FULL MOON JOURNAL
Excerpts from THE SALEM JOURNAL--
(Note: Originally the Full Moon Journal was entitled The Salem Journal)
Full Moon Journal is devoted to the paranormal, occult/metaphysical, and dark fantasy.
The following interview will be included in an upcoming issue of the FULL MOON JOURNAL:
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN CRAIG HICKMAN, WEBMASTER of THE WISDOM of THE EARTH HOME PAGE
conducted by Sharida Rizzuto
Q) How did you develop your interest in the occult?
Actually it was my fascination with books that lead me to a knowledge of the underbelly of Western Traditions. At the age of 22, I suddenly began reading for pleasure for the first time in my life. During my early school years I hated to read unless forced to. The Occult, per-say, was a part of the drift of the Sixties era. I guess many kids of that time were into the magical scene for one reason or another. No one had any specific reason behind the fascination: it was probably our way of rebelling against everything our parents believed. Now I know differently. Now I know that there were layers of memory and imagination hiding in our fascination with the hidden mysteries. But that is another story . . .
Q) What motivated you to create
I have always dreamed of creating in Light! About two years ago I bought my first computer and suddenly immersed myself in all the latest technology that goes with it. I beta tested the GNN Software for free during this time and was able to gain a working knowledge of the web as it grew from its early stages. With it I began to utilize the graphic and html editors that are the standards in the industry. Photoshop and Fractal Painter are my preferred tools of choice for graphics. And FrontPage and Homesite by Dexter my only HTML editors . . .
Q) What areas of interest do
you prefer and why?
I am into almost anything that humans have explored. I am a curious creature. If a human has done something I want to know why . . . I am an explorer of the human world. A reader of souls and ages, I travel the mind-fields of our past, present, and future to find answers to the simple things of everyday existence. I'm closer to the Zen Monk: the moment lived to the fullest . . .
Q) What are your website audience's
current interests? And, is the response good?
Many visitors from Canada, Europe, and Australia visit my site. Most come for the Live Chat and Message Board. But others seem enamored of the Myth, Mysteries, and Goddess worlds . . . You only need to take a look at my Guest Book to see the Response: Yes, most are delighted by the Graphics, sounds, and information .
Q) Your site is huge and
well-organized. How did you manage putting it together?
A secret! No, really, I have been working slowly on my site for two years: it is in continuous revision . . . as I come up with new ideas, styles, programming techniques . . . the site changes with them!
Q) Do you find the occult community
at large (on the net as well as elsewhere) to be basically unified against
those who would oppose it?
Tell you the truth: I do not think the Occult Community thinks in those simplistic terms . . . We are all part of a multi-cultural heritage . . . we're all part of traditions of caring, earth-centric, and joyful existence. We do not oppose others . . . what we oppose are those that would not let us worship and live at peace on this green earth.
Q) Explain in laymen's terms
some of the more popular systems of magic (in a few sentences or less).
The Journey into Light that has brought me to a knowledge of the Old Ways of the Earth began long ago . . .
The dancer in the sun sings
with a voice of fight
to the Enchantress of soft hue, the Moon.
The wild ones of the forest run free
in realms of pure imagining
as the earth grows old with human kind.
And, we, the inheritors of truths grown cold
gather in a spiraling circle of light
to witness the miracle of transformation
as the Lady and Lord of Life
enter our sacred grove clothed in golden robes fire
to reveal to us the measure and the truth
that is our ancient birthright:
the right to walk free on earth;
to listen to the stillness of flowers
and humming bees in spring;
to breathe the salt of oceans,
and gather mushrooms in the wet glens at dawn;
and see the white mountains of winter sparkle,
and black sands of summer gleam;
to know and be at peace in the center of this great mystery!
Does that say it? I am a creature of the earth . . . there are no systems, there is Life!
Q) What do you think the new
millennium will bring? And, how will your website reflect it?
The idea of the millennium is a fiction, a myth . . . I live in this moment . . . with my eyes turned toward the fight of this time, this earth. I do not think of the new millennium. Let it bring what it will!
NOTE: Visit the webmaster at
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
by Sharida Rizzuto
ALL WOMEN ARE HEALERS--A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO NATURAL HEALING
by Diane Stein
Thi Crossing Press
The book covers a considerable range of information about natural healing--the practice of Reiki, polarity balancing, Chinese medicine and acupressure, reflexology, vitamins & minerals, herbs, homeopathy and more. The author discusses the role of women as healers and how throughout the ages they have practiced many diverse forms of healing only to be repressed again and again by the male dominated "powers that be." Though some readers will be turned off by the feminist bias there is certainly a tremendous amount of relevant information in the book.
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF INCENSE, OILS & BREWS
by Scott Cunningham
St. Paul, MN
Everything you ever wanted to know about incense, oils and brews are in this book! The author teaches the reader how to make different kinds of incense, oils, ointments, ritual soaps, bath salts, etc. He also gives the principles of magic so one is able to empower their blends of incense, oils, etc. to heal, to attract, to promote, simulate, increase and/or heighten whatever one wants. This is a book of positive magic, no negative stuff here.
DRAWING DOWN THE MOON--WITCHES, DRUIDS, GODDESS--WORSHIP and OTHER PAGANS IN AMERICA
by Margot Adler
The definitive book on neo-paganism. Adler thoroughly covers the entire range of modern-day neo-pagans. It's obvious she is an authority in her field. All occult enthusiasts and practioners should read this one.
THE GOD of the WITCHES
by Margaret A. Murray
Oxford University Press
This book is a study of witchcraft as practiced in Europe dating back to pre-Christian times to the paleolithic period.
Murray, the late noted anthropologist discusses the idea that certain individuals were ritually sacrificed to ensure the continued fertility of a people and their land. She claims that it happened repeatedly throughout history with such notable people as Thomas a Becket, Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais and others. Fascinating book.
LEAVES OF YGGDRASIL--A SYNTHESIS OF RUNES, GODS, MAGIC, FEMININE MYSTERIES, FOLKLORE
by Freya Aswynn
St. Paul, MN
This book covers the runic alphabet, divination and magic, use of runes in healing and more. Aswynn explains the historical and cultural significance of runic magic. Detailed and interesting.
MEPHISTOPHELES--THE DEVIL IN THE MODERN WORLD
by Jeffrey Burton Russell
Cornell University Press
It is Russell's fourth volume in a series about the Christian historical concept of the Devil. The book begins with the Reformation and continues on into the present. Russell discusses how the concept of the Devil has been influenced by changes in society which include art, culture, theology, literature, philosophy, etc. This is a scholarly work, not something written from a Christian fundamentalist prospective. Good for research. Interesting.
