A modern day sorceress has revealed how she helped to land a promotion by working her magic on her boss.
To give her workplace endeavours a helping hand, teaching assistant Emma Kathryn Porter, 35, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, England bewitched her employer by wearing lucky charms to work, meditating and performing spells to boost her confidence.
The mum-of-two explained:
“I did a couple of workings, which is another word for spell, to bolster my confidence."
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“I did a lot of meditation and trance work, as well as taking a herbal bath and wearing good luck charms around my neck, which I make myself from special crystals and gems."
“But it's always got to be backed up with that real world application. If you get the promotion and you're no good, you will lose the job."
“I think the workings can give you confidence and you then go out and project that confidence onto the people interviewing you. It works on many different levels."
The forest near Emma's house (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
Now lecturing in witchcraft at magical conferences, Emma has been interested in the occult since childhood, when she loved reading fantasy fiction – although she started taking it more seriously in her early twenties when she gained confidence and stopped worrying about what people thought.
She began casting spells, or using tactics drawn from sorcery, in a bid to help people having problems.
Describing herself as an 'animist' – someone who follows the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all have a distinct spiritual presence – she says people have very simplistic ideas about how witchcraft works.
People think it's miracle work and will ask, 'Well why haven't you won the Lottery then?' But I don't think witchcraft works like that or we'd all be witches and winning the Lottery
“People think it's miracle work and will ask, 'Well why haven't you won the Lottery then?' But I don't think witchcraft works like that or we'd all be witches and winning the Lottery."
“Sometimes when you do a working, you're not creating anything tangible, it can be meditation and trance work."
Emma, whose partner Darren Fixer, 45, is a delivery driver and who has two children Jackson, 18, and Jermaine, 16, explained how her own mixed race heritage has influenced her sorcery.
Emma's cupboard (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
“My witchcraft is a blend of traditional British witchcraft, Obeah—which was a system of healing used by slaves in Jamaica and Vodou—a traditional Afro-Haitian religion which believes there is spirit in everything."
“It fully represents my heritage, as I'm mixed race, with an English mum and Jamaican dad."
“I practice a lot of folk magic, using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to influence natural or chance events. My workings are closely linked to nature and connecting with the land."
“For example, if I was to cast a spell about protection, I would look at what nature would use for protection – things like thorns or poisons or nettles."
“Similarly for binding work, when you try and stop someone from doing something, you would use bind weed in a spell."
Emma also believes people have a misconception about witchcraft because of the way it's portrayed on TV, and is keen to dispel the notion that all sorcerers wear black clothes, pointed hats and ride on broomsticks.
For me, witchcraft is always in the background of everything. I go through the mundane things you would do to make sure you get or achieve what you want to, but I would do the witchcraft side of things to back the rest of it up
“I see witchcraft and magic as if you are stacking the decks in your favour to make something happen."
“Someone asked me if I would use it to try and get a job. What I would do is use it to stack the decks in my favour. But, unless you can actually do the job, you would be quickly sacked if you did not have the skill to back it up."
“For me, witchcraft is always in the background of everything. I go through the mundane things you would do to make sure you get or achieve what you want to, but I would do the witchcraft side of things to back the rest of it up."
Ingredients for Emma's workings (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
A bookish child, Emma began to be interested in witchcraft and paganism – broadly defined as religious acts and ceremonies not associated with Christianity – as a child, influenced by authors like Stephen King and Terry Pratchett.
Always at one with nature, in her early 20s she started to reconnect with witchcraft and take it more seriously.
“It progressed from new age type stuff like crystals. Then I started to read about paganism and the Wheel of the Year, observing the cycles of the seasons. Coming up now is the Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest year, which is really about the darkening year and after that is Christmas."
“That's the basis of my beliefs and I now consider myself to be an animist, because I see everything in the natural world as having spirit and being alive. That plays a big part in my craft."
“In my practice, I can work with plant spirits or animal spirits. I believe that everything is alive and is connected."
Using folk magic – which is the practice of using charms, spells and rituals, a method of casting spells using specific words, gestures and actions, to control or enhance natural events or the behaviour of others – Emma believes she has been able to influence events.
There was someone who had an abusive ex and I made her a little charm, which she hangs outside her house. It's a boundary charm with things like rusty nails and thorns in it.
In one case she used a 'protection working' to help someone who felt threatened by an abusive ex-partner.
“There was someone who had an abusive ex and I made her a little charm, which she hangs outside her house. It's a boundary charm with things like rusty nails and thorns in it."
