• Hi guest! As you can see, the new Wizard Forums has been revived, and we are glad to have you visiting our site! However, it would be really helpful, both to you and us, if you registered on our website! Registering allows you to see all posts, and make posts yourself, which would be great if you could share your knowledge and opinions with us! You could also make posts to ask questions!

Journal Remembrances

A record of a users' progress or achievements in their particular practice.

stalkinghyena

Labore et Constantia
Benefactor
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
249
Reaction score
376
Awards
3
Today, July 19th, is a special day with regards to an aspect of my family history, so I would like say something in remembrance of my ancestors.

First, and most important, I want to mention the passing of my father three months ago. He was a huge factor in me taking up my occult studies as well as my interest in art. When our family broke up, I would receive his mixed collection of occult books, and these would form the seeds of my work in later life. I also received tinctures of his often fantastic imagination, and this, combined with my own emulation of his wild artworks at an early age, would also prove to be a foundation of my work today.

To sum up his existence, I would characterize him as “colorful”, truly one of a kind. He was essentially a jovial, friendly and charitable person, though he did have a much darker side with which he struggled continually up to his passing. Though he experimented with a variety of spiritual pursuits throughout his life, he ultimately became a passionate Evangelical Christian, often loud, combative and openly expressive of his views. I am pretty sure he would warn everyone on this website that if they were not washed in the Blood of the Lamb that they would burn in the Lake of Fire with Satan after Jesus returned. Needless to say, our conversations over the years were often “colorful”.

My father lived a rough and tumble life. For much of it he struggled with severe alcoholism, and it often seemed to me that he could destroy everything he touched. Yet, at the same time, he could pull himself out of the most horrendous situations. I think he typified the old saying that “God protects children, fools and drunkards.” He could be all three on any given day, and I do believe that God was looking out for him – in fact, I could see it. In spite of his human flaws, he could have wonderful strokes of genius, coming up with practical solutions to everyday problems which I myself am using to this day.

I sincerely believe that he is finally at peace with God. I truly miss him, and also miss having the help around my house. I know he would appreciate that thought.

Now, to my second remembrance. The reason July 19th is a special date has to do with the maternal line of my family’s history. Thanks to my mother’s diligent and exhaustive efforts, our family has learned that we have some interesting connections to the past.

This will be 330th anniversary of the execution of two of my distant Great Aunts from separate family lines, Rebecca Nurse and Susannah Martin. Both were accused, prosecuted and condemned to death for the crime of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. And one cannot speak of Rebecca without making mention of her two beloved sisters, Mary Esty (or Easty) and Sarah Cloyce. The two were both also sentenced to death, though Sarah would survive and spend the rest of her days fighting for the honor of her sisters.

Last year my family converged on Salem as a surprise for my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. She was a bit grumpy about the “surprise”, until she found out she was flying first class. We visited one of the memorials, where my Grandmother laid flowers on the stone markers of Rebecca and Mary. Unfortunately, we did not know about our connection to Susannah Martin at the time. We then visited Danvers, formerly known as Salem Village, where the witch accusations and examinations first began. There we the spent some time exploring Rebecca Nurse Homestead, which not only contains Rebecca’s house, but also a reconstruction of the “meeting house” which served as a rudimentary church and where the magistrates and accusers made their cases against the accused.

There is a lot of deeper story on the Salem trials and the people involved, though there are also many holes and unanswered questions. I don’t have time to go into what I have learned. Rebecca was considered a pillar of her community, so it was shocking to many that she should be identified as a witch. I have heard it said that, while witnesses jeered her fellow accused on the day of her execution, when she was hung a great silence fell on the crowd, and this may have marked the turning point in public opinion of the trials, though the witch hunt would burn on. Susannah was a bit down on her luck, and this was not the first time she had been accused of witchcraft. But it is notable that she dared to laugh at her accusers as being foolish during her questioning.

Now, all these women were Puritan Christians, and might, like my Dad, warn us of hellfire, but I also believe they too are peace with God and even achieved some measure of justice in the memory of history.

There is also a certain irony for me personally in this revelation of family history that I don’t have time to share at the moment. Hopefully, I can follow up on them later.
 

Diluculo_DelFuego

Magus
Benefactor
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
5,950
Reaction score
1,454
Awards
21
Sorry to hear of your Dad's untimely or timely departure. That was a remarkable and lovely speech on him.
Always cherish the good memories.
Fascinating story about your maternal line!
 

stalkinghyena

Labore et Constantia
Benefactor
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
249
Reaction score
376
Awards
3
I would like to say that my family history regarding Salem doesn’t make me feel special and is certainly nothing to brag about. With regards to any uniqueness of ancestry, I would put forth that anyone with any drop of English blood in their veins probably has a similar connection. I’m talking thousands if not millions of people. Also, it was a horrible tragedy that occurred in a difficult and uncertain time. Human history is replete with such things. My general impression is more of something like, “Wow! For real? I’m from the suburbs, I thought I wasn’t related to anybody!”

