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Happy Valentine's Day

February is one of those conflicted months. For many, we are surrounded by hearts and Valentines. For others, it’s a month of sadness and isolation. How do we reconcile these two?

Elizabeth Johnson Jr was unmarried. A single woman without children who was forgotten by time until several other single, unmarried women got involved in her story, along with a bunch of school children. Is it coincidence? Who knows.

But it does remind me that we all need to consider how we relate to and express ourselves around times like Valentine’s Day. Just like Elizabeth was pushed aside and forgotten, so do many uncoupled people on this particular day. Just like Elizabeth, many people may feel aligned and alone, especially on this one day.

In school, children are often encouraged to give each other valentines. They give them to all of their friends while their incredible teachers make sure that no one is left out.

Who are you wishing a Happy Valentine’s Day?


Special Women of the Salem Witch Trials: Tituba

Among the hundreds of people accused during the Salem Witch Trials(and many more who accused others) only three are mentioned as being women ofcolor: Tituba, Mary, and Candy.

The most famous of them is Tituba, “an Indian woman, servant to Mr. Samuel Parris of Salem Village”. We don’t know much about her origin, but she may have come to Massachusetts from Venezuela by way of the Caribbean. While we don’t know for sure, many historians today consider it likely that she was Native American.

I Am Tituba the Witch (1902) - Illustration by John W. Ehninger (cropped)

Tituba became known because she was taking care of Reverend Parris’ daughter 9-year-old Elizabeth”Betty” Parris and her 11-year-old cousin Abigail Williams when they exhibited strange behaviors in February 1692, including throwing themselves in fits and making strange noises. Keep in mind, this is in the middle of winter, in a dark house without electricity. The windows are small, fuel is scarce and the house is cold. Reverend Parris likely rehearses fierce sermons revoking the devil to fire up his congregation while shadows dance on the walls. It must be terrifying for the girls.

It must also be terrifying for the parents, who bring physician Dr. Griggs to determine what causes the girls’ pains. Dr. Griggs, does not have the medical knowledge available to modern day doctors, cannot find a reason for their ailments. He determines that it must be an evil force – witchcraft.

In an effort to counter the evil and to help the girls get better, Tituba bakes a “witch cake” on the advice of neighbor Mary Sibley. Using magic to counter evilis not unusual at the time, but after the “witch cake” has been fed to the dog, as instructed, the girls’ ailments increase. Clearly the counter magic intended to ward off evil makes whatever causes the attacks worse. It does not take long before Tituba, along with two English women, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, are accused as witches. The three women are brought to examination in front of stern townsmen. Under duress, Tituba confesses on May 9, but the charges are dropped.

For more about Tituba, historian Richard Hite recommends Elaine Breslaw’s book Tituba: Reluctant Witch of Salem.


Special Women of the Salem Witch Trials: Candy and Mary

Two more women of color are named during the Salem Witch Trials. Both Candy and Mary Black are slaves; Candy is described as Negro in court documents.

Candy originates from the sugar plantations in Barbados, though her exact details are unknown. What we do know is that both she and her enslaver Margaret Hawkes were accused of witchcraft and that Candy, also under duress, describes how she was forced to sign the Devil’s Book and become a witch. Just like Elizabeth Johnson Jr, on July 4, 1692, Candy describes how she uses witchcraft to torment her victims. Unlike Tituba, Candy is later declared “not guilty”.  

Mary Black is also referred to as a “Negro” in some court documents, but again little is known about her background. She is owned by Nathaniel Putnam, and examined by Reverend Parris, who previously accused Tituba of witchcraft. Mary denies being a witch but on April 22, 1692, the girls attending at her examination throw fits and declare that she is pricking them and drawing blood. The court indicts Mary and detain her in prison until January, 1693, when no one comes to testify against her. Mary is declared innocent. She returns Nathaniel Putnam’s house after he pays her fees for being jailed.

For more about Candy and Mary Black, take a look at this article from the Salem Witch Museum.


Here is a bit of St. Valentine’s magic and wisdom from our very own Modern Day Witch, Debra Lori:

Love is one of the first questions people always ask about; the other is work. It makes sense as these are the two biggest areas of our lives. St. Valentine's Day is associated with rituals aimed at enhancing relationships, attracting love, or fostering self-love. It's essential to approach such practices with respect and a clear understanding of your intentions and never take someone's free will. Ultimately, the "magic" of St. Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love in all its forms and to appreciate the special people in our lives.

Rose Quartz Ritual:

Rose quartz is a crystal associated with love and compassion. Hold a piece of rose quartz in your hand and meditate on love. Visualize yourself surrounded by love and positive energy, and set your intentions for attracting love or deepening your connection with your partner. Carry a piece on your person, or in your purse to continuously charge your quartz. This goes for any stone!

Spell Jars:

Create a spell jar filled with ingredients such as dried herbs, flowers, and crystals associated with love. Write down your intentions on a piece of paper and place it inside the jar. Seal the jar and keep it in a place where you can see it regularly, and take a moment to focus on your intentions.

Remember, the power of these spells lies in your intentions, belief, and connection with the energies around you. It's essential to be mindful of the ethical considerations involved and I cannot stress enough to never interfere with anyone's free will.


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