At home with witches Janet and Stewart Farrar in Ferns, County Wexford.
Author and screenwriter Stewart Farrar and his wife Janet, both from London in England, met through witchcraft and founded their own coven. In 1976 the couple moved to Ireland, accompanied by Janet’s father Ronald Owen, and they now live in the townland of Rockspring in Ferns, County Wexford. On the whole they have been warmly welcomed to the area by Catholics and Protestants alike.
Witchcraft is growing in Ireland and Janet, the Witch Queen of Ireland, challenges usurpers to come out and fight her for her throne. Until then,
I am the only person and my husband is the only high priest in this country that people can turn to.
Janet is a natural clairvoyant and both she and Stewart can help people who have had piseogs worked against them. She once wished ill on a man and when she told him to be quiet, he lost his voice for 48 hours.
Stewart explains that to become a witch, one must be initiated by another witch, a high priest or a high priestess. Men are imitated by women and women are initiated by men. In his view, deciding to become a witch is the same as deciding to become a Christian, Jew or Muslim. For Janet,
It was the first religion I’ve ever come across that to me meant something, made me actually feel that there was something personal about a religion.
Individuals from all walks of life and professions have joined their coven. While it may attract the wrong sort of person, such undesirables quickly lose interest. According to Stewart,
Modern witches are modern citizens, they live in an ordinary world but they are trying at the time to get back to their natural roots.
Janet explains the significance of the items on her altar, including the athame, a black handled knife which is the magical weapon of the witch. Contrary to popular belief, this knife is never used to draw blood and instead is used to for ceremonies and rituals.
An RTÉ Newsround report broadcast on 30 October 1977.