A mug with the Pagan triple goddess symbol is pictured at Quantum Soul in Carrboro on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023.
The student newspaper at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, does the annual Pagans-and-witches story but reaches out a little farther to interview a graduate student working in that area.
“There are lots of different ways that people celebrate this time of year and engage in this time of year and the best thing to do to learn more is actually to just ask people,” Mary Hamner, a Religious Studies graduate student studying paganism and witchcraft at UNC, said.
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According to Hamner, it is very difficult to estimate pagan and witch populations in the U.S., but assumptions can be made based on statistics concerning witchcraft-related book sales or the number of posts under certain hashtags on social media.
She cautioned people from making the mistake of thinking pagans and witches are “fringe groups,” or a group with extreme views, especially in the South.
“The South has this really entrenched history in Protestant Christianity in particular,” she said. “That doesn’t erase the fact that it is a really diverse region and many other religious groups have been here the whole time just because they are not the ones routinely who get the microphone handed to them.”
Now if we could get the Daily Tar Heel to follow Pomegranate style and capitalize “Pagan” while lowercasing “religious studies,” which is not a proper noun unless you are talking about the UNC Department of Religious Studies.