Why New Age Spirituality Even Is Creepier Than You Thought

I really hope I'm not boring people with my articles on New Age spirituality, but this has turned out to be quite a rabbithole chock full of stuff that just isn't being brought up and criticized nearly enough. Far from being a harmless, if offbeat branch of spirituality, New Age embodies and emboldens some of society's worst prejudices and impulses.

I'm not saying that everyone who is into some beliefs or practices associated with New Age spirituality necessarily believes in all of the things I'm about to talk about, but these are all problems and beliefs that actually exist, and as such, deserve to be brought to people's attention. I won't be linking to any actual New Age material, because I don't want to give these people clicks. If you have any doubts as to what I'm saying, you can search up and dig into this stuff for yourself.

First uploaded: October 6, 2021.

Table of Contents

Nobody seems to be aware of how messy and fallible human memory is.

Many of us tend to assume that human memory works something like a video/audio recording device, and everything we "remember" is therefore mostly accurate. But that's not how it actually works. First of all, we don't always remember every detail with the same level of clarity. And it sometimes happens that details fade from our memory. Of course, you know that these details have to exist. So when you stop and concentrate, your brain will helpfully synthesize something that very probably could have been there. For example, my mother once remembered a movie scene being far more graphic than it actually was, because she didn't remember all the details clearly and her mind filled in details that seemed likely enough. When I was a kid, I remembered the city of Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back having a lot of pink in its architecture, and to this day I'm a little disappointed that it actually didn't.

You can even make up completely new memories without meaning to. During the Satanic panic, many people were given guided hypnosis to help them remember alleged events of Satanic abuse. And sure enough, they eventually "remembered." A very notable example of this is the case of Michelle Proby, whose former therapist and later husband documented her supposedly recovered memories in the book Michelle Remembers. The claims made in the book have been thoroughly debunked by people now. (Sure, abusive cults do exist, but the claims made in Michelle Remembers are just too over-the-top to be possible; EG, Michelle claims that the cult sewed horns and a tail to her body, which she ripped off - without leaving so much as a scar, apparently.)

It's these selfsame hypnosis techniques that New Agers often use to "remember" their past lives. Even if the hypnotist avoids giving them too many suggestions, we have to remember that any New Ager undergoing past life hypnosis already has some preconceived notions of what they'll find. For example, they probably believe in Atlantis, think Egypt had connection to extraterrestrial aliens, and think that alien beings are incarnating in human bodies right now. They've probably watched numerous videos and read any number of blogs that told them all about this stuff. Basically, they're already primed to produce some pretty colorful false memories.

It's generally pretty easy to find people talking about their past life regressions, whether in New Age communities or in comment sections of relevant videos. And it's not rare to see details come up that should give anyone pause. A high number of people claim to have been archangels, which according to most traditions aren't exactly common. A high number of them claim to have been in important, prestigious positions in Atlantis or on other worlds, though unsurprisingly, the details on them are extremely vague. And a quite a few of them claim to have been cosmically powerful beings in a past life. Yet despite their alleged importance in the grand scheme of things, none of them seem to have any awareness of each other, and their stories frequently conflict with each other.

So basically, not only is the practice of past life regressions not only sketchy in and of itself, but giving these experiences real credence also lends credence to the pseudoscientific and arguably even abusive practices used to find "evidence" in support of Satanic conspiracies. If more people start believing that this is a legitimate way to retrieve memories, then it's not impossible that it could once again be considered a way to retrieve evidence admissible for court purposes, and thereby be used to basically fabricate all kinds of evidence against marginalized and vulnerable members of society.

The "good" beings are are unnervingly authoritarian.

Many New Agers claim to be in contact with various entities and beings, whom they often channel so they can share their wisdom with us mere mortals. But if you take a look at the profiles of who they're channeling, they have one notable thing in common: they're all high-ranking authority figures. We're talking military commanders, members of high councils, priests, high-ranking soldiers or warriors, and suchlike. In a nutshell, the elite.

