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Running Black Witch, I’m certain that I would get odd questions now and again. However, as of recent I’ve gotten a rash of “tell me if this girl like me” questions. This has been coming from nothing but guys, only guys have been sending me questions – or demands because manners are lost on them – to do divination or whatever voodoo that I do to figure out something that should not need divine questioning for. I always give my copy and paste answer of “Have you tried asking her?”

I find these questions annoying for two reasons:

1) If they did a little more than the most basic skimming of my site’s name, they would know that I don’t do divination readings on here until Samhain Pickers close to Halloween and even with that, you have to win the reading via random drawing

2) Why ask a random stranger on the internet if someone you actually knows likes you? Just ask!

The reason why I always respond “Have you tried asking her?” to their “Does she like me?” question is because that’s really just it. The best way to find out if someone likes you is if you actually suck it up and ask “Do you like me? Y’know, more than a friend?” I’m not saying it’s not nerve wracking to ask someone you have a crush on if they feel the same way you do about them but it is a better step than simply bothering me. Even my personal friends don’t come to me asking this question.

I do find it interesting that I’ve gotten absolutely nothing but guys asking me this. And they don’t go into detail, just basically go, “There’s this girl. Does she like me?” Dude, just ask her. I don’t think I can say that enough. One even decided to play stupid and thought that because I wasn’t psychically confirming whether or not the girl he was too scared to approach in honesty liked him, that it would be best to basically call me a fraud. Not smart. No need to get moody at me for not having the courage to ask for yourself.

These questions are so unnecessary and annoying because, to be frank, if the guy is too scared to make the first step on their own (or if anyone is afraid to make the first step on their own, regardless of gender) then what will they do when things get harder? The sucky part about love is that there’s not really any arbitrary checking scale. Not to mention, if I did do a reading for these guys (who bothered to ask with absolutely zero manners), that means they most likely would bother me every time they had an issue with girls in opposed to actually using logic and social skills to work it out for themselves. Yeah, no.

I really don’t like questions like these because they’re not questions you should be asking me, a random person on the internet. This is beyond dancing around the mulberry bush, this is avoiding the whole block that one bush sits on. It’s one thing if it were someone I knew asking and even then I wouldn’t pull out the cards initially but just ask the basic questions of “How do you know?” and “So, when are you going to talk to them about it?” Being direct, even when it is scary, is the best way to go about it all. You get your answer, everyone is on the same page, it’s a lot better than simply asking me. As long as the guys don’t take on creepy ways to confess to the girls or to ask them simply, they should be fine. Just be sincere and direct.

Of course, there a good reason the guys are asking me instead of the girls first: fear of rejection.

Getting rejected sucks but it happens. These guys gotta understand that. They also have to understand that talking (rudely and abruptly) to a diviner is not going to save them from rejection either. I’ve been rejected, my friends have been rejected, everyone’s been rejected before. It’s not fun but it’s part of life. It could go along well with the girl, it might not. It all depends on a) if the girl actually does like the guy back, b) the guy does not approach the girl in a creepy/domineering manner and c) the guy doesn’t respond to the potential rejection in a scary way. I hope the guys understand that no one owes them a date or a relationship and that if the person doesn’t reciprocate, they don’t reciprocate.

You know what else I’m thinking? It’s possible the guy doesn’t really like the girl in question but wants to know if she still likes him in a romantic fashion. If that be the case, how derpy, ha! Given my interaction with guys, it could be a case of the girl is genuinely nice and the dude misread that as romantic interest just because she acknowledged his existence in a positive or neutral way. If it is that, let it be known that just because a girl is nice to you or is comfortable around you, it doesn’t mean she sees you as a potential boyfriend. Girls create friendships because they’re people and people in general like making friends with those they find amiable. Either way, just ask. And get better understanding of social cues, not everyone who treats you nice wants to date you.

Basically:

  • Don’t ask me if someone likes you, ask that person instead. You’ll get the answer a whole lot faster
  •  Worried of rejection? It’s part of life. Not fun but it happens. As long as you don’t approach like a douche and the girl is not a jerk, you’ll get let down easy
  • Don’t like the girl but think the girl like you? Hopefully it isn’t because she’s nice to you because that doesn’t mean she sees you in a romantic light but possibly just as a friend. And if you do find out she likes you only as a friend, don’t complain you’re being “friend-zoned” because you grossly misread her interactions

Just talk to the girl, already. Skip talking to me – especially if you’re going to be so rude and abrupt – and just talk to her.

