The Goths Are Back

The Goths are back. They’re spilling into the clubs, materializing at the mall or gliding around in your neighborhood. You may have caught a passing whiff of myrrh and patchouli or noticed them popping up on a mainstream designer catwalk but it’s the street that matters.

They’re talking about Dion Fortune and Abraxas or their band, the poem they wrote last night, their new cat…Or maybe they’re silent, immersed in reverie.

Their idols are long-dead poets and undead philosophies; they’d rather read an out of print esoteric book than corporation-curated content.

Gothic fashion is timeless, often thrifted and fluid enough to flow around any form of body shape. It’s also nearly always raven-black: Call it a homage to Nyx and other night deities or note that it doesn’t need to be laundered as often.

Other dimensions of the Gothic aesthetic: Kohl eyeliner, noire nail varnish and a sardonic, self-possessed demeanor that advertisers call nihilistic.

Goths are a gigantic ‘fuq-you’ to the algorithm. They’re also the recession indicator. When you start to notice more of them around the place, the economic fuqery is not far behind. It’s not that surprising. Modern Goths – as opposed to the old Germanic Goths who took down the Roman empire – emerged en masse in the early Eighties.

They came out of the energy crisis sparked by the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Every economic indicator plummeted, just as the earliest Gen Xers were leaving high school or getting ‘vocational guidance’: Uranus was in Scorpio and a British band called Bauhaus released the ur-Gothic hit single Bela Lugosi’s Dead.

A Hungarian actor, suave Libran and veteran of World War I, Lugosi could never break free of being a B-List Dracula. “I am definitely typecast,” he wrote at one point. “I am doomed to be an exponent of evil.” It’s unclear how he became a touchstone for a new generation and its disdain for the way ‘the adults’ were running things.

Additionally, the Goth aesthetic was the antithesis to the Cheryl + Christy (Tiegs and Brinkley), neon perkiness and spandex paradigm. It’s waxed and waned ever since but Goths returned prior to the 1987 stock market crash and the Global Financial Crisis.

It’s partly a scorpionic syndrome – Uranus in Scorpio, Pluto in Scorpio, Lilith in Scorpio, Scorpio South or North Node and – this year – a series of Eclipses across the Taurus-Scorpio axis. Culturally, Scorp is all about the black-hued clothes, interest in underworldly affairs, esoterica and mystique.

You could also see it as a wholesale rejection of whatever mainstream society and media is serving up; onetime fun spaces like social media are devolving into such overt advertiser vehicles that it seems like they should be paying viewers for their time and info.

And with a few exceptions, global leadership has rarely seemed so moribund or venal. Even Foreign Affairs, an august establishment magazine published since 1922, acknowledged it in a recent article, declaring that “the world is between orders; it is adrift.”

Perhaps the return of Goths is a timely reminder that our most valuable resources are the ones that cannot be commodified – our individual quirks, resourcefulness and creativity. There are no advertisements or fact checks in the terrain of psyche and cosmos.

It’s not only about your noire cosmetic aesthetic, Anubis amulet or trying to manage billowing black layers if you’re in a subtropical climate.


96 thoughts on “The Goths Are Back”

  1. We never left! 🖤🦇🏰
    Been a goth since early 80s! Those days we weren’t called goths. That came later. Was the first goth to graduate from law school in my town. The lecturers in the 80s had no frame of reference for me. All the other kids were wearing Country Road. I’ve worked in corporate and non- profit. But always fuq you to the algorithm. And always true to the aesthetic. And…mostly thrifted or made because in the early days no-one was selling goth stuff. Thank you Mystic. We’ve been hiding in plain sight. Aparently waiting for economic downturns to shine! 🧛‍♀️😎

  2. Black is classic timeless.
    I wear mainly all black, but would not consider myself to be goth.
    I LOVE to paint with vivid colors but find it much easier to dress in all black with accents.
    Perhaps it’s laziness but I find it relaxing to wear all black. Too much color or patterns overstimulate my mind if I am wearing it.
    I’ve been drawn to a black wardrobe since a very young child.
    I did not want to wear pink or pastels I wanted a black leather motorcycle jacket.
    Past life revisiting? I do not know.
    I do have Scorp Rising and several plants in Scorpio 1st House, Jupiter, Venus, and Neptune it would explain.

