From Ouija To #WitchTips: How Mysticism Went Online | Internetting Season 2

From Ouija To #WitchTips: How Mysticism Went Online | Internetting Season 2


Thanks to the internet,
everything seems knowable. All of those little
mysteries that used to fuel
conversation — Who was that guy in that movie?
How big is the Pacific Ocean? Do you think that
TV dog is dead now? — are so easily solvable. Now everyone can just
check their phone. But there is one part of
the internet that is drawn to things that
cannot be Googled. The mystical internet
has arrived. New apps like
Costar Astrology and the Daily Hunch
are part of a suite of internet products
rebranding the zodiac for the digital set. Astrological sign
memes dominate Twitter. The Hoodwitch, an
online retailer who sells everyday magic
for the modern mystic, has amassed over 260,000
Instagram followers for her hashtag
#witchtips and beautifully staged tarot readings. Even Spencer Pratt, the arch
villain of “The Hills,” has reinvented himself as
a crystal outfitter. “The tiger’s eye,
I wear for protection, and it worked, because I wore
this in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ all-star house,
and I was super-protected.” But a lot of the
appeal of this stuff isn’t really based in
any strong held belief in the occult. You don’t have to
actually believe in astrology to be into it. Putting aside whether
planetary alignments actually influence the personal
lives of human beings, astrology and other
nonscientific practices are sometimes less about
predicting the future than they are about helping
to understand ourselves. Posting a hermit tarot
card to Instagram is a way of signaling
introversion. A piece of rose quartz
stone is an expression of unconditional love. “Love is who I am.” And astrology, it’s basically
the cosmic Buzzfeed quiz. In other words, this
is a content business as much as it is a
spiritual practice. There are for sure
enterprising capitalists who are eager to profit
off of all of this. [singing] “These
eggs are on fire.” Goop has built a whole
online retail empire serving what it
calls, “the divine feminine.” “The egg is in, I think.” But online mysticism is also
filling a legitimate need. This is a turn to emotion in
the face of all of the data that dominates the internet. It’s a rejection of all the
algorithmic, data-driven, hyper-logical,
crypto-libertarian values that run so much of
what we do online. In their place it
carves out room for intuition and empathy. And yeah, it all
feels pretty girly, but men have their
online mysticism, too. It just looks a little
more like this. “And this is some
satanist imagery here that goes over the connections
of this symbolism.” And if masculine mysticism
is obsessed with conspiracies, drawing
connections between historical events and
random images, feminine mysticism,
on the internet at least, seeks to draw spiritual
connections between human beings. “I’m a Gemini, so
there’s two sides of me.” I’m a Gemini, too,
so I’m of two minds about this whole trend. My curmudgeonly
twin points out that this is all a ploy
to get women to spend more money on useless stuff, but
my more compassionate twin appreciates a corner
of the internet that values justice and empathy. “The horoscopes are
meant to be healing.” After all, the woo-woo
crazy of a vagina jade egg pales in
comparison to this. “We believe the Earth was
a flattish disk surrounded by a solid dome barrier
called the firmament.” In this context, retreating
into the mystical internet actually feels like a
quite rational move. Hey, this is Amanda. This is Shane. He edits the videos. She writes the videos. You watch the videos. And if you like the videos, please like, comment
and subscribe here. And then tell us: Who’s worse? Geminis or Scorpios? That’s easy. Virgos. Leave your answer in
the comments. We are very thirsty. [singing] “Internetting
with Amanda Hess.” I said Scorpios’ weird.

53 comments

  1. HELLO. Thanks for watching. also I've had the 🎶 these eggs are on fire 🎶 lady stuck in my head for several weeks now!

  2. 1900
    Everyone was nomal

    1950
    Normals and Inventors

    1990
    Normals and Computer Inventors

    2010
    Normals and sensitves

    2025
    Normals and Pseudo astral sensitives

  3. Gemini Cancer Cusp. Nice editing work on this yall. Internet culture is breathing new life into all this, we'll see what the kids do with it.
    Yall should do the darkside of this, the become a living god website, those guys are absurd.
    Keep it honest NYT, lv yall

  4. Astrology is about as fake as the mainstream media is real. There's a reason the Romans were killing astrologers and priests all over the planet during the Piscean Age.