This post is part of the “Stuck in my Head” series. Normal posting resumes in April.

This is the last post of the “Stuck in my Head” series. This post will be about how to find a therapist and to help you issues. I can’t promise it’ll solve your problems but it’s best of have some resource somewhere.

When I was looking for a therapist. I actually first went through Google because I didn’t really know what was out there. I searched on Google for “Therapist” and my state and basically called up whatever I saw on the maps. Here are some sites that can help you:

Psychology Today “Find a Therapist”

Network Therapy

Good Therapy

You just have to put in your zip code or your address and they’ll pull up some people that are in your area. When looking for a therapist, it’s important to find one on a sliding scale (my therapy is currently $2USD a session) and will listen to you. A therapist should be on your side, not just treating you like a helpless lunatic. No need to waste your money going to someone you feel is not going to listen to you or make you feel uncomfortable.

When I looked for a therapist, I pretty much would unload and see how they take it. Since I was looking for therapists while being really suicidal, I pretty much picked the therapist that I felt actually listened to me. It should be easy going for the most part at the start as they’re getting to know you. If they do anything, no matter how slight, that raises red flags and create unnecessary friction such as not trying to listen to you or make you feel under the gun.

Now, here’s something that is pretty basic but needs to be said anyways: There’s going to be parts that are going to be right uncomfortable. If you have suffered a lot of trauma, it’s a big ball of twine that is going to take lot of work unraveling. Actually, more like a big tangled box of Christmas lights but you get the drift. That means there’s going to be parts where you don’t want to go and will be very difficult. Just try to get through them the best that you can.

Alright, for those who are dealing with being triggered, I have mobile apps (sidenote: I have Android and Kakao Talk) you can use. See, I tried playing Tetris but after a while, I not only got bored but also started to associate the game with the triggers so I didn’t want to play it because it became a negative feedback loop for me. Here are some games that are really useful when being triggered. These games are on the Korean social media app Kakao Talk but I’m sure there are Western equivalents:

AniPang (I and II) – This game is very similar to Bejeweled and possibly Candy Crush (never played Candy Crush so I’m going off of what everyone else says). You try to switch around the little animal faces and match them up at least three in a row to get points. The music and themes are very cute and helpful to deal with triggers. I like using the little power-up that quickly identifies combos so you don’t additionally stress yourself out more than you are.

AniSachun – This game is a match game where you match two food items against a clock. It’s quick and fun.

It’s important to find a game that uses quick memory skills like Tetris so your mind can better process the triggering event and make it easier to cope with and reduces flashbacks.

Here are also some websites that can help you recover and deal with your mental illness:

WOC Recovery – This is mainly for Women minorities, there’s a lot of great resources and they post regularly.

Imastrugglingpoc – This is for minorities in general to create the safe space that is not provided for us in regular mental health fields

And that’s all for this month! Normal posting resumes.

This post is part of the month long series “Stuck in my Head”, discussing mental illness. Normal posting resumes in April.

It’s difficult living with a myriad of mental illnesses. For me, I think I started noticing something was “wrong” when I was around 12, which is about three years roughly before I was even introduced to Paganism. One thing I particularly remembered is how suicidal I was in school and that I probably needed help. I think since then, I have been seeing some type of mental health practitioner on and off and without my parents knowing because I didn’t feel like being lectured about how, despite the historical horrors and consistent prejudices that Black folks have had to face, even in modern times, we don’t have mental problems. Mental problems were usually seen as “White people complaining about how good they got it” and everyone else is supposed to be some machine that is well accustomed to being held back due to institutionalized hatred. Oddly enough, being told to just “suck it up” and “deal with it” didn’t prevent me from having breakdown after breakdown nor did it stop me from having suicide attempts. If anything, not really having room to express emotion kind of exacerbated those self-destructive responses. Huh, funny that. Forced self-dehumanization both causes and speeds up poor mental health, who could have seen that coming?

While being told that somehow, I don’t have feelings or that I should ignore them so I can proceed further in life, I would be told by the same people who would rather not see a therapist but use religion instead, either by going to church or reading the Bible or praying. I never liked the idea of that because religion is nice but sometimes you need a super objective response that won’t result in “Oh, you just didn’t pray hard enough.” That used to (and still does) infuriate me because it is so dismissive of my problems, it doesn’t even toss a potential solution.

