Are there really only one million neo-pagans in the entire world?

Seems a bit light.

Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents

Story link via Fark

It does seem fairly light for the whole world, but not by a great deal – I’d say very few major cities have more than a few hundred.

Two points: First, the only numbers I saw in the article were for census reports from the US and Canada.

Secondly, Neo-Paganism specifically ignores all sorts of “pagan” beliefs that have a viable history going back beyond the English Romanticists: Shinto, Veda, Buddhism, Taoism, American Indian beliefs, African tribal/cultural beliefs, Austrailian Aboiginal beliefs, Pacific Islander beliefs, etc.

That might be where your numbers seem to be coming up light.

Nearly all neo-paganism derives from the theories of Gerald Gardner in the 1920’s. His highly controversial claims were that he had reconstructed the pre-Christian beliefs found on the British Isles. Most people now think that he threw in a lot of his own idiosyncratic beliefs. The only comparable religion I can think of offhand is Scientology. Both developed in the twentieth century. (Scientology developed in the 1950’s.) Both don’t have many people born in the faith but rather have a lot of converts. Both probably have less than a million adherents, if you only count people who seriously accept the beliefs of the religion and not the people who have floated in and out of the faith.

Neo-paganism doesn’t include the indigenous faiths of Africans, of native Americans, of Australian aborigines, of Siberian shamanists, etc.

Another interesting link - both Gardner & Hubbard were associates of Aleister Crowley.

In what sense were they associates of Crowley?

This link talks about some degree of association

Who the Hell was Aleister Crowley?

Interesting bio article on Crowley

astro, you must be a pessimist. I would have asked, “Are there really as many as a million neo-pagans in the world?”

I’m sure there are far fewer than 1 million neo-pagans in the world. I’m also sure there are far fewer than 1 million people studying the Kaballah. It just SEEMS as if there are far more than that, because the few people with such interests make their presence felt.

Depending on where you spend your time, you may get the feeling that all sorts of movements or groups are much larger than they really are. Pagans and libertarians are just two of the groups that come to mind. But in the age of the Internet, no matter what our interests (political, personal, sexual, whatever), we can now find and associate with others who share them. And if we spend too much time on message boards or in chat rooms populated by like-minded people, we may get an erroneous idea of just how widespread our attitudes and beliefs are.

It seems to me that neo-paganism is mostly a north-american phenomenon. That could taint your perception of the number of people involved.

It’s kind of stretching it to describe L. Ron Hubbard as an associate of Crowley, since actually he’s a couple of steps away from him.

That’s pretty good!

Hubbard & Jack Whiteside Parsons (of the Jet Propulsion Lab) were in the Pasadena chapter of Crowley’s OTO, LRH & Crowley did correspond, & in Scientology lectures, Hubbard has referenced him as a friend & teacher.

Crowley btw did write to another friend complaining about the idiocy of LRH & JWP allegedly trying to create a “Moonchild” (a person of immense magickal ability) with a mistress.

Supposedly, in the OT-VIII lecture, Hubbard claimed all religions were created by space aliens to enslave us, that Jesus was a violent pederast, & that Hubbard is following in the tradition to Crowley to oppose that slavery, fulfilling the role of the AntiChrist.

My point was that if you were to say that Hubbard was influenced by Crowley that would be reasonable. I don’t think it’s correct to say that Hubbard was an associate of Crowley though. They never met, and there are only a few ideas of Crowley’s recognizable in Scientology.

I don’t know if they ever met in person. I thought they did correspond. It’s also quite possible (perhaps probable) that Hubbard exagerrated the extent of any contact they had, as he did with so much of his life.

A lot of it depends, I think, on how you decide if a person is a neo-Pagan or not. With the exception of a few occult traditions, there isn’t any official proclamation of conversion, nothing that is the equal of a christening. You pretty much have to depend on people who self-identify as neo-Pagans, and that leads to inaccuracy. The number may be inflated because of the legions of Goth wannabe teens who are trying on neo-Paganism and probably think that calling the quarters has something to do with cellphones and 25 cent pieces. Then you have a smaller number of people who are earnestly neo-Pagan, but reside in the “broomcloset” from fear of persecution, bigotry, and misunderstanding.

Like many things related to neo-Paganism, trying to get a hard number of any accuracy is a bit like trying to nail a chunk of Jello to a tree.

Minor correction here: …trying to get a hard number of any accuracy is a bit like trying to nail a chunk of warm Jello to a tree. :smiley: