How practising witch in Lancashire is trying to change common misconceptions

Bex Fitton in the Witch's Hat in Fleetwood (Photo: Third party)
Bex Fitton in the Witch's Hat in Fleetwood (Photo: Third party)

Bex Fitton is well known in the town as the co-owner of The Witches Hat, a curios and gift shop on Lord Street which actually does sell witches’ hats, and may other items.

She is also a witch and a member of a circle called the Daughters of Danu, which takes its name from a Celtic mother goddess associated with abundance, wisdom and fertility.

Bex says that witches are variously seen as wicked practitioners of evil black magic, impossibly glamorous in a Hollywood sort of way or even in more childish terms as wearing pointy hats and riding broomsticks.

Even the Wikipedia definition of a ‘witch’ doesn’t help, stating: “A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft. Traditionally, "witchcraft" means the use of magic or supernatural powers to inflict harm or misfortune on others.”

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But Bex, 57, says her fellow circle members are more concerned with nature, looking after the environment and supporting the community.

Only this week (Friday October 28) its members have staged a psychic evening at the Strawberry Gardens to raise funds for Fleetwood RNLI.

They will soon be handing out special yule boxes packed with gifts to needy families, including single mums, in the run-up to Christmas.

Halloween is nearly here and this is an important date for them, but they call it Samhain (pronounced Sarwen) during which they connect with their ancestors.

What type of witches are they?

She said: “We are pagans who believe that we are a much closer to nature and should walk more gently on the planet.

"In fact quite a few of us are environmental campaigners who have fought against fracking and are interesting in trying to protect the earth.

“We celebrate both the winter and summer solstices every year and this year we had a public celebration on the seafront at Fleetwood.

"Witchcraft is very empowering – first you can heal yourself before you can then help others in your community.”

Many witches practice Wicca, a modern, earth-centred pagan religion, but Bex says the circle members take their inspiration from much a older craft that has its roots in the ancient pre-Christian Celtic traditions.

The circle also runs witchcraft courses, from February onwards, based in rooms above Fleetwood Market.

Spells and witches’ hats

Some perceptions are not too far from the truth, though, she says.

Some of them do sometimes were hats and gowns– and they can cast spells!

But Bex says these are only good spells, sparingly used.

Over Halloween (Saturday October 28 and Tuesday October 31, from 1pm to 4pm) they will be dressing as the Sanderson Sisters from the Disney film Hocus Pocus in the shop,and giving prizes to any children who come in fancy dress.

She added: “In ancient times we would have a hut in the corner of the village.

"Now we have the shop where we can welcome people, offer advice on following the old ways and even offer a cup of tea!”