(RNS) – A new survey released by Springtide Research Institute confirms what metaphysical store owners and seasoned tarot readers have known since the invention of the term Gen Z: Young Americans, known to shape their own spirituality from the way they organize their social media feeds, do so using well-established alternative practices.
“There is so little ownership over a religious belief system for which you are told all the correct answers. These other spiritual paths have a more personal connection – these personal ‘aha’ moments, ”22-year-old Roman Catholic Jesse Brodka told Springtide.
Springtide’s survey showed that 51% of its sample population, aged 13 to 25, engage in “tarot cards or fortune telling.” Of this percentage, 17% practice daily, 25% once a week, 27% once a month and 31% less than once a month.
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Springtide is working with partners to develop randomized sampling adjusted to reflect national demographics and relies on comprehensive responses of ‘quality’, not just ‘bots’, explained Kevin Singer, group media and public relations manager. of research.
If the interest in tarot and other forms of divination often corresponds to a complete rejection of traditional religion, this is not taken for granted. Many young readers continue to identify with a traditional faith, while looking beyond established structures for spiritual growth.
“Our generation has already moved away from a lot of institutions,” wrote Zaina Qureshi, a 16-year-old who identifies as both Muslim and spiritual. “The three major Abrahamic religions leave little to our own interpretation of the Scriptures. “
With tarot and other similar practices, Qureshi said, “We are open to interpreting what we want to think (for) ourselves and making our own spiritual guidelines, which is why I think many young people resonate with it. “
According to Springtide’s report, divinatory practices are the most popular among young people who identify as Russian or Greek Orthodox (78.1%), Mormons (69.4%) or Jews (62.1%). Atheists had the lowest interest in adjacent metaphysical practices at 34.4%, followed closely by those who identify with no particular religious tradition.
The numbers change when the daily or weekly practitioners of tarot and other fortune telling arts are separated from those who are just dabbling. In these cases, Orthodox youth still come out on top with 38.8%, followed closely by those who identify as Muslim (34.6%) or Mormons (37.7%).
The popularity of alternative spiritual practices among Orthodox youth is cultural, explained Jenny Haddad Mosher, director of the Telos project, an effort by the Greek Orthodox Church in America to foster faith in young people. “Divination practices are extremely prevalent among people of all faiths in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East,” she said. Young Orthodox accustomed to seeing their grandparents reading fortunes in coffee grounds, she suggested, see little or no religious stigma in other embodiments of this tradition.
Springtide’s research has not exploded into small religious groups in which divination is considered a central part of religious practice, such as paganism, Druidism, paganism, Wicca, or religions of the African tradition. One “something else” category, however, captured 61% of respondents who claimed their use of “tarot and divination cards”.
The report also did not specify which divinatory practices were most common, but tarot is certainly not the only one. The survey used the term “fortune teller,” a phrase often viewed by modern tarot readers as archaic, but also widely open in its definition. And the answers have varied.
Blake Newborn, a 21-year-old who is spiritual but not religious, wrote: “For me, I am a very spiritual person, but I base myself on my daily horoscope. I’m Leo, so I’m looking at my horoscope to see, is it going to be good or is it going to be bad? I live by it religiously.
“Sometimes I feel like a fool to engage with crystals. But here they are on my bedside table, ”wrote Abby Miser, an 18-year-old non-denominational Christian.
Mathew Blasio, a 22-year-old who has no religious affiliation and also works with crystals, told Springtide: “I think crystals are like ‘saints’ to the young and the spiritual. Sometimes you just need something or someone who’s rooted in courage.
According to observers, interest is growing and many cite the Internet – specifically TikTok – as the reason.
“Tarot, crystals and fortune telling are especially popular because of social media, and especially TikTok. Now that we can exchange information so easily, ”Qureshi wrote.
Springtide Research Institute conducts this survey annually to gauge the religious views of younger generations, but it has not asked questions about tarot before.
“Too often, the people best equipped to be spirit guides and mentors for young people are confined to their institutional boundaries, spaces and roles,” executive director Josh Packard told Religion News Service in an email. “We do this work to help these trusted adults connect with young people who explore, discover and try to make sense of the world around them and to thrive.”
Members of Generation Z, whom Packard describes as “spiritual explorers,” seek to enrich and personalize their religious experience through various metaphysical practices.
“Generation Z is very curious and engaged with the world around them. Increasingly, their interests in spiritual and religious concerns are exploring spaces outside traditional institutional boundaries, ”Packard said. “Although the discoveries in tarot are new, they are not surprising in this larger context of the unbundled faith that we use to characterize Generation Z.”
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This so-called religious unbundling is simply the unpacking, merging and integration of various elements from different religious and spiritual practices.
In his response, Blasio wrote: “Whether (it is) a stone in your pocket or a pendant in your hand, there is something that gives you energy from within. If you believe it and put your faith in anything, it’ll get you where you want to go. “