New Age excursion..

One of our RPE first year students visited a New-Age fair – and kindly wrote up her experiences for the blog: thanks SK…  Here is her personal account:

To gain an insight into the ever-changing ‘New Age’ scene I decided to attend a Mind, Body and Spirit event in Manchester earlier this month. Set in a beautiful, historic Monastery located in the middle of an industrial area, I arrived early to find the 500+ car park already full and guarded by men in fluorescent jackets. Finding a side street to park in I followed the crowds to the Monastery and was shocked at the size of the queue to pay on the door. Luckily I’d pre-booked my entry ticket and sidled past the queue to the back door. I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of people who were in attendance were of a certain…caliber; a certain age, gender and societal class, all searching for a similar thing. A coincidence maybe but I wasn’t convinced.  
Greeted by a man thrusting leaflets into my hands whilst explaining an itinerary of the numerous workshops taking place, I followed the herd into the main part of the Monastery. The room was filled with exhibitors and stalls promoting ‘New Age’ therapies, products and techniques and I found myself overwhelmed. Without any expectations I wandered aimlessly and moved with the flow looking at the beautiful ornaments, jewellery and sparkly things for sale.
There were different types of massages on offer, including Reiki (which was the only one I’d previously heard of), claiming to reduce stress and make for a calmer, less hectic life. One masseuse said that he was a ‘Guru’ and the price for a 20-minute massage with him was noticeably more than others who offered what looked like the same service.
A therapy that centered around hundreds of coloured bottles standing on a shelf baffled me and was told that whichever one I was drawn to was the ‘special one’. Why it was special I had no idea and I doubt I was ‘drawn’ to it, I merely liked the pink colour.
Crystal healing stalls were popular amongst the crowds alongside little knick-knacks and keepsakes including pocket-angels to keep you safe and worry dolls to disperse your worries.
There was a heavy Eastern influence and I saw many Buddha figures and singing bowls for sale which seemed to enforce the idea that ‘New Age’ was a mixture of established religions as opposed to a new concept. I felt slightly uncomfortable with this and was disheartened by the amount of Pagan tokens that were amongst it all. There was a fine line between ‘New Age’ and Paganism and I couldn’t help but feel the line was getting very blurred. I consider Paganism an actual religion and ‘New Age’ appeared to be a ‘counterfeit’ version of it, almost disregarding its’ validity.
Stereotypical Mediums, psychics, tarot readers, astrologers, palm readers flooded the Monastery, all glammed up looking like Z-list celebs. For a smallfee (note: emphasis on ‘small’) you could have a reading. The cheapest I saw was £40 for a 30-minute session. Need I say more? Whilst walking past one particular woman, I heard her say to her customer, “you know a woman with a cat, possibly black”. At this point, my inner-cynicism was outwardly shown with a shake of my head in dismay.
Posters and banners were all over the place all saying where a particular psychic or medium had been featured, for example, “As seen on TV” or “Featured in ‘Take a Break’ magazine”. This raised my suspicions once again because it was as though they had to justify themselves for being there before anyone could question their validity.
It was a brilliant experience and I had a wonderful time but I must admit instead of enforcing the ‘New Age’ concept as a religion or certified, genuine way of life, I saw it to be a moneymaking idea, preying on the same type of vulnerable person who is searching for something more in their unsatisfactory life. As a placebo though I believe that what ‘New Age’ offers can and does work, positive thinking and all that jazz. However it’s slightly depressing to think that the whole business focuses on the negative side of life; everything is rubbish, why is my life like this, where can I get the answers, by doing this my life will be better. The lack of originality annoyed me slightly as everything was a mash up of Paganism, Hinduism and Buddhism mixed with 1960’s hippy-culture and a dash of Mystic Meg.


2014 RPE Essay Competition – Win an iPad..

Entries are now closed:

See the winner: HERE
for the 2015 Competition: see HERE..



First prize: a new iPad
Four Runners-up receive a £20 Amazon voucher

The winning essay will be published in RE Today magazine

Following the success of last year, the Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (RPE) course  is pleased to announce the return of the RPE Essay Competition

The competition is open to all those currently studying for any AS or A2-level examinations (or equivalent) in the UK. The first prize is a new iPad, and there will be four runners-up prizes of £20 Amazon vouchers.

Entries must be no longer than 1500 words including footnotes but excluding references and can take any form e.g. essay, dialogue, etc. All sources must be referenced.

The deadline for the 1500 word essay is 5pm on 24st October 2014 and will be judged by RPE lecturers.

To enter please choose one of the titles below and email your entry to (please note you may only submit one entry to the competition).

Entries must be written in as a Microsoft Word document. Entries will normally be acknowledged within 5 days. In your email, please put your name, the Sixth Form / FE college you attend, and the title you have chosen to answer. The subject of your email should be ‘essay competition’.

Choose one of the following titles:

Q1: What is the proper role of religion in a modern, secular society?
Q2: If you had a time machine, would it be wrong to travel back and kill Hitler?
Q3: Does science give us an accurate picture of ‘how the world is’?

·       1500 words maximum
·       Your essay must include the title/your name/contact email at the top of the page
·       The essay must be an attachment to the email as a Microsoft Word document
Any essay that does not satisfy these three conditions will not be considered by the judging panel.

The panel decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.


Course Facebook Group:        (open to all

Video Interview / Revision blog:

Much Madness, Such Sanity: Growing in the Garden of Humanities, 14th April Lecture

Click to enlarge..

May interest students – a free event, 14th May:
Much Madness, 
Such Sanity: 
Growing in the Garden of Humanities

Professor Shelley Saguaro

 Admission free, but booking essential
Tel: 01242 714582
University of Gloucestershire, 
The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2RH
Click to enlarge..


THIS EVENT HAS NOW TAKEN PLACE: see for more events.. 

7.45 p.m. Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Future of Ecumenism in the UK
Speaker: Revd. Dr. David Cornick (General Secretary of Churches Together in England and Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge)
Main Lecture Theatre, Elwes Building, The Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham GL50 2RH
For more information, contact Professor Robert Daniels or Revd. Dr. Alison Evans,

Revision resources on video?

As A-level (and other) exam season approaches – you may be interested to note that we have a range of videos on topics that may be of use. Our video blog is at  – and down the right hand side you’ll find a range of topics – or just browse through the (approx. 100) videos there.

We are always happy to record more if there are topics that people really want to focus on – use twitter to tell us what topics you’d like to see covered – we are at


See more about the RPE team at : 

Applicant Day!

Friday the 4th April sees us hosting another Applicant Day for RPE (and History/RPE) applicants, here at our Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham.

All are very welcome – and we hope you find out everything you need to about the course.

Here are some pictures of the campus.. I’m hopeful it’ll be dry tomorrow – but can’t guarantee golden sunshine…

Another good way to get a sense of what we offer is to browse through our blog and other online resources – by using the tabs above..

Another way to get a good sense of what it’s like to be a student here is to look at our Facebook group at – and see students talking to each other and to us, or click the pic below for our photo gallery:

Click to see our Flickr gallery..