Roswell and Salem

Salem Graveyard

“Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.”

From “The Waste Land,” by T. S. Eliot I. Burial of the Dead (49-54)

Roswell and Salem

Driving to Santa Fe (NM) last summer, the GPS voice, I keep mine set to a British female voice, and she directed me through Roswell, headed out. I alternated routes coming back, had to try coffee in Clovis (NM). Been back through Roswell, NM several times in the last few years. Wry amusement with faded memories and historical record.

Stepping off the commuter rail in Salem, MA? Walking around, got close to ten miles of meandering, but on foot? The dawning realization that the witchiest city in America? Just like the aliens in Roswell.

Seems to me, a minor historical footnote, the witch trials, or the alleged UFO crash, seems like those became part of a larger story — a situation where the minimal and now distant facts get changed, modified, adjusted, and mutated to fit a more concurrent mythology.

Roswell and Salem

Owing as much to my various southwestern wanderings, and my adopted culture in San Antonio? I’m really familiar with the spooky stuff. The native culture has one set of beliefs, mixed heavily with the Spanish Catholicism, and this is all layered with a hodgepodge of Western and Eastern beliefs. Witches are nothing more than typical herbal healers, in my understanding, or, locally, a “curandera.” Same kind of energy, and like the candles I leave burning? Or lavender oils, my favorite herb rosemary? Or the special concoction by a local friend?

Towards that end, there’s a number of ghost tours in San Antonio, claim it is the spookiest city in America. We do have Woman Hollering Creek, named for the Spanish/Mexican myth — La Llorna. I’ve heard about her in Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Albuquerque, and so forth.

None of this is new — to me.

Roswell and Salem

Salem GraveyardFrom the station, following that British female’s voice, though, it got us a little turned around. That cemetery, and its sign, “No trespassing after dark?” Sets a tone.

I know that the soil, just a soil sample, from a graveyard is a potent metaphysical element, although, to some, this is nothing but The Dark Arts. Not in my world, but that’s just me.

Meandering with no set destination in Salem? I got that spooky feeling that the real spirits had long since decamped for tonier locations, but the new generations of witches, pagans, warlocks, wizards, and crones? They all moved in, some with an eye to making dollars.

At home, there’s an archetype of large, plywood sign with rudimentary outline of a palm, then symbols and lines on the palm, maybe a crystal ball in effigy, and the various letters, “Reader, Psychic, Advisor, Palmistry, Cartomancy” &c. Part of my local landscape, part of my world. I steered away from similar signage, although, the allure was certainly there.

By the time we’d been on foot in Salem — highly recommended — I realized this was a witch version of Roswell. Good thing, month before Halloween, I like witches.

Roswell and Salem

I skipped the pricey witch museums, the haunted houses, and the House of Seven Gables. Walked by it, admission was too dear for too little. My American Lit is not all that it could be, and probably won’t get any better. Fortified with a cheap cup of coffee, though, the idea of reading at one location with an abundance of herbs, unguents, lotions, and books about spiritualism?

Across a back wall, there was a section divided into three reading spaces, booth-like, and all three were booked, working. Not unlike the rock shops where I have, and continue, to work.

Signed up, 15 minutes, $40. Prices went up from there, but of note? That’s about my San Antonio or Austin price, at a show. The phone prices in Salem, from what I saw? We run about the same.

It’s hard to knock it out of the park in 15 minutes. Mercury, being retrograde, the appointments got switched, then back again, and it was typical. I refused to be unnerved because, like I suggested, Mercury is Retrograde.

Roswell and Salem

The kid, and he looked like a kid, I sat down, we shook hands, and he started with a medium experience.

When a true medium reads me, I tend to receive rather discombobulated data streams, and none of it really resonates. There’s always a passed over loved one guiding me. But shuffling his cards, a re-imagined Rider-Waite, starting out three in a top row, he commenced on work questions, as that was what’s came up with. His cards. Career, so to speak.

I listened, attentively.

During September, I’ve been reflecting on a career writing horoscopes. I passed a milestone of 28 years of horoscopes online, and 26 years of weekly horoscopes.

I’ve outlined, rough sketch, the scopes through the end of this year. But from that point on? I wasn’t sure.

The cards served to validate that I will keep doing a weekly, but in a much different format. No, still online at, but the fundamental change is my approach to the work.

At the moment, Mercury is Retrograde, so there’s no final decision. The way cards fell?

They suggested I keep writing.

Roswell and Salem

Busman’s holiday? Sure.

Really, to me?

Salem was a lot like a witchy version of Roswell.

Salem Graveyard

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