What might have attracted an average person in the 21st century to the idea of witchcraft despite the attempts of figures like Laura Mallory to demonize it? Journalist Alex Mar highlighted the role of community in defining modern Paganism, while sociologist and radical feminist Silvia Federici saw magic as a form of anti-capitalist resistance. A cynical reading of 21st century witchcraft might even suggest that children’s media did indeed bolster some mainstream Pagan communities.
But how did Wiccans themselves relate to their religion? The following gallery includes quotes from practicing Pagans, taken from a collection of personal accounts from a popular Wiccan forum called Witchvox, from a portion of a 2004 broadcast of NPR’s All Things Considered focusing on “teens and wicca,” and from the website of the main branch of the Pagan Federation, an interfaith Pagan advocacy group based in the United Kingdom.
These quotes help to illustrate the broad appeal of Wicca for young people in the digital age. They also push back against Laura Mallory’s claim that the growth of the Wicca community was the product of indoctrination, a key part of her argument for attempting to limit access to Harry Potter. As these quotes demonstrate, many young Wiccans during the early 2000s made a conscious, personal, and voluntary decision to identify as Wiccan.
Alex Mar. Witches of America. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2015.
Silvia Federici. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. New York: Autonomedia, 2004.
“Words from Young Pagans.” Witchvox.com. http://www.witchvox.com/_x.html?c=teen. Accessed 2019.
Hagerty, Barbara. “New Religion in America: Alternative Movements Gain Ground with Flexibility, Modernity.” From All Things Considered. Produced by NPR. May 13, 2004. Accessed online at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1895496.
The Pagan Federation. “Wicca & Witchcraft.” Paganfed.org. https://paganfed.org/index.php/paganism/about-wicca-and-witchcraft. Accessed 2019.