911:New Age Terminology
A Brief Dictionary of New Age Terminology
(Unless otherwise cited, adapted and/or excerpted from David L. Brown, Th.M. -- Investigative Researcher with Logos Communication; and from "The Vocabulary of the 'New Agers,'" Sept/Oct 2001, The Perilous Times.)
The average Christian has little idea what the concepts and ideals of the New Age really are. Then when they encounter New Age vocabulary, confusion really sets in. New Agers often play semantic word games, using the same words Christians do, yet the definitions used bear no resemblance to the Christian definitions. This brief dictionary is designed to help you understand New Age terminology as they define their terms. -- David L. Brown
Age of Aquarius -- Astrologers believe that evolution goes through cycles corresponding to the signs of the zodiac, each lasting from 2,000 to 2,400 years. New Age advocates say we are now moving from the cycle associated with Pisces into the one associated with Aquarius. The Aquarian Age will supposedly be characterized by a heightened degree of spiritual or cosmic consciousness.
Agent -- A person sending a telepathic message.
Akashic Record -- Imperishable records of every person's every word, thought, or act [allegedly from "outer space"] inscribed in the earth or spirit realms, allegedly from "outer space" (known as "ether").
Alpha -- The physical body.
Angstrom -- a ten-billionth of a "meter." This is connected with "wave lengths."
Animism -- The belief that inanimate things (such as plants) possess a soul or spirit. New Age advocates see animism as a way of rededicating the earth.
Anthroposophy -- An esoteric cult founded by German mystic Rudolf Steiner. The term literally means "wisdom of man." It teaches that we possess the truth within ourselves. The system of thought is occultic and spiritistic.
Ascended Masters -- Refers to those who have supposedly reached the highest level of spiritual consciousness and have become guides of the spiritual evolution of mankind.
Ascension of Christ -- This is reinterpreted in a mystical way to refer to the rise of the "Christ-consciousness" in mankind. It describes the awareness that man is divine.
Astral -- The word is from "star" (as in "ASTROnaut" and "ASTROnomy"). Here, it refers to an "after-death, out-of-the-body" experience. In Humanism, demonism, Satanism, and Theosophy, the extended umbilical cord holds the "astral" and the "physical" together. The experience is an "astral flight." Literally: "STAR FLIGHT," known on TV as "Star Trek."
Astral Body -- A spiritual body capable of projection from the physical body. The astral body survives death.
Astral Flight -- Soul travel occurring particularly during sleep or deep meditation.
Attunement -- A New Age counterpart to prayer. Also referred to as at-one-ment, the term relates primarily to the New Age idea that complete oneness with God can be experienced by human beings. One attains a hypnotic consciousness of an amoral, neuter "state of being" through meditation: Krishna consciousness, Nirvana, Prajna, Samadhi, etc. Various consciousness techniques are used to cause this "oneness": meditation; guided imagery; yoga; hypnosis; chanting of a mantra; ecstatic dancing; channeling of spirit guides; New Age music; and positive thinking or Alpha Mind techniques.
Aura -- Radiated glow or halo surrounding living beings.
Automatic Writing -- Writing produced without conscious thought of a living person; written message given through a spirit guide with a pencil or typewriter.
Avatar -- A person who "descends" into human form from above as a manifestation of divinity and who reveals divine truth to people. Such a one has supposedly progressed beyond the need to be reincarnated in another body (i.e., there is no further "bad karma" to work off).
Bhagavad Gita -- Hindu sacred scripture.
Biofeedback -- A technique in which brain waves are monitored to bring normally unconscious, involuntary bodily functions under conscious, voluntary control. Biofeedback can lead to altered states of consciousness and mystical experiences.
Blood of Christ -- This is understood by some New Agers to refer to the "life-energy" of the Cosmic Christ. This "blood" supposedly flowed from the cross into the etheric (or spiritual) realms of the earth. From these realms, the Christ seeks to guide the spiritual evolution of mankind.
