Epochalism is a pandeistic New Age religious movement and philosophy formed in the early 21st century. The movement was founded by Ryan Hite, who is seen as the founding prophet of the movement through the publication and inspiration of his book Through Minds’ Eyes, which was released in 2013. The largest body relating to this movement is the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate, which was also founded by Hite. The tradition revolves around the idea of the journey as said through the words of the prophets and the teachings and examples of the Christs, along with the personal connection to the spirit, the divine, and through angelic messengers. Seventeen angelic messengers form the basis of many core beliefs of the movement.
Epochalists share many core beliefs that set them apart from the mindset of many people throughout the world. The movement, by design, is meant to be communal, but also individual. This has resulted in the first true democratic belief system along with the franchising tradition of the Church of the Americas.
The Epochal creed is the central creed and it is the one that has been adopted by almost all adherents. It is the one that is also adopted by the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate in the order of the liturgy.
Ten Aquarian Commandments
The Ten Aquarian Commandments are essential to Epochalist thought. They, along with the creed, are shared by app in the movement, although their interpretations may vary widely. The Ten Aquarian Commandments are found in two chapters of Through Minds’ Eyes and they are also found in many other books in commentary with their true teachings.
Christs, Prophets, and Angels
The central tenet of the philosophy is that, in order to bring happiness to one’s life, one must focus on their journey within the context of the life that they are in and the people that are around them. One way to make a good comparison is the focus on the life and teachings of the Christs and the prophets in the hopes that one will apply and learn these things. The movement, in general, tends to focus on the life and teachings of Hite and the ongoing spiritual journey that he is undergoing as an important example. As a result, the angels that he has coming and going through this journey are also of great importance. Thus far, seventeen major ones and thirty three minor ones have been named. Angels are seen as having great importance because they tend to be the instruments of the dissemination of wisdom to advance the doctrinal development of the spiritual movement.
Life and Death
Epochalists consider life and death to be the central doctrine of the movement. According to adherents and theologians, life begins with the merging of the spiritual and the human aspects of life, which is reflected in the battle between the heavens and the earth. This dual nature is a part of what makes free will possible, with adherents having to make a choice as to what life to take on. In the end, adherents believe that all people will attain the light at death, with some attaining the light beforehand. The allegorical nature of the movement sees the Christs deaths and resurrection events not to be literal, but an allegory of the process that we all go through in life on the process of attaining the light.
Salvation in the movement has been central to the development of the philosophy and the life of the individual. The doctrine of salvation states that all individuals are saved when they attain the light, which is universal at death. Those who see the light before death are called the Christs and are the path by which we strive to live for. Free Will is required for the individual to choose to attain the light.
The trinity consists of three different states of being, which are the spirit, the human, and the divine. The doctrine states that we are born as spirit and we attain human qualities upon our birth. We live our lives with this dual nature, which corresponds with the nature of the world. Upon our death, we will attain a state of divinity depending on our intentions in life and the decisions that we make. The goal of salvation is to attain the third state while our two states are in constant battle.
As the individual is on their own journey, the scriptures espoused are also up to the individual. The canon of scripture includes three different levels. The primary canon that is widely accepted includes the 38 books found in the original edition of Through Minds’ Eyes. It is also the canon used in the liturgical cycle. The secondary canon includes other pieces of literature, most of which is included in Through Minds’ Eyes 2. The tertiary canon consists of other inspired texts that are not universally accepted. The primary and secondary canons are not accepted by other religious traditions as valid, even though the tertiary canon consists of religious texts.
The official position of the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate and held by most adherents is that all scripture, holy books, and interpretations is to be held allegorically. This allows for the individual to apply the teachings of these books to their lives. The foundation is also in the process of releasing commentary on major religious texts as it is interpreted allegorically allowing members to gain a better understanding of religious texts.
End of Times
A major doctrine is that the world is divided into two natures and it is up to the individual to decide what path they want to go down in life. Although the focus of the philosophy is not on the end of the world, it is referred to many times in terms of understanding history and astrology. The general belief is that the end of the age has come and that the world is in a transition between the old age and the new age. It is a source of research by Ryan Hite along with studies in comparative religion.
Worship within the movement is based on the experiential aspects of spirituality. The faith encourages people to practice what they preach in everyday life and to come together spiritually for major life events. As such, there are regular worship services and ceremonies commemorating major life events. Often, these meetings involve the reading of Through Minds’ Eyes in a yearly cycle. Weekly services take place on a Sunday. The nature of these events are largely set by the local congregations, although the wording and purpose of these ceremonies are standard. These services are supplemented by continuing education and other classes.
