New Spirit Movement

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Neugeist ( New Thought for "New Thinking") describes a spiritual philosophy of life whose followers are connected in the Neugeist movement and practice its teachings partly organized and partly independently of one another.

The American New Thought Movement

Neugeist is a series of spiritual, metaphysical concepts that arose in the United States during the second half of the 19th century . The movement draws on the teachings of the philosopher and writer Phineas Parkhurst Quimby and, to a lesser extent, the texts of Emma Curtis Hopkins . The teaching was also strongly inspired by the Transcendental Philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson .

Several denominations developed within the Neugeist movement . The most important of these are:

The largest organization of the New Spiritual School of Thought is the Unity Church with around 2 million members worldwide. Today all well-known groups, with the exception of Unity Church , are linked within the umbrella organization International New Thought Alliance (INTA). Another association of organizations, groups and churches in the field of Neugeist is the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), to which the Unity Church also belongs.

The Christian Science according to Mary Baker Eddy emerged from the Neugeist movement and developed its ideas consistently, although it gives its followers little leeway for the creative development of the doctrine because of its dogmatic appearance. Today it is strictly separated from the new spirit churches.

The Neugeist philosophy is monistic in character ; it affirms the universal presence of the divine being as creative energy that surrounds and connects all beings. It also professes the creative power of man (equality of God), which should enable us to overcome all evils, illnesses, poverty and grievances. This should also be achieved through a special way of praying and meditating , which is accompanied by affirmations and visualizations .

The Neugeist doctrine

The modern worldview is fed by several sources, with the Christian - Biblical approach dominating for most of the followers. Nevertheless, Neugeist cannot be compared with any conventional Christian denomination. Unlike the traditional churches, Neugeist goes beyond the biblical tradition and opens up to secret doctrines such as hermetics and ideas such as subtle matter . Also early eastern schools of thought as the play doctrine of karma ( "poetic justice") in the neugeistigen philosophy a role.

Neugeist was often classified as a practice-oriented variant of theosophy that transfers the knowledge of western and eastern secret teachings to everyday life. In this case, “secret doctrine” is understood to mean the mystical-spiritual tradition of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. The new intellectual writers, like the theosophists, summarized the consistent statements of the holy scriptures of all cultures in a few central points and supplemented them with their explanations and food for thought.

central message

The core statements of the New Spirit doctrine can be summarized in the following points:

  • The (pictorial) thinking is a creative power, with the constant urge for realization and materialization. Through powerful thinking, the earthly conditions can be permanently changed, since the material (earthly) plane of existence is fed from spiritual sources. A change in the spiritual causes therefore inevitably leads to a similar change in the earthly "facts" (primacy of the spirit).
  • Miracles and metaphysical healings are possible today and in principle for everyone, provided that one adheres to concrete spiritual laws. These are explained in the writings of the Neugeist movement.
  • Everything and everyone is connected to everything and everyone in the cosmos on a spiritual path. Separation is an illusion, as is the time when everything is present in the divine being. See also: holism
  • God is pure love , universal power and the highest level of consciousness rolled into one. God is supra-personal and free from attributes. All beings participate in the divine being, even purely material things are of spiritual origin, the world thus a “reflection of the spirit”. The creation (beings and things) and God (the creative force) are one. For example, if man uses his / her mental abilities, he / she works with his / her divine nature, for which nothing is impossible.
  • Positive causes lead to positive effects, negative impulses lead to negative circumstances. Whoever abuses his creative abilities suffers damage, whoever wants evil to others draws evil on himself. Only those who work in a good, helping sense are in accordance with the will of the cosmos, their powers are potentiated and have an enriching effect on them.
  • Man is therefore what he thinks and believes. A change in thinking and belief thus also causes a change in external circumstances ( spirit and matter are in interaction, whereby according to the doctrine of the new spirit , persistently bad living conditions are only based on persistent convictions).

Healing through faith

The entire New Thought Movement was initially a healing movement, as its progenitor Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–1866) was a well-known spiritual healer . Mary Baker-Eddy was one of his followers at the beginning, and she went to him for treatment. However, she later distanced herself from Quimby and founded Christian Science , a religious community close to the New Spirit doctrine, which is mainly dedicated to the "healing service".

Quimby's healing secret is said to have been to focus on the pure and perfect presence of God with his patients; In the divine consciousness there could be neither disease nor disturbance. Quimby attributed all ailments to misbelief and deep-seated fear. Through the act of “spiritual reversal”, people should recover by overcoming their “wrong ideas”.

In principle, nothing has changed in this procedure to this day. Other New Spirit practitioners also enjoyed the reputation of successful healers. However, they always referred to the spiritual power that their followers brought to work through devotion to the divine being and through the complete change in their thinking and belief (Mental Healing, Faith Healing). In this context, one often speaks of charismatic healing .

Almost all organized movements are familiar with so-called healing services , in which meditations and prayers are carried out according to fixed rules. Every day at 9 p.m., many followers of the movement enter into a silent prayer within their time zones, in which healing and well-being are intended for all beings.


While it was widespread in the United States, the New Spirit doctrine quickly spread to Europe and other parts of the western world including Japan ( Masaharu Taniguchi and the Seichō-no-Ie movement).

