And while the American may have chosen to launch her shop the Wiccan’s Whisper in the month of Halloween, that’s where the similarity between this modern-day witch and the scary story book creations ends.
Debra had struggled from job to job when she decided to use her powers as a white witch to cast a spell for help and direction. The result was a market stall, which then led to her setting up the Copley Road business.
Debra’s shop tucked away among the corner shops and takeaways offers tarot card readings and spell-casting alongside a range of home-made beauty products and partner Sara Lonie offers beauty treatments in her upstairs salon.
Debra practices Wicca, a pre-Christian religious movement and belief system, which places the emphasis very firmly on helping and healing rather than harming.
“It’s an earth-centred religion, everything is related to the seasons and the cycles of the moon. A lot of our rituals are similar to Christianity, for example we celebrate Yule on December 21 when we have a tree and ivy and candles. It’s about the change of the year – our Goddess comes out in spring time and as she goes to sleep our God comes out and he rules over the winter,” she explained.
Debra is more than happy to allay fears and to explain her beliefs: “I would much rather they ask than believe misconceptions. A lot of people are curious, some are afraid – they think it has to do with devil worshipping and sacrifice. But we don’t believe in the devil, and our religion is totally against hurting others.”
However, she does believe that she can communicate with spirits via messages and , although not a fortune teller, can predict events in the near future.
“I can see a little into the future, but mostly I deal with what’s going on now. I help relieve stress and give a sense of direction. People come to me because they need to know that things are going to get better, that they are going to survive. Or it might be that they have lost someone and want to know that they are still there and still with them, that can be reassuring too,” she said.
For those with a real interest in the subject Debra runs courses:”We have all got the ability to do magic, it’s just that some people do not believe it, some people don’t use it, and some people ignore it. But you can use it to help others and help us get what we need – casting a spell is kind of like sending out a smoke signal,” she said.
The Wiccan’s Whisper also stocks all the tools of the trade – including broomsticks – and is also an American cafe.