RIDING THE NIGHTMARE--WOMEN & WITCHCRAFT FROM THE OLD WORLD TO COLONIAL SALEM
by Selma R. Williams and Pamela Williams Adelman
Harper Perennial/Harper Collins
The authors' contention is since the majority of those condemned for witchcraft (90%) in both Europe and America were women that it was a case of discrimination pure and simple. They explain that the society through the church, politics, popular distributed tracts, etc., promoted the myth that women were evil incarnate and therefore capable of practicing witchcraft. The authors make a strong case. However, it is obvious that they have a strong feminist bias. While much of their evidence is solid, the reader should keep in mind that further research is necessary whenever there is a strong bias in any direction.
SANTERIA THE RELIGION--A LEGACY of FAITH, RITES, and MAGIC
by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler
It is an interesting look at the world of Santeria--a branch of voodoo. It is derived from the West African Yoruba people. When some of these people made their way aboard slave ships bound for the New World (Cuba), they brought their voodoo practices with them. Later it would be incorporated with Catholicism. Eventually, Santeria would be adopted by the Hispanic population in Cuba. Since those days it has spread across some of the Caribbean and America.
A detailed account of the origins, development and spread of Santeria are given in this book. It has become a very popular religion among large segments of Black and Hispanic populations and even some whites ascribe to it nowadays. Whether or not the reader believes in the powers of voodoo, the subject is fascinating because of the social and cultural implications if nothing else.
WITCHCRAFT AT SALEM
by Chadwick Hansen
Hansen contents that witchcraft was indeed being practiced in colonial Salem as it had been for centuries in Europe and elsewhere. He acknowledges that the majority of those accused of witchcraft and executed were innocent but adds that some of them were, indeed, guilty. However, he does not condone the executions.
Much research went into the book and the author does not have a Christian fundamentalist bias. It is worth tracking down a used copy since it is not currently in print.
WITCHCRAFT IN ENGLAND
by Christine Hole
This is a survey book of witchcraft as it was practiced in England of the Middle Ages and after. The author covers diverse aspects of its lore and history. Anyone interested in the history of witchcraft should read the book. It is probably not in print so it will require locating a used copy. It is informative and gives the reader an overview of what it must have been like to live in those days.
WITCHCRAFT--THE OLD RELIGION
by Dr. Leo Louis Martello
(no date given)
Dr. Martello gives much background material about the traditions of witchcraft. He dispels myths about witchcraft generally perpetrated by the Christian churches. He includes historical background about the origins and development of witchcraft with wit and wisdom. It is clearly written and definitely a no nonsense book. Martello also wrote Black Magic, Satanism, Voodoo -- another facinating read. This reviewer was contacted by Dr. Martello in the mid-1980s. He furnished articles, books, and much general information in assisting with our publication, The Salem Journal (now Full Moon Journal). We recently learned that Martello passed away a few years ago.
A WITCHES BIBLE COMPLEAT
by Janet and Stewart Farrar
Magickal Childe Publishing, Inc. (This company may have recently gone out-of-business.)
The book is two in one. It consists of Eight Sabbats for Witches and The Witches Way. The authors are well-known among occult aficionados. They have practiced witchcraft for many years. This volume is a must for anyone interested in learning about the practice of wicca. It covers the rituals and information about spells, healing, clairvoyance, reincarnation, operating a coven, the witches' tools and much more.
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
NOTE: We don't want any trouble with the "powers that be" regarding what might be considered politically incorrectly or offensive to some people so we have replaced letters in a few words with an underline. It will also prevent children from understanding the words.)
THE PERSECUTlON of WOMEN
Ruth Wildes Schuler
Women were revered as Earth Mother figures in ancient times. In Greece which was considered the intellectual civilization of the world at that time, crucial political decisions were made by consulting the simple peasant girls who were Apollo's oracles at Delphi.
It was the Judea-Christian culture that severely altered women's place in the scheme of things. In the book of Genesis, Eve was given the blame for man's fall and her legacy was written:
"Unto the woman, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail, in pain thou shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Woman was given the menstrual cycle and the agony of childbirth, but these did not compromise her full punishment. Patriarchy was the other half of that ancient curse, and the Christian civilization continued with the highly developed Jewish tradition of misogyny and s_x_al repression.
The Bible set s_x out as the source of knowledge, civilization and death. For the sin of Eden, Adam must go to work and Eve must bear children. Thus, the human family and work-ethic sprung up from roots of s_x_al repression and guilt.
The Catholic Church has maintained an objection to abortion, thus continuing the ancient biblical curse which made childbearing a painful punishment for that original sin in the Garden of Eden. The church has retained this historical dimension of the myth of feminine evil.
By the Middle Ages men's earlier awe of woman altered from the point of viewing her as the personification of Mother Nature to that of viewing her as an avaricious and wicked soul. The fact that women produced living humans from their bodies was supernatural itself.
Women were then even blamed for storms and droughts. Men feared that women might gain power, so they dominated them with brute strength and used them as scapegoats. Joan of Arc was tried for heresy, but political power was the real issue involved.
The Judea-Christian concept of women as the original criminal has resulted in the slaughter of millions of people in a period of three hundred years. Since the late 1400's it has been estimated that at least nine million people have been executed for the sin of witchcraft. The majority of these victims have been women, for witchcraft seems to have been a female crime. Men were generally protected from such accusations because they were considered to be of superior intellect and virtue in both the Judean and Christian cultures.
Little is known about these women who were murdered, for the historians were male and felt that the massacre of witches was too unimportant to chronicle, except as mere footnotes. Three centuries of burning women at the stake in agony was passed over lightly, the genocide ignored because of an acceptance of the Bible's proclamation that females were evil.
Some of these witches were labeled poisoners, for they used drugs like aconite, amanita, hashish, laudanum, belladonna and organic amphetamines. Forgotten were their pioneer development of analgesics and medical treatments using herbs. During these trials, what women said in their own defense was ignored because the only records were written by their enemies-- men. The trials became a way of disposing of unwanted women, those that were old, different and non-conforming. In A Room Of One's Own, Virginia Woolf wrote:
"When one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet or some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor crazed with the torment that her gift had given her."
Perhaps we can better understand this phenomenon if we zero in on the witch trials of Massachusetts in the 1690's, even though the number executed there was microscopic compared to the millions put to death in England and on the European continent during the late Middle Ages. We have accurate records from Salem and the statistics show that more women than men were persecuted as witches. Of the 141 accused, 104 were women, of the 31 people convicted, 25 were women, and of the 20 executed, 14 were women.
We should look first at the young girls involved in these trials, for in Salem during the late 1600's young girls were ignored for the most part. Their spirits were as repressed by the society in which they lived as their legs were restricted by the long gowns that they were forced to wear. The Puritan Church hammered away at them with lusty tales of the Devil, continually painting him as the arch-criminal. He was the everlasting antagonist and proved to be a fascination in this never-ending detective story of crime.
