Witches’ Brew Is Island Source for Supernatural Exploration

By Victoria Ford | Oct 23, 2019
Photo by: John Gilfillan

Beach Haven — Colleen McNally believes “a witch is anybody who wants to make magic.” She doesn’t mean spells and potions or demonic practices. When she talks about the supernatural, she’s really talking about a human connection. “It’s me helping you tap into your own magic,” she said, chatting over tea at The Local in Ship Bottom this past Saturday morning, after soccer practice with her 8-year-old son, Max.

Now the 37-year-old mother, competitive power lifter and Beach Haven Borough employee is heeding the call she has long heard whispering to her, by teaching and reading Tarot cards at community and private events, fundraisers and social occasions.

In an effort to cultivate a community of likeminded women, she has created a Facebook group called Witches’ Brew. Their monthly meetups give them “a safe space to share, where nobody thinks it’s weird.” The group gets together to share experiences, recommendations, skills and mystic musings. One member, for example, has knowledge of crystals, while another might specialize in astrology. Pooling resources makes them all stronger.

And strength is something McNally takes seriously. The gym is where her mind, body and spirit are the most aligned.

Ten years ago she earned her degree in modern dance from Temple University. She formerly worked at Black Sheep Studios in Spray Beach as a personal trainer. A coach she met in a kettlebell certification program introduced her to powerlifting, through which her confidence and self-esteem have blossomed.

“I’m always living in a constant state of growth, leveling up,” she explained. “I’m all about breaking mental boundaries and limitations. The Tarot is my spiritual tool to help me with that. The Tarot always asks us to live soul-, rather than ego-first. Powerlifting is the physical form of that for me. Strength takes so much patience. You work so hard for that one moment on the platform to level up. Definitely feeds my soul.”

McNally’s love of the Tarot began with a Rider-Waite-Smith deck she may or may not have stolen from a national chain bookseller when she was 16. Years later she deepened her own understanding of Tarot card reading techniques through online courses from Lindsay Mack of Brooklyn, who offers “intuitive counsel for deep soul evolution” as “Wild Soul Healing.”

When she moved to Beach Haven from Philly two years ago, McNally couldn’t easily find a community for supernatural interests, until she attended a meeting at Charmed and Co. in Waretown with 15 to 20 others who showed up, which prompted her to wonder, “Where are all these witchy women?”

Since then, “this whole journey has really opened up for me,” she said. For months in her own personal work with Tarot cards she had been pulling the Empress, which is about opening and receiving, though she wasn’t sure what the message was until now.

On the advice of a fellow psychic, McNally followed a path toward yoga. That’s how she linked up with Bendy Jane and Simply Yoga in Beach Haven earlier this year and landed a gig at Artifacts & Co. She has also appeared at the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co.’s block party and will be at its Christmas party at the firehouse. This week she’s reading at the Pit Gym in Eatontown for a Halloween-inspired Tarot and cryotherapy event, and on Saturday she’ll be at the All Fur One Pet Rescue in Toms River during the Cats and Snacks fundraiser.

Since embracing the Tarot, McNally said she has noticed a big difference in her marketing efforts as compared to her personal training days. To get exposure and business, she used to have to put herself out there to a far greater extent – something that has never come naturally to her; whereas now the calls and inquiries for psychic work are coming easily, and it all just flows. The feedback has been positive as she continues to promote herself on Facebook and Instagram (@newlyhired) for readings, in person or by phone, FaceTime or email.

McNally challenges commonly held notions and doubts about the presence and power of magic in everyday life. For starters, she’s no heathen; she has a holy source. As “a Jesus-loving witch,” she does not feel Christianity and the occult are mutually exclusive. Tarot cards are simply “a doorway into the present moment,” she explained, “an invitation into what you don’t see, or need to see.” In some cases they confirm what is already known.

Intuition is something every human possesses, she said. “How is that not a gift from God?”

— Victoria Ford


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