My Salem Massachusetts 2 Day Trip Itinerary

So in the last week of June my partner and I will be going on a 10 day vacation and one of our stops is going to be 2 days in Salem. So I thought it would be fun if today I kind of post our itinerary and then the Wednesday after our trip I make a big post about what exactly we did, what we thought of each thing and then some pictures!

Also key to note that any prices I provide are in USD.

Day 1:

So day one will be spent absorbing all the knowledge I can get.

  • First stop will be the Salem witch museum.
    • For your knowledge the pricing is $13 for an adult, $11.50 for seniors, and $10 for kids 6-14. Presumably kids 5 and under are free.
  • Salem witch trials memorial is the second stop
    • I read online that one should do the museum first (as we plan to) to have more context. As long as you aren’t doing a tour this is free to my knowledge.
  • Charter st cemetery is third on the list
    • This cemetery is right beside the Salem witch trials memorial so it is a good spot to head to right after there
    • I would assume it is free as long as it isn’t a guided tour
  • The Howard st cemetery
    • This is said to be the cemetery that Giles Corey was pressed to death
    • And as the rest of the places of rest should be free

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Day 2:

Most of this day will be just appreciating the city for what it is a city. We’ll go and check out local stores and just see other none witchy sites. However if the day end up drawing out a bit I have a couple places we could go to check out.

  • The Witch House
  • Witch History Museum
    • I found the price at one point but can’t seem to find it again
    • I read that this museum focuses more on witchcraft rather than the trials.

One thing that we will be doing later on in the evening is going on a walking tour. The tour we are going to go on is by hocus pocus tours. I’ll leave a link here if you want to know more about it. However if you just want to know the price it is Adults: $17, Seniors (65 & up): $15, Military Service Members: $15, Students: $15, Children (Ages 5-12): $10. Prices change a bit in October.

So that is all for today’s post. Make sure you stay tuned so you can hear about how the trip went and what I think of the various locations. Have you been to Salem? Let me know if you think there’s place I should visit that I haven’t mentioned, along with any other thoughts or questions you may have. Make sure you follow me here and on twitter so you get notifications when I post and when I upload videos to youtube. Until next time, Blessed Be!

 

 

Wheel of the Year: Yule

Hi everyone! Today we are going to talk about Yule since it is coming on Friday! So Yule is on the winter solstice which is December 21st. Some people celebrate it over a few days (Dec.21-Dec.23). It is the most North point on the wheel of the year. It is the darkest day of the year and represents the brightening of the days to come. Today we are celebrating the goddess giving birth to the sun god again.

On this day there are lots of ways to celebrate. A lot of these celebrations are very similar to those of Christmas. If you want to know why I suggest you check out my blog post about the history of yule. So some things you can do is burn the yule log to increase the light of the season; put up mistletoe; have holly and evergreen decorations to symbolize the promise of the return of life and springtime; and put up a yule tree with silver and white decorations to represent the goddess and god, or red and gold to symbolize the sun god specifically. You can also do gift giving and other traditional holiday fun.

Don’t forget, along with all these seasonal activities you can still go for a nature walk to see what is happening in the world, do a ritual for the deities around yule and winter, do some divination, or do some magick.

Some gods you can celebrate on Yule are: Baldur (Norse), Dionysus (Greek), Hodr (Norse), Holly king (Celtic), Horus (Egyptian), Mithras (Roman), Odin (Norse), Saturn (Roman), and Apollo (Greek).

Some goddesses you can celebrate on Yule are: Alcyone (Greek), Ameratasu (Japanese), Bona Dea (Roman), Cailleach Bheur (Celtic), Demeter (Greek), Frau Holle (Norse), Frigga (Norse), La Betana (Italian), and Spider Woman (Hopi).

I hope you all have a very blessed Yule! What are your plans for the sabbat? Let me know in the comments along with any other thoughts or questions you have. Also, make sure to follow me here and on twitter to get notifications when I post and when I upload videos to youtube. Until next time, Blessed Be!

Working for a Christian Family

Hello everyone! I thought today it would be interesting to give my take on what it is like working for a Christian family. Now I am lucky in saying that the family I have been working for are pretty open-minded, in the sense that they don’t care what I believe, even if they think what I believe is a load of crap. However, it has still presented me with some interesting situations.