When winter closed in on Salem Village, females were shut off from all outside activities. In contrast, men were relieved now from the heavier, chores and they could take their muskets into the forest and shoot deer, wild turkey, or a marauding fox or wolf. They could fetch a line, cut through the ice and fish or they could turn to odd jobs of carpentry or other secondary trades.
There were no diversions for females in winter time though, and they rarely got out of the house except to go to church. In summer they could pick berries or carry beer to the men working in the fields, but with the snow came the monotonous round of chores without any outlet for physical activity or childish mischief.
It was Tituba, the half-savage slave from Barbados who entertained these young girls during these winter months. She showed them tricks, spells, and fragments of Voodoo that she remembered from her own childhood. She told them tales, murmured nonsense rhymes, and gave these girls more attention than their own kinfolk.
Many theories have been offered for the young girls' possession in Salem. The most popular thesis has been that they were afflicted with hysteria due to the stress and repression in their lives, and that they used these fits to avail themselves of an opportunity to rebel against the restrictions placed upon them by the pious adult society in which they lived. Some psychologists have felt that some of these girls had paranoid tendencies which were hereditary. Linda Caporael, a graduate student in psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara theorizes that the girls' madness was due to a fungus in grain rye called "ergot," which contains a hallucinogenic similar to LSD. Ergot could have caused the convulsions, mental disturbances and perceptual distortions. But for lack of a better explanation of the phenomena, the New England Puritans seized upon witchcraft. One of the bewitched girls, twelve-year-old Ann Putnam lived on a farm in the swampy part of Salem, where her father raised grain which proved to be contaminated. Her mother and two other girls living on the farm were similarly afflicted. Further evidence of ergot poisoning offered by Linda Caparael was the language used by these accusers pointing out the witches. Their claims of biting, pinching and pricking by pins could allude to a crawling and tingling sensation usually experienced by ergot victims.
There have been other theories for the girls' strange behavior. A Tory governor claimed the afflicted girls were an early case of mob action. George Beard, the inventor of the electric chair claimed that the girls were in touch with spirits.
It has been suggested by others that Tituba, who was an expert in herbs might have induced the girls to experiment with the jimson weed, and their bedevilment might actually have been drug highs similar to the LSD trips experienced today.
If this was true, Tituba's motives are uncertain, but there are some who feel that she might have done this in vengeance for having been torn away from the warm Barbados Islands and her black kinsmen and brought to the harsh northern landscape to live among rigid unsympathetic aliens who worked her exceedingly hard for long hours.
Whatever the cause of the girls' hysterical fits, the fact remained that it was the poor and disabled who were imprisoned and hanged. There was no such thing as a democracy among witches. The rich and well-connected people accused by the girls were able to flee New England and the judges ignored the extradition laws.
In researching these trials, it becomes obvious that the accusations became a vehicle that enabled the community to rid themselves of the old, sick and other undesirable women in their midst.
Sarah Good was disliked by the community because she smoked a pipe and tramped around the area begging for food. When the magistrate asked Sarah why she did not attend church services like the other women, she snapped, "For want of cloose." At the time of her conviction, she was carrying another child.
She gave birth in prison, but no one bothered to record the event.
After Sarah's arrest, her five-year-old daughter, Dorcas, ran around the countryside like a mad dog, biting the girls for what they had done to her mother.
A warrant was duly sworn out for her, as it was obvious that she too was a witch, so off to prison she went. They did not hang five-year-old witches, but Dorcas never recovered from her imprisonment. Shut off from the sun and cooped up with aging women in all degrees of piety, iniquity, imbecility and intelligence, her face became pinched and sullen and her hair became wild and matted. When she came out of prison, history records that she was never "hale and well-looking again." We are left to guess at her mental state.
Along with young Dorcas, others of a tender age were tried and convicted of witchcraft. These included Sarah Carrier, age eight; Abigail Johnson, who was age eleven and her brother, Stephen, who was thirteen-years-old.
Bridget Bishop was a flashy dresser who sometimes wore a "red paragon bodice" for best and she also owned a great store of laces. She was a tavern-keeper who sometimes allowed young people to loiter at unseemingly hours playing at "shovelboard." William Stacy, a neighbor testified in her behalf, stating that he had once admired her, for when he was twenty-two, she had been kind and visited him when he had smallpox. We can only guess at what Bridget herself said and did in court, because Stephen Sewall, the recorder took no pains to write her words down.
Martha Carrier's sin was having pockmarked children. When she refused to confess to the crime of witchcraft, her two oldest boys were tied heels to heels, but the blood came out of their mouths before they would testify against their mother. Eventually under torture, they admitted that they were witches, too, and that their mother had made them so. At this point the youngest child without much persuasion declared that her mother was a black cat. When asked how she knew, she replied, "The cat said so." Sarah Osburne was scandalously remiss in her church attendance. The fact that she was ill and not fit to be out of bed made little impact upon the court. The constables had to support her during her trial, and she was put upon a nag and ridden to Ipswich prison. The fetid air, cold floors and meager food extracted their toll. She grew weaker each day until she died on May 10th.
Martha Cory proclaimed to the court: "I do not believe in witches!" The court asked her how she could make such a statement when three proven witches had already been taken in their parish. She continued to deny the reality of witchcraft to the end.
Rebecca Nurse was guilty of the crime of being partially deaf. At the time of her accusation she had been infirmed with a stomach complaint and had not left her house for nine days. Rebecca was a well-loved grandmother in her community, but she had grown too hard of hearing to understand a crucial question from the jurors. "Oh Lord, help me!," she cried out in court and spread her hands out helplessly. Her gesture was immediately imitated by the girls, who then proceeded to duplicate every move that Rebecca made. Those in the courtroom started to weep for the afflicted girls. Rebecca did not. This was interpreted by Judge Hawthorne as obvious guilt, for would not an innocent woman weep like other women? But tears are not possible for witches.
After her conviction, though Rebecca was unable to walk, she was carried from Salem prison in a chair to the church, where she was excommunicated --sent not only to the gallows, but doomed also to eternal damnation. Rebecca collapsed from the ordeal and had to be carried back to prison. Shortly afterwards her sister, Sarah Cloyce, was also sentenced to prison.
The courts were convinced that the convicted witches were still working their witchcraft upon the poor girls, so the authorities ordered that chains be put upon those in prison to circumvent their activities. The expense of these chains was charged to the accounts of the witches.
Life was wretched for those convicted and imprisoned. They were confined to foul overcrowded cells, forced to wear heavy chains upon their limbs, and suffer further indignities by having prison officials sweep down upon them periodically to search their bodies for witch marks.
After the trials had ended, those who had been convicted of witchcraft were not released until their families paid their prison fees. Unfortunately, not every accused witch had kinsmen willing to mortgage their farms. No one was interested in restoring old Sarah Doston to circulation, so she remained in prison until she died.
Abigail Faulkner and Elizabeth Proctor had been condemned to death, but were reprieved until their expected babies could be born. Both women left prison with their jail-born infants in their arms.
