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So I was last in Salem in 1992 or so...when [ profile] greenwapiti lived in the next town south, Lynn, which was a shit hole. I had to distract myself and I went down a few times to see Crow Haven Corner (Laurie Cabot's store) but I never went to the Witch Museum since it was supposedly really offensive. Wow--its like someone sprinkled Miracle Grow on the couple of Salem witches! Salem has become a mecca for Witches, psychics, hucksters, etc...Like New Orleans but more concentrated since there isnt the same party hardy thing going on. I literally lost count of the number of witchy shops I visited. There must be like 2 dozen. Riekin made an excellent point late in the week--he had just seen his first person wearing a cross all week. Pentagrams are the consignment shop, at the pizza shop, on the landlord, etc. Its kitschy but its also kinda comforting. I would not want to live in that atmosphere where our religion is on sale everywhere...but there are worse places, for sure.

Wed [ profile] greenwapiti put me on an early plane out of FLL. I got to Manchester, NH by about 1pm and headed out in my rental car. It was one of those clear, cool New England days. Perfect introduction and perfect driving weather. I flew in and out of Manchester since the original plan was to stay at my uncle's place in the mountains after MM. He recently broke his ankle, so that after-party was scrapped. Made it to Salem by about 5pm, and all the EMLC witches were out but they had left the key in the back garden. Once I got into town I stopped at a liquor store for a bottle of wine, and it happened to be next door to a local doughnut shop, so I broke down and had the most delicious ginormous coconut cream doughnut ever. Enjoyed the treat and a glass of wine in the beautiful back garden. Witches started returning to the house--a fantastic old Victorian, nothing too fancy but very nice, 3 floors, 6 bedrooms. Even though I was the second to last person to arrive, I got lucky and got a 2nd floor bedroom to myself. Coyote and I shared the 2nd floor. We all walked to Indian food that night, our house was a couple of blocks from the "downtown" shopping area of Salem. I crashed early since I hadnt slept well, but fell asleep with the windows open to sounds of witches laughing and drinking in the backyard. *grins* Thur we got up and checked in at MM, listened to a lovely welcome from a local Alexandrian Elder (I bought his biography of Alex Sanders) and then went on a walking tour of Salem. The guide was a local history major college student, not a witch, and the tour focused on the 1692 witch trials. The guide was good but I found myself bored...I am just not a fan of that period, feel no connection. But we visited the oldest graveyard (note--I actually felt energetically dusty/dirty there after a bit, I am loosing my ability to play in graveyards with impunity), the witch memorial, other places where things had happened but now there was a 7-eleven. It lasted a couple of hours but it was a nice day, overcast but not rainy, so I tried to just enjoy the outdoors. Had some lunch with [ profile] klezon, Raven, and AmberIsis in the hotel bar (AmberIsis talked our ears off) including a lobster quesadilla which was delish. Then it was time for shopping to begin, and exploring...the conference hotel was literally across the street from Crow Haven Corner, and up the block was another witch shop, a Harry Potter themed shop, and there was a herbal witch shop on the other corner. I retraced some of my steps from back in the day, Pyramid Books is still in the same place too...and by 4pm it was time to return to the hotel to see "From Salem with Love," a brand new documentary about the 25 year old tradition of Samhain rituals on Gallows Hill. It was very beautiful and a loving tribute to Richard of White Light Productions, a long time elder in New England. We ended up in the bar that night, didn't really get dinner but I had a great cocktail called a "bee's knees" which had gin, honey syrup, and lemon. Visited with Amber K, [ profile] klezon, Lady B, the Fullers--enjoyed watching those two squirm as they tried to figure out how to interact with me again. A nice CoG type evening of laughs and drinks with old friends and new.

Friday is when Grand Council started. We all got up and walked or drove over to the hotel (there was parking!) and as usual, EMLC was on time and well represented. Lady B's grandson Doug did not attend GC, but the rest of us (8) were there. It was familiar and fine to be in that place again, I didn't have any dog in the fight and felt like an observer. In the morning break is when Kathryn Fuller apologized and then proceeded to kiss my ass all the rest of the weekend. There were a number of old friends at GC, but at least half the room I didn't recognize. There is always a lot of new folks at GC. Best old friends to see--Garth, Gary Lingen from MN, Kirk White, Bryan Lankford, Amber and Azrael (although I see them at Pcon every year), Jennifer from MA (who is also doing faery seership training in the MA group!), Penny, Laura, and many of the Weavers folks. Lunch was served upstairs on Fri and Sat, and I spent Fri lunch trying to recruit someone to run against the Recorder candidate (as a favor to Lady B). On person number 3, I found a willing candidate, and she ended up winning! Afternoon was more of the same, an easy GC without much controversy, only a few outbursts from people now and again. Friday night the EMLC people needed, NEEDED, lobstah, so we went to the Black Lobster, a place some of them had visited earlier in the week. It was delicious, although I am not a lobster person, and the scallops I ordered were typically drowned in breadcrumbs as they do it in the NE. Garth had suggested a party at the EMLC house that night, so we got back to the Victorian at 8pm, people started arriving and we had an excellent time drinking wine and telling stories. Garth told us about he is about to meet his two biological sisters for the first time immediately post MM!! Lots of laughs that night.

