A traditional British witch who regards Halloween as her Christmas has cast a very special spell on the modern world – by attracting more than 50,000 followers to her Instagram page.
Practising witchcraft for 23 years, after learning respect for the natural world and “country ways” from her father and grandfather, Alexa Thompson, 31, is well known for her special powers where she lives near John o’ Groats in the Scottish Highlands.
Able to ‘see’ everything from pregnancy to serious illness, Alexa, who is currently single, says her powers can be “a turn-off” for prospective dates, although she has seen a surge in requests for her to cast love spells during the pandemic – which she refuses to do.
A former care assistant-turned professional witch, she said: “I have ranted many times on Instagram about why targeted love spells are not a good idea and I flatly refuse to do them.”
She added: “About six months ago, there were loads of people wanting love spells.
“But my grandfather told me if you use witchcraft and make somebody fall in love with you, it’s a curse you place on yourself.”
“He’s right, because you don’t know whether they really love you, or it’s just because of the spell.”
But while people ask her for help with their love lives, being a witch can be less than helpful to her own.
She laughed: “Men have done a double take if they’ve come to my house and seen the altar in my living room!”
“It’s two altars in one – a witchcraft one and an ancestral one.
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“My ancestors are very important. They’re my first line of defence – the spirits that tell me things and have my back.
“My altar is where I work my spells. It’s where I charge herbs and crystals and the things I need for my soul for actually practising witchcraft.”
She added: “If I moved and there wasn’t room for an altar, I wouldn’t take the house.”
Alexa’s sixth sense can be quite unnerving to men she dates.
She said: “I was on a date with someone just before the first lockdown.”
“I asked him, ‘Am I correct in thinking your dad’s no longer with us?'”
She added: “He wondered how I knew and I said, ‘Because I think he’s coming through to me.’
“He tried to remain sceptical until I told him his dad’s full name, after which he ordered the bill and I never heard from him again!”
On a happier note, Alexa has successfully predicted each of her sister’s three pregnancies, but she has also seen sad things, like a close relative’s illness which caused her death in December 2020.
She said: “I’ve told my sister she’s pregnant before she’s had the opportunity to tell me, even though she lives 200 miles away!”
She added: “There’s a flipside, though, like last year, when I knew a close family relative was seriously ill before the doctors did.”
“I walked into her house and this voice whispered in my ear that she was seriously ill. The voice has been with me all my life and it’s never been wrong.
“It was right – although, of course, I didn’t tell her. You don’t tell people news like that. There’s a responsibility that comes with being a witch. It’s not all crystals and herbs and money spells.
“She was diagnosed soon after and we lost her in December.”
Choosing only to cast spells for people she knows, while traditional witches do curse, Alexa – who will not give specific details on this subject – says she only does so if someone makes her really mad.
She said: “I tend not to perform spells for strangers in case they don’t work or backfire or, more importantly, in case I’ve not been given the full story.
“If you don’t have all the facts, you could actually be doing something quite harmful, so I only really cast spells for my friends and family and for my coven – the witches that I know, personally.”
“Once or twice I’ve performed a curse, but you have to do something pretty horrible to warrant it. It’s an ethics thing with me, I don’t really want it on my conscience.”
She added: “And 99 per cent of the time, traditional witches help people.
“Curses take the same effort as other spells, but they’re just darker – resulting in anything from a run of bad luck to serious accidents.”
She added: “But I don’t like cursing, because I think that it can become a slippery slope.”
Alexa has also been approached by people thinking they have been cursed when there is a logical explanation.
She said: “I tell them it’s quite unlikely that they’ve been cursed. I ask what they’ve done in the past two weeks and if they’ve made bad choices.”
“I ask if they’re sure it isn’t simply the consequences of their actions. There’s usually an explanation.”
Brought up to respect nature and with some pagan values, while no one else in her family refers to themselves as a witch, Alexa says she is a ‘hereditary witch,’ because of the respect for the natural world imbued in her since childhood.
She said: “My dad taught me the importance of not stepping on bugs. He’s in tune with the area we live in.”
She added: “Similarly, my grandfather taught me country wisdom and witchcraft and paganism followed on from there for me.”
“Wicca, the modern pagan religion, didn’t really suit me.
“Then, about 10 years ago, I stumbled across some books on traditional British witchcraft, which is slightly different. That was where I found my tribe.
“If you took local myths and legends and mixed them all together, you’d come up with traditional witchcraft – the kind of witching you read about in Hansel and Gretel, but without eating children – we don’t do that!”
But Alexa puts a modern twist on traditional thinking by amassing a huge following on Instagram.
She said: “It’s great to have my Instagram page and an online community where we share ideas.
“We also provide information that people that don’t necessarily know.”
“I would tell someone genuinely interested in witchcraft to read everything they can get their hands on about it – whether that’s books, blog posts, Instagram, or even going on to YouTube.”
She added: “I have my own book of spells and rituals I’ve gathered over 23 years and I’m hoping one day to turn my Instagram posts into a book and to have them published.”
Recently, Alexa has spent a lot of time casting healing, money and job spells.
She said: “If someone wants a spell to land a job or a promotion, I light them a candle and focus on their intent.
“I visualise them being successful at an interview or getting a promotion, then I send that out to the universe. I tell the universe what I need to happen.”
She added: “If I’ve visualised it effectively, it should happen – although it can be in a roundabout way.”
“For example, they could be invited to join a training programme leading to a different higher paid job.
“It might not be the immediate promotion they wanted, but the spell would be successful. Spells can open doors – then it’s up to the person to put the work in.
“I wish I could click my heels and things would appear, but it doesn’t happen like that. Witchcraft creates space and an opportunity for something to happen.”
She added: “And if a spell just flat out doesn’t work, then you have to accept it wasn’t meant to be for you anyway.”
Sadly, the pandemic has also meant casting far more protection spells.
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Alexa said: “I’ve performed this spell for eight different people in the last two years.
“In traditional witchcraft, there’s something called lying the hedge or hedge riding, which is moving between the worlds. It’s similar to astral projection, but it’s not quite the same.”
She added: “We can put ourselves into a trance, or a meditative state, then we can commune with spirits. We can work with spirits in different realms. to guide people’s souls to the next world and make sure they don’t get lost.
“The last protection spell I did was a week ago. It was to guide the soul of someone who passed away incredibly suddenly on to the next world.”
“It’s not all fun and games, there’s definitely a level of responsibility that comes with being a witch.”
But with Halloween approaching, it is a time of celebration for witches like Alexa.
She said: “It’s a day where you remember and honour the dead.”
“Halloween is almost like Christmas. Every year without fail I cook pumpkin soup, followed by sausages in cider with mustard and bacon and treacle tart for pudding.
“Halloween has a different energy from other days and I love that.
“It’s a great day of mischief and fun, when we feast and we remember the dead.”
She added: “Most witches love Halloween. It’s our big day – our big party.”
A great ambassador for the positive power of traditional witchcraft, Alex believes it can make a difference.
She said: “Witchcraft isn’t going to end world hunger, it’s not going to cure cancer, but it does make a difference.”
She added: “Witches don’t eat babies, we’re not crazy. We look like everybody else. We could be your doctor, your teacher, or the girl that serves you in Tesco.
“And while I have a broomstick, it’s for sweeping the kitchen!”
* To view Alexa’s Instagram see www.instagram.com/the_barefoot_witch_/