Tituba, the slave had no one to pay her prison fees, so she was sold back into slavery and sent south, never to be heard of again.
Noyes Parris, the son of the witch-hunting parson became a victim of the times also and grew up only to die insane.
History had an annoying way of failing to record complete data. The girls involved were never allowed to tell the truth and with the passage of time, the truth became much too complex.
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
BEWITCHED BY HISTORIC SALEM
by J. A. Moore
The ways of the witch have been so severely suppressed that one fears they might have been lost. But, witches and witchcraft have survived and with this comes a time of sharing, so that a visit to Salem will enchant the visitor with the regained stature of the witch.
Since it is beautiful it is hard to believe that such horrible executions of innocent people were committed here. Salem is a Park-and-Walk city, filled with historical sites and a mall filled with shops to delight the visitor. But here, too, is reality. The times of persecution are hardly forgotten. On some tours, one can relive what was done during what is now referred to as "The Burning Times."
One stands in a darkened room, peering at the large "sabbat circle" that glows a menacing, eerie blood red.
A voice echoes: "Do you believe in witches?" This isn't a carnival sideshow. The question is asked straight-forward. The visitor is about to relive some of the most horrifying historical moments in history. In old witchcraft lore, such circles were considered to be the midnight gathering place of witches' covens.
Once inside, away from the light outdoors, one enters a mausoleum-like structure known as the SALEM WITCH MUSEUM. Three centuries ago, in 1692, many people in Salem Village were convinced of the evil doings of witches. It is the home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Located on Washington Square North, it is a multi-sensory presentation, recreating one of the most important events in American history--the witch hysteria. Through thirteen stage sets the museum brings to life before the visitor's eyes the afflicted girls, the trials and the executions of that dark era. One knows these are reenactments, but the visitor should put themselves in the shoes of the girls who felt the pain of crushing bones and flames licking their limbs, while they were lashed helpless to a stake wondering why it was happening to them.
Still standing is Salem's HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES. Author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was a native of old Salem lived there. On 54 Turner Street, the 17th century mansion is at the center of the area of early homes and beautiful gardens. Included in the tour is Hawthorne's birthplace, a museum shop, and a tranquil garden coffee shop.
Salem is best known as America's witch capital. At Halloween, the shops are filled with the paraphernalia of "Cartoon Witchcraft"; high peaked black hats, shaggy brooms (sorry, they don't fly), T-shirts with various slogans across them such as "Stop By For a Spell." Typical witches' artifacts can also be found at the SALEM MUSEUM including some from the trials.
Salem is a small city with a population of approximately 40,000. It has a typical New England look. Narrow, tree-lined streets shade the old brick and wood frame homes. Some large white or green doorways with polished brass handles look inviting and traditional. Salem's history comes to life as visitors enjoy walking and browsing through the old streets. During late October there is a 2 week celebration that includes a multitude of Halloween festivities much of it centering on its history of witches. That is probably the best time to visit.
Next on the witchcraft trail is THE WITCH HOUSE. It was built in 1642 and is a handsome structure of dark wood panels with a soaring brick chimney. It did not house witches, however. It was the home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the famous witch trial judges, and for whom Hawthorne served as magistrate in the preliminary examinations of those accused of witchcraft. If walls could talk . . .
There is a sundial that was owned by John Proctor and it still stands in his honor and memory. Proctor was a farmer who spoke out against the witch hysteria. For his efforts he was condemned guilty of witchcraft and hung.
The witchcraft hysteria did not actually begin in what is now considered Salem, but in Salem Village, known today as Danvers. But there is no denying how the hysteria quickly spread and engulfed Salem and some of outside New England.
Located at 132 Essex Street is the ESSEX INSTITUTE MUSEUM NEIGHBORHOOD. Three centuries of furnished Salem houses are located within one city block on these grounds. The museum and major research library contain actual witchcraft trial records. It is filled with other historical memorabilia, including a large collection of dolls, dollhouses, miniatures and portraits. Adaptations of museum collectibles are available here.
THE BURYING POINT (1637), located on Charter Street, is the oldest burial ground in Salem. Buried here is the Reverend Francis Higgison, a member of the Mayflower and who named Salem. The judges of the witchcraft trails can be found buried here.
On 16 Lynde Street, the visitor can enter the WITCH DUNGEON MUSEUM, and view live presentations of witch trails and tour a recreated dungeon. This time the visitor can be the judge of those accused while watching in horror the events as they happen. Keep in mind that it is more than a show: It is history.
Salem is filled with wondrous sights and shops. One of the best is PYRAMID BOOKS AND NEW AGE COLLECTION. It is located at 214 Derby Street and is filled with everything from metaphysical jewelry to recreations of witchcraft statues used today in modern witchcraft. Gems, wands and a variety of sculptures surround the visitor. It's almost magical in the way it effects the browsing visitor.
Salem is a magical place, filled with lore and wonder, beauty and horror. A visit is highly recommended. The visitor never knows if the person one is talking with might just be a real witch . . .
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
MARIA MARTINEZ: CONTEMPORARY SHAMANISM
TONY CALLIS & GEORGE A. AGOGINO,
DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH PROFESSOR EMERITUS
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY|
EASTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY
The subject of study--the
local efflorescence of spiritualism--explores traditional societies
psychotherapeutic healing; in the case of Curanderismo: ritual as a
therapeutic process and in that of Shamanism: the mystico- religious
context from which it emanates. If you accept the definition of Shamanism
offered that there are men and women who claim to voluntarily alter their
consciousness so as to enter nonordinary reality, experience ecstatic trance,
and bring back information with the aid of spirit helpers which they use
to heal members of their group; then, not only is ritual as a therapeutic
process in Curanderismo exemplified by the work of Maria Martinez but Shamantic
in practice as well.
An internship with Maria Martinez provides the resource for this phenomenological study with the researcher as participant/observer. The healing rituals used by Maria Martinez were recorded through sessions observed, interviews with patients, instruction, and informal discussion.
Ethnographic research has revealed a networking of Mexican-American and Mexican women in a growing spiritualist health-care delivery system. They represent a religious movement with branches in border towns and in cities such as Houston, San Antonio and San Francisco. To date, published information on Mexican-American spiritualism is scarce enough to appear nonexistent. Primarily, my objective is to present observations from an internship with Maria Martinez, a Curandera/Shamanis, a culturally trained curer living in the Portales community. Of primary significance is the documentation of the healing rituals, techniques, and insights of Maria Martinez.
Dr. George A. Agogino, Distinguished Research Professor, Emeritus at Eastern New Mexico University has worked with curanderos in both the southwestern United States and Mexico. He was advisor to the research project and field advisor to the study. Dr. Janet Frost, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University reviewed the final draft and advised publication of the contents. The complete study is more than 100 pages in length. Maria Martinez' story is interesting from a medical perspective and because it's an aspect of Mexican-American and Mexican culture.
