Skip to main content

Since it’s only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween.  I don’t know where to be sad or just bored that there is nothing original to report. The same folks are still claiming that if you let your child dress up as Spiderman or a Disney princess and collect candy from the neighbors, that child wind up killing cats and murdering babies as offerings to his or her Dark Master Darth Vader—er,  Lucifer.  Or at the very least they’ll end up sneaking copies of Harry Potter books which will lead them into corruption and Satanism, with usual cat killing and baby murdering  along the way. You do get the usually advice that you should out Jack tracts warning of the dangers of Halloween (dead cats and babies,  and eternal damnation, natch) to the poor misguided innocents who expect candy, not a cheesy cartoon pamphlet designed to lure them into Dominionism .  Funny how these people are always screaming “parental rights” when it comes to their kid being exposed to the theory of evolution or accurate info on birth control and STI prevention—but have no qualms about foisting their values on the children of people who don’t buy into their rather unpleasant version of Christianity.


I thought I had nothing to write about this year, and then I remembered something that gave me chills.  Back in 91-94, we were living in Brunswick, ME, and we often visited friends near Boston. One afternoon, we decided to head over to Salem. There are number of great museums  there, from the House of the Seven Gables, where Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ancestor and one of the judges of the witchcraft trials, lived to the Peabody Essex Museum, home to  many exhibits of historical interest but particularly rich in the China Trade. The first time we went we concentrated on that museum  and having a  late lunch.. We avoided the more touristy aspects like the plague.

The second time went was a different story.  We had a friend from D.C. who was interested in exploring Salem.  Unfortunately it was  mid-October.  The place was crowded with tourists. There was scarcely room to walk, and I hate crowds.

Oddly, Salem, which makes its money off tourism pertaining to the witch trials, was not where the madness happened.  The actual  collective insanity took place in Salem Village, which is now called Danvers.  The Salem I am discussing here was nearby Salem Town.  Most people neither know or care about something as minor as geography, and modern-day Salem is the place youi go if you are interested in the trials.

For those of you who have only a hazy idea of what happened in 1692, allow me to sum it up.  The daughter and the niece of the local minister, Reverend Parris, began to have fits and bouts of uncontrollable screaming. The doctor concluded they were the victims of witchcraft.  They named Tituba, Parris’s Caribbean slave who, when confronted, named others.  The husteria lasted from spring  through September,  often on the basis of “spectral evidence”—no physical proof was required. Cotton Mater and, later Increase Mather, advised the court not to use such flimsy evidence, but until it was finally officially ruled out, nineteen people were hanged at Gallows Hill, and Giles Corey was pressed to death (he refused to confess so they couldn’t hang him). There have been many explanations for this outbreak, ranging from Freudian hysteria to sexual repression to the “afflicted girls” lying about Tituba to save themselves from a beating and then enjoying the attention they got to ergot  poisoning, which produces many of the symptoms the girls claim to have experienced.  The only thing we know for sure was that Tituba was from the Caribbean and may have been a practicioner of vodun or some similar  religion, and that the conditions, according to one researcher, were just right for the growth of the ergot fungus—and that this happened at the tail end of the witch hunts in Europe and Great Britain

For more information, visit here. It has an excellent summary and the home page contains valuable links to original documents. I find the accounts both sad and frightening.

These trials, despite having occurred  in a different town entirely, are the main draw for tourists.  October, needless to say, is the high point of the year. There area lot of neat New Age and Wiccan shops in the area, a witch museum, a wax museum, and the reenactment of the indictment of Bridget Bishop, not to mention a pirate ship. The local Wiccans used to hold an open  circle on Samhain (the Celtic  name for Halloween, a feast of the dead in the old religion) for those who were sincerely interested in learning what real witches do as opposed to what the Halloween Haters claim we do—but   after years of growing harassment  by local Christians, they’ve had to move the circle indoors and make invitation only.

The most peculiar part of this day was the fact that  there were Wiccans in robes on every corner handing out fact sheets on Wicca, standing right next to the Church Ladies in their tasteful dresses who were thrusting Chick tracts at anyone they could reach.  The reason this was so odd is that Wiccans don’t proselytize. We view religion as a circle with God/dess at the center and infinite paths all leading to that center. People find the path that is right for them. We also generally don’t accept  people who haven’t reached legal adulthood into a coven, unless the minor is the child of a coven member.  We DO respect parental rights—and we don’t like lawsuits.

Odd as it was to see Wiccans handing out fact sheets on the town square and at the entrances to the various witchcraft-oriented sites, that wasn’t the thing that scared me. No, that happened on the third visit, on a rainy weekday. We had parked out car and were heading out from the parking lot for the town center when a large yellow bus (think a school bus) with the name of a Baptist church in Carolina pulled up to park. That’s when I looked around and realized that there were a couple of similar church buses parked in spaces set aside just for them, all three of them from Southern churches.  I couldn’t figure out why right-wing Southern Christians would want to visit Salem, since it’s a very Wiccan-friendly town. A number of the more successful shops are run by witches, including one owned by Laurie Cabot, a very outfront and prominent local witch.

I found out pretty quickly why they were there.  

We were wandering out of the shops and were trying decide what to do next: lunch or a search for the Tee shirt I wanted , the one with the large embellished A on it (I have an odd sense of humor).  A young man dressed in something vaguely from the period of the witchcraft trials was playing town crier and inviting us to attend the reenactment of the indictment of Bridget Bishop, promising us audience participation. Now I’ve done a lot of role playing in my 60+ years, from Dungeons and Dragons and LARPing to the SCA, but the idea of pretending to be part of a jury or panel of judges indicting an innocent woman of a crime punishable by death made me feel sick to my stomach.

Bridget Bishop was the first to be tried,  and she wasn’t well-loved in the town.  She kept a tavern and served her customers hard cider even on the Sabbath, Critical of her neighbors and  cantankerous to boot, she was typical of the sort of person who was accused of witchcraft.  Anyone familiar with the trials in England can tell you that you were most likely to be accused if you were a healer/midwife (if you failed to bring a child safely into the world or your herbal cures didn’t work, it had to be intentional); a mentally ill or just nonconforming  old woman who was marginal in the community, especially if she didn’t attend church faithfully; and a young and pretty widow whose stepson resented paying her the money specified in the marriage contract. Once the hysteria began, however, anyone was fair game for accusations.  Even people with impeccable reputations and faithful churchgoers were accused.

As we were thanking the  town crier, the busload of Southern Christians arrived. He went into his spiel and invited them to participate. That was when it got scary.

I overheard the  group, mostly women, talking among themselves. Unlike me, they weren’t upset at the notion of indicting an innocent woman for a crime she didn’t commit. Nope, they were excited. They’d come her to learn about the evils of witchcraft, including how to detect a witch and how to avoid the lures of Satan which draw the unwary into his unholy service.  If it had been a few years later, they’d have been muttering about Harry Potter. They  were talking about Wicca: Satan’s Little White Lie which, despite having been thoroughly debunked and riddled with factual errors, is still a mainstay in rightwing Christian bookstores. The author and others like him make a nice living holding seminars for  fundamentalist churches. And they were utterly convinced that Wiccans like me were evil and worshiped the devil (he’s part of Christian mythology, not Wiccan; we don’t even believe in him).  They also didn’t think the first amendment should apply to Satanists (read: Wiccans and pagans) since it was not a real religion (a sentiment they shared with George W. Bush who, upon being asked about the plight of the Fort Hood Wiccans,  announced that for that reason the military shouldn’t encourage it)

The spirit of 1692 is alive and well.

I don’t know why I was so shocked. From 1984 through 1991, I’d lived in North Florida. Every Halloween, local papers would run an article talking about the pagan roots of Halloween, with comments from local right-wing preachers and a small sidebar with  a local Wiccan explaining what Wicca really was about.  The letters to the editor were usually numerous denouncing us devil worshipers.  One year I actually wrote one in response—and asked them not to print mya dress because I really, really didn’t want to get hate mail.

Over the years the witch hunters have been busy. A number of well-known pols and preachers have entered the fray.  Take Jesse Helms, for example. The first amendment protects Wiccans from persecution, just as it does members of more mainstream faiths—but not everyone was happy about it. In 1985, Helms and  Representative Robert Walker introduced bills to deny Wiccan and other neo-pagan religions the tax exempt status they are granted under the law. Fortunately, those bills were defeated when it came to a vote, and Wicca has been upheld as a religion in several court cases. .

Still, Wiccans face discrimination if they’re out of the broom closet.  A good example is what happened at Hood in the late 90s when Wiccans, after jumping through all the hoops and getting a chaplain sponsor, began to hold an open circle on the grounds of Fort Hood. Their group had outgrown the living room where they’d been meeting and they needed more space. They also wanted to educate non-Wiccans on the teachings of their faith by showing what really happens at rituals, rather than what some Christians believe.  They met peacefully for a time, until a local hellfire and brimstone Baptist preacher got wind of it, and he and his pals began to  harass the witches and disrupt their religious services (imagine what would have happened if those witches chose to do something similar outside his church on Sunday morning).  Not content with that, someone vandalized the altar site the Wiccans had constructed with the base’s permission, destroying the attar stone, a half ton piece of granite, and the stones that mark the four direc And good old Bob Barr organized a Christian boycott of the military, pressuring the military to change its policy of actually following the constitution on religion. There have been similar incidents at the [ Air Force Academy] when a stone circle was erected It was vandalized soon after it was put up.

There has been some changes for the better.  Wiccans now can have their religious preference listed on their dogtags.  My husband wore his for 15 of the 23 years he was in the Navy. Wiccan veterans buried in military cemeteries can have a pentacle on their tombstone, thanks to one strong Wiccan widow and Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary who led  a campaign to force the VA to be more inclusive (atheists can have the symbol for the atom on their tombstones).

On the homefront, Wiccans still face closed-mindedness and discrimination. There have been cases where a parent’s Wiccan religion has been used to try to deny the custody of their children/ Students whop wear a [pentacle to school are still suspended under idiotic dress codes which consider the pentacle to be either offensive or a gang symbol. New Age and Wiccan stores face opposition from local Christians. Sometimes the opposition escalates into actual harassment—death threats and  bricks being thrown through windows and pickets outside. These  cases crop up often enough and are usually sensationalized by the press because middle-aged people quietly practicing their faith without baby killing and devil worship doesn’t as many papers.

And this is the sort of thing I knew happened, way back in 93 when I heard that busload of Christians working themselves into a lather at the thought of indicting a witch.

Today, you’re likely to face lawsuits and protests rather than the gallows, but the spirit is the same. These days it isn’t all or even most Christians, but  the more fringe fundamentalists. Yet even someone like my mother-in-law demanded that while we lived under her roof , we would not practice our religion anywhere at any time. In short we were forbidden even to pray. She’s a fairly reasonable woman, but under the influence of rightwing Christian books and TV (she’s been watching the local Christian channel lately, which makes me uneasy), she accepts a lot of lies about non-Christian faiths, including Islam. Those religious tourists were the lunatic fringe, but they were also the tip of the iceberg in many ways.