There are 23 distinct practices that are called sacraments. Five of them are similar in scope and a further seven are considered practices and not necessarily sacraments. They are considered to be separate because they were revealed by a different angelic being. The sacraments serve as an evolution of spiritual and religious thought by the journey and confer grace to the individual going through the ceremonies.
IUAEC along with some other branches practice a rotating schedule of 52 or 53 weeks starting in March, divided into twelve months. These form the basis for major religious holidays, such as the ones around the beginning of the seasons and other major holidays around the birthdates of the prophets, visions, and angels.
Epochalism as a whole will not have official symbols that define the movement, but some popular symbols would be an angelic being of some sort, with representations differing based on the individual person being referred to. Another major symbol would be water or the man pouring a pitcher of water, symbolising the Age of Aquarius. Other symbols would be the descriptions and results of the visions, various sacred geometric symbols, and greek lettering. Temples will also invoke a ton of symbolism.
Purification is both a process and a ceremonial act among adherents. Many believe that, in order to be a member, one must be purified in both senses before one is to go through any of the other sacraments are to be performed. The process and ceremony are almost universal, with considerable controversy surrounding the authority by which one is conferring the ceremony.
Prayer and Meditation
Meditation is often pushed in the religious movement, with classes and many interpretations on how one should perform the act. Although prayers and chants are said, many of the membership do not believe that the prayers have the same kind of intercessory power that many of the classical religious groups have. This is in line with some major new age and new thought movements of the past.
The Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate was formally founded in 2013 and is still growing as of 2015. The first edition of Through Minds’ Eyes was released in 2013, which began in 2012. The movement was formally established in 2015 and has started taking franchise applications to start congregations around the world. The movement is planning on starting a council and formal governance to keep the doctrinal aspects of the movement in shape.
Central to the philosophy is the life, teachings, and interactions of Ryan Hite, the founding prophetic voice of the movement and the author of Through Minds’ Eyes. The twenty three members of the Continuum are actual people that he met and fell for in his life from the first vision in 2009. It continues to this day. According to him, his life and teachings represent the nature of human life and human interactions. The movement admonishes all adherents to find the angels, events, and teachings in their own life and to apply it as they see fit. The movement admonishes also that the Christs and the prophets are stories for all people to apply to their life and not to just take it on faith or by doing good works.
Epochalism is hard to estimate in terms of membership since it is not registered on a worldwide basis. It is projected to increase where traditional religions, such as Christianity and Islam, will decrease. It is estimated to begin in the western and northern United States, Canada, and spread to northern Europe and parts of east Asia.
The largest of the denominations of this movement is projected to be the carrying organization of the tradition and philosophy, which is the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate with temples projected to be around the world. The nature of the movement will allow other congregations and branches to organize and form.
The Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate
the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate is the official carrier of the philosophy and tradition, and as such, it will keep about 80-90% of officially registered adherents of the philosophy by association. Congregations under this banner will be in communion with one of the temples, which is under jurisdiction of the President and Legislature of the Chancellate, which will be headed in C-City, Colorado.
The Orthodoxy will be a probable branch of the movement, with some adherents proposing a rejection of newer doctrines, angelic beings, presidential decisions and elections, and other things that will cause them to no longer be in full communion with the larger Chancellate. Many of these will be headed by individual congregations and might be organized into their own temple districts.
The Universalists will be a probable branch of the movement, with some adherents proposing a rejection of the doctrines of the movement, but want to incorporate some of the teachings into their own religious traditions. As such, they will probably reject the structure and the nature of the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate.
The Capitalists will be a probable branch of the movement, with some leaders rising up and expanding on the basic doctrines with their own versions of the journey and their own group of angels. This will probably be one of the larger branches outside of IUAEC because many of these leaders will likely be charismatic in nature.
The Primitivists will be a probable branch of the movement, with the primary focus being centered around the book more than the life and teachings of the prophets and angels often associated with the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate. It will often come about as a sort of reset and will reject some of the newer teachings and angels of the movement.
As a New Religious Movement, Epochalism as a whole does not claim any particular cultural forces. It seems to be a result of the culture as it changes and the movement allows itself to continue to appeal to the culture that is largely moving away from the older and more traditional religious movements. Despite this, there is a large push within the movement itself to empower the people within the movement and to make their lives better.
The various branches of the Epochalist movement have engaged in dialogue across lines. The nature of the movement and the individuality of the movement, however, makes many of these reconciliations unnecessary.
Criticism and Apologetics
the Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate and Epochalism have experienced criticism similar with other New Age movements and teachings. The most common criticism is with the prophets and Through Minds’ Eyes as a text. Both have been dealt with by the Chancellate and the organization and the book continues to grow.
The Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate, usually known as IUAEC or the Chancellate, and formerly called the Church of the Americas, is a new age religious community and is the guardian of the Epochalist movement, defining all doctrine of the movement.