The New Age movement is movement that spread through the occult and metaphysical religious communities in the 1970s and ʾ80s. It looked forward to a “New Age” of love and light and offered a foretaste of the coming era through personal transformation and healing. The movement’s strongest supporters were followers of modern esotericism, a religious perspective that is based on the acquisition of mystical knowledge and that has been popular in the West since the 2nd century AD, especially in the form of Gnosticism. Ancient Gnosticism was succeeded by various esoteric movements through the centuries, including Rosicrucianism in the 17th century and Freemasonry, theosophy, and ritual magic in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Although its vision of massive social transformation died in the mid-80s, the movement attracted hundreds of thousands of new adherents to one branch or other of the Western esoteric-metaphysical tradition. More than one-fifth of adults in the West give credence to astrology; an equal number have practiced some form of meditation. Three to five million Americans identified themselves as New Agers or as accepting the beliefs and practices of the New Age movement in the late 1980s. The continuing presence of New Age thought in the post-New Age era is evident in the number of New Age bookstores, periodicals, and organizations that continued to be found in nearly every urban centre.
Parallel to the New Age movement Postmodernism movement was born. A broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. This postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, and irreverence.