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Paganism growing fast in U.S., Canada

June 26, 2008 at 1:42 PM

DENVER, June 26 (UPI) -- One of the fastest-growing religions in North America and Europe is new-fashioned paganism, a Canadian group says.

The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance estimates the number of people practicing some form of paganism doubles every year and a half, The Denver Post reports. The group believes the number of pagans in the United States is now somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million.

Carridwen Brennan, a Wiccan, told the Post that pagans are a varied group. The Wiccans, the largest group, practice a form of nature worship supposedly carried on by witches after Europe became Christian.

"We don't really know the numbers," Brennan said. "Most witches and pagans are semi-closeted, or so deeply closeted because of prejudice we don't even know they're there."

Colorado is believed to have about twice the percentage of pagans as the national average. They include Jesse Walter, a self-described druid, who runs the Witches' Brew coffee shop in Denver with his wife, Kantis, who calls herself a pagan.

Walter, an Army reservist and conservative Republican, fulfills his druidic obligation to trees by picking up litter in a park across the street from the coffee shop and leaving offerings there.

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