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Wiccans now Outnumber Episcopalians in the U.S.

Wiccans now Outnumber Episcopalians in the U.S.

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
November 25, 2018

The number of self-identified witches in America has soared in recent years to 1.5 million, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. They found that 0.4 per cent of Americans, between 1 and 1.5 million - identify as Wicca or Pagan.

That means there are now more witches in the US than there are practicing Episcopalians, who number 556,744, a loss of 37.4% since 2,000.

Experts believe that the explosion in the witch population is due to millennial women's embracing of new-age spirituality, mindfulness, meditation and yoga.

The Episcopal Church has embraced most of the above with the possible exception of Yoga because the average age of an Episcopalian is 65 and contorting one's body into strange and new positions is no longer possible.

Wicca, also called Witchcraft or The Craft, is a Pagan religion which emerged in Britain in the early 20th century. Based on 'pre-Christian traditions,' it was popularized by a retired British civil servant named Gerald Gardner throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Wicca adherents praise nature and nature's gods and goddesses.

They practice outside in parks, gardens or fields.

Sometimes they practice them in Episcopal churches when the weather is inclement.

They endeavor to achieve self-awakening through dancing, singing, chanting and with the use of herbs and incense. Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold got his bishops to practice the Circle Dance of Dispossession with no noticeable change in either dispossession or dancing.

Despite some depictions, it has no connections with Satanism.

The Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star inside a circle, is often confused with symbols of Satanism.

The Episcopal Church still (officially) recognizes the cross as its symbol but few bishops believe in substitutionary atonement.

In fact, the five points represent the elements of nature - earth, air, fire and water - and the spirit, within the eternal circle of life.

Before the Pew study, Trinity College in Connecticut conducted three large-scale studies on religion which found that the Wicca population grew significantly between 1990 and 2008.

About Trinity: At Trinity College, we believe in transcending boundaries. Defying standard definitions. Staying true to ourselves, and going our own way. We want you to do the same.

The Episcopal Church has been practicing this for decades.

In 1990, the Wicca in the U.S. numbered an estimated 8,000. By 2008, the number grew to 340,000.

The United Kingdom is also considered home to a sizable population of Wicca. A 2011 government census found that there are 12,000 Wiccans in England and Wales.

Social media has been the forum through which witches and witch influencers can gain a mass following.

There's The Hoodwitch, a witch influencer with 329,000 followers on Instagram.

The Hoodwitch practices 'everyday magic for the modern mystic.'

Experts say that one does not need to be a Wicca or Pagan in order to be a witch, meaning that the actual number of those who practice witchcraft may be higher.

Wicca is recognized as an official religion in the United States.

It is a primarily Western movement of nature worship based on pre-Christian traditions.

The Wiccan witch religion honors the 'Elements of Nature' - Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit - and their associated directions - North, East, South, West, Center - in 'sacred circles' where rituals are held.

END

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