Despite my personal obsession with the Fantasy genre because of shows like Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter franchise, I never really felt any affection towards magical or spiritual rituals in the real world. Magic just doesn’t fit in our society if you ask me. I always thought that magic in our world was presented on television. You know, the people who can read your aura through the telephone and then give you an amazingly general prediction of life.
But if you look into current developments, it seems that magic and mysticism have become a prominent aspect of the life of many Millennials. I started looking into this topic because of the drama caused by a NASA announcement. They discovered a 13th Zodiac Sign, which totally changed the current astrology system. I, for instance, changed from a Virgo to a Leo. For me – and many others – this caused a little identity crisis.
I might not be interested in spirituality or magic but I always recognised myself in the characteristics of a Virgo. It was interesting to me how I tried to force myself into this new identity that came along with now being a Leo. Looking back now, this was not even necessary as the 13th zodiac sign still isn’t in use. However, the fact that so many people were upset made me want to know more. So why are Millennials so obsessed with these rituals?
High Priestess goes High Fashion
Let’s start at the beginning as we might be looking at a temporary hype. A simple search on Instagram with #witch brings up 2,5 million results. What’s standing out here is the fact that we are not looking at pictures of witches with the big pointy nose flying on a broomstick and terrorising villages. No, we are looking at the modern hipster with the perfect choker and a killer eyeliner. #slay.
The trend doesn’t seem to end there. Big names in the fashion industry like Prada and Alexander McQueen show an obvious influence of this upcoming culture. The magical rituals of curses and spells were subtly implemented in their collection. Examples are the capes and the large wavy dresses. So we might be looking at more than a simple hype here…
If we ask Tavi Gevinson, known for her work at Rookie Magazine, this trend is a sign of something big. She says that the modern witch is becoming a symbol for feminism. It’s a special power that’s hidden inside the individual and can be accessed by embracement. Women are standing up for their rights and seek help in the magical world.
Recently the power and the seriousness of this topic were shown as Lana del Rey, together with an army of feminists, live-streamed a curse on Donald Trump. Read more about that here.
The rituals of change
This might sound farfetched, but maybe the increasing urge for spiritual and magical rituals is a direct cause of the chaos that is society. In Gevinson’s case, that’s about unequal rights for women but we’re dealing with way more at the moment: The unstable economy, trust in politics and the gap between rich and poor… just to name a few.
There are enough challenges ahead of us and not everyone is ready. People are afraid to lose control and do you know what happens when people lose control? Right, they look for something to hold on to.
In this case, people hold on to their individual – or might I say magical – power. Through spiritual rituals differing from chakra meditation to only starting new projects during a full moon, people get back in control of their own lives. Changing lives of others doesn’t matter here; it’s purely about the self and the self only. This does fit the Millennial mentality in which taking the perfect selfie is a little bit more important than what someone else might be doing.
The Hippie Reborn
This ‘New Age’ movement isn’t anything new. During a similar time in history, people were also summoning their spiritual power. You might’ve guessed already but I’m talking about the 70’. Back then, the economy was unstable as well and people feared a possible war because of a growing tension between countries.
When we feel powerless and live in a world where evil seems to defeat goodness, we turn back inside, where it’s safe. Looking at the situation like this, we could argue that the Millennial is just a reborn hippie. They describe themselves as spiritual but not religious and the numbers don’t lie. The decrease in people taking on a religion is truly significant. At the same time however, the search for hope continues. Where does the Millennial find hope if not religion?
The chaos in our world made us lose grip. Today, we’re still falling and the Millennial is quite sure that where we’re heading is awful. They do not believe in progress anymore and continue their search for hope elsewhere. While religions, as we know them, are fading in the background, new rituals appear. De modern day witch might be the magical extension of positive thinking in which people send positive thoughts to the universe in order to make a change.
Maybe it will never be labelled as a real religion but I expect these rituals to get a prominent role in forming our identity. Where the bible used to tell us all the rules, there’s now a new power we tend to listen to. People start creating their own purpose for a meaningful life and find suiting rituals to go along. Magic in our society today is something we all know and it’s a powerful weapon; Hope.