Two of its most important representatives in the United States were Prentice Mulford and Joseph Murphy ("The Power of Your Subconscious"), who brought philosophy to a worldwide audience through their publications. Other well-known writers of the Neugeist movement were u. a. Ernest Holmes ("The Doctrine of Perfection", orig: "The Science of Mind"), Frederick Bailes , Emmet Fox ("The Sermon on the Mount", "The Lord's Prayer"), Ralph Waldo Trine , Norman Vincent Peale , Neville Goddard ("Just as I had Picture it for me ”,“ It is already so ”,“ Imagine or deface your life ”), Napoleon Hill (“ Think and get rich ”), James Allen , Vernon Howard , Claude Bristol , William Walker Atkinson , Charles F. Haanel ("The Master Key System"), Frank Channing Haddock and Thomas Troward .

The New Thought Movement had an immense impact on the New Age movement of the 1980s and influenced many fashion trends within the esoteric scene. Nevertheless, the new intellectual movements mostly differentiate themselves from the eclectic esoteric market.

Well-known Neugeist authors today are Louise L. Hay , Unity teacher Catherine Ponder , Esther and Jerry Hicks , and Rhonda Byrne (" The Secret ").

German-speaking area

In Germany, the authors KO Schmidt and Felix Riemkasten stood out above all during the post-war years . A large number of esoteric, psychological and healing-oriented writers of our day draw from the writings of Neugeist ( Kurt Tepperwein , Karl Spiesberger , Erhard F. Freitag , Pierre Franckh , Bärbel Mohr ("Orders from the Universe") and others).

In Germany, the German Neugeist Association existed until the second half of the 20th century as an umbrella organization for all followers of the “doctrine of new thought”, as New Thought was initially called in Germany. Its central organ, the White Flag , served as a springboard for many writers. Later, the magazine was continued under the name esotera by Hermann Bauer Verlag - Verlag für neue Thinking and expanded to include a wider range of topics. After ceasing publishing activities in 2002, the magazine was re-established as a monthly newspaper.

Until the Second World War, the Prana-Haus , a reform company founded in 1914 that sold tablets, oils, ointments and so-called "elixirs of life" on a naturopathic basis, and the Johannes Baum Verlag - the latter until November 1st, 1920 in Berlin , afterwards as well as Prana -Haus in Pfullingen - home of many new-minded writers, u. a. Karl Otto Schmidt. The publishing director of Johannes Baum Verlag, Victor Schweizer , was arrested by the Gestapo and died on November 15, 1935. The cause of death has not been clearly established; in addition to suicide, murder by the National Socialists is also considered possible. After the death of Schweizer, Otto Orlowsky took over the management with the support of Karl Otto Schmidt, but the publishing house was finally broken up in 1941. 167 tons of material are said to have been destroyed; Orlowsky and Schmidt were taken to the Welzheim protective custody camp .

After the war the publishing business was revived and after Orlowsky died in 1948 Hans von Kothen succeeded him. However, the movement no longer achieved its old strength. Johannes Baum Verlag and the Prana House were sold to Hermann Bauer Verlag in Freiburg in 1970 .

Newly oriented publishers of the present are the traditional Drei Eichen Verlag in Hammelburg , the Frick Verlag in Pforzheim (among other things publisher of the German-language Unity literature) and the now closed Hermann Bauer Verlag in Freiburg, Baden . Numerous authors of the Neugeist movement have also appeared in the Munich publishing house Peter Erd .

Relationship to Church Christianity

The Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches judge the Neugeist movement as a special religious group or special community close to the spiritualists . But in recent times are the Neocharismatik you today with the inaccurate term charismatic movement called, penetrated many thoughts of the New Thought movement in the Christian churches. The content of the charismatic movement today is a mixture of the Pentecostal movement with elements of the new spirit movement and positive thinking . In the Catholic area, charismatic groups are counted among the so-called new spiritual movements , which conceptually expresses a certain proximity to the ideas of the new spirit movement .

In particular, the healing worship services and healing seminars, which are widespread in charismatic circles, are strongly influenced by the ideas of the New Spirit movement. This becomes clear from the fact that prayers are often formulated like affirmations (affirmative prayer). Furthermore, as suggested by the strongly Christian-oriented representatives of the Neugeist movement, in particular the former Catholic Joseph Murphy, psalms are used to contemplate “divine wisdom”. The universal spirit or "God in action", as Murphy put it, was made the holy spirit in the charismatics and thus part of the doctrine of the new spirit was integrated into the charismatic understanding of faith.

Literature (selection)

  • The spirit as life power , KO Schmidt, 2nd edition 1982, Frick Verlag, Pforzheim
  • Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science , Thomas Troward, 1909/2009, Kindle Ebook (Amazon)
  • New spirit as life force. An introduction to the nature and will of the new spirit movement , 1966, Baum-Verlag, Pfullingen

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. International New Thought Alliance (INTA)
  2. ^ Association for Global New Thought (AGNT)
  3. Spiritually for a better life . In: Reutlinger General-Anzeiger from March 14, 2009.