The owner of a witchcraft shop in Horncastle believes being a witch is a “beautiful lifestyle” and that the negative connotations of being “green, nasty and riding broom sticks are far removed from the truth”.
Shelley Mayes, known as Wiccan Elder and High Priestess Shelley, comes from a line of Romani gypsies and her nan was a witch. When she was younger she did palm readings and used a crystal ball, and she grew more into it and expanded her horizons further as she got older.
In 2017, Shelley opened her witchcraft shop Flange and Prong by herself on West Street in Horncastle. The team has now grown to five, who are known locally as the Witches of West Street, and they have come through adversity to build up their reputation.
Flange and Prong is predominantly a witchcraft and spiritualist shop which sells incense, oils, crystals and other things to make up a spell, as well as cauldrons, dream catchers and more. It also offers a variety of services both in the shop and online, including tarot and crystal ball reading, and past life regression.
The team have had to battle adversity along the way, with some “church going folk having a lot of opposition” to the shop when Shelley first opened it, to the point that they would cross the road just to avoid walking past it.
However, she said the local community on the whole have been supportive and their perceptions have gradually evolved over time.
Founder Shelley told The Lincolnite that witchcraft is a way of life — one she believes strongly in.
She said: “When you put the word witch in something it conjures up an image of something green and nasty and riding broomsticks, but that is totally not what we are like and is far removed from the truth.
“We do have some broomsticks in the shop and all the things you would normally associate with a witch, like a cauldron and a wand, but we don’t use them the same way as in a story book. We use them for spells and our intentions can be put in to help heal the world.
“We are not to be feared. Witches have been around for years. We are very misunderstood and there is a negative label attached, but we are completely different to what people think.
“It is a very loving lifestyle, and as witches we are not here to do harm, we are here to do good.
“We would try to encourage people to be open minded, but wouldn’t force anyone to try it. We want people to understand that it is a beautiful lifestyle.
“We are more in tune with nature and our houses reflect our beliefs with lots of crystals around, and I have an altar where I make an offering or affirmation every morning.”
Shelley also runs an invite-only coven in Horncastle where ladies get together to “raise energy and perform spells”, while the shop team try to help the local community and listen to their problems.
She added: “It is a big thing to be invited into a coven and there are a lot of connotations. We try and enlighten people, but there is nothing dark and satanic about it. It is about love and healing.”
Meet the Witches of West Street
Founder Shelley is a tarot card, crystal ball and palm reader. She is also an interfaith minister and, along with her colleague Sarah Farmer, she is a wedding and funeral celebrant under the banner of Chloris, including things like handfasting and the Pagan right of passage.
Sarah is a raiki master and also does tarot card readings, past life regression, Indian head massage and more.
As well as working at Frange and Prong, Amber Marie owns her own business in Horncastle called Fantastical Kingdom, which predominantly specialises in jewellery. Chris Byrne is a tea leaf and gypsy card reader,
Tess Lowe-Rawlings is a tarot card reader and a medium, who does spiritual awareness and witchcraft courses, as well as carrying out energy healing.
Tess said: “I am always connected with my natural surroundings in a very intuitive way and understanding the emotions of animals and people without really knowing why.
“When I was around 11, I found the title of what I’d be doing and realised it was witchcraft. I then strengthened my path. I am a Pagan and follow the Pagan religion which is a very in depth way of life.
“I am very much more aware of everything going on around me, as a witch I am more in tune with things.
“For example, in Tesco doing my weekly shop, I am aware of the energies of those around me and where my food comes from, and am able to give thanks to those who produced it and to earth herself for allowing us to grow the food.”
Tess does spells every day, such as stirring her morning coffee clockwise as she puts in her intents for the day. On Wednesday morning she stirred her intent “into having a peaceful and happy day”.
Shelley added: “I think seeing is believing. If people knew our results they may have a different perception. What people believe is their own lookout, but if they come into our shop they will see.
“My success rate is high, as is that of all my staff. You have to experience it and not come in with a pre-conceived idea.
“For example, we were struggling to make the rent one month and put more positive energy into ourselves. Just by saying it and putting it out there, or doing a physical spell, does work, and extra money was found.
“I can feel the spells working as I do them, you have to be there to experience it, as it is about raising energy – everything in life has an energy.”
Flange and Prong is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 10am and 5pm, as well as 12pm-4pm on Thursdays.
With Halloween coming up later this month, the shop is planning to open later until 8pm on October 30. There will also be prizes for everyone who comes into the shop in a costume, and from 6pm there will be discounted readings.
The team at Flange and Prong are also on the lookout for a new and bigger premises as the business continues to expand.