  3. Off-topic. Mystic, I just bought your personal Power Moons report which is on sale until Saturday. It is truly wonderful and so detailed!
    I have been apprehensive about the lunar eclipse of November 8, which is almost exact on my tenth-house Taurus Moon. In your report I found very constructive advice for dealing with it, which is a completely new way of looking at it for me (I was thinking of it in a more passive, fatalistic way).
    So thank you!!!

  4. By the way. Both the Goth movement and Punk had a huge impact on mainstream fashion and hairstyles in the early 1980’s. Just a few years before – in the late 1970s – Punk and Disco were still seen as the absolute antithesis of each other.
    But if you look at this videoclip of a club (called ‘disco’ back then) in San Diego in 1985 with the crowd dancing to Yazoo’s ‘Situation’, you see the fashion and hairstyles show a complete merger of Punk and Disco. It is a wonderful clip by the way and I hope Mystic will let me post it, a total 1980’s time machine:

  5. Ah ‘A Forest’, by The Cure! So early 80’s gothic!
    I was never a Goth myself, but I love the Gothic vibe of that song…
    ‘Love like Blood’ by Killing Joke is also a great early 80’s darkly Gothic song, worth looking up on YT

  6. Newly Subtropical climate-living Southerner with Scorp Moon makes for a lot less charcoal. Fascinating how climate dictates fashion. With nothing going on in Scorpio atm it is darkly refreshing to contemplate this vibration’s quiet, determined ways.

    1. Tropics don’t go with black. It’s the lighting, it’s why people went to Tahiti to paint, all about the light :-).
      And of course wearing black on a hot day and you feel like ripping it off for something cooler.
      Trust you are enjoying being away from Melba’s weather, Sphinx.

      1. So true! I am actually avoiding buying black any more as I find it sits in my wardrobe untouched. I am enjoying being away from Melba in soo many ways!! Mainly the extreme social engineering and fear generation but yes, the grey skies too. Sometimes it is almost too perfect up here, it beggars belief that another shining day appears – and stays! Hope you are well beautiful, xx

        1. Wish Upon a Star

          Hi sphinx. I am an ex Melbourne Girl. Have been in Queensland for 22 years.
          I am curious about the extreme social engineering ( well put by the way) and fear generation. Which generation is that? I’m a gen X. Can you elaborate on these points as I am genuinely curious. I found Melbourne to be very materialistic.

          When I initially came to Qld it was an extreme culture shock. I was alone and grief stricken. Never really aclimatised to the hot weather. But now really appreciate the laid back lifestyle, the friendly people and down to earth nature. Oh yes and I eventually let go the black clothes and embraced colour again.

          1. Hi Wish! Brave choice, I feel like SEQLD is haven for aging backpackers, so the people are outgoing, friendly and possibly adhd as a type & why I feel I fit well here, lol. I don’t think you need to be a generation to be concerned about the extreme narrative pushing in Oz, but Melbs particularly. Reducing people to terrified, obliging, materialistic push-overs is a must if you want to commodify them/their lives, ensuring offerings are made to the chemical gods that have overtaken society. It can only happen when there is agreement between media & gov. When a million march & msm turn the other way we see a collusion betwixt corporations/gov that is increasingly entrenched. When every street corner has a police officer with a speed gun, when armed militia’s in black fire rubber bullets on peaceful, unarmed citizens & Soro’s SCN infiltrate universities/gov it makes this Moon in Scorpio a little antsy. As it should! A Plutonic friend went walking in an isolated reserve with her fam, was taken to the police station with her disabled kids, given fines she returned unpaid & for what? For not wearing a fabric over her mouth, while hiking alone with her young kids. For refusing to be forthcoming with her id she was later harassed by leering officers on the pretence they were returning something she left at the station. Of course she never had to pay the fines, it was all completely illegal. But completely tolerated in Victoriastan. Worse, the population is so traumatised they cheer their oppressors on, it’s not a psychically healthy State. Happy Venus into Leo ‘Lion’s Roar’ with Moon in Aquarius ‘Iconclast’ with this comment I guess!

