An interview with Sonia Kowalewski
We caught up with the German witch and spiritualist to discuss magic, life and health.
Read the short profile below.
“I didn’t just grow up in a Christian fundamentalist family, I was a Christian fundamentalist myself. I’d say among my siblings, I was the one with the strongest beliefs. So, when I felt a strong pull toward witchcraft in my teens, I condemned myself. I did everything I could to resist. But what I didn’t know then was that I was fighting against my true nature. Of course, when my parents found my first crudely built witch altar in the attic, they started a prayer group to exorcize my ‘demons.’ But, at the time, I also thought I’d committed the worst sin possible, so my teens were pretty much defined by this battle of knowing that my innermost being needed witchcraft like air to breathe, while being convinced that if I gave up my Christian beliefs, I’d burn in hell to the end of times. It was extremely difficult!”
Sonia is from Braunschweig, a city in north-central Germany. Her mother is Brazilian and her father German with Polish roots. At the age of 13, Sonia discovered Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon” (1982), a feminist revision of the King Arthur myth that offered an alternative spiritual model to the male-dominated Christian system she grew up with. The novel had a profound effect. It also introduced Sonia to the Wicca religion and practice of witchcraft. Her path hasn’t been easy but she has found a certain peace in the last few years as a practicing witch – which Sonia says is “basically a person who practices magic and brings the spiritual world into the physical world and vice versa.” She has a thriving Instagram account and has published a guide and spell book for the “new witch” called “Deep Magick.”
“My main clients today are women around my own age, I’d say between 25 and 35. But their social backgrounds and personalities are very different so I can’t really say I have a typical client. I don’t offer in- person sessions because most of my clients are German and I now live in Italy with my boyfriend. Instead, I use my clients’ pictures. I start by lighting candles, burning incense and making small offerings on my three altars. I then turn off the lights, lie down and put myself in a trance using breathing techniques and visualizations – very similar to a shamanic journey. Going into a trance feels like flying because your body feels weightless. It’s actually speculated that this is the origin of the medieval stories of witches flying, but I guess from the outside it doesn’t look very spectacular – more like someone sleeping. I slowly return to my body and finally open my eyes. Afterwards, I write down what I experienced and send the document to my clients via email. I’d say witchcraft offers people their own unique spirituality. The base for everything I do is psychological. Even if someone comes to me and wants, say, a ritual or spell, I always have to see what’s behind that desire. I would say that’s the most important thing. Magic is not magic in the sense that I can just wish for anything – we can only act within the framework of our own minds.
“The first thing strangers often ask is: ‘Did you curse me?’ My friends accept me for who I am, and they see it more as a psychological practice – as I do. When I first met my boyfriend, I was still in the process of rediscovering my craft. I think he had the more socially acceptable impression that I just liked yoga and herbal teas rather than summoning ancient forces to carry out my will. He finally realized I actually practiced witchcraft when my new ‘meditation table’ turned out to be a full-blown altar to Hecate, including black candles, a ritual dagger and skulls. I don’t use any online marketing other than my Instagram account but, if my business keeps growing, I’d like to have a more sophisticated website that includes my services and an area for online learning.”