A Wiccan pentacle symbol superimposed on a Maiden/Mother/Crone symbol
The Washington Post listed Pentagon data as including
1,511 Wiccans in the Air Force and 354 in the Marines -- for a total of 1,865. 1 Data for two larger branches of the military,
the Army and Navy, was not included. Some Wiccans estimate that there are at least 4,000 of their members in uniform
-- approximately midway between the number of Jewish and Muslim service members. However,
many Wiccans are reluctant to reveal their religion because of ridicule, harassment, discrimination,
or worse. 2 The Chaplain Corps refuses to include Wiccan priests in its service,
claiming that the number of Wiccans is too small. However, Jews and Muslims
are represented by one or two dozen clergy.
Neela Banerjee, writing about Wicca in the New York Times, commented:
"Wicca in the civilian world is largely a religion in hiding. Wiccans fear losing their friends and jobs if people find out about their faith."
" 'I would love to be able to say ‚Accept us for who we are,‚ but I can‚t, mainly because of my kids,' said [an unidentified] suburban mother, who agreed to talk only on the condition of anonymity. 'Children can be cruel, and their parents can be even more cruel, and I don‚t want my kids picked on for the choice their mommy made'."
The mother worries that because most people know little about Wicca, they will assume that she worships Satan. The Christian Church taught this belief during the "Burning Times" in the Middle Ages, when suspected Witches were burned at the stake in Catholic countries, and hung in Protestant countries. She fears that her family and friends will abandon her and that the community will ostracize her.
David Steinmetz, professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School, said,
"Wiccans have so many things stacked against them, from what the Bible says about the practice of magic to the history in this country of witch trials, that the image of them adds up to something so contrary to the consensus about genuine religion that still shapes American society."
She interviewed Helen A. Berger, a sociology professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Berger commented about the ARIS survey in 2001, saying:
"Some people may have been unwilling to identify themselves as pagan or Wiccan for the survey." 3
The Pew Forum on
Religion & Public Life conducted a massive random phone survey of 35,556 adults
from 2007-MAY-08 to AUG-13. They determined that 0.4% of American adults
were "New Age." Included in this group were "Wica
(Wicca)," "Pagan groups" and "Other New Age groups." Note the rather unusual
spelling of "Wica." These data are not particularly helpful at determining the Wiccan population. 4
"... the world is experiencing an explosion of ancient occultism combined with wicked fascination for ghosts and all things paranormal. In the United States alone, there are now more than two hundred thousand registered witches and as many as 8 million unregistered practitioners of the craft."
From my knowledge of Wicca, there are thousands of Wiccan covens, some of whom may keep a confidential registry of members. But there is no central registry of Wiccans that I have ever heard of.
I did a Google search for the phrase: "two hundred thousand registered witches" and found 403 results! By mid-2017, the number had grown to 491. Most, perhaps all, appear to be quoting this book.