February 5, 2023 8.00 am This story is over 13 months old

The life of a Lincoln Norse Pagan: Chicken drumsticks offerings to Thor, live readings and meditation

Sam talks about what it means to be a Norse Pagan white witch

A Lincoln woman who describes herself as a Norse Pagan white witch believes people need to educate themselves more before making judgments on her faith.

Sam Hipwell, 40, is one of 1,314 people who identify as Pagans in Lincolnshire, according to the most recent Census data.

She lives with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromyalgia and complex PTSD, and told the Lincolnite that her faith, and coven sisters, have got her through “some tough times and emotional rollercoasters”.

Doing “my ground meditation and calling on my spirit guides for help was comforting” when Sam had two mental breakdowns in the space of three days in 2021, as well as family trauma.

Since Sam was a child, she’s been intrigued by her heritage, as well as witches. Six years ago she bought herself a set of tarot cards. Around three years ago she did a DNA test which showed she is a third Scandinavian, including the Vikings.

At the time Sam was a spiritualist and worked with tarot cards and other divination practices, but once she started researching it further, she felt more drawn to Norse Paganism.

Sam does live readings on Facebook at 8pm every Saturday.

She said: “After I got the (DNA) results, I started looking into the vikings and pre-vikings more and found out they were Pagan.

“At the time I was already kind of Pagan and getting into Paganism. The more I read the more it sat right with me, especially Norse Paganism where they worship Norse gods including Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki.

“Back in the old days it was a way of life. They heavily worshipped gods and did offerings to certain gods. It was more of a way of life than a religion, but we still don’t know everything about it.

“It was previously seen as barbaric by some as offerings were taken to just mean sacrifice, but this isn’t the case.

“For myself, I don’t say religion. If I’m talking about it, I say it is my faith in the gods and in my own intuition, and being able to do readings.

“People need to realise that not all witchcraft is bad. I say I’m a white witch. I practice white magic which is good for my health, the earth, and other people, and helps my family and to keep them and myself safe.”

She recalled one occasion where she did an ‘offering’ with chicken drumsticks, eating one and then burying the other outside for Thor as part of a ritual. She said she called on five deities to “help with with the protection of my home and garden and from all kinds of different things”.

Sam with her cat Salem, who is named after a character of the same name in her old favourite television show Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

She now has two cats, Salem (named after her old favourite television shows Sabrina The Teenage Witch) and a black cat called Merlin, as well as an assistance dog called Rosie.

Sam said she is “quite empathic and picks up on things and energies around me”. Last autumn she could feel “a lot of bad energies in the house” and her pets were all staring at specific things in the house, so she carried out a ritual.

Sam does live readings on Facebook at 8pm every Saturday through her group ‘Phoenix Readings – Rise, Grow, Transform’ where she is known as Sam Jay. She also does private readings at a cost, as well as teaching courses to “help others to develop their spiritual and psychic side”.

Before she does her live readings, Sam will do grounding meditation “to make sure I’m not going to feel bad effects”. She calls upon Freya, who she says is the Norse goddess of witchcraft “to help guide me and protect me while I do my readings”.

Sam also does what is called ‘Pagan Veiling’ when she does her tarot readings mediumship to “protect me from anything else that may want to try and come through.”

She said: “I wear headscarves around my head in different ways to protect my own energies. Whenever I put a headscarf on I call on the goddess Sif to protect me.”

Sam with her assistance dog Rosie.

Although Sam believes attitudes towards Paganism and Norse Paganism are “slowly changing, there is still a lot of stigma attached to it”.

She added: “There are Pagans all around the world being tarred with the same brush. Paganism as a whole is on the rise around the world, but there is still a stigma attached to it.

“People need to educate themselves on Paganism and witchcraft. It is not just about sacrifices, it is about worshipping Mother Nature and going back to your roots, and being able to connect with the earth and giving back to it.

“It’s not as bad as they think. It’s not like you see in Harry Potter or Charmed, or even Sabrina The Teenage Witch, it’s not like that at all. It’s more using the energy around you.

“More Pagans need to come forward and say “I’m a Pagan and I’m proud” so people know it isn’t a bad thing or a sin. People need to know more about it before they judge it and make their final decision.”

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