The number of self identified witches in America has soared in recent years to 1.5 million.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 0.4 per cent of Americans, between 1 and 1.5 million - identify as Wicca or Pagan, according toQuartz.
That means there are now more witches in the US than there are Presbyterians who have around 1.4 million adherents.
Experts believe that the explosion in the witch population is due to millennial women’s embracing of new-age spirituality, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.
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.
They endeavor to achieve self-awakening through dancing, singing, chanting, and with the use of herbs and incense.
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.
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.
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.
This means they are more open to exploring other faiths and customs outside of the mainstream.
While in decades past the term ‘witch’ has misogynistic connotations and was used a pejorative, modern-day witches have adopted the lifestyle as an expression of their feminism.
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.
The word 'witchcraft' has three main connotations: the practice of magic or sorcery; the beliefs associated with the Western witch-hunts of the 14th to the 18th century; and varieties of the modern movement called Wicca.
Wicca was first publicized in 1954 by a British civil servant named Gerald Gardner who said the religion dated to an old witch cult that existed in secret for hundreds of years, originating in the pre-Christian Paganism of Europe.
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.
The Wiccan New Year of Samhain is considered a precursor to modern Halloween.
Today it coincides with Halloween on October 31.
Historically, it was a Celtic festival held on November 1 where the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to mankind.
Modern witches say it is a time of year when the 'veil between the dead and the living is thin.'
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