While millennials are failing to fill the pews, interest in witchcraft, astrology, and the occult is on the rise.
Pew Research Center reported that the percentage of 18 to 29-year-olds who “never doubt the existence of God” has dropped from 81 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2012, as the popularity of “spirituality” continues to soar.
Juliana Sabinson, a “healer” who says she comes from a line of witches, argues that it’s never been easier to find practitioners of the occult. “Now people find me through my Instagram or Facebook. I don’t have to post an ad in the paper—you text me, and then we have a session.”
Urban Outfitters sells sage for cleansing and crystal mobiles for healing and other purposes. Meanwhile, actress Gwyneth Paltrow is capitalizing off of the craze by selling many “inspired” products on her website, like “jade eggs” and “Goop Medicine Bags.”
Some believe millennials are drawn to the occult because they feel like it gives them more control over their lives.
“Whether it be spell-casting, tarot, astrology, meditation and trance, or herbalism, these traditions offer tangible ways for people to enact change in their lives,” says Melissa Jayne, owner of a “metaphysical boutique” in Brooklyn. “For a generation that grew up in a world of big industry, environmental destruction, large and oppressive governments, and toxic social structures, all of which seem too big to change, this can be incredibly attractive.”
Social movements have likewise played a huge role in this disturbing trend.
Quartz credits both second-wave feminism and environmentalism for the recent popularity of witchcraft. In his article entitled “Witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal millennials,” writer Alden Wicker argues that “while some Christian denominations shame ‘deviant’ sexuality, expect deference from female adherents, and give men permission to subdue and rule over the earth, witches believe that all types of sexuality should be cultivated and celebrated, that women can also be spiritual leaders, and that nature is sacred.” This explains why women tend to be more attracted to witchcraft than men.
Wicker also argues that witchcraft can attract lapsed Catholics who reject Church teachings but have a nostalgia for the burning of incense and the invocation of Christ’s body and blood during Eucharist. Approximately two-thirds or fewer millennials who were raised Catholic remain Catholic as adults, which means that millions of ex-Catholics are looking for something different. Instead of looking to a higher power, witches worship themselves as their own god because… feminism!
As young people flee from churches that don’t align with society’s values, spirituality and the occult are quickly filling the void. Sadly, this is where many are finding meaning in their lives.