“Eye of newt, and toe of frog. Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.” When Shakespeare created the three witches in Macbeth, he imagined these as some of the unpleasant ingredients they would include in a spell. However, according to Jenny Tucker, a white witch who lives in the New Forest, real spells are composed very differently and are always used for positive purposes. Herbs, oils, candles, stones or any natural objects taken from nature, such as shells, feathers and crystals, can be used, she says, but only if a white witch asks permission from Mother Earth first. Interestingly, the most important ingredient of all is the witch’s intention.

There are still white witches in the forest, but most of them live quietly and prefer to call themselves ‘hedgewitches’, which means a witch who works alone rather than as part of a group, or coven. Understandably, most of them disassociate themselves from images of Harry Potter and broomsticks

white witches

Tucker owned the shop A Coven of Witches in the village of Burley for more than twenty years, selling books and artefacts related to witchcraft. With wild New Forest ponies roaming the streets and pausing to gaze into shop windows, Burley certainly has a magical air, and business proved so good that several similar shops opened nearby. Speak Up met with Jenny Tucker. We began by asking her what a white witch was.

Jenny Tucker (English accent): A white witch is somebody who lives their life very close to nature. They work with the elements, they work with crystals and anything from nature. They work very closely with Mother Earth, they do spell work. They’re quite private people. They have a very strong belief system, which is called the Old Religion, which was actually here before Christianity. And many years ago they would have been the wise women of the villages, who would have been the ones that mixed the herbal potions, the midwives, that would help people in all walks of life. And they were the healers.


And, says Tucker, the white witch lifestyle is key to saving the planet.

Jenny Tucker: I think it’s very important. I think people need to start living their life in this way. They need to have more respect for Mother Nature, they need to understand more about herbs and alternative ways of looking after their bodies. And a lot of more young people I  find are following this path. You know, they’re going away from the traditional types of religions and they’re wanting something much more tangible. They’re realising that it’s something that we need to nurture our bodies, you know, we need to understand this type of belief system a lot more.


We all have a spiritual side that needs to be developed, Tucker believes.

Jenny Tucker:  I think it’s something very deep in every human being. I think it’s something we’re all searching for. I’ve been a healer for many years, for about thirty years now, and even as a child I always knew that there was something different, there was something more. And it’s quite beautiful now, because a lot of people are searching and finding this beautiful soul purpose. The whole reason why they’re here. They want to find a more spiritual path to follow because they know it gives them so much more.


It seems surprising that for centuries alternative spiritual practices were treated as serious crimes, says Tucker. 

Jenny Tucker: Back in... in the 50s,
anybody that was doing anything slightly spiritual, healers or psychic people, were prosecuted. And the actual repeal of the Witchcraft Act was only in 1951, which isn’t that long ago. Which now allows healers and people who are mediums, it allows us to do this without being put in prison, because it was really quite a serious offence and that amazes me because it was only in 1951.

427 Witches of the New Forest Shutter 2


Witches of the New Forest

Da che si ha memoria, la stregoneria è stata perseguitata in quanto considerata maligna e quindi da sradicare. Tuttavia, esistono dei collettivi che sono riusciti a mantenere alcune tradizioni di queste arti spirituali ancestrali strettamente legate alla natura.