This rise in popularity of non-traditional spirituality can be seen all over social media, is it a generational fad, or a new age of religion?
If you heard the word witch, you may imagine a character with green skin, a long nose, and a pointy hat, religion may not be your first thought, however, Wiccan and pagan religions are experiencing a rise, alongside the rise of Gen-Z on social media.
Pagan religions have been around as far back as history books go; paganism as a term was created in the fourth century by Christians to describe the Romans who worshiped more than one god.
With the rise of Christianity and other religions based around monotheism (the belief that there is only one god), came the downfall of paganism, especially in White European countries; with the 16th century came the rise of puritanism, and the prosecution of ‘witches’ and paganism.
Now paganism, specifically Wicca, is having a new rise in popularity. Wicca as a religion is quite new; it found its origins in 1950s England after the Witchcraft Act 1735, which made witchcraft a crime, was repealed in 1951, gradually leading to the spread of Wicca through Europe and the United States.
Living in a secular society with a secular government allows people the freedom to explore religion and see what suits them best, in fact rejecting the idea of religion as a whole has become normal, which is why I believe we are seeing an uprise in Wiccan practicing youths.
Wicca, though definitely a component of anti-culture among alternative youth, goes far beyond that. Wicca is based around simple components, looking after yourself, looking after the planet, and meditation. There is no set rule book to Wicca, it’s more of a collection of information, and finding a way of practicing that most suits you. It is this flexibility and basic structure which is increasing the popularity in Wicca.
Deities are a part of Wicca, however, depending on how you choose to practice the craft, they are not the centre of the religion. The many different ways you can practice Wicca is part of why so many people have become interested in the religion.
Also, center part of Wicca is Mindfulness, which is proven to be very beneficial for mental health issues and is used in a medical setting alongside cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat numerous mental health issues, which is why so many people may find comfort in the religion.
A lot of people have problems with the religions you see every day, and many have religion-based trauma, but Wicca is something new, even though it is based on ideas that have been around since before Christianity, it has only recently become acceptable to practice, which is why many of the younger generations are finding solace in the religion.