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The New Age Movement And Western Esotericism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a general overview of the New Age movement. It outlines the main avenues by which New Age is connected to Western Esotericism, with an eye to the continuities as well as the differences between both. The development of the New Age movement (or movements) since the 1950s is not devoid of its ironic, or if one wishes, its melancholic sides. The type of Neopaganism associated with the New Age movement is rooted in the current of modern witchcraft or Wicca, founded by the Englishman Gerald Gardner. During the period of Romanticism, there was an increasing interest in oriental cultures and their religious beliefs. The psychologisation of religion is usually assumed to imply that religion is ‘all in the mind’, that is, that religious beliefs are merely subjective.

Keywords: Neopaganism; New Age movement; psychologisation; Romanticism; Western Esotericism

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