During the summer of 1991, one of our graduate students, a primitive religion researcher, approached Prof. George Agogino to assist her in finding a curandero to work with to learn more about the subject. An initial search was made in west Texas, mainly in the cities of Hereford and Amarillo. While curanderos were found, none would agree to work with the investigators. However, in Portales, where our university is located, we found an interesting practitioner. She is intelligent, sensitive, and dedicated but has a limited command of the English language.
After the initial phase of this project, the bulk of research was carried out by Toni Callis with Prof. Agogino maintaining a low profile and acting as an advisor.
Originally from the Corpus Christi area of Texas, Maria Martinez and her large natal family of sixteen made a living as migrant farm workers. After she married, Maria would still pursue this mobile lifestyle with her husband and six children traveling through Texas, onto Iowa and Minnesota during the farming season. When Maria, a soft-spoken and petite woman in her early fifties, arrived in Portales with her family two years ago; she brought with her a revitalized healing tradition enriching our relatively homogeneous culture and providing an additional source of well being for the community.
Known to the community as La Curandera, Maria Martinez, as a spiritualist healer, practices a unique variation on the theme Curandersimo, a traditional Hispanic medical system for healing practiced in the Southwest in which the majority of Curanderas are herbalists, midwives, bonesetters and message-curing specialists. In Hispanic tradition there are many ways of treating the effects of illness, and religion is part of all the healing methods. Sacred realities and experiences are important elements of day-to-day existence for Curanderas; reliance on prayer is essential in curing. As a spiritualist healer, Maria is also a religious specialist, unlike Catholicism, offers to all who choose it the possibility of direct contact with the Divinity, spirit protectors and the spirit world without the mediation of a priest.
Maria makes house calls as well as working out of her home. Surrounded by family members and the activities of daily existence (children playing, babies attended, fives being lived), the strict sacred/profane dichotomy of spiritual, which would be expected, is conspicuously absent. Maria's preference to have the support of her family members during initial contact is, in part, due to her limited command of the English language, but it has also influenced their lives. Maria's daughters Joann (age 28), Betty (age 30), and granddaughter Jessica (age 10) intend to pursue healing occupations. Maria's husband Joe has also developed an active interest in the growing and preparation of herbal medicines.
Familiar with the healing properties of various herbs and techniques for the treatment of illness, Maria readily shares her knowledge and expertise. In her enthusiasm for learning and dedication to healing, she welcomes any and all information, seeing in other healing techniques, practices, and philosophies an opportunity to further well-being in the community. A good example of this is Maria's relationship with her former apprentice and present-day co-worker, Cynthia, who, unlike Maria, has an affinity with spiritist techniques and actively seeks bodily possession by spirits--possession trance. Maria's notion of healing is very pragmatic, recognizing that different people have different ways to heal--all contributing to wellness.
Sixteen years ago, Maria's eldest daughter Betty, fourteen years old at that time, was stricken with a paralysis of her left side. Maria related:
"The doctors treated and analyzed her--not able to help, they said she had a dead nerve--they could not do anything. That is when I took her to the old lady, a spiritualist healer in San Antonio, Texas. My daughter was healed. Out of gratitude for my daughter's recovery, I dedicated my life to healing.
"For five years I was an apprentice to the old lady, learning the spiritualist healing." To the spiritualist Curandera, psychic experience and feeling and seeing the energy of the universe are natural aspects of being alive. To them, spiritual healing, energy transmissions, improvement by botanicals, faith, or visualization and ritual are natural functions of life and therefore can be learned by most people through apprenticeship.
Unlike the traditional Southwest Hispanic curers, Maria Martinez, in trance, interfaces with the spiritual realm and with the help of her spirit companion Hermanita Cecilia, accesses the Divine healing power.
During the several months of my apprenticeship with Maria, she repeatedly cautions against the dangers inherent in the trance practice. To paraphrase Maria's concerns: Trance healing is a dangerous practice, whether during ritual with the patient or in the solitude of prayer work because, in this altered state of consciousness, the psyche is in an undefendable position during which the body is vulnerable to malevolent spirit forces for another chance at life and a body in which to experience it.
This is the danger, Maria Martinez warned, advising that anyone interested in the ways of spiritual healing must be committed to work for good and have unshakable faith in the divine forces as protectors and healers. For it is through the empowering agency of faith, Maria contends, that she journeys safely between realms of consciousness.
Maria Martinez is a simple woman of faith, simple in the respect that she has held onto her own experience of the Divine power as proof of the validity of her work. She does not travel to the heavens or the underworld, nor is her body possessed by Cecilia's spirit, but with Cecilia as an empowering agent, she does accept the sacred into her body. She retains hearing, speech, sight and movement--allowing a flow between the spirit within and her own earthly being.
Many of Maria's tools for healing are Catholic in origin (the crucifix and the rosary), but used in ways viewed as sacrilegious by the clergy. Maria's main tools for focus during the healing ritual are the contents of the egg used in the limpia (cleansing) and the formations observed in the pool of melted wax, contained within the votive candle. This divination fulfills a diagnostic and explanatory function but, as Maria explains, it is by listening to and allowing herself to be marked by the spirit that she received the message. In this healing practice, rites passed down from Pre-Columbian times merge with folk-Catholicism and belief in benevolent disembodied spirits, who act as personal agents for the healer.
Maria's methods are also practical: a recognized use of vitamins; a broad knowledge of herbs (remedios); and rituals, any of which she may prescribe, soliciting the patients active participation in their own healing. Her intense relationship with the sacred and deep commitment to the well-being of the community guide her healing art.
Personal empowerment figures prominently--in an annual ritual, Maria along with two other women healers (one in Mexico, one in Texas) join in a spiritual chain working with the spirit Cecilia and linking with the spirit forces to rejuvenate their own power links and to bring blessing into the world. Maria explains that it is not she who gives the healing message, nor the cure; it is the sacred acting through her, and only through the grace of God.|
Maria cannot refuse a request for help. She does not ask compensation for her services, accepting only that which one wants to give. She serves the community and shares her work with God. She and her companion spirit Hermanita Cecilia are sisters in spirit, sharing a common task--to alleviate pain and suffering. During the healing ritual, both Maria and Cecilia, acting as intermediaries, bring Divine power onto the Earth to be used for the human condition. It is during this communication that Maria can, seemingly, distinguish between illnesses psychosomatic in origin and health problems of a more serious nature, i.e., cancer, tuberculosis, etc., which she advises are more successfully treated with modern western medicine. Maria feels happy when she can come back with a cure for the patients suffering, but recognizing her limitations, Maria accepts the sorrowful times, replying honestly that she can be of no help.
