Your new girlfriend has just invited you to the spiritual development group that she attends every week. You agree, but you feel a growing sense of panic when you realise that you are totally ignorant of spiritual concepts. What will these people be like? How will you keep up your SNAG act in front of real Sensitive New Age Guys?
Fear not! All you need to know about the New Age is in the following paragraphs. By remembering a few key phrases, you will be accepted into any spiritual group as a fellow traveller along Truth's highway.
Rule number one for the novice New Ager is to make sure that a crystal of some sort is visible on you at all times. You will notice that all of the women will be wearing a necklace of either amethyst or rose quartz, but for a man, a large chunk of natural, clear quartz that is strapped to a cord around your neck is far more suitable. If you feel uncomfortable wearing your crystal in this way, then carrying it in your hand is also quite acceptable, as long as you remember to look at it appreciatively every now and then, making sure that others see it too of course.
When people notice your crystal they will invariably ask, "What is your crystal programmed for?" In reply, avoid any macho response that suggests that you are using it to attract more sex, money, or power, as this will blow your cover immediately, instead, use the vague, but common phrase, "I have programmed it to help me to enhance my spiritual growth." This reply will satisfy the enquirer without encouraging questions of a more specific nature.
To acquire a new name that reflects your spiritual goals is also quite common among New Agers, therefore don't be surprised if you are introduced to people with strange names such as Shekinah, Silver Wolf, or Starlight. To find your own spiritual name, you can use either of two methods. You could choose a word at random from any New Age magazine, or you could ask your spirit guide for a suggestion.
To have a spirit guide is as necessary for the New Ager as having a permanent smile on your face. If you are asked who your spirit guide is, then it is safest to opt for a Red Indian guide - everyone else does! Make sure that you give your spirit guide an impressive name though. You won't gain much respect from your peers within the spiritual development circles if your guide is called Joe, so give him a name such as Snow Buffalo, Tall Eagle, or Smiling Rainbow Hearted Mountain Bear.
If you want to be a bit different, or if someone else has already chosen the name that you made up for your guide, then go a step further and say that instead of a spirit guide you have a guardian angel. For extra points, use the name of one of the Archangels and the eyes of the people in the group will light up with awe and admiration. Don't go too far though, as an inferred conversation with God or the late J.C. will mean that you will soon find yourself standing alone, looking with feigned interest at the dozen or so statues of unicorns and Red Indians that the host has proudly displayed on the mantelpiece.
As you settle in for the evening's lesson and psychic exercises (aerobics for the soul), you will invariably be asked to participate in an experiment on past life recall. Here is another ideal opportunity to impress your girlfriend and the rest of the group. Once again though, use moderation in your claims and don't invent details of a life as Tutankhamen or Henry the Eighth, as the group leader has probably already claimed both of these. And if he hasn't, then he'll probably be upset that he has forgotten to include them in his lineage of previous incarnations. It is much safer to opt for "memories" of an existence as an advisor, astrologer, or valet to a monarch or famous person, as historical records will not necessarily disprove the names and events of this lifetime that you suddenly recall.
If you have survived the evening so far, your last test will be the supper. Under no circumstances should you eat anything other than vegetarian food (i.e. fruits, nuts, vegetables, or any cooked combination of these that invariably tastes like warm, wet cardboard), or your plans for acceptance will be sunk quicker than Atlantis was.
As you depart, make sure that you hug everyone at least once, and be sure to offer deep and meaningful words of inspiration - such as "keep smiling" - to every person at least twice. If you have come up with the right sort of platitudes for everyone and if everything else has gone well, you will probably hear your girlfriend telling her friends that you are indeed her soulmate, and you will already be looking forward to the next gathering of these salubrious spirituality seekers.
Good luck - or as the New Agers say - May the Great Spirit be with you!