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The Wicca, Man

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  • The Yeti !
    Of interest to some given the recent discussions. http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml? type=internetNews&storyID=2954695 Sabrina, Harry and the Web Help
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29 8:02 PM
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      Of interest to some given the recent discussions.


      http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?
      type=internetNews&storyID=2954695

      Sabrina, Harry and the Web Help UK Paganism Grow
      Thu June 19, 2003 07:16 AM ET
      By Pete Harrison
      LONDON (Reuters) - Paganism and the ancient art of witchcraft are on
      the rise in Britain, experts said on Thursday as the summer's most
      celebrated Pagan festival approached.

      Television, the Internet, environmentalism and even feminism have
      all played a role in the resurgence, they say.

      Soaring Pagan numbers have churches worrying and calling for
      stricter controls on cult TV programs and films that celebrate
      sorcery like "Harry Potter," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Sabrina
      the Teenage Witch."

      Record attendance is expected at dawn on Saturday morning at the
      mystical megaliths of Stonehenge, where Pagans have celebrated the
      summer solstice for thousands of years.

      The trend has worried some of the Protestant church's more
      traditional elements.

      "The rise of interest in Paganism is damaging because it normalizes
      spiritual evil by presenting it as mere fantasy and fiction," said
      Reverend Joel Edwards of the Evangelical Alliance, a grouping of
      some one million UK Christians.

      "The Evangelical Alliance calls on government and TV regulatory
      bodies to monitor programs which promote or glamorize Pagan issues,"
      he told Reuters.

      Thirty thousand are expected to dance in the sunrise on summer's
      longest day at Stonehenge, says English Heritage, which manages the
      site -- nearly four times the number in 1990, when it re-opened to
      the public after many years.

      Scholars believe the ring of 20-tonstones was built between 3,000
      and 1,600 BC as a sacred temple. Many of the revelers will be there
      just to party, but among them will be druids, who believe in
      spiritual enlightenment through nature, and witches who practice
      Wicca -- harnessing nature's power as magic.

      GOOD CITIZENSHIP

      At least 10,000 Pagan witches and 6,000 Pagan druids were practicing
      in Britain at the last estimate in 1996, said history professor
      Ronald Hutton at Bristol University. He too suggested the number was
      rising.

      "Both the witches and the druids were always heavily outnumbered by
      what I'd call non-attached Pagans," he told Reuters. "There are
      perhaps 100,000 to 120,000 in Britain."

      Paganism has been rising in the UK since the 1950s, Hutton
      said. "It's a religion that meets modern needs," he
      added. "Traditional religions have so many prohibitions: Thou shalt
      not do this or that. But Paganism has a message of liberation
      combined with good citizenship."

      He pointed to the ancient Pagan motto: "An (if) it harm none, do
      what you will."

      Matt McCabe of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD) said his
      order had grown from a few hundred in the late 1980s to 7,000
      worldwide today. Much of the growth he put down to the appeal of
      remote learning via the World Wide Web.

      "People are very reassured by the structured learning we can offer
      via the Web," he said.

      The 1970s environmental movement also had an impact, said McCabe,
      with a lot of environmentalists attracted to Paganism because of its
      veneration of nature.

      Hutton said feminism in the 1980s had a similar effect, with women
      drawn to the female god-figure that is also worshipped. Then in the
      1990s came the TV programs "Buffy" and "Sabrina," about teenagers
      with supernatural powers.

      "Anything that makes teenage girls feel powerful is bound to go down
      well," joked OBOD's McCabe.

      Kevin Carlyon, High Priest of British White Witches said "Harry
      Potter" in recent years had continued the trend, helping create what
      he called "the fastest growing belief system in the world." But it
      was not all good, he added.

      Fresh back from a trip to Scotland to lift an old hex from the Loch
      Ness Monster, he warned teenagers against joining witch covens too
      young.

      "There are some bloody weird people out there," he said.
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