One must wonder why it's always and only the elites who seem to have anything to say to us. Where's... literally anyone else? Where are the bored, chatty grandmas from Lyra? Where are the Pleiadian museum curators? Where are the Sirians who make clothes or brew herbal teas? Why aren't they talking to us? Are they forbidden from talking to us? Is there something, perhaps, that the likes of the Arcturian High Council doesn't want us to know?

I think we also have to ask ourselves why the alien beings even have elites if they're all so enlightened. See, societies with rigid hierarchies aren't known for being enlightened. They are known for being oppressive and cruel. Hierarchy is simply a tool the privileged use to keep everyone else in line. I think there's a massive irony in refusing to trust the Pope, but trusting everything allegedly said by Commander Ashtar. Honestly, the fact that we're supposedly getting transmissions from a military commander should raise a red flag. Would you implicitly trust, I don't know, General MacArthur?

And speaking of alien beings, I think we can't ignore that sending alien souls/starseeds to incarnate in human bodies on Earth to teach the rest of us how to behave is reminiscent of the behavior of Christian missionaries over the years, which has often been criticized as a form of colonialism, and even genocide. Like sure, they claim they're here to help us "ascend to 5D" or whatever, but how could we really be sure that's the real end goal here? Maybe what they're after is more soldiers for their space wars, which we only assume are just because we're only getting our information from their leaders and commanders.

Another thing I can't help but notice is that few of these channeled entities are feminine, which would suggest that these entities have extremely patriarchal values, or at least emphasize what we would consider masculine virtues. Even entities that are supposedly beyond gender still have a very masculine presentation, or claim to have roles that we would consider masculine. Despite constantly talking up "the divine feminine" or whatever, they really don't seem to have a high regard for female or feminine beings. (I find it interesting how a lot of people are willing to channel Merlin, but nobody seems interested in channeling the Lady of the Lake or Morgan le Fay.)

Personally, the whole thing makes me think of the way patriarchy worships the idea of the idea of the feminine in the form of the ideal perfect wife and mother, while generally demeaning the desires, feelings, and opinions of actual women ala Coventry Padmore's infamous Angel In The House. (Also, while we're here, I think now's a good time to point out that the very concept of "the divine feminine" or "the feminine principle" is a concept created within and for a hetero-patriarchal framework. It might be a step above completely demonizing the feminine, but it's only barely just.)

I also think it's worth comparing all this stuff to Umberto Eco's Umberto Eco's 14 features of fascism. We can see that it checks off numbers 10, 12, and 13, which I think should be enough for us to take notice. Even if you don't believe that these beings are real, you have to admit that those who allege to channel them are pushing some pretty shady values onto those who do believe.

Their whole cosmology is unnervingly authoritarian.

New Age philosophy is really, really obsessed with hierarchy. You can tell by how they try to grade everything on a scale of "low vibrational frequency" to "high vibrational frequency." In New Age thinking, "low vibrational" basically means anything unpleasant, unhealthy, and evil, and "high vibrational" means anything pleasant, healthy, and good. The higher the vibration, the better supposedly it is, because the higher the vibration, the closer to God. This is why you see them talking about "sending you the highest vibrational energies" or claiming the pieces of white landscaping rock they're selling contain "archangel energies" or whatever.

Now of course, if you know anything about science you might wonder why "high vibrational frequencies" are inherently superior when gamma rays are on the high frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. And if you have a reasonable set of moral problem-solving skills, you might observe that conflating "pleasant" with "good" and "unpleasant" with "evil" is pretty sketchy. After all, what's pleasant and unpleasant is highly subjective; your yum might be another person's yuck, and vice versa. Applying antiseptic might sting for a bit, but it's certainly much better than risking serious infection. Insects that eat your crops might be an important source of food for another animal.

Because this worldview places everything in a hierarchy, authority is conflated with goodness; at least, if it's an authority figure on your side. Ergo if someone claims to be channeling an authority figure like Commander Ashtar, you're supposed to just assume that he's good and knows best.

