From crystals to astrology and from dream interpretation to WitchTok, mystical beliefs are becoming increasingly popular and highly visible, particularly among younger people. While some people engage with mystical ideas and practices for aesthetic reasons, others take them more seriously. ‘Crystal healing’ is an increasingly popular search term on Google and the number of people who identify as witches is also on the rise.
Meanwhile, record numbers of UK citizens identify as having no religion, including 68% of 18–24 year olds. In our uncertain, turbulent times, is religion’s place as a provider of meaning and comfort being usurped by mysticism? And, as humanists who value evidence-based thinking, should we be worried about increasing adherence to the occult?
On July 21st 2021, I took part in a live stream panel discussion run by Young Humanists UK to address the questions “Are Spiritual Practices Replacing Religion?” The panel was led by Dr Rajin Chowdhury, and as well as myself included Deborah Hyde, and Richy Thompson. It was a fun and interesting evening, with lots of really great and challenging questions from the viewers, and I for one learnt a lot from the other people involved. Check out the video and maybe check out what other things Young Humanists UK get up to.