Anything but those Abrahamic religions


There has been a steady rise in the number of Nones in America, which troubles the Christian majority. You know what else they should worry about? The growth in the number of witches.

…radio host and author Carmen LaBerge noted on Twitter that the figures are striking in that witches outnumber certain Christian denominations.

“As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil,” she said Tuesday.

Portrayals of occultism as either fun or morally neutral have been appearing more in culture in recent years and in light of growing interest. Companies like cosmetics giant Sephora have attempted to capitalize on it, marketing a “Starter Witch Kit” to consumers interested in dabbling in witchcraft. However, the company angered a number of actual witches and was ultimately forced to apologize and pull the product.

I think what this ought to tell everyone is that there is growing dissatisfaction with organized religion and its patriarchal assumptions. People aren’t so much flocking to, as they are flocking away.

I’m personally not interested in becoming a Wiccan. Unless maybe they also knit.

Comments

  1. Cass says

    I checked for that “witch kit” at Sephora – it’s GlamGlow face masks. I am very, very disappointed.

  2. raven says

    There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil,” she said Tuesday.

    This number of 1.5 million doesn’t look correct.
    I tried to trace it back.

    https://qz.com/quartzy/1411909/the-explosive-growth-of-witches-wiccans-and-pagans-in-the-us/
    Although Trinity College hasn’t run a survey since 2008, the Pew Research Center picked up the baton in 2014. It found that 0.4% of Americans, or around 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan—which suggests continued robust growth for the communities.

    This seems to be the primary source.
    They are combining Wiccans and Pagans.
    This isn’t at all correct.
    They are very different religions.
    Due to persecution, a lot of Wiccans won’t answer survey questions about their religion.

    The best answer I can come up with is that no one really knows how many Wiccans there are.
    It’s likely to be around 1 million plus or minus 1/2 million.

  3. says

    I don’t understand much about it, but at least some of the Wiccans I’ve met are atheists and naturalists too.

  4. says

    @raven #2,
    You’re right they seem to be conflating Wiccanism and Paganism. Often Wiccanism is considered a subset of Paganism, but there are definitely non-Wiccan Pagans.

    Incidentally, I work on an online survey that asks about this, and we have about 1% Wiccan and 4% Other Pagan. (It’s higher than in the general population probably because of sampling.) The largest groups of “Other Pagan” appear to be Eclectic Paganism, Hellenism, and Norse Paganism.

  5. says

    Every time I see “Nones” with the N capitalized like that, I first think it’s a two syllable word, the name of a sect that I should have heard about by now.

    A minute later, I go “oh, yeah” and realize its a category in a poll.

  6. raven says

    The largest groups of “Other Pagan” appear to be Eclectic Paganism, Hellenism, and Norse Paganism.

    I’m a secular Pagan myself.
    And not the only one by a lot.
    It’s close enough to atheism as to not be different.

    The nice thing about Paganism is that you can create your own pantheon of gods.
    All of which are equally as powerful as the xian gods, but much cooler.
    Isis healing, Gaia earth, Sophia wisdom, Bast cats, Athena wisdom, Thor being cool,

  7. raven says

    I used to get a Pagan newsletter from the west coast, occasionally.
    They all used names like Gandalph Greywolf, Sunrise, Morningstar etc..
    Not because they wanted to sound cool.
    But because they were anonymous to avoid persecution from fundie xians.
    A lot of Pagans and Wiccans keep a low profile because of this.

    Pagans were frequently targeted by fundie xians by being fired from jobs, kicked out of rental housing, pets killed, and sometimes their cars and houses were shot up.
    Half the content were stories of discrimination and more than a few religious discrimination lawsuits filed.
    That they actually won in court.

  8. microraptor says

    I dabbled with Wicca once, but I could never shake the feeling of being in a LARP that everyone else was taking too seriously.

  9. Artor says

    @ Raven. I count myself as a Pagan atheist. There’s too much woo in Wicca for me to take it seriously, but I don’t mind hanging out with witches. They throw good parties. Which newsletter was that? Green Egg? I had someof my artwork published in that long ago, and I went to a Beltane celebration and met Oberon and Morning Glory Zell, and traded an original portrait of Fathom Hummingbear for an oz of his homegrown weed.

  10. raven says

    Which newsletter was that?

    It wasn’t Green Egg.
    It was called Pathways.
    It was distributed as a free newsprint paper in places that carry those i.e. coffee houses, community restaurants etc..
    Then it went online only and has since disappeared.

  11. Matt G says

    So do Christians (and others) believe that people who call themselves witches can actually practice witchcraft? Because if they do, THEY BELIEVE IN WITCHCRAFT!

  12. says

    Speaking of pentagrams, I never thought I’d join a religion, but due to church encroachment on state, I joined The Satanic Temple.

  13. johnlee says

    The Christians are damned scared of Pagans, but just wait to see their faces when Quetzocoatl returns!

  14. says

    @Matt G. I always find it amusing that they believe witches do have powers, instead of deciding they’re deluded, and that only God has real power. But they’re also people who believe demons and other oogie boogies are running around, so it’s not much of a stretch to believe magic powers are real.

  15. wzrd1 says

    @16, one learns to believe in magic when works with UHF and microwave circuits. Have a malfunctioning circuit, poke around, shift some leads, button it up and it’s a PFM repair (Pure Fucking Magic), because it works.
    Or some stray interference, due to lead dress, or perhaps, it is magic, but it holds up.
    Usually. :/
    Sometimes, the magic smoke leaks out instead…

  16. birgerjohansson says

    The number of worshippers of Gozer and his minion Zuul is self-limiting, due to the consequences of Gozer making a personal appearence.

  17. Sonja says

    Big in the ‘80s. One of the things that confirmed my identity as an atheist (figured that out at age 14), were friends dabbling in Wicca in the 1980s. The stuff they were doing and believing was just plain stupid. I knew I was different from them in that I couldn’t believe utter nonsense, but didn’t really find other people who thought like me until the 1990s. Still, most of those people are online (I encounter very few atheist, skeptic, politically-progressive, fact-checkers in my day-to-day life).

  18. KG says

    So do Christians (and others) believe that people who call themselves witches can actually practice witchcraft? – Matt G@13

    Well of course people who call themselves witches can practice witchcraft – it’s just that they never get to be any good at it ;-)

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