I live in the South so I keep my eye on what’s happening locally, and every so often, anti-Wiccan prejudice rears its ugly head.  In spite of that, I’ll be setting up shop on my front porch to distribute candy to the trick or treaters as I always do, dressed in a balck velvet medieval gown and traditional witch’s hat, explaining I’m a good witch like Glinda, while out little fog machine pours out its eerie mist. And after the last of the kids have visited, my husband and I will do our Samhain ritual, because for us, it’s both Halloween, a night for costumes and candy, and a holy day for witches when the veil between this world and the next is thin. And as always we’ll include a prayer that tolerance continues to grow and hatred is weakened, and that the witch hunters find something better to do with their time—like, perhaps, following their Jesus’s  call to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless and care for the sick.  I can’t help thinking that those Christian tourists  could have done lot of good with the money they spent on their trip to Salem.

Originally posted to irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , PaganKos, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (246+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, JayRaye, TayTay, cordgrass, Louisiana 1976, Bob Love, Diana in NoVa, Cali Scribe, Alexandra Lynch, most peculiar mama, CroneWit, jessical, Dianna, Ninepatch, Nowhere Man, RonV, SherwoodB, Pam from Calif, 2thanks, wader, VeggiElaine, high uintas, BadKitties, Kevskos, martini, 73rd virgin, JeffW, eOz, Waterbug, Orinoco, hwy70scientist, alguien, SlightKC, Catesby, solliges, blueoregon, Ojibwa, itzadryheat, antirove, ruleoflaw, anodnhajo, K S LaVida, churchylafemme, belinda ridgewood, Youffraita, DavidMS, kevinpdx, Leftleaner, GrumpyOldGeek, prfb, myboo, jakedog42, Ekaterin, reflectionsv37, pvasileff, duhban, NMRed, AZ Sphinx Moth, Selphinea, Yamara, Trendar, samoashark, radarlady, KJC MD, annan, devis1, mookins, Crazycab214, Transactivist, ArthurPoet, TX Scotia, tommyfocus2003, celdd, Denise Oliver Velez, SoCalSal, Betty Pinson, caryltoo, kaliope, JimWilson, kharma, SaraBeth, Jaxpagan, nuclear winter solstice, Chun Yang, NYFM, El Bloguero, dkmich, tobendaro, OHdog, coppercelt, lcbo, Cinnamon, StateofEuphoria, emeraldmaiden, myrmecia gulosa, Moody Loner, triv33, Debbie in ME, karmsy, Mayfly, TexMex, Bill W, ChemBob, Boston to Salem, gchaucer2, orlbucfan, LSmith, DeminNewJ, naldoron99, emmasnacker, Airmid, onionjim, Ahianne, wintergreen8694, Blu Gal in DE, Knockbally, Powered Grace, marina, Jorybu, wide eyed lib, AnnieR, ichibon, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Gruvkitty, pat bunny, Matt Z, Bluebirder, meagert, i saw an old tree today, lavaughn, BYw, LnGrrrR, millwood, zerelda, NJpeach, AnnetteK, SilverWillow, Brooke In Seattle, wdrath, brooklynliberal, arkylib, allergywoman, Darwinian Detrius, MNGlasnant, collardgreens, SueM1121, la motocycliste, fixxit, FlyingToaster, flowerfarmer, asterkitty, sawgrass727, Senor Unoball, WisVoter, Philpm, Steveningen, lulusbackintown, Wino, nzanne, entrelac, Nebraskablue, Hohenzollern, fumie, terabytes, stevie avebury, swampyankee, BusyinCA, bfitzinAR, annrose, trumpeter, shesaid, a gilas girl, US Blues, California06, Friend of the court, DavidHeart, Wednesday Bizzare, Cassandra Waites, minidriver, BobBlueMass, DruidQueen, 4Freedom, sap, mzinformed, old wobbly, SmartAleq, enhydra lutris, SharonColeman, Statusquomustgo, Prinny Squad, TAH from SLC, NYWheeler, WB Reeves, TheMomCat, denig, TKO333, HippyWitch, The Rational Hatter, Box of Rain, implicate order, mayim, doingbusinessas, sk4p, get the red out, byteb, TrueBlueMajority, bythesea, Pariah Dog, nirbama, Laughing Vergil, Ice Blue, martydd, arejay830, northerntier, dksbook, smrichmond, PurpleThistles, MadGeorgiaDem, ladybug53, Chaddiwicker, SuWho, Mathazar, Sorta Randle, caul, thomask, yella dawg, pixxer, DJ Rix, riverlover, MA Liberal, StrayCat, Flying Goat, fleisch, Anjana, Sun Tzu, SouthernLiberalinMD, Regina in a Sears Kit House, j b norton, Massconfusion, rodentrancher, Jay C, FarWestGirl, Temmoku, srelar, Pinko Elephant, ER Doc

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:17:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad the sequester is gone (56+ / 0-)

    The mayor of Salem was complaining that the federal visitor center was closed, the place where the tourists pee.  :D  It was becoming a problem, very bad timing for the town.

    I like to go there at midsummer or Lammas, a lot less crowded.  I love the witch museum, and the shopping really can't be beat.

    What can you do with the prejudice?  I remember traveling alone in Ireland a long, long time ago, back when I was Lutheran, and a young man I met on a long train ride said I was the first Protestant he had ever met.  He was practically looking for horns on me.

  •  Nice essay, irishwitch! (59+ / 0-)

    There is an enormous amount of ignorance about our beliefs. That's one reason I write short stories about the Goddess religion--I want to show that we are everyday people, living normal lives that are touched with magic from time to time.

    I once visited Salem too.  It's a sad and lovely place.  I really felt the weight of history when I was walking around the memorial.

    Perhaps one day we Witches will be able to come out of the broom closet all the way instead of having to leave the door slightly ajar, metaphorically speaking.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:42:41 PM PDT

  •  Thanks. Hallowe'en has gotten much happier (43+ / 0-)

    and Christmas much more nerve-wracking over the years.

    Me, I celebrate Arbor Day every day, and sacrifice chocolate on the altar of my tongue.

    This place is so much nicer because of you.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:43:50 PM PDT

  •  Happy New Year (27+ / 0-)

    Been thinking of my own Samhain pilgrimage this year to attend the 34th annual Spiral Dance.  I haven't been since 2007, and I have some dead to remember this year.  Probably a bit too much with my work schedule though...but if I don't mark the wheel of the year, it just rolls over me...

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:53:09 PM PDT

  •  I grew up in Danvers (51+ / 0-)

    and there is a lot to see in that town related to the witch hysteria. However, for the sheer number of homes that date back to before the Witchcraft Delusions, head over to Ipswich. It has the look and feel that Salem does not. Then go have fun in Salem.

    I have given many tours of Danvers and Salem that centered around the Witchcraft Delusion and the events of the Revolution. The one thing that consistently annoys me is the lack of respect shown to the victims of the bloodletting.

    I am not a covenanted Congregationalist. (Puritan.) I don't think that particular religion really exists anymore, though it's closest cousin may be in the fundamentalist churches. I am an agnostic too. So, I don't have a dog in any religious fight.

    The women and men who died in Salem died as Christian martyrs. Their religion dictated that at some time or another they would face a test as St. Peter did in his three denials of Christ. These people had been primed with the idea that it was better to die than deny their truth. While this is not my religion, I respect that it was theirs. They were martyrs to their Christian faith. They were not witches in the modern sense. They were not trafficking with the devil in the medieval sense. They were victims of a mass bloodletting. They could have denied their truth and lived, but they didn't.  Please show some respect for this when visiting the place of their death.

    I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard these people disrespected. (The city of Salem doesn't help.  I still have a problem with so much money being made off of mass murder, but that is a different story.) If you are in an old graveyard, please remember, these places are old and fragile.  They are not fake decorations or Hollywood set pieces.  They are actual graves and a part of history.  Just show some damn respect, then go have some fun elsewhere in town. Make a grumpy tour guides day!

    •  I am well aware that those who died in the madness (38+ / 0-)

      were not Wiccans. They were, indeed, Christians for the most part. I am not sure that applies to Tituba  who was more likely a private practicioner of the Caribbean religions, and Bishop wasn't exactly a faithful Puritan.  

      Unfortunately  the current crop of fundies neither know the history nor care about the facts about Wicca. My ex-bro-in=law tried to use our religion as reason to get a TRO against him, stating as the reason "self-proclaimed witch (devil worshiper)"  and wanted his daughter forbidden to have anything to do with us--which meant the child couldn't visit her grandmother, since we were living with her at the time. The judge, blessedly, actually had read the constitution and ytold him  to sit down and shut up (literally after  he kept interrupting the judge).  We've also had our keyed with "Jesus Hates Witches" because of a bumper sticker that read "My other car is a broom".  And I was followed through Dominionist owned Hobby Lobby because someone spotted my pentacle.

      I went to high school in Milford Conn., a town founded by Puritans who thought Massachusetts Bay wasn't sufficiently insane enough.  If you live in New England, the history is all around you, part of the air you breathe. I'venever been to Danvers because, frankly, I don't knoe if I could hold back my tears.  There are still those who pay the price for their beliefs--google Tempest Smith, who was bullied into suicide by her good Christian fellow students who surrounded her singing hymns; comp[aints to teaches didn't  help. Or read up on the West Memphis Three, convicted of three murders they didn't commit because  in Arkansas during the Satanic Panic, wearing black, listening to heavy metal, reading Stephen King, and reading about alternative religions was enough to get you sent to death row.   There was no physical evidence to convict them, the autopsy was performed by someone whop wasn't a forensic pathologist, and the star witness was a so-called expert on the occult who knew absolutely nothing but was consdiered an "expert" by local law enforcement.

      I think, but I may be wrong, that the modern incarnation of the Congregatiopnalists is the United Church of Christ--one of the most liberal churches in the country.

      Thank you for your very th0oughtful comment here.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 06:15:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Poor Tituba (37+ / 0-)

        She was a slave that Parris brought with him from the West Indies. She was ripped out of her warm homeland, ripped apart from her family and sent to this completely alien land that couldn't have been more different from her home. Still, she tried to care for Minister Parris' daughter and niece as best she could and show them some human warmth, which is more than their good for nothing father ever did.  It blew up in her face.

        The witchcraft delusion was a land grab. Minister Parris used the events to settle old scores with parish enemies. The Putnams did the same. Tituba was not well-versed in town politics. When confronted with the betrayal of the Afflicted Girls, she confessed to being a witch. She well may have been a folk magic practitioner, using beliefs common to her upbringing. (But she wasn't a medieval, European type witch stereotype common to 1692.) She and her husband, John Indian, were sent to the Ingersoll Ordinary where they held court for travelers and aided the Court of Oyer and Terminer with accusations.

        Rumor has it that Tituba and her husband were sold to pay debts and went back to the sugar plantations in the West Indies.

        That Church, the spiritual descendant of the First Congregational Church of Danvers, is indeed now a Church of Christ.  The minister is a woman.  She and her wife have an excellent rapport with the town and their congregation. That is a fitting rebuke to all the intolerance that happened so long ago, don't ya think.

        Mass story:  I once was invited to a lesbian handfasting in Salem. The first bride was of a Catholic background, the second bride was Jewish. The only question we had was if they already had a blender and if so, what the hell else could we get the happy couple.  (Married through the Unitarians, I think, if memory serves.)

        Damien, from the Lost Boys saga now lives in Salem, MA. No one batted an eye, though there was a nice write up on him in the Salem Evening News.  Go there and rejoice.  Things change, progress happens.

