Page 4: New Age spirituality leads to cultural appropriation

Alyssa Lai

New Age spirituality has Gen Z in a choke hold. Almost everybody has a crystal necklace, practices manifestation and knows their astrological birth chart by heart. 

Despite a sudden uptick in spiritual beliefs, this collective awakening didn’t happen overnight. Since the 1970’s, traditional religion such as Christianity has been on the decline. 

Millenials and Gen Z seek healing from more spiritual beliefs. 

In 2017, it was estimated that more than 60% of adults from 18 to 49 have at least one New Age belief, according to Pew.

It all seems like rainbows and sunshine, however, when the veil is pulled back it only reveals ignorance and cultural appropriation.

Believers of New Ageism have a bad habit of cherry picking from Dharmic, Indegenous and traditional African practices, while also disrespecting and discrediting these religions altogether. 

This is a big problem because Gen Z has been sucked into this world of New Ageism, mostly due to TikTok, without understanding the actual religion and meaning behind it.

Many of my classmates don crystal chakra jewelry and wear the “Om” symbol without any knowledge of African and Dharmic religions. 

They wave white sage in their rooms to cleanse bad energy, when less than 50 years ago Native Americans were jailed and killed for practicing their religion.

And yet these mostly white students have the nerve to brand themselves as enlightened when they haven’t made any effort to actually delve deeper into the root of New Ageism. They have taken these ancient religions and turned them into a mere aesthetic.

This blatant ignorance and borderline cultural appropriation is way too common.

I am not here to tell people they cannot practice New Age spirituality. In fact, I think it’s a great opportunity to become educated on other religions besides European ones.

But it is all in execution.

As long as you don’t mock or disrespect these non-European religions and make an effort to educate yourself on its history, then as far as I’m concerned, you’re welcomed to the temple.