The Wild Hunt has written a lot about people who claim no particular religion, the “nones,” as they’ve been dubbed by various media outlets and analysts, I think their rise in recent years will be one of the largest phenomenons affecting our movement as we move into the future. “As for the “nones” I believe their rise, even if it’s at the expense of “liberal” forms of our dominant monotheisms, is ultimately a boon for our interconnect communities. The rise of “nones” and the “spiritual but not religious” give us a safe space, a cultural buffer to grow and experiment in. It destabilizes the narrative of inevitable Christian power, and opens the door to minority faiths having a stronger voice in discussions around religious rights and moral issues that affect us all. It creates the opportunity to visualize a post-Christian culture.” In addition, I believe that religions outside the Judeo-Christian mainstream, including Pagan religions, shape the religious/spiritual views of “nones” far more than the current data suggests.
Back in 2010 cultural anthropologist Kimberly Kirner, PhD (formerly Hedrick), launched a Pagan health survey to, quote, “help policy-makers and service providers understand our needs and beliefs.” The data collected from that survey was presented at the annual meeting of The American Public Health Association (APHA) in November of that year. Now, Dr. Kirner is launching a follow-up survey to explore some of her initial findings in greater depth. “Why should you take the Pagan Health Survey II? I am Pagan Druid and a cultural anthropologist at California State University, Northridge. I started the Pagan Health Survey in 2010, which provided a snapshot into the Pagan community, including our beliefs about healing and wellness and the choices we make in navigating the health care community. From the first survey, we learned that our community shares some strong common models about healing and wellness and that we have particular challenges in obtaining optimal health care.
A University of Derby-led research team has conducted a survey of religious groups, analyzed legal rulings over the last decade, and polled individuals in several cities, with the results finding “substantial” discrimination against religious minorities and new religious movements in the UK. Especially affected groups include Muslims, members of new religious movements, and modern Pagans. “The project’s initial findings have identified […] substantial reporting of unfair treatment on the basis of religion or belief continuing across key areas of people’s lives […] reports of unfair treatment indicate that it continues to particularly affect certain sectors (employment, education and the media) and religious groups (Muslims, Pagans and New Religious Movements).” Paul Weller, Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, told Huffington Post UK that the team noticed a a “particular frequency and severity in the complaints relating to” Pagans and new religious movements. “There are many instances of discrimination against Christians, but the discrimination against new religions is more ‘in-your-face’, verging on hatred. For Pagans, many of them have kept their religion secret, for fear it would be misunderstood.”
According to Grey Matter Research, Americans think our country is far more religiously diverse than it actually is. In a survey of 747 adults the research and consulting firm found that most underestimated the size of Christianity and over-estimated the size of atheists, Muslims, and other religious minorities. “The typical American adult pegs religious affiliation in the U.S. as follows: 24% Catholic, 20% Protestant, 19% unaffiliated, 9% Jewish, 9% atheist or agnostic, 7% Muslim, 7% Mormon, and 5% from all other religious groups. In reality, according to the 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Americans are right on target with the proportion of Catholics and the “all other” category, but way off target on the rest of the landscape. The typical American badly underestimates how many Protestants there are in the country, and way overestimates the presence of religious minorities such as Mormon, Muslim, and atheist/agnostic.” In fact, if you check the Pew Forum data from 2008, you’ll see that Muslims in America only comprise 0.6% of the population. In contrast “Unitarians and other liberal faiths” comprise 0.7% and “New Age” faiths (ie Pagans) comprise around 0.4%.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
The Chicago-based Pagan/magical performance troupe Terra Mysterium is in the midst of a IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for their new show “The Alembic,” an alchemical Steampunk fantasy. Quote: “The clockwork of fate is a tricky matter. In this Steampunk musical tale, an alchemist undertakes the work of transmutation.