        •  i have always suspected (23+ / 0-)

          that a lot of the salem story centered on the grabbing of property.

          hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

          by alguien on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 08:10:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am glad to hear that Damien Eccols ended up in (21+ / 0-)

          a much more pleasant environment.  I followed the case for years, even during our 94-2001 sojourn in Japan.  it's a classic example of what religious fanaticism and ignorance and reliance on experts who aren't expert in anything but ignorance can do.

          When I mentioned Tituba perhaps practicing  the folk beliefs common to her place of origin, I referred to vodun and several similar religions which originated in the West Indies--and spread, among the slaves. Its 'as legitimate as any other faith, a mingling of Christian and African animism/shamanistic beliefs. I get so tired of people talking about voodoo without any concept of what it actually entails--that it's a monotheistic religion, that the loas are closer to angels than anything else, that zombies are not the raison d'etre for the religion. Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 08:46:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I got the source wrong (7+ / 0-)

            Story was in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

            Google:   Damien Eccols Salem

            and the article will come up. Links won't transfer on my phone. Sorry.

          •  Yeah, they do. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Of course, I've found (in my admittedly small experience) that voudou and santeria are very private religions. When I was honoring the orishas on a regular basis, I'd go to the stores to buy candles and things for the altars, and people were extremely guarded with me (I'm guessing b/c I'm white). They're not as open as Wiccans, and thus there's a lot of empty space for Hollywood to fill with lies.

            I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:39:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My grandparents were from Salem (13+ / 0-)

          and I spent many happy vacations there in the 50s and 60s.  In those days the story of the witches was just part of history, as you say, a part of the air one breathed. It hadn't been sensationalized by Salem's transformation into a tourist trap after its industrial base (shoes, board game factories among others) were off shored.  That history I think also hadn't really been acknowledged by the more religiously mainstream but puritanical leaders.  One relative did introduce me to "Laurie the Witch" who kept the only 'witchcraft' shop I remember in the downtown area --she seemed to be accepted then just as an eccentric person.
          But with the commercialization of the town's history, that changed and suddenly it seemed there were dozens of 'witchcraft' related attractions in the central area.  I sometimes needed to visit an elderly relative but avoided going in the fall, when the throngs of tourists were about.  But a few years ago some cousins and I visited in June to celebrate my aunt's 80th birthday.  It was a shock how much had changed, culturally, not because of the witches, but because of the fundamentalists who had been attracted to Salem to try to expunge 'those Satanic practices'.  We visited the church that my aunt and mother had been members of in their youth. It had been a very mainstream Methodist congregation in their day. But the current pastor was a fundie and devoutly anti-witch, anti-gay and totally impenetrable to our protests. One of my cousins is a UCC pastor and her reasonable arguments about religious tolerance fell on deaf ears.  Then we happened to stop at one of the houses where my mother and aunt's family had lived. The owner, who had just moved from California, was a nice looking young middle aged guy who could pass for an LA screenwriter.  He offered to give us a tour of the house and explain his renovation plans, which was nice. And then he told us that the reason he had come to Salem was to start a church to help counter the effect of 'all the witches and Satanists'.   I felt we were in a parallel universe; this wasn't the Salem I knew growing up.  And unfortunately it seems just like the rest of devil-obsessed 'Merica.  

          •  Force and counter-force (7+ / 0-)

            I am not surprised by this at all. Salem changes all the time. I am unsurprised to hear that a reactionary force has come in.  Salem, City of Peace, is a big damn target.

            My great-great-grandparents, on 3 sides, settled in Salem in the mid 1800's.  One side came from Ireland as Famine refugees.  The other side were French Canadians who came down looking for work in the Mills. The Salem they came to had already been re-invented many times over.

            These folks found work at the Naumkeag cotton mills, on the site of present day Pickering Wharf. They made shoes, opened grocery stores, worked on the railroad and became curriers in the tanning industry that was so prevalent on Boston's North Shore. What we now call Gallows Hill was called, by the Irish and others, Blubber Hollow because of the whale flesh imported to be used in the tanning process.

            Salem is a little weird in this regard:  after the great fire of 1914, which destroyed about half the town, Salem rebuilt. It retreated back into an earlier history.  There is much  more preserved in Salem of colonial era buildings and so forth than of later sites.  Also, a lot of the incredible maritime history of Salem has taken a backseat recently to the whole witchcraft era.  Sad.  Salem's history is so rich and varied. It is a shame to market it as just being of one sad era.

            •  One reason the Peabody Essex (7+ / 0-)

              is one of my favorite museums is that it doesn't ignore the maritime history, which was actually Salem and not Danvers ~ and which is just as interesting as anything else ;-)

              Guessing you've read them, but for anyone interested...

              Salem: Place, Myth, and Memory edited by Dane Morrison and Nancy Lusignan Schultz.

              Death of an Empire: The Rise and Murderous Fall of Salem, America's Richest City by Robert Booth

              The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

              by mayim on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:50:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is of course... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ladybug53, Bluebirder, fleisch

                ...Salem Maritime National Historical Site.  Personally, I wish the National Park Service would take over interpretation of the witch trial story.  There are a couple of good sites, but mostly I feel like Salem has given itself over to tourist-trappiness, and exploits Halloween and implies a non-existent connection to actual Wiccanism.  The NPS has an excellent track record of sticking with the facts and making the historical stories relevant.  

                Incidently, last night I was at a meeting at First Congregational Church of Danvers, United Church of Christ, which while under a different name and in a newer building is the church of Rev. Parris.

            •  There's a poem by one of the Benets (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mayim, ladybug53, Bluebirder, Ahianne

              that speaks of the hero's love for a "girl like a Salem clipper". That comparison says so much in so few words.

              Someone HAS to remember that sad, unhappy time, though--because it can so easily happen again to anyone who doesn't fit the current mold.  And if you don't believe me, come South.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:14:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  WIth that sort of pastor, (0+ / 0-)

            religious tolerance is only for Christians, and, to some degree, Jews. ANd if you think it's bad in Salem, try crossing the Mason-Dixon.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:11:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hey (5+ / 0-)

          If they have a regular blender, you can always get them an immersion  blender.

        •  For the writers of the Constitution (4+ / 0-)

          The 'trials' and murders were an embarrassing hangover from Europe.   The demands for state protection from religious coercion and discrimination in the Constitution and the official embrace of Islam reflect the colonial American fears of religious interference in citizens lives.

          Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

          by nolagrl on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:58:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Is it a good that congragationalist=UCC??? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have no frame of reference on this, so I do not understand your statement.

      •  Connecticut had its own witch hysteria (7+ / 0-)


        Five relatives on one side of my family alone were persecuted in the hysteria, in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. So, for me, it's a very serious bit of history, a reminder that due process should never be taken lightly.

        •  I have heard estimates of 450+ (7+ / 0-)

          New England instances of witchcraft prosecutions from founding to the Revolution.  Of course, the vast majority of these did not result in hangings.  The circumstances for that to happen had to be bigger than just the continuation of medieval superstition practices from Old England.

          It takes an especially horrible set of circumstances for people to contemplate murdering their family members and neighbors over religious issues. Those special set of circumstances were in the Salem area in 1692.  (The greater area of the delusion stretched farm beyond the shire town of  Salem to Salem Village (Danvers) or Salem Farms (roughly, Peabody.) It went pretty much along the coast of the Mass Bay colony, up through Newburyport, into Maine, then a part of MA. It also went inland to Andover and Groton.)

          The colony had been through a lot of upheaval. They had finished King Philip's War, percentage wise, the deadliest conflict in American history. (I have heard casualty figures of 1/3rd of the population, Native and English, of New England died.) The Native population was, essentially, eliminated in the most cruel fashion as punishment.

          England was in turmoil at this time. Protestants feared that another King Charles would restore the Catholic faith as state religion. He was deposed and the crown handed to William and Mary who promised the primacy of the Anglican faith. Massachusetts was always a troublesome province filled with malcontents. They feared retribution from the new crown for their actions in throwing out their Royal Governor in 1688.

          Word came that a new Charter for the colony would be coming. No one really knew what this meant. Would the colonists have rights or would they become the bastard children of England, doomed to be at war with a Mother Country they grew less like with each passing year.  Would property rights be respected or would the Crown take back the lands in New England to give to more loyal subjects.

          Anxiety was everywhere. The accusation of witchcraft was the lit match thrown into the bonfire.  It burned very hotly in that cursed year.

          This is not unique in human history. Rwanda was such a case that pitted allegiances against each other.  For what it's worth, I think the Teabaggers are a response to pressure stimuli in our time.  They are, in their own way, just as dangerous.

        •  One of my old friends (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mayim, Ahianne

          is descended from Gov. Winthrop, the Mathers AND one of the "witches" hanged at Salem on his father's side. His mother is a RUssian Jew, and the red hair comes from her side of the family--while the acquiline nose is from the father's side.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:18:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A tidbit I found (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mayim, irishwitch, fleisch, Ahianne

          while researching my mother's family spoke of the Connecticut aspect.

          I do what I call shotgun searches where I type a name in to a search engine and just see what pops up. My Mom's maiden name was Smith, so I had my work cut out for me in the beginning. I eventually came to learn that my original Smiths came from England and one, named Simon Smith, was among the founders of Haddam CT. One problem was, depending on the source there were two women named Elizabeth, one surnamed Ely, the other surnamed Bateman, listed as his wife. So I did shotgun searches on both of them

          Doing a search of Google Books for the name Elizabeth Bateman, I came up with "The Devil's Dominion- Magic and Religion in Early New England by Richard Godbeer." The following was highlighted for my search:

          "New England diviners operated primarily as fortune-tellers. Katherine Harrison of Wethersfield, CT, was "one that tould fortunes." Before coming to Wethersfield, Harrison had lived and worked in Hartford as servant to John Cullick, a merchant. One of her fellow servants, Elizabeth Bateman, was being courted by William Chapman, but her master disapproved of the match. Harrison predicted that Elizabeth would never marry a man named William and that her husband would be called Simon. Sure enough, Elizabeth eventually married a man named Simon Smith. There could be any number of explanations for Harrison's accuracy: she may have realized their master's opposition was unshakeable; she may have been using the medium of fortune telling to lobby on Simon Smith's behalf."
          So, my family's progenitor Simon Smith was married to Elizabeth Bateman. And now I know why!

          Unfortunately, there was also a notation in that search to "Willys Papers, W 11 23 September 1668 testimony of Elizabeth Smith." I've yet to locate the text of this reference, but it suggests that, after her marriage, Elizabeth testified in some sort of trial for Katherine Harris. I can only hope she testified for the defense.

          But, in more recent history, my grandfather was a notable spiritualist who my mother remembers holding regular seances at the house when she was young. His people had come to Ohio from New York's "Burned Over District." And you can look that up yourselves for fun.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:49:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My Ancestors, the Ways, Protested the Salem Trials (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fleisch, Ahianne

          and later received permission (with the support of then dismissed Rev. Samuel Parris) to change to the nearby Dorchester congregation, although they still lived in Salem Village. Luckily, they were not persecuted for their lack of belief in local witchcraft. However, Aaron Way, Sr. (8G-Grandfather) was forced to testify against a neighbor, John Proctor--the worst he could say about Proctor was that he was sometimes cruel to animals (Proctor was convicted by the jury of witchcraft and hanged). Aaron Way's granddaughter, 3-year-old Elizabeth Way, daughter of Aaron Jr. and Mary Way (7G-Grand Uncle/Aunt), was the "Aaron Way's daughter" that Thomas Wilkins supposedly bewitched to death.

