Both the Wild Hunt blog and Hardscrabble Creek have got some good coverage on the Pagan census, but for a recap: Helen Berger’s getting a recount. The original survey from 2003 needs an update, and like Drawing Down the Moon, needs to be continuously updated to have value. Given the recent “findings” of Gallup polls wherein “most of America is Christian” but that completely ignores anything falling out of the three dominant Abrahamist sects and especially ignores Islam, it is increasingly important that Pagans do let their presence and practices be known. A key act of disempowerment by those with religious-dominance motivation is to pass off Pagans and Paganism as either fiction – “witches don’t really exist” – or as people with an “imaginary/made up” religion.
Back in the 90s I wrote an article on the importance of knowing Pagan demographics. At the time there were still quite a few vocal “off-the-grid” people who, at the time, I was kind of scared of. I don’t have those fears anymore, and I don’t have patience with those who seem to think there is merit in making their lives more difficult. If you’ve been called to a Pagan path, you’re already assumed to be at cross-purposes with mainstream culture and life is difficult enough. I hope to find the pdf of that article to share here – I know I scanned it last year so it’s somewhere. In a nutshell, it’s not just our numbers that matter, it’s our market value – if we understand the corporate-influenced system as it is, we can get our share of it to work for us, but that means volunteering a little information about ourselves. A firm stance of “I’m against it” does nothing to effect change, just as letting the system steamroller you does nothing to improve your life.
While admittedly it’s still hard to be accurate, any further information on our numbers gives us information about our power as a collective subculture, and about how hard we will have to work to protect our rights as that subculture. You can participate in the census here.