            1. Wish Upon a Star

              Yes I was brave at the time.

              I’m sorry your friend had to go through that. During the extreme lockdowns in Melbourne I saw a few Melbournians on the Drum and they looked exhausted and at their wits end. The cold weather doesn’t help either. No it doesn’t sound psychically healthy at all.

              So I had really bad homesickness for Melbourne at times. And I have put her on a pedestal. But I am older now and know that I need to be surrounded in nature. I may go back to visit but living there?

              Yes I can feel Venus into Leo.

              1. Melbourne is great! But Melbourne today isn’t the Melbourne you left behind. Not even close. The beginning of the Go-Between: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” is so true. I would want a bunch of money to live in Melbourne now. More for Sydney! The beauty of nature is incredible around where I live now, though I won’t adapt to the heat of summer, I appreciate it every day!

            2. Agree with much of what you have said. I have lost friends, colleagues and clients to Qld. And I don’t blame them. The tide is shifting though and many are continuing to fight the good fight and eyes are being opened. This week, I finally felt a shift in the ether. A lifting but also a rising anger. Melbourne is apparently a Virgo and it’s hard to keep a good girl down. And I must admit I love her with a passion. Cannot wait for the election. More and more new parties are being registered. It is going to be interesting.I keep drawing the Queen of Swords. Let’s see.

              1. Melbourne does vibe Virgo, lol – orderly, attractive and bat$hit under pressure internally. My dearest hope there is a shift as it is my home on many levels still! Let’s see!!

            3. Wow Sphinx
              I love your hot take on the neolib narrative warfare / grey war / ragnorock n revelation moment we’re having. Quite

  7. Too much Sagg to be goth. Wondered after return from east why people were wearing black in clubs and it was definitely to do with economics.
    Look what is saved on electricity and shopping.
    A room full of people in black and you have no idea what they are wearing…it’s all black, no differentation.
    So i wore white.

    1. I love white for dressing, Pegasus!
      Fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto said that black creates a beautiful silhouette, though, and he does have a point there maybe.
      But personally still prefer white ☁️☁️☁️

      1. The Little Black Dress IS timeless, but how beautiful is an off shoulder layered white calf length dress in broderie anglaise/swiss cotton.
        And as Invicta said, a black tee always rock’s it.

        1. I love white broderie anglaise… Do have to say that this must be the antithesis of ‘darkly Gothic’ though :-))

  8. Brilliant insightful wrap of a swath of cultural history. Mystic, your perspicaciousness is impressively expansive while written with intriguingly adept articulation.

  9. I’m a triple Aquarian and super Plutonic – natal Pluto trine Sun and rising, Venus in Cap in the 8th house, and Jupiter in Scorp. My heroes are Byron, Poe, Mary Shelley, the Brontes, and I also write Gothic romance historical fiction and horror. I’ve been a Hawthorne groupie this summer, brought on by the Hester-like persecution of the Roe v. Wade debacle here in the States. It’s dark up here in America, no matter what the weather looks like.

  10. I’m still torn between mrs maisel/ chintz everything and whatever we’re calling the goth thing. Mrs maisel vibes win for cycling around because pedal pushers are as far as I go in terms of accommodations based on choice of commute. I refuse to dress in Lycra. I don’t know why -perhaps when athlesure became a fashion niche it lost some of its functional appeal? I didn’t have an issue dressing as if I were headed for the gym before it was popular and the gyms all closed.
    Cycling clothes seem so serious and very silly at the same time. Also cyclists take themselves so seriously- which is fine except I strive not to. So chintzy pedal pushers or an inky jumpsuit are as far as I’m going in terms of suitable attire for cycling in the city.

      1. Ahhh thank you Sphinx xxxx
        I used to wear all atheleisure a la lemon lu lu head to toe with hip hop style costume jewellery and torn denim until I started sewing. I’m floundering a little if I’m honest since it’s much easier to imitate than start from scratch with a lewk. I often wax wistful about the sporty domme days of bold generic (but still fun) posturing of the pre 2017 era. X

      2. LULULEMON! I joke with the original Body Guru in India about the people in Oz who do that ‘stretchy-thing-called-yoga’ wearing lululemon.

