Esotericism 2.0: when young people try their hand at divinatory practices – Vatican News

Esotericism is fashionable, especially among young people. Magic rituals and initiations to the divinatory arts abound on social networks. But these practices are far from trivial. Lighting.

Interview by Manuella Affejee – Vatican City

Astrology, divination, cartomancy, mediumship: these esoteric practices have been on the rise for a few years and are arousing more and more enthusiasm among young people, especially via social networks. This 2.0 esotericism is adorned with a pop and glamorous color, which would almost make it seem harmless, while it harbors real spiritual dangers.

Father Jean-Christophe Thibaut is a priest in the diocese of Metz where he has been ministering for the past twenty years. He is also the author, under the pseudonym of Michaël Dor, of the tetralogy of The Gate of Angels (Éditions Médiaspaul) and investigations by Abbé Nicolas Stock (Éditions Salvator). He deciphers this phenomenon:

Interview with Father Jean-Christophe Thibaut

The phenomenon is not very new. It began in the 1980s, which corresponds to the end of the “New Age”, this period marked by new spiritualities. This revival of esotericism that we see today is linked to the fact that everything passes through the individual. We are in a very individualistic world, everyone can become a witch or practice this or that divinatory art, without going through a group, a structure or a movement, as in the past.

It must also be recognized that, since the Covid crisis, there has been an enormous development in everything related to esotericism and I think that this is linked to the fact that science has shown its limits. We can also see in it a fear of the future. In the United States, for example, consultations with sighted people have increased tenfold since the start of the crisis.

Do the Internet and social networks play a particular role in this personalized and à la carte esotericism?

Indeed, it goes through Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. It’s a sort of “cocktail” with new spiritualities – many stemming from alternative therapies or well-being research – a bit of feminism and ecology. We see a return to grace of the figure of the witch, considered both as the ancestor of feminists and ecologists. It’s very “trendy” and we see this phenomenon especially in urban areas, among young girls who offer magical witchcraft rituals to curry favor, feel good, etc.

We value the playful, aesthetic and even “glamorous” side of certain practices. But isn’t this underestimating the danger they can harbor?

Yes, completely. It is presented as something innocuous. We must not forget also that all these young people were bathed in Harry Potter when they were teenagers. It is therefore the continuity of this phenomenon where magic was presented as something rather positive and aesthetic.

Of course, there is always a distrust towards magic that seems to be “black”, even though, today, the markers between white magic and black magic tend to be erased. Ultimately, no matter what one is looking for, even the use of some dark magic can be considered an act of justice. If someone wants you badly or if you have problems with your boss, it is legitimate to be able to propose a ritual.

Today, in big cities like Paris, it is very “trendy” to invite a fortune-teller, a medium or a clairvoyant to social dinners. We find a little of what was done in the 19th century, when spiritualism was fashionable. (…)

What is the danger you perceive in this craze?

Magic is not insignificant, the distinction between white or black does not exist. Moreover, in the Bible, we always warn against magic. You only have to read the Acts of the Apostles to see that evangelization came up against the magicians – the best known example is Simon the magician – who opposed it.

I see many people marked by esotericism who want to get out of it, because there is always a moment when it turns against people. Very clearly, with magic, we touch the demonic world. You can ask all exorcists or those who practice a service of deliverance: the first door of any spiritual problem of demonic order, it is the fact of indulging in magic, esotericism or occultism.

This thirst for spirituality of young people is still to be exploited. Don’t you think there is a specific mission field opening up for the Church here?

I don’t think you should be afraid of it. On the contrary, behind this search for esotericism, hides a thirst for the meaning of life, a spiritual thirst.

The difficulty is that, generally, religion is considered by most of our young contemporaries as very constraining, as a set of dogmas to believe in, without thinking, they think. But we must lead them to the living God by showing them that there are answers, which they think they know, but which they do not know in reality; it is necessary to orient this search that they carry towards a more positive direction than that which they are in the process of taking, and that, without knowing that they are on a path of darkness.

Currently, I have about twenty requests per week from people wanting to meet me because they have had a bad experience of esotericism or occultism.

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Esotericism 2.0: when young people try their hand at divinatory practices – Vatican News

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