University of Winchester


New Age Rituals and Social Change

The New Age movements are defined as alternative contemporary forms of religion. Their creeds are considered to have a strong countercultural component which criticizes the mainstream cultural paradigm of modern Western societies. The new agers reject both, the traditional Christian and the secular Cartesian thinking. Instead they propose holistic, unifying cosmovision, which would overcome the established division to the spirit and matter. Even though the new agers aren't as numerous and organized as the adherents of the traditional creeds, sociologists cannot deny the growing social importance of the new age ideas. The new age creeds and practices enter to the everyday routine and stimulate social changes at different social levels. They form new identity models, promote new alternative lifestyles, change the art production …

The paper will focus on the movements which try to change the mainstream perception of the human body. A great deal of the new age spirituality involves various bodily techniques (like yoga, tai chi, sacred dance rituals, healing practices …) the original function of which is the transcendence of the human body in religious searching. But in many cases such sacred bodywork mixes with different secular practices. Transformed into alternative lifestyle practices, the new age bodywork and rituals result being a very interesting step toward a faith-based social change.


T. Ban (2003): Alkimisticni eksperiment kot ritual. Poligrafi, 8, 29-30, str. 161-171.
T. Ban (2005): Simboli gozda in bajeslovnih gozdnih bitij v Trdinovih Bajkah. Goga, Novo mesto in ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana.

Biographical Statement

My name is Tina Ban, I was born in 1976 in Novo mesto, Slovenia. I am a postgraduate student and at the same time I am employed as a researcher at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. My basic exploration field is sociology of religion but my primary interests are the new religious movements. Since November 2004 I have been working on the research of the Slovenian New Age movements and their comprehension of the body.


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