  11. On point. I think Cap is more subtle than goth (posh-goth?), but lives with the undercurrent of energetic fuq-you to the seemingly self-immolating world.
    Side note: The most Scorpionic person I know wears anything BUT black, due to their Uranus rising. It will be interesting to see their dressing sense evolve post Uranus opposition aftermath + Nodal axis passing over.

  12. I just started watching the movie Mary Shelley, Kate Bush is back in fashion, and the world outlook is climate and economic doom and gloom. I like the scorpionic esoteric gothic culture but I’ve never liked wearing black because I love colour too much 🖤❤️

    1. And a couple of weeks ago I attended a goldfields gothic festival and went on a ghost tour in a historic Victorian town.

    2. same. venus, mars, neptune in scorpio and moon conjunct pluto and I hate wearing black. once a goth forever a goth though, and I never fell out of love with the music and aesthetic vibe in general (the lace! the studs! the ripped fishnets! the pointy shoes, which I still wear today), but my external black clothes chrysalis lasted about 2 years. I feel like you that I love colour too much. besides, even though my skin is fair and my hair is auburn, black really kills my complexion. it only flatters me it in really deep tones, such as in velvet, fur or leather (and those I can wear every now and then) I never agreed with the morbid curiosity re suicide (because I’d had one in the family) and their playing around with death, which I found bordering with necrophilia.

  13. I rather admire the fashion designer Rick Owens (think he is a Scorpio). Heaps of style. His apartments are amazing, very minimalistic, decorated with black antique Egyptian sarcophagus that he has transported around for seasonal change of residence. His older partner Michelle Lamydresses like she is from Mad Max- she wore his head as a girdle to fashion week. His male models look like futuristic Iggy Pop.

    Goth/noir/black appeals to my Scorp moon

    1. Hey V, I forgot you had a Scorpio Moon too after all this time! Thank you for making me look up Rick Owens and read the article about his moving sarcophagus, I totally agree with all his statements! for those curious. He looks like the love child of Anthony Kiedis and Owen Wilson but with the dignity of several normal humans combined. In my head, his interior decorating style is my own. Just there is a lack of several millions to create travertine everything and an onyx loo.

      1. Oh Sphinx, I So So agree!!
        Yes to the dignity, yes to the interior decorating style and even yes to the perspex heeled boots. I hope to have a lifetime where I learn to live as elegantly minimal yet with that gravitas. There is something monastic about his aesthetic, but also makes sense when you say he has Aries moon, because of all the (black elegant) gym equipment

      2. Thank you for sharing the article about Rick Owens, Veronica! So interesting and what an incredible aesthete he is. His tastes are not mine at all but the way he reflects on and crafts his environment is inspiring. There is some decadence about it too, though he leads a hard-working and disciplined life. And travertine is beautiful!
        Owen’s life partner Michele Lamy is fascinating too, she looks like a high priestess of an ancient tribe. On her Instagram I found a post congratulating her on an April 20 birthday, so that would make her a late Aries? It would fit Owen’s Aries Moon

        1. You described him well, Calcifer! I find his aesthetic really compelling even though it isn’t completely my style. I live with statuary in my home but not sure I could live with that sarcophagus every day, even though it is a phenomenal presence set in that environment.

    2. My comment contains a link so is in quarantine, but yes, Rick Owens is the original scorched earth Plutonic/Mars combo of Scorpio Sun and Aries Moon. Michele is interesting too, creative Taurean goddess with Pisces Moon

      1. I don’t know anybody with Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Aries, but even contemplating the combination inspires apprehension…

        1. My oldest friend is Sun, Venus merc Scorp with Aries moon and Sagg Mars thrown in!! She has always had a cracking sense of humour, and not as vindictive as some other scorps I’ve known. Very individualistic and a Staunch friend-nothing shocks her!!

