Much of New Ageism is based on ancient religious or pagan superstitions. Belief in karma and reincarnation has been assimilated into New Ageism so that it is accepted dogma throughout many of the different belief systems. Another good reference point along these lines is [guruphiliac.blogspot.com
], also Stripping the Gurus... [www.strippingthegurus.com
You say, Judy, that it's hard to know what's true in the here and now, never mind what happens after death, but when such questions arise for a lot of people, that's when some exotic, esoteric belief system could make its appeal to the imagination and offer up the answers. That they might be backed up by a "secret" or "sacred" tradition or suchlike could impress a person enough to think they've discovered certain wisdom known only to a select elite who hold the secrets of the universe. Repeatedly bumping into a chair could have something to do with the means of death in a previous incarnation. Perhaps you were killed by someone throwing a chair out of a window in the medieval times.
However ridiculous that might seem, assuming for a moment reincarnation actually occurs, what difference would it make anyway? You can choose to behave in a reasonably moral way or not in any given circumstance. To do so on the basis that you can have a better life next time round is beside the point. Only conscience can decide, it's not going to benefit from being co-opted by a religious superstition that, even if true, is ultimately irrelevant. Practical solutions can be found to problems or they can be lived with, there's no point in ascribing them weird, irrational meanings. Once all the cranky mysticism is stripped away from New Ageism, what's left amounts to a few unremarkable, common sense principles, such as treating others in a decent way, or to achieve something, get organised and have some self-confidence.
Your depiction of problems with an abusive partner being sorted out by means of astrology or numerology is pretty shocking, really. However controversial or indeed abusive the radical (and fully qualified) psychiatrist RD Laing was, I always liked his reply to a patient who complained about physical abuse from a relative, which was to go and learn some martial arts. She did so and came back to report that her abuser never went near her again.
There would be a lineage of enlightened masters in mainstream religious traditions such as Buddhism, and it's another concept appropriated by New Ageism in a variety of bizarre forms, one of many examples being Eckankar
See: Eckankar - A Truthful Introduction
Amongst the New Age cultic milieu, as The Anticult points out, is UFO cultism which does tend to have a slightly apocalyptic bent, as did the notorious Heaven's Gate UFO cult. Nowadays it takes a groovy and far-out populist form for "Starseeds, Lightworkers and Walk-Ins", as shown at Ashtar Command... [www.ashtarcommand.net
True believers are gearing themselves up for a mass sighting of UFOs in somewhere like Alabama this month (!) which has been predicted by some channellers of the Alien Space Lords. This is supposed to be very significant for all humanity and have a major impact in the world media and politics. Of course, when it doesn't happen they will trot out some lame excuse like the aliens decided humanity was not "spiritually evolved" enough after all, or their spaceships broke down due to the crude vibrations of earth's atmosphere, but it won't matter because by that time, on the strength of the unfulfilled prophecy, more people will have got hooked on UFO cultism.