Witchcraft booming in UK as figures show 70,000 people practice ‘magic’

Tanya Townley, 28, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, is the founder of monthly subscription company White Witch Box (whitewitchbox.co.uk). 

She uses herbs and oils to make potions, and has been casting spells since she was a teenager. 

Tanya says: “I grew up near Pendle Hill in Lancashire, which is the site of one of the most famous witch trials in history, so from a young age I heard a lot of stories about witches. 

“I would also visit the local museum with a friend every Saturday, spending hours in the Pendle Witches section learning all about it. The area itself has a big spiritual presence. 

“When I was 10 I was given a book called The Witches’ Bible by a family friend, which provided easy instructions for doing things such as casting spells and using herbs. 

“My house looks like a big altar with different tools that I change up depending on the seasons”

Tanya Townley

“My mum is an aromatherapist and also taught me about the powers of plants and different oils. Tarot readers often came to our house too, so I wasn’t scared of the cards. 

“I cast my first traditional spell using a candle when I was 19, to help me find my ideal home – and I managed to find the right place. 

“The spell involved me setting up an altar and placing a key on it to represent a front door, and writing the things I wanted from my home on a green candle. 

“In my craft, I also use herbs and oils to make potions, and have a bit of a crystal obsession. My house looks like a big altar with different tools that I change up depending on the seasons. 

“But I don’t cast spells for other people. Although I offer guidance, I think it should be up to the person to use their own energy in their practice. 

“I’ve noticed witchcraft has become popular again in recent years, especially among millennial women. Many of us lead busy lives, and practising the craft can help you feel calm, ground you and help you learn about yourself. 

“The increased popularity of witchcraft is also partly why I set up my subscription box of magical goodies, the White Witch Box. I launched it in 2017, and I now have customers from all over the world. 

“Social media has definitely also helped witchcraft become more accessible. There’s now two million people using the witches of Instagram hashtag, and a lot of people share advice with one another. 

“It’s also helping break down misconceptions of what a witch is, and making it seen as a more positive thing to be involved in.” 

Deb Robinson, 48, from Harrogate, runs witch supplies company Witch Casket (witchcasket.co.uk). 

She uses rituals to help those in need and believes the craft is booming as people look for new ways to cope with life today. 

Deb says: “I’ve been a practising witch for around 20 years now, and until earlier this year I owned a shop in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, called Practical Magick, which sold witchcraft supplies. 

“I closed it to focus on my online subscription business, Witch Casket, as it was proving so popular. I love seeing our customers posting about the products and telling us the spells inside it have worked. 

“Around 90% of my customers are women, half are aged 18 to 30, and the most in-demand items from our customers are herbs, crystals and incense. 

“The basics of witchcraft are all about the energies and intentions you put out into the universe, so a lot of witches do candle spells and rituals. I do those and I also make charm bags, which are small spells in a bag. I like to do rituals for loved ones who need healing too. 

“I also work with tarot a lot. I generally don’t make any big decisions without consulting my cards. My great-grandmother was also a tarot reader. 

“You do get people who are sceptical when I say I am a witch, but they are curious as well and usually ask me to read their tarot! 

“There’s some untrue stereotypes around witches, for example that we make sacrifices or do devil worship. In reality, most witches are nature-loving healers and respect Mother Earth. 

“There’s definitely links between this and the growing interest in caring for the environment and going vegan – I’m vegan myself. 

‘I think it’s also had a big resurgence as the world is a difficult place to live in at the moment – so many people are in need of healing. Witchcraft is a healing practice that can help you find yourself, but it is very empowering too and can help people feel they control things in their lives.” 

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