New Age Ministry
The New Age concept, in an overview, is basically a shifting of perspectives, or a changing paradigm, with focus and emphasis on individual personal spirituality and its effect/consequences on society. Since that in itself is such an individually eclectic approach to philosophy, it is difficult to pin down a definition that will be accepted by a consensus. Thus, there are many different working definitions of New Age, I'm sure you've heard a few different ones yourself. Some are valid to a certain extent; while others are truly misguided.. it depends on the depth of understanding and credibility of who you ask..
The mechanism that determines the New Age, in a strictly time-line oriented sense..<not philosophy>, comes from Astrology. Astrologers have long tracked a cycle called "The Procession of the Equinoxes." Each year the beginning of Spring is noted as the `point of Equinox,' the moment that the azimuth of the Sun goes from south to north declination- or is crossing at zero degrees declination, when the day and night are equal in length. (aequinoctium =<= ~aequus,~ equal + ~nox,~ night)
If the measurement of celestial longitude of the Equinox is marked against the backdrop of the zodiac; it will be noticed that the markings creep slowly backwards from year to year at a random rate, (the present rate is at about 6 seconds of celestial arc per year, or one full degree in seventy-five years...) not very fast, but enough so that in every 2,250 years or so (approx.) depending of the average rate, the marking of the Equinox point actually changes zodiac signs. Astrologers call the duration within one particular zodiac sign an `Age.' We have been in the Age of Pisces for a little over 2,000 years; and the transition into the Age of Aquarius is starting, hence expressions like `the Dawn of Aquarius.'
A noteworthy historical point about the changing of Ages; although there are always periods of overlap, with no real line of demarcation, each Age has a distinctive flavor or tone of philosophy, and images of common usage that mirror the images connected to the sign naming the Age. From a religious perspective, Christianity has come to be the flag-bearer of the Piscine Age, complete with all Piscine attitudes and characteristics...Judaism was the flag-bearer of the Aries Age, as was Hinduism the flag-bearer of the Taurus Age.
Interestingly, the Bhraman's Sacred Cow (Taurus image) became the Golden Calf that was cast down by the Judaic nomads and shepherds (Aries image) to promote the One-God concept (also an Aries image). Likewise, the Sacrificial Lamb (Aries image) was offered and became the Kyrstos/Christ/Savior (Piscine image) to promote the Universal-God concept.. the imagery of the `Fisherman of Men' is also strongly Piscine.
So, it is expected that the Aquarian Age will also have its own tone and flavor in this regard...perhaps the image of the Aquarian Water-bearer will empty his Urn that contains all the fish that were caught by the Fisherman of Pisces.
The attitude of Aquarius is `individuality in a harmonious society of like-minded individuals...or else, anarchy, rebellion and revolution to obtain acceptance of individuality'...i.e., Ecumenism and apostasy gives way to tolerance, respect, even protection of spiritual diversity. A motto might be: `Spiritual Brotherhood; by Consensus of Conscious Awareness, or Enlightened Anarchy, take your pick.' <G> A view of Deity in the Aquarian Age might be `A Multifarious Multi-dimensional Manifestation of the One' - no longer cultural, no longer personified, but integrated into all of humanity at once...i.e., finally taking the Christ off of the Cross (the image of actually sacrificing the sacrifice) and placing him in the very essence of all beings.
For the record, I am an ordained minister of the International Metaphysical Ministry...which is to say- a New Age Minister! As is the case of any ministry, my prime focus is to increase the awareness of the Deity's [whatever name you may choose] Presence in mankind. The metaphysical approach in this quest actually compliments other religious teaching systems by supplementing them with the premise that each of us is directly connected to the God/dess-Source <i.e., my preferred nomenclature>, and can become consciously aware of that connection through meditation. This approach encourages one to personally experience God/dess-Source, rather than merely accept God/dess-Source on the testimony of someone else.
In the course of my studies, I have traveled on many roads. Along the way, I considered well that each one was to be but a link in the chain, never placed total commitment to any one link, but only in the strength of the full length of chain. As the chain grows longer with each new link acquired, it approaches a binding of the Universe. Religion...in a prayer, a spell, a divination, or invocation...regardless of the name used, religion defined is to bind oneself, or to be bound, to a way of life.
