It was nice to not have to wake up and get ready to meet the bus. It was nice to just be able to spend the morning sitting in bed, working, blogging, and drinking a cold Diet Dr. Pepper. This is the life! 🙂 Oh, and to do some laundry. In Iceland, the washer was set to this 15 minute express thing. The clothes got clean-ER, but I wouldn’t call them super clean. Two weeks of that. Then, 5 days on the bus. Keep in mind, I’m traveling for 2.5 months to varied climates such as Iceland and Malta (in July!). That is a huge difference of wardrobe to pack into a carry on bag. Which means I only have a few outfits for each climate. Let’s just say my cold weather clothes got a workout on a bus with no access to laundry for 5 days… I was waiting to be voted off the bus by my fellow passengers around day 3… Anyway, glorious laundry!! That went for like an hour!! I kept walking in, looking at it all sudsy and twisty and saying out loud, “Those clothes are going to smell SO good!”. And they did. 🙂 Sometimes, it’s the little things…
The forecast predicted serious rain for Edinburgh today, so when I got in last night, I decided I better do a bit of grocery shopping so I wouldn’t have to lug groceries 2 blocks in the rain tomorrow. I’m not really sure how I’ve survived almost half a century on Earth without knowing the glories of the clearance section at Tesco!! They always have those little refrigerated (not frozen) pre-made microwavable meals SUPER CHEAP. I got two of them- one was Scottish Stovies. I figured what the hell did I have to lose for 75p (that’s $1. Yes, a whole meal for $1- pay attention, Iceland!). It is ground beef, potatoes, and onions kind of blenderized smooth. It was really good! Great warm breakfast to start the day with!
Today I was going on the Witches of Edinburgh tour. The hourly forecast (which, in Scotland, is a joke played on tourists!) said that it was going to be pouring at 1pm- not just pouring, but a thunderstorm as well! I had to walk about a 1/2 mile to get to the tour. I figured that if I drowned in the torrential downpour, at least I was not a witch. If I didn’t drown….well, at least I’d be toasty warm for a few minutes! 🔥☠ Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to….sunshine! 🌞 Witchery, indeed! I got to the meeting point at the National Museum about 20 minutes early (which for me, is right on time and bordering on late!). And I saw rainbows everywhere!! Rainbows in a sunny sky? No! Rainbows on the streets! Remember on Day 1 here when I walked off the bus into the Women’s March? Well, I was in the middle of another march! The Pride March! THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of people!! Want to know the funny thing? Back in ‘mericuh, I have never been anywhere near any march ever. I’ve spent two days in Edinburgh, and both days I’ve been caught up in one! It’s like they throw a parade every time I step on to the street! 😉
So now, let me tell you the definition of awkward…having your witch’s tour meeting point on the very corner with this massive pride parade going on. Why? Because so many of the marchers were in costume, and my email said “Look for your costumed guide”!! Bwah ha ha ha ha!!! 😝 Any way, I managed to find him. We went into the museum and discussed how witchcraft is basically any ritual you do, expecting some kind of outcome (real or for fun). Throw a coin in a fountain and make a wish? Witchcraft. You don’t have to have a cauldron and a long, crooked nose. 😉 We went through the Picts section of the museum- the ancient peoples of Scotland- and discussed their rituals. We went into a room with some carvings and I saw this one and thought, “Oh, we must be in the Egyptian section now.”, just based on the carvings at the bottom of the stone. Nope, Picts. Isn’t it odd how much their god looks like Horus of Egypt????
We then moved into the torture room, where the guide described some of the methods in gruesome detail. How did they know you were a witch back then? Well, being a woman was a pretty sure sign. And if you were accused, you were as good as dead. He didn’t mention it, but it was the church’s way of keeping women under strict control. Oh, the church…spreading love, acceptance, and independent thinking for 2000+ years. #puke By the way, that little comment would have gotten me KILLED back in the day. 🔥 ☠ Blasphemers, if they weren’t killed outright, would have their tongues split in half…marking them for life as a blasphemers. They would basically be outcast from society. OMG, can you believe that?? Uh oh, I’m dead again. 🔥☠ OMG is blasphemy- lord’s name in vain.
