In early October a small group of JREFers (James Randi Educational Foundation forum members) and I decided to go into Salem, MA. We first had a great meal at the Salem Beer Works Factory. The day was a beautiful, sweater only day so we sat outside. Blueberry beer, yummy burgers, and chocolate brownies; we were well fueled for the day!
Essex Street was our first stop, if one can call it that as its non-stop shops. I try to get to Salem once or twice a year but haven’t been in about two and a few shops appear to have changed hands and therefore changed styles (The Fool’s Mansion most notably, which seems to have gone from Ren Fair type clothing to Goth). There were also my old favorites (New England Magic), some a bit touristy pricey (Crow Haven Corner) but fun to look at, and others more reasonably priced (Nu Aeon) in which I would sometimes pick up a few supplies when I was Wiccan.
As it was the beginning of October, the high point of Salem’s tourist season, it was mildly crowded but not yet crazy. Many of the shops had multiple readers (as opposed to the usual one or “by appointment only” during the other eleven months of the year). None of us chose to indulge in a reading of any type but we did discreetly watch a few. I was always iffy about psychic abilities but felt that perhaps it was the reader, the questioner, and whatever was used as a guide – tarot, runes, etc – that did tap into something. It’s amazing how it’s changed since learning what Cold Reading is.
I must still look a bit “Witchy” as when I was standing before a wall of bagged herbs at one of my favorite stores (The Broom Closet), a woman asked me what exactly were the herbs for. I told her that they could be put into almond oil and used as perfume, ground and used as incense, and put into home made candles. Probably not the witchy answer she was looking for!
I still love the look of most Wiccan items. The pseudo Victorian or pseudo Medieval (depending on which store you’re in) look of the potions and spells is still attractive to me. I’ve always felt that if I had the money my house would be a mix of Victorian, Medieval, Gothic, and Bordello.
Through my friends I found a new shop around the corner at the end of Essex. It’s not a crafty shop but a gem and jewelry store. I bought two pieces of fluorescent chalcedony that, under short wave black light, will glow light green. They look like they came from the bottom of the sea; almost shell like, yet very much a gem of the dry earth.
We didn’t get into any of the museums or exhibits but it was wonderful to walk around, see the shops and people, and spend the day with friends.
I am hoping that in the spring we can get to Salem again and perhaps make it to Bears Neck Point in Rockport (an area with lovely non-crafty shops also on the ocean) in the afternoon.
October 3, 2009
October 3, 2009