In service to the Hispanic community, Maria has become a powerful mediator for its well-being, especially in the Courts--mothers of children who have broken the law seek Maria's expertise in the realm of spirit and prayer to direct spiritual graces into their errant children and to soften the heart of the Court for leniency in sentencing. Despite her relationship with the Divine, Maria is often left physically weakened by the long and concentrated hours of prayer work (the more serious the illness, the more constant must be her vigilance); many times the transformation of a patient's illness into health leaves her stricken with the symptoms of the illness cured. In summary of all this, Maria Martinez explains, Esta la vida--That is life.
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
by Richard David Behrens
No moon has risen half so fair
as that which through the mist and dour,
Ascends the cold October air;
at this the horrid midnight hour.
Penumtral clouds of vapid gauze
in silence from its secret place,
Reaches out with eerie claws
to mar the beauty of her face.
But, not to be denied her reign,
the Queen of the midnight shy looks down,
Unmoved by the stealthy clouds that strain
to try to wrest her crown.
Her light illumines earth and sky
with oblique and broad diaphanous beams,
While all, who in Death's cold arms lie
are lost within their dreams.
But, something evil must have placed
dark magic in her glistening show,
For every creature she encased
is strangely muted by her glow.
How still the night bereft of sound!
How oppressive the weight that silence pressed,
Upon my body laden bound
which draws but a palsied rest.
The dying embers yet with heat,
cast lengthy shadows through the gloom,
Which once had served as my retreat
and, now serves sadly as my tomb.
The shadows were but shadows thrown,
but there was one which caught my eye,
That cast a shadow all its own
across the bed on which I lie.
Now is the sprawling silence ending!
That muted wave that once did crest;
Transmuted to a pounding pending
pulsing heart within my breast.
The spectre did not move or speak,
but stood within that midnight hour,
Deadly silent, grim and bleak
and stirred my sullen soul to cower.
At length, I did that Shade address:
"Why came thee to my bedstead side,
At this late hour?" (Dare I press?)
"I came for thee!" the Shade replied.
"I came for thee!" he did repeat
over and over, anew and again,
Til the air was charged with his sinister bleat
to dive me very near insane.
Every word that shadow said
flayed my brain til I near screamed:
"Are Thee something to be dread;
or are Thee something that I dreamed up?"
"Illusion or real?" he said, at least,
"things are not what things may seem;
A dream is real in shadows cast;
and reality, friend, is but a dream."
"Are you Death" I asked, "or Shade;
some dark demonic thief to vend,
A recompense for errors made
to bring my life to such an end?"
"Or, are thee Angel from on high,
one glorious in grace and form,
to take me hand-in-hand to fly
above the morass and the storm?"
"Enough of talk!" I heard him say,
"There's nothing further you may gain;
If thou hast a prayer, then thou may pray;
it's time to leave this world of pain."
The shadow darkened and expanded
bleakly filling every crack,
Within my soul til I was branded
with the coldness of that black.
It's then I saw the Shadow's hand
extend to finally touch my own;
He drew me toward a blackened band
which through my bedroom window shone.
The Shade stopped still before the portal,
then pointing toward the dark he said,
"All who enter here are mortal!
None may enter but the dead!"
Thinking this a moment's madness;
spurred by words the Shade had said,
I turned to run, but stopped in sadness
to see my form upon the bed.
"Sir Shade!" said I "It must be so!
(On seeing that shell in silence lain),
Am I to warm in Heaven's glow;
or suffer Hell's eternal pain?"
"Heaven is Hell! The Shade replied,
"and fools as you are much alloyed;
The false saints you created lied;
now step thee deep within the void!"
"Thee sainted evil, sainted greed
and hatred thee did canonize,
And, sought to furnish every need
at the price of the heaven you now prize"
"Thou asks if this is Heaven's gate,
for all the good thou didst commit?
Yes! Said the Shade, "Thy award await!
But thy Heaven lies within the Pit!"
WITCH CHILDREN OF SALEM
by Richard Davigon
. . . offspring of the 13th moon
assemble this special night
under the wings of the wind
in the season of new death
amid black and falling leaves
they come a-welcoming the dead
into the frozen field of winter
into the Book of Shadows
to await the firs of Beltane. . .
IN THE PARIS HOME
by John Grey
At the feet of Tituba
they sat, listening,
her black face shining
in shadowy lamplight,
telling strange stories
of the Caribbean Islands,
laughing, exalting, crying,
as the demons in those tales
blazed out of her eyes,
danced across her cheeks,
her nose, her lips.
And at the end of the
she would call back
what she had set free,
gather these devils
in her fat fist,
press them inside her memory,
never realizing that
a little of that darkness
been picked up like a loose piece
of thread by two children
who did not know the danger,
who danced with these serpents
as if they were new toys.
by Wendy Rathbone
I stir dusk brew
Luna-balm for the rising
my recipe becomes
all things of night:
water, shadow, moon
The winds call the bats
from their feasts
from their insect-ringed lamps
The Empire of Night
I open the dark
line the other land
in rows miles long,
where light is testless prey
The newt comes to play
his eyes naked as
the sputtered wick,
the cold stone
heaven has become
by John Grey
the child of twelve
plays her games
in the court-room
with the women
of the village
as her dolls
looked at old Martha Cory
I am tired of these
let us hang them by the neck
let us go on to other toys
HANGING ON GALLOWS HILL
by Ruth Wildes Schuler
Born of buffalo bone
she walks beneath
a whale-weary wind
that chills the petrified dawn.
stand before ancient temples
carved from serpent skulls
wrinkles of ignorance.
She climbs the wooden steps--
Her cry hardening
the Salem morning grey.
across crumbled centuries.
The graveyard waits
for a scarlet rain.
NOTE: MORE TO COME!
NOTE: SINCE WE DON'T HAVE ANY BACK BUTTONS ON THIS SITE YET USE THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER.
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
PRECIOUS OILS, INCENSE, CANDLES & COLOR
by Autumn Terzian, D.P.
The mystic lands of far away were long ago bathed in fragrances pleasing to the gods. The ancients knew the power that could be drawn forth by proper use of precious oils and incense.
Scents can be the essence of magic, the lure of passion, the vitalizing force of health, the special offering laid on a cathedral altar. Precious oils and incense can be used to entice a lover, anoint a battle sword, bless a house, or draw the darkness of mystical power.
Incense is a necessary gift made to the gods and the spirits. It
may be used to raise and/or change vibrations, bless and purify sacred objects
or weapons, or to purify the self and one's surroundings.
Incense may be used as a prayer offering, an aid to spiritual work, or to awaken the higher centers. It is said that angels may be invoked by the proper use of incense. Just as there is a certain oil to be used in obtaining any desire, there is a special incense to burn in helping one achieve a particular aim.
For every desire and every dream there is a correct candle that can be used to help obtain fulfillment of one's goals. The candle must be selected as to color and vibrational influence. It must be correctly anointed with oil before it has any value. Each sun sign has a corresponding candle which best suits its nature, just as each day of the week has a corresponding candle which best suits its nature.
