Selling (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 in Australia

Convictions, Complexity and Countering Dis/misinformation




conspirituality, COVID, disinformation, misinformation, Australia, spirituality, pandemic


Conspirituality—the merger of conspiracy theories and spirituality—has attracted significant global media and scholarly attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article expands upon the ‘two core’ conspiritual convictions proposed by Ward and Voas that ‘1) a secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order, and 2) humanity is undergoing a “paradigm shift” in consciousness’. We identify an additional ten key convictions central to (con)spirituality, including those that result in vaccine hesitancy and/or refusal. We chose to bracket the ‘con’ to problematize the term, and to encompass a wider spectrum of spiritual beliefs and practices, including those that are non-controversial, those that may be deceptive cons, and/or those that draw on conspiracy theories. The article presents an analysis of these twelve (con)spiritual convictions, focusing on a sample of ‘Aussie Warriors’ selling (con)spirituality, and also on influencers attempting to counter the spread of dis/misinformation within wellness circles. In so doing, the article provides a more nuanced understanding of (con) spirituality and vaccine hesitancy, and a greater knowledge of the benefits and risks of spiritual practices and ideas during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Author Biographies

Anna Halafoff, Deakin University

Anna Halafoff is an Associate Professor of Sociology and co-coordinator of the Religion, Society and Culture Network at Deakin University. She is the current President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion (since 2021) and is also a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute’s Science and Society Network and AVERT (Addressing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation to Terrorism) Research Network.

Emily Marriott, Deakin University

Emily Marriott is a PhD Candidate, and a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute and the Religion, Society and Culture Network, at Deakin University.

Ruth Fitzpatrick, Deakin University

Ruth Fitzpatrick is a Research Fellow at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and a member of the Religion, Society and Culture Network, at Deakin University.

Enqi Weng, Deakin University

Enqi Weng is a Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation and co-coordinator of the Religion, Society and Culture Network at Deakin University. Her most recent publications include the monograph Media Perceptions of Religious Changes in Australia: Of Dominance and Diversity (Routledge, 2020).


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How to Cite

Halafoff, A., Marriott, E., Fitzpatrick, R., & Weng, E. (2022). Selling (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 in Australia: Convictions, Complexity and Countering Dis/misinformation. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 35(2), 141–167.

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