From Ouija To #WitchTips: How Mysticism Went Online | Internetting Season 2

Thanks to the internet, everything seems knowable All of those little mysteries that used to fuel conversation — Who was that guy in that movie? How big is the Pacific Ocean? Do you think that TV dog is dead now? — are so easily solvable

Now everyone can just check their phone But there is one part of the internet that is drawn to things that cannot be Googled The mystical internet has arrived New apps like Costar Astrology and the Daily Hunch are part of a suite of internet products rebranding the zodiac for the digital set Astrological sign memes dominate Twitter

The Hoodwitch, an online retailer who sells everyday magic for the modern mystic, has amassed over 260,000 Instagram followers for her hashtag #witchtips and beautifully staged tarot readings Even Spencer Pratt, the arch villain of “The Hills,” has reinvented himself as a crystal outfitter “The tiger’s eye, I wear for protection, and it worked, because I wore this in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ all-star house, and I was super-protected” But a lot of the appeal of this stuff isn’t really based in any strong held belief in the occult You don’t have to actually believe in astrology to be into it

Putting aside whether planetary alignments actually influence the personal lives of human beings, astrology and other nonscientific practices are sometimes less about predicting the future than they are about helping to understand ourselves Posting a hermit tarot card to Instagram is a way of signaling introversion A piece of rose quartz stone is an expression of unconditional love “Love is who I am” And astrology, it’s basically the cosmic Buzzfeed quiz

In other words, this is a content business as much as it is a spiritual practice There are for sure enterprising capitalists who are eager to profit off of all of this [singing] “These eggs are on fire” Goop has built a whole online retail empire serving what it calls, “the divine feminine” “The egg is in, I think

” But online mysticism is also filling a legitimate need This is a turn to emotion in the face of all of the data that dominates the internet It’s a rejection of all the algorithmic, data-driven, hyper-logical, crypto-libertarian values that run so much of what we do online In their place it carves out room for intuition and empathy And yeah, it all feels pretty girly, but men have their online mysticism, too

It just looks a little more like this “And this is some satanist imagery here that goes over the connections of this symbolism” And if masculine mysticism is obsessed with conspiracies, drawing connections between historical events and random images, feminine mysticism, on the internet at least, seeks to draw spiritual connections between human beings “I’m a Gemini, so there’s two sides of me” I’m a Gemini, too, so I’m of two minds about this whole trend

My curmudgeonly twin points out that this is all a ploy to get women to spend more money on useless stuff, but my more compassionate twin appreciates a corner of the internet that values justice and empathy “The horoscopes are meant to be healing” After all, the woo-woo crazy of a vagina jade egg pales in comparison to this “We believe the Earth was a flattish disk surrounded by a solid dome barrier called the firmament” In this context, retreating into the mystical internet actually feels like a quite rational move

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[singing] “Internetting with Amanda Hess” I said Scorpios’ weird