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The New Age movement is hardly novel! Its philosophy is rooted in ancient traditions, often based on mystical experiences, each within a different context.

Anthropologically, there have always been (wo)men within "primitive" societies who were looked upon as possessing special knowledge and power. Medicine men, or shamans, had undergone a spontaneous catharsis, or were initiated and felt called upon to maintain contact with the spirit world for the clan.

When communities became more complex and organized there was little place for these loners.

 

Society began to specialize, people realized and felt drawn to form groups, guilds, or societies, to ensure continuance and growing perfection. Contact with the spirit world was given into the hands of organized religion, which also provided an established answer to questions about the unknown and the Highest Power.

People who felt endowed with special powers could hardly adapt themselves to the corset of established faith. They went underground. Yet they endeavored to contact kindred spirits and pupils willing to follow in their footsteps to pass on the work.

Esoteric tradition became handed down in spiritual groups, communes, or fraternities. Their mutual devotion resulted in a high degree of perfection comparable to the guilds of craftsmen. In their mystical experiences they beheld a spiritual reality that could hardly be reconciled with the dogmatic representation given by the churches.

 

When passing on their experiences, they had to exercise extreme caution, lest being accused of heresy. Yet knowledgeable minds would understand their veiled writings, symbolic representations, or even gestures.


In spite of all hindrances and opposition, hidden (occult) spiritual tradition reached unknown shores! One of them being Europe, where interest in ancient traditions was revived at various times.

Interest in these traditions alternated. After periods of decline, often as a result of cultural and political conditions, a growing need for revival of old almost forgotten values followed.

 

The occult tradition seems so tremendously powerful that it cannot be suppressed. It develops in cycles of flourishing and decline - each renaissance with a fresh approach, adapted to the spirit of the times.

Renewed interest in these spiritual, religious and magical traditions had a tremendous impact on the minds of man. The latest revival in a popularized form is that of the New Age movement in the late sixties.
 

The following is a brief sketch of its origins, divided in the following chapters:

 

 

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