I did a bit of traveling this summer! After two+ years of staying mostly home, I ventured out into the world, did a wee book tour, visited Salem twice, explored the beautiful countryside, and visited Pagan sites and shops to my hearts’ content. Several trips in these past few months have made my wanderlust heart happy, and I am filled with magical experiences and memories.
After my book Positive Pagan published in June, I did a wee book tour, visiting some favorite shops, and some new ones, and it made me so happy to be with community again. Shout out to Quirky Lotus in Spartanburg, SC, which was my last stop. The welcome there and the community I met set a lovely foundation for my return visit to Carolina Pagan Fest in October, where I will be giving workshops and meeting more of the wonderful South Carolina community.
Salem & More
My first trip to Salem was quick, but I got to see and experience so much. Many people I’ve met said that Salem felt home to them from the first time they visited, and to be honest, I didn’t feel that right away. I wasn’t too troubled by it, as so many activities were packed into that weekend, but I went back a few weeks ago, to visit a friend who lives in the area, and I got to spend more leisurely time on the Wharf, visit a few shops, and visit the site of Proctor’s Ledge. It was there I felt the pull of Salem.
One of the big themes of my travels this year was letting go of expectations and assumptions, and being present in the experiences. In my head Proctor’s Ledge (the site of the hangings after the Salem Witch Trials) was jammed up behind the Walgreen’s, so I expected it to be a bit sad and scraggly. It’s not. It is a moving, solid monument to those who suffered and died, and I was so incredibly touched by its quiet beauty. Names of those hanged are inscribed into the stone, and as with the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, people leave offerings at each spot. I felt so many emotions, and cried at the sweet and simple offerings, including coins, flowers, a few toys, and even a note here and there. It is well worth a visit next time you are in the area.
Celebrating the Full Moon while on the beach in Massachusetts was something I will not soon forget. Making offerings to the ocean, standing still, breathing in, setting intentions were all so visceral, and moving. Seeing the moon’s beauty on the water, the pathways it makes as the light shone down is a memory I will return to again and again.
The next trip I took was to the lovely countryside of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The land is so stunning, and I was moved by the linear beauty of farms and rolling hillsides. My next Pagan-filled moment was at Natural Bridge, VA. The site had registered in my head for some reason as a simple stone bridge, like some I have seen before, not necessarily impressive, but worth a visit. To walk up to the magnificent, massive stone bridge, formed by nature, was a moment I will not soon forget. It was like something out of Middle Earth, and I stood in awe of its grandeur. The voices echoed through the path that wound its way underneath, and our hike to the nearby Lace Falls was filled with wildlife (water snakes, regal moths that looked like a miniature green dinosaur, otters) caves, hidden rivers, and beautiful waters.
It is those moments in nature that fill me with wonder and joy, and gratitude in being a Pagan. To stand in awe of nature’s beauty and magnificence is not something I take for granted, and I left offerings to nature during my visit, so filled with wonder. That never gets old. Do others appreciate nature, even if not Pagan? Sure, but I really feel that part of being a Pagan is this deep-seated, awe-filled appreciation of natural beauty. We are connected to the elements, and to the land.
Visiting witch shops and metaphysical stores also are a huge part of my Pagan travels. Having worked in two now in my varied career, I appreciate the effort it takes to provide items for rituals and spellwork, and was so happy to find new places to explore and be inspired. Adding some new tools, a bit of black salt, a few new books and protective items brought me all sorts of quiet satisfaction. I love learning different ways of doing things, other ways of thinking, stimulating conversations, and beautiful, useful tools for my practice.
If you get a chance to travel, seek out the natural beauty and Pagan offerings in the area you visit. It is so rewarding, and can fill you with such connection and joy. I hope wherever and whenever you travel, that your journeys are filled with wonder. So mote it be!