Bodhisattva -- A being who has supposedly earned the right to enter into Nirvana or into illumination, but instead voluntarily turns back from that state in order to aid humanity in attaining the same goal. The "Christ" is said to be a Bodhisattva.
Buddha -- "The Enlightened One." An avatar or messenger.
Chakras -- The seven "energy points" on the body. Yoga is practiced through the Chakras; the "crown" Chakra is, naturally, on top of the skull.
Channeling -- A New Age form of mediumship or spiritism. The channeled yields control of his/her perceptual and cognitive capacities to a spiritual entity with the intent of receiving paranormal information.
Chela -- A "Guru's" pupil.
Chinook Learning Community -- A New Age educational community located in the Pacific Northwest. This group sponsors both long and short-term educational programs on personal and social transformation, New Age spirituality, and how to live with an ecological perspective.
Clairaudience -- Ability to hear mentally without using the ears.
Clairvoyance -- Ability to see mentally without using the eyes, beyond ordinary time and space limits; also called "Second Sight."
Consciousness Revolution -- New Age advocates call for a "consciousness revolution," a new way of looking at and experiencing life. The primary focus of the new consciousness is oneness with God, all mankind, the earth, and with the entire universe.
Control -- The Spirit that sends messages through a medium in trance.
Cosmic Christ -- In esoteric schools of thought, the Christ is considered to be a universal spirit or a cosmic force. The primary goal of this impersonal spirit or force is to guide the spiritual evolution of mankind.
Cosmic Consciousness -- A spiritual and mystical perception that all in the universe is "one." To attain cosmic consciousness is to see the universe as God and God as the universe.
Cosmic Humanism -- In contrast to normative humanism that sees man as the measure of all things, cosmic humanism sees man as having virtually unlimited potential because of his inner divinity.
Crystals -- New Age advocates believe that crystals contain incredible healing and energizing powers. Crystals are often touted as being able to restore the "how of energy" in the human body.
Deja Vu -- A French expression, meaning to relive life over again after another "incarnation." Transmigration of souls is also connected with this. The feeling of having already experienced an event or place that is being encountered for the very first time.
Discarnate -- The soul or personality of a living creature who has died.
Dowser -- A sensitive who uses a forked stick that points to hidden water, oil, buried money, lost articles, or people.
Earth Logos -- Some New Age advocates believe that the Earth Logos is a great spiritual being who is the ensouling life of planet earth. The earth is considered a physical manifestation (or body) of this spiritual intelligence. This pagan religion is called "Animism."
Ectoplasm -- A white filmy substance pouring from a medium's bodily openings, supposedly denoting the presence of a disembodied spirit.
Esalen Institute -- A "growth center" that offers a wide variety of workshops for mind, body, and spirit. It is located in Big Sur, California.
Esoteric -- A word used to describe knowledge that is possessed or understood only by a few.
Esoteric Christianity -- A mystical form of professing Christianity that sees its "core truth" as identical to the "core truth" of every other religion (i.e., man is divine). This form of Christianity is at home with Aldous Huxley's "perennial philosophy." (See: Perennial Philosophy.)
ESP -- Extrasensory perception encompassing paranormal abilities such as telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance.
ESP Cards -- A pack of twenty-five cards bearing five symbols, including stars, squares, circles, crosses, and waves.
Exoteric Christianity -- A form of Christianity identified with historic or orthodox Christianity that New Agers would describe as being devoid of all spiritual authenticity.
Fall of Man -- Refers to the fall of man's consciousness. A fallen consciousness is one that recognizes the existence of only the material realm. The Christ is believed to have "redeemed" man in the sense that He enabled man to perceive the spiritual world behind the material world.
Findhorn Community -- A legendary New Age community located in the North of Scotland. This group offers an ongoing educational program in the principles of New Age spirituality.
Gaia -- A Greek name for the goddess of the earth. It also refers to a scientific hypothesis formulated by James Lovelock whereby all living matter on the earth is believed to be a single living organism. In such a scheme, humanity is considered the nervous system of the living earth.
