Wiccans on the Rise in U.S.
water quality lab reportHOOPESTON, IL – OCTOBER 25: Wicca religion practitioners (L-R) Rev. Don Lewis, Rev. Krystal High-Correll, and Rev. Virgina Powell HPS and student Ashleigh Powell and Cathy Smith participate in a Wiccan Lunar ritual in the temple at the Witch School October 25, 2006 in Hoopeston, Illinois.
When one thinks of a witch, the first thought that comes to mind is green skin, warts, boiling caldrons containing “eye of newt”, black cats, Halloween, and sometimes, the Devil himself.
Not so, say practitioners of Wicca, or Witchcraft, as it is commonly called.
Wiccans want to assure the public that there is nothing sinister about their chosen religion. There are no connections to Satan, and they certainly are not evil.
In recent times, most major religions have been losing footing in the United States. Wicca is one giant exception to that rule. Studies find that Wiccans increased their numbers by over 1 million since 2001, and account for more than 1% of the population. (American Religious Identification Survey)
What is the attraction to Wicca that has caused these numbers to increase so rapidly? Perhaps it is the boom of the information age. People are no longer subject to the “bad press” given to witches that came before the Internet. Now, with answers a mere mouse click away, people are able to find out the truth about practices, and are able to make a more informed decision about religious dogma.
Reverend Virginia Powell High Priestess
Another contributing factor may be the rise in Environmental awareness. Wiccans express a profound appreciation for the Earth, and there is a distinct appeal for those who cherish nature and Mother Earth.
Whatever the case may be, witches are enjoying a rennaisance of sorts. Their popularity continues to soar. Only now, unlike the days of the Salem Trials, witches are much more likely to be viewed positively, or at least not shunned. They no longer need to fear, “coming out of the broom closet”.
With all of this said, there is still much uncertainty and misconception revolving this pagan religion. In an effort to combat the stereotypes, many Wiccans have been coming forward, offering glimpses at their ceremonies and lifting the veil of secrecy. In Chicago, there is even a Wiccan School, which grew out of the Web Site, Homepage.
“One of the things that we found is that people frequently did not have access to information and wanted to learn more about Wicca and metaphysics,” said the school’s chancellor and one of its owners, the Rev. Don Lewis. “And we went into online teaching in order to make it more accessible to people. But it was never our intention that [the site] should replace real-time teaching.” (source: click for source)
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Below, you will see a video that explains the Spiral Dance Ritual in San Francisco, CA.
To further explore the benign face of Witchcraft, I’ve found that there is even a Witches’ Home Shopping Network, or as they call it, Witches’ Home Shopping Cauldron.
Watch a video of the program below! Very cute.
And if you haven’t had enough, I found this great video of a Wiccan Priest and Priestess, Morning Glory and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, discussing their life, their love, and their religions beliefs.