What is This Thing Called Love? Marianne Williamson Runs for President

Juicy Ecumenism | 9/13/2019 | Guest Writer
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Woodstock happened fifty years ago. The event’s invocation was given by a Hindu guru who was a pantheist. Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson believes roughly the same thing. While a child of the counterculture, she is not dressed in a flowing white robe. She wears Armani and is well-coifed. Nor is she chanting before her audience sitting in the lotus position. But her political presence indicates just how much influence one strand of American spirituality—the New Age mindset—has come to possess.

Columnist David Brooks of The New York Times and articles in The New Yorker are taking her seriously, whatever small chance she has of winning the nomination. On September 8, The New York Times Magazine ran a long and generally sympathetic piece on Williamson, “The Gospel According to Marianne Williamson.”

Williamson - Part - New - Age - Movement

Williamson may be viewed as part of “the New Age Movement,” but the phrase is a misnomer, since it is not a unified movement. It is rather an amalgamation of persons and organizations inspired to create a new world through cultivating a higher consciousness of one’s own divinity. It grew out of the counterculture and draws inspiration came from eastern religions, western esoteric and occult traditions, Transcendentalism, and the human potential movement. It is sometimes known as “the New Spirituality,” but it is as old as Hinduism.

In the 1980s, when the New Age movement was at its peak of popularity, the hopes for a new age of global light and love were higher than they are now. Nevertheless, ideas and practices at the forefront of New Age thinking, such as yoga and reincarnation, are now mainstream. But now we have a Democratic candidate for president who thinks she is divine—along with all the rest of us, of course.

Williamson - Recognition - AIDs - Activist

Williamson, a photogenic 67-years-old, gained recognition as an early AIDs activist and through her...
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