Although, when I was younger, I tried to take all the free mental health services I could that was provided by my schools because I didn’t want to “pay to just talk to someone”, which was the explanation I often told myself and others. That was my major concern, the thought of paying someone money just to talk to me when I have people (though, not many) to talk to …oh and the thought of getting institutionalized. I didn’t want to get sent off because I felt that was the final step of proving how “crazy” I was, to finally be locked away.

Dealing with mental illnesses suck but still having to interact with people, I’ve grown pretty irritated with continual stigmas and myths and regular missteps. I guess laying them out in list form would help

Being told, “Oh, I have that, too, it’s like a super power”: Chances are, if you think my OCD, PTSD, DD-NOS, etc is cool, you probably don’t have it. There’s nothing fun about having episodes where you can’t remember anything that you did. Nor is it fun having to pretty much gravitate around select people because you’re certain you’re about to act out and to the point strangers think you’re stalking said person (this actually happened to me, yay having noteworthy friends and dealing with their over-hyper fans). Usually when people say this, it’s in effort to minimize the severity of the issue, not to create solidarity because it generally follows this next item below:

Being told, “Why don’t you do [unhelpful/dumb idea here], that’s what works for me”: Back in February I had another suicide attempt and it was fairly evident given I pretty much walked around in tears and if spoken to, I probably was going to say “I should have taken more sleeping pills” within the first three sentences. One lady, who ironically was the security of the Department of Mental Health (yeah, take a guess how much work these DofMH guys do), told me to “get a grip”.

Oh.

Get a grip?

Why didn’t I think of that?

Just get a grip. Sounds so much easier than taking a fatal dose of sleeping pills the night before and planning to slit my wrist next, I wonder why just “get a grip” didn’t come to me first. Man, if only I could have used my 132 academic IQ to come to that conclusion. Wow, thank you lady who works for the Department of Mental Health, you guys save so many lives. It was such a brilliant idea, I wound up going back home and continued trying to kill myself. Man, just “get a grip”, what ease. I’ll try to remember that the next time.

Chances are, whatever you’re going to suggest, there’s a stupidly good likelihood I (and others who suffer from mental illness) have tried that method many times and if it didn’t work then when things were less severe, it’s most likely not going to work now when things are about to go Chernobyl in my head. Just listen to us, it’s probably the best you can do. There’s a reason why there are people who are professionally trained to deal with people like me and then there’s people who show absolutely no concern when encountering someone in absolute distress.

Being told “Just pray/God will find a way/Take it to the cross”: Firstly, I’m not Christian. I really dislike when people try to help me by blatantly ignoring the fact that I’m not Christian because it makes me think, “If you’re going to willfully ignore a pretty basic fact about me, you’re probably not going to be much help down the road with my actual problems, which is not ‘just simply Not Christian’”. Secondly, even when I talk to suicidal people and other folks who are at the end of their rope, I never bring up religion because the distressed person want plausible and visible answers to their problems. Telling them to pray to an invisible guy in the sky doesn’t sound like a reasonable answer that will fix their problems. The point to talking to a distressed person is to talk them down, not make them feel further hopeless since you’re pretty much told them to change their perspective because the situation is solution-proof. I think back when I was in high school and intensely suicidal, someone told me that Jesus is there and the usual dribble that accompanies saying this. I just responded, “Great, I’ll be able to tell Him personally how much he sucks at his job.” When someone is that far gone, religion can’t save them. When it comes to mental illness, these illnesses need to be treated with the same severity as physical illness. If I came down with flu, I don’t want someone simply to pray over it, I want to see a doctor.

Being told “Black people don’t commit suicide/have problems because we’ve overcame so much”: That’s completely phony and self-dehumanizing internalized racism. Also, it’s funny how the word “collectively” does not get used. We have overcame a lot collectively because there were definitely slaves who killed themselves because living a tortured existence under systematic despair and holocaust did not seem enticing. There are Black folks who have killed themselves and they’re still Black. Otherwise, someone is going to have to go to the family of Soul Train’s creator Don Cornelius’ and tell them he’s posthumously revoked his Black card somehow despite all he’s done for contemporary Black culture. Being Black shouldn’t have to be synonymous with “eternal suffering”. Black people are still people and people in general have problems, especially when exposed to strongly affecting environments more than others. Besides, any idiot who says that we’re Black and therefore do not have problems need to look at a few statistics in regards to Blackness and mental health.

