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Today I Was in the Mood to Do Some Writing...
Today I was in the mood to do some writing. At the moment I have some fan fiction and three original stories in the process, with fairly well developed plot lines and characters. However, I still have some research that has to be done. My first ‘Google’ was on religion statistics. I was curious to see the actual percentages of religions in the world. To my surprise, the solid information was hard to come by.
I realize that Christianity is regarded as the largest organized religion in the world at 33% (www.vexen.co.uk) with Islam coming in a close second. I was disappointed at visiting HEATHblog, where I watched a flash video of the spread of religion (I should mention now that I do not know if it was created by the webmaster, I have the impression is was not). It started in 3000 BC and led all the way up to 2000 AD. Five major religions were introduced, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It seems quite logical, these are still five of the dominating religions today, and even though much of the Jewish race was horrifically obliterated by the Holocaust, it is still a fairly strong religion.
Maybe now is the time I should tell you that I am a proud practicing Pagan, (or Neo-Pagan if you will) and Witch.
Don’t stop reading on my account.
As I scanned lists of percentages on various websites, filled with religions I had never known existed or had thrived, I could not find one that listed Paganism, Wicca, or Witchcraft in their lists. I am not sure if you are aware, but they are all recognized religions here in our United States. I was not even conscious to the fact that Confucianists still dominated enough to have a world percentage (0.10% for those curious).
One of my original stories I’m writing has to do with a young woman who moves to England in search of a new life and moves into a house with a neighborhood pariah. This woman she moves in with, in her thirties or so, happens to be a Witch. Now as a Pagan myself, I know a thing or two about Paganism and Witchcraft and that wasn’t the problem. I wanted to know how realistic it was, and how many people in the world really chose this path, or were born into it.
Realizing I wasn’t going to get my way in my current search, I searched on the ‘percentage of pagans’. The second link that was listed on good ‘old Google (GOG), was The Open Hearth Foundation (OHF) and a lovely article about Pagan demographics. The United States statistics stated that in our home country in 2001 there were 140,000 Pagans, 68,000 New Agers, 33,000 Druids, 22,000 Santerians and 134,000 Wiccans. This group combined creates a whopping 0.15% of the American adult population (I hope you all swallowed that dose of sarcasm, folks). Worldwide, the number of Neo-Pagans is estimated (At Wikipedia) to be about 1 million out of the 6 billion in the world. Gee, no wonder I have to use networking sites.
Now that the facts are laid out, you are all probably snoozing at your desks, and slouching over in your swivel chairs wondering, “What in the hell is her point?” My point is awareness; my point is knowledge, and acceptance.
It hurt a bit, not enough to get me down, but it hurts when the rest of the world does not recognize something that you hold close to you. The fact that I had to search and search to find the percentage of people like myself was not a great feeling. Granted, as a solitary practitioner I’m used to that. I’ve been lucky enough to have accepting friends, who don’t exactly know all of my deep beliefs, save for a few. And I’ve been lucky to have some Atheist friends who I know wont judge me.
When I was Christian (believe it or not, I made it to my first communion!), I did know many more people like myself. I went to church every Sunday and, though I didn’t enjoy it, I could talk about faith with people. Now I find myself afraid of going into a Church for fear of being struck down by lightning! Not even my sister really knows, and telling my grandparents would ruin me.
I only hope that someday Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft and many other “broom closet” religions can be accepted, not just by law, but also by humanity. I accept all people, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist. I feel that there is a higher power above it all, and it doesn’t matter what you believe, because in a way religions are all under the umbrella of life. And we all come together in other ideals, music, laughter, and love. We should be brought together by the love of our beliefs, not separated by the beliefs themselves. We should all be brave enough to say, “This me, this who I am, take it or leave it.”