Native Americans * Indian languages * Indian culture

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Differences between Indian beliefs and New Age [archive]

This article has been archived from the now-defunct Twinkies for Dummies site (http://www.geocities.com/mibby529/) for educational purposes. Contents are the sole property of the author. Please visit our Article Archive Index for further information. If you are the author of this article and would like to make changes to it, or if you are the author of another article you would like us to add to our archives, please contact us.

Differences between Indian beliefs and New Age

DISCLAIMER: These are a few generalities that apply to MOST nations, particularly New Age favorites such as Sioux.

I decided to compare and contrast Indian beliefs with New Age. One of the main differences being that less than one in a hundred Americans is a traditional Indian, but one in five has New Age beliefs.

Indian beliefs

1 Pluralism. Indian beliefs are generally pluralistic, meaning that your beliefs are right for you, and our beliefs are right for us. There's a caveat, however: The religion that is "right" for you is determined by your nationality. I know little about Hopi beliefs, for example.

2 Indian beliefs hold that spirituality is deeply taboo, especially when talking with foreigners.

3 Method of transferring information. There are no Indian sacred texts; we transfer information orally. In fact, most Indian languages have no written form. (And BTW, those that do are significantly different from non-Indian written languages.) Further, it is ONLY transferred in that language.

4 Outlook. Completely integrated into one's lifestyle, not thought of as "religion" as much as a way of life.

5 Ancestors communicate with Indians.

6 Nation-specific. ALL Indians know what nation they belong to, and traditionals practice the beliefs of their respective nations.

7 Faith is based on community.

8 Structure. People have set roles in rituals.

9 Even offering money makes a ceremony useless.

New Age beliefs

1 Syncretism. New Age beliefs mix and match. Mix Hopi prophecies with Lakota ceremonies, as well as non-Indian beliefs such as karma, zen, channeling, tarot cards, paranormal, Western psychology, tantra, and God only knows what else in a haphazard manner, and you've got a typical New Age cocktail.

2 Taboos. New Age has no taboos.

3 Method of transferring information. New Age belief systems usually have MANY books. These books will run anywhere from $5.99 for a paperback version to $29.99 for a hardcover. Many other media are used in New Age.

4 Outlook. Grab bag; views Indian beliefs as compatible with Western philosophy.

5 Ancestors communicate with non-Indians.

6 Generic stereotypes. Obvious mixing, such as totem poles and dream catchers, can be found. Generally speaking, New Agers have only recently discovered their Indian heritage, if they have any at all.

7 Faith is based on the individual.

8 Anyone can be whatever they want. If everyone wants to be a drummer, everyone's a drummer.

9 Money. Rituals are done for money.

--written by mibby529, Oglala Lakota traditional

Additional Reading

 Native American Religions
 Indian Tribes
 Native American Legends
 Native American Books

Sponsored Links



Return to our main Amerind site
Read our article submission guidelines
Language of the Day: Kuna language

Native Languages

Native American Indian art * Native American name meaning * Crows * Ahke * Hopi kachinas

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?