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COVER STORY : A New Age Glossary

June 14, 1990

There is no Webster's for the New Age, so there are different meanings for these words, depending on whom you ask. This glossary reflects some of the New Age offerings available locally.

Aromatherapy: The use of various mixtures of oils in a massage to heal and balance energy.

Aura: That electric field around all living things. It's got to be healthy for your emotions to be healthy.

Channeling: The act of transmitting conversation from a spirit who is always smarter than you are. Some channels channel only one spirit, others channel lots.

Consciousness: A thing to be raised. Those with raised consciousnesses believe in the New Age.

Crystals: Minerals that can do all sorts of good things. Usually energy flows into the base and out the point. Some New Agers think crystals are actually left over from Atlantis, where they were imprinted with codes containing knowledge, sort of a cosmic CD.

Dolphin awareness: An attempt to learn about the universe from the dolphins, believed to be privy to many kinds of wisdom.

Eckankar: The road for soul travelers. You may be helped along the road by ancient guides, who usually seem to be Chinese. Wah Z is especially good at guiding.

Ecstasy breathing: Some would call this hyperventilation. The idea is to achieve a new spiritual plane through a variety of breathing techniques.

Free radicals: A scientific term denoting an atom that has an unpaired electron. In New Age thinking, these must be driven from the body.

Iridology: The science of "reading" the irises of the eye to diagnose all sorts of maladies and emotional states.

New Age: This moment in cosmic history. This phrase means a little something different to everyone and can denote a range of activities. Some have argued the New Age began, or ended, with the Harmonic Convergence, a rare alignment of stellar bodies.

Ness: A useful suffix. You can invent your own New Age words by adding "ness" at the end of nouns, as in "doorness."

Numerology: Tells about you according to various numbers in your life, such as your birth date. Numerologists can also tell, for example, which house numbers will be unlucky for you.

Psychic: A person with several possible powers--such as mind reading, fortune telling or seeing auras.

Pyramid: A shape believed to focus huge amounts of cosmic energy. Some people have taken to crystals instead, because they are so much easier to carry around.

Rebirthing: Usually a breathing technique designed to put you in another state of being so you can remember your own birth or a birth from one of your past lives.

Reflexology: The art of manipulating the foot to relieve stress.

Reichain: A type of therapy using massage and touch.

Reiki: Another type of therapy using massage and touch.

Rolfing: A type of massage that is especially vigorous and is designed to pummel your troubles away.

Shamaness: A woman who has studied spiritual arts, usually under the direction of native Americans.

Sufi dancing: Sufi was a Muslim mystical Shiite movement in the 11th Century that tried to unite man's soul with God's. Today it's a dance that tries to do something similar.

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