Primary school teacher spends her free time training as a Wiccan

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Primary school teacher Sadie Bentley-Smokers is top of the class when it comes to casting spells to bring out life’s positives.

For Sadie, who lives in Dartford, Kent, with her partner, Charlie Frake, 27, who works in IT, has devoted her spare time for the last two years to learning to be a witch or Wiccan.

“It’s really my own personal form of spirituality,” she said.

“It has nothing to do with black magic, it’s all very focused on me, my health, my wellbeing and what I would like to happen.”



Tarot cards used by Sadie

Growing up in an environment where alternative beliefs were encouraged, Sadie, whose mum, Karen Bentley-Smokers, 51, is a tarot card reader and crystal healer, recalls her parent’s way of restoring her wellbeing when she was upset.

She said: “Mum would get me to sit and hold a calming quartz crystal.”

Largely self-taught, Sadie started learning about modern pagan practices in 2018, by reading around her subject and learning from other Wiccans she has found online before beginning to practice spells last year.

But she would never try and impose her alternative beliefs on others.

She said: “The biggest thing I have learnt since I started practising Wicca is that I cannot control others, but I can control how I react to things.

“Knowing that has given me a lot more confidence in myself.”

Treating people properly is a pinnacle of Wiccan practice, according to Sadie, who believes in the ‘Three-Fold Law,’ which states that whatever you give out you will get back three-fold. So, if you are cruel to someone, you will find yourself on the receiving end of mean behaviour – only three times worse.

She said: “There’s no set right or wrong way to practice Wicca. You just have to find what works for you and whatever you decide to do, make sure you do it mindfully and with the right intent.”

In line with her beliefs, a typical day for Sadie will start by drawing a Tarot card and thinking about its hidden meaning.

“I drew the Chariot at the weekend, which was telling me to use my intuition and my willpower to get done what needs to be done,” she said.

She added: “I’m pretty sure that applied to a situation at work.”



Sadie pictured as a young child with her mum Karen, a tarot card reader and crystal healer

And she is not averse to casting a spell if it is for the greater good.

On one occasion, she cast a ‘luck and prosperity’ spell to try and help Charlie in his career.

She said: “He then got an unexpected pay rise and a bonus.

“Of course, he worked hard, so he deserved it, but I do think the spell helped.”

While Charlie does not practice Wicca, he supports her beliefs and often helps her look for things she needs to cast spells when they are out walking together.

“I spent a lot of this summer on the beaches looking for fossils,” she said.

“We also spent time in the woods and forests near our home, where I’d find things I might use in my spellwork.”

And in her bedroom, she has built an altar, which she regards as a sacred space.

There is a white candle that represents the Goddess and a black one that represents the old earth God – or feminine and masculine energies – together with an incense burner, which she uses to cleanse the room before casting a spell and a cauldron, where she can burn the herbs she uses in her spellwork.

“I am still learning,” she said. “I’m not in a coven or working with other witches at the moment, although I am open to that in the future.

“There are courses you can take, but I learn a lot by reading and by just practising spells. There are also lots of us on Instagram, so I learn plenty from other witches that way.”



Sadie pictured in the woods near her home

“Some spells involve burning herbs or written messages while repeating your intent either out loud or silently in your head to attract the outcome you want to happen,” she explained.

“Others are cast by mixing particular herbs and crystals in a spell jar and keeping the jar close – under your pillow or in your handbag.”

And no witch is complete without a cat – although Sadie says her own feline friend, Chess, is not her ‘familiar’ – a word used to describe a magical animal companion that works with witches when they cast their spells.

She said: “She may not be a familiar, but Chess still loves spellcasting and will hang around my feet when I am making a spell.”



Sadie’s bedroom altar

While there are witches who are influenced by black magic, Sadie only casts spells to improve life.

She said: “You can’t and you shouldn’t try to influence anyone else as a Wiccan.”

“There may be other witches who practice the negative Dark Arts and cast hexes and curses, but that’s not my way,” she said.

“I work on myself or work positively for others, so they can attract what they want to happen to them.

“And after the year we’ve all had, with the pandemic, we could all do with a bit of magic in 2021.”



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