Mysteries of the Ages
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of consciousness and existence. In popular usage the word refers loosely to a number of non-traditional belief systems and spiritual practices.
The terms esoteric, occult and New Age have more restricted meanings. Their use as synonyms for metaphysical is deprecated.
"A commonly employed, secondary, popular, usage of metaphysics includes a wide range of controversial phenomena believed by many people to exist beyond the physical.
"Popular metaphysics relates to two traditionally contrasted, if not completely separable, areas, (1) mysticism, referring to experiences of unity with the ultimate, commonly interpreted as the God who is love, and (2) occultism, referring to the extension of knowing (extrasensory perception, including telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, and mediumship) and doing (psychokinesis) beyond the usually recognized fields of human activity. The academic study of the occult (literally hidden) has been known as psychical research and, more recently, parapsychology. Both New Age and New Thought emphasize mysticism and its practical, pragmatic application in daily living, but New Thought discourages involvement in occultism.
"The terms metaphysics and metaphysical in a popular sense have been used in connection with New Thought, Christian Science, Theosophy, and Spiritualism, as in J. Stillson Judah, The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America (The Westminster Press, 1967), as well the New Age movement, and in the name of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion. Some of the varying understandings of metaphysics held by some founders of New Thought and Christian Science are given in the opening pages of Contrasting Strains of Metaphysical Idealism Contributing to New Thought."
(extracted from http://websyte.com/alan/metamul.htm, visited June 17, 2011)
Societies & Movements
The term metaphysical can be used to include any of the following. It also typically includes eastern religions with a strong mystical dimension, such as Bahá'í, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism. It can be extended to include alternative heath (aromatherapy, homeopathy, Reiki, yoga), alternative science ("future science"), divination (I Ching, tarot, runes), dream interpretation, hermetica, positive thinking, self-help, and UFOs.
- American Transcendentalism
- Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
- Bavarian Illuminati
- Ceremonial Magick
- Christian Science
- Cosmic Christ
- Eastern Philosophy
- New Thought Movement
- Ordo Templi Orientis
- Secret Societies