Witches Outnumber Presbyterians in the US
The population of self-identified witches has risen dramatically in the United States in recent decades, as interest in astrology and witchcraft practices have become increasingly mainstreamed.
While data is sparse, Quartz noted, the practice of witchcraft has grown significantly in recent decades; those who identify as witches has risen concurrently with the rise of the “witch aesthetic.”
“While the U.S. government doesn’t regularly collect detailed religious data, because of concerns that it may violate the separation of church and state, several organizations have tried to fill the data gap,” Quartz reported.
“From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans in 2008.”
Pew Research Center studied the issue in 2014, discovering that 0.4 percent of Americans, approximately 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan, meaning their communities continue to experience significant growth.
The rapid rise is not a surprise to some given philosophical and spiritual trends in culture.
“It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern and rejects the hypocracy and domineering control of Christianity.” she said, ”Because it’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.'”
Similarly, 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.
Companies like cosmetics giant Sephora have attempted to capitalize on it, marketing a “Starter Witch Kit” to consumers interested in dabbling in witchcraft. In October 2017, Market Watch reported that the psychic services industry grew 2 percent between the years 2011 and 2016, an industry now worth approximately $2 billion.
Rather than deeming everything that is supernatural ‘demonic,’ the Church needs to wake up to the reality of this realm and begin to approach it from a perspective which understands its place and purpose,” said Wanda Alger, field correspondent with Intercessors for America and a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Winchester, Virginia, in a CP interview at the time.