Meanwhile, I think many of us know from experience that there's no such thing as an infallible authority figure, even among those who share our deepest values. If we think someone is perfect, either they're doing a very good job of hiding their flaws, or we're doing a very good job of ignoring or possibly even excusing them.

This whole "feels good = is good" attitude is almost certainly a major reason why these people are so easily impressed by the fluffy, reassuring propaganda I wrote about over here. It's almost certainly why so many of them are such avid Trump supporters, because one thing Trump excels at is empty reassurances.

Personally, this whole scheme makes me think of that scene from Donnie Darko, the one where the life coach who is actually a child predator asks students to place various actions on a scale of "fear" to "love," and Donnie points out that life just isn't that simple. I think the film's story makes a very keen observation in that if someone tries to reduce everything to a simple binary, we should be very, very concerned about what they're really after, because it's probably something incredibly self-serving and damaging to others.

It's extremely anti-environmentalist.

I think a lot of us have associated New Age thinking with environmentalism, but if you actually look close it's anything but. New Age philosophy has never actually done much of anything to encourage people to take responsibility for the welfare of the Earth and its ecosystems. If anything, it's always been more of a "thoughts 'n prayers" kind of deal. New Agers tend to think that they can "heal the Earth" with what basically amounts to magic rituals. (You can find guided meditations for "healing the Earth" without too much trouble.) They also have this notion that the Earth will just heal once the New Age gets here. Or we'll all be so enlightened that we'll just stop polluting it, or something.

And then there's the fact that New Age spirituality is obsessed with crystals, which are frequently claimed to have the power to fix just about anything and everything. But as it turns out, mining all those crystals isn't exactly great for the Earth. Additionally, this is coming at a high cost to human health and life. (It's funny, you'd think that people who were so attuned to sensing "vibrations" might sense the human suffering and environmental damage attached to these shiny rocks.) And while it's true that a lot of things are produced unethically like this, you have to admit that there's a huge irony in thinking that tearing up the planet like this can help one get in tune with nature and the universe.

And then there's the fact that New Age philosophy is just plain greedy. Concepts like manifestation and the Law of Attraction are based in the 19th century New Thought movement, which basically spiritualizes having and obtaining wealth. And of course, New Age spirituality has capitalized on the exploitation of Native American cultures for years.

The thing is, New Age on the whole doesn't really even like nature. It likes the idea of nature. New Agers tend to idealize an ever-pleasant, eternally pristine image of nature, which they substitute for the real thing. They tend to subscribe to the idea that disease and illness are not part of the natural world, because they simply don't understand how physical and biochemical processes even work. Despite a number of them proclaiming "as above, so below," they don't grasp that just as a bolt of lightning split a tree, so too can a stray gamma ray sever your DNA asunder and cause your body some severe issues. They think "everything is connected" means "you have a literal psychic connection to the stars," not "cows rely on grass, grass relies on rain, rain is carried on the wind, the motions of the wind depend on temperature, excess CO2 will alter the temperature."

The belief that "natural" remedies could cure people of all their ills was also pushed by Joseph Goebbels, who actually knew full well it was all a load of crock. (There was also a narrative pushed that actual medicine was a Jewish plot. Like I've said, basically every conspiracy theory ties into antisemitism at some point.)

It cultivates a savior complex.

So first of all, I want to make it clear that I'm not speaking out against trying to help people. That's a thing more of us absolutely need to be doing. But the way New Age spirituality goes about it is simply awful.

People are essentially told that if they feel a compulsion to help other people and ease their suffering, then that means they are some special being incarnated into human form - be it indigo children, starseeds, or angels. They are told that their entire purpose on this world is to heal other people and help the world at large ascend to a higher level of consciousness.

So in layman's terms, "help the world ascend to a higher level of consciousness" basically means "spread New Age ideology," which as we've explored before is shallow, racist, and even fascist. And of course, New Agers are deeply into quack medicine, which makes the whole "healing people" part deeply troublesome.