The following is a list of candles, colors, oil and incense recommended for each day of the week.
DAY OF THE WEEK COLOR OF CANDLE ANOINTING OIL & INCENSE
SUNDAY WHITE ROSE
MONDAY BLUE FRANGIPANNI
TUESDAY RED MUSK OR PATCHOULI
WEDNESDAY ORANGE ALLSPICE OR CHERRY
THURSDAY PURPLE JASMINE
FRIDAY GREEN HONEYSUCKLE
SATURDAY YELLOW ORANGE BLOSSOM
When working to accomplish any goal you should bum a candle appropriate to your Sun Sign as it will increase the vibrations of your own nature. The following is a list of astral colors which corresponds to the earth colors, and the anointing oils and incense to be used. I recommend you properly anoint and burn both the earth and astral colored candles.
SIGN EARTH COLOR ASTRAL COLOR SCENT
ARIES RED GREEN MUSK
TAURUS BROWN CREAM CINNAMON
GEMINI LIGHT BLUE LIGHT ORANGE FRANGIPANNI
LEO YELLOW MAUVE HONEYSUCKLE
VIRGO BROWN VIOLET EUCALYPTUS
LIBRA BLUE OR PINK LIGHT GREEN APPLE BLOSSOM
SCORPIO BLACK SILVER WHITE PATCHOULI
SAGITTARIUS PURPLE YELLOW PEPPERMINT
CAPRICORN GOLD RED JASMINE
AQUARIUS DARK BLUE DEEP ORANGE ANISE
PIECES VIOLET GOLD GARDENIA
The following is a list of candle colors, incense and oils which are very effective to accomplish specific goals. The scents may be worn on the body also.
CANDLECOLOR GOAL OIL & INCENSE
RED FOR LOVE, PASSION, ENERGY
PINK FOR LOVE AND ATTRACTION FRANGIPANNI
POWER OVER RUE, ROSEMARY,
OTHERS. OVERCOME OBSTACLES. CYPRESS, ALMOND
FOR PSYCHIC WORK.
WHITE PURITY, SACRED, SPIRITUAL CARNATION, JASMINE, FRANKINCENSE
ORANGE FOR ANY LEGAL PROBLEMS CINNAMON
YELLOW FOR PEACE OF MIND APPLE BLOSSOM, LILAC
RED COURAGE CHERRY, ROSE
FOR PSYCHIC WORK.
GOOD FORTUNE, LUCK,
BROWN GENERAL SUCCESS ANY HERB OR SPICE
AID TO PROPHETIC DREAMS. MINT, WISTERIA
HEALING VIBRATIONS FOR
Specific oils and incense to be used for healing along with a green candle.
ALLSPICE for VITALIZING & ENERGIZING
CHERRY BLOSSOM for RELAXING & REST
LAVENDER for BUILDING ENERGY
CARNATION for STIMULATING and BUILDING ENERGY
EUCALYPTUS for GENERAL HEALING
VIOLET for TRANQUILIZING
LILY OF THE VALLEY for SOOTHING and QUIETING THE NERVES. CALMS THE EMOTIONALLY UPSET and CONTROLS THE QUICK TEMPERED.
The following is a list of herbs which may be finely ground and mixed in with your candle anointing oils. By adding herbs the vibrations and effectiveness of the oils are increased to the fullest.
For HEALING use BETONY, CARAWAY SEED, CORIANDER, RUE.
For LEGAL MATTERS use CASCARA SAGRADA, GUINEA PEPPER, GALANGAL, CALENDULA.
For LOVE use KHUS KHUS, LAVENDER BUDS, ROSE BUDS, VETIVERT
For ENCOURAGING VISIONS use ANISE SEED, CELERY SEED
For PSYCHIC WORK use ACACIA, ANISE SEED, HYSSOP
For LUCK use LUCKY HAND ROOT, MOJOE BEAN, TONKA BEAN
For MONEY & BUSINESS SUCCESS use BUCKEYE. HIGH JOHN ROOT
For POWER use POPPY SEED, MYRRH GUM, ELDER BARK
For PROTECTION use FIVE FINGER GRASS. DILLWEED OR DILLSEED BLOOD ROOM ROSEMARY.
For PEACE & HAPPINESS use CLOVES, SANDLEWOOD CHIPS, POWERED FRANKINCENSE.
All of these items can be purchased at your market, health food store
or an occult supply shop. If you are burning other candles along with
a white candle, it is a good idea to elevate the white candle slightly above
Light a white candle 25 minutes toward the hour. Light colored candles 5 minutes after the hour. Never light any candle used for healing between the hours of 2 a.m. and dawn. Always extinguish the flame with a candle snuffer or some other instrument. Don't blow out the flame.
Also, never use any candle for more than one purpose or person. To be effective, burning a candle in TRINITY is most important. Cut a triangle from white silk, linen or paper. Place the candle in the center of this triangle. This gives the candle power from three sides.
Every candle should be properly anointed to be a value. This is called DRESSING. I do this, take the candle in your left hand, holding it at the bottom. Always dress from the center of the candle down or from the center of the candle upward. Never anoint in both directions.
If your desire or request is to go out or away from you, such as sending toward or for another person, you must dress the candle from the center upward. In a calling request, such as drawing money, lovers, friends, etc., anoint the candle from the center downward or toward you. Always anoint a candle with an oil appropriate to your needs and desires.
LIVE WITH LIFE. MAKE THAT LIFE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE.
From THE SALEM JOURNAL #1:
FEBRUARY TEA PARTY
by Ruth Wildes Schuler
The pale-faced girls sat quietly upon the logs, while the old black woman demanded, "Boil! Boil!"
She sprinkled tiny bits of greenery into the huge kettle bubbling in the middle of the snow-packed clearing, and then picking up a branch, she peeled back the bark and stirred the scalding brew vigorously.
Raising her deep-set eyes, she finally announced, "It's ready." Elizabeth, Abigale, and the other young girls came forward, one at a time to receive a cup of her tea.
The West Indian slave studied the white faces gazing at her from the frozen landscape, and as they drank, she told them stories of the island where she had been born. "My land was one of constant sunshine. The men and boys laughed and sang all day, while the women and girls danced and swam in the warm blue sea."
The girls took a second cup of the brew, and sipped it slowly, and then the one named Elizabeth suddenly stood up and began flapping her arms wildly. "I feel like a bird," she cried. "Look . . . I have a cock's feet with sharp claws, and I am dancing." She moved her legs in a slow rhythm, and then began to laugh hysterically. "Look," she called to the others. "Look at me."
"Dancing is a sin," her cousin, Abigale announced with horror.
"Sin, sin, sin," the young Elizabeth hissed, and taunted her older cousin by whirling about the clearing many times before collapsing into the snow.
"You're possessed by the Devil," Abigale cried, her eyes widening with alarm.
