Standing behind a cluttered table just inside the lobby of the General Services Administration building, Ferne Bork purposefully massaged two walnut-size stainless steel balls around the palm of her hand with her thumb.
"They're ming chin," she told an inquirer. "As you rotate them around your hand, you are touching the key acupuncture points . . . . It realigns all your bodily organs."
Across the crowded aisle, at a booth marked Johrei Fellowship, a young man stood transfixed, staring straight ahead and with one hand raised as if in blessing the equally immobile figure before him.
"The Johrei Fellowship is dedicated to the service of humanity through aiding in the awakening of individual spiritual consciousness and promoting healing on all levels," said a mimeographed brochure a member of the group pressed on passers-by.
"Who you going to vote for for president?" challenged globalist Garry Davis from his neighboring booth as he worked the crowds for his World Citizen Party and his perennial candidacy for the White House.
All this and more -- much, much more -- was part of the eighth annual Heart to Heart Festival, which transformed the staid corriders of goverment bureaucracy last Saturday and Sunday into a supermarket for New Age religions and their appurtenances.
More than 120 groups or individuals -- from Evolutionary Astrology to Walden University, from Crystal Pure Water Treatment to Crystal Visions -- set up shop for the weekend in the hallways, cafeteria and auditorium of the GSA building touting their vision or product to the thousands who poured through the exposition.
"They are all looking for the place within themselves of love and peace," was the way Barbara Carpenter described the common thread that drew people to the event. Carpenter, a therapist, is the founder and head of the Network of Light, which has sponsored the annual festival for eight years.
Proponents of past-life regression, harmonic convergence, chiropractic, Soviet-American dialogue, Rolfing, vegetarianism, cork-soled shoes, manual lymph drainage, channeling, foot reflexology -- all, said Carpenter, "feel they have something that enhances people's well-being and they want to give it out."
Not all of the participants represented New Age ideologies. There were, for instance, exponents of yoga and meditation and workshops on T'ai Chi Chuan. Rabbi Joseph Gelberman of New York lectured on "Kabbalah for Life Enhancement."
The 4,000 people who paid $12 daily admission to the festival reflected a cross-section of the population: all ages, races and economic conditions. A few opted for flamboyant garb, but in general they looked like any suburban shopping mall crowd.
Some appeared to be latter-day flower children. A woman seated at the Global Family booth, her dress open to the hips, chatted animatedly with passers-by who seemed oblivious to her bare breasts as her toddler son lolled on her lap.
While the GSA kept part of its cafeteria open, longer lines formed at the purveyors of vegetarian food in the hallways for such specialties as Soul Vegetarian Sunburgers from YES! Natural Gourmet ("We deliver").
Sales in such paraphernalia as pyramids and dowsing crystals with psychic powers were brisk. So was the trade in T-shirts and sweats with New Age messages in handsome graphics: "I AM Lovable and Capable"; "Don't Just Stand There: Hug Me"; "Professional Hugologist"; "Dr. Hug."
And, summing it all up, was one that read: "If You Don't Like Your Reality, Change Your Perception."