L.A. Times: How millennials replaced religion with astrology and crystals

Amethyst crystals for sale at House of Intuition in Highland Park.(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

July 10, 2019

Los Angeles Times

by Jessica Roy

Senior Associate Dean, Rev. Jim Burklo is quoted within.


I love myself.

I am beautiful.

It was an unseasonably chilly night for June in Los Angeles. About three dozen people, mostly women in their 20s and 30s, were spending their Friday evening lying on yoga mats on the back patio of a shop a few blocks from Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the Paramount Pictures lot. Attendees had been invited to bring whatever they needed to make the space cozy: Blankets. Pillows. Crystals.

I am powerful.

Ana Lilia was leading them in affirmations, closing out a 90-minute breathwork session celebrating the summer solstice.

I am a bright light.

I am ready to be seen.

Most days, Lilia works with individual clients. In the evenings, she teaches classes or puts on events, such as the solstice gathering. She first got into breathwork four years ago and started taking classes to become a teacher six months later. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a mix of breathing exercises and guided meditations meant to relax you and help connect with your thoughts — a cross between the last 10 minutes of a yoga class and a therapy session that takes place entirely in your head.

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One of the big draws for younger people about spiritual practices is the ability to “pick and choose,” said Jim Burklo, a progressive Christian reverend who works with college students as the senior associate dean of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at USC. Spiritual practices appeal to the commitment-wary: You can get a little into crystals or astrology or tarot, or a lot into it. You can buy a few rose quartzes or light a few candles and if it’s meaningful for you, keep it; if not, it’s not like you went through a full religious conversion.