“Oh man, I’m so crazy. It’s fun being insane”: No, it’s not. I have been creative and I have had mental episodes, I was not creative during those episodes. If anything, I couldn’t create anything because I was too busy being depressed or acting out. Funny how going unhinged really takes up your time and pretty much takes you hostage. There’s a difference between being eccentric and suffering from mental illness. Insanity = Creativity is one of the biggest and most dangerous creativity myths, right up there with Drugs=Creativity, because it makes people actively not seek out help for their problems or justify their problems with, “Yeah my problems are bad but I wouldn’t be able to paint/write/create like I do so I guess there’s some silver lining.” No, no there isn’t. I know because I used to think this way myself, that getting rid of my problems would get rid of my creative works. This was until it finally dawned on me that I’m getting reaaaally unstable fast because when I put myself back in a volatile environment (similar to the one that originally gave me these problems) and figured I was going to wind up in a box. Ok, I actually gave myself a card reading and it pretty much read out, “You need a therapist or you’re gonna need a priest.” Yeah, no joy was had during those episodes, especially the dissociative ones. Things are comparatively better now since I have a therapist but I still have the occasional episode when triggered and I’m absolutely no fun when I’m triggered.

“You’re Pagan, maybe that’s why you have problems”: I guess we could blame my religion and my metaphysical practices for something that occurred several years before I actively started doing those practices because that would be so many worlds easier than actually blaming, I don’t know, the highly vitriolic and PTSD inducing environments that I was raised in. Since I was brought up in the inner city, I thus saw and encountered a lot of horrible things and there’s even statistics that has backed me up. My own city, Baltimore, was described as a “war zone … 80% of the population has PTSD” by sociologists in the local Citypaper back in, I believe, 2008. In addition, I have to deal with street harassment, open drug trafficking and all the wonderful monsters – I mean, “people”- that come with it, folks who destroy lives like walking atom bombs but are protected in the community. This is some of the stuff that’s usually ignored, dismissed or swept under the rug, some really important and impacting problems…and you’re going “Maybe you should stop being Pagan?” Really? How about doing something about the drug dealers on the corners or the zombies and zonked out, stoned out, passed out people they create? Perhaps trying to tackle rape culture is too much work? Someone just got shot and you’re telling folks that crying is a really stupid way to deal with it, it’s just part of life and you have to move on instead of getting stuck on the “little things” like random happenings of violent death? How about the fact I never felt comfortable in my own skin until relatively recently because the people who gave me the most hell for being different were Black folks? Really? All this and the fact I don’t pray to the Christian deity anymore is somehow the freakin problem? Yeah, no.

“I guess crazy isn’t that fun after all”: What I also encounter, yet is not exactly phrased but expressed is the “I guess crazy isn’t that fun after all” act. These are usually shown by people who say that being mentally wayward is great…until they interact with someone who has an actual illness and find out it’s not all spontaneous and funky. All of a sudden, it’s pretty evident that this person is sometimes many miles past “quirky” and they aren’t acting the way they are because it’s cute but because the demons in their heads are making serious noise. That means sometimes these people can bum a party out or needs extra care. All of a sudden, hanging with someone who has depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder isn’t as awesome as music videos and movies make it seem, so those people get left in the dust, usually with no explanation and no warning. That’s because their friend, armed now with only the negative myths and stigmas of mental illness, tend to now avoid them and the episodes they come with because if the mental illness is not going to create an artistic savant like the movies promised, then they guess they’re going to get a serial murderer instead. Or the mentally ill person is just “not as fun as I thought they’d be”. The power of friendship, isn’t it nice?

“Your illness bothers me”: Do I really have to explain this one? They’re usually couched in the “I guess crazy isn’t that fun after all” group but are so special, they need their own space. These folks first were first saying, “I’ll be there for you, just let me know” and other, usually comforting, lines but you start to learn that’s what they are, lines. You can tell because those lines change or is simply not in sync with how the person actually is. They say “You can call me at any time” but are practically unreachable, say “you can always talk to me” but give some of the worst advice. And then the switch up where the person is really really uncomfortable with knowing someone has a mental illness, especially if the illness produces a couple suicide attempts, is something jaw dropping. It isn’t easy learning about the mental illness a loved one is impacted by but treating the person like a leaper isn’t going to exactly help. At all. If the person who feels bothered by the mental illness doesn’t like it, they should imagine how the person actually suffering with the illness feels.

