Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality by Steven J. Sutcliffe, Marion Bowman

By Steven J. Sutcliffe, Marion Bowman

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Pearson, Joanne et al. {eds), 1998: Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). , 1969: Gestalt Therapy Verbatim (Moab, UT: Real People Press). Pogson, Beryl, 1987 [ 196 1]: Maurice Nicoll: A Portrait {New York: Fourth Way Books). Prothero, Stephen, 1996: 'Introduction', in C. ), Big Sky Mind: Buddhism and the Beat Generation (London: Thorsons, pp. 1-20). Rawlinson, Andrew, 1997: The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions (Chicago: Open Court).

You are you and I am I and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped. (Perls, 1969: 4) This well-known 'gestalt prayer' may be understood as a more psycholo­ gically-nuanced formulation of the theme of Lee Marvin's popular song with which this chapter began. More widely, it typifies the pragmatic grassroots ethos of spiritual virtuosity and its chief agents, the seekers and gurus: that is, if it works, good; if not, move on. Active down the century in specific - often adjoining - microcultures, more recently these individuals, like other cultural dissidents, are increasingly 'coming out', so to speak, in popular and mainstream culture.

18. ' Cf. Landau (1945), Howe (1972), Webb (1976), Oppenheim (1985), and Heelas (1996). Washington (1993) and Rawlinson (1997) take the founding of the Theosophical Society in 1875 by Blavatsky and Olcott (see Tingay, Chapter 2) as the defining moment in alternative spirituality. See the exploratory models of Washington (1993), Storr (1996) and Rawlinson (1997), which variously naturalise this Sanskrit term. ' Storr (1996: xi) adopts the very broad definition of 'spiritual teacher', adding that 'most [gurus] claim the possession of special spiritual insight based on personal revelation'.

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