For my blog post this week I’d like to tie in the concepts of postmodernism and spirituality trends that have had a recent spark amongst millennials especially. With Halloween approaching it seems like an appropriate time to analyze alternate spiritualities and practices. In my senior seminar course, I along with my research group am analyzing the reasons and ideologies surrounding the movement of neo-paganism within different groups of people. Postmodernism pushes the idea of individualism, and challenging forces that were the base for structuring society in previous generations. It appears to be true that many forms of spirituality amongst the youth do have individual twists to them in the way that they are practiced and materials that are used, and I wanted to put more thought towards the concept of participating in a faith that is a trend yet simultaneously individualistic.
I met many different people at the job that I had prior to my current, and one of my close coworkers was Jessica; a self-proclaimed wiccan and believer of neo-paganism. Before my senior seminar class or even understanding what neo-paganism is, Jessica and I talked often about her identity as a wiccan. As a friend, I was interested and listened to her discuss her faith in an unjudgmental manner since I didn’t know anyone else who had similar practices. She talked about how she fasted around Halloween and read books that were recommendations of other friends who had similar practices. We discussed how her initial interest in the faith was brought about by a group of friends that she met at a festival, and ever since then she adopted new habits in order to assimilate with the culture.
Initially, she talked heavily about how becoming a wiccan gave her independent values when it came to religion. It seemed as though her family always gave her the opportunity to follow what she found the most truth in, even though they followed Abrahamic religions mostly when she was a child. As I learned more about postmodernism as well as the movement of Wicca within my friend’s demographic it seemed to feel like less of an individually motivated cause. Even though this is not an example of postmodern religion I think that this situation exhibits underlying effects of postmodernism. Regardless of her personal affiliations I know that Jessica just feels the need to participate in her ideas of truth. The reasons why I believe that this is a contradiction to individualism is because of the movement in which many practitioners use the same literature and materials in forums that are arranged to attract similar kinds of people.
Moving forward as I discover what truths have the most relevance in my life, I want to take a sociological approach and make sure that my narrative path and identity is not the result of a trend but made to seem individualistic. I say this, because I feel like lots of organized religions have the same affect, and regardless of what works best for an individual I think that it is important to understand the reasons why certain things become trends and therefore decide if those reasons still relate to your personal truth.