Samuel Palacios on “Paganism and the Young American Adult”


On the night of Halloween, VICE published a short article called “Why Do Teens Love Witchcraft So much?” Like most of their pieces on culture, the headline was one of the most interesting parts, but there were a few points that encouraged me to finish the rest of it. Spells, herbs, books, fashion, pentagrams; all these concepts have recently been taking a larger space in the minds of my demographic in the past few years. The author, Allie Conti, states that stores like Urban Outfitters have capitalized on this new trend and now sell books and instructional packs of tarot cards, and she asks, “…is paganism really having a moment?” She spoke with Helen A. Berger, a sociologist at Brandeis University, who says that when it comes to Pagans in America, “…there’s approximately over a million at this point.”

However, what is so attractive about lighting candles, reciting séances, and translating symbols embedded on cards? Well, in William James’ perspective, he would refute that entire sentence due to its reductive and generalizing construction. The origin of interest in the matter can reside anywhere, but it is known that it is in fact contagious due its unique function to practitioners. The individual may, or may not, experience a mystical state of consciousness in which James says, “religious experience has its root and centre.” So perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to reduce and stigmatize this new trend, but instead seek to embrace a new, but also old, form of conversion, especially since it is known consist of solitary practitioners and personal spiritual encounters.


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