Written in the Stars: Gen Z and Mysticism
In uncertain times, people search for comfort and guidance in different places. One of these places isn’t a place at all; it goes beyond the physical world. Mysticism has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, most notably for Gen Z. From astrological dating habits to crystal collections, Gen Z is taking after millennials in their embrace of the spiritual world.
In many ways, mysticism is connected to self-care, which is a major point of interest for younger generations. These connections are found across many mystical practices: astrology as a guide to self-discovery, meditation to align the physical self with the spiritual self, tarot readings as a tool for wisdom and introspection, and more. Aiming to capture the auras of the most coveted consumer demographic, brands like Spotify and Beautyblender have invested in the trend with zodiac-themed playlists and products.
Where will mysticism take your brand?
Mysticism has experienced a recent rise in popularity, but the new-age practices borrow from thousands of years of wisdom. While it’s unclear exactly where the practice of astrology comes from, it’s believed to date back as far as the second millenium BC and developed through ancient cultural tradition.
For a generation navigating a digitally overloaded and politically polarized society— a pandemic no less—the healing nature of mystical practices is appealing. For many, modern mystic culture replaces organized religion and allows for more flexibility in connecting with spirituality. It’s a welcome escape into a space that is accepting, reflective, and full of perceived answers.
So welcome, in fact, that it’s found its way from the cosmos into pop culture. With smartphone apps like Co-Star and The Pattern, users can opt-in to receive notifications and daily reports about their horoscope and star alignments. On Wattpad, writers have uploaded 76,210 (and counting!) unique stories, with a total of 32 million reading minutes, tagged #zodiac. Over the last two years, Wattpad saw a 178% increase in reading time for stories tagged #psychic. Gen Z took this sub-culture and catapulted it into the mainstream through social media. A manifestation trend on TikTok inspired countless memes and an organic adoption of the term “manifesting”—the practice of powerful visualization making dreams into realities—into Gen Z vocabulary.
Modern mysticism has made a permanent dent in today’s pop culture. Embracing the trend can help brands stay relevant and impactful, but it’s important that it’s not used to mislead consumers into buying a product based on spiritual assertions. Instead, brands can leverage themes of mysticism to engage Gen Z in a way that’s light-hearted and empowering.
According to a youth panel that Wattpad interviewed in the Gen Z show, young people today are in a constant struggle with their sense of identity. Understanding that mystical practices are rooted in self-care, brands can use astrology and tarot to craft meaningful messaging that helps Gen Z navigate their identity and instil confidence in their truest selves.
But mysticism is not just limited to the inward self. Many people have also found community, which can be seen through the #WitchTok tag on TikTok and Co-Star’s friend feature, allowing people to bond over their own connections to the spiritual world. Brands would be wise to use spirituality and mysticism to help foster connection between their consumers.
So, shoot for the stars! And the moon… and the sun.