          My 7G-Grandfather, William Way, attempted to intercede with Rev. Parris to dismiss charges against Rebecca Nurse, John Tarbell, Thomas Wilkins, and Sarah Cloyse before their trials. But Rev. Parris claimed the bible required more than one witness to their innocence, and no one else came forward on their behalf. Following their trials, Rebecca and Sarah were hung and John and Thomas were convicted but not executed. William and 7G-Grandmother Persis then became the first Ways to petition to change to another congregation.

          Even though they escaped direct repercussions from the witch hunts, the Ways ultimately were so unnerved by the experience, that the family hired a ship and moved en masse to Dorchester, South Carolina.

          We’ve had 30 years of data: supply-side economics don’t work, tax cuts for the wealthy are more likely to encourage the purchase of dressage horses than the creation of new jobs. -- Joe Klein @

          by Robert de Loxley on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 03:49:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sort of... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, Ahianne

        ...regarding Congregationalists being the UCC.

        The UCC formed of a merger of most Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical & Reformed Church.  There are Congregational Churches that did not join the UCC, but the vast majority did.

    •  A few notes on Danvers.... (33+ / 0-)

      No one in Danvers wants to acknowledge that the actual witchcraft delusion happened there. They actively discourage tourists.  This is just a New England thing.

      Case in point:  The Memorial put up to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the whole sorry event. It's not accessible. I mean it's there and it's definitely worth a visit, but there is no parking, unless there is a soccer match going on the day you visit. In that case the fence in back of the Memorial is open and you can park.  Otherwise, the parking lot is closed. (Go up the street a bit to the Church parking lot and walk down the hill.)

      This Memorial is the real deal.  Stark as all hell.  Has a Puritan judge etched into white marble that is really scary.  (I think of it often when I think about the Religious Right.) There is a pair of manacles appropriate to the period that rest on a large marble Book of Life that symbolize what the accused faced.  The names of all those who died are etched in stone behind this along with quotes from the victims.  This is a great memorial.

      The neighbors hate this Memorial.  I think that's why there is no parking. Stark Memorials bring down property values. (No witches, bitches. We're normal now.)

      If you want to see the archeology dig into the parsonage where the Afflicted Girls lived, it's around the corner in someone's backyard.  (Rear, 67 Center St.)  Knock, be nice and you can go see the site.  If you want to see the woods were the Afflicted Girls danced that cold night in Feb, back in 1692, head down Forest St.  Park in the lot for St. Richard's Church.  Walk further down Forest St. and look for the opening for Whipple Hill.  When you get to the top you will find the open field and the graves for many members of the Putnam family. Thomas, his wife and his daughter Anne, are in unmarked graves in the corner lot.

      No visit to spooky Danvers is complete without a visit the site of the Danvers Insane Asylum.  (Lovecraft used it as an inspiration for Arkham Asylum.) It is rumored that the lobotomy was first used here, then used often  The site has been redeveloped as condominiums because, ahm, what could possibly be spooky about "blood land" from a Judge Hathorne that once housed an insane asylum. Everyone will want to live there.  

      (Okay, the view from the top is really great.  You see all the way to Boston on a clear day. But still, I found it spooky.)

      More Danvers sites at this link.  Have fun!!!!  Happy Halloween!!!!  

    •  While making money off it is a bit unseemly (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm, sk4p, irishwitch, fleisch

      It helps to keep the Witchcraft Trials as a well known part of American history. The benefit to that is it shows how important a strong legal system is to a country.

      Sometimes, I wonder why I consider myself a Democrat. Before too long though, dumb Republicans saying dumb things come along to remind me.

      by LnGrrrR on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:06:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I lived in Marblehead for years (5+ / 0-)

        in the late 60's and ran into Laurie Cabot and her daughter a number of times.

        Not a practitioner myself, i didn't, and still don't,  know much about her or Wicca but was always awed by her gracious vibe.

        Very interesting historical perspective in this diary-i now will do the further research i should have done when i lived close by.

        'A scarlet tanager broke the silence with his song. She thought of the bird hidden in the leaves somewhere, unseen but nevertheless brilliant red. Nevertheless beautiful.' Barbara Kingsolver/ Prodigal Summer

        by flowerfarmer on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:20:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Marblehead has a delightful history. (7+ / 0-)

          I love colonial history.  Marblehead, during this period, was just different.  

          During the unquiet winter of 74-75, General Gage decided that he needed to show the local yokels who was boss. He decided to make a foray into rebellious Salem/Danvers to destroy or capture some of the gun powder and arms that the colonists were stockpiling. Ships set out from Boston with strict orders to be silent. The English troops landed at Marbehead under orders not to engage with the locals. 'Headers had the reputation of being such bad-asses that they should not be tangled with if at all possible. The Brits did not want to engage with those locals who, even then, had the reputation of being pirates and such.

          'Headers were in the boat with Washington in Trenton when he crossed the Delaware Christmas '76.  Feirce fighters back then. The maritime history of that time is fun to read.

        •  Laurie Cabot's habit of wearing balck robes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flowerfarmer, Ahianne

          is based on solid reasoning. In America, many clergypeople wear black. Since she is a member of the clergy as a High Priestess, she chose her garb fopr a logical reason.

          Actually there isn't much to know about WIcca. We're disorganized religiona t its finest. If you want to understand what we beelive, google "Wiccan Rede" and "Charge of the Goddess"--that sums us up neatly and is the closest thing we have to scripture. We're a reconstructed faith, so every group does it a bit differently.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:26:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  My mother was born in Danvers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, TayTay

      and her family was from Danvers...and had been since before the witch trials ~ I'm descended from almost all the participants, or so it sometimes seems ;-)

      Both Ann Putnams are buried in the Putnam Learoyd cemetery, next door to the state police barracks, although there graves are among the many unmarked ones in the cemetery.

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:43:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not quite the right holiday (17+ / 0-)

    but the diary brought this song to mind (I'm sure you know it.)

    This verse always makes me choke up like very few songs ever have:

    So the christians and the pagans sat together at the table,
    Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
    And where does magic come from? I think magic's in the learning,
    Cause now when christians sit with pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.
    One heart at a time, one mind at a time, one family at a time, things are getting better.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 06:11:51 PM PDT

  •  Thanks! (21+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't mind learning a bit more about Wiccan beliefs.  I haven't had much exposure to them, being a Liberal Agnostic (were I buried in the veteran's cemetery, I'd want a big question mark or the word "Whatever" on my tombstone).

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 06:12:00 PM PDT

  •  I am off to hang out with my husband. (15+ / 0-)

    For no particular reason, we're re-watching Babylon Five courtesy of Netflix.  I'll check in later.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 06:32:36 PM PDT

    •  Madam (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm, trumpeter, sk4p, irishwitch

      You and your husband have excellent taste in programing. :)

      My best friend considers himself a Pagan, and we love each other dearly. I've never been one to castigate someone for what they believe, because it's their choice. I'll share my own faith and what that means to me if asked but if I were to see someone trying to brick a Wiccan store you can bet you're bottom dollar that I'd step in and try to stop it.

      Failing that I'd go in and see if the shop people needed help with the mess. It may not be much, but I really do try to live by that whole do unto other as you would have them do unto you rule.

      “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

      by bayushisan on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Golden Rule zseems to exist in ALL faiths (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alexandra Lynch, fleisch, Ahianne

        In WIcca it is "DO what you wilt an it harm none".  Too bad so many people ignore it.

        We watched B5 on tapes sent to us from AMerica--we were in Japan for 4 of its 5 years, and AFRTS didn't carry it (they DID run Buffy and ANgel, or I'd have had nothing to watch). I felt a need to rewatch it ths year--maybe because of the Republican stupidity.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:30:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, YEAH! Babylon 5 is awesome. (0+ / 0-)

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:43:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  BTW, I take it you play L5R? (0+ / 0-)

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:43:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why yes, yes I have :) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I take it you mean the RPG and not the card game. I've never even attempted the card gamed because it looked so complex that it made my brain hurt. lol

          Scorpion is my favorite clan (first clan book dedicated to Machiavelli even)

          It's nice to see a fellow gamer geek, especially one who gets where I got the name. :D It's one of the reasons I use the name, just to see who gets it, and who asks about it. :)

          “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

          by bayushisan on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 11:30:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Currently playing a Moto with a Hida aunt (0+ / 0-)

            who thus got educated in the Hida school. Fun character.

            I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 12:16:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It all ties in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as in this clip from B5.

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:50:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, IW! (14+ / 0-)

    Nice diary and it made me think about some of my own experiences.   I've not much experience with Wicca, but early teachers in other disciplines made me leery of it, and sometimes it is hard to shake those early impressions.   The only Wiccan I knew very well turned out to be a kind and gentle woman--I felt silly about my original suspicions.

    The core of the Daily Kos behavior guide is simple: don't be a dick.~Kos

    by theBreeze on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 06:43:00 PM PDT

  •  There are some good Christians in Salem... (15+ / 0-)

    For a very different perspective, and from an Evangelical pastor to boot, check out Phil Wyman's church, The Salem Gathering.

    Rev. Wyman is a committed, missional Christian... who got kicked out of his denomination (Foursquare Baptist) for dialoguing, and even being friends with, Wiccans and other Neopagans.

    He's worth a read, and even though he and I will never agree on theology, (he's an Evangelical Christian, I'm an ADF Druid,) I'd have a lot fewer problems with Christianity if more Christian ministers were like him.

    Other Evangelical Christians doing genuinely good interfaith work with Pagans are John W. Morehead, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and Dr. Philip Johnson.


    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 07:10:50 PM PDT

    •  i wrote about his expulsion (18+ / 0-)

      and his experiences with local Wiccans a few years back.  I don't have a problem with most Christians (raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools from K through college, still follow the trends in that faith), but some of the churches down here in GA are poisonous.  I tend to think that most of the folks in Salem are tolerant--but there's a group that seems to feel the need to proclaim their belief system iun a less than loving way and condemn all others. That mentality leads to open circles having to be moved indoors, and vandalism of Wiccan altars, etc.

      Never had a problem when I lived in the NE, but down here is a different story. I've come to wonder if the appeal of a church that proclaims it and only it has the Real Whole Earth Absolute Stranglehold on Truth isn't the exclusivity factor. I call it "The First Church of We're Going to Heaven and YOU'RE Not" Syndrome in which heaven is regarded as an exclusive country club.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 08:54:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My personal history is involved deeply (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaliope, Ahianne, irishwitch

        with Salem, MA - Charleston, SC - two villages/towns in Belgium (where I was stationed at NATO HDQT's) - where I worked in an old German Caserne (begun in WWI and finished by the Nazis when they occupied Belgium during WWII) - so intense and with such spiritual - good v. evil implications for the human race and - - -

        Cncinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky (an old area with its own spiritual/slave trade related angels and demons and ghosts and others...) - The Underground Railroad and its role in the war between good and evil...

        The intensity of places where I lived was/is remarkable.

