Other Spiritual Groups in Existence Before and After the TS Was Founded

Let's imagine for a few minutes all of the groups who have come and gone who have in one way or another contributed to our understanding of the spiritual quest. 

If we look at several time periods, say  1825, 1875, 1905 and 1970 what does the landscape look like.  What groups have come?  Which have gone and who is hanging on for dear life?

If you can reply by writing down the names and a brief description of the groups in any one or more of the time period that interests you, please do so.  The goal at the end of this is to generate a mind-map showing in a really kewl picture what this all looks like.  We'll give it a month and see what happens.

Joe

Views: 580

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The New Thought movement interests me especially now because Sarah Stanley Grimke was a New Thought writer who later became a contributor to the lessons studied by the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.  While looking for online data about different groups I found that just this year there was a merger between the two Religious Science denominations after a 50-year separation.  Christian Science now reports 85,000 membership worldwide but Unity churches seem to have a larger membership-- cannot find numbers so far. 

Christian Science, New Thought and Theosophy all emerged in American life around the same time period and the literature of the period contains controversies among their devotees.  Unity seems the most successful out of the batch of 1870s/80s movements-- but this bears some further investigation.

Spiritualism dwarfs New Thought, Christian Science, and Theosophy in global adherents-- but most are concentrated in Brazil.  Kardec has far more followers than HPB, Mrs. Eddy, or any other Spiritualist at this point.

Paul, the New Thought movement not only interests me, but I am personally into it, in it's modern form. It certainly has its roots in aspects of the Hermetic Tradition, and many teachers now and in the past have quoted both Jesus and Buddha in their writings.

Within the official New Thought movement, both the Unity Churches and, as you point out, the now merged Centers For Spiritual Living, are the pre-dominate organizations. Which one now has the most membership I have no idea.

But, many of the basic principles of New Thought permeate both Liberal and Esoteric Christianity, the New Spirituality(formally called "New Age"), and the new schools of thought concerning quantum physics and consciousness.

I'm not familiar with Sarah Stanley Grimke and will have to check her bio out when I get a chance.

Interesting to note that Spiritualism has more adherants than Christian Science, all the official New Thought Churches and Theosophy worldwide combined, but only because of the large number in Brazil. I was unaware of that. Would you know what the stats are for the U.S./Canada/UK and Europe are on this?

Who is this "Kardac" you refer to?

Thanks.

 

 

 

Thanks Michael for the elucidation of New Thought.  On Google books I found this 1985 book The Future of Religion which has vast amounts of interesting info on statistical rises and falls in various groups including Spiritualism and Theosophy.  It also addresses Baha'i, which like ARE had a big boom/bust cycle but earlier-- booming in the early 70s, starting to bust by the late 70s.  Stark and Bainbridge say that once a group experiences boom/bust it never recovers, and describe Swedenborgianism as headed to extinction.

As for Spiritualist numbers, adherents.com is the best source for all sorts of religious membership stats.  Here is the page for Spiritualism in particular, showing the latest two estimates in North America around 150k, and 10 million or more in Brazil.

Allen Kardec, pen name of Leon Rivail, was the French founder of the reincarnationist branch of Spiritualism.

Thanks, Paul, for the information. I'll look over some of the references when I get a chance and into Allen Kardec. I do recollect reading his name somewhere in the past in connection with Spiritualism. 

I wouldn't necessarily connect Swedenborgianism with New Thought, but I'd have to look over their tenets. I'm not so sure if it is headed to extinction. It was never a big movement, as far as I know, to start with. I'm sure its numbers are small, but there's a Swedenborgian Church here in the Los Angeles area, the Wayfarers Chapel. It's located in Palos Verdes, a well-to-do area near the ocean. They rent their Chapel out to other Religious groups for services and weddings, and are not a large congregation in themselves.

In my particular corner of New Zealand we have the Unity church, the Theosophical Society, several versions of Spiritualism and a UFO group right now.  None have their own rooms.

I covered the alternative religious scene in New Zealand in the 1890s as part of my Honours dissertation on the visit to New Zealand of Countess Wachtmeister.  The list is only what I found as part of that, there are probably others as the scene seemed to be very active - and actively opposed by some of the local Christian ministers!

There was:

The Theosophical Society - both in Adyar and WQ Judge versions and one Lodge that wished to be independent of either.  They were persuaded to join Adyar to make the 7 Lodges needed for New Zealand to become a Section independent of Australia.

