I’ve heard it said that the famous “Witch City” of Salem, MA has five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, and October. As a witch from the opposite end of the country, I’ve always wanted to experience that October goodness in Salem. Finally, two days before Samhain, I got the chance.
Part of the experience is the overall vibe of acceptance and openness among the pagans in town. I’m so used to being part of a fringe religion, that to be thrust into a situation where I was among the majority was a sudden and welcome change. Certainly, not everyone wandering Essex St. and Pickering Wharf that day was a practitioner of Witchcraft, or even Pagan, but they were open and tolerant of my minority religion. Even if they were only doing it for the money, it was still a wonderful feeling.
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I was raised Catholic, which included attending Catholic school from kindergarten through freshman year of high school, and mass every week (plus the high holy days). Which meant I spent a lot of time studying the art and architecture of the churches we attended – my grandparents' church in South Philadelphia, the incredibly ornate from floor to ceiling St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (the first Italian parish in the US) to our home base St. Charles Borromeo in South Jersey which was very mid-century modern, clean yet with very colorful, large stained glass windows.
Growing up in an environment where Catholicism was the majority, I wasn't exactly prepared at age when we moved to South Carolina (3% Catholic at the time), and discovered that Protestants considered Catholics idol-worshipers and not “true Christians.”