‘Spiritual’ women’s magazines?

About ten years ago, after coming home from university, I had a bit of a depression. I was out of work, broke and alone. It felt like I’d wasted all my years of studying.

To deal with the loneliness I started going to short courses held by GIFHE at our local resource centre. I met people, two of whom are still friends. One of the courses was a creative writing course which finished early because the college weren’t making enough money from it. The other courses were in areas that I had little experience of: psychology and alternative therapies. As part of reading around the subject of alternative therapies I started reading magazines aimed at women, such as Soul and Spirit, and Spirit & Destiny.

I got a bit obsessed; it’s part of my nature or an aspect of my depression. I found I’d get anxious without a magazine to read, feeling relief when I’d bought the latest issues and was immersed in devouring them. I knew I’d started to come out of that cycle of anxiety/depression when I went in to the paper shop and didn’t feel a compulsive urge to buy.

I bought a copy of Spirit&Destiny last week to have a look at. I wanted to know whether, after seven years, I still found them enrapturing.

My conclusion: no I don’t.

I looked at the magazine’s content with a critical eye. It’s shallow and consumerist. All the interviews end with an exhortation to buy the persons book or gone on their course. It’s all ‘try this diet’ and ‘you need this *item* to be complete’. This magazine is no better than any other ‘women’s magazine’; they add a bit of poorly researched mythology, magic and pop-religion to make it deserve the title.

I came to the conclusion that this magazine, representative of its genre, is a waste of money. If you want to learn about a variety of spiritual matters, natural and alternative therapies, mythology and pagan religions, read a book, blogs, websites etc, don’t bother with these magazines.


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