“You don’t need a therapist, you can talk to me!”: Ok, I have a lot of knowledge of medicine because I’m in a family where pretty much all the women are doctors. This means I could probably help you medically a little more than the average person but I will still recommend you go see a doctor. A therapist is a trained professional so if I start to disassociate or have an episode, they can effectively do something about it. In my experience, the average person just does everything they can to make my episodes worse without knowing it. A therapist is trained to not make me feel bad for having a disorder. A therapist actually has the training to deal with my very, very real disorders. Watching Monk or A Beautiful Mind does not mean you can help me at all. And if anything, usually the ones who say this generally are the least helpful because they don’t do anything that helps you, just stuff that makes them feel they’re being helpful, wise and smart. I don’t try to persuade my diabetic friend to not take insulin because I saw some illogical writing about all you need is to limit sugar intake because that could kill them. Telling me to ignore my episodes and to just see them as part of life could easily throw me into a suicidal pattern and wind up killing me. I need a therapist to control my disorders because it’s more than just a case of the blues the same way my diabetic friend needs a doctor to control her disease because it’s more than just a case of having an awful sweet tooth. And given the examples of usual responses I get from people who learn about my disorders, why would I want to talk to them?

It is a long road dealing with mental illness. It’s not how the tv shows and movies depict it at all. It’s frustrating and since more people know the oft-pushed myths about it than the reality, it just adds to the frustration. Also, because mental illness is usually invisible (even some of the psychosomatic symptoms are invisible, too), it’s either folks think you’re making it up for attention or it’s just an issue that simple stern discipline can correct.

It’s even more problematic when as a Black person, you’re not really represented in any widespread campaigns for mental illness. The lack of representation passively pushes the stereotypical and fairly internalized myth that “Black folks don’t feel pain” and it’s harder to identify with the campaign well enough to get help. Then, getting help is difficult because a lot of head doctors do not like to take racism into account of what could cause stress because it’s easier to describe the patient as “militant” rather than actually understand what they’re going through. (That’s actually the exact word therapist #3 said to me. I never came back for another session). This is really an issue because there are very, very little Black therapists (or really any other therapist besides White). It means a lot of people are probably going to pass on getting help simply because they are thoroughly convinced that it would be useless or possibly harmful to tell a White person, certified shrink or not, about their problems because it could be an easy one-way ticket to a nut house for simply saying “I don’t like dealing with racism.” Being a shrink does not always improve communications because psychology as a whole is mainly centered on Whiteness and it’s too easy to look like you’ve finally lost your marbles if you don’t follow along the narrative.

Of course, things are further complicated when you’re not part of the big three religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). Chances are, especially if you’re Pagan, your expression of faith is not covered under the “sane” category. Saying you talk to deities and believe trees have spirits is practically a surefire way to get locked away if your therapist isn’t open-minded enough. Yep, it’s tough when you’re going nuts.

Next time, we’ll post some how-to’s on how to get a therapist and for low cost as well as healthy coping mechanisms to deal with mental illness. Due to the lateness of this post (sorry, folks) that post will be on Sunday.

This post is for the month long series titled “Stuck in my Head”. This feature is written by Kat, a university student and a mod from the WOC Recovery tumblr.

I had major depressive disorder. I struggled with it, I lived with it. I self-analyzed every thought and emotion, I was convinced I knew everything about my mental illness.

My friend said to me: “Do you think you might have PTSD? You act a lot like my friend who has it. ”

I had been talking about a roommate situation from a while back. It went badly because I became the extra wheel almost immediately, which was disappointing. But when I was unable to make friends anywhere nearby, I broke and became clinically depressed. First, I was in a lot of pain, later on I became very numb and space-y. My appearance was changing, and my fear of being ridiculed by men increased exponentially. It had been present prior to being emotionally abused by a male friend, but had been relatively dormant until then.

I didn’t know how to manage my depression, so my space became disorganized and I was sleeping very late. This clashed with my roommates’ lifestyle. I was constantly apologizing, trying to change, but I couldn’t maintain any of my efforts. After being kicked out of the apartment, I was terrified of running into them. I felt horrific shame, to the point where I forgot that I hadn’t been accepted by them from the beginning. I eventually ran into one of my now-former roommates and apologized to them.

