Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

August 18, 2003

Voices from the Pagan Census

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 7:34 pm

Voices From The Pagan CensusVoices from the Pagan Census: A National Survey of Witches and Neo-Pagans in the United States
By Helen A. Berger, Evan A. Leach and Leigh S. Shaffer; University of South Carolina

The authors illustrate through charts, graphs and scholarly research what the American Pagan really is. In this book the Neo-Pagan community was asked to take a survey entailing income, education, political leanings, sexuality and a number of other hot topics such as religious path choices and family dynamics.

The authors themselves are from outside the Pagan community, looking in. They distributed as many surveys as they could at public gatherings and through the network of covens and groups that Ms. Berger had developed from her previous scholarly book A Community of Witches. Unfortunately, such venues are limited in the very nature of our religion. I’m sure a great many solitary Pagans that were not reached through this survey could have significantly changed the outcome of the researchers’ conclusions. Because our Pagan community is on the whole so very hard to find, even the authors themselves admitted that the sampling was terribly small to draw a truly accurate assessment of the entire Pagan community.

The book while full of wonderful tidbits of information is extremely dry reading. But if you want to know the education levels of the Neo-Pagan community as compared to the greater US population, the figures are all here in black and white. Good news here folks, more than half of the respondents had some college or a college degree.

If you are looking for the facts and figures to show that the Neo-Pagan community is a viable and recognizable force, this just may be your book. You will have to want to read a book with little or no lightness though, this is a book written by researchers for researchers. I do recommend this volume for learning a good overview of who we are, what we do, and what we believe outside of our common religious Pathways. The Pagan community should know where we stand as well as where we came from so we can move confidently into our yet to be future.

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