ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
is related to everything else, and visualized by New Agers as a pyramidal hierarchy, the Source at the top, and “increasing diversity fanning out as in a network. Every point is connected with every other but none is privileged over others.”
According to the Book of Seth, “reality is a self-created illusion which serves as an impetus to create ever better realities, not to flee from illusion altogether.” Seth’s concept combines Platonic ideas with science fiction in “the modern emphasis on an infinity of multidimensional creatively expanding worlds which are created by the imagination of their inhabitants.” According to Hanegraaf, Seth is the Angel Gabriel of the New Age and New Age psychics such as Jane Roberts, George Trevelyan, and the others mentioned are the prophets.
David and Ann Ramala, and Shirley McLaine
During the 1960s, David and Ann Ramala, the “soul names” of two English channels, made their Chalice Hill home in Glastonbury, England the center of a New Age cult. They claimed to receive soul messages from ten “masters,” of which three were most important. One of these was J. Z. Knight, the soul of an ancient warrior from the lost continent of Atlantis, now a dark and frightening demonic figure.
The most famous current New Ager is Shirley McLaine, who though not a channel herself, communicates with persons who are, such as Kevin Ryerson. She popularized channeling on a television miniseries called Out on a Limb in 1987. The television viewing public could view Ryerson going into a trance. and, in that state, introducing the public to entities from the beyond. McLaine is not highly regarded by most serious New Agers because of her profitable exploitation of channeling.
There is, to be sure, much of this in the movement. Psychic Fairs are excellent examples. The unwary can easily spend hundreds of dollars in a single afternoon of tarot readings, consultation with crystal readers, and so forth. Most serious New Agers are wary of those who use the techniques commercially.
According to Spangler, UFO cult members are among the founders of the New Age, which some people maintain started in Findhorn, Scotland, Spangler’s home. At the time, there was considerable interest in what were then called “flying saucers” and later “unidentified flying objects” or UFOs. This interest was based on reports by various pilots who claimed to have seen inexplicable lights in the sky. These and other reports were supposedly investigated by the American Air Force, and the results suppressed lest disclosure cause world panic. There was much talk of visitors from outer space, eagerly fed by science fiction writers and Hollywood. The film The Day The Earth Stood Still, about a visitor from outer space who landed a UFO on the White House lawn, is an example. He was guarded by a huge robot who was capable of destroying human civilization, yet, the space visitor was actually beneficent. Most science fiction films of the 1950s and later, however, emphasized the hostility of the space invaders and were