Ok, I have to say, I wasn’t exactly 100% thrilled with the tour. There really wasn’t as much focus on witches as I wanted. I really wanted a story with a bit more continuity and flow. But I will say, the guy was super passionate about the topics he presented! They just weren’t all directly related to witches (at least my perception of them). After about 2 hours, we reached the end of the tour. He said we could go outside with him and practice divination, or end the tour here. We had about 20 people. 6 of us went with him. And OMG (#deadagain 🔥☠), I am SO glad I did!! This was the best part of the whole damn tour!
So we went out into the courtyard of some old college, and Frank, the guide, pulled out these divination rods. I’m familiar enough with them to know that they’re also called dowsing rods, and people have been using them for forever to find water. That was the extent of my knowledge. Well, that and the fact that I don’t believe in them. In case you didn’t read the Elf School journal, I DO believe in spirits. But I am very scientific and logical, and know that generally there is a scientific and logical explanation for everything- including divination rods and such other “tools”. So Frank pulls out this metal, L-shaped rod, and starts showing us how he can flex his hands to make them turn the way he wants. It was really obvious. Then, he does it again and it’s not obvious at all, but he tells us he’s manipulating it. So, he says, to counteract this flaw, divining rods should be sheathed. He pulls out one that has a copper sheath around it that you hold on to. The rod can spin freely within this sheath, but your hands are not in direct contact with it. He then tells it out loud what he wants it to do- turn left, turn right, point to this person, that person, point straight…and the rod does it every time. Interesting, but I’m just staring at his hands the entire time, trying to figure out how he’s manipulating it…. I can’t, but slight of hand is almost undetectable to an untrained eye. Then, he hands us a rod to try. People…people… I was blown away… It’s times like this that I wish
my camera man Brian was here! Had I done this hundreds of years ago…yeah, DEAD.🔥☠
Then he brings out a pendulum. It’s hanging from a metal rod with a chain. He explains how you can make it move by telling it where you want it to go, just like the rods. I tried it. And I tried to be PERFECTLY still. I didn’t say it out loud this time. I just thought it. And damned if that thing didn’t move in a circle when I mentally told it to, stop when I mentally told it to, and move back and forth when I mentally told it to. CREEPY. He then put the pendulum over a paper that had a bunch of words on it like Yes, No, Maybe, etc… He told us to put the pendulum over it, think about an important question, and our subconscious would move the pendulum to the answer. I thought of my question. It moved to No. Weird thing, I was thinking Yes for the answer! Time will tell if it’s right. I’ll report back (could be years!). Oh, and again…DEAD.🔥 ☠
Last, we got to use two divination rods. The goal here was to make them cross and uncross using just our mind. AND DAMN IF IT DIDN’T WORK AGAIN!! Seriously, I can not tell you how logical and scientific I am about things. And I just couldn’t figure out how it was working because I was trying to be super still and do everything possible to not influence them. I didn’t want it to work! But it did. And I’m not going to lie, it kinda freaked me the fuck out! Oh, and by the way, hundreds of years ago, I’d be DEAD.🔥☠
Of course, I immediately came back to the apartment and started researching. Everything I could find was about how they have been debunked for finding water- that they worked about the same as just random chance at finding it. But I wasn’t trying to find water. I did find this one article, but I want more information! I know there is a reasonable explanation. Again, I DO believe in spirits, but I do NOT think they are controlling these tools in any way. But even my scientific mind had some doubt creeping in- it was that freaky! I can’t even imagine people hundreds of years ago before science and logical thought and everything was superstitious in some way…If someone has any information, please comment below! I’ll reply if I’m not DEAD. 🔥☠
Oh, and all of those thousands upon thousands of pride marchers? Yeah, if today was a few hundred years ago and we were behaving like this, we’d all be DEAD. 🔥☠