First, to define metaphysical science. We have incorporated many varied topics into this general heading, including, but not limited to meditation, yoga, esp., astral projection, psychic perception, runes, channeling, astrology, tarot, I-ching, Jungian psychology, aura-psionic manipulation, alchemy, feng shui, creative visualization, high magick, and comparative religions. The metaphysical practitioner uses at least one of these art forms, most likely many more than one, in their work. A minister in metaphysical science is studied in most of these art forms, not to any expertise level, but to a qualifying level to be more than just conversant - informed and able to understand each form and teach the general concepts and principles to others.
The minister, once qualified, then, is able to pursue their own particular study in whatever field they choose for a specialty - my specialty is astrology and psionics <and LightWorking, see below>. This is not unlike the medical profession, in that all of the basic skills are learned during the general degree; and then a specialty skill is pursued for the final practice. The common thread in all metaphysical science practices is that we value every human being as being fully connected to, or a manifestation of the Universal/Divine/God/dess-Source; that each practitioner is experiencing that connection in their life-work, and is encouraging others to experience their own connection in their life, thus leading to developing their own life-work goals..
The organization of the International Metaphysical Ministry is an academic organization, not designed to create a new religion, but to provide an academic `clearing house' for information and professional contacts for all those in the diverse fields of study under the metaphysical umbrella. The organization provides accrediting credentials for academic work, and continuing education in yearly convention seminars.
In personal practice, the ordained minister is charged to provide only one precept/tenet to the client/student - i.e., the connection to the God/dess-Source is found within each living entity, therefore each person is capable of becoming conscious of that connection, and living in accordance with that connection. The implication is that each person has a Divine purpose, as well as an individual purpose. Most times these two purposes seem to be in conflict. Metaphysical ministry contends that they are meant to coincide, to exist together in harmony, to complement each other; and from that view attempts to resolve any apparent conflict of dualistic purpose through education, meditation, and prayer treatments.
Education is as straight forward as it sounds. The practitioner has their personal area of expertise, as well as the general working knowledge of most `spiritual paths,' and teaches that to all those who seek. The more studied the practitioner, the more areas of `spiritual path' they are able to work with to educate their students. Here, the minister acts as a spiritual guide until the client/student is able to access the `inner guidance' that enables them to take over for themselves.
Meditation is the backbone of the philosophy, all other metaphysical art forms are in some way connected to this. The practitioner personally meditates to daily renew, validate and experience their own connection to the God/dess-Source; and teaches client/students to do the same through a series of methods for exercising meditation skills. This is the ritual level of the ministry.
Prayer treatment is the basic healing tool of the ministry of metaphysical science. A prayer treatment is a conscious focus and release of psychic energy (psionics) from the minister to the client/student for the purpose of healing the spiritual self. Once healing begins on the psychic level, healing on all other levels soon follows. This is the conjure/magick level of the ministry.
In my personal practice, the use of astrology to create personalized prayer treatments combined with psionics (aura visualization and field energy administration) is my specialty and the subject of my masters thesis. This technique is now being studied by all other ministers in the organization who are interested in astrology and psionics. I intend to further develop the technique in the doctorate work.
The term ~LightWork~ is meant to imply the `Nurturing and mid-Wifery of the dawning Aquarius Age' - working to bring it to full Light. I use the term LightWorking to describe the personal commitment of an individual to the opening of the world to the concepts of the New Age...not all LightWorkers are metaphysical ministers, on the contrary. There are LightWorker representatives in all walks of life, all areas of human endeavor, and they focus the concepts of the New Age through their own particular perspective.
Notice that so many novel, movie and television writers, even the commercial ads, are working with New Age themes, as are musicians and artists of all kinds. Science scholars and philosophers, too, have their representatives. Much of the work on `Quantum Physics' is developed through the New Age perspectives, as is the growing acceptance of alternative health care methods in the general community. The underlying essence of such concepts as `Political Correctness,' of the environmental `Green,' `EcoSafe,' and `EarthWatch' movements, are all still other examples of New Age focus areas. In fact, the mass networking of human thought (this electronic media) is a very fine example of the Aquarian New Age.
New understandings in psychology and sociology, concepts of ESP and intuitive creativity, of channeling and automatic writing, of spirit guides, all have taken old existing concepts and restructured them within the framework of the New Age views. All these areas of new thought have LightWorker representatives working right along side of traditionalists, and diligently participating in guiding the progress and development of their fields toward the New Age view..Well Neal, guess that should be a short summary <G>...aren't you glad you asked?
Be Well...And so it is! Rev Steve @)>-`-,-`--