New Age and Neopagan Religions in America

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Columbia University Press, 2004 - Religion - 220 pages
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From Shirley MacLaine's spiritual biography Out on a Limb to the teenage witches in the film The Craft, New Age and Neopagan beliefs have made sensationalistic headlines. In the mid- to late 1990s, several important scholarly studies of the New Age and Neopagan movements were published, attesting to academic as well as popular recognition that these religions are a significant presence on the contemporary North American religious landscape. Self-help books by New Age channelers and psychics are a large and growing market; annual spending on channeling, self-help businesses, and alternative health care is at $10 to $14 billion; an estimated 12 million Americans are involved with New Age activities; and American Neopagans are estimated at around 200,000. New Age and Neopagan Religions in America introduces the beliefs and practices behind the public faces of these controversial movements, which have been growing steadily in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.

What is the New Age movement, and how is it different from and similar to Neopaganism in its underlying beliefs and still-evolving practices? Where did these decentralized and eclectic movements come from, and why have they grown and flourished at this point in American religious history? What is the relationship between the New Age and Neopaganism and other religions in America, particularly Christianity, which is often construed as antagonistic to them? Drawing on historical and ethnographic accounts, Sarah Pike explores these questions and offers a sympathetic yet critical treatment of religious practices often marginalized yet soaring in popularity. The book provides a general introduction to the varieties of New Age and Neopagan religions in the United States today as well as an account of their nineteenth-century roots and emergence from the 1960s counterculture. Covering such topics as healing, gender and sexuality, millennialism, and ritual experience, it also furnishes a rich description and analysis of the spiritual worlds and social networks created by participants.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - earthlistener - LibraryThing

An interesting book on some of the things which have gone on in both the New Age and Neopagan community as well as how the interchange has gone on with both movements. Read full review

New Age and neopagan religions in America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This work offers general readers a scholarly assessment of Neopaganism and the New Age movement. Neopaganism, or Wicca, seeks to revive rituals of pre-Christian paganism and update them to ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER
3
CHAPTER
13
CHAPTER THREE
39
CHAPTER FOUR
67
CHAPTER FIVE
91
CHAPTER
115
CHAPTER SEVEN
145
Glossary
193
Neopagan Religions
199
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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