          1. Omg didn’t click till you said this but my massively introverted, religious-leaning mother is Sun, Merc, Venus in Scorpio + Jupiter, Saturn & Moon in Aries 😶. “And that’s all I got to say about that”. She’s an imploding star personified, she once said she felt she had been a warrior in a past life so I suspect an internally fiercely aggressive person who turned it on themselves.

            1. OMy Goddess, that is an immense lot of energy to not release creatively :/

              My friend has had Huge ongoing struggles with depression and feeling at odds with society . These last few years have been better for her as she has come into a position where she can fully express who she is. Depression and anger put a lot of strain on her relationship with her young daughter, but she loves her fiercely too

          1. Nice to meet you Scorpio Dawn!
            I am sure you get a lot done with Sun in Scorpio and Aries Moon!
            Which I can’t always say about myself 😉 (Sagittarius Sun and Moon in Taurus)

  14. I think I have too many significant placements in fire signs to ever truly align to goth-ness. I think I am more goth-adjacent, a goth-appreciator. A sympathiser, perhaps. Can goths have a tan?

    1. The economic argument is interesting mystic. I’m going to examine it from this angle.
      Also thank you for your daily emails. They are so incredibly helpful rn

  15. Your on point right now, only this weeekend was the release of The Sandman just released on Netflix is the New Goth Aesthetic, So so scorpionic as Morpheus and the dark dreamscape.

  16. Ahhh the Cure! I went to see a band in Newcastle c 1987 at the Congo Club, I assumed they were Goth or punks but no they were straight edge, I’ve never been so “bumped” up against on purpose in my life, painful but so totally sober and mental (good mental) at the same time!

  17. Penelope Darling

    Lugosi was also a fierce union activist.

    I dress almost exclusively in black and I study funerary art so I am delighted by this resurgence. Although I once asked my partner if he considered me “Goth” and he said “No, I think you dress like a mime”. A devestating blow to my ego!

  18. Started going again to a Goth Nightclub about 8 years ago (yes they still exist in Sydney, since Covid they do warehouse events whenever they can) And it was around then I started having recurring dreams that I would meet Pluto/Hades at a Goth Nightclub (where else?) I also began to study astrology and realised Lord Pluto was in my 12th H and bearing down in his majestic dark cloaked way onto my ascendant in the near future, which is now, these past 2 years have been & still are my close encounter moments with His Transformative exquisiteness. It helped that my natal chart is 8th house heavy & my Scorpio moon/Neptune combo aspects most of my chart. I could embrace the darkness “I hear the sons of the city and dispossessed
    Get down, get undressed
    Get pretty but you and me
    We got the kingdom, we got the key
    We got the empire, now as then
    We don’t doubt, we don’t take direction
    Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me….” Sisters of Mercy – Get your goth on.

  19. Hahahaha. This post definitely tickled my fancy. Sun trine Pluto but have always struggled to wear black. I don’t think it was until my forties that I could put on a pair of black pants. Unconsciously picking up on the vibe, I recently bought a pair of black socks but quickly had to pass them on. Not into Bauhaus but am drawn to Lucinda William’s depth and darkness in her music. I have a nephew who is the embodiment of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. My five year old great niece calls him “The grumpy one”. He just naturally does Goth. A beautifully handsome one with chiselled lips. Even the unwashed hair looks amazing. Hahahaha.

    1. Same same, can’t wear black but very occasionally, tho’ do love me a black tee. LUCINDA WILLIAMS?Adore her.

    2. MoonstoneMagnolia

      Lucinda yes. Have the XXL T-shirt, blue, no black or other sizes left, best concert. Sublime road trip music, deep bass guitar. My friends loathe her, reckons she sounds drunk. Her poet dad a mate of Dylan.
      More of a charcoal gal now I’m a silver curly and living in almost frostbite country. Also beloved, tragedy stricken Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and even fictional Sherlock. Dark, deep layers. Unspoken, trysts. Silence. Midnight, hooded lids and a waft of something,,…what? as they turn on their heel, disappearing into the murky night.
      As a Sun square Saturn in Scorpio, conjunct Lilith, 9th house with Pluto square midheaven…. know the drill, and darkness. Too long in the still ok tooth to be Goth with wonky knee and big toe…. but the music … timeless.