        Peace & Love

      •  Oh, ugh. I think this is more real than (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you may even realize:

        I call it "The First Church of We're Going to Heaven and YOU'RE Not" Syndrome in which heaven is regarded as an exclusive country club.
        The parallels between what conservatives believe about money and what they believe about heaven are incredibly creepy.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:45:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Point of info - Foursquare isn't Baptist... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm, irishwitch

      The International Church of the Forusquare Gospel (to use its full name) was founded in the early 1920s.  It's Pentecostal.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:27:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for (11+ / 0-)

    posting this. I'm not religious, but I always felt honored when I was invited to the various seasonal Wiccan celebrations on Nicollet Island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, fine times that gave me plenty to think about.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 07:19:30 PM PDT

  •  Brief historical correction (27+ / 0-)

    Great diary but Giles Corey wasn't pressed to death for refusing to plead guilty. He was killed for refusing to plead at all. By standing mute he could not be tried or convicted. Without a conviction his property couldn't be seized and his family dispossessed. Consequently, the decision was taken to literally "press" him into entering a plea. He had a strong will and remained silent till the end.

    In point of fact, no one who "confessed" to being a witch at the Salem trials was executed. The victims were those who steadfastly refused to "repent."

    I highly recommend the Danvers memorial. The Memorial in Salem proper is a meditative island in a sea of touristy nonsense but the atmosphere in Danvers is somehow far more affecting.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 07:29:45 PM PDT

    •  Yup, that was Giles fate. (22+ / 0-)

      If you couldn't plead guilty or innocent, then the courts couldn't seize your lands. Corey's last words were: "more weight."  He was 80 years old.  

      Remember, Giles had stood witness against Martha Corey, his own wife. There was a bit of Puritan guilt mixed in for the actions he took that he later regretted.

      Sad affair.  Btw, town rumors had it that Giles was pressed to death around where the kids soccer field is now, not far from the Memorial.

      •  Most people think the Afflicted Girlds were much (16+ / 0-)

        older--thank you, Arthur Miller.  The play does make for an interesting story, but I don't think sexual repression had much to do with it.  I agree about the property theme--it was a very common reason for inconvenient women to be accused in England during the Middle Ages and Renaissance period and even into the 17th century. Get rid of an annoying stepmother and gain access to her dowry. It's always intersting hoe often religion is used to cover up greed and politics and resentment.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 09:05:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The salem village folks were farmers, (9+ / 0-)

          And such. Plain people, very earthy. A lot of the older women were the healers for their families. (Midwives and such) things done to ease life in the Puritan era were so easily made suspicious when the trials came.

          MA is far from a perfect place, but time has forced some wisdom on the inhabitants of the State. Killing your family members and neighbors for an absolutist religion is evil, stupid and self destructive. That lesson was learned. Ma is one of only 2or 3 states in the union that never had a lynching. Maybe that is the best testimony to the fact that people learned something. Sadly won knowledge.

          •  What is now Danvers was trying to... (7+ / 0-)

            politically separate from Salem, if I recall correctly. Part of the issue was that wealthy maritime Salem wanted the Danvers farmers under their thumb to control the food supply. Yet another facet of the event.

            "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

            by KJC MD on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:44:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually it took them about 6 years to wise up. (7+ / 0-)
            Confession of Error by Jurors in the Salem Witch Trials
            January 11, 1698

            We whose names are under written, being in the year 1692 called to serve as jurors in court at Salem, on trial of many who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons:

            We confess that we ourselves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the powers of darkness and Prince of the air, but were, for want of knowledge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to take with such evidence against the accused, as, on further consideration and better information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any (Deut. xvii) whereby we fear we have been instrumental, with others though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent blood; which sin the Lord saith in Scripture he would not pardon (2 Kings xxiv. 4)--that is, we suppose, in regard to his temporal judgments.

            We do therefore hereby signify to all in general, and to the surviving sufferers in special, our deep sense of [?], and sorrow for, our errors in acting on such evidence to the condemning of any person; and do hereby declare, that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken--for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds, and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of God, for Christ's sake, for this our error, and pray that God would impute the guilt of it to ourselves nor others, and we also pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers, as being then under a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in, matters of that nature.

            We do hereby ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare, according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again, on such grounds, for the whole world--praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our offense, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord, that he may be entreated for the land.

            Thomas Fisk, Foreman.
            William Fisk
            John Batcheler
            Thomas Fisk
            John Dane
            Joseph Evelith
            Thomas Pearly, Sr.
            John Peabody
            Thomas Perkins
            Samuel Sayer
            Andrew Eliot
            Henry Herrick, Sr.

            "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

            by sagesource on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:19:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My god, what I'd give to see that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              coming from the Republicans.

              The capacity for repentance has long gone. One of the best parts of Christianity, and they lost it.

              I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:48:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I'm related to Giles Corey. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, Pariah Dog, fleisch

        Weird factoid.

        "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

        by zaynabou on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Edited to reflect the facts. (12+ / 0-)

      I HATE relying on the Net for info--details get lost when you're switching back and forth between a  half dozen websites to the doc, because your books are in the boxes in the garage!

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 09:01:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Stark, Simple Salem Memorial (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope, Philpm, WB Reeves

      touched me deeply.  


  •  Republished to Street Prophets and PaganKos (20+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting.

    As one who was raised in a Wiccan household and married in a Wiccan ceremony, I can relate. I have always found Salem to be a little too touristy and not really related to Wicca as I know it.

    •  It really has nothing to do with WIcca-- (19+ / 0-)

      butit has soem good bookstores and is a fun source for Tee shirts.. I never got the  Scarlet Letter one.  I think I'm gonna ahve to insist my husband give the one with the robed pagan pushing a shopping cart filled with Christmas paraphernalia and the inscription "For people so opposed to paganism,. you sure stole a lot of our stuff."  I'll keep it strictly to ear around the house because I really don't enjoy encounters with offended fundamentalists,. whop make up a goodly portion of my neighbors.

      When I married the f0rist time, I had a Catholic Mass to make my parents happy--but the canon I used  was VERY unorthodox and I have to wonder if the theolgian whow rote it was silenced by Ratzinger.  I used a handmade banner based on a Claddagh ring, and very little of the music was Christian.....When I remarried, it was in a Unity church and we wrote the service. I told Mom it was the female minister or a Native American shaman.  We all wore Renaissance garb, because all our friends wer SCA, and I figured at least this would be one outfit they could wear again!

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 09:11:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some things do change! (12+ / 0-)

    Believe it or not, just last year, here on the local news was the story of the largest wiccan coven in the United States. In Texas! In San Antonio! At Lackland AFB! Over 300 wiccans on base.

    Not completely backwards here in Texas, just in the dark areas where there is no light and no education ;)

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 10:57:30 PM PDT

  •  you know I never have had the urge to burn a book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, irishwitch

    and then I read (or more accurately tried to read) satan's white lie.

    For such a horrible book is was a more then adequate camp fire starter.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:58:46 PM PDT

    •  I agree. We did the same thing with some of the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, duhban, Ahianne

      Gor novels too--they were the right heft to make a satisfying thud when  we caught our cat doing something naughty,. and when they got too torn up, they were useful; for grilling,.

      Kerr Cuchulain did a masterful job of debunking it.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:36:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Map analysis of those target by living location (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reveals what would in our day be considered a target campaign against the poor. Jesus Loves You. Keep pointing out others. You're most likely the problem.

    by DAISHI on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:02:08 AM PDT

  •  When I saw the title of this diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kaliope, Philpm first thought was that there would be references to Christine O'Donnell, because of the possibility that she might reawaken her coven for another run at the DE-Sen seat.

    Her ego (along with that of the rest of her teabagger lair) earned her a nice, sharp stake, in that 2010 blowout loss to Chris Coons.  Silver nitrate for her this time, if she goes after Coons again.  And if Coons should happen to bow out (which I doubt), Beau Biden will run, which will guarantee a good burn for Christine when daylight comes, after the landslide Beau brings down on her.

  •  They have a nice little maritime museum also, but (11+ / 0-)

    the name escapes me.

    They have a somewhat bizarre tourist industry there - the parts of the waterfront that aren't still working port are nice to visit, it's a pretty little town (not that little, really, by New England standards), and easily accessible by MBCR.  But the weird confluence of real colonial history, embellished history of the witch trials, and the modern Wiccan community, can be a little surreal.

    Incidentally, as a law student at NUSL, I went to court for the very first time in Salem, at the juvenile court there ;p.  I was still somewhat new to Boston and definitely new to the North Shore, so it was... more than a little weird to be going to court there so often in the fall amidst all of the goings-on.

    The Christian leafletting there is not something that I've run into there before and is rather disturbing, although I at least have never had the [mis]fortune of going to Downtown Salem for the busy days in early Fall (the juvie court is at one of the reclaimed properties at the waterfront).

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:25:35 AM PDT

  •  I have fond memories of Salem (8+ / 0-)

    I commuted to Salem from the Fenway in Boston daily for a few years (The Lower Deck and Upper Deck were brutal) because my employer (a child welfare agency) owned a house/office in Salem around the corner from Laurie Cabot's store and next to the Hawthorne Hotel. I was the site manager and Program Coordinator & Supervisor of a couple of Social Workers.  I remember my first Halloween there - late in the afternoon - as it was getting dark, with the wind blowing and leaves falling to the ground - a chill in the air.  I had one support staff.  Our old office was in a former Funeral Home - with the low ceilinged rooms downstairs (embalming area).  I swear the building/old house was spooky.  That Halloween I looked through the blinds and saw witches and warlocks (capes blowing in the wind - holding onto their hats and papers) and walking two by two (like nuns) through the streets of Salem.  It was an eerie and beautiful sight.  Chilling and warm at the same time.  The witches and warlocks seemed excited and happy.

    That was my introduction to lovely Salem, MA, and her witches and warlocks.  Otherwise, during the daytime office hours, the town was pretty dull and boring.  That was OK with me.  Salem was so charming (similar to Charleston, SC where I had lived when I was a young man in the Air Force).  Both towns (their historic districts) were fascinating - enchanting architecture, cobblestone streets with ambiance and glowing street lamps.  They were so comfortable and quiet.  Horses hooves could be heard (both historic ghosts and real, present day ones at times).

    I loved both towns and I was fortunate to have spent time in their streets and buildings in the '70's, '80's and '90's.

    Thank you for the wonderful memories of my life in those two charming towns - one Northern and one Southern - both equally lovely and gently places. though both had an edge to their charm.

    The witches, warlocks, horses and gaslights from another era.  So beautiful and sweet.

  •  Oh and the witch memorial (13+ / 0-)

    simple, stark benches in an uncomplicated small park.  So sad and lovely.  I was confronted with the old fears and the panic that drove the simple-minded towsnfolk who started that sadness and whose religious fervor fueled the fears.  Of course, not tuly confronted like the witches -    but being a gay man, I understood the prejudices and the fears of the townsfolk, and the worries of the victims of that horrible fear.  The exaggerated fears and panic of the Salem people and their fear of witches in their midst.  Poor, simple-minded folk.

    And the chill in the air, even in the summer months.  I felt that chill.  

