Frankie is a Pagan, Witch, Blogger, Poet and Tarot card reader based in North Manchester.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Frankie about her spiritual journey, boob magick, the ethics of casting spells for other people, hexing, kitchen witchcraft, love spells, creativity, Tarot, Pam Grossman, poetry, the Alternative Goth scene in Manchester as well as her top witchy recommendations.
Frankie knows how to turn a look. Check out her Instagram for gothic glamour inspiration.
Hey Frankie. So, how long have you been a Pagan?
I’ve not actually been a practicing Pagan for that long. Last May I had a family bereavement and it put things into perspective for me. I needed to find a way of dealing with what was going on that wasn’t my instinctive reaction of, “everyone’s going to die anyway,” and I found myself thinking more philosophically about life. I sort of fell into Paganism. To me, Paganism is about being “here” – knowing that you’re in the world and connecting with the world around you.
What about your witchiness? When did that start?
With my Witchcraft I’ve been doing that for a long time without even realising it. This is such a weird example, but I’m going to give you it anyway! I think that I accidentally cast a spell when I was about seven or eight. I was a horny kid and I was obsessed with the Satisfaction video by Benny Benassi, do you remember that? All those girls baby oiled up and I was like, “Right. When I’m older I want big boobs like that. That’s all I want.” I remember setting those intentions a lot. Then as soon as I hit puberty that was it – Double D’s! I was like, “What on earth?” It’s only looking back at it now that I think, “Oh, shit. That could have been a spell.”
And how about now, what do you believe in as a Witch?
I do think that there is a higher power but I think that we are all part of the higher power. I don’t think there is a God. I think that we are God, as in, everyone’s energy interlocks and we’re all designed to be harmonious. We’re designed to interact with the world in a respectful way. I’d love to sit here and talk about how I’m a vegan but I’m obviously not! I have tried, but chicken nuggets man… I just can’t give ‘em up! I’m not sure if I can get behind the idea of souls. I think that we have energy, a life source, but I don’t know if that transcends into someone’s soul passing on when they die. Frankly, it might have something to do with me rejecting Christianity but I’ve never really believed in going to paradise after you die. I’ve always believed that we die and then we go back into the earth to decompose and to bring energy back. Like a cycle. Because we are what? Fertilisers.
How about your practice, what witchy things do you like to do?
I do what I can, when I can, with what I can afford. I tend to do a lot of kitchen witchcraft mainly because I enjoy cooking and casting spells for other people. So, for example, we had a social distancing party in the garden (I say party, there were three of us!) and I made lentil bolognese where I cast a protection and happiness spell into the sauce. The fact that I can transfer energy to other people as well as myself through cooking is a nice feeling.
I think what’s really interesting about Witchcraft is that there are so many different opinions on what’s okay and what’s not okay. Like, I know some witches feel like it’s unethical to do magick for other people if they haven’t consented to it. What are your thoughts on this?
I do tend to tell people beforehand, like, the people that I do these things for already know that there’s some level of magick going into what I cook. One thing I’d never do is… so, somebody found out that I did magick at work and asked me to cast a love spell for them, and I was like, “Here’s a thought – No!” I think casting magic for someone else is ethical if you’re doing the right thing, sending positive vibes, healing, protection or happiness. I think that’s perfectly fine.
Can we talk a bit more about love spells and your thoughts on them?
Personally, I don’t think that doing love spells on behalf of other people really works. I don’t particularly believe in doing selfish spells anyway, like, I’m happy to give advice on how to do things, but I wouldn’t offer. I don’t know… I see a lot of people advertising love spell packages on the internet and I think how much of that is a money making scheme. If you Google, “Buy a love spell UK,” then there will be a load of websites but I’m like, “you don’t even know me, how are you going to do a spell for me?”
So, you don’t believe in casting love spells at all?
I don’t believe in things like love spells because I don’t believe in emotionally manipulating anybody. I remember when I was fourteen, in 1887, haha, no, in 2008 or… oh, God! I think? Anyway, and I remember looking up spells and the amount of love spells I found, I was like, “That’s not okay!” You can’t emotionally manipulate someone into going on a date with you because that’s basically the same as just being a dick. Sorry. I just think that people can be really selfish with magick which can be totally fine (I sometimes do beauty spells on myself) but I do prefer using magick as a tool to genuinely help other people. I like giving back.
How do you feel about dark magick?
I have been reading a lot about occultism since I’ve been off work just mainly for interest. I ordered a lot of books from Book Depository, all the Aleister Crowley ones but I’m just like, “Why on earth would you want to do any of this stuff?” Like the summoning circles for demons – surely you’re just inviting trouble? Has nobody seen a horror film!?
What are your thoughts on hexing?
I don’t really like the concept of it. I have accidentally hexed someone before and I felt terrible about it. Basically, I had an issue with somebody and then I thought about it and then something bad happened to them – I was like, “Oh my God”. Then I realised that when I was ruminating on them I actually had something of theirs on me at the time. I’ve never panicked so much in my life. I felt so guilty. I don’t think hexing is the answer to the world’s problems. I feel like using negativity to solve a negative problem is probably not the best thing to do.
Witchcraft is pretty popular right now. Why do you think it’s gained traction recently in mainstream culture?
I was reading something on Reddit a couple of days ago which was in essence saying that people now (especially millennials) have spent such a long time rejecting any sort of religion, any sort of meaning to anything. We’re quite a nihilistic generation. But you get to a point where you NEED meaning, you need a purpose, you need to believe in something that isn’t just, “I exist as this tiny insignificant speck”. I think that’s a good description of why I got into Witchcraft and Paganism.
