Rise in neo-paganism, wichtok vs. spirituality

People need to educate themselves before they follow trends that tokenize tools and religious practices


Emma Brouqua

Sacred Self-Care: Some people find themselves using crystals as one of the most proactive ways to bring good energy into their life and to clear their mind and body of negative energy. Crystals are used for ancient medicine and have the power to significantly alter your life. “I began getting into spirituality and crystals because of my friend Mikayla who introduced me to it, telling me all the benefits it has provided in her life, explaining how someone starting out should go about it,” senior Janryk Armamento said.

Spirituality is having the realization that there is something greater than your own self. The idea that there is something greater than the 5-sense human experience, and that we all are a whole with mother nature, with the universe’s energy. You have to release yourself from your ego and let go of all material things to learn and reach your higher spiritual self.

Spirituality has been around for a long time, dating all the way back to the 5th Century; but being used biblically as “being animated by God.” The word had then changed its meaning in the 11th Century when people started using spirituality to designate the mental facets of life.

By the 13th Century, spirituality had obtained psychological and social meaning. In the past year, there has been an exceptional rise in spirituality. This leads us all to wonder whether people are simply trying to follow a trend on TikTok or people are actually trying to reach their higher self.

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with around 48.8 million Gen Z users. Videos on TikTok consist of things like comedy, life hacks, education and all things entertainment. It has been one of the biggest platforms to watch trends come and go. Certain styles, types of music and the way people dress are all types of trends that people follow on TikTok. One of the biggest ones lately is partaking in neo-paganism and spirituality. This type of trend has been known as “witchtok”.

Witchtok mostly consists of tarot cards/readings, spell making, rituals, astrology, meditation, crystals and other neo-paganism practices. All these practices and tools may be incredibly helpful in reaching your higher self, but individuals have to make sure to research all meanings to practicings and certain tools before taking part in these acts. A lot of the things listed above have been taken from other religions, and since it’s become a trend, people have made it seem like taking certain things from certain religions without being educated on them is not a big deal. It is so important to know about these tools and where the teaching originated from as opposed to just picking and choosing things from certain religions.

Senior Janryk Armamento discussed his point of view on the difference between genuine witches and kids who are just trying to fit in with a trend. It has been more common recently to see younger people participating in the witch community.

“My opinion on the whole witchtok trend is that it undermines the genuinity of any form of witchcraft, spirituality, etc. and puts it into the mainstream. Though there are many witches on TikTok that are genuine and want to share their information, stories, and more as content creators, half the time kids who don’t know what they’re doing will dismiss real witches and spiritual people for their moral upbringing as it becomes trendy. It’s very wishy-washy, but easy to tell when someone wants to discover their inner being versus someone who thinks evil eyes and angel numbers are aesthetic,” Armamento said.

This trend of spirituality may be very offensive to some religions. Most of the practices you see on witchtok in actuality are historically disenfranchised practices that were demonized and colonized. That is why if you are wanting to participate in witchtok, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on certain practices because if you are solely wanting to take part in them since they are more normalized, your actions may be seen as cultural appropriation.

Some of these tools consist of white sage. White sage is fundamentally used for the practice called smudging. White sage is native to the southwest of America and is sacred to tribes such as Cheyenne, Navajo, Lakota and Arapaho to name a few. Another sacred symbol that is used is called mal de Ojo (evil eye). The evil eye originates from Europe and is used in many countries there, and in many Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic and Hindu traditions.

Feeling like you need to go out and buy all these things builds upon a capitalistic warrant and way of thinking when true spirituality is a mindset. Spirituality is more of an individual practice and is all about attaining peace and purpose within oneself. It’s so hard to see people thinking they need to dress a certain way, style themselves a certain way, or to even prove to anyone that they are spiritual. Spirituality is there for personal benefit. It is all work to do within one’s own mind.

One thing that will be interesting to see is if people will be seen as weird if they consider themselves spiritual. I could see people easily giving up on spirituality or neo-paganism when they buy all these things like crystals and other sacred tools and quickly give up on them when it doesn’t benefit them immediately. When trends tend to die, and someone keeps going with it because they truly like it, they are usually seen as not up-to-date with trends or not cool.

“Being spiritual has been normal for a while now, so I don’t think people will pay mind to others who say they are. I like to see people express their different hobbies on that platform, and I myself am interested in witch type things,” senior Kiara Stubbers said.

Spirituality really is there to help you learn more about yourself and help you get through physical and emotional hardship. True spirituality is a constant process and doesn’t produce instant outcomes. Hopefully, through witchtok many people have benefited from watching these types of videos and are changing the way they live to make a more fulfilling life for themselves. Spirituality also offers a strong sense of community. It’s been cool to see people connect through this sudden rise and is exciting to see what that looks like for the future. For all the people who are concerned about some following this trend, you can usually tell when someone is being authentic or not. Focus on your spiritual journey and learning to help others reach and attain theirs as well.