Globalism -- A modern-day term referring to the need for a transformation from the present nation-state divisions into a one-world community.
Gnosticism -- A tradition going back to the second century which holds that salvation comes through intuitive "gnosis" or knowledge of one's supposed divinity.
God -- A being who has "many faces." He (it) is considered a radically immanent being who is often referred to as a "universal consciousness," "universal life," or "universal energy." The New Age god is more or less an impersonal force that pervades the universe.
Graphology -- Character analysis and foretelling based on handwriting.
Great Invocation -- A New Age prayer that has been translated into over eighty languages. The purpose of this prayer is to invoke the presence of the Cosmic Christ on earth, thus leading to the oneness and brotherhood of all mankind.
Group Guru -- A slang New Age term referring to the idea that the Cosmic Christ is incarnate in all of humanity. All mankind is seen as a single "guru."
Guru -- Teacher or master (sometimes "Gura."). The opposite of "Chela." The Guru is the Buddhist "Master." The "Chela" is his pupil.
Harmonic Convergence -- The assembly of New Age meditators gathered at the same propitious astrological time in different locations to usher in peace on earth and one-world government.
Holism -- The theory that all reality is organically one. Everything in the universe is viewed as interrelated and interdependent. It is the basis of Hinduism and Buddhism, now taught in all colleges and universities in America that followed Einstein's "theory of relativity." It is called "Yin and Yang" in Chinese and will be found on the national flag of Korea, as a symbol.
Holistic Health -- Holistic health sees the body as an inter-related organism. Its goal is to treat the whole person (body, mind, and spirit) as opposed to merely treating a particular sickness.
Hologram -- A three-dimensional projection resulting from the interaction of laser beams. Scientists have discovered that the image of an entire hologram can be reproduced from any one of its many component parts. New Agers use this to illustrate the oneness of all reality.
Homeopathy -- A system of medicine rooted in occult ideas that was developed by Samuel Hahnemann. It claims to manipulate the "vital force" of the human body by transferring the power of homeopathic medicines that have been potentized by a process of dilutions and succession (vigorous shaking with impact).
Human Potential Movement -- A movement with roots in humanistic psychology that stresses man's essential goodness and unlimited potential.
I Ching -- A Chinese textbook, used in Red China, showing how to "divine" (a counterfeit way to tell the future) by throwing sticks into six-sided figures as in "666" (cf. Rev. 13).
Initiation -- This occult term is generally used in reference to the expansion or transformation of a person's consciousness. An "initiate" is one whose consciousness has been transformed so that he now perceives inner realities. There are varying "degrees" of initiation (i.e., "first degree initiates," "second-degree initiates," etc.).
Inner Self or Higher Self -- Refers to the inner divine nature possessed by human beings. All people are said to possess an inner self, though not all are aware of it.
Interdependence or Interconnectedness -- These words are used by New Agers to describe the oneness and essential unity of everything in the universe. All of reality is viewed as interdependent and interconnected.
Jesus -- An avatar who attained a high level of attunement to the Cosmic Christ. This enabled him to become a bodily vehicle for the Christ for a period of three years. (See: Avatar)
Kabala (Cabbala, Qaballah) -- Hebrew mystery lore based on mystical interpretation of the Bible; magical, occult practices stemming largely from the Middle Ages.
Karma -- Refers to the "debt" accumulated against a soul as a result of good or bad actions committed during one's life (or lives). If one accumulates good karma, he will supposedly be reincarnated in a desirable state. If one accumulates bad karma, he will be reincarnated in a less desirable state.
Kirlian -- The source of energy in people; it is supposed to be lying at the base of the spine, slightly lower than the navel; it lies "coiled" there, as a serpent (cf. Isa. 27:1; Rev. 12:1-6; Gen. 3:1).
Kirlian Photography -- A photographic process that measures living auras.