I had possibly suspected that I have problems relating to guys who reminded me of my former friend. I went out of my way to avoid being noticed by men like that, which wasn’t too difficult, but when it did happen I would bolt. I still wasn’t convinced, because I had been raised to believe that only certain things-any form of permanent loss or illness- were a Big Deal. Even though I understood struggles or trauma shouldn’t be compared in that way- and applied this mentality when conversing with others- I could not apply it to myself without feeling guilty. So I acknowledged that in a detached way.

But my roommates? That seemed completely random. “Think about it”, my friend said. I was about to respond about how what she said couldn’t be right- then…oh. I realized that my fear and avoidance of my roommates was indistinguishable from how I felt around certain guys. I looked up PTSD symptoms. There’s a wide range, but I matched the avoidance symptoms. I also discovered that my numbness, spaciness, and forgetfulness matched the symptoms of dissociation. This was a relief to discover because I had lost months of my life due to not being present and not being able to control that. I am still researching symptoms and trying to learn grounding techniques to help them.

Apparently, there’s two official types of PTSD: simple and complex. The first stems from one traumatizing event. The second comes from traumatizing or stressful events occurring regularly for an extended period of time. I tried to research about complex PTSD and emotional abuse but the primary situation discussed was emotional abuse from parents, not peers. Abuse from parents or guardians is widely recognized as a serious issue and not something that’s acceptable to minimize. But how could I ever say I got complex PTSD from bullying? I’m still in the process of accepting it. Experiencing PTSD symptoms from something not recognized as traumatic is so confusing, especially when you are taught to “push through it” and “so many people had it worse”.

I think now is a good time to mention self-diagnosis of mental illnesses. There’s nothing wrong with it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is true especially if you don’t have access to healthcare but even if you choose not to for personal reasons. There is no biological test for mental illnesses, you are basically just interviewed and evaluated via a list of symptoms. You can easily find a list of symptoms online, just make sure the website is reputable (I’ve included a link to a site below). No doctor knows your mind better than you, especially with their track record of misdiagnoses- most commonly diagnosing bipolar disorder as depression. However, giving yourself anti-depressants or medicating yourself is not something I agree with – it’s a trial and error process, even with supervision. And considering the possible side effects, it’s much too risky.

If you do have access, I would recommend seeing a counselor with high reviews and go from there. If you need medication, that’s okay. Psychiatry as an institution is pretty awful to so many people- but if you need it, try to go by recommendations or reviews for a better experience so it can help you. You are not hurting people with “real” diagnoses. You are not lying for attention. Think about it, if you make the decision to see a doctor or counselor, you already know something is wrong and probably tried to figure it out before hand. As long as you don’t partake in risky treatments, you are justified.

To help with that, this is a site specifically for therapists that has worksheets for patients- worksheets that contain information or activities for certain treatment, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There is a long list of illnesses/problems you can click on at the bottom of the page and look at specific resources for. The second site has CBT self-help for depression/anxiety/anger, the third has self-help for dialectal behavior therapy (DBT).

http://www.psychologytools.org/behavioural-activation.html

http://www.get.gg/cbtstep1.htm

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/

I believe in you. Just take it one day at a time. -Kat

This post is part of the month long series “Stuck in my Head”. Normal posting resumes in April

It is difficult to live with mental illness. There are harmful stigmas, exaggerated myths (such as the ever popular insanity=creativity myth) and a lot of misinformation which prevents proper treatment. Many people, diagnosed or not, suffer from mental illness but it is still met with suspicion or treated as if it is an honor to have your mind pretty much stage a mutiny against your better sensibilities. It is more complex when race and gender is taken into account.

Mental illness is not imagination run amok no more than physical illness is just an act. There is the everlasting stigma that mental illness is either fake and a person just needs stricter discipline or that the person is just a face paint kit away from being The Joker. Having a mental illness  does mean that something is malfunctioning in your mind (or brain) but it doesn’t mean automatically you’re going to become a serial killer, most people suffering from mental illness just want to live life the best they can.

