How Tik Tok amplifies the consumerist fever dream of conspirituality

In their brand-new book (which I highly recommend), "Conspirituality: How New Age Conspiracy Theories Became a Health Threat," Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, and Julian Walker (who are also the hosts of the Conspirituality Podcast) define conspirituality as an online religion that "fuses two faith claims: (1) the world is possessed by evil forces and, (2) those who see this clearly are called to foster, in themselves, and others, a new spiritual paradigm" (p. 8). While antecedents of modern conspirituality date back to the 19th century, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, conspirituality has exploded across social media platforms, facilitated and encouraged by algorithmic formulas expanding conspirituality as a consumer market of audiences already disillusioned with mainstream politics and institutions. The enlightenment that is promised by conspiritualists is usually only attainable, so the pitch goes, through consumer goods and experiences—many in wellness communities, past and present, have monetized conspirituality, using conspiracy theories about health, disease, vaccines, COVID-19, and more to connect with, and sell to, people who feel shut out of the mainstream medical establishment. 

The conspirituality algorithm seems to be working overtime on TikTok, where New Age conspirituality is all the rage. I was first alerted to this spiritual fever dream by the good folks at the Conspirituality Podcast, which I've written about before—it's my favorite podcast. Their Episode 126 is called "Light Language TikTok (featuring Mallory Demille)" and provides a deep dive into the world of TikTok New Age spirituality, focusing on "light workers" who claim to be channeling spirits and bringing their healing wisdom and sounds to cure whatever ails you—from skin conditions to stomach problems to, yes, even COVID-19. Conspirituality Podcast describes the episode:

Listeners: Today's episode marks a turning point for us all here at Conspirituality HQ.

Humbled by a recent quantum download, we realize that we have for too long been relying on our critical faculties. For too long we have insisted that words mean things. Our poisoned irony has calcified our throat chakras and burned your ears to the point you may never trust a spiritual influencer again.

Today we release our addiction to meaning, our fetish for precision in words. We begin to trust the inner babbler of heart-language. We hearken to the oracles, the speakers in tongues, the oompa loompa doompety doos, the glossalalics who trimper the ainions with seedgly refurns. Our hope is that with their help, we can begin to scrize the colong of wolfile stenoses.

But we cannot enter this new world of activated communication alone. Our guide today is correspondent Mallory DeMille, who comes to us from the land of TikTok, where Light Language has gone viral, and is making bank, bank, bankity bing bong bank.

I recently jumped down the lightworker TikTok rabbit hole, and wow is it one giant conspiritual wellness grift. If you haven't experienced it, it's worth a look, if for no other reason than the sheer absurdity of it all. There, you'll find all kinds of 'spiritual life coaches' and other 'spirit guides.' Much of this work is inspired—knowingly or not—by the New Age spiritual ideals and gospels of prosperity spread by folks like Marianne Williamson (a proponent of the wildly influential A Course in Miracles, a kind of New Age bible purportedly written by Jesus Christ, as channeled through Helen Schucman), Lorie Ladd, David Icke, Christiane Northrup, and Esther Hicks (who channeled a group of spirits she calls "Abraham," in order to write the highly influential book The Law of Attraction). All of these folks and their devotees are thriving on TikTok—there, you can see how conspirituality practices have gained traction during the course of the pandemic and have given rise to new generations of social media grifters, such as the spiritual entrepreneurs who have popularized "lightworker TikTok"—the hashtag #lightworker has currently amassed over 1.1 billion views on TikTok, #lightlanguage has 2.5 million views, and #spiritualTikTok has a staggering 12.5 billion views. These folks are busy spreading their wisdom about how to ascend into 5D-level consciousness, demonstrating their practices of channeling the dead and aliens, and promoting the law of attraction. They are also trying to sell you their spiritual wares. You can listen to their TikToks for free, but you are also encouraged to 'level up' by buying individual coaching sessions or workshops, or buying their jewelry, clothing lines, and more. 

If you want to learn more about the New Age conspirituality grift that's all over TikTok, follow Mallory DeMille and of course go listen to the Conspirituality Podcast (and pre-order their new book!).