  •  Went there about 10 or so years ago for Samhain (7+ / 0-)

    Went to all the silly tourist-y things, which wavered between comical and offensive, but at least tried to present the ugly truth as it was. I didn't hear the kind of noobs you describe, so I may have just been lucky.
    I drank a lot of dark rum, bought a pentacle at the spectacularly crowded Cat, Crow & Crown (which, I was sad to see, closed last year), and took part in a candle-light procession from Wharf St to Gallows Hill for Gypsy's annual ritual - though, as a side note, we did get a  chance to talk to and educate a lot of people, including locals, as we walked, so that was a good thing.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by Jaxpagan on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:41:10 AM PDT

  •  I was once threatened with stoning... (19+ / 0-)

    A friend and I went to a flea market one bright afternoon and I accidently let my dime sized pentagram show. I usually hid it, but I forgot to that day.

    As we wandered about a woman began to follow us...finally she opened up full blast "Witch!" she cried out pointing at me... She kept following us, drawing a lot of curious attention... she wanted people to help her stone me.

    Finally, someone called the police. But my friend and I were the ones asked to leave. It wasn't right, and I said so...but we did.

    This did not happen in the deep happened in New Jersey, in 1997.

    Now I live in Canada. I wear my pentagram out at all times. If anyone comments on it, it is to complement the silver workmanship. I have joined a UU Church AND a Witch Circle that meets at that same church. My neighbors upstairs are Moslem, and we often discuss religion and politics.. They are some really wonderful people. Across the street are agnostics and next to them is an elderly couple who just returned from China where they did missionary work for the Mennonite church for 9 years.

    I find it profoundly sad that I had to move to Canada to really be free.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:42:51 AM PDT

  •  good point about your m-i-l: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "she accepts a lot of lies about non-Christian faiths, including Islam."

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:48:30 AM PDT

  •  Excellent post... (7+ / 0-)

    Merry meet!  I'm mostly in the broom closet in central PA but even here I've seen the changes - mostly for the better - in people's attitude towards Wicca.  I hope it continues in this direction.


    "They call it 'the American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin, 2005

    by Elasg on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:30:57 AM PDT

  •  A cute little story courtesy of Rob Zombie (4+ / 0-)

    On the commentary track to LORDS OF SALEM, he says he approached a Salem museum for permission to film there. He was denied, he says, because they complained about his horror film's 'lack of historical accuracy'. His reply was "Right, you mean like BEWITCHED" (which was welcomed to town with open arms).
    The point is, Salem's only interest in its witch trial legacy today is how much $$$$ they can rake in from it, whether it be from Halloween themed events and knickknacks, faux witches, New Age crystal shops, or whatever.
    (BTW, I liked RZ's movie.)

    •  Most of the WIccans aren't faux witches. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They're Wiccans, and it's their religion.  The high-profile Laurie Cabot made a conscious choice to wear black because it's traditional for clergyypeople--and she's a High Priestess. And what's so bad about New Age stories? They harm no one. Not the faux XHristians who want to indict a witch--they're an0other story.

      I avoided RZ's film like the plague--not much for blood and gore and awful music.  I like my horror intelligent, well-written, with an actual ending that makes sense. I like traditional ghost stories like The Uninvited and The Changeling and avoid like the plague the current splatter films and slasher mopvies and really bad pseudo occult crap. My least favorite m,0ove is  Blair WItch--the handheld  camera gave me a headache and I gave up 30 minutes into it.   ANd I loathe the "found footage" movies so popular these days--cheap-ass sytuff.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:49:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didnt suggest they were. (0+ / 0-)

        The Wiccan religion isnt mentioned anywhere in my post.
        My post was about what motivates the town of Salem today - $$$. The townspeople are probably just fine with the busloads of Fundies too, and only wish there were more. They eat at the restaurants, sleep in the hotels, and buy crappy souvenirs at the shops just like everyone else.

        •  A lot of the townspeople are WICCANS (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alexandra Lynch, Ahianne

          and they are NOT fine with it.  It's not fun when the assholes insist on preaching at you. Kind of the way gays feel when the wingnuts crash their Gay Pride parades. You take their money but it feels a little tainted.

          You and I seem to have very different tastes and attitudes.  

          DOn't have a problem with ROb Zombie and I HATED the movie version of BEWITCHED__but I bet the town made a lot more money off it than they would ahve over someone nto well-known outside the horror/Goth community.  People DO have to make a living.,

          I am a Seriously ELder Goth (I go back to the original Dark Shadows before they had a name for it) but my tase in music runs to symphonic Goth, not Death Metal (though I HAVE liked some Marilyn Manson).   ANd I mostly did Romantic/Victorian Goth,.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:27:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting that Puritanism has faded away in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluebirder, irishwitch

    New England but is much stronger in the South and Rural Midwest.

    Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here:

    by Kimball Cross on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:47:01 AM PDT

    •  I wouldnt call what theyve got Puritanism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      P also had other major components, like a strong work ethic.
      The Fundys are all about the crudist sort of tribalism and demonizing those who they identify as 'outsiders' to blame for their own woes. In most eras that would have been the Jews. But now its Satanists and other boogeymen.

      •  I think it may be a corrupted version (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of Puritanism, but I'd have to do a study of it to be sure.

        It's got the bottom-up organizing of the churches, the independence of each church, weirdly combined with an authoritarian submission to the minister (though that can turn on the minister too, and he can find himself out on his butt!). It's got the emphasis on sin and unworthiness, and god knows, it's got that goddamned concept of the elect (Left Behind, anyone?) And it's got the reliance on the Bible rather than on smells and bells and ritual, though I think the evangelical strain has added some drama into it (doubt the Puritans would have been OK with speaking in tongues, etc; they might have thought those people were witches!)

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:54:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not Puritanism in the South/Midwest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Puritans were much more sensible.

  •  I have no clue how you (10+ / 0-)

    have survived living in they still believe in stake burning in private conversation...You must live in Dekalb country in a somewhat liberal community.

    Truth is, Georgia has more Palinnites and Bachman followers than God followers.   I know that the majority up there and in North Florida do sincerely want you thinking their way or die.  That is just plain truth. I speak as a native and three generational daughter, granddaughter of pastors who were not evangelical or fundie but we entertained too many who were.  

    I went to Peabody, Mass. as well as Salem in the 80's and there is an overwhelming sadness in the city...or I felt it to be so.   I felt sorry for those folks who were so persecuted but we are all them now.

    I certianly am not bashing Georgia as people who have forgotten the real meaning of helping the poor, etc, end up being taken off a congress floor in a rant.  In the south, the majority hate Halloween, and condemn children for Trick or treating.  Thank goodness we never believed that way or exposed or were exposed to children in that light.
    They have Trunk or Treat at Fundie churchs... Go to church decorate your car and pass out candy to angels.
    I kid you not...  Same thing only they control the narrative and then have kids view Left Behind.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:52:45 AM PDT

    •  I survived my youth in Georgia (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm, Vetwife, irishwitch

      but that was in the 60s and the fundies had a grip but not such a tight one. We certainly freely went trick or treating.  Young people aspired to travel, live in NYC for awhile, although a friend at my high school was beaten up for wearing a Nehru jacket (symbol of hippiedom).  And I was terrorized by a Sunday school teacher who made sure I knew I had to accept Jesus as my savior to get into heaven. I was 8 and of course had a lot of sins to worry about... that fear mongering just seems like child abuse now. OTOH Christians still seemed to think they should have a role in feeding the poor.  Now that district is 'represented' by Paul Broun, an MD who doesn't 'believe in' evolution but sure as hell believes in Satan.  

      •  I trick or treated all during the 50's and 60's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, Ahianne

        and take my daughter now.  I took the older ones when they were small but my youngest gets to do it our old fashion way walking door to door down here where we are in Mid Florida.   Our others never had that privilege in Ga.
        They had to trunk or treat because people just did not go in for it ....  I even took through the graveyards by car, hit the halloween carnivals, and built fires and told ghost stories till midnight... We bought tons of candy and played scary music through 100 plus wat speakers and terrorized the neighborhood  with Monster Mash over their silliness.. up until  we moved down here .  Now it is welcomed.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:38:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Near WInder, where my state rep is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Terry Englund who thinks women should be denied abortions even of a dead fetus because his cows don't mind a stillbiorth.

      The Dairy Queren, though, hosts the kids in costuems and gives them free cones!

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:52:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Man (10+ / 0-)

    I think it was particularly revealing in that interview with Scalia when he talked about believing in the Devil.  And his accurate point that while the interviewer was mildly scandalized, she shouldn't have been:  most Americans believe in old Scratch.

    That's what lets them be whipped up into this stupid frenzy over Wiccans, Muslims, Jews, and the Hogwarts Alumni Association.  Who would care if it was just a matter of people being wrong?  The Catholics think the Baptists are wrong and vice versa, but they're usually not preaching hellfire at the Bishop's house.  They've convinced themselves that someone might actually summon a demon who will eat their cat and destroy their livelihoods (ALF?).  And as a bonus, it all dovetails with the sort of people they don't like anyway.

    Must be a terrifying existence, being a true believer.  

    Bonus question - what's your favorite literary representation of the devil?  I'm still in a draw between Milton and Gaiman.

    •  Anyone who does believe in Old Scratch (5+ / 0-)

      should understand that if they are being emotionally whipped up into being part of a mob, there is a very good chance they are unwittingly doing his work.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, of course! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Like duuuhhhhh.

        These people need the Holy Spirit to give them the gift of discernment. That's putting it in their terms. They need to pray for wisdom.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:56:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  FYI, the Catholics may think the Baptists (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fleisch, Ahianne

      are wrong--but unlike the Baptists, they don't think people who aren't Catholics are going to hell. BIG difference.   Even JP II and Benny 16 reaffirmed that belief.  Hell, this Pope now said atheists who live good lives are saved.  Haven't been a Catholic in 40+ years, but I prefer my former faith be criticized for what it actually teaches and does then for what people THINK it teaches and does. There's plenty to attack it on that is  FACRUAL>

      I had 17 years of Catholic education, and I learned that early on.

      Mine is a short story by S.N. Lewitt. It's  dicing witht he devil story.  I was the Catholic expert SHariann used to get the details right.  It's a retellinmg of Guys and Dolls, with Big Nicky from NYC, and an angel named Angelo.  I do like Good Omens,t hough.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:57:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to hear about the fundie tourists. (11+ / 0-)

    AFAIN (Salemite for years and years) the only religious group in town that gives anyone any grief is the fundamentalists currently occupying the Methodist church. The rest of us (different Christian denominations, Jews, Wiccans, athiests....) all get along.

    I knew that the Methodists harass people during Hallowe'en festivities downtown (they call it something else I am sure) but I had NO idea that there were fundamentalists Christians coming in on tours - I've never come across them. The Methodists harassing people during Hallowe'en often "get as good as they give" from the crowds which can be fun to watch.

    I love Salem - it's not perfect, but it's very pretty, lots of diverse people live here, the history is amazing and our Mayor is a popular progressive.

    Lisa :)

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 05:48:46 AM PDT

  •  Scalia knows. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Supreme court judge Antonin Scalia has spoken, and old wily Satin is busy these days. Fortunately, Scalia has unleashed his minions of southern baptist tourists to deal with the problem. Lucky for those in Salem, but who will battle the forces of evil in my hometown? Good Lord, I've got to scrounge up a small cross to hold out before me as protection. Happy Halloween.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:13:37 AM PDT

  •  Hard rock poet laureate Neil Peart said it best: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, irishwitch

    The night is black, without a moon.
    The air is thick and still.
    The vigilantes gather on
    The lonely torchlit hill.

