Saturday, 2 Dec 2023

Modern Britain’s witchcraft hotspots revealed as 13,000 witches in UK – mapped

Conducted every 10 years, the census is the most wide-ranging and revealing survey about the residents of England and Wales carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

An important endeavour for social scientists and policymakers going back two centuries, its seriousness was undermined in 2001 when a voluntary question about religion was first included – which just under 400,000 Brits answered “Jedi”.

The “Any other religion, write in” box has endured, and today provides reliable insights into the lesser-known faiths practised around the country.

Perhaps most interestingly of all is the growing group of self-proclaimed witches, who numbered 13,858 in 2021 – up 6.3 per cent over the past decade.

Check’s interactive map below to see how many Wiccans and practitioners of witchcraft are in your area this Halloween.

READ MORE: The Royal Family can’t celebrate Halloween in public due to strict rule

Social media platforms like TikTok have amplified interest in sorcery in recent years. #WitchTok videos have collectively gathered 30 billion views, while #babywitch, catering to newcomers, has amassed over 600 million.

Even back in 2019, the surging popularity of “The Craft” prompted The New York Times to ask: “When Did Everybody Become a Witch?”

The “when” may be elusive, but at least on this side of the pond we have the answer to “where” – and it’s Cornwall, with 267 people observing Wicca or witchcraft.

This may come as little surprise to those with knowledge of the South Western county’s fantastical reputation as a land apart once inhabited by pixies, fairies and giants. The village of Boscastle on the north coast pays homage to this lore with the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

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Wicca and witchcraft are part of the larger contemporary pagan movement, including druids, heathens and many others, which celebrates pre-Christian beliefs.

In some ways, they are ripe for these modern, progressive times: deferring to a Goddess as well as a God, and referring to all practitioners as “witches” regardless of gender. In practical terms, their belief in magic and mass rituals aimed at establishing direct contact with the divine seem hopelessly anachronistic.

And yet, people all over the country openly subscribe to such “spiritual paths”, as they are known. The Yorkshire city of Leeds is home to the second-largest witch population, with 187 followers.

Birmingham came in third place (175), followed by Wiltshire (170) and Plymouth (140).

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