ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
about the origins of the Polynesians and other Pacific Island peoples included the story of the lost continent of Mu which sank beneath the waves of the Pacific leaving the ancestors of the Pacific island peoples clinging to islands formed by the mountain peaks of the lost continent. There never has been any evidence whatsoever either for Lemuria or Mu.
However, the followers of Edgar Cayce hold that primordial wisdom passed from the lost continent of Atlantis to Egypt, and from Egypt to Jesus, the “great initiate.” According to Cayce, Atlantis was the center of human civilization before 50,000 B.C.E., which actually would put it in the Ice Ages. Humanity, he taught, had discovered the healing power of crystals, but also produced death rays based on nuclear power. Atlantean civilization was composed of the divinely incarnate “sons of man” and the demonic “sons of Belial.” The latter were renegade souls who destroyed the continent in 10,000 B.C.E., which would be the end of the Ice Age and the beginning of the Mesolithic. Shirley McLaine has had visions of Atlantis in its time of glory in which she sees a great crystal pyramid off the east coast of the United States. This aspect of New Age, which critics regard as the “lunatic fringe,” is very much at odds with those drawn to it because of their concern with spirituality.
New Age has its prophets, mystics, and priests. These are called channels, meaning that they communicate with anyone who has “passed over,” or else with “masters,” “adepts,” or other such beings on the astral plane. These divulge prophecies for the future as well as knowledge of the past, especially of so-called “forgotten” or “lost” civilizations such as Atlantis. Some occultists claim to communicate with beings from outer space.
The term channeling, as used by New Agers, has more than one meaning. In general, it is communication with spirits, angels, fairies, and other beings who are seen by people who have exceptional spiritual sensitivity: psychics, as they were more frequently known during the 1950s and 1960s. From the esoteric view, these beings are real, objective, and can be communicated with, therefore the term “channeling” itself. The basic concepts are very similar to those we have discussed as shamanic ecstasy.
Today, at least forty percent of Americans report to the collectors of statistics that they believe in angels. Indeed, belief in angels is increasing very rapidly in Canada and the United States, though not elsewhere. The angel is much like a little god, and the belief is actually a form either of animism or polytheism. To have a personal god or angel is to enjoy a special relationship to a supernatural being who has no other purpose than to guard the person and to enhance his or her well-being.
This belief is very ancient. Cuneiform tablets have been found in Akkadian sites in Mesopotamia on which letters to personal gods are inscribed. Much the same evidence has been found in Egypt. Zoroastrians in Persia believed in fravashis, or personal angels, who aid the person in his or her pious efforts to