Kundalini -- The elemental energy of the human body which, like a serpent, rests coiled at the base of the spine.
Levitation -- Raising of objects or people off the ground without using physical energy.
Lucis Trust -- Originally incorporated as the Lucifer Publishing Company, the Lucis Trust oversees the Lucis Publishing Company, World Goodwill, and Arcane School. Lucis Trust owns all the copyrights of the Alice Bailey books.
Magic Circle Ring -- Drawn by occultists to protect them from the spirits and demons they call up by incantations and rituals.
Maitreya -- The name has its roots in a legendary Buddha figure. Some New Age advocates believe that the "second coming of Christ" occurred in 1977 in the person of Maitreya.
Mandala -- A design, usually concentric, that focuses attention to a single point.
Mantra -- A word or phrase that is to be chanted repetitively in an effort to empty the mind and attain "cosmic consciousness" (oneness with God and the universe).
Mass Incarnation -- An incarnation of the Christ in all of humanity. New Age advocates say that this incarnation is presently taking place on a planetary scale, and is not unlike the incarnation of the Cosmic Christ in the body of Jesus 2,000 years ago.
Medium -- A psychic or sensitive living person whose body is used as a vehicle for communicating with spirits.
Metaphysics -- The science of the supernatural, although the word used in Philosophy (1600-1900, along with Axiology and Epistemology) never meant that at all. Metaphysics was the study of Causality, Cosmology, the nature of the Universe, etc. Literally, it deals with the problem of "What is real?" In the New Age, where lunacy is the "norm," it deals with "Om," "Rome," and "Mahabone": three magic words used in Oriental religions, the Catholic religion, and in Masonry. (OM symbolizes "Brahma.")
Monism -- A metaphysical theory that sees all of reality as a unified whole. Everything in the universe is seen as being made of the same stuff.
Network -- An informal, decentralized organization created by like-minded individuals who are interested in addressing specific problems and offering possible solutions. All of this takes place outside of conventional institutions.
New Age Movement -- A loose organization of people, many of them "Yuppies," who believe the world has entered the Aquarian Age when peace on earth and one-world government will rule. They see themselves as advanced in consciousness, rejecting Judeo-Christian values and the Bible in favor of Oriental philosophies and religion. Among them may be found environmentalists, nuclear-freeze proponents, Marxist-socialist utopians, mind-control advocates, ESP cultists, spiritists, witchcraft practitioners, and others using magical rites.
Nirvana -- Liberation from earthly things; paradise.
Numerology -- The analysis of hidden or prophetic meanings of numbers.
Occultism -- Belief in supernatural forces and beings. Available only to the initiate; secret.
Om -- A word symbolizing Brahma, the Creator God.
One Worlders -- Those who advocate the abolition of nations, working to hand over power to a single-world government similar in structure to the present United Nations; off-shoots of the United World Federalists founded in the 1930s.
Ouiji Board -- Game board containing all the letters of the alphabet plus numbers from 0 to 9 and "Yes/No." A sliding pointer (planchette) spells out words in answer to questions asked by players.
Out-of-Body Experience -- Leaving the physical body while at rest, asleep, near death, or temporarily dead.
Pantheism -- Doctrine that identifies God with the whole universe, every particle, tree, table, animal, and person being part of Him.
Paradigm Shift -- Refers to a shift in world views. The so-called "new paradigm" (new model or form) is pantheistic (all is God) and monistic (all is one). Practically, it means that toleration of sin becomes progress, while virtue, morality, and purity become defects. In addition, lunacy becomes normal behavior while common sense becomes a "hindrance to change."
Paranormal -- Beyond or above normal human powers or senses.
Parapsychology -- Study of psychic phenomena using scientific methods.
Pendulum -- Heavy object on a string, used for dowsing or fortune telling.
Pentagram -- Five-pointed star used in magical ceremonies. While sometimes used by Satanists, it is not strictly a Satanic symbol. (Also, Satanists use the Pentagram only in its inverted orientation, while other occultists use it almost exclusively in the upright orientation.)