I have been working for this family for about 4 months. I am a nanny for their elementary aged daughter. The first month and a half I spent with them we were actually travelling all over northern USA. It was actually a lot of fun. Even at the first week my lack of Christian faith brought up some challenges. At this time their daughter was very religious and was shocked that I did not share her belief in God. She kept asking me about church. I would always say that I think it is great that she enjoys going but that it wasn’t my cup of tea. One time when it was just me and her, God came up again. I proceeded to say that I wasn’t Christian but that I thought it was super cool she was and that everyone should be able to believe in what they want. She essentially told me I had to believe in God because if not I would go to hell. I know she wasn’t trying to be rude or anything. She simply didn’t want me to go to hell, but this conversation happened a number of times. It was very uncomfortable.

Later on the trip it was naturally brought up that I am Wiccan. The family was actually rather interested to hear what that meant. I explained it to them (however I did leave out the magick aspect of the religion). They thought that a lot of our beliefs were actually quite similar despite the different religions and then it wasn’t really brought up again.

After we got home I started watching this child about 2 times during the work week and then most weekends (plus or minus some days depending on the week). So I had a few holidays (Mabon and Samhain) that happened while watching her. Due to this I would celebrate the holidays with her. Mind you, I didn’t do any rituals or anything with her. I only went on sabbat walks or had big meals, stuff like that. I was trying to really make sure I didn’t overstep and make her family feel like I was trying to convert her. At one point I was bringing my tarot cards over to her house so when she was in bed I could do a reading for this blog. She asked me what they were and I answered her. She told her parents and was told she wasn’t allowed to use them. So ever since then I have been hesitant to bring them over, hence why the Sunday readings haven’t been happening.

As for the latest development in this story, this is where the majority of the issues have arisen. This child is very curious and she has lots of questions. She asks me a lot of questions about various things that I believe in. Some examples are: who we worship, what I think of angels, spirit guides, magick, fairies (and other creatures from other realms). This weekend she told me that she didn’t like Christianity and that she was really interested in exploring Wicca. Now if my child told me they wanted to explore other religions I would be totally fine with it. I think all people, regardless of age, should be able to decide for themselves what they believe. However, I know this family has quite a different mindset and would be very mad if they found out otherwise. Luckily, last weekend was my last time working for that family and I can only hope that for her sake (and mine as I am friends with this family) that she forgets about Wicca, at least for now, and continues her Christian faith until she is a bit older.

That’s it for this week. Thank you for reading! Has your religion every effected you professionally? Tell me about it in the comments along with any other thoughts or questions you have. Also, let me know if you’d like to see Sunday tarot readings come back, now that I am done working Sunday’s in a Christian environment. Make sure you follow me here and on twitter so you get notifications when I post and upload videos to youtube. Until next time, Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

Wheel of the Year: Ostara

Hi everyone! So sorry for my absence. It’s been a crazy few weeks with school and my personal life. But today is Ostara for those of us in the North! So happy Ostara! (Mabon for the south).

So Ostara is the spring equinox which is between March 20th and 21st. It is the 3rd sabbat of the year. This day is the original “Easter”, if you will. Today day and night are equal and from this day until the Summer Solstice the days will become longer. On Ostara the god is gaining strength and the goddess is increasing in her fertility. The God and the Goddess are falling in love and move closer to their handfasting.

Now that spring is here it is customary to start your magickal herb garden, having chocolate, dying eggs, starting to plan what you will get rid of during spring cleaning, and as always it is a great time to go take a walk and observe nature and see what energies are around.

Goddesses that are usually celebrated this time of year (not limited to): Aphrodite (Greek), Eostre (Teutonic), Ma-Ku (Chinese), Lady of the Lake (Welsh-Cornish), Minerva (Roman), Isis (Egyptian), Rheda (Anglo-Saxon), Coatlicue (Aztec).

Gods that are usually celebrated this time of year (not limited to): Adonis (Greek), Lord of the Greenwood (English), Ovis (Roman Etruscan), Dylan (Welsh), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Attis (Persian), Mithras (Greco Persian).

Like with every sabbat it is customary to do a ritual to worship the gods and goddesses. Now is also a good time to do divination to see what your year has in store along with any magick you’d like to do especially for new beginnings.

Please leave in the comments how you plan to celebrate Ostara this year! Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

 

Traditional Universal Rituals

Lets talk about traditional rituals. Like in other religions Wiccan’s have universal rituals that they do for certain milestones in a person’s life. There are different rites for birth, marriage, death, etc.

When it comes to welcoming new life you can do a birth rite. This is the time when parents (possibly with other Wiccans) have a ritual to ask for the goddess of birth and motherhood to come in and watch over your pregnancy and your baby.

