Unidentified Flying Archons: How A Global Religion Reinvented Itself For A 'New Age'
Theosophy and the origins of 'extraterrestrial contact'
The term ‘New Age’ has always been a false conceit in reference to the 1970s, or any time in the 20th century. American Christianity beheld a world of spiritual ideas during the 19th century. Across the globe, including the United States, new religions were forming around universalizing ideas of humanity. Hegel and Marx presented new revelations to explain the world and human history in competition with both science and the bible, for the one could not quite explain the world, while the latter no longer seemed to hold all the answers.
A liberal, squishy faith in mankind thus tended to depersonalize the Christ so that new ideas could have space in the body of Christ. Occultism, hypnotism, séances, fortune-tellers, secret societies, fashionable drug abuse, patent medicine fraud and humbug abounded. America was already an immigrant nation with its own frontier traditions. Whether Native American or faraway Eastern in origin, any exotic idea added pseudo-intellectual spice to bland, old Christian teachings.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, known as ‘Madame Blavatsky,’ the Russian-born mystic who founded Theosophy in the United States, was among the most prominent spiritual figures to emerge in this febrile period. Her impact has been far greater than a single institution, however. For example, the spirit of Blavatsky’s church survives today in congressional hearings about flying saucers because Theosophists invented the alien contact story. Extraterrestrials are a revised 19th century script.