are merely devotees, enquirers, seekers, learners, or whatever – but not active disciples, who are also rare.

This “destiny challenge” works on many levels, depending upon the capacity of the individual. It applies very much to the possibilities of spiritual unfoldment – which entails a very lengthy and exacting training process, with its own specific rules. One of these rules is that occult powers are not to be sought in any way, since these powers are dangerous to oneself and to others, and can wreck all possibilities of inner development. Serious backslides can and do occur on the inner path, and it would be thoroughly irresponsible to introduce anyone to this “path” without ascertaining that they are equipped for it, both morally and spiritually. It would be like an experienced mountaineer urging people with no experience of climbing to scale Mount Everest. The only people who would do this are maniacs, but there are many of these in the New Age movement and its related cults.

It is not possible to compromise this perspective in reality. Such compromise is frequently attempted in ignorance however, and the commercial New Age is a testimony to the ignorance of modern Western tyros. It is not possible to teach people who display such ignorance, which is symptomatic of their being so anxious to teach anyone whose attention they can arrest by sensational means.

Surveys of New Age literature in America have shown that its readership predominantly comprises affluent women in the over-35 age bracket. Such facts are not particularly flattering to Western feminine discernment, and nor to Western education, as many of these women have been through university. Many of them confuse a desire for health and therapy with an interest in the spiritual, a deep-rooted confusion which has lent enormous scope to the therapy bandwagon, which often masquerades as having a spiritual relevance in catering for the uninformed demand. People who resort to fashionable therapies in the hope of curing anxieties and stress are often at the mercy of skillful business minds rather than competent psychotherapists, and even when the latter are involved, the situation should never be confused with a spiritual process. People who desire therapy are frequently incapable of deeper commitments, an unwelcome truth in areas of emotion where discernment has not yet developed intuition or the need for it.

As for the topic of spiritual healers, so-called, I have met some of these individuals who were so physically depleted and psychologically unstable that, if they “laid hands” on even a robust recipient, it would be sufficient to hospitalize the latter if any transmission of energies did actually occur.

The subject of negative energies is not understood by the New Age clientele, largely through lack of valid information. Such information (where acknowledged) is all too often suppressed in the interests of profitable groupings and sensational paperbacks. I feel justified in concluding that without the backbone of uninformed feminine demand, the current spate of misleading “paranormal” literature would lose much of its commercial edge.

The more analytical males rightly depreciate the increasing proliferation of “sex and magic” books produced by suspect publishing firms. Yet this very unhealthy trend (which often causes much stress, and even personal injury, I fear), has actually been aided by Jungian confusions amongst the more academic. These Jungian confusions will not penetrate to the core of evolutionary development, but will merely serve to confuse the public and academic readerships involved.

Far from constituting any kind of imminent “Golden Age,” the so-called New Age is buttressing an extended dark age of very serious proportions. It takes to an even worse extreme the rabid economic and sensual materialism of the twentieth century, and with its concoction of subliminal mind techniques, is as much of a menace as chemical weapons if the truth were more widely known. Most of the persons involved are merely using the subject of “inner development” for illegitimate purposes of exploitation. They are ignorant of the complexity of the spiritual path and have not even learnt the elementary fact that the lower stages of this path are not desirable, and that genuine teachers will not allow their pupils to indulge in the attributes of these dangerous stages of unfledged development, which can seriously magnify the ego-nature. This has been known in attested Sufi lore and history for well over a thousand years, and has much earlier origins. Persons undergoing these immature stages are prone to flamboyant lifestyles and preoccupation with psychic and allied powers, including the power of sexuality (one of the worst karmic bindings). Many of them assume that they are accomplished teachers, and create hindering karma of the most intractable kind both for themselves and others who follow them.

The moral code of spiritual development is a crucial necessity, however unfashionable this is in the present decadent society.

New Age movement is a sham and not what it pretends to be. It has settled for secondary values that yield prestige, power, and a comfortable lifestyle. It presents as tools for spiritual advancement the therapies designed for the emotionally unbalanced, the socially unintegrated, the mentally disturbed. It uses conditioning techniques to engender a false sense of well-being. It confuses the abundant creative energies of nature with the living organic stimulus utilized by authentic, experiential schools of evolutionary development. It embraces a variety of mental gymnastics that strengthen the ego rather than diminishing it. It makes accessible certain breathing exercises and sonic mantras that were originally devised to awaken the dynamic force of kundalini. It is concerned increasingly with assertiveness training, self-esteem, sexual fulfillment, the use of manipulative mental techniques in business, subliminal indoctrination, and the masculinisation of women.

This situation endures through lack of education and due specialisation. The leaders and teachers of the New Age movement are all too often ignorant, deluded, and inept. They have no legitimate authorisation for what they assert they can do, and their advertised courses are therefore counterfeit – they will not generate one iota of spiritual growth. Psychic experience alone does not make a teacher. Nor do assertions about healing, unconditional love, or inner guidance. The ability to evoke emotional release in others via the use of techniques is entirely inconsequential, and save for its questionable value as a therapy for repression and inadequacy, does not merit the acclaim it is given. These “teachers” are playing with human life and are breaking the rules laid down through the ages.


(*) This is an abridgement of the final part of the book: The Destiny Challenge – A Record of Spiritual Experience and Observation, by Kate Thomas (New Frequency Press, 1992). Hardback, 1016 pp. It is available from: New Frequency Press, PO Box 3, Forres, Moray IV36 0WB.

(**) This description relates to the book by Nancy Qualls-Corbett entitled The Sacred Prostitute. The blurb appears in the Spring/Summer 1989 catalogue of “The Great Tradition,” p. 46. This catalogue advertises many dubious books in the “commercial esoteric” category, admixed with some books that have a respectable reputation. “The Great Tradition” is a book distribution organisation associated with the name of Da Free John, a Western “guru” whom some believe should more accurately be described as an exploiter of “New Age” bathos.

(***) From an article by Robert J.L. Burrows in Christianity Today, reproduced in the Utne Reader (March-April 1987). Burrows was criticising an article by Deena Metzger which appeared in the Utne Reader entitled “Re-vamping the World: On the Return of the Holy Prostitute.” Burrows observed that the response to Metzger’s article was disturbing, since “although some objected strenuously, others unabashedly applauded.” The same writer added that: “The New Age movement can provide no defense against this kind of blatant decadence,” though it should be noted that the advocates of a new age (in the more demanding sense) strongly disagree with “New Age” degeneracy.