Growing number of Brits practise Satanism in England and Wales

Growing number of Brits practise Satanism in England and Wales

January 21, 2023

Devil’s island: Growing number of Brits are practising Satanism with 5,000 members in England and Wales – while Wicca and Shamanism see boom since 2011… but Scientology suffers decline

  • More Britons are following Satanism, Shamanism and Wicca, the census shows
  • There are more than double the numbers of Satanists in 2021 compared to 2011
  • And spiritual belief Shamanism has seen a 12-fold boom in England and Wales
  • But Scientology numbers fell as the Church has faced scandals over the years

Alternative religions including Satanism, Paganism and Shamanism have seen an explosion in the number of followers in the decade between the 2011 and 2021 censuses.

Millions have ditched Christianity – mostly for no religion – but the number of Satanists in England and Wales has more than doubled from 2011 to 2021 – from 1,893 in 2011 and rising by 3,161 (167%) to 5,054 followers in 2021.

The highest number of Satanists are in the South East, rising by 165% to 795 in the region in 2021, according to the latest census.

Head of the UK chapter of The Global Order of Satan Andy Diabolus said ‘proud’ of the rise in followers marked on the census after efforts to encourage Satanists.

Graph showing the growth and decline of smaller religions in England and Wales between 2011 and 2021, including Satanism, Shamanism and Wicca

Paganism, already a popular religion in 2011 with 56,000 followers has seen a boom to over 73,000 followers in 2021

Followers say the religion is ‘built on the self and in carrying out Satan’s work with humanity’ by challenging ‘authoritarianism and injustice’ through ‘acts of compassion and the practice of empathy’.

Despite common misconceptions, Satanists do not actually worship the Devil, as they are atheists and do not believe in the supernatural.

‘We revere ourselves as individuals capable of the greatest human expression of compassion and empathy,’ The Global Order of Satan’s FAQ explains.

However, stories have emerged over the past few years of ‘Satanists’ being believed to be taking part in alleged animal sacrifices near churches.

As millions ditched Christianity, the number of Satanists in England and Wales more than doubled from 2011 to 2021

Head of the UK chapter of The Global Order of Satan Andy Diabolus said ‘proud’ of the rise in followers marked on the census after efforts to encourage Satanists

Last month, the vicar of a church targeted by ‘Satanists’ who ‘stabbed sheep and sprayed them with pentagrams’ in 2019 said bodies of more animals were left in plain sight.

In December 2019, residents of Bramshaw, Hampshire were left reeling after a spate of horrific attacks on local livestock.

Three sheep were stabbed and killed as they grazed — and sprayed with the five-pointed pentagram sign — an ancient Pagan symbol — scrawled with 666 (supposedly the sign of the devil) and arranged carefully in death.

The church itself was attacked — with satanic-style graffiti on the notice boards and, in gold aerosol, an inverted pentagram on the church door along with, inexplicably, a giant phallus.

In early December, a dead fox was found on the church steps in an ‘arranged’ death after it was ‘deliberately lain out’.

And Reverend David Bacon, of St Peter’s Church, raised the prospect of ‘witchcraft’ after a cat was found by congregation members hanging ‘horribly’ from a flagpole.

In 2019 the suspected ‘Satanists’ stabbed sheep and sprayed them with pentagrams – graffitiing Reverend Bacon’s rural church with the same occult markings

The vicar said: ‘It’s really unsettling and sinister for everyone. We’re not sure what will happen next, if anything’

Satanism’s follower numbers in England and Wales have been overtaken by Shamanism, which had less than 1,000 followers in 2011 but saw a more than 12-fold growth in a decade.

The healing focused spiritual practice had just 650 followers in 2011 – but this shot up to 7889 in 2021, according to the census. 

Shaman Gaia Evalyn Love says that ‘Shamanism is the oldest form of spiritual practice that has existed for hundreds of thousands of years all over the world’ and an ‘authentic expression of our spirituality’.

The Shaman, who healing sessions at a Yurt in Cardiff, says that: ‘Shamanic practices and teachings are now becoming increasingly popular as people recognize an ever increasing need for a reconnection with our beautiful planet and a rebalancing of their own energies, as well as the earth’s energies.’

And Shamanism has more than doubled its followers in the Welsh capital, with 227 people declaring the follow the practice in 2021 analysis of census data by MailOnline shows.

But the practice has seen its most dramatic growth in London and the South East, with a rise of 1,215 (1,380%) and 3,866 (3,680%) followers to 1,303 and 3,971 respectively, despite just around 100 followers in each region a decade earlier.

Pagans took part in the Winter Solstice celebrations during sunrise at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire at around 8am on December 22 last year

Pagans and Druids celebrated the days getting longer after the shortest day last month. Pictured: A man in white robes holding a staff addresses crowds at Stonehenge this morning flanked by Neo-Druid leader Arthur Uther Pendragon (centre right)

Stonehenge is an important site for Pagans and Druids in the UK. Pictured: Revellers greet the sunrise after the winter solstice in December last year with music at Stonehenge

Paganism, which was already a popular religion in England and Wales in 2011, has also seen a large rise in followers from 56,620 to 73,733 in 2021 – about 30%.

The religion has seen the largest increase in followers in the South West of England – perhaps unsurprisingly given the region is home to pagan monument Stonehenge rising by 2,915 to 11,868.

But Druidism, whose followers celebrate the summer and winter solstices at the prehistoric site, has seen a marked decline in in followers in the decade since 2011, falling by 1,699 to just 2,490 followers.

There are more than double the number of Heathens in England and Wales at 4,721 compared to 1,958 in 2011. And Wicca – a Pagan witchcraft tradition – has seen a moderate increase in followers from 11,766 in 2011 to 12,813 in 2021.

Wicca has seen a slight fall in numbers in followers in London and the South East.

The number of people who say their religion is Mysticism a fallen across the country by nearly 30%, from 204 in 2011 to 145 in 2021.

Graph showing the number of people in English and Welsh regions giving up Christianity from 2011 to 2021 rise in people following no religion

Animism, the belief that all natural beings and objects, from mice to mountains, possess a spiritual essence saw a moderate growth in followers – from 541 to 802.

The growth in this religion was most notable in Yorkshire and The Humber and the East and West Midlands – where its following approximately doubled.

And Vodun, a West African religion also known as Voodoo saw a slight rise to 247 followers – but this rise in interest was almost exclusively in London.

The Church of Scientology, which has come under criticism, saw a fall in followers from 2,418 to 1,859 from 2011 to 2021.

Three defectors from Scientology, which has famous followers including Tom Cruise, were suing the church’s leader David Miscavige last year claiming they were trafficked as children and forced into ‘dangerous’ labor aboard the controversial Sea Org ships

Three Scientology defectors are suing the church’s leader David Miscavige claiming they were trafficked as children and forced into ‘dangerous’ labor aboard the controversial Sea Org ships. 

Gawain Baxter, his wife Laura and Valeska Paris all sued the church in Tampa, Florida, in April last year claiming they were forced into the work on the ships from as young as the age of six. 

They said they had to sign contracts promising ‘one billion years’ of service to the church and worked for ‘low and even no pay’.

An interactive map also shows how religious the people in your area are, amid a huge rise in Britons with ‘no religion’.

How to use the interactive map:

Select an area by either typing a place name in the top-left box or by clicking on the location on the map.

Then when you click it will show you what percentage of people in the area follow the country’s major religions, including Christianity, or no religion. You can click the drop-down arrow to change the religion.

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