  5. Double Pisces, Virgo rising. And I am between slightly and very embarrassed that I know that. One of the first things I did on the webs (this is in the dark ages of 1996) was get a really great freeware astrology program and do all my friends birth horoscopes! Love you guys!

  6. Don't see what problem is. Unlike other religion with thousands of deathtoll. The biggest problem astrology have brought is overpriced necklaces

  7. One of François Mitterrand's (France 1980's president) closest advisor was an astrologist. How scary is that? So no it's not okay to tell people unsubstantiated nonsense because it can influence stupid but powerful people… The same apathy is having your country led by a President who does not believe in facts demonstrated to be true by science like global warming or the medical benefits of vaccines.

  8. Conflating male occultists with flat earthers. Gotta love the soulless pander. critiquing the capitalist structure, but saying ya but it's still good bc it's fights against these crazy men. Oh my, peak neo-liberalism

  9. Gemini, especially those who excuse themselves in being gemini for their shady manipulative bs, those are the worst.
    But that also applies to the rest of the horoscope, so…

  10. In college I got an A on a paper contrasting Odysseus with Captain Kirk. My premise was that characters are heroic when they embody a defining characteristic of humanity. In the ancient world man was struggling to distinguish himself from the animals. The most obvious distinction being that we are clever. Odysseus is heroic because he embodies cleverness. Flash forward 500 years or whatever. Man now dwells in a universe where cleverness is a dime a dozen. What then could possibly be humanity's defining characteristic? Lets look at the bridge crew of the Enterprise. McCoy is raw emotion. Spock is pure logic. How does Kirk fit in? He is both emotional and logical. So that's not it. What Kirk brings to the table is intuition. In the future, humanity's saving grace is intuition. A hybrid of logic and emotion. This feels very feminine to me. Right on.

  11. These kinds of beliefs can cause harm, and as a scientist I’m disappointed in the New York Times for publishing this without examining the issue more critically.

  12. this is just as harmful as all false wisdom has ever been. all it does is make people more vulnerable to the manipulation of others.

  13. 2:51 just as i stated before, just as harmful as all false wisdom has ever been. all it does is make people more vulnerable to the manipulation of others.

  14. Mysticism has loose meaning in Western culture, as evidenced by the video, but conceptually it does not describe astrology. I believe that a lot is lost when we fail to understand and appreciate what mystical experience really means, and use it instead as an umbrella category.

  15. Ah it’s the consumerist’s faith. i see now.

    Also i think it’s bold of NYT to post a video with black and white truth-statements. Too many people are afraid to do that it seems.

  16. Straight up don't believe that there aren't people buying into astrology in all its mystical nonsense – it's as anti-factual as conspiracy theories, and the link (made in this video) to Goop-style "all-natural" garbage is only a few jumps from anti-science, even anti-vax. It's normalising anti-intellectualism.

    The male equivalent in terms of creating empathy, exploring emotions online? I'm thinking pure-intentioned content like Vlogbrothers or the McElroy brothers, or the new sincerity involved in Maximum Fun. A lot of cartoons like Adventure Time are an outlet for this, or Stephen Universe which filters gemstone stuff into the fiction that it is. Saying "I need lies to cope with this world" when the alternatives are out there isn't just sad, it's bizarre. Astrology is a historical curiosity but it does not deserve a resurgence.

  17. Men are into conspiracies and women are into tarot readings? This is some prejudicial BS. There are plenty of men and women on both sides. This is not about gender.

  18. Can’t wait for more videos. Just watched Season 1 & 2. It’s the best show I’ve seen in a while and dare I say, intellectually stimulating.

  19. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Leaving aside why there is a need or if the need is justified, belief in astrology is belief in something factually incorrect. And worse yet, belief in astrology or the kind of nonsense shilled by goop, leads to exploitation be for profit or in other forms. Exploitation in any and all forms is wrong, and the factors which can create the conditions for exploitation (in this case belief in nonsense mumbo-jumbo) must be eliminated if society is to be functional and beneficial to all. We should shun all these irrational behaviours lest we end up being exploited, doesn’t matter if it’s something really crazy like flat-earth or comparatively less crazy like old fashioned mysticism.

  20. So believing in nonsense that has no basis in reality or facts is good?

    Astrology should not be encouraged.

    NYT is turning into BuzzFeed.

  21. i'm a gemini, too, and i feel like i'm split down the middle on this thing because it's interesting, but i hate it because it's false lmao

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