Being Black with mental illness, it is twice as hard to be listened to because there’s the (well-earned) historical distrust in the medical community and the idea that “Black people don’t have mental illness, that’s just White people complaining about how good they have it.” There’s also the idea that church and prayer solves everything, even when it doesn’t. A Black person with  mental illness tends to suffer in silence until they pop because the community won’t let them admit there’s a problem because it shows weakness and society at large won’t let them admit there’s a problem because society can’t even see the Black person as a human enough to even consider they may have issues just like everyone else. If it breaks the consistently dehumanizing narrative of “Black people are superhuman in strength, they don’t have time for feelings, just surviving”, it’s usually dismissed. Also there are strong mislabels the Black community has on more eccentric members of the race due to being fairly conservative. If you are Black, there is a much smaller box of existence so to do anything that easily falls outside of that cramp box is considered crazy, which actually can create mental illness in and of itself because of lack of cultural support.

Having a mental illness is not romantic either. It is a constantly pushed myth that to be creative, you have to be crazy and vice versa when the reality is that while there are some similarities, it is definitely different. When you’ve full-blown lost it, you spend all that time going insane, not creating anything. I know that for personal fact when I was too self-destructive to do a single thing, creative or basic sustenance of existence. A good example of how people confuse creativity for mental illness is when people believed Nicki Minaj had Disassociative Identity Disorder because she had an alter ego named Roman. What many missed because they didn’t know the difference is that if it were true, Minaj would not be able to control Roman and when he comes out because DID is when the mind going into fragment of different people all to protect the actual person as a defense mechanism. Minaj would have difficulty remembering things because she wasn’t “home” at the time when Roman was. She wouldn’t be able to bring him up on command because he would be a personality that generally comes out when triggered, which is no fun. To actually live with such a disorder, it would actually get in the way of her career because it would be like two different minds living in the same body. Mental illness does not have an on/off switch that can be flipped for appropriate engagements at will just like you can’t be sick/well whenever you need an excuse to get out of something.

It’s important to know the difference between just being really expressive and actually suffering from a mental illness, just as it is important to debunk the “tortured artist” idea. Not knowing the difference mislabels and misdiagnoses perfectly healthy people and proliferating the “tortured artist” idea keeps people with actual issues away from getting help in fear they’ll lose their creative spark. To do that, there has to be more talks, actually honest talks, about mental illness.

In regards to race, the medical community, both physical and psychological parts, have plenty of catching up to do. Still there is strong prejudice that snakes about in the minds of practitioners, which sorely affects the treatment of their patients because the perspective of illness and treatment is mainly centered on the middle class Whiteness, which puts everyone else in the negative space. For the Black community, it has to learn that we’re as prone to mental illness as any person. It isn’t a “White man disease” nor is it a flight of imagination. It’s not a sign of rejecting Blackness to admit that you have issues. In addition, it important for the Black community to keep in mind that whatever does not fall into Western conservatism is not a mark of insanity. Being eccentric while Black does not mean insanity (nor a rejection of Blackness). There are various expressions of the Black identity, it is not a sign of mental illness to show those various expressions. Race, when discussing mental illness, is not to be ignored but to be included in how to deal with it and combat it.

Living with mental illness is difficult but it can also be difficult for the person who knows a friend or family member with a mental illness. In dealing with someone with a mental illness, the best you can do is listen. Not all mental illnesses are alike and thus need different responses. Same for the people who have them, not everyone wants to be open with what they experience. The best one can do is listen. Simply listen and try to genuinely be there for the person. Try to understand the illness, how it works and, more importantly, how the person is triggered because all the person with the illness needs is to just have someone around to help prevent or minimize their episodes. Basically, just be there for them and keep an open ear.

It is difficult to have mental illness, especially with the stigmas associated with even talking about it. With this series, we will look at mental illness from a personal perspective as well as provide resources to help those who could need it.

Hello, I just want to begin to learn about Wiccan/Pagan. I am Christian right now but I don’t feel very connected to Christianity. I love the earth, nature, stones, stuff in that nature. I just want to know where is a good place to start a Wicca/Pagan practice? I don’t know what to look for or do.

- Kris

A good place to start is with Lauren Manoy’s Where to Park your Broomstick. That’s how I got started and it really was useful for me as she also gave a brief overview on other faiths that you may or may not have heard of but could possibly resonate better with.

It’s important to think long and hard about your current faith in Christianity such as what is it that you don’t connect with? What do you disagree with? Why do you feel a disconnect and where is it situated? Is it with the people? Is it with the core beliefs? It’s important you do a lot of thinking because, