According to recent statistics, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”.
This shift in beliefs can in large part be attributed to Millennials, a large number of whom are seeking answers in astrology, the tarot, and alternative belief systems such as Wicca and neopaganism. In 2018, the Pew Center reported that Millennials are less likely to attend regular religious services than earlier generations. They are, however, just as likely to consider themselves spiritual
So what are the reasons behind this shift in the younger generations’ beliefs and expressions of spirituality? Journalists from high and low-brow publications alike seem to agree on one factor: stress.
Economic and political instability, relationships and dating anxiety, environmental issues — the world certainly is a complicated place for Millennials. Modern astrology and other “alternative” practices provide explanations and clarity in these troubled times.
But saying that Millennial astrology enthusiasts are confused, lost, and anxiety-ridden is an oversimplification – at best. There’s more to it than that.
Millennials favor belief systems that promote individuality and freedom of expression
One of the most significant findings reported by the Center is that Millennials are less likely to say they’re “spiritually satisfied and at peace with themselves” than earlier generations. Whereas 70% of the Greatest Generation and 62% of baby boomers report these positive feelings, only 51% of Millennials feel the same.
Part of this may have to do with Millennials’ individualism and heightened sense of self. While earlier generations found — and still find — peace in being part of a group, organized religion traditionally doesn’t leave much space for individual expression. That sort of homogeneity doesn’t appeal to millennials at all.
Instead, they are seeking out psychics and spiritual guides who can help them better express their individuality and make the most of their unique gifts.
Astrology and tarot are great examples of this — by understanding their birth charts or the Major Arcana’s impact on their lives, Millennials feel better equipped to make choices and, perhaps more importantly, feel more strongly connected to the universe.
Younger generations question authority
Millennials tend to question authority figures, as every generation of young people has done before them. What’s unique to today’s youth is that they are more inclined to believe that respect is something that should be earned.
This was summarized in rather paradoxical terms by Time magazine, in a special issue titled The Me Me Me Generation: “Because millennials don’t respect authority, they also don’t resent it. That’s why they’re the first teens who aren’t rebelling.”
What does this have to do with spirituality? Well, for centuries the church was seen as the ultimate authority, and to many members of the older generations this still holds true. Millennials, on the other hand, have grown up with reports of abuse at the highest levels of the church. From Catholic priests to prominent evangelists, these incidents have tarnished Millennials’ opinion of organized religions’ authority figures.
Millennials are more well-informed and open to change
Millennials are the most diverse and highly educated generation of all times, according to another recent report from the Pew Center
Whereas Boomers might stay within an organized religion and avoid change, Millennials actively seek it and have the tools at their disposal to make well-researched and informed decisions. For them, losing faith in an organization doesn’t necessarily mean that faith is lost altogether.
Instead, Millennials’ faith takes on a different form, one that allows them to follow an individual path which offers the opportunity for real learning and change.
Astrology offers an individualized approach to spirituality that has always appealed to a certain portion of the population, but for many Millennials it’s also a more true, authentic expression of one’s personality and spirit.
Author Credit: This article was written by Jeanine Duval, the editor-in-chief at Edelwyn, an online resource for tarot enthusiasts. She is a resides in Montreal, Quebec.