Real life witch Rebecca Beattie
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Watch our Q&A with real life witch Dr Rebecca Beattie

In our last Outdoor Swimmer patron event of the year, editor Ella Foote speaks to Dr Rebecca Beattie, a Wiccan Priestess and wild swimmer who has been practicing witchcraft for 20 years.

We sometimes joke that swimmers huddled in their changing robes look like a coven of witches. Well, on 8 Dec 2022, we were lucky enough to meet Dr Rebecca Beattie to learn more about connecting with nature through an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern pagans.

Dr Beattie is a Wiccan Priestess who has been practicing witchcraft for 20 years. She has PhD in creative writing, and her new book The Wheel of the Year came out this autumn. It celebrates the turning seasons and provides tools for us to reconnect with the rhythms of the year.

In this virtual event, hosted by Editor Ella Foote and attended by Outdoor Swimmer patrons and super-patrons, Dr Beattie told us how she first discovered witchcraft. She had originally wanted to act, having trained as an actor, she told us. But soon became disillusioned with the lifestyle. Living in a flat in London during the first pandemic lockdown, she felt cut off from nature and open water in particular, and made the decision to return to Dartmoor where she grew up.


She then put her PhD in creative writing to good use and wrote the The Wheel of the Year – a nurturing guide to rediscovering nature’s seasons and cycles. During our virtual event, Dr Beattie answered questions on what crystals she likes to wear in the water; her favourite time of the year to connect with nature through swimming; why she prefers to swim at sunrise rather than sunset during a solstice; and potential links between American First Nation traditions and Wiccan rituals.

Watch Ella’s conversation with Rebecca about connecting with nature through ritual, and her passion for outdoor swimming:

Read our interview with Dr Rebecca Beattie, ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’, in our December issue, ‘Magic & Ritual’ (on sale now). The Wheel of the Year is out now and available online and in all good bookshops. Find out about becoming an Outdoor Swimmer patron and joining us for future virtual events.