As millennials continue to lose interest in mainstream religion, their interest in the "spiritual" seems to rise. Everyone seems to have a slightly different definition of "spirituality," but there are still places for like-minded people seeking a higher purpose to gather.
Religious academics have referred to SoulCycle and CrossFit as the new "churches," or centers where young adults find spiritual fulfillment, but we can't help but notice a totally different (and totally online) spiritual community: Instagram. Specifically, we're fascinated by users who tag their photos with #spiritual. And no, these aren't just a bunch of photos of dumbbells and SoulCycle bikes.
There are certain types of posts you can identify if you browse the hashtag long enough. For instance, there's the inspirational quote, the photo taken at a religious site, and, naturally, the meme. These usually have at least a tenuous tie to spirituality. Of course, there are also posts that not only defy categorization but don't appear to be spiritual in any way (we're looking at you, floral crown selfies).
What most of these photos have in common is that they represent someone's spiritual identity — or, at least, that person's spiritual online persona. By adding a tag to the post, then, users seek community. Now more than ever spirituality is an extremely personal issue, but that doesn't mean we don't want to share our outlook with others.
Ahead, we've rounded up some of our favorite uses of spiritually inclined hashtags, from the tongue-in-cheek to the totally sincere.