North American teenage girls are increasingly drawn to witchcraft, though observers are uncertain whether this is a teen fad or actually a matter of genuine spiritual interest.
The Toronto Sun newspaper (March 22) reports that television shows and movies depicting witchcraft or “wicca” such as Charmed, Sabrina and The Craft are appealing to youth, particularly girls. “In a poll of the top 60 interests of teenage girls, witches are No. 1. It’s the fastest growing spiritual practice in the United States,” says Phyllis Curott, a Wiccan high priestess and New York City civil rights lawyer. Wicca seeks to recover the worship of the godess through magic and other Neopagan practices.
The evangelical counter-cultist SCP Newsletter (Winter) cites reports of witchcraft book sales and other demographics showing a movement toward a younger audience. In the late 1980s, sales of Wicca titles averaged about 3,000 to 4,000 a year at Carol Publishing Group. But in the past two years sales have increased, with popular titles selling up to 40,000.
The most popular book is “Teen Witch,” published by Llewellyn. More than half of the 100 titles published by Llewellyn revolve around Wiccan themes. A recent cover of Publisher’s Weekly and four following pages presented new Wicca books under the headline “Witchcraft for a New Generation . . .” The Llewellyn sales director says that based on readers’ letters, their typical reader is changing from the baby boomer who grew up in the 1960s to “a very young woman in her teens.”
(SCP Newsletter, Box 4308, Berkeley, CA 94704)