        1. MoonstoneMagnolia

          Oh yeah. Saw Nick Cave play many moons ago at Fremantle passenger terminal.. Edgy and I can remember the vibe 30 odd years later. He’s heading this way for another gig, but no rockstar buddies into him and I think it’s standing, which counts me out after a three hour trek to big smoke.

      1. She certainly doesn’t warble. Of course i like that she isn’t mainstream but an acquired taste, totally distinctive.

    1. Penelope Darling

      The new labels for things really prickle me! Someone told me they were into “Whimisgoth” which I finally decoded as the newest incarnation of the Decadent movement. I think the new terms frustrate me because they obscure the history and lineage of these things!

    2. I love dark academia but I never thought of it as gothic, more Ivy League with sexy edge (mona Lisa smile with the sound off is better than Pinterest for inspo)

  20. I would add that The Sandman becoming a live action Netflix series (Neil Gaiman is a goth god) is yet another point in this resurgence.
    There is an Aquarian sensibility to this where it’s very rebellious to commit to a single color– black– which is actually the absence of color, and my Venus, Pluto, and North Node in Scorp love that.

  21. It is all that stuff you’ve mentioned in this piece. And this is one of the things I love about your writing Mystic- you’re so in touch with these energies and they absolutely are happening in reaction to the GFC and now – the resurgence of (as you alluded to in the future everything rave- it’s a wilder kind of gothic vibe than we’ve seen before I feel but so much fun for us gen X es who never really grew out of 4AD and Bauhaus and still secretly crush on Klaus Kinsky 🖤

  22. Omg I lolled so hard when I saw this in my inbox because YES.
    Ive been so torn aesthetically lately as the Pluto square my ascendant and trine my north node and Mars side of me has been 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 all black all the way every day in my ear and It’s like no no you don’t understand I have Venus in Leo and I’m a Virgo sun Mars Mercury girl. We are just nailing that Grace Kelly neutral vibe for summer and managing to steer away from too much white and detoxing a little from all the Florence florals and paisley patchwork prairie dresses. Adding anything black has been forboten for so long now it’s right. I broke free from my better judgment and bought solid cottons to make jumpsuits in deep inky shades like caviar, magnetism, nocturne, ash and pebble. Then some deepest black because I couldn’t resist. Here. Come. The. Jumpsuits.
    thank you for acknowledging 🖤

  23. love that song by bauhaus
    uranus sun & n node in scorp
    im more grunge i guess, but revered to a black bikini this yr instead of tropical print lol

  24. Gen X goth – have never gone away. Gave up the black & red hair and the pallor as I’m naturally blonde (though increasingly silver) and tanned but still love the music and black clothes.
    Pluto rising & sun conjunct lilith. Progressed ascendant in Scorp.

  25. My Uranus in Scorp loves this! Interestingly, my 13 yeast old is like she stepped out of 1990 with a grunge/goth/the craft…. Everything.

        1. Yes! And I do realise she has both a strong Pisces & Aqua Stelliums. She made me a playlist for the train and now it’s my favourite. I never thought I’d be connecting with my teenager on what meant so much to me.

      1. I love love it as I guess it’s always laid (albeit dormant to a degree) in myself. All of a sudden, I’m the cool mum and get her. Her dad on the other hand, is all …”take it easy on the eye liner, April. You’re not wearing those ripped tights with your docs”. Both Gen X er parents only she obviously inherited my Uranus Scorp. And good taste in music 🤣

      1. Oh my gosh!!! Stunning and chip, block 💕 she looks like my daughter’s best friend. She must have a cool mum ☺️🖤

  26. have been feeling the vibe but don’t care enough to manage more than a persistent preference of a daily black tee…

  27. I’d like to think we never left, we were just hidden in our batcave 😂
    my Pluto rising is loving this though 😎🖤

    1. ooooh I have a batcave too which I may need to fly out of hysterically when Pluto opposes my Sun Uranus soon. Things will be scaring me out and no doubt I will be scaring things myself. Will keep you posted.

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