According to Reportingtexas.com, the American Religious Identification Survey has found that the number of self-identified Wiccans has increased from 134,000 in 2001 to 342,000 in 2008 which is the latest year figures are available.
However, because Wicca is a highly decentralized religion with no central authority, it’s very difficult to get an accurate tally of its members.
“Wicca is a modern version of ancient pagan religions, created in England and brought to the United States in the 1960s. Its followers worship a goddess and a god, honor the Earth and practice ritual magic. They follow the Wiccan Rede, a statement of principles that stresses the importance of doing no harm,” the article states.
It’s recent growth is part of the country’s rapidly changing religious environment where increasing numbers are leaving established religions to become either unaffiliated or members of alternative religions.
In 2014, about 5.9 percent of Americans followed a non-Christian faith, up from 4.7 percent in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The number of people who have institutional affiliation are declining in general, so [Wicca] is part of a larger trend,” said Jennifer Graber, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin. “People are not aligning themselves in traditional religious ways.”
Reporting Texas interviewed an 80 year-old Wiccan named Ed Fitch, a member of a coven in Austin, who calls himself a senior high priest.
“We believe that everything is part of the One,” Fitch said. “Everything in the universe is linked to everything else in the universe.”
This belief system is known as pantheism and is a hallmark of New Age and many Eastern religions.
Fitch claims to be part of the Gardnerian Wicca tradition which was created by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950’s. Gardner claimed he learned Wiccan lore and many of its rituals from a centuries-old coven of witches that no one has ever been able to locate. He is believed to have invented most of the rites or borrowed them from rituals created earlier in the twentieth century by the notorious British Satanist, Aleister Crowley.
Another man named Philip Elmore, 22, told ReportingTexas that he was attracted to Wicca because of the equality in its theology.
“Traditional religion is very hierarchical, or even patriarchal at times, while paganism has always been focusing on everyone is equal,” Elmore said. “We don’t just have god, who in Christian values is a white male. We’ve got a goddess. They are equal to each other.”
Mary Caldwell, who once dabbled in Wicca as a teen, returned to the practice after her children grew up.
“My kids were a little bit older and I could actually get more time for myself,” said Caldwell. “So I got back to my spirituality.”
She and her husband Joe are “third-degree Gardnerians” who are qualified to lead a coven.
Caldwell doesn’t hide her “faith” and has Wiccan signs hanging in her office.
“It’s funny, because I’ve got people who are devoted Catholics coming to me and saying, ‘I’ve got a problem, and can you do a spell for me?’ ” she said.
We shouldn’t be shocked by any of this. When God is removed from a society, people will try to satisfy their spiritual hunger in other ways, such as with the occult and New Age.
The lack of education being given to Christians about the dangers of these practices is almost nonexistent within mainstream churches, leaving many, such as the Catholics who ask Caldwell to work spells for them, without sufficient knowledge to protect themselves.