Percipient -- Person who receives telepathic messages.
Perennial Philosophy -- A term made popular by Aldous Huxley (coined by Liebniz) that sees all religious truth or experience as one and the same. This philosophy proposes that even though the externals of the various religions may differ, the essence or core truth is the same in each.
Plan, The -- A phrase that occurs often in the writings of Alice Bailey. It refers to specific preparations in the world for a New Age and a New Age Christ. These preparations are carried out by the "Masters of the Hierarchy," a group of exalted beings who supposedly guide the spiritual evolution of people on earth. Though this teaching of the Plan does actually exist, the term has been sensationalized by some "Christian" writers. These writers have mistakenly hypothesized that New Agers are completely unified in a "behind-the-scenes manipulation" of world events in order to conquer the world for its true god, Lucifer.
Planetary Citizens -- A New Age activist group committed to engendering a "planetary consciousness" among both New Agers and the general public.
Planetization -- New Age advocates believe that the various threats facing the human race require a global solution. This solution is "planetization." The word refers to the unifying of the world into a corporate brotherhood.
Poltergeist -- German word for a noisy, mischievous, destructive spirit (a demon).
Precognition -- Advance knowledge of future events.
PSI -- Term used in place of psychic or paraphysical; ESP.
Psychic Birth -- A quickening of spiritual or cosmic consciousness and power. This new consciousness is one that recognizes oneness with God and the universe. Psychic birth is an occult counterpart to the Christian new birth.
Psychic Energy -- Extrasensory energy that enables people to do miracles.
Psychic Healer -- A person who cures mental or physical illness from the cosmic energy emanating through the healer's hands.
Psychoanalysis -- Tracing mental and physical ills back to hurtful childhood experiences; based on Sigmund Freud's theories.
Psychometry -- Reading information from an object about events involving the person who owns it, usually by handling it.
Psychotechnologies -- Refers to the various approaches or systems aimed at deliberately altering one's consciousness.
Reincarnation -- Refers to the cyclical evolution of a person's soul as it repeatedly passes from one body to another at death. This process continues until the soul reaches a state of perfection.
Retrocognition -- Knowledge of past events learned paranormally.
Right Brain Learning -- The right hemisphere of the brain is believed to be the center of intuitive and creative thought (as opposed to the rational nature of the left hemisphere). New Agers have seized on this as a justification to bring "right brain learning techniques" into the classroom. These techniques include meditation, yoga, and guided imagery.
Rolfing -- Seeks to relieve energy blockages in the body by applying deep pressure or massage.
Séance -- A gathering of people seeking communication with deceased loved ones or famous historical figures through a medium.
Second Coming of Christ -- Understood by some as the coming of the Cosmic Christ in all of humanity, related to the New Age concept of the "mass incarnation." The Second Coming is supposedly now occurring in the hearts and minds of people all over the earth. Others associate it specifically with the appearance of Maitreya as the avatar of the coming age.
Self-realization -- New Agers use this as a synonym for God-realization. It refers to a personal recognition of one's divinity.
Sensitive -- A person who frequently demonstrates extrasensory gifts such as clairvoyance, telepathy, or precognition.
Shaman -- A medicine man/woman or witchdoctor, who uses hypnotism, charms, drugs, chants (mantras), "Chi" energy, etc., to open his victims to demon possession and controlled responses.
Solar Logos -- Believed by some to be a mighty spiritual being who is the ensouling life of the solar system. The material solar system is simply a physical manifestation (or body) of this living intelligence.
Spirit Control -- A disembodied spirit who relays messages from dead people to the living through a trance medium.
Spirit Guide -- A spiritual entity who provides information of "guidance," often through a medium or channeled. The spirit provides guidance only after the channeled relinquishes his perceptual and cognitive capacities into its control.
Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters -- New Age advocates believe these spiritual "masters" are highly evolved men who, having already perfected themselves, are now guiding the rest of humanity to this same end.