Then there is the naming ceremony (which can likely take place with the birth rite). This is the time where parents name their child in front of the god and goddess. You would also ask the god or goddess of your choice to give guidance to the child. You also introduce your child to the elements, deities, ancestors, and any other spirit you associate with and want in your child’s life. These entities and any person in the circle would be expected to gift the child with blessings or gifts that will assist the child when growing up.

When a child is around 13 (when a female starts her cycle or when a male starts growing facial hair) you can do a ritual where you introduce your child to the elements, deities, ancestors, etc as an adult (as in the olden days you would have been thought of as an adult). Before then a child wouldn’t have their own altar and wouldn’t be leading their own rituals/magickal workings. At age 13 though this is when a person would start branching off and gathering their own materials for their own altar.

Then we have birthday rituals. This can be as simple is blowing out a candle and making a wish or do a full blown ritual where you recommit yourself to deity.

Next is handfasting. This is a time where friends and family get together to join two people together as one. This can be a legally binding marriage if want it to be or it can also just be a personal binding. You can make a vow for any amount of time. For a year, a lifetime, or just for as long as you both love each other. Often times a couples arms are tied together by ropes to signify their union and they make vows to one another in front of their guests, including the elements, deities, ancestors, etc. Anyone can officiate if you aren’t making it legally binding. Some people will get a high priest(ess) or shaman to officiate. If you want a legally binding marriage you need to have someone qualified to do that to officiate.

We also have a ritual to celebrate the transition to croning. We are no longer maidens/youth or mothers/fathers. We are now crones who have lots of wisdom and knowledge. We are able to guide the youth and parents. This kind of ritual is more personal and is typically done on your own (or coven) with deity.

Our last big ritual is when one dies. When someone dies we take the time celebrate their life and to help heal the hearts of the living. In this ritual the living would ask the elements the deities the dead worked with, to help guide the loved one to whatever afterlife they believed in. They would also ask the ancestors to welcome the newly passed into their circle and to help them transition into this different type of existence. Each person would think of a good memory of the newly passed because that loved one will never truly be gone but simply just harder to reach.

All of these rituals are rituals of celebration, including the death/ages rites and aging and death are not thought of as coming to an end but rather getting ready for a new beginning.

Thank you for reading! Please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments. Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

All About Covens

First of all, what is a Coven?

A coven can be a group of Wiccans or just Witches. If a group of Wiccans, they would gather for every Sabbat and 1-2 times a month for esbats (Sabbats are days we celebrate the sun and esbats are nights we celebrate the moon) to do rituals and magick. If they are solely Witches they would gather likely on full moons and whenever else they deem fit to practice magick together. In this post though I will be talking of Wiccan covens.

Different covens practice different paths of Wicca so if you are going to join a coven it is very important that you find one that meets your beliefs. How you join a coven differs from coven to coven. In some covens you can inquire about joining, in others you have to wait to be invited. In a coven there are usually 1-2 leaders known as the High Priestess or the High Priest. The number of Wiccans in a coven is usually between 3 and 20.

There are pros and cons to working in a coven. Some pros are that you get support and companionship.As a solitary I can vouch in saying working alone can be quite lonely and isolating. Also, when in a coven you have people who you can teach you about the craft. When you are solitary you have to figure out everything for yourself. When you’re in a coven you can study to get higher degrees in the coven and eventually get the status of High Priest(ess). Lastly some people enjoy having a set schedule and a plan for how to learn. It gives them a routine and structure that they work well with.

Despite the pros there are some cons. Although some people love the structure, some people don’t. The coven will make decisions about meeting times and attendance that may not fit your schedule. Certain covens have expectations of it’s members that you may not be comfortable with. For examples how you dress in a meeting (dressed or skyclad). You will also be held accountable for keeping the laws of the tradition of the coven. If said laws are broken the coven can kick you out. If you leave your coven and start a coven of a new tradition you may have to start your training all over again. Lastly, in a coven you will be hanging out with a group of people. If you don’t like a member it’s going to be uncomfortable.

Training in a Coven

Every coven is different but in general this is usually how the process goes. So you’ve told a coven you’re interested, they invite you to attend an open ritual. When you go to the ritual you will get to check out the coven and they get to check you out. If you guys like each other and they decide they want you to join as a dedicant or a witch in training. Then someone will agree to be your teacher. As a dedicant you study the craft for a year and a day before you earn your first degree initiation and acceptance into the coven.

You will get a list of expectations that may include attendance and study requirements, promises to uphold the Wiccan Rede, and an oath to keep the coven a secret.

