Pagans are demanding greater respect for their beliefs after it emerged they are the seventh largest religion in the country – with 1,802 adherents in the North East.
They include 681 in Tyne and Wear, with 202 pagans living in Newcastle alone.
And the number of people in England and Wales who identify themselves as pagans has almost doubled during the past 10 years, according to the 2011 census.
The growth in numbers has led the Pagan Federation to call for an end to negative stereotypes.
"We are far from an amusing curiosity. Pagans are a serious and growing religious group and these latest census figures reflect that," said Chris Crowley, president of the 41-year-old Pagan Federation.
"We take issue with people using our beliefs in tawdry and cavalier fashion".
"When we first approached the Charity Commission for Wales and England in 1997 seeking charity status, one of its officials asked us if we sacrifice humans. I think we’ve come an awful long way in public understanding since then."
According to the Pagan Federation, the term covers a vast number of traditions or "paths" whose central idea is that there is a divine force inherent in nature.
Pagans celebrate events such as the summer and winter solstice by gathering before sunrise in gardens, forests, hilltops or beaches for organized rituals or their own personal reflection.
The census also revealed the popularity of a number of other lesser-known religions.
There were 456 people in the North East who described themselves as Wiccans and 36 said their religion was "witchcraft".
Another 100 people said they were "satanists", although there is no way of knowing whether all of the responses were serious.
Satanist movements do exist, but members insist that there is nothing sinister about their beliefs. Many say that Satan is not a real being but a symbol of a way of life based on freedom and individuality. However, others who call themselves Satanists may believe in Satan literally, as a deity to be worshipped.
And nine people in the region described their religion as Vodun, the West African religion also known as Voodoo. The Haitian religion Voodoo is a modified form of Vodun.
There are 15 people who stated their religion was "the occult", which could cover a wide range of beliefs, and 20 people described their religion as "new age".
The census figures also reveal that many of those taking part chose not to take the question seriously, with 180 people stating that they had no religion but did worship "heavy metal" - following a campaign by rock magazine Metal Hammer and singer Biff Byford, of band Saxon, who encouraged metal fans to state their allegiance on the census form.
And 6,749 people in the North East claimed to be Jedi Knights. This included 1,605 in Newcastle alone.