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Belinda Whitworth needs some new words in her lexicon: “fact checker”, “fiction” and “healthy skepticism.” Among the gems she litters throughout this disaster of New Age words, she implies that the ancient Egyptians were descendants of the “lost” continent of Atlantis, that people prevent synchronicity through healthy doubt and that Wicca and witchcraft are interchangeable. She claims that bible codes have been proven with the advent of computer technology, when in fact computer technology has debunked it, and that space aliens, vivisection and permaculture share New Age relevance. Shamefully Whitworth never defines “new age” leaving the reader to puzzle over category qualifiers.

Whitworth asserts an enormous amount of suppositions as facts, yet her bibliography contains no citations that support these conceptions. Her bibliography, however, does contain highly questionable sources such as Lynn Andrews and Whitley Streiber. She skims over information on individuals with an enormous impact on what has become the 21st century New Age movement such as Aleistar Crowley and Dione Fortune while completely ignoring Mary Baker Eddie, and she expends an inordinate number of words on terms that have no place in a book on the New Age: she repeatedly refers to animal rights, veganism and ecological concepts while offering little to support their presence in a book dedicated to defining spiritual concepts.

Whitworth’s explanation of karma sums up the contradictions and poor conception of this book. In one section of the passage, she states “Karma is not a question of punishment, but of the balance of the cosmos being restored so we don’t have to blame ourselves for our misfortunes or others for theirs.” At the end of the passage, she says: “Ultimately, karma means taking responsibility for our lives and knowing that everything will come out right in the end.” It would be helpful if Whitworth took responsibility for her research, before presenting a book intended as a method of defining the flotsam that comprises the New Age. This book is poorly researched and irresponsible.

~review by Diana Rajchel

by Belinda Whitworth
New Page Books, 2003
pp. 283, $14.95

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