Spiritualists

The Society for Psychical Research

The Forward Movement (As far as I can tell, this was a socially responsible form of open Christianity.  The wife of the founder was a Theosophist and a very prominent educator)

The Freethought movement

Ethical Societies

YWCA and various Womens Christian associations

The Independent Order of Techabites (temperance)

Various Friendly Societies

Arthur Bentley Worthington - A religious snake-oil merchant of the first order who set up an organisation in Christchurch that had teachings similar to Theosophy.  He finished up doing 7 years with hard labour in Sydney for swindling a rich widow in Melbourne.

And Rationalists.

Public religious debate was an acceptable form of entertainment at this time.  Lectures, sermons and debates could sometimes have very large audiences.  The Countess had 700 reported as attending several of her lectures.  A heated response could be relied on from the local Christian community and often from the Rationalists as well.  The resulting fracas would be gleefully seized on as copy by the local press and often reported throughout the country.  Letters to the Editor and reported sermons were often completely up-to-date with the latest British and Continental publications and trends.

In a class at the TS I used the following diagram, which might come in handy.:

From Renaissance Hermeticism to the New Age
Diagram of groups and persons influential in the development of Renaissance Esotericism into 20th century New Age. Based on Hanegraaff (1998), Smoley (2006) and Roszak (1968).

A more detailed diagram could be made centered around the Ts and HPB.

Thanks, Govert, for sharing. That's a very good diagram, but I do have a few quibbles with it.

First off, you missed "New Thought" entirely.

You give too much credit to "Findhorn," I feel they should be put under the general heading of "CounterCulture - 1960 - 1975."

Under "New Science II," definitely Niels Bohr and Heisenberg should be listed, along with Einstein and Bohm.

And after the final box, "New Age, 1980 - Ferguson," I would put "New Spirituality - 2000 - Ken Wilber, et. al." 

The term "New Age" has become something of a pejorative label, with the term "New Spirituality," coined by Wilber and others, now being favored.

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Yes, New Thought should be included. Try to remember from what source the Findhorn 'meme' became prominent. Not sure if New Spirituality is not already included in Hanegraaff's sense of New Age in the 'wider sense.' 


Also added, with permission:

Family Tree of the Gnostic Legacy
Diagram of spiritual movements related to Gnosticism. From Richard Smoley's Forbidden Faith: The Gnostic Legacy from the Gospels to The Da Vinci Code.

 

 

 

Findhorn and books associated with it was very big in New Zealand at the time, I think it got itself absorbed into the "permaculture" movement which is also experiencing a resurgence with emphasis on global climate change.

Shouldn't the "Intelligent Design" group and Michael Behe be on that map somewhere?

Oops!  That should have been "The Independent Order of Rechabites"

June Vallyon said:

In my particular corner of New Zealand we have the Unity church, the Theosophical Society, several versions of Spiritualism and a UFO group right now.  None have their own rooms.

I covered the alternative religious scene in New Zealand in the 1890s as part of my Honours dissertation on the visit to New Zealand of Countess Wachtmeister.  The list is only what I found as part of that, there are probably others as the scene seemed to be very active - and actively opposed by some of the local Christian ministers!

There was:

The Theosophical Society - both in Adyar and WQ Judge versions and one Lodge that wished to be independent of either.  They were persuaded to join Adyar to make the 7 Lodges needed for New Zealand to become a Section independent of Australia.

Spiritualists

The Society for Psychical Research

The Forward Movement (As far as I can tell, this was a socially responsible form of open Christianity.  The wife of the founder was a Theosophist and a very prominent educator)

The Freethought movement

Ethical Societies

YWCA and various Womens Christian associations

The Independent Order of Techabites (temperance)

Various Friendly Societies

Arthur Bentley Worthington - A religious snake-oil merchant of the first order who set up an organisation in Christchurch that had teachings similar to Theosophy.  He finished up doing 7 years with hard labour in Sydney for swindling a rich widow in Melbourne.

And Rationalists.

Public religious debate was an acceptable form of entertainment at this time.  Lectures, sermons and debates could sometimes have very large audiences.  The Countess had 700 reported as attending several of her lectures.  A heated response could be relied on from the local Christian community and often from the Rationalists as well.  The resulting fracas would be gleefully seized on as copy by the local press and often reported throughout the country.  Letters to the Editor and reported sermons were often completely up-to-date with the latest British and Continental publications and trends.

 

The Findhorn and Spangler prominence is based on Hanegraaaff's work. Spangler's channeled Revelation: The Birth of a New Age is considered by Hanegraaff as "one of the foundational texts of the New Age Movement." (Hanegraaff, 1998, 36)

RSS

Search Theosophy.Net!

Loading

What to do...

Join Theosophy.Net Blogs Forum Live Chat Invite Facebook Facebook Group

A New View of Theosophy


About
FAQ

Theosophy References


Wiki Characteristics History Spirituality Esotericism Mysticism RotR ToS

Our Friends

© 2021   Created by Theosophy Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service