It’s Halloween, the one day of the year everyone chooses to believe in witches. But where did the idea of witches come from, how are they related to Sheffield and how does ‘Wicca’ play out in the modern world? 

Wicca is the largest form of modern paganism, it was first launched in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner, who is considered a ‘chief wiccan’ in the movement. 

He took his ideas all over the country until he found and initiated Patricia Crowther, a Sheffield woman, who, along with her husband, Arnold, founded the Sheffield Coven in 1961. 

Patricia, who is considered one of the “early mothers” of modern Wicca, has written many books on witchcraft over the years and still lives in Sheffield to this day. 

In 1971, Patricia and Arnold presented A Spell of Witchcraft, a BBC Radio Sheffield show that was the first to promote Wicca as a religion. On the show they explored the folklore of witchcraft and told listeners of practices within the community. 

In the 2011 UK census, 11,766 people identified as Wiccans and 56,620 as Pagan. 

For those in Sheffield with an interest in Wicca, there is a modern day ‘Goddess Temple’ on London Road where arts and crafts workshops and rituals take place. Underneath the Temple is the ‘Airy Fairy’ shop where visitors can immerse themselves in all things magical, with meditation CDs, crystals and tarot cards. 

The shop is run by Disco Wiccan Chaos MagiciZen, Anwen, who founded it in 1999. She leads guided meditations and gives talks and workshops on the occult (mystical, supernatural) meaning of nursery rhymes. 

However you choose to celebrate, whether it be through researching traditional Paganism or the classic trick or treat, we hope all our readers have a very happy halloween!