New Age openness takes
the best of the Old and the New
The first – this focusing on the Body - in a series, By Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
I suffer a great deal of arthritis in my neck, making every motion extremely painful. I'm not a candidate for surgery. I have had steroid injections and I take many painkillers. Talking to my primary physician Dr. Crowley (no relation to Aleister!), I asked about acupuncture. His response was: "Yes, it's probably the most under utilized medical procedure today—let's give it a try."
Dr. Crowley is a conventional MD. He sent me to a chiropractor that does acupuncture, and I have had some relief. Not a cure, but with the pain I experience, any relief is a blessing.
Having been in the medical business before I turned publisher fifty years ago, I remember well the old prejudices of conventional medicine against chiropractic and against any "alternative" medicine. Today, I still continue my interest in all wellness subjects and remain amazed at the new openness of conventional science to ancient practices of East and West, including native cultures, shamanic practices, mythic concepts, and even occultism.
Of course, this is not universal. There is still plenty of rigid thinking out there. And in the case of medicine, it's the insurance companies who establish criteria for acceptable treatments. But even in the world of bureaucracy, there is a New Age principle of "If it works, use it."
Why the adjective "Brave" in the title of this article?
Some people may argue that we came close to fulfilling Huxley's bureaucratic vision—but not in this New Age of individualism and adventure, of intellectual curiosity and open-minded pursuit of knowledge, of willingness to break out of rigid boundaries imposed by "authorities" protecting us from unconventional ideas.
The coming of the "New Age" in the 1960s brought open universities, an explosion of interest in knowledge and an understanding of "self," a new awareness of spirituality outside the confines of church and temple, and a harmonic convergence of East and West in pursuit of esoteric practices to expand consciousness. It was a case of the many bravely going where only a few had gone before to discover "New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit."
I admit the New Age has brought a lot of silliness and bologna. Charismatic gurus of all kinds have led their followers on foolish pathways. Some have mis-used strange drugs to give a glimpse of expanded consciousness. But, these are perennial—they have happened in every age—and some of those early movements did lead to today's widespread knowledge of Astrology, Divination, Magick, Kabbalah, Shamanism, Tantra, Witchcraft, and Yoga. Eastern Martial Arts are popular disciplines of Body and Mind. Neo-Paganism and Wicca have introduced a Nature-based Spirituality into the concrete jungle. Tantra has reversed sexual repression, and the Goddess has given "place" to women and restored the suppressed feminine to men's souls.
Today, our Brave New Worlds are opening doors and windows to this world's first Global Civilization. People are aware of prejudices that blind us to one and another's holy spirit, of rigid theology that stones feminine flowering to death, of the ways in which the lust for power has led to terrorism and war, and greed has violated trust and stolen people's savings. We see those who seek to lead us back into the dark ages of pain and prejudice, of religion against religion and state against state, as the poison for which free thought and spirit is the antidote.
Our New Age is truly new, but it requires constant renewal through the free study of both the Ancient Wisdoms and the New Sciences, the free practices of their applications to the wellness of body, to the knowledge of self, and to the ascension of spirit. And, above all, it requires the exercise of personal responsibility in the pursuit of happiness and well-being for all.
The Body is a foundation and also a vehicle to experience the beauty and pleasure of the material world. Understanding of the Body/Mind Connection has opened us to new healing techniques as well acceptance of old ones. Thinking has moved beyond perceiving the body in mechanical terms, and from rejecting it as "un-spiritual" (as one guru used to say: "we don't talk about anything below the belt") to a balanced approach giving respect to the whole mind/body/energy complex.
We now recognize that the quality of our food is more than its nutritional metrics and that health is more than a basic maintenance program. Healing and Wellness are both an expression of our consciousness and the Body itself a manifestation of Love. Love is a Law of Nature and conscious loving in daily life brings an intuitive awareness of the body's needs.
It is with an expanded awareness of the whole body matrix that we open to the chakra energy system and begin the process of re-connecting to our energy source, and removing blocks to its free flow for self-healing. We continue the healing process as we change our relationship to the outer world with a new vision of living with instead of abusing Nature. We experience our Oneness with the Source, and flow with it in continued manifestation of Love. Our intuitive path leads us to wise decisions for Wellness.
But, once again, it requires bravery on our part to follow our reborn intuition in making wise choices. We have been conditioned to look elsewhere, to depend upon external authorities, and to ignore messages from our body. We are conditioned to fast food loaded with bad fats and worse sugars and overwhelmed with advertising and a new life style of overconsumption. It takes bravery to turn to inner guidance, but there is plenty of support from the new books available. Not "diet" books, but health books that explain how the energy system works so that you gain confidence in your intuitive awareness.
Reading such books builds a kind of inner structure of awareness providing a foundation for your intuition to work with. You discover your own New Worlds of Health and Wellness.
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (Minnesota) was the owner and chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the world's oldest and largest metaphysical publisher. He played a seminal role in the rise of Wicca and Neo-Paganism in the 1960s and ...