Spiritualist or Spiritist -- Person who believes in the ability to contact departed souls through a medium.
Subject -- Person used for experiments in ESP studies.
Sufism -- Persian mystical religion based on Islam.
Syncretism -- The attempt to combine or unify differing religious systems. New Age gurus often claim that all the world religions teach the same core truth: all people possess an inner divinity.
Synergy -- A principle which states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Tantra -- A word invented to describe the Hindu and Buddhist "scriptures" (which are actually called Sutras and Vedas) which show people "shortcuts" to getting Prajna ("enlightenment").
Taoism -- A Chinese religion and philosophy that sees the universe as engaged in ceaseless motion and activity. All is considered to be in continual flux. The universe is intrinsically dynamic. This continual cosmic process is called the "Tao" by the Chinese. (The process is described in terms of Yin and Yang -- see: Yin/Yang). Tao is that which is formless, yet the mother of all forms, and that which is timeless, yet prior to all manifestations, and that which does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone. The most outrageous Taoist doctrine for Bible believers would be Lao Tzu's adage "Forget right and wrong, and it will be better for everyone."
Tarot Cards -- Deck of seventy-eight cards that supposedly reveal the secrets of man and the universe.
Telekinesis -- The ability to move physical objects by force of will or mental energy alone; also called psychokinesis.
Telepathy -- Communication between minds by extrasensory means.
Tetragram -- A magic diagram shaped as a four-pointed star.
Theosophy -- A school of thought founded by Helena P. Blavatsky. The term literally means "divine wisdom." The goals of Theosophy are to (1) form a universal brotherhood; (2) do comparative study of world religions, science, and philosophy; and (3) investigate the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man. Theosophy is the forerunner of much New Age thought.
Therapeutic Touch -- A "therapy" in which the practitioner "channels" the universal life energy for the patient and then helps the patient to assimilate this energy.
Third Eye -- An imaginary eye in the forehead believed to be the center of psychic vision.
Trance -- A mental state resembling sleep during which the conscious mind rests while the spirit entity takes over the medium's body.
Trance Channeler -- The newest term for "trance medium." (See: Medium.)
Transformation -- New Age advocates promote both personal and planetary transformation. Personal transformation involves the changes wrought in one's life by increasing Self-realization. As more and more people are personally transformed, the planet too will be transformed into a global brotherhood.
Trumpet Medium -- A psychic or "sensitive" who brings forth "spirit voices" through a trumpet at séances.
UFO -- Unidentified flying object; flying saucer.
Unity-in-Diversity Council -- A New Age "meta-network" of over 100 networks and groups rallying for global cooperation and interdependence.
Veda -- The most ancient of the Hindu scriptures.
Visualization -- Also known as "guided imagery," visualization basically refers to "mind over matter." It involves the attempt to bring about change in the material realm by the power of the mind.
Warlock -- A wizard or sorcerer; a male witch. (Some male witches claim that "warlock" does not refer to a male witch at all, but merely means "oath-breaker.")
World Goodwill -- A New Age political lobby that aims to unfold "The Plan" as spelled out in the writings of Alice Bailey.
Yin/Yang -- Chinese names referring to the active and passive principles of the universe. Yin refers to the female or [inactive] negative force; Yang to the male or active force. These two polar forces continually interplay with each other. Briefly, it means that "good and evil" and "right and wrong" are actually the SAME; they simply appear as opposites. Get rid of all the Opposites (seen and unseen, hot and cold, up and down, back and forth, day and night, high and low, etc.), and you can attain perfection (Nirvana, Samadhi, Prajna, etc.).
Yoga -- A means of becoming united with the supreme being, or with the universal soul.
Yogi -- Someone who practices yoga.
Zodiac -- The band of twelve constellations along the plane of the ecliptic through which pass the sun, moon, and planets across the sky. Each constellation, or sign, is attributed symbolic significance and associations that affect various aspects of life on Earth.