Tag Archives: pagan

Witch population doubles as millennials cast off Christianity

Satanists at Trump inauguration protest, DC

From NY Post: If you were interested in witchcraft in 1692, you probably would have been jailed or burned at the stake. If you’re interested in witchcraft in 2018, you are probably an Instagram influencer.

From crystal subscription boxes to astrologist-created lip balm, the metaphysical has gone mainstream. Millennials today know more about chakras than your kooky New Age aunt. That’s why it’s no surprise that the generation that is blamed for killing everything is actually bringing popularity to centuries-old practices.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 1.5 million Americans identify as Wiccan or pagan. A decade ago, that number was closer to 700,000. Presbyterians, by comparison, have about 1.4 million votaries.

So why has witch popularity doubled? Perhaps it’s because millennials were raised on Harry Potter? Or maybe it’s because of the rise in popularity of yoga and meditation, researchers suggest.

Regardless, millennials have embraced astrology and the supernatural, even if they aren’t quite sure why. In fact, Stella Bugbee, editor-in-chief and president of the Cut, told the Atlantic that their horoscope content traffic increased 150 percent from 2016 to 2017.

In the same article, Lucie Greene, worldwide director of J. Walter Thompson’s innovation group, which looks at cultural trends, said that over the past few years, New Age practices have “very much geared toward a millennial and young Gen X quotient.”

It’s important to note, however, that while most Wiccans are pagans, all pagans are not necessarily Wiccans. All “witches” also aren’t necessarily “Wiccan.” Confused? Us too.

“Pagan” is an umbrella term that includes a number of different spiritual beliefs, often lumped in with “primitive beliefs,” which was used to describe people from rural areas who had not adopted Christianity. “Wicca” is a religion that “affirms the existence of supernatural power,” according to Merriam-Webster. The term “Wiccan” didn’t enter the mainstream until the late 1950s.

Meanwhile, social media has made it easy for witches of all kinds to bring their practices out into the light, because let’s face it, shiny things like crystals make prime social content.

Influencers like Hoodwitch bring “everyday magic for the modern mystic” to your Instagram feed daily. Moreover, there are more than 2 million posts on the app with the hashtag #witchesofinstagram. Still, it’s not just millennials embracing technology to spread the sorcery. Laurie Cabot, the “Original Witch of Salem,” shares daily spells and insight on Twitter. Cabot was bestowed that title by the then-governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, in 1977.

Now, it’s not clear if today’s witches are actually practicing spells (they are, see below) and attending new moon meditations or if they’re just capitalist crones scooping up all the witch kitsch. Regardless, it all looks good on Instagram, and when it comes to millennials, that’s the whole point.

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W VA college professor forbids students from using FoxNews as source

A professor at West Liberty University (WLU), a public university in West Virginia, tells her students they are not to use Fox News as a source.
Visiting (temporary) Assistant Professor of Political Science Stephanie Wolfe has a list in her course syllabus of sources that her students are to use and to abjure.
Among the sources her students must not use are the satirical and wholly fictitious website The Onion, as well as Fox News, a cable news channel that is regarded as more politically conservative than other cable news channels such as the more liberal CNN and the decidedly leftwing CNBC.
Josh Eachus reports for WTOV9, Feb. 12, 2013, that students and parents are questioning Wolfe’s syllabus that filtered student’s research options.  The syllabus for Wolfe’s political science course tells students what sources they can and cannot use. Among those sources that students are asked not to use are The Onion, an openly fictitious parody of real-life news, and Fox News, a professional news organization. In the syllabus, Wolfe allegedly says, “The tagline Fox News makes me cringe.”
Upset students and parents have taken their concerns to local media, saying that it is unfair to the students to encourage some sources which lean in one direction politically, while discouraging those going in the other direction.
In response, WLU President Robin Capehart said: “One of our values at West Liberty is to encourage students to go out and inquire and gather information and look at as many different sources as possible on any side, before you reach your opinion. If students have concerns about these types of issues, they can approach their department chair, they can approach the dean. Any attempt to limit the breadth of a student’s ability to investigate is obviously something at which we have a concern.”
WLU officials said Stephanie Wolfe is only with the university for this year in place of another instructor who had taken leave.  They also said Wolfe has gone back to the class and lifted any limitation on research sources.

I found Wolfe’s faculty profile on WLU’s website:

Stephanie Wolfe, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Political Science/International Studies

Note the wiccan “goddess” pendant on her necklace in Wolfe’s profile photo below:

Stephanie Wolfe

Here’s a close up of Wolfe’s pendant (l) and a pic of a “goddess” key chain (r) I found on the web:
Stephanie Wolfe
If you want to leave a message for WLU president Robin Capehart, the university has a blog, “West Liberty Online,” where you can write a comment on Capehart’s Biography page. Click here!

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