Sat continued the business meeting, the group lunch (this time I ate and did not recruit) and shopping (I slipped out when the budget was being discussed--I was slightly surprised to realize CoG is still such a small organization financially, 25K/year). Made it back to a few places and even some new places. I bought Morgan a pillow with the recipe for Polyjuice Potion for the dorm room, also some smokeless incense. Bought Cyrus a censer (he is always using ours) and hemp incense as a joke. I bought some really nice oil for myself, a new tarot deck (finally!), and I found a decent tshirt for [ profile] greenwapiti. Oh and some silly Salem Witch City shot glasses for the coven. Went home for a quick costume change then out to the campground on the water where Penny and Mike were having their 45th anniversary vow renewal as the main ritual. It was a beautiful spot, under a huge arbor covered in blooming vines, and the ceremony was very moving. The catered dinner after was very good, and our local witch contact Sandra played with her band! We all danced a lot, I brought along the rest of the finger lamps from Soulfest so gave those out, and had a good time. Deidre caught me in the restroom and asked if I wanted to go have a drink with her and Andras, they have a friend who is a bartender in Salem but didn't want to take a crowd of folks. It was a rare opportunity to get to know her better, so I said yes. After our goodbyes, we drove into town and a funny thing happened--I had the address of the bar but there was no bar there! I parked and walked up and down the street--it was definitely the right business area, but no number 189. After about 20 minutes I was just about to give up when Deidre found me! We went to this very nice place where a kid they had known since he was 7 (he is now 27 and running the restaurant) served us some very nice food...Andras and I had "tequila mockingbirds" which are as delicious as they sound. The deconstructed s'mores were sold out. ;( We bitched about CoG a bit but they wanted to hear about Panama and generally catch up...what great people. Deidre had always intimidated me when I lived in the NE, probably in the way I supposedly intimidate people, so it is awesome to be past that and connect. She is one sexy witch. ;) EMLC witches were still up when I got back to the pad, and laughing.

Sunday was a mellow morning of breakfast with the EMLC witches, then closing ritual on the green. Oh I guess I forgot to mention opening ritual on thur night. It was lovely--right on Salem Common, a weaving the web ritual that Andras and Deidre wrote, I did it once at Rites of Spring. Kathryn and Daryl were holding the center pole so they were literally woven up into the web we created, I liked this as I took it that one step further and saw it as a massive binding spell. *winks* **not really** Hugs after closing, pizza with Sarah, Raven, and Doug, then lots more shopping. Finally made it to the shops owned by Christian Day, the worlds most famous warlock!: one is called Hex, and the other Omen. Lady B and some others didn't like how commercial they are, and the vibe, but I liked them...lots of marketing energy, a lot like a slick shop in New Orleans (apparently he has one there too) but I found a Sybil Leek 7 day votive that I really love. On my walk back to the house I called back Logan, who had left me a message during my flight up. Chit-chat but then he mentioned he is leaving Danae, stuck too long in an abusive relationship with her. And he has a new job selling partial ownership of land reserves to investors for tax credits (or some such witchery). Very good talk, honest, kind, our best connection in years. Surprised he wanted to tell me, but then I have been his go-to when things with Danae get weird for years. I wish him the best! When I got home, most of the EMLC witches had left, and it was just Sarah, Doug and me in the house that night. They had just eaten ice cream so werent hungry, plus we had leftovers. So we all chilled...I visited the landlords, and one of them was wearing a pentagram tshirt! She said, "Oh look honey, its one of the witches, please teach me about Wicca!" So we laughed a bit, I recommended she go outside Salem for classes but I plan to send her a book as a thank you gift. EMLC would love to return there some time, although Samhain is supposedly like Mardi Gras, so maybe not then. When I told the landlord we thought the neighbors on the other side were possibly pagan, he said, "Oh yes, they are, they own a shop. Maybe you went in there, its called Omen?" I almost fell over, as Christian Day and his particular flavor of weirdness was a topic of conversation all week long. They confirmed CD lived next door with his dad. So I couldnt leave that alone, and went over with one of our EMLC business cards. I found his dad, super nice guy chain smoking with his Doberman, who said all the pagan stuff in the backyard was his, and his son was more into coffins (there are two in his apartment upstairs he said). Very entertaining. Managed to see the premiere of Breaking Bad from Coyote's comfy bed, and got up at 4:15am to drive up to Manchester for my return flight. I love New England, really think I could live there again, although I'm sure I would bitch about the winter. But I feel comfy there and love the live and let live atmosphere. It was an excellent return to Salem, and I plan to do it again soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-08-14 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lady b and recruiting... Interesting because someone in our caucus group did not want the first candidate and was very happy that candidate number 2 won.


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