Katie Smith is an astrologer and founder of the Urban Witchery Planner, which has seen huge success since it was launched two years ago. We caught up with Katie to find out more about her journey with astrology, how she makes time for sacred space and what’s next for the Urban Witchery Planner.
When did you first start your journey with witchcraft and how would you describe your practice?
It’s hard to say as it’s been an organic process and a lot of the things I was doing before I consciously began practising my craft were rooted in witchcraft anyway, as with a lot of things. I remember being in awe of the moon and making gardens for faeries in my childhood, then going on to be interested in occult subjects in my teenage years with the dawn of the internet search engines. I would say I began consciously practising in my early twenties (I’m 32 now!) And would describe my craft as eclectic although I don’t put a name on it. There’s some things I do and things I don’t. I do work a lot with astrology, shamanic journeying, and water magic. I don’t tend to cast spells for other people and I’m not interested in anything dark. I believe that magic should improve the life of the witch and those around them.
Are you drawn to working with certain tools or elements?
I am such a water witch! I cleanse my soul in the bath, under waterfalls or in the sea, I love to go snowboarding in the winter. I’m a Scorpio so just call me the ice queen ha! Pretty much all my hobbies centre around water in some way. If I’m feeling iffy my go to practise is a cleansing ritual in the bath. I don’t tend to put much emphasis on the paraphernalia of my practise, I feel like magic making is about intention as pose to having special tools. I do, however, have a Hazel wand that I acquired whilst working on the beach ten years ago now, and I would be really upset if something happened to that!
Urban Witchery came about as a result of you living in a city. How do you find a sacred space in a busy place?
Yes, I live in the centre of Bristol (a city which has running water flowing underneath it!) and in this city we are very blessed for an abundance of natural spaces. There are several ancient woodlands, the second biggest tide in the world that honours the ebb and flows in life, and my flat is a lovely space to work in. I do moon rituals at the window and make candles each Sabbat to burn around my home. I’ve been living out of the rat race for the last decade so I tend to live a slow-paced and chilled existence for a city dweller!
As well as a boss witch, you’re also a mum and a tattoo artist. We’re in awe of your juggling act. Do you have any tips for busy witches to help them make time for their practice?
Ha yes, it sure is that! I have no idea how I do it either, but I love doing astrology and drawing on people so I feel like I’m going to keep rolling with it! My biggest advice for other busy witches is to bring a bit of magic to your everyday. When I journal, I write the moon phase and the zodiac as well as the date which gets me rooted in the lunar phase and the energies that are influencing the time. I practise everything intuitively, so I tend to just go with what I need when I need it. Feeling burnt out? Take a bath, add some salts and oils that will help with that. Need some grounding energy because everything feels too much? Go for a walk in the woods or swim under a waterfall (I know a place 30 mins drive out of the city I go to when I’m in need of rooting myself). Need to get clarity on a situation? Instead of popping the telly on, read some tarot or oracle cards. Want to feel abundant? Add cinnamon to your food. There is magic in the everyday if you pay attention to it. It’s as simple as noticing the changing seasons or following the moon in the sky. You can stay connected even when you’re busy! I would also say that don’t put too much pressure on yourself. One full moon you might be called to (and have time for) an elaborate ritual, and other full moons might require you to take a nap and chill out. Follow what you need to do, not what you think you should to do.
Are there any witches that you are inspired by?
I’m inspired by the tribe of witches I surround myself with. I feel very grateful to have got to a place in life where the majority of my friends are witches and we can support each other through our journeys. I also find inspiration in my ancestors stories, what I have heard of them from my elder relatives. One of them was a palm reader who worked on the beach in Weymouth, UK. I relate to this, as in my early twenties I worked on a beach doing henna on people’s hands and my grandfather says I remind him of this woman. Apparently, she never married and even managed to buy her own home, which was uncommon back in the 1800s. I love how she made it work for her with no thought of what society thought she should do and be.
You have a crazy amount of astrological knowledge. Can you tell us more about your journey with astrology?
I’ve always been drawn towards astrology since I was young. I remember vividly my grandmother had a Sagittarius mug! When I was 19, I travelled to Greece to work the summer season and astrology became a massive topic of conversation. I found it wasn’t uncommon to ask someone outright what their sign is. It’s much more common now though! Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and studying my chart through the wonderful resources on the internet as well as putting it into practical application by feeling the energies of each zodiac influence throughout the lunar cycle. I’ve gotten to the point now where I can feel the moon switch signs! Two years ago I decided to enrol on an astrology course locally and studied for just over a year with a great tutor. Doing this really fine-tuned my practise, as up until then I had been self-taught. I began to read deeper into charts and noticing significant aspects between someone’s birth chart and how that relates to the current transits.
The Planner that you have created has been a huge success for two years in a row. What’s next for Urban Witchery?
I want to expand on the Urban Witchery Planner to make it as good as it can be! As well as keep doing astrology readings of course!
What advice would you give to new witches?
Carve your own way. It’s called a craft because it is exactly that. You craft it yourself. Don’t think you have to have all the tools to be a witch. You can do so much with intention and a candle! You don’t look like a witch, you feel like one. I think in recent years with the advance of social media it’s very easy to compare yourself with other witches on the internet and feel like you aren’t one because you don’t look like a typical witch. Don’t pressure yourself to being anything other than yourself. Tap into your self, your intuition and let it lead. Some full moons might call you to do an elaborate expression of release, and others might call you to take an afternoon nap and take it easy. Find what you are drawn to, not what you think is ‘cool’, and study it. Make mistakes, learn from them. Notice magic in the simple things.