Remembering Salem

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

Okay, so I wasn't able to write from Salem.  But that's not for lack of thinking about it.  It was such a whirlwind of activity, that if not for the thousands of photos and bags of swag, I'd think I never went at all!  So let me break it down a little, for you and for me.

My husband and I set out 2 hours later than we'd planned.  Damn.  And I had to turn around after a mile because I forgot to bring shoes.  So not a very fortuitous beginning.  But after several double-checks of the house, many blessings, candle-burnings, and chanting (as well as a rockin' orange paisley dress that just refused to be found!  Grr!), we were off.  A cheerful and surprisingly speedy drive slowed to a halt at every exit in Boston, but with a constant flow of chants, we made it through without problems.  I have used the same chants since I first started practicing witchcraft at age 16.  By now they're thoroughly ingrained in me--just the first few words and they set to work.  That was good news for me because it was about this time that I remembered that I wasn't carrying my usual traveling companion--a handwritten book full of practical charms.  Rats!

We checked into our posh hotel with just enough time to change for the Witches Ball and be at the front door for the shuttle.  What perfect timing!  In previous years we drove into the city, which is not so bad...until you need to park.  Sadly, at this time of year Salem has one parking space for every 200 people seeking it.  But the shuttle is totally the way to go (Hudson, by the way.  Just remember Hudson).  We even got there in time to get the goodie bags that they give to the first 100 in the door.  Every year we fear we won't make it and every year we have with plenty time to spare.  That's a kind of magic, right there!

The High Priestess outside of her temple, the Boston Marriott.
The Ball was a flurry of excitement--people crowding every square inch of the ballroom, music loud enough to wake the dead, dancing, drinking, laughter, smoke, and was, as always, a sight to see.  We crowded to the front to watch the amazing Dragon Ritual Drummers as they called love and honor for the dead and worked a rhythm to make it impossible to stand still.  Now I'm no dancer, but they manage to get me moving every time.  There's a wide range of dance styles at the Ball (and pretty much anywhere Pagans congregate)--the I-go-to-nightclubs-every-weekend swagger, the sexy come-hither, lots of pseudo-bellydancing, wild arm thrashing, the I'm-also-talking and/or kissing sway, the drinking/head bobbing combo, and then moderate dancers like me.  Because of the available variety, it's quite easy to blend in no matter what your style.

And here's Mickey before we left home.  That head wasn't easy to hoist, so he requested no photos before the Ball unless absolutely necessary.  lol

Christian Day (our host) announced that the tables had been removed this year (as I noticed because it meant less to trip over.  After all, I was wearing a moon at my feet and a large headdress on top!) to eliminate wallflowers.  It worked quite well.  I had no intention of sitting still the whole time but the lack of rest space meant that nearly everyone was mingling the whole night.  For a couple who rarely get out like this, it was perfect!  Hubby and I made the rounds like bold souls, meeting new folks, seeing new costumes, getting pictures taken, and finding new enthusiasm for the dance.  A couple of drinks and a few fancy nibbles were surprisingly all I was interested in, despite the wide array available.  It was warm, wild, and much too much of everything to spend my time eating! 

To clear things up, this year's theme was "Witch and Famous," well-known historical and fictional witches and wizards.  My husband was the Sorcerer's Apprentice and I was the High Priestess of the tarot.  These were the most wildly original costumes we could manage after months of contemplation.  Naturally, mine was not original.  lol
That's me on the right, all aglow, and a sympathetic sister on the left.  Great minds think alike, I guess!

Though I was a shining beacon in the darkened ballroom, my husband was the one who got the attention!   As we had discovered earlier this year while visiting Disney World, the mere sight of a walking, talking Mickey Mouse does something strange to people.  Children flock to give hugs and high-fives.  Grown men and women throw themselves in his arms with love, laughter, and lavish kisses.  And tonight was no different.

