A friend of mine recently complained to me about the amount of access a Pagan has to information, activities, and other Pagans, more to her point the lack thereof. Brigid proclaimed that it was because the Christian conservatives were flooding the market and the media with their message. She said it even trickled down to secular stores and businesses. “It’s a conspiracy!” she exclaimed. Brigid was joking (I think).
While I think Brigid was being a little melodramatic, she does point out a serious problem about access. A little radical coming from a blogger, but you can’t find everything on the Internet. Books are still the best way to gain rich, insightful information, and especially for those without access to online shopping these can be hard to find. And perhaps it has less to do culturally than economically. Pagans and Witches make up an estimated one percent of all Americans (to put it another way, about 700,000 to a million people). If the definition of Pagan expands to include all non-Abrahamic religions, that statistic goes up, but remains less that ten percent of all Americans (according the Harvard’s the Pluralism Project). In a capitalistic sense, it is not smart business practice to cater to such a narrow audience, especially with the invention of Internet shopping. Even organized religions have to think of this when establishing places of worship. A Buddhist friend of mine in high school had to travel to D.C. for every festival, a four hour drive. While I don’t think it’s right and whole-heartedly support every effort in my community to open more Pagan supply shops and to host more festivals, I kind of understand why there aren’t as many Pagan meeting spaces.
But I wondered about Brigid’s other claim, that sectarianism affected even large businesses. With the recent Chick-Fil-A scandal it made me think maybe she had a point about the connection between big business and religion. But hey it’s a Saturday and I was bored. So I decided to so some research. While obviously none of this was particularly scientific, it was not only fun but also a little enlightening.
So I trekked out to Barnes and Noble. I figured hey, it’s national and caters to the diffusion of information. And I was kind of blown away because the proportion of Pagan-related books and paraphernalia was a lot higher than I thought it would be. An entire row of shelves and various articles interspersed throughout the store. Kind of magic heavy and not as much about the spirituality of Paganism, but I was still happy.
Like I said this was not in anyway scientific, but perhaps Brigid is wrong about inequality of access. It may seem that more prevalent messages seem to be everywhere, but if you look closely enough you can find what you need to enhance your spiritual life.
© Ariadne Woods