A loosely defined term generally used to describe spiritual practices that don’t fit into “conventional” institutional religions. Largely characterized by syncretic spiritual practices and rituals that often are chosen by the participants independently to fit their individual needs.
A New Age practice by which an individual serves as a “channel” through which others may communicate with nonhuman spirits or other forms of consciousness. Often used to ask for advice or guidance, as opposed to communicating with the dead.
Crystals are used in spiritual practices for a variety of reasons, including in meditation to encourage focus or awareness, or in healing rituals. The use of crystals is based on the idea that they vibrate at a certain frequency — and therefore, that they emit and hold certain forms of energy — that can be used for mental and health benefits.
An ancient practice, common in the New Age movement, that involves predicting and interpreting future events. Includes such practices as reading tea leaves, reading tarot cards and osteomancy.
A type of belief system that focuses on an individual person’s specific efforts to reach deep personal spiritual understanding.
Generation X (Gen X, Gen Xers)
The demographic shift that occurs when members of older generations die and members of younger generations enter adulthood; generally tied to shifts in attitudes over time.
The notion that there is a plane or state of existence that transcends day-to-day life and consciousness and that can be accessed through spiritual practice.
A branch of philosophy based around the nature of existence and reality, including ideas about the self and the universe.
Matters regarded as involving supernatural or magical elements. Examples of occult practices include fortunetelling, tarot card readings, alchemy and astrology. Witchcraft is generally considered occult. Practices often revolve around or incorporate natural elements and have a history of being hidden or practiced secretly. Often, this is used to describe practices that do not fit into established religious traditions.
A neologism that describes the impact that supernatural and magic beliefs and practices have had on culture, specifically in the humanities, over time.
Considered a nonphysical force that connects the individual spirit to a universal order or shared universal spirit. Many spiritual practices center on training oneself to tap into a “pure” spiritual energy to reach heightened levels of understanding, enlightenment or connection with others, the universe or the divine.
A modern anti-patriarchal popular social movement in which largely young, Western feminists compare themselves to witches. While this movement shares visual cues and some spiritual practices with traditional Wiccan or pagan faiths, it is generally a secular movement.