They aren't teaching people the ground rules of how to genuinely be helpful. They're not teaching these people to ask others what they want or need, and simply just do as they're told, which is what the vast majority of marginalized and vulnerable members of society need would-be helpers to do. Instead, they're basically teaching these people to perpetuate a very toxic cycle. They're functionally teaching them to swoop in and impose their idea of "help" on people, then feel unfairly rejected or even worthless when told to back off. If you feel like your entire reason for existing is to help others, you're probably going to feel a deep emotional sting when others tell you to back off, if not develop moral injury.

In some cases, they're basically being told that people who reject their help simply aren't enlightened enough to accept what they have to say - or worse, are one of the bad guys. They aren't being asked to consider scenarios in which their behavior is inappropriate and the other party is rightfully setting boundaries to protect themselves. They aren't really helping people understand that sometimes, the best help you can give is to just stay out of the way, or just donate to a charity, or something. They're basically teaching people that intentions matter above all else, and aren't teaching them to appreciate the difference between meaning well and doing well.

The reality is that well-meaning people often cause a lot of harm, such as parents or therapists who think they can "help" autistic people with applied behavioral therapy, missionaries on short-term mission trips, or parents who push their raw food diets onto their young children.

Without this kind of knowledge and realization, all these well-meaning New Agers are doing is basically learning how to become a bunch of useless pains in the ass; or even worse, when they're pushing quack cures and colonialism.

The victim blaming never ends.

When New Age quack cures fail, they have excuses for that. One video directed at starseeds claimed that COVID vaccines are totally unnecessary because the virus (allegedly) exists to "upgrade" your DNA. The video went on to claim that those who die of the virus simply "chose" to leave Earth rather than join it on its ascension to 5D.

I don't think I can overstate what a callous statement this is. How heartless do you have to be to suggest that parents "chose" to leave their children behind? How can you even think to suggest that children "chose" to die?

Of course, New Agers like this are too full of their own "love and light" to even realize just how insensitive they're being. They're too disconnected from the world to understand how systemic inequality plays a large role in who survives and who doesn't.

And this, of course, doesn't just aply to COVID deaths, but to all deaths. Systemic inequality plays a huge role in mortality.

Meanwhile, a lot of New Agers basically claim that all bad things happen to you because you or your "Higher Self" chose for them to happen so your spirit could continue to learn and evolve, or whatever. Now, if you personally happen to find that a difficult or even traumatic experience helps you learn and grow as a person, that's fine; you're entitled to that. But to claim or imply that other people, at any point or on any level, chose to experience horrific abuse, lingering illness, or whathaveyou, is just cruel. Perhaps this kind of ideology helps a few people make sense of their struggles, but we can't overlook how it fails to consider the realities of systemic inequality and sidesteps the matter of communal responsibility.

And then of course, there's the Law of Attraction. In a previous article I talked about how it's used to blame people for their poverty while ignoring the realities of income inequality and poverty traps. The LoA is also used to blame people for bringing their abusers into their lives. Even worse, New Agers often encourage people to repress their pain and trauma with toxic positivity, and push them into forgiving their abusers before taking real steps to process and heal from their trauma.

In closing

Spirituality can be a good and healthy thing for people, but we have to be mindful that it's not closing us off from reality and from each other, and warping our worldview toward something extremely sinister. While most people associate fascism with gritty brutality, there is another side to it: a fascination with wide-eyed, innocent idealism. Fascists practically worship innocence and purity (as evidenced by them carrying on about protecting the precious white women and children from the evil hordes, plus the whole tradwife movement). New Age spirituality is chock full of this kind of thing. Brimming with feather-winged angels and doe-eyed extraterrestrials, promises of paradise in the near future, and reassurances that positive thinking will make all your dreams come true, New Age spirituality effectively turns many people into lotus eaters; unthreatening and unchallenging to those who would instate and maintain oppressive systems for their own benefit. And that's kind of the point.

