Number of People Practicing Wicca, Paganism Growing Dramatically
The number of people who identify religiously as Wiccan has seen a meteoric rise in the United States, according to census data and a study conducted by Trinity College. Some attribute this witchy surge to an increased interest in astrology and the esoteric, while others say it’s clearly a sign of the times. Whatever the case may be, appropriation and corporate attempts to monetize the trend abound.
According to a study collected by Trinity College between 1990 and 2008, identification with Wicca in the U.S. increased from 8,000 to 340,000 members over the 18-year period.
And that trend continues today, with a 2014 Pew Research Study finding the number of people who identified as Wiccan or Pagan jumped to close to a million people. And yes, there is a difference between Wicca and Paganism, but for the sake of making a point about the demographic, let’s consider them together.
The reason the two have grown so significantly may be due to a breakdown of misconceptions about what these religions actually stand for, many of which have been falsely spread by the church in the past. Unlike the evil stereotypes that have historically been cast on witches and pagans, millennials understand these practices have a reverence for nature, are polytheistic, and averse to the strict dogmas of mainstream religions.
Wicca has no centralized, authoritative body and embraces a number of diverse sects, lineages, and traditions – of course, this generation finds it appealing.
If you haven’t heard recent claims of pop-stars practicing Wicca, or stories of hexes placed on political figures, then this sudden spike in witchcraft may come as a surprise. But for those aware, the recent occult fascination makes sense. In fact, the rise in the number of witchcraft practitioners may have outpaced certain Christian denominations, including Presbyterianism, according to some sources.
But these situations have always presented themselves as a clarion call to corporations looking to profit from a newfound lifestyle interest, leading to cultural or religious appropriation seen in tone deaf marketing and advertising.
A recent article published by Quartz, shows how the cosmetics brand Sephora, was called out for its sale of a “Starter Witch Kit,” which included essential oils and a sage stick to jumpstart the aspiring witchy neophyte. The company quickly pulled the product after true Wiccans expressed their disapproval.
And it’s not just corporations that get it wrong when it comes to esoteric spirituality. Earlier this year we interviewed a couple who run Mountain Magic Tarot in Richlands Virginia – a shop that was told it could not practice tarot readings due to a misperception that it was hostile to the town’s mostly Christian population.
It seems inevitable though, that if you’re going to practice any religion – especially one historically thought to be synonymous with evil – someone will misconstrue your philosophy. Let’s change that paradigm.
To learn more about Wicca and its philosophy check out this episode of Beyond Belief with former-rockstar-turned-witch Fiona Horne:
Am I a Mystic? 10 Telltale Signs of Mystics
Have you ever wondered, “Am I a mystic?” Chances are probably not. Mysticism holds a very loose definition, which can often be complicated, confusing, and nearly impossible to express with mere words. In Mysticism, direct knowledge of spiritual truth or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience.
Ultimate reality is something that is supreme, final, and the fundamental power in all reality. Unlike Christianity, Islam or Judaism, Mysticism is not rooted in faith, principle, dogma, or even belief. This is because you do not “believe” in Mysticism. Instead, Mystics are born.
For Mystics, the world is expansive and magical yet also intricately and undoubtedly connected. Mystics must possess a certain frame of mind, or ways of honing psychic ability, when viewing the world and have an understanding temperament. For example, while some believe impulses to be random and instinctual,
Mystics see the divine intervention behind the impulse. Free will does not exist. Instead, there is a greater fundamental power that moves every action and decision toward the accomplishment of a greater plan.
Because of this natural understanding of the Universe in everything, Mystics feel a need to serve others in order to help guide them through obstacles and critical life decisions. Their ability for intuition and connection is unique and is derived from within. Not everyone can be a mystic, it is not something that can be learned or taught, therefore those who realize their innate abilities have the responsibility to help those without.