You may have thought it was just a couple of oddballs and a blip on the radar when some modern-day witches decided to cast a hex on Brett Kavanaugh. (I guess they didn’t use enough eye of newt in that effort since he’s now on the SCOTUS bench.) But it turns out that that wasn’t some niche effort. A new report at Marketwatch reveals that an increasing number of younger people (we’re looking at you again, millennials) are rejecting organized, traditional religion in favor of the divinations of astrologers and witches casting spells.
More than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World.
Melissa Jayne, owner of Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique” Catland, said she has seen a major uptick in interest in the occult in the past five years, especially among New Yorkers in their 20s. The store offers workshops like “Witchcraft 101,” “Astrology 101,” and a “Spirit Seance.”
“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,” she said.
Yes, the “Catland” referenced in this article is the same one that hosted the Kavanaugh hexing and seems to be the northeastern epicenter of this movement. It’s been building for a while now, however, and it’s not limited to the Big Apple. Back in January, John covered a story describing the growing ranks of “young American women who have been drawn to witchcraft as a sign of feminism and community building.”
Sure, some of them may just be dabbling in these things as an exercise in finding a new way to express their feminist ideals and resistance to the President. But in many of the cases detailed in the report, we’re talking about people who take their witchcraft seriously. I regularly listen to a few podcasts on paranormal subjects, not politics, and the hosts tend to be almost uniformly liberal. (Some of them regularly veer off topic to bemoan how horrible the world is since the 2016 elections and, frankly, I just consider that a bonus in terms of entertainment.) But when they talk about spells and other witch-related subjects, they’re not joking around. Some of them regularly burn sage in their homes and offices to cleanse the areas of negative influences. There’s a thriving market for books, crystals and other witch paraphernalia.
Is there some larger message here? Perhaps. When you turn away from the faith your family followed for generations and all the values it brings with it, all other paths are probably at least a bit “darker” in tone. And the fact that this trend is so much more common among the young on the left might give a few clues as to how we arrived at the situation we’re in today.
As for me, I’m not opposed to a little witchcraft… at least as long as Frank is singing it. Turn on the volume and enjoy this classic.