    Features distorted in the flickering light,
    Faces are twisted and grotesque.
    Silent and stern in the sweltering night,
    The mob moves like demons possesed.
    Quiet in conscience, calm in their right,
    Confident their ways are best.

    The righteous rise
    With burning eyes
    Of hatred and ill-will.
    Madmen fed on fear and lies
    To beat and burn and kill.

    They say there are strangers who threaten us,
    Our immigrants and infidels.
    They say there is strangeness to danger us
    In our theatres and bookstore shelves,
    That those who know what's best for us
    Must rise and save us from ourselves.

    Quick to judge,
    Quick to anger,
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:24:17 AM PDT

    •  Kudos for the Rush reference. (0+ / 0-)

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:57:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will say it seems the military has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, irishwitch

    Gotten better, entirely because of people like yourself and those you mentioned who fought for equality for Wicca and other religions, and represented your religion through peace and education.a. When I enlisted in the Air Force in 1998, they had Wicca services (I believe on Fridays) and those in our unit who identified as wiccans were excused from drills etc to participate.  This was my first ever exposure to Wicca, and I admit to being a bit scarred of the pentagram my bunk mate carried.  My parents weren't very religious, we did the Christmas and Easter thing, and my mom wasnt afraid to let us dress up on Halloween. So I asked him about it, and he educated me on the religion.   I have always been interested in learning about other religions since, and I went on to study history, with an personal emphasis on comparative religion when I was in undergrad.  

    Anyhow thank you for the informative article. I will likely make Salem, and more importantly Danvers a stop on my next vacation so I can educate my daughter on the dangers of religious intolerance and remember those women who were executed unjustly.

  •  An ancestor was accused of witchcraft (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, Deep Harm, irishwitch

    I have been researching my genealogy and found someone in my family tree that was accused and eventually acquitted of witchcraft in Gloucester, MA.

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:28:34 AM PDT

    •  I have an answer who was a fairy queen (0+ / 0-)

      and one who was a Wizard Earl--and the ffamily has a banshee.  Ah, the Fitzgerald clan are a colorful lot.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:00:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've argued with my brother that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, irishwitch

    right wingers are born that way - that it's genetic.  (We come from Democratic parents and our youngest sister is an extreme right winger.)  Now I wonder if they're genetically incapable of advancing beyond, as your tale shows, the 1600s or even earlier.  It's just incredible to me, and frustrating because we're all being held back by their long past outdated ideals.  And a little scary too when they can gain such a foothold in our law making processes.

    Makes you wonder if they've come down from the Neanderthals or some such thing other species of human (and sadly I'm not kidding - after living with my sister for a year the stories I could tell - they scare the hell out of me, honestly - the hate oozes from their pores).  

    Thanks for sharing.  It was a good and interesting read!

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:29:00 AM PDT

  •  Thanks so much for a fascinating (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Philpm, irishwitch, northerntier

    historical diary & comment thread.  I've been a history nutt since early childhood. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I'm an agnostic who has studied metaphysics & comparative religions.

    BTW, I have spent most of my life in east central Florida. Unfortunately, I am all too familiar w/the Bible Belt fanatics.

    T and R!!

    Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

    by orlbucfan on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:33:49 AM PDT

  •  Re: Salem and Wiccans in the military (4+ / 0-)

    I am from Lynn originally, and have some relatives in Salem. Thankfully all my times up there I haven't had to deal with crazies. I got my fill on Bourbon St in New Orleans, with street loonies saying hurricanes were coming because of teh gayz!!

    I have met a few Wiccans in the military, and have seen only tolerance. (If I had seen otherwise, I would've done something about it!) The church on base also has Wiccan services to attend.

    Sometimes, I wonder why I consider myself a Democrat. Before too long though, dumb Republicans saying dumb things come along to remind me.

    by LnGrrrR on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:03:24 AM PDT

  •  Salem is my hometown (8+ / 0-)

    It has a far richer and longer Naval history then the brief time of the Trials.
     As a native, living off Derby Street, we all hated the Tourist swarms of Summer. We even went so far as to wear tee shirts that said " Tourists" Suck".
     I was also good friends with Laurie Cabot, and was in on the beginnings of her Wiccan revival, and her first shop. Her first big happening was a Halloween Ball that got big, and notified the world of Salem Wiccan culture.
      As the years went on Wiccan wannabes, and entrepreneurs invaded, Money flowed into town, and everyone got in on it from Pols to the Police, with their overtime.
     Personally Laurie's small shop was a beautiful little addition to the Town. The invasion...well, not so much.
     I would prefer that People knew that Salem was the largest Seaport in America once. The beautiful three masted Friendship  they moor on Derby Wharf doesn't get the attention it should.

    Join the Koskraft Group Koskraft

    by meagert on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:11:29 AM PDT

    •  I spent lots of hours when I was young (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meagert, mayim, irishwitch

      at the Peabody and Essex museums (they used to not be part of one larger organization, if I recall correctly) and touring the historic buildings and seaport areas.  I'd forgotten that Laurie's last name was Cabot, whom one of my elderly cousins also knew.  So many of the 'witch city' attractions were really trashy.  I haven't been there in a few years so don't know how many have survived economic downturn.    

      •  After school, I would walk to the Peabody Museum (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, irishwitch

        And spend hours. The huge Tusks at the stairway entrance, the Samurai warriors armour, the replica of a Captain's quarters...sheesh amazing stuff. The Essex Institute was the library type museum. It had the most incredible collection of historical books. My ggf even had a book they kept there. I haven't been to the new Museum, but I'ld bet it's even more astounding.

        Join the Koskraft Group Koskraft

        by meagert on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:54:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Used to be the Essex Institute in Salem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch, Ahianne

        which merged in the early 1990s or with the (newer, smaller) Peabody Museum of Salem to become the Peabody Essex Museum ~ which is now a real hidden gem of the museum world. Excellent collections for maritime history, pre-1900 decorative arts, and Asian art.

        The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

        by mayim on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:03:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Now is the time of year (7+ / 0-)

    when all those Baptist (and other) churches claim they don't celebrate Halloween (because scary pagan stuff) so instead they celebrate "Harvest"--at which point I have to laugh so hard I spew eggnog from my nose . . .

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:12:20 AM PDT

  •  I celebrate Halloween and Samhain. (7+ / 0-)

    Halloween is the American holiday PTAs came up with (research it yourself, they did) to keep kids from making mischief in their neighborhoods. It's all about dressing up in costume, connecting with your community, and being good to kids.

    I also celebrate Samhain, when I remember the good people who died that year and previous years. I also celebrate the harvest yield with a feast. Simple.

  •  Great Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, irishwitch

    and informative. Thanks irish witch. When I was a teenager one of my friends was a Wiccan, but I don't think there was an active circle where we lived.

    What part of North Florida did you live in?

    The Rapture will be cancelled due to budget cuts. -- Bill in Portland

    by brooklynliberal on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:25:24 AM PDT

  •  And what about Christmas? (6+ / 0-)

    I wish these fundamentalist preachers who make opposing Halloween part of their mission had the balls to go after Christmas too. The ornamenting of the tree, placing gifts at its feet, etc. is far more pagan than going around in costume and asking your neighbors for candy.

    •  Witch Convention in Salem (5+ / 0-)

      Hi everyone,

        This last August, Covenant of the Goddess, ( held their annual convention in Salem. We are a non profit, 501c3 org, for professional Clergy minded Wiccans and Witches. We were partnered with Circle/Selena Fox to bring about the victory for Wiccans to have a gravestone with our symbol, the Pentegram, on it.

      We are organized in Local Councils around the states. The one in the New England area is Weavers, and they were responsible for the convention in August. Because it was 20 13, we could not resist the lure of Salem. Blessed Be to all my Wiccan/Witch sisters and brothers. Happy Hallowmas, Sacred Samhain, etc.

      Thanks to the OP, and many comments that give a very good view of what really happened (or did not) in Salem back in the day, as well as hopefully dispelling rumors and misinformation about our religion!

  •  A number of years ago (4+ / 0-)

    a young friend from a powerful elite middle eastern family came to America to go  to college.  He is totally secular and gay (which he could not admit where he is from - although his father knew and told him to wait until he was in the US).  We acclimated him to America and took him to P-Town when he first got here and then to Salem near Halloween. I warned him as we approached Salem that he would encounter fundamentalist Christians for the first time there.  I was right, as we were approaching the (I call it Triangle) there was a small band of protesters, one with a bullhorn, and several with pole-banner style signs.  The one facing us as we approached said GOD HATES THE FOLLOWING: and there was a list of 20  things.  I saw liberals, democrats and homosexuals all in the top five and just smiled a bit.  Khaled however went over (he is not a big man - 5'4 or 5 - about 110 pounds dripping wet, very, very attractive, and at the time still 17) and stood right in front of the guy with the sign looking up and intently reading the whole thing.  He came back to us with big eyes and whispered to me "They are just like our crazy people, they believe the same things, but they are Christian"  I have never forgotten that.

  •  Contrast all this strange fundi behavior with the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Harry Potter Saturday tomorrow in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, where young and old show up as their favorite Harry Potter character.  I know it isn't a true religion like Wicca, but it must drive the fundi's crazy to see an entire neighborhood participating in a celebration of witchcraft and wizardry.  

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:18:48 AM PDT

    •  We went to the last Harry Potter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJersey, Ahianne

      book release party hjere. We were Tonks's parents.  We ended up being adopted by a group of teens, one of whom was Tonks, who followed us around, absolutel;y delighted to see people dressed up in costumes who loved the boks.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:05:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Sister. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Great read, really enjoyed. Never been to Salem myself, and after moving to Oregon, I doubt I'll end up visiting the NE anytime soon.

    I am appalled, but not surprised, by the complete lack of understanding by some ignorant Christians out there. I live in Portland, Oregon now, so I have the luxury of finding fellow Wiccans--openly wearing pentacles--working in retail shops and everywhere here, and there's a big community of us here. It was way different in the South and I am glad to be gone.

  •  One of my ancestors was deemed a witch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Harm, irishwitch

    in Salem and hanged.  She apparently was widowed at a young age and tried to keep her farm going on her own. How witch-like. Her tombstone said she was unjustly accused. Susannah North Martin was her name.

    Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

    by TAH from SLC on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:31:32 AM PDT

  •  If it were up to me, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the crimes of the Christians would be spotlighted every day.

    Just because they've (mostly) moved from killing (legally or illegally) to using the law to bully/oppress/harm as their main weapon, doesn't mean they wouldn't return to their roots if given an option.

    And they do plenty of harm without killing, by restricting womens' bodies, the freedom of gay people, and simliar shit like that. We've got people in our government, quoting that Noah's Ark story like it's real.

    In our secular, human-based government. Religion has no place there, but they are empowered by the dumbfuck areas of this country to be there and spout that.

    Physical danger is lessened, but people who "offend" the Christians (Wiccans, as mentioned, gay people who dare exist, abortion doctors are another) are still at risk from some dumbfuck Jesus-lovin' hillbilly with a gun.

    The concept of a "civilized society" is all that keeps the wolves at bay, save for the lone "true believer" who bombs a clinic.

