ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
least perceive the presence of this being, if not to actually see him or her. If this is not possible, it is because the psychic energy is blocked by negative forces of a lower order.
New Agers claim to have transcended the limitations of materialistic post-modern society, and to draw upon inner, intuitive potentialities which are, to some degree at least, inherent in all human beings. However, since most of us are hampered by negative psychological impulses, we are denied the richness of experience which might otherwise be ours. Many New Agers, however, assert that receptivity to experiencing the realm of spirit energy is a gift. Just as not everyone is gifted as a musician, writer, or poet, so the capacity for occult experience is the privilege of those few who have inherited it. Thus, if a person has a mother or a grandmother, for instance, who was psychic, it is very possible that this gift has been inherited. It may not be realized by that person until some crisis or an unusual experience of some kind results in its discovery. The person who has this ability may become a reader or channel.
Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts
A few of the best known channels are Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts, and David and Ann Ramala. Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), who died long before the birth of the Age of Aquarius, is nonetheless still highly regarded as an authority figure among adherents. Cayce, who was originally an evangelical Protestant, became an esotericist after his encounter with a Theosophist by the name of Arthur Lammes. The latter introduced him to the concept of reincarnation, widely held by occultists, but a heresy to Jews, Christians, and Moslems. While in trance states, Cayce described past lives and proceeded to give testimonials about biblical and historical events, and supposed lost cultures such as Atlantis. He also predicted future events. A secretary recorded his accounts, which were voluminous. After Cayce’s death in 1945, his son Hugh took over, and extended the inheritance. He produced the Cayce Library Series, volumes of which can be found today in the New Age shelves of bookstores. They are favorites of present-day occultists, regarded by some as sacred scriptures.
Jane Roberts (1929-1984), a poet and science fiction writer, claimed to be the channel for the “energy-essence personality” of Seth Brooks, who had “passed over.” Jane’s husband Robert Butts recorded her trance utterances in shorthand. Almost all New Agers mention Seth along with Cayce as their chief sources of inspiration. Like the works of Cayce, the Books of Seth can be found in the New Age shelves of bookstores.
The Books of Seth
Seth provides esoteric knowledge from the astral plane and “offers the prospect of an infinite process of creative expansion.” The ultimate goal of humanity is to become fully conscious and enlightened, “co-creators with God.” This view is typical of New Age both in mode of thought and in the emphasis on channeling, the New Age term for revelation. Seth, as one of the “masters” on the astral plane, teaches that “we are centers of our own reality.” We are “active participants in the creative energy which gave birth to the universe.” Everything