Do you mind me asking, are you out of the broom closet Frankie?
I’m almost out of the broom closet. My mum knows. I think that she sees witchcraft as a coping mechanism for me. My dad is one of those people who likes to be in control of everything and likes to know exactly what’s going on. If I told him, I know for a fact that he’d make it awkward so it’s just not worth having that conversation. I do have a few Pagan friends at work which is really refreshing. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Nobody’s thought of having me sectioned haha!
Frankie runs her own blog, Frankensynth Witchcraft, which is packed with magickal musings, recipes and sigil making tutorials.
I’m aware that you’re also a Poet Frankie. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on an anthology at the moment which is going to be on a Tarot deck. There’s going to be a poem for each card.
That sounds gorgeous. When can people get their hands on that?
I’m working towards a first draft being done in September but I mean that’s a very rough estimate. It will probably be 2025 the amount that I’ve procrastinated, haha! I’m hoping for it to be out by December 2020 or January next year. But I’ve still got to find an artist so if you know anyone hit me up!
I’m really fascinated about how creativity and magick intersect. What are your thoughts on this?
I’ve always seen them as separate things but now that I think about it… they do interlock because I use my poetry to write spells and incantations. I think that creativity is one of the main parts of magick – you use your intuition to be creative. I used to write classical music and I found that I ended up using my intuition all of the time to feel what notes should come next. I think that the same applies to poetry and incantations. They all use intuition.
And do you share your poetry or is it private?
I’ve always shared my poetry. I think it’s nice to do that because you’re giving something to other people. I realise now that this is a common theme for me, I like to make things to share with other people.
We’re going to switch gear a bit now – what’s it like being a Witch in Manchester?
There are pros and cons to it. I’m originally from the Lake District which is a very witchy place – you have people there literally dancing around stone circles at midnight. When I moved down here I joined the Alternative Goth community and I did find that a lot of people in that community were, “Witches of instagram,” and not Witches in a spiritual way. So, funny enough, that actually put me off saying that I was a Witch for a long time because I didn’t want to be seen as this cliché. And whilst I love the Alternative Goth scene in Manchester (it’s why I moved down in the first place) it does have a toxic nature where everyone is trying to be different and you all kind of get lumped into the same group. Having said that, there are a lot of positive Witch groups around Manchester.
Can you talk a bit more about those groups?
I write for another blog, other than my own, Bewitched Bloggers. It’s run by somebody called Helen who lives near Blackburn and she’s part of the Manchester Witches Meet Ups. Occasionally that group will run events where they’ll go out for lunch or coffee and discuss Witchcraft. That community is really helpful.
Do you have any advice for Witches with a genuine passion for the craft on how they can avoid witches with shallower intentions?
I don’t know what the answer is because I do think that there’s a fine line in becoming an elitist. It is difficult because you can’t tell someone what they believe in or what it is that they do or don’t do. But for some people it is painfully obvious that a lot of their Witchcraft is an act, for likes on Instagram or so that they can feel like they have an edge over other people. That is not what Witchcraft is about.
And whilst we’re on the topic of Manchester, are there any places that you’d recommend for witches who are in the area?
This is going to sound mega cliché but definitely Afflecks Palace, which used to be a Goth and Emo four storey shopping mall but now as time’s gone on it’s become more commercial. There’s a really good crystal shop there, the people are really nice and they’ll always help you with what you need. It’s really good for herbs and books as well. The actual Manchester central library has such a good selection of occult books but you can’t take them out because they’re so old, you have to sit in this study area. I’ll also recommend the Nexus Art Cafe. It’s very cute. It’s not necessarily witchy but I know that a lot of the Witch meet ups happen there.
Frankie in her natural habitat, chilling with her home girl Mother Nature.
So, to rap things up, I’m always on the hunt for recommendations, if you had to recommend one witchy book what would it be?
I have a bunch! I’m not going to say any of these are definitive because I love so many books but I do really love Pam Grossman’s book Waking the Witch. It just makes you feel good and any time you question what you believe in this book brings you back to why you wanted to do witchcraft in the first place. I also like HausMagick by Erica Feldmann.
The Witch Wave hosted by Pam Grossman. I like it because it has a lot of different people guesting on it and everyone practices in their own way. It’s nice to listen to when you first start out because you’re sort of bombarded by how you should be doing things whereas if you listen to The Witch Wave you begin to see how unique witchcraft really is.
A resource, shop or website?
There’s Biddy Tarot which I find myself on all the time, it’s just so easy to navigate and easy to find answers. I mean, I don’t really tend to use a lot of resources like that, I tend to search out old books and encyclopaedias but I do find that I use Biddy Tarot if I’m really confused about a Tarot reading.
Siân Esther Powell does a podcast on Celtic mythology which has been really interesting because I’m trying to get back in contact with my Celtic roots. Another person who I’m going to plug shamelessly because I love her is Seren. We were best friends at university and she’s really, really good at the witchcraft she does. She’s like a tiny, white flower and I’m like this grungy Morticia Adams – we’re the complete opposites but she’s such an interesting person.
Witches supporting witches! And how is best for people to connect with you if they want to find out more about your work?
Any final words of wisdom to share with a newbie Witch?
You do you sunny boo! Do what feels right.
Yesss! Thank you Frankie. You are a fierce beacon of radiant energy. Blessed be my love.