When we think of witches immediately the Charmed sisters or Sabrina the Teenage Witch come to mind.
But it turns out, real life witches do exist and there’s one living in the Sydney suburb of Hornsby that we got to meet.
Stepping into a seemingly inconspicuous house, real life witch Mara Carter introduced us to her world of Wiccan.
“Witches don’t fly on broomsticks, that’s Hollywood stuff,” Mara tells Be.
Unlike what you might think, Mara is just a normal doting mum of three daughters who works as a spokeswoman for a beauty brand at Sydney Airport.
She has a black cat named Merlin (awesome!) and a puppy named Skye.
She also has a dedicated room in her house where she can cast spells, do rituals and use herbs and oils to generate magic.
Following the Alexandrian Tradition, Mara has done love spells, healing spells, full moon rituals and even accidentally cursed and ex-boyfriend.
“I had a boyfriend who broke my heart and he always says to me I must have cursed him,” Mara tells us.
“I just said I hope he never finds true love anywhere and to this day he is still single.”
Currently there are more than 66 witch covens around Australia and that number is set to grow by the next census. But because there are so many solitary practitioners, like Mara, it's hard to say how many active witches there are.
Mara says she was raised in a Catholic family but was always interested in the occult as a child – she loved Bewitched and used her first Ouija Board when she was a teenager.
“This is my path. It just feels right – the religion of nature. Learning about the seasons, the cycles of nature, how the moon influences life,” says Mara, who performed a small ceremony to commit to the craft.
Witchcraft sits in the extremely broad group of nature-based religions known as paganism. The fundamental basis for being a witch involves having an earthly connection to nature and its elements.
Mara spent 13 years learning the craft from her mentor Carole Chapman (a famous high priestess) and has been part of multiple covens.
As she leads us into her ‘witchy’ room – queue the goose bumps – we get a glimpse of everything she uses to do magic. There are four altars set up at each end of the room to represent the elements of earth, water, fire and air.
She’s got candles, incense, herbs, potions, oils, and hundreds of books on everything and anything about witchcraft.
And all her spells and rituals are written down in her Book of Shadows – yes that’s a real thing.
We were lucky enough to be able to watch her perform a healing spell (which you can watch above), but full disclosure, we did suffer some mild technical issues during the spell!?
“If you are clear about what your intensions are – your desire or your wish – you have a clear mind, you can manifest into your life exactly what you ask for,” Mara explains.
“But it’s not great to wish bad onto other people. We definitely believe in karma. The three-fold law, everything will come back to you three times as good or bad.”
When Mara was part of a coven they would gather every Friday to work magic and learn more about the craft.
“We often got together to raise energy – you can do that by chanting, drumming, spinning, and dancing around the cauldron,” she says.
“And when the energy of the group is unified then you see the fire in the cauldron suddenly lift up and spin - we call that the cone of power - and the idea is to direct that to some purpose.”
Mara also uses that same energy for healing and massage purposes. She says she’s always wanted to be able to help people and being a witch has made that a possibility.
“You are born a witch – you may be born into a different culture or religion but eventually you will find your path.”