Michelle Blackett is a witch and a psychic medium.
She is the owner of New Age Insights, a shop on Lazelle Ave. in Terrace’s downtown core that sells everything from witchcraft gear to garden supplies to home decor.
The affable 52-year-old said witchcraft is nothing like you see in Hollywood movies.
“People say, ‘Well what is a witch? What is that?’ It’s a deep adherence to nature and natural law, and attention to the cycles of the Earth and the lives within it,” Blackett told The Terrace Standard. “We work in love and light.”
Blackett said witches have been oppressed for hundreds of years because their beliefs threatened mainstream religious teachings.
“But we’re back,” she said. “Women are invoking the witch to find their power in a patriarchal society.”
Blackett explained that there is a formal religion built on the values of witchcraft, called Wicca, but not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans are witches. She said she doesn’t necessarily consider herself a Wiccan, but her shop is there to support Wiccans (and any other religion, for that matter.)
“Wicca is an actual religion, and it is the fastest growing faith right now in North America, and pretty much the world at this point,” she said.
“We are definitely in a state right now of the awakening. Everybody’s feelin’ it. The Earth is really waking up and there’s big changes and a lot of people are diving into their spirituality, whether it’s Buddhist, Christian or Wiccan, it doesn’t really matter. The shop is here for that purpose. I mean, you can be a Jedi, I don’t care. We’re going to help you find the Force.”
One way the shop could help a person, Blackett said, would be to help them find a crystal with vibrations that really speak to that person, helping them feel spiritually at peace. The shop also sells sage for smudging, which can help get rid of negative vibrations.
The shop also offers workshops. In 2019, Blackett hosted a women’s retreat that included yoga, meditation, music, dance, and herbalism, among many other activities. She said it was incredibly rewarding to host it and she hopes to do another soon.
“Helping women is a very big thing for me,” she said.
Blackett was born and raised in the Smithers area, where she lived for many years before moving to Terrace. She raised three boys, who are now 29, 27, and 25 years old. She worked for about 17 years doing deliveries for Canada Post in rural areas around Smithers.
Throughout that whole time, she was discovering her psychic talent. She said she was around 8 when she first sensed that she was channeling energies and spirits around her, but she didn’t have a full understanding of what was happening at the time. As a teenager, she sort of lost connection with those senses.
She became an avid traveler in her early 20s, and on a trip to Europe she had a sudden reconnection with her psychic abilities.
She was standing on the wall of the Tower of London in England.
“That was when my first experience happened, big time. I had a past life there, apparently, and I died there,” she said.
She heard a cacophony of voices of the dead. It was like the sound of a party in the background of a phone call, she said.
“My sister had to pretty much pull me out of there, and I could just hear them getting angrier and angrier because I wasn’t understanding what they were doing,” she said.
Upon returning to Smithers, she had another flash of the past life in England. She was riding in a car with her then-husband, a friend, and her oldest boy, when suddenly she was in the back of a horse-drawn carriage.
After the second flash, she sought the guidance of a more experienced medium who helped her understand what she was seeing.
“Sure enough, I was in the peasants revolt. I was a woman at that time, with a bunch of men traveling by boat to go see the king, the young boy king. If he sees us, they’ll listen to us. And they threw me in a pit with my comrades from my village, and we were left to die there. And [I] died there.”
Over time, she learned to protect herself from dark visions of the past and to better manage her abilities.
She started doing psychic readings for people she knew, eventually setting up a room in her home to perform the ceremonies. Interest in her services grew and grew, until finally, nine years ago, she officially opened up a shop offering related goods and services in Smithers.
Several years after opening her shop in Smithers, Blackett met her now-partner, who is from Terrace, through a dating site. When she first met him she was very impressed, but scared too. Dating can be tough, she said, when you have to tell prospective partners that you’re a witch and a psychic. But he was totally accepting. The two quickly became close, and she decided to move from Smithers to Terrace four years ago.
“It was a big decision. Smithers is my home, everybody’s there,” she said, noting that the community in Terrace has been extremely welcoming to her.
“This has been such a wonderful, wonderful area to grow my business and meet new friends and opportunities … And the merchants have been awesome, just wonderful.”
Blackett said in all her years of running her shop, both in Smithers and in Terrace, no one has openly expressed hate toward her for her beliefs or lifestyle.
“It really is no worries to me if you don’t believe me or anything. That’s okay. That’s totally fine. You’re just not where we are yet,” she said.