Of course, not every New Ager is a docile bliss ninny. Far from it. There are those who fully radicalized into white supremacy and play an active role in spreading hate and violence. One thing I've noticed about these people is that is that they've correctly identified many problems in the world, such as our socio-economic systems being alienating and generally unfair, that our healthcare system is an absolute nightmare, and the media's overall failure to draw attention to just how bad things are. But since these people have no real idea how things work on a large or systemic level, then to them the reasons might as well be the machinations of demons or evil wizards. And that's essentially what conspiracy theorists tell them is going on. Eventually, many of them essentially come to believe that there's three kinds of people in the world: brainwashed puppets, agents of the conspiracy, and those who know the truth.

Such people lose sight of another possibility: that we are all experiencing small parts of a much bigger picture, and the only way we can comprehend it is if we trust and listen to each other, and especially listen to and trust those who have been marginalized. They become so attached to their own prejudices and their own ideologies that they'd sooner believe that thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people are lying to them than consider that they may have been wrong. And they'd sooner cloister themselves off in toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing than admit that they need to reconsider their place in the world and humble themselves in service of others.

While I'm also generally in favor of practices such as meditation, and any safe means of inducing altered states of consciousness, I firmly believe that we all need to remember that it's incredibly unlikely any of these experiences represent any kind of objective "higher" reality, if a "higher" reality can even be said to exist. And I think it's at best naive and at worst arrogant to think that our own experiences, and our interpretations of those experience, are the most objective and factual out of a long history of humanity having profound experiences and making interpretations of them.

There's no logical or rational basis to think that our modern experiences and interpretations are more valid than, say, those of Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century. And in my opinion, thinking that our generation has finally figured out what ancient texts and traditions were "really" about, as opposed to all those other generations, is incredibly small-minded and self-centered. (By the way, I suggest giving Dr. Justin Sledge's video Philosophy of Mysticism - Are Mystical Experiences True and Can Gnosis be Trusted? a watch. It's an excellent video that addresses many problems with our modern presumptions.)

We also need to be more aware of what kind of assumptions and worldviews are packed into any form of spirituality, and we need to examine what kind of real-world impacts those assumptions and worldviews have led to in the past. We can't just go and give certain beliefs a free pass just because they give us a sense of purpose or make us feel good, when these same beliefs played crucial roles in justifying colonialism, genocide, etc. It's one thing to believe in God; it's another to think that you and your group have the clearest, most objective picture of God's will and plans for the universe.

We definitely need to be more aware that mystical experiences can just end up reinforcing our prejudices and preconceptions, rather than push us to critically examine and question them. To do that, one must engage with the real world and genuinely listen to other people.

We also need to spend more time reflecting on the difference between doing good and looking good, and ask ourselves whether we are engaging in actions that genuinely have good outcomes in the long term, or whether we're simply creating an aesthetic or a performance of justice, love, and harmony.

Oh, and one last thing I'd like to make clear? Just because the New Agers are going hard on this "everything will be okay if you just think positive and put out good intentions!" angle, doesn't mean going full doom and gloom is the answer. The doom pill approach is another way of keeping people complacent, and anyone who falls into that line of thinking is just as bad as the love 'n light crowd.

As with my last article, I'll be including more external links below for you to check out. I also hope you enjoyed reading this and learned something from it. If you liked it, please share it with your friends and on your social media, and consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks, and have a great day!

Other Pages You Might Like:

A Beginner's Guide To Spotting Cranky Websites & Culty Groups
Sketchy Spiritualities & Shady Pseudohistories: What People Need To Know
Addressing Claims Of Alien Theorists & Believers
Some Observations On Conspiracy Propaganda
So What's The Problem With Starseeds?
What's The Deal With Atlantis? (And Why It Definitely Never Existed)
How To Get In Touch With Nature (It's Easier Than You Probably Think!)
How To Sharpen Your Intuition

External Resources

Michelle Remembers and the Satanic Panic
Why Satanic Panic never really ended
False Memories
4 ways Americans are taught the ‘white savior complex’ (and what we can do about it)
6 Reasons so Many Spiritual People Have Been Fooled by Qanon
5 Victim-Shaming Myths That Harm Abuse and Trauma Survivors and Encourage Spiritual Bypassing
Too Much Salt by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

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