    But all we need is time.

    Younger people are less religious and more open-minded than ever. That trend will continue, thank you science, education, and the Internet. In a few generations, the Christian control of the USA will falter and eventually be nothing more than a memory.

    I'll be long dead by the time that happens, but it still makes me feel better to know it is inevitable.

    In the interim, we'll just have to deal with these shitheads.

    I like Wicca. I'd take Wicca over any of the Abrahamic religions any day of the week.

    It shocks me not in the least the close-minded Christians will pick on one of the most harmless religions on this planet.

    Unlike Christianity, which is responsible for the Crusades, the genocide of the Native Americans, and of course, the Salem Witch Trials. Just to name a few of the more well-known ones.

  •  I always hope JK Rowling.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    goes off on a tangent to make stories about the witches that came from Salem to attend the Quidditch World Cup in book 4 of the Harry Potter series.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:29:34 AM PDT

  •  Back many years ago, when I was in college (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, Ahianne

    I created a black monks robe and wore a latex (professional) mask when I worked in haunted houses on campus.  Typically I would hide in the maze in a dark corner and wait for people to pass by me and come up from behind 8).

    Later when I had kids and was a impractical catholic would go the the "Halloween" party as a Franciscan Monk (same robe as before with a rope belt and rosary... I would be a father who was a father... 8).

    Now a mixed household of Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan.  We celebrate all non-Christian holidays...

    "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

    by doingbusinessas on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:23:46 PM PDT

    •  Strictly speaking the lassic Franciscan order (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doingbusinessas, Ahianne

      wears brown robes. I had a good friend who was one when I attended Catholic U from 67-71. I was also adopted by the Third Order Reformed Franciscans who DO wear black.  I was posing for a sculpture class at the Paulist seminary (!) and the guys would drag me back to their seminary to watch Dark Shadows and Trek reruns and eat dinner.  Interestingly enough, I posed in leotard and tights--but the statues were nudes.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:09:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was told by the priest that it was tacky to wear (0+ / 0-)

        those robes to a "Halloween" party.  He identified them as Franciscan.  I was just poking fun with the "the father is a father" line.

        And the robe was in black denim.  I did all the sewing myself.

        "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

        by doingbusinessas on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 05:31:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The first Franciscans wore gray (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          As in "Grayfriars" or "it was a father in orders gray."  They wore gray because lepers wore gray and Francis hung around lepers.  They also stopped wearing gray because lepers wore gray and it was inconvenient to get mistaken as a leper, which Francis would have been cool with.  Also, Franciscans aren't monks.  Monks take a vow of stability--they're vowed to their monastery.  They promise to stay put.  Franciscans are just the opposite.  They're mendicants, or beggars.  Technically, they don't own anything and can turn on a dime.  They were supposed to wander.

        •  Back before enforced celibacy, many Fathers (0+ / 0-)

          were fathers./... It's Third Order Reformed FGranciscan.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:31:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. And I'm glad for the diversity of (3+ / 0-)

    philosophical/religious/spiritual thought in this country.

    Funny that you mention the "good witch" Glinda, which I used to think was a bold touch to the '39 film (played by the iconic Billie Burke). The so-called sophisticated among us might find her "corny," but when I was a kid her good powers used to give me goosebumps.

    Love the way she says, very assertively, "Oh, begone, you have no power here!"

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:35:54 PM PDT

    •  I have the fabric to make a Glinda costume. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb, Ahianne

      Before I get too old to carry it off. I have the red hair for it, and the skin tone.,...Of course the original illos in the book show her a young woman with a pageboy and wearing a l;ong flowing robe.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:33:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a Boston Legal episode... (0+ / 0-)

    ...wherein a Chrstian family and Wiccan family teamed up to sue the public school district with the object of banning Halloween celebrations.  The former didn't like its supposed Satanic connections and the latter didn't like its Christian All Hallows Eve background.  The judge ruled they should both lighten up and enjoy the candy.

    •  I mentioned that above in a comment. (0+ / 0-)

      These days Halloween in America has nothing to do with religion. The judge got it right; it's all about the candy, SAMHAIN is religious for Wiccans, however. I give out candy, with the fog machine coming on just as they get to top of the walk.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:35:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've lived near Salem most of my life... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, Ahianne Beverly, the next town over. A few thoughts:

    Growing up, witches were almost comical, with a witch on a broom as the Salem H.S. mascot, logos on businesses, and even having the town go so far as to put the "Bewitched" witch on street signs when They were filming up here. Even later, a Bewitched statue, given to the city in honor of Elizabeth Montgomery. It caused controversy, but is still there. Personally, while the Samantha character is seen by those who practice Wicca as a bad thing, I always thought that she put a good face on witchcraft - helping, doing good. And her relatives were always a hoot. As an adult I can see where Wiccans would think Bewitched made fun of them, but I still think it was better to have "good witch" rather than evil, as witches are usually portrayed.

    As for the real witches of the time, yes, Danvers was where most met their fate. And while ergot poisoning is suspected in the many who had "visions" or hallucinations, and convulsions or fits, the witch hunt was also political, a way to remove people, especially women, who had little power in the day. If a woman owned property through her deceased husband, accusing her of witchcraft was one way to remove her and take her land (women weren't allowed to own land back then, only men - unless it was inherited).

    One such political man back in the day was Judge Hathorne. He was given land in Danvers, high on a hill, which came to be known as Hathorne Hill. He was a very powerful man, a merchant, and used that power to gain more power and get what he wanted (would be a Republican today I'm sure). He was chosen to be judge at the witch trials sent many to the gallows. And I suspect that more than one of them was a woman who was not happy in her place and rubbed the judge the wrong way. As easy as it is today to destroy someone with innuendo, rumor and gossip, it was even easier back then.

    You may have heard of the writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was the great grandson of the judge. He added the "e" to distance himself from his hated great grandfather, and wrote scathingly of him during his lifetime.
    Another interesting note about Hathorne: The hill that bears his name became a farm in the 1800's, and then the site for a locally-known psychiatric hospital, Danvers State. I read once that the director's family refused to live there after experiencing strange phenomena. And as kids, it was always thought to be haunted. Many thought it was the souls of those who were treated there, as it became a hell hole when overcrowding and lack of funds took their toll. But perhaps it also had something to do with the souls of those tormented by Hathorne being disturbed by their fates.

    I worked for a graphic design firm once and our main client built an apartment complex at the site, retaining the main Gothic main building. During construction there was a fire. I had often joked (well, only half joking really) that the company should sage the place before building, given the history. Folks chuckled at that. But when the fire happened I was more convinced, and then especially so when the investigators finally said the fire was of "undetermined cause."

    Not long after, I had a contractor to my house to do some work. He knew guys who worked on the Danvers project. He said all sorts of strange things happened there - missing tools, paint being knocked over, etc. Of course everyone on the project thought it was kids screwing around, as the property was known as a hangout when it was abandoned years before. So they hired a security guard to watch over the paint and tools overnight. he lasted ONE NIGHT and then quit.

    Haunted? I wouldn't be surprised. There was a lot of pain associated with that hill, and the judge who sent so many to their untimely deaths.

    I've always wished that Salem could do better at how they present Wicca and the history of Salem. For years two sides bicker it out - the real witches of Wicca, and those mainly interested in the tourist dollars and want haunted houses, ghouls, and evil things. I hate the commercialization. I wish it could be a place that would be more sensitive to its history.

    Sorry this was so long...thanks for your diary!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 05:00:00 AM PDT

  •  Good diary. Always nice to "see" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    another pagan. I'm not, strictly speaking, Wiccan, but I did cut my teeth on Starhawk and Z Budapest (and Merlin Stone and Margot Adler). Although my most enduring affection over the years goes to Scott Cunningham, who did a very difficult thing:  write a series of great beginners' books that are still useful if you've been practicing for years. (IMO, anyway).

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:23:47 AM PDT

a gilas girl, DeminNewJ, Trendar, Cali Scribe, RonV, TrueBlueMajority, Powered Grace, Bob Love, byteb, Jay C, celdd, vadem165, mzinformed, Walt starr, Ahianne, TheMomCat, annrose, HippyWitch, Frederick Clarkson, denig, Clues, fumie, high uintas, dksbook, wader, NMRed, kharma, Moody Loner, annan, Gruvkitty, MA Liberal, solliges, JimWilson, churchylafemme, texasmom, wdrath, NYFM, Steven Payne, TX Scotia, samoashark, riverlover, Diana in NoVa, FlyingToaster, meagert, WisVoter, xxdr zombiexx, sawgrass727, Crazycab214, la motocycliste, arkylib, radarlady, ichibon, caul, Jaxpagan, SherwoodB, chimene, Erik the Red, sap, terrypinder, ChemBob, Brooke In Seattle, Kevskos, reflectionsv37, SaraBeth, Sun Tzu, ladybug53, most peculiar mama, kaliope, minidriver, Blu Gal in DE, Ekaterin, Box of Rain, Philpm, Nowhere Man, MadGeorgiaDem, martini, K S LaVida, Orinoco, WB Reeves, Debbie in ME, myboo, tobendaro, emeraldmaiden, Kimball Cross, ruleoflaw, The Wizard, bren, triv33, StrayCat, tommyfocus2003, ER Doc, onionjim, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dianna, Statusquomustgo, Friend of the court, Elasg, Temmoku, OHdog, ammasdarling, old wobbly, jessical, oklacoma dem, SharonColeman, devis1, karmsy, Wino, FishOutofWater, shesaid, nookular, Ninepatch, eOz, US Blues, martyinsfo, Transactivist, millwood, gchaucer2, KJC MD, CroneWit, JeffW, BobBlueMass, flowerfarmer, Marko the Werelynx, Youffraita, Senor Unoball, bythesea, smrichmond, Laughing Vergil, mayim, Cassandra Waites, ClapClapSnap, get the red out, Parthenia, rodentrancher, Justanothernyer, Anjana, Leftleaner, Louisiana 1976, Pariah Dog, Nebraskablue, bfitzinAR, brooklynliberal, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, Egghead, ArthurPoet, collardgreens, Ejeanbob1, NJpeach, SmartAleq, jakedog42, mookins, alguien, cordgrass, pixxer, nirbama, orlbucfan, DrTerwilliker, Jorybu, StateofEuphoria, implicate order, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, California06, trumpeter, Cinnamon, thomask, DruidQueen, Ojibwa, SueM1121, Prinny Squad, LSmith, wintergreen8694, enhydra lutris, myrmecia gulosa, stevie avebury, SoCalSal, Regina in a Sears Kit House, SouthernLiberalinMD, caryltoo, Mathazar, SuWho, AnnetteK, i saw an old tree today, ridemybike, anodnhajo, Flying Goat, Akprincessa, SilverWillow, rustypatina, AnnieR, swampyankee, 2thanks, Horace Boothroyd III, Th0rn, SlightKC, belinda ridgewood, BusyinCA, CitizenScientist, nuclear winter solstice, Chaddiwicker, MishaBrewer, JayRaye, Steve in the Library, entrelac, northerntier, Icicle68, Avilyn, BadKitties, ET3117, notevenclosetoonepercent, Knockbally, duhban, Cyberwizard, El Bloguero, old mule, marykmusic, Darwinian Detritus, Sorta Randle, astage4444, Selphinea

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site