The coven will have a dedication ritual for you that essentially says you are committing yourself to the Wiccan path. After another year and a days study after your dedication, if the high Priest(ess) deems you ready you will be part of a ritual where you are reborn into the Wiccan path. You then will earn your First Degree Initiation, you gain the title of Priest or Priestess, and you’re officially a member of the coven. Then after another year and a day study from that ritual and the High Priest(ess) deems you ready you will earn your Second Degree Elevation and the title High Priest(ess). You are now qualified to start teaching, writing, and leading ritual. In some traditions you will be able to start your own coven. The last step is at least a year and a day after that ritual if the High Priest(ess) deems you ready you earn your Third Degree Elevation, and the official title of clergy, and the title of Lady or Lord. At this point you can break away from the mother coven, or hive off and form your own coven.

Priests, Priestesses, and Elders

Within a coven there is generally both a High Priestess and a High Priest. The High Priestess is seen as the Goddess incarnate and is the spiritual centre of the coven. The High Priest assists the High Priestess and is seen as the God incarnate. Elders are people who have all their degrees but have chosen not to be a High Priest(ess). They are the mediators and spiritual resources of the coven. They also don’t have to be old but rather just experienced in Wicca and magick.

Wiccan Traditions

So much like Christianity there are different denominations of Wicca. Although these different traditions generally believe in the same basics the details are often different. There are many many different traditions of Wicca so below are some of the different traditions (but certainly not all)

Gardnerian Wicca:

After England removed the witchcraft law in 1950 Gerald Gardner “came out of the broom closet”. He rewrote the rituals of the coven he belonged to for accuracy. This Tradition is coven exclusive. You can’t really be part of this tradition as a solitary practitioner. In Gardnerian covens they have a degree systemin which one learns the craft. The coven has to initiate you into the coven. They do their work skyclad(naked).

Alexandrian Wicca:

Alex Sanders founded this tradition in 1960. It is inspired by Gardnerian Wicca. You still must be in a coven for this tradition. They also work skyclad and have similar rituals to Gardnerian. This tradition places more emphasis on ceremonial magick though.

Georgian Wicca:

George Patterson founded this tradition in 1970. Followers of this tradition are also known as the Georgian church. Rituals are inspired from Gardnerian and Alexandrian with some other elements added. In some of these covens members write their own rituals. Some work skyclad and others don’t.

Seax-Wicca:

Raymond Buckland founded this tradition in 1973. He was a protege of Gardner. Buckland taught the Gardnernian tradition for many years. He saw some flaws in it though so he started his own tradition. This tradition is based on Saxon traditions. Each coven decides if they will work skyclad or robed. Witches of this tradition can be initiated through a coven or through self-study.

Dianic Wicca:

This tradition focuses on the goddess with little talk of a god. The goddess is worshipped in her 3 aspects (maiden, mother, and crone). Since the 1970’s this tradition has been seen as the feminist movement of the craft. Some covens of this tradition are female only.

Celtic Wicca:

Tradition looks to ancient Celtic and Druidic deities and beliefs. There’s an emphasis on magickal and healing powers of plants, minerals, gnomes, fairies, and elemental spirits. Some rituals are derived from Gardnerian practice.

Green Wicca:

Although all Wicca is nature based this type of Wicca really focuses on nature. This type of Wicca tends to draw upon folklore, folk-religion, and folk magick. This tradition focuses a lot on the earth, trees, herbs, plants, and flowers for medicinal purposes and magickal value. They tend to grow their own herbs and have gardens. The deities worshipped varies on the Wiccan but typically Green Wiccans acknowledge the earth mother or a series of nature spirits as their deity. Typically spirits of nature, the dead (human and animal), or the fey are part of this tradition. This is the tradition I am currently interested in.

Wicca Series (Part 13): Wiccan Traditions

Hereditary Wicca:

This is a tradition that is usually not exclusive. Another tradition is typically involved with it. This is a tradition for those people who are fortunate to have Wicca run in the family. I hope my future children will be hereditary Wiccans

Eclectic Wicca:

This tradition is most common these days especially in solitary practitioners. This tradition is when you take bits and pieces of the various traditions and make your own that works best for you. You can also take elements from other pagan customs like Shamanism or even elements from other religions like Buddhism.

So there we have it, a description of common Wiccan Traditions. Don’t forget this is not nearly close to all of them. This is merely an overview of more common ones that are either fundamental to the creation of Wicca or that I find interesting.

What Wiccan tradition do you follow? Please feel free to leave thoughts and questions in the comment section! Merry Meet and Blessed Be!