One of my most popular emails was one where I wrote about hiding my “woo” side from my husband.
(Subject line: Don’t tell my husband.)
I’m not a true woo-woo type. You’ll never hear me say I’m on a “spiritual quest” or call myself a “seeker.”
I won’t give you my “favorite manifesting crystal” for your birthday.
My anti-woo edges have, however, worn away over the years. Like the heels of all my Nikes. (Those are goners in as little as 3 months a pair. I walk a lot.)
I now identify as Woo-Adjacent™.
I’m not really trademarking it, but I like to use that obnoxious option-2 flex to call “dibs!” on a term I believe I coined.
I also like to own it by writing a manifesto. Here’s how I define being woo-adjacent.
The Woo-Adjacent Manifesto
We are the woo-curious, the closet woo, the woo-adjacent.
We’re not normally the types to believe in all that magical/spiritual shit.
But we secretly, grudgingly allow that some of it might be real, and we’re open to it if it is.
We might even be into it.
That said, we don’t like the aesthetics of woo:
The caftans in floaty fabrics, the patchouli, the wind chimes and whale sounds.
The soft, breathy voice telling us to breathe innnn, 2, 3, and ouuuuut, 2, 3.
The purple, the script font, the light bursts that are supposed to indicate God or Universe or Being or Source or whatever you call it (but it’s the same as saying God, which = religion, which is fine but let’s not pretend it’s not).
We don’t like the culty language — “Holding space to catalyze your full embodiment of the sacred and divine;” “Shift into a new paradigm of alignment;” “Welcome to my high-vibe tribe,” etc.—not just because it’s a hornet’s nest of cultural appropriation, but because it’s corny-ass buzzword soup.
We cringe when woo talk doesn’t take privilege into account. For instance, “It’s all mindset” or “It’s all about a state of abundance” when, no, it’s also privilege. But sure, that other stuff helps.
We do like a little “mindset” talk.
We agree, mindset is important.
If not, how do you explain so many mediocre, seemingly talentless people being so successful?
(Make no mistake: thinking you’re talented when you’re not, AKA not knowing you have no talent, is absolutely a talent.)
Anyway, “mindset” isn’t really woo, it’s psychology.
We like the idea of manifesting, because who doesn’t?
However, it’s hard not to give side-eye if you say you “manifested an office space” when, actually, you found and rented an office space; or “manifested a boyfriend” when you went on an app, dated a lot of scumbags and losers, finally found someone you liked, stalked him, discovered he was a serial killer, stayed anyway, helped him hide a body, worked through his commitment issues, and are now officially a couple.
“I manifested a peeled banana.”
No, you bought a banana and peeled it.
Still, manifesting: neat!
We like the idea of a muse, the notion that genius can be channeled—and would very much like to have that function on demand.
We know, we know: We should meditate. It’s not that woo an idea anymore. Everyone does it on the show “Billions.” Makes ‘em rich, if not better people.
We believe that whatever works for you, works for you, and is worth paying for.
We like when stuff is put in scientific terms, like “brain plasticity.”
We’re willing to agree that vision boards can actually be effective—but if so, it’s because you’ve made the idea feel possible, which motivates you to take forward-moving action and behave in a way consistent with making the idea a reality…and not because some Greater Power has agreed to partner with you and make things happen so that you get to meet Oprah.
We’re open to things that are “impossible” in physical, practical terms—like psychic powers and contact with the spiritual world—if only because wifi is an equally crazy idea and yet the world now runs on it. If I can instantaneously send someone in China a cat gif without mail or a pigeon, maybe a few extraordinarily intuitive people can see the future or talk to my dead grandparents.
…And so, we might book a psychic reading if we hear someone’s really good and has a 6-month waitlist. But we don’t want them to have any info about us beforehand, because we’re not convinced they won’t cheat.
We love ease.
If it makes life easier, we’re willing to try it, even if we have to hide the receipts.
To that end, when our partner looks over the Amex statement and asks, “WTF is this fifteen hundred dollars to ‘Third Eye Crystal Corp, is that some woo-woo shit?” we will say, “Oh, ha, no, it’s an optometrist. Getting new lenses.”
Because we’re not woo—we’re woo-adjacent.
As you can gather from the last part, I still hide it from my husband.
Where are you on the Woo Spectrum? Tell me in the comments. And share this!
Kelly Kotanidis says
HOW DID YOU READ MY MIND?!?!
I mean, you can use culty language and talk about manifesting around me. Just know that every time you do I’ll mentally drop your IQ estimate by 10 points.
Kitty Woo says
Just about to turn 50 years old here and only just realized what my name means!
I’m definitely a Woo, and a little Woo Woo too. I’m going to spend the rest of the day figuring out just how Woo I am.
Thanks for the article
Tamara Gabbard says
Woo woo adjacent. I’m a bit more into the hippy shit than I’d like to admit. Hell, I have a head full of dreads, smell like a fell into a batch of stale lavander(not Fabaloso lavander, but the consentrated shit that will make your cat bark), and have fabric adorning my termite ridden walls.
Someone once asked me why I wear so much lavander. I replied, “Because I read somewhere in a woo-woo book that it makes people relaxed and as stressed out as this old bag used to be, I want everyone to either relax when they meet me or get the fuck away.”
Plus, I’m too cheap to buy CoCo Chanelle which is the only other spray foo foo you’ll catch me misting with. (My grandfather bought me some when I was 17 and I still have some left sitting in my bathroom. I’ll spray it from time to time when I want to channel his spirit)
Anyway. I read tarot and have a pile of rocks in every corner of my house. Nothing fancy, just pretty ones I find in the river and in the oceans– dont ask me wtf they are –pretty rocks. Some slabs of salenite cause they make me feel powerful ( they look like albino kryptonite.) It all helps me play make believe.
And, in this world that we live in, a little woo woo and Mister Rodgers is hella better than pandemics and fucking racist Karens.