American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality: by Catherine Tumber

By Catherine Tumber

Opposite to well known notion, New Age spirituality didn't unexpectedly look in American existence within the Seventies and '80s. In American Feminism and the delivery of recent Age Spirituality, Catherine Tumber demonstrates that the recent Age flow first flourished greater than a century in the past throughout the Gilded Age lower than the mantle of 'New Thought.' dependent mostly on examine in well known journals, self-help manuals, newspaper bills, and archival collections, American Feminism and the delivery of latest Age Spirituality explores the contours of the recent idea move. throughout the lives of famous figures similar to Mary Baker Eddy, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Edward Bellamy in addition to via extra vague, yet extra consultant 'New Thoughters' corresponding to Abby Morton Diaz, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Ursula Gestefeld, Lilian Whiting, Sarah Farmer, and Elizabeth Towne, Tumber examines the ancient stipulations that gave upward thrust to New idea. She can pay shut realization to the ways that feminism turned grafted, with various levels of good fortune, to emergent types of liberal tradition within the overdue 19th century―progressive politics, the Social Gospel, humanist psychotherapy, bohemian lifestyle, and mass industry journalism. American Feminism and the start of latest Age Spirituality questions the price of the recent age movement―then and now―to the pursuit of women's rights and democratic renewal.

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Extra resources for American Feminism and the Birth of New Age Spirituality: Searching for the Higher Self, 1875-1915

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As fully realized higher selves, theosophists maintained, "adepts" such as Gautauma Buddha, Confu­ cius, and Jesus Christ chose to incarnate themselves on the material plane of earthly existence to guide the rest of the world's "cosmic pilgrims" through the seven stages of the world plan to ultimate reunion with spiritual oneness and the final extinguishing of earthly consciousness. Consistent with their antimaterialism, both women also showed a pecu­ liarly gnostic disregard for the moral claims of the body.

But Madame Blavatsky, who in the same year had been caught rigging some of her occult performances by the distinguished International Society for Psychical Research, brought discredit to the Society. "It is to be regretted," wrote fellow gnostic Francis Albert Doughty, "that Theosophy was first pre­ sented to the world by Madame Blavatsky and her circle . . 36 Christian Science, with its highly formalized church structure, presented another set of troubles. " Together with Science's therapeutic uses, this belief explains why so many contemporaries saw adherence to the religion resulting not in passivity and withdrawal, as one might expect, but in a moral vigor and spir­ itual clarity and peace woefully lacking in liberal religion.

2 1 . Dresser, A History of the New Thought Movement, 17. 22. : University of Notre Dame Press, 198 1 ) , 1 1-12. 23. Roy Wallis, "Reflections on When Prophecy Fails," in Zetic Scholar 4 ( 1979). James R. Lewis provides a helpful, largely sympathetic overview of New Age in "Ap­ proaches to the Study of the New Age Movement," in Perspectives on the New Age, ed. James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 15-29. 24. J. : Gale Research, 1 990) : vii. : Prometheus Books, 1988).

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