“It's not aimed at anyone, but can be used to ward off or push someone away. That person said she felt safer afterwards. It could be working on a psychological or magical level."
Ingredients for Emma's workings (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
“For a boundary working I like to make bottles for protection. You put rusty nails, thorns and stinging nettles into a bottle and ask that person to add something personal."
“It's a bit gross but urine is a typical ingredient, as well as spit or hair, so it makes it personal to them. They can bury it in their garden or put it in a plant pot on their doorstep, or close to the boundary of their property to offer protection."
Emma has also used cards to help a friend who was having trouble at work.
Ingredients for Emma's workings (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
“My friend was having a bit of a problem with a manager at work. Nothing serious, but he just felt like the manager had a bit of an issue with him."
“I knew a little trick. There was nothing nasty about it and it would not have had any nasty consequences, so I did that for them."
“It was more of a 'conjure' working. You take a deck of playing cards and choose the King of Diamonds, which signifies material elements like money and work. I put the manager's name on it and my friend placed it in his work shoe and went about his normal day thinking nothing of it."
The symbolism of the card is that, by doing this, the person is not in your head space anymore - you remove them from it. Again, whether it works on a psychological or magical level, I let other people determine that for themselves
“A few weeks later the issues with their boss had disappeared."
“The symbolism of the card is that, by doing this, the person is not in your head space anymore – you remove them from it. Again, whether it works on a psychological or magical level, I let other people determine that for themselves."
A lot of Emma's sorcery involves connecting with nature, in line with her animist beliefs.
“We would all benefit from connecting more with nature – spending time out in the woods and outside makes you feel less stressed. It puts you in a different mindset."
“Whenever I can I get out to the forest, and I will meet like-minded people every six weeks to celebrate the changing of the seasons."
“We meet during the full moon Sabbath. We might do some group meditation or group chanting in the woods."
I also hold foraging walks in my local area, which is not witchcraft, but for me it's working with nature
“I also hold foraging walks in my local area, which is not witchcraft, but for me it's working with nature."
“There is no point in going out and taking something, like a plant, to use it to make a spell about love and protection if, at the same time, you're not showing love and protection to that plant. It's a symbiotic relationship of give and take."
“I think plants do communicate with us. For example, when you spot something such as the belladonna plant, which was traditionally used to make flying ointments, which made witches feel like they could fly, and can be poisonous if swallowed but soothing on the skin and help with muscle pain, you suddenly start to see it everywhere."
Emma's foragings (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
“You notice it once then start to see it all over the place. This communication is very subtle."
Although most people are open minded, Emma has experienced some hostility from sceptics about her witchcraft.
“The reaction I get varies. A lot of people are interested when you explain it to them."
Of course there are those who think I'm a devil worshipper, or that it's something that it's not, but telling people I'm a witch definitely gets them talking
“At first they think of a stereotypical Hollywood-style witch and think what I do is a load of rubbish, but when I explain how it works, they become quite interested."
“Of course there are those who think I'm a devil worshipper, or that it's something that it's not, but telling people I'm a witch definitely gets them talking."
“My family are quite sceptical about it, even when some of my workings have actually helped them out like when my son had some issues with another boy and I did a binding on another person and the problems went away."
As part of her work, Emma started to research witchcraft, magic and folklore in Jamaica, so she could connect with her past and her father's side of the family.
“I'm English, my mum is English and my English grandma was actually part of the Wicca movement in the 1970s – a modern pagan religion – but I felt like a part of me was missing."
“Ancestor worship is a huge part of my craft and I felt like I was ignoring the Jamaican side of my past, so decided to look into it a bit more deeply."
Ancestor worship is a huge part of my craft and I felt like I was ignoring the Jamaican side of my past, so decided to look into it a bit more deeply.
“I had been writing about the only female national hero in Jamaica called Nanny of the Maroons. She was an Obeah woman who escaped slavery and won the land back from the British during slavery."
“I wrote a paper called Rebel Magik and Rebel women about that and sent it off to a publication I found online, leading to them asking me to present it at a magical and occult conference in London this June."
“Now it's steamrolled from there and I've been travelling to London to give lectures on my papers and I'm trying to set up some witchcraft workshops locally."
“But writing is my main thing. I have a blog and write for specialist magazines about the practical aspects of magic and the history of witchcraft."
And while Emma is a mother, a partner and an employee, she says witchcraft is part of everything she does.
“Some people will separate witchcraft from other aspects of their life, but for me it underlies everything. It's given me a lot more confidence and a sense of fulfilment. It makes me happy."
For more information visit emmakathrynwildwitchcraft.com