Who are the Leading Voices of the New Age Movement?

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2001
The authors document the spiritistic involvement of several people who have influenced the spread of New Age thinking in America.

Who are the Leading Voices of the New Age Movement?

What do leading new age spokespersons have in common? Whether it is the individuals most responsible for forming the intellectual and experiential foundation of the New Age Movement, or the practices themselves, spiritism is characteristically the lowest common denominator involved. Consider the following list of actual or potential examples.

Occult psychologist Carl Jung—probably more responsible than anyone for introducing occultism into modern psychology—was heavily influenced by spiritism and had several of his own spirit guides, including “Philemon,” “Ka,” “Elijah,” and “Salome” (SCP Journal, vol. 9, pp. 2, 56; ATRI News Magazine, June 1995).

Robert Muller was the assistant secretary general for the United Nations for over 20 years. When he wrote his New Age text on globalism, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, he was in charge of economic and social services and the coordinator of 32 specialized agencies and world programs on the United Nations. In New Genesis, he writes, “Global education must prepare our children for the coming of an interdependent, safe, prosperous, friendly, loving, happy planetary age as has been heralded by all great prophets. The real, the great period of human fulfillment on planet Earth is only now about to begin.”[1]

But Robert Muller also has a lot to say about the spirits. Not only was he the keynote speaker at the Parliament of World Religions in 1993, he strongly advocates a one-world religion and a one-world government organized through the United Nations. According to Bill Honsberger, who attended a lecture given by Muller at Evergreen High School, he spoke not only about the important work of the United Nations, but also of the numerous spirits surrounding the world ready to help those who would open themselves to them. Honsberger notes, “He had spoken about these spirits when I heard him at the Parliament also.”[2]

Teilhard de Chardin—perhaps the man most responsible for the spiritualization of evolution in a global and cosmic context—had mystical, occult experiences throughout his life and confessed, “Ever since my childhood an enigmatic force had been impelling me.”[3] De Chardin is one of the leading forces behind the New Age spiritual movement toward globalization.

Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, a leading New Age “bible,” suggests that “the spirits of the dead” helped her write her book,[4] and has a long-time interest in channeling, especially with the entity “Lazaris,” channeled through medium Jach Pursel.[5]

David Spangler, most well-known for his involvement with the Findhorn Community, has been channeling spirits since childhood. He states, “In order to accomplish it, I must enter into meditation and align with my own Higher Self, my inner spirit, for it is with that level that John [one of his spirit guides] can communicate most effectively.”[6]

According to Robert Segal in Joseph Campbell: An Introduction, Penguin, 1990, page 18, Campbell, a dominant influence in the New Age, claimed he often sought the advice of his dead mentor Heinrich Zimmer and just as often received the answers, which he dutifully recorded.

Sri Chinmoy, an important spiritual leader associated with the United Nations, is also a spiritist.[7]

Sri Aurobindo, another pivotal Hindu guru with great influence in the West was, like most Eastern gurus, deeply involved in spiritism. Like most people we mention here, he was an intellectual source for the synthesis of East and West, and the spiritual evolutionary “enlightenment” of the planet.

Shirley MacLaine, of course, is well-known for her involvement with spirits, and is an­other leading voice in the New Age Movement.

Barbara Marx Hubbard, although less well-known, due to her vast financial wealth and influence among leading world politicians, industrialists, etc., is having a major impact behind the scenes. She has been influenced by spirits for almost two decades. She implic­itly obeys a voice that tells her what to do: “Whenever I heard it, I was deeply relieved and joyful, and set about to follow its guidance minute by minute.”[8] She also confesses that she has united herself with this spirit, e.g., “The higher voice and my conscious mind began to weave together. It was sometimes difficult to tell which voice was speaking: Barbara’s voice or the higher voice” and “then the ‘voice,’ which until now had seemed to be my own ‘Higher Self,’ became elevated and was transformed into an even Higher Voice, the Christ voice. I felt an electrifying presence of light, a field that lifted me up.”[9] Hubbard has spent many years receiving occult guidance and teachings in order to produce a Gnostic, occult commentary on the Bible—a not-infrequent characteristic of New Age leaders.

M. Scott Peck—few individuals have had the influence of this author of The Road Less Traveled, People of the Lie, and A Different Drum. His most famous book, The Road Less Traveled, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 500 weeks (over 10 years)—which placed him in the Guinness Book of Records. Despite his sincere claim to have made Christ his Lord, as stated in People of the Lie, his subsequent publications and associations reveal that he has become an important voice in support of New Age philoso­phy and practice (see e.g., his Different Drum, and the analysis by Warren Smith, “M. Scott Peck: Community and the Cosmic Christ” in SCP Journal, vol. 19, pp. 2-3,1995). Whether or not Peck is consciously involved with spirits, we cannot say. However, he does claim he was “divinely” led to write The Road Less Traveled through an inner voice, and also claims divine assistance in its actual production (p. 2).

Alice Bailey is another key figure in the New Age Movement. She is the author of a dozen channeled texts, which continue to exert considerable influence in New Age circles.

