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New Age or New Fad?- The Dark Side of The New Age Movement

image via kelleemaize.com/

The “New Age” movement has swept the spiritual world by storm, making it a widely used and accepted trend in society. If you’re living in today’s day and age, there’s a high chance you’ve probably heard of the term “New Age”. For those who haven’t, it’s both a social and religious movement. It’s teachings are used quite extensively in the self help and personal development industry. From opening and aligning your chakras, to crystal healing, self worshipping, mantras and affirmations, reincarnation, meditation, astrology, reiki, psychics and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like mountains or trees, holistic approach to health – the list goes on. The New Age movement has also been popularised by books like The Secret, the Law of Attraction and The Power of Now, to name a few.

Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, and people all over the world, have given much praise to the “new age” movement stating it has been responsible for a large part of their personal success, wealth and health, claiming that by simply “asking the universe” for what you want -whilst using practices within the new age movement- you get what you want. In a nutshell – the New Age offers us a mindset to convince the average person that they can produce their own magic and produce ‘spiritual’ miracles by simply thinking about it and following particular practices.

All sounds quite enticing, right ?

It’s easy to convince most to buy into the New Age promises as we are living in a time of never ending chaos and economic struggle. This naturally gets people looking for quick fix solutions to their problems, which makes the New Age an easy sell, making it a multi billion dollar industry.

image via Pop Sugar UK

Now, an alarming amount of people have come to light to share their personal horrors and experiences with in the “dark and hypnotic” world of the New Age, who according to sources, say the movement preys on the vulnerable.

Multiple stories have surfaced over the last few years by victims falling into New Age scams, losing thousands of dollars – and even lives – by fake spiritual gurus.

In 2017, An independent journalist named Be Scofield followed the journey of Bentinho Massaro, a 29-year-old widely popular “spiritual teacher”. With an online following of 300,000, Massaro encouraged his devotees to abandon their own thinking and embrace Bentinho as a God-like figure, though he had come under scrutiny in the past for building a cult, he continued to prey on the weak offering “spiritual retreats” in return for a high price. Massaro hosted a 12 day retreat in Arizona, US called, “The Sedona Experiment II”. Massaro offered his devotees “the absolute truth of the one infinite creator”. The $1199 retreat ticket offered “group meditation, grape juice cleanse fast and self inquiry”.

Half way through the 12 day retreat, tragedy struck. A longtime devotee was found dead in a river a few miles from where the retreat was taking place. A suicide note was found in his Toyota, parked close by. News spread and the God like image of Massaro started to unravel. Some of his most loyal followers began to ask, was Bentinho the digital incarnation of a manipulative guru, and his powers were being amplified by the vortex-like suck of social media?

In 1997, a widely popular “Heavens Gate” New Age group who believed in UFO’s, conducted a mass suicide of 39 devotees on the direction of their guru, Marshall Herff Applewhite Jr. This group too, was recruited via the early days of the internet.

Alarmingly, thousands of stories like these follow, luring unsuspecting victims in with New Age lingo of “self empowerment and magical healing”.

Multiple journalist have followed the New Age movement and after much disturbing research, found they were simply “Mind control cults based on conspiracy theories”, putting the blame on the power of the internet for sucking vulnerable people in to what would either be a scam or a suicide cult. These “spiritual gurus” are simply high-octane users who excel at creating engaging content and business model for their followers based on fake promises with invisible “powers” and “spiritual” objects.