An irony I wish to express is that my attitude towards the Salem trials before learning of my connection was one of semi-educated interest, curiosity, but impersonal. Now it is personal, but almost in the sense of “eating crow”. I had always looked at SWT as the tail end of a periodic hysteria that popped up in late medieval/early modern history like wildfires. It was “The Last English Witch Trial” in the dawning scientific age where such things were already outdated and dismissed as superstition by many. Also, in relation to the brutal witch crazes in continental Europe, Salem seemed unremarkable to me in terms of it's magnitude. Of course I always acknowledged Salem as a great injustice that helped spawn the beginnings of the American legal system, with its concepts of due process, real evidence, representation and speedy trial – none of which the accused of Salem had. It’s use as a cultural metaphor for expressing the phenomenon of McCarthyism in the 20th century was pretty familiar to me via The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Shit, we acted out bits from that play as part of a drama class project in high school. I should note that the curator of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead seemed to despise the play for it's inaccuracies.

I often grew irritated when I encountered Salem as a cultural trope. TV shows and stories where a character would declare they were descended from Salem witches would make me roll my eyes. Idiotic films like The Covenant would give me heartburn – if I want to watch people levitating shit and flying through the air, I’ll watch Star Wars or Marvel movies. I forgave HP Lovecraft for his use of Salem as a background for some of his characters, but only because I like his literary style and conspiratorial approach. Salem as a creepy prop.

I am a bit peevish when it comes to history, though I understand that its mutation in media is for just for entertainment purposes. I tend to be conventional, though I always like to question the narrative. Don’t get me started on World War 2 documentaries – there was a fairly recent Emmy Award winner that was so rife with errors of basic well known military fact that to this day makes me cringe about it. I mean, how the fuck can someone say that the Germans launched a frontal attack on the Maginot Line, and this before cutting the Allies off in the Low Countries? Pardon the digression!

But the Salem trials have always formed a magnet for the need for legend. The beautiful city of Salem is now a tourist attraction spiritual center for modern occultism - I hear Halloween is a hoot! On top of that, there's tons of other American history throughout the town and region. I had hoped to explore the town a little, but we had no time. Still, right next to the SWT memorial we visited to pay our respects there was an occult shop. I had never seen so many Baphomet statues in one place in my life – all on sale! I chafed at the going price of 777 Revised, bought a palmistry hand sculpture as a souvenir, chatted with cashier a little about ancestry, testing to see how many other descendants came by as bungling tourists like my family, and moved on.

As a student of magic I never considered myself as part of any “persecuted class”, nor do I now. I have known folks of certain paths who solemnly hearken back to the days when their “predecessors” were hunted, and I don't disdain them for it. I sometimes feel such things tend to be exaggerated, but, as they say, "Whatever floats your boat." I am aware that all my own personal icons of occult history had some sort of run in with authority, both religious and secular, with varying degrees of severity – something I take as tips towards self preservation and adaptation to the times. They were, after all, batshit crazy.

Now I would like to share a story about my Dad, which is actually one of his favorite stories to tell. Call it a type of epiphany, which I hope to relate as an attempt to honor to his memory.

My father joined the US Army right towards the end of the Vietnam war, but was stationed in West Germany as an artillery man. While training to fight the Soviets, he and his buddies engaged in all sorts of experimental behavior which could be considered typical of the 70’s – stuff not approved when I served in the Marines in the 90’s, let me tell you! He often spoke of getting into Carlos Casteneda and something called Eckankar, as well as exploring magic in various forms. This while stationed in an old repurposed SS barracks surrounded alpine beauty and medieval architecture. I think it was probably the most fun he had in his life. Except for...

Inspired by the history of the area where he was stationed – I don’t know the exact location - he tells that he was on LSD when he went to what he called a “Witch’s Tower." He claimed this was by a big spooky cathedral and was a place where accused folks were tried and burned at the stake. Though details could vary in the tale, the basic one would remain – he had a really bad trip. He would tell me that in this tower he would be afflicted with a horrible vision of being trapped in a bottomless pit filled with demonic spiders. (I should note that he had an aversion to arachnids and an allergy to shellfish.) Terrorizing him, these spiders threatened his soul from all angles, whispering fiendish things that generally summed up that he was just a no good piece of shit and was damned. He felt like his soul was being ripped apart. Then, at the darkest moment of his horror, a bright light from above descended into the pit and gently told him that he was being deceived. He realized it was Jesus, and the spiders disappeared. With relief and elation swore to follow Christ for the rest of his life.

That kind of sort of worked out through the years, though his “conversion” would have it’s roller coaster aspect, like his life. Still, I think that was his pivotal “born again” experience. He would waver, to be sure, but in the end he stuck with Christ. He maintained an interest in magic, though off and on. As I mentioned, it’s how I got my first books, though my experiences, however intense, have gone a much different route. I happen to like spiders and have owned a tarantula and about four or five black widows.

Another note: for ancestry’s sake my Dad was half Irish and one quarter Crow Indian. I don’t know what the missing quarter is, because my Mom couldn’t find it yet. I’m guessing it’s German.
 
Top