by Ray Yungen
Many people may think the New Age movement is a collection of strange cults populated by aging hippies, emotional cripples, and assorted oddballs who are duped by money-hungry charlatans and egocentric frauds. This may be true in some instances, but if such were the overall case, I would not have spent the last 22 years researching this movement or writing about my discoveries. The focus of my work is not on fringe religious groups or New Age riff-raff but on a broad-based effort to influence and restructure our whole society.
Rather than creating new institutions as is the case with cults, the New Age goal is to transform people within existing institutions and thereby transform the institutions themselves! As one writer explained it, “…a new society forming within the heart of the old.”1
This transformation has frequently been referred to as a paradigm shift. The word paradigm means model, as in outlook or viewpoint.
New Agers predict that as more and more people achieve contact with and guidance from the higher self, a global shift will occur, in which the transformed state will become as common as watching television or reading a newspaper. It will be the predominant model or paradigm for humanity.
One person who should have a fairly decent estimation on the size of the New Age is best-selling author Eckhart Tolle. In a recent interview, he revealed the following observations:
Without considering the Eastern world, my estimate is that at this time about ten percent of people in North America are already awakening. That makes thirty million Americans alone, … about ten percent of the population of Western European countries is also awakening. This is probably sufficient critical mass* to bring about a new earth.2
Many people have a kind of bemused contempt for those involved with mysticism, and thus, they believe that the New Age movement is a frivolous frolic into the absurd.
In answer to this, I would like to emphasize two points. First, millions of people are having real experiences. Second, these experiences are as old as human civilization.
It is important to understand that the foundation upon which the New Age movement is based transcends the mere intellectual acceptance of ideas. It cannot be seen as separate from the mystical experience from which it springs.
The Mystery Schools are the most easily documented of the ancient adherents of occultism. They were the caretakers of this esoteric (hidden) knowledge.
These schools formed the nucleus of the religious practices of ancient nations and empires such as Egypt, China, Chaldea, Persia, Greece, and Rome, as well as the Aztec and Inca civilizations.
The Mystery religions were so labeled because their teachings were kept hidden from the common people. In fact, the term occult (meaning hidden or concealed) originated from the Mystery religions because the majority of people were ignorant of their true meanings. Only the priests and adepts (who were initiated through various grades or levels) gained insight into these hidden truths of the universe.
What was kept hidden or secret? It can best be summed up as the knowledge of the laws and forces that underlie the universe but are not evident to the five senses of man’s normal perception. Basically, they taught an awareness of the invisible worlds for wisdom and guidance and the development of psychic abilities and spiritual healing techniques.
New Age writers often refer to the core teachings of occultism as the Ancient Wisdom. They also refer to it as the Secret Wisdom, Ageless Wisdom, and the Perennial Wisdom. Many believe this Ancient Wisdom can be traced back to the fabled civilization of Atlantis.
Despite enormous geographical distances and cultural differences, the Mysteries all taught the same message: “Happy and blessed one, you have become divine instead of mortal.”3
Those involved in the New Age movement do not work by accident or coincidence. Rather, they have a mission to accomplish and receive inner guidance to show them where, when, and how that work must be done…. New Age writer David Spangler makes it clear who or what this “central source of wisdom” is and what it wants to accomplish. Referring to his own spirit guide, “John,” he writes:
Over the years it has been evident that John’s main interest is the emergence of a new age and a new culture, and he identifies himself as one of those on the spiritual side of life whose work is specifically to empower that emergence.4
The New Age movement does not have any real leaders, only followers. I heard one writer/channeler put it very plainly when he revealed: “Everyone anywhere who tunes into the Higher Self becomes part of the transformation. Their lives then become orchestrated from other realms.”5
This aspect must be understood in order to fully grasp the significance of the New Age movement.
It may appear on the surface that all of these groups and individuals are not connected, but the following quote sheds light on the real situation. One New Age writer confirmed:
Soon it also became apparent that those of us experiencing this inner contact were instinctively (and spontaneously) drawing together, forming a network. In the many years since, I have watched this network grow and widen to literally encompass the globe. What was once a rare experience–that of meeting another person who admitted to a similar superconscious presence in his or her life–has now become a common, even frequent, event … what I once saw as a personal (and individual) transformation I now see as part of a massive and collective human movement.6
In his extremely revealing and insightful 1980s book, The Emerging New Age, sociologist J. L. Simmons disclosed that “tens of thousands” of metaphysical teachers and counselors existed in America who were in the process of training and guiding “hundreds of thousands” of students and clients. In addition to these, “millions” had “a sporadic but real interest” in metaphysics. Simmons observed:
Each of these circles is growing in numbers. And there is a steady progression of people inward: an uncommitted person moves into the active, part-time circle, and so on.7
Simmons concluded that because of this swell of interest the movement was “doubling in size every three to five years.”8 The Ancient Wisdom wasn’t just for cave-dwelling mystics anymore!
This process of dismantling the old and fashioning the new is what For Many Shall Come In My Name is all about. This shift is not mere speculation, it is a fact!
A Time magazine article on what America believes reveals that fourteen percent of the U.S. population sees God as “a Higher Power or Cosmic Force.”9 This would confirm the number that Eckhart Tolle spoke of (thirty million New Agers). How would any movement achieve such an enormous following so quickly? What is it that drives such rapid growth? The answer to this question cannot be ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. (For more information, read Ray Yungen’s book, For Many Shall Come in My Name)
1. George Trevelyan, A Vision of the Aquarian Age (Walpole, NH: Stillpoint Publishing, 1984), p. 161, book also online at http://www.sirgeorgetrevelyan.org.uk/books/thtbk-VAA14.html, accessed 03/2007.
2. Kathy Juline, “Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” (Science of Mind, October 2006), pp. 16-18.
3. Geoffrey Parrinder, World Religions from Ancient History to the Present (New York, NY: Facts on File Publications, 1983), p. 155.
4. David Spangler, Emergence: The Rebirth of the Sacred (New York, NY: Dell Publishing Company, 1984), p. 67.
5. Talk by Ken Carey at Whole Life Expo (Los Angeles: February, 1987).
6. Kathleen Vande Kieft, Innersource: Channeling Your Unlimited Self (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1989), p. 38.
7. J. L. Simmons, The Emerging New Age (Santa Fe, NM: Bear and Co., 1990), p. 211.
8. Ibid., p. 13.
9. Nancy Gibbss, “An In-Depth View of America by the Numbers” (Time magazine, October 22, 2006).
*Critical Mass: The idea that a particular belief or behavior can be accepted by all of society once a number of people have aligned.