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‘New Age’ Glossary

Age of Aquarius: An era predicted by astrologers, due to begin around the turn of the millennium, that is to be marked by peace, justice and unity.

Channeling: Psychic communication in the physical world with other entities -- usually non-corporeal -- for example, dead human beings, spirits on a higher plane or aliens.

Crystals: Stones that are believed to have energies that can heal the human mind and body.

Enneagram: System of character analysis, using nine types based on inner motivation.

Feng Shui: The Chinese art of positioning objects in buildings and other places based on the belief in positive and negative effects of the patterns of yin and yang and the flow of chi, the vital force or energy inherent in all things.

Tarot: A set of 78 cards used in divination or to explore the unconscious. The 56 cards in the “minor arcana” are divided into four suits: wands (symbolizing action); cups (emotions); swords (intellect); and pentacles (material concerns). The 22 cards of the “major arcana” depict archetypes and elemental forces.

Theosophy: A system of beliefs promulgated by Theosophical Society, founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1875. Theosophy emphasizes the unity of spirit and matter, and embraces belief in reincarnation and spiritual evolution.

Yoga: A Hindu discipline aimed at achieving a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. In the West, the term is most commonly understood as the physical exercises that are practiced as part of this discipline.

Zen: A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation and self-contemplation.

-- Compiled by Teresa Malcolm

National Catholic Reporter, February 21, 2003