"Yes, yes," Elizabeth laughed. "And he has a black face like a monkey, red eyes and a mouth that spits FIRE!"
The old woman tightened the smile stretching at the corners of her mouth.
"Tell her that dancing is a sin," Abigale pleaded urgently to the sphinx-faced slave.
"The only real sin is to stifle the powers of imagination," the old woman reprimanded, and she began to stir her brew again. "Come forward and drink, children," she demanded.
They all came forward and accepted another cup of the boiling liquid except for the frightened Abigale, who sat apart brooding upon her log. When the rest of the girls had finished the third cup of tea, a second child arose from her log, and began to imitate the dance that Elizabeth had just done. Elizabeth laughed and mirthfully rolled in the snow.
Soon, one by one, the other girls stood up and started to shriek. They shut their eyes and opened their hands out, clawing at the afternoon air.
The pious Abigale sat rigidly upon her log and shouted, "You are breaking God's law!"
"God's law," the sable-skinned woman murmured. "And what kind of wretched God let me be born into slavery?" The crow's feet at the corners of her eyes drew together tightly. "What kind of God tore me from my kin and kind to be transported to this frozen wasteland, where white faces blend into the white world around them . . . Where virtue is locked within sacraments, and sacraments are locked up within men's souls."
Abigale looked at her with confusion. "I don't understand what you are talking about," she told the wrinkled slave, and turned to her younger cousin, who was now shrieking in the snow. "Elizabeth, please, what would your Father say if he should see you now?"
"He would say, Sin, Sin, Sin!'" Elizabeth laughed, rising to whirl about even more madly than before. "It is always a sin to have fun. Rather that we should work and work and work. Pray, pray, and pray, but never, ever, never have fun, dear Abigale."
The gaunt old woman spoke sharply to the older child. "Have some more tea, Abigale."
The older girl arose from the log obediently, and came forward to accept another cup of the burning brew. "Elizabeth is so naive," she explained to the black woman. "She really believes that things can change. She even thinks this town will change, as if young girls have ever had the power to do anything in this world. Why don't you tell her the truth, Tituba?"
"We can do anything that we must, Abigale," Tituba spoke harshly. "We are our own covenant. Close your eyes, Abigale, and tell me what you see."
Abigale shuddered under the late falling afternoon, and then closed her eyes, reached out her hands and screamed, "I see an old hag." Elizabeth laughed with delight, and ran forward to hug her older cousin.
Tituba let her smile break for the first time, her white teeth contrasting vividly against the stony black features. Overhead the snow began to fall.
Tituba tipped the kettle, and the remains of the boiling
brew spilled into the snow, the little green bits melting into the ice beneath.
It was done now. Vengeance would creep out over the village in
the guise of virtue, and these shrieking specters would bring Salem shades
out of the shadows.
Ruth Wildes Schuler
I can only reflect on the irony of it all on this Tuesday, July 19, 1692, as I travel in a cart through these Salem streets. From Number 4 Prison Lane, down Saint Peter Street, up Essex, down Boston Street to pass over the town bridge.
But I am not alone. Rebecca Nurse, Goody Good, Elizabeth Howe, and Susanna Maritin will share my fate this day. Five of us, all women, to be hanged on Callow's Hill. A conspicuous spot, where we will be spectacles to the town below. An intentious show offered as a deterrent to any future immoral impulses.
My kinfolk came from Topsfield, England, which lies in the Northeastern corner of that county. They titled the flat land there in Essex County until the clay earth had been farmed out. When it was no longer possible to make a living there, my parents sailed across the Atlantic to this new land. In October of 1650, here in this Bay State of Massachusetts.
The earth was rich and my kin were content. Here in this new land, they at last had found religious freedom--a community absent of the rigidities of the Old World. A place where all men and women could live together in harmony under God's law.
A laugh escapes my lips. The spectators lining these streets are startled by my hysterical outburst and are even more convinced that I am indeed--a witch.
My mother and her puritanical illusions. Can you imagine what it is like growing up in such a pious world? Of course, they told me that I should not have been so independent, that it was not fitting for a good Christian woman to speak her mind out so. One of my neighbors testified that I flew out at him and sent a demon to plague him by even turning over his wagon. Mind you, he did not tell that he had borrowed my scythe without approval and that I flew at him only to reclaim what was rightfully mine. Though I am only a farmer's wife, I do have a sense of my own property rights.
Talking to my cats did not help my case either. It was claimed that they were my familiars. With such criteria as that, least half the folks around here are guilty of witchcraft.
But it is I, Sarah Wildes who has been sentenced to hang because of some hysterical half-witted girls. Sentenced just like Bridget Bishop, who went before me to be hanged alone last month on the tenth of June. Hanged from the branches of a great oak atop yonder hill. Poor Bridget, convicted for little more than wearing scarlet and getting herself talked about in this town.
Ah, but those half-witted girls were convincing! I have to give them credit for that. Sometimes they appeared to be deaf, sometimes blind, and they drew their tongues into the back of their throats, then protruded them down on their chins. Their mouths flew open like birds and often seemed to snap out of joint, then they clapped back with force like that of a spring lock.
This cart turns now onto the old highway and we are passing the ledge of the hill overlooking the pond . . . Did you know that the court sent my own constable son to arrest me?
What chance did virtue have against such a theatrical back
drop? The one called Mary Walcott said that I appeared as a specter
with the devil's book grasped in my hands and that I walked beside a tall
black man in a high-crowned hat. She claimed that I threatened to tear
her to pieces.
The cart stops. I am taken from it. I laugh again as I climb the steps to Gallows Hill. Me, Goody Wildes, meaning the good wife Wildes!
Yet Deliverance Hobbs told them that she saw me with the devil. I was given little chance to defend myself after that. She claimed that the devil wore a white-crowned hat, and she accused me of distributing red bread and red wine that looked like blood. She said the devil administered his sacrament and drank wine from a tankard, while I offered her fine clothes as a bribe for her to sign his book. Deliverance Hobbs, accusing me to divert attention from herself and the accusation by her own demented daughter, Abigail, who rambles around the woods at night like a wild animal.
Despicable children! Wretched town! It is the court records here that are the real devil's book. And how many more will follow me up these Salem steps?
The centuries pass slowly and I often walk about Gallows Hill when the nights are warm and the moon is full. I rise from the shallow crevice here where they thrust my limp body. Rise up from my grave in the out-cropping of felsite.
I have often pondered the fate of those who passed over to the Other Side with me here on Gallows Hill. Nineteen people and two dogs hanged, and poor Giles Corey crushed to death by rocks piled high upon his chest.
In 1711, the General Assembly of Massachusetts made restitution to my family for my death. Paid them fourteen pounds for the damages inflicted upon me. Justice was rendered, so do not be alarmed if you should hear my laughter on occasion in the summer breezes blowing across this Salem landscape.
MORE TO COME!