Expert Answer Forum

Occultism in England QUESTION from Helen Gilmour September 18, 2000 Dear Br John-Paul
You replied to a question from me about occultism in England. However, you don't refer to your sources of information. I am English, I have lived in England nearly all my life, and for 7 years I was a member of a Goddess-worshipping group. Since then - for nearly 15 years I have been involved in what you might call 'anti-Cult' activities. In all that time, I have only seen one credible - let alone reliable - estimate for the number involved in occult activities. This was made by an occult mail order business here in Leeds, and suggested 10,000 Satanists and about 100-200,000 witches, as I recall. The population of England is around 50 million, so these 2 categories make up around 0.5% of the population. Allowing for as many as 1m spiritists, occultists would make up 2-2.5% of the population.
While occultists sometimes claim long family traditions, modern witchcraft is an invention of the 19th/early 20th century; and Satanism seems to be a solitary, rather than a cultic practice.
You wrote, 'The prevalence of occultism in England is well-known and furthermore is reported by British occult watchers.'
Who are these 'British occult watchers'? I have to say that I've never come across any reports of the prevalence of occultic activities in this country, that have stood up to investigation.
Now New Age practices - that's an entirely different matter!
With best wishes
Helen
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on November 20, 2000 Dear Miss Gilmour:
This question more properly belongs in the Spiritual Warfare Forum and not here, but I will go ahead and answer it now.
There are several organizations with websites in England that talk about occultic activity in England. I do not have the references and do not have the time to look them up. However just taking your figures is enough. 2.5% (witches, satanists, and spiritists) is significant and is more than the percentage in the United States. [2.5% in the U.S. would be more than 6.9 million of these three categories. There are no where near than many witches, Satanists, and spiritists in the United States and I am not sure if there are that many actual adherents even counting professed new agers. This would make occultist (witches, satanists, spiritists) the third largest religious group in the United States, coming in only after the Roman Catholics (61.2 million) and Southern Baptists (15.9 million)].
As far are prevalence of occultic activities, ALL countries, especially the developed countries have a prevalence of occult activities. As far as England, some of the major Satanic Covens have their headquarters in England and were founded in England. The Temple of Set, if I remember right, is one of them, as several others.
And you are wrong about occultic activities being solo activities. Solo-ists tend to be dabblers though there are some lone wolves out there. The primary activity, is in groups -- both religious Satanism which by definition is organized in groups and hard-core Satanism involving secret illegal activities. Other forms of occultism are also centered around groups such as wicca.
Finally, I think you are restricting your definition of occult too narrowly. New Age practices and occult are essentially the same thing. Either way, using your figures, England is king of the occult over the U.S.
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