Former renegade Catholic priest turned Episcopalian, Matthew Fox, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, mediums Ruth Montgomery and H.P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Guy Warren Ballard (founder of the “Mighty I Am” sect), Edgar Cayce, scores of Eastern gurus, and scores of modern channelers all undergird the power and teachings of the New Age Movement through their direct or indirect associations with the spirit world. Indeed, after years of study, we have yet to encounter a single leading New Age spokesperson who was not either involved in the occult or admitted having spirit guides.

What is interesting about most of these individuals is how their personal philosophies have been guided by the spirits in very anti-Christian ways and yet they all end up with basically the same worldview. The Bible is consistently interpreted along Gnostic, occult lines, while the philosophy of the New Age itself is antibiblical. The occult philosophy of the New Age, e.g., monism, pantheism, Gnosticism, etc., insulates participants against a tradi­tional interpretation of Scripture, while New Age Bible commentaries that interpret the Bible from an occult perspective “confirm” New Age philosophy, thereby giving it an alleged biblical justification.

Obviously, it’s not just the leaders of the New Age movement who are involved in spirit­ism. It is the actual practices and activities of the people in the New Age Movement. It is impossible to say that every New Age technique has its origin in the spirit world, but we do know that occult practices, philosophy, and religion are in large measure dependent upon spiritistic revelations. To the extent that the New Age Movement is comprised of occult philosophy and practice, one can logically expect to find spiritistic involvement. A brief listing includes almost all of the subjects we cover in our Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, as well as astral projection, automatic writing, consciousness research, goddess religion and creation spirituality, kundalini enlightenment, New Age Masonry, mystical energies, near-death experiences, parapsychology, poltergeists, psychic anatomies, psychic powers, Satanism and witchcraft (which have more in common with the New Age than most people suspect), transpersonal psychology, UFOs, mandalas and matras, Montessori education, and anthroposophical education and medicine.

If we turn to the influential cults and new religions that have influenced the New Age Movement, we also characteristically find spiritistic and/or occult involvement. This would include the Church Universal and Triumphant, New Thought, Rosicrucianism, Science of Mind, Self-Realization Fellowship, Swedenborgianism, Transcendental Meditation, Zen Buddhism, and scores of others.

New Age medicine is also replete with spiritism and the occult. (See pages 494-95 of our Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs for a listing.) For example, Elmer Green has a spirit guide he calls “the Teacher.”[10] In an interview published in The Laughing Man, vol. 6, no. 1, a publication sponsored by the controversial Western guru Da Free John, Dr. Green stated, “Alyce [his wife] and I hope to accomplish our task in an appropriate way for the Teacher we met back in 1939. This teacher was the kind of figure who could give one a life-long orientation. This is why I feel comfortable with the Crazy Wisdom Tradition of Enlightened Beings,” (a reference to Free John’s radical spiritual anarchy and nihilism).

That so many founders or leaders of New Age practices and techniques are psychics, parapsychologists, spiritists, and occultists is one reason why the New Age Movement is so permeated with occultism. We think this speaks volumes about the nature of the New Age Movement. Unfortunately, the history of occult practice is littered with human wreckage; it is, therefore, ironic to see it so thoroughly linked to concepts of human advancement, spiritual enlightenment, and health.


  1. Robert Muller, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, Garden City, NY: Doubleday/ Image, 1984, p. 8.
  2. Bill Honsberger of the Galilee Baptist Church in Denver in a letter mailed in July 1995 to supporters.
  3. Teilhard de Chardein, The Heart of the Matter, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979, p. 53; cf. Tal Brooke, “Preparing for the Cosmic Millennium and the Coming Global Church,” and Brooks Alexander, “Last Exit Before Judgment: Barbara Marx Hubbard and the ‘Armageddon Alternative,’” in Spiritual Counterfeits Journal, vol. 19, no. 2-3, 1995, pp. 7, 42.
  4. John Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources, Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987, p. 313.
  5. Robert Basil, ed., Not Necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays, New York: Prometheus, 1988, p. 19.
  6. David Spangler, Conversations with John, Elgin, IL: Lorian Press, 1980, p. 1, cited in Klimo, Channeling, p. 37.
  7. Sri Chinmoy, Astrology, the Supernatural and the Beyond, Jamaica, NY: Agni Press, 1973, pp. 53-68, 87-98; Sri Chinmoy, Conversations with the Master, Jamaica, NY: 1977, pp. 9-20, 26-33.
  8. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: Our Crisis Is a Birth, Sonoma, CA: The Founda­tion for Conscious Evolution, 1993, p. 52, from Brooks Alexander, “Last Exit Before Judgment” in SCP Journal, vol. 19, no. 2-3, 1995, p. 41.
  9. Ibid., Hubbard, pp. 56, 61, from Alexander, pp. 41-42.
  10. Elmer and Alyce Green, Beyond Biofeedback, San Francisco, CA: Delacorte Press, 1977, pp. 289-90.


  1. don salmon on July 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    One of the silliest, most ignorant article on this topic available on the internet, and profoundly anti-Christian as well. if you believe that one can be a functioning Christian with a completely non-functioning pre-frontal cortex, you might like this article.

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