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Millennials are once again making their mark on the world, this time earning the title of ‘Generation Hex’ as the number of self-proclaimed ‘witches’ in the United States has risen considerably in recent years. What is the draw to these often-misunderstood beliefs?

There are some religions and belief systems that are known throughout the world. This isn’t to say that they are accepted and respected in all areas of the world, but people have a basic understanding of what the religion believes. Religions like Wicca and Paganism, however, are largely misunderstood with a large number of people incorrectly associating witches with Satan worship. This has led to a struggle for those that embrace these belief systems to be accepted, even in the more ‘open-minded’ counties like the United States.

Despite the fact they haven’t been historically accepted in mainstream society, we are seeing an incredible spike in the number of witches in the United States today. What is leading to this shift in our society? There once was a day that the vast majority of Americans were white Christians, however, the face of the United States is changing. In fact, the Washington Post recently reported that demographic today makes up less than 50% of the population.

Millennials have made a name for themselves in today’s society. Sure, some may argue it’s due to their lack of hard work compared to previous generations (although many argue that’s merely a difference of perspective), and others say the biggest difference with millennials is their ‘political correctness’, refusing to settle for biases or humor at the expense of any one group of people. Looking at the bigger picture, however, millennials simply refuse to settle for the status quote simply because ‘that’s how it’s always been’. They question, challenge and criticize social norms, and religion certainly is no exception.

“The mainstreaming of mysticism makes sense when you consider how it overlaps with the interests of the millennial women…” Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and Dan Kopf explained in a recent article on the topic. “…witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal millennials who are already involved in yoga and meditation, mindfulness, and new-age spirituality. With that foundation, they might show up for pagan holidays or new moon gatherings or begin to explore the more serious spiritual concepts at the root of these practices.”

As the number of millennials searching for options and alternatives in their lives continues to grow, data shows that approximately 25% of Americans choose to identify with no religion at all. This is indicative of a clear trend – this generation is no longer willing to accept the religious views of the generations who came before them without a significant number questioning and exploring these beliefs for themselves. Eager for a change, Paganism and Wicca offer an outlook on the world that differs greatly from Christianity, one that encourages ‘free thought’ and a balance between the human population and the natural environment.

With influencers like The Hoodwitch, with over 375,000 followers on Instagram and Toxic Tears with over 330,000 subscribers on YouTube, today’s influencer based society is more open than ever to new, radical and ‘different’ ideas.