New Age teaching are a combination of Astrology, Hinduism, Taoism, Spiritualism, Theosophy and Neo-Pagan traditions. It gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s in reaction to the perception that organized religion, particularly Christianity, were unable to meet the needs of modern people.
New Age beliefs have become widespread over the past decades despite the demythologizing of some of their beliefs, such as the power of crystals and the channeling of spirits. While the new Age movement has a religious component, many people see it as a self-help movement and it has inspired missions to live richer and fuller lives than they might have normally experienced.
An Overview of Beliefs
New Agers believe that the Age of Aquarius is unfolding and when it arrives there will be one world government, and an end to hunger, disease, war, pollution and all other human ills.
Part of the charm of the New Age movement is that there is no single book that contains dogmatic teaching; adherents are encouraged to create their own belief system from a smorgasbord of religious and philosophical ideas. These ideas include Monism (everything that exists comes from divine energy) and Pantheism (God permeates the entire universe and is found in things like trees as well as in people).
New Agers also appropriate many beliefs from Eastern Mysticism. Many believe in reincarnation and karma. They also incorporate metaphysical self-help ideas including hypnotism techniques, guided imagery, meditation and even, in some cases, the use of hallucinogenic drugs. The main focus of all these things is for individual, and society, to be able to reach its fullest human potential.
New Age adherents usually have a strong interest in ecological matters. They view Mother Earth as a living thing which needs special attention and care,
Views on Death and the After-Life
Since New Agers embrace such a wide variety of belief systems, it is hard to say what any one individual thinks about death and the after-life without asking them in advance. Generally speaking, New Agers believe that they need to develop their higher self now in order to be prepared for the future. Some believe in traditional reincarnation, others believe that they will merge like the universe.
Many New Age believers do not think there is any kind of judgment that will lead to heaven or hell. Instead they believe that the individual decide where they go based on they kind of life they lived; the higher the ethical life, the greater the statue in other realms, whatever they may be. To some new Agers, even haven is just a way station to a new existence.
Mourning and Funeral Rites
A funeral service for a New Age person generally centers on the presence of the spirit of the person, reincarnation or other beliefs the deceased person held. They often include energy-focused ceremonies, a call to the angels, music, canting, meditation and other rituals.
How to Express your Condolences
It is always appropriate to share your sense of loss with the family and friends of the deceased. This should be done in person if possible, or by letter, email or a phone call if necessary. Condolences should be directed to a surviving spouse, the adult children of the deceased, of the family member you know best. Many atheists will want gifts directed to humanitarian or scientific causes rather than flowers, and it is desirable to respect their wishes whenever possible.
Important note: The statements made about beliefs and rites are general in nature and may vary by sect, denomination, country or ethnic group. The information provided here is intended as an overview, and if you have questions about specific matters you should contact the clergy or other person conducting the funeral service. If you read anything in this section that differs from the beliefs in your tradition, please contact usso we can update this page