Handfuls of pretty young women (and an enthusiastic young man!) took turns dancing with him like rock groupies.  It was quite a sight!  I took it as well as any wife can who watches her surprised and embarrassed hubby as he is worshiped with erotic dance like a golden idol.  Maybe it was Mickey's magnetic power of celebrity, maybe the familiarity of a good-natured character, or maybe it was his permanent smile of excitement...whatever it was, it was magic!

Of course I was thrilled when, in the midst of all the dancing and mingling, he was asked to come to the front of the room.  The winners were finally announced and he'd won 2nd prize--$200 to Pentacle Press!  What a thrill!  What bliss!  Mickey danced and smiled from the stage as I clapped like mad for his big win.  First prize went to a woman dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West who rode a broomstick atop an 8 foot pole.  For sheer dedication, misery, and boredom (there's no drinking, talking, or dancing when you spend the evening at the top of a pole), she is welcome to it.   

Two more things made this event huge.  The biggest was that I met Dorothy Morrison, who, oddly enough penned quite a few of the charms I used on the trip up to Mass. for safety and traffic woes.  On Sunday, I even did her charm for a parking place and we easily slid into a spot on a crowded street.  I was really looking forward to getting a signed copy of her newest book, "Utterly Wicked," but, alas, she was in the midst of a longer trip (including a Pagan festival in Florida) and didn't carry books with her.  Instead she offered to send me an autographed bookplate to put in my new copy.  Eeep!  So dang cool...   Now I don't think I'll be able to read her without hearing her characteristic voice.

And the second thing to make this such a special night was the way Christian Day--normally a sassy and somewhat aloof type--seemed to fawn over Mickey Mouse!  It was very sweet.  That's when I knew that the magic of the mouse was upon us all.  Just look at this smile---

The way back to the hotel seemed long and chilly compared to the loud and crowded Ball.  However, knowing the next day was all ours, with no schedule or plans, was very exciting!  So much of my thoughts had been wrapped up in that night that I nearly forgot the rest of the weekend! That and getting out of slippery satin and into an overstuffed bed to unpack our goodie bags was all new fun.  Hooray! 

Hotel breakfasts are always wonderful.  I think that if there were only one way to wake up every morning, I'd choose a hotel breakfast.  Ours was well stocked and we ate heartily so that we wouldn't have to stop for lunch.  We hit all the hot spots that day: all the shops along Essex (with special attention to my favorite shops, The Magic Parlor, Hex, Omen, The Barking Cat, Harrison's comics, and Witch City Consignment and a trip through the Psychic Fair) and some new goodies on Pickering Wharf, including a peek in the new Magica , The adorable Wynotts wand shop, and a great little place Arcana, whose very cool owners I met the night before.  The evening was chilly and my feet were sore.  We decided to have dinner at Life Alive for heaping bowls of udon miso and salads.  Warm and fed, we headed back to the hotel again for an unconventional night of cable TV, napping, waking, and delivery pizza. 

Sunday morning was a bummer.  Great breakfast, great weather, but always the shadow of leaving.  *sigh* But we managed to squeeze in one last jaunt into the city for shirts and other goodies to take home for other folks.  One last treat, a dandelion-chicory latte with rice milk and vanilla from Life Alive, and we were off.  I was happy for this last visit even though it set our schedule back.  Though maybe that was a mistake because right about then a lady named Sandy was terrorizing the East Coast, unbeknownst to us, and we were barely ahead of her. We left New York just as they were evacuating cities and the highway was stuffed with the cars of fleeing residents.  

We made it back in time to gather our kids from family and return home.  School had been cancelled for the next day, due to the impending storm, so time was no longer an issue.  But, quite happily, not a single drop of rain entered our house unbidden and not a single bit of damage was done to anything belonging to our loved ones, either.  Blessed be!

Salem this year was as it always is--beautiful, joyful, and surprising.  I would say that I could happily live there, but then, that might take away the pleasure of escaping to that lovely place every time autumn comes and life permits.  It could never be four walls and a roof, it is only ever a door.


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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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