A Profile of New Agers
Who are the people attracted to woo woo?
In the past year, I was involved with a local New Age collective. My occult studies were discovered by a tarot reader, who connected me with other readers. Eventually, I met angel workers, crystal healers, and witches. It’s interesting how they often called it the “spiritual community”. True enough, New Age “spirituality” technically counts as a religion in that it believes in a higher unseen order. This order operates through a system, and enlightenment is achieved by living in accordance with this system.
Honestly, I am hesitant to label anyone a New Ager. The term “New Age” carries with it many stigmatizing connotations. But I want to talk about this reality, so I hope we could look at it with kindness. New Agers, after all, are driven by a genuine desire to heal, grow, and understand. That being said, my essay isn’t an argument for or against the movement. It’s simply a profile of the New Age character, or an assessment of the kind of people who would be interested in these things.¹
- Women are more likely to be drawn to this spirituality. This may be due to the notion that they are simply more intuitive or in tune with their inner divinity, but I believe that it’s because New Age spirituality is a more inclusive alternative to traditional patriarchal religion.
- People who become New Age seekers tend to enter into this spirituality after a personal crisis. When religion offers no comfort and science can’t give satisfying explanations, people turn to the occult.
- There are two motivations: self-perfection and self-knowledge. Those who want to perfect themselves enter into serious disciplines such as meditation and yoga. Those who want to know themselves explore tarot cards, astrology, and dream interpretation.
Just because you might be interested in New Age stuff doesn’t make you a New Ager. There are people who are casual about it. To them it’s merely an amusement. Once in a while, they’ll check their horoscopes, but they won’t take it seriously. But there are people who take it seriously. To them, it is a lifestyle and an identity. I understand this on a personal level. Maybe it’s important to keep an open mind, to understand without questioning. Then we might see that there are many unusual ways to experience the Divine.
¹This is based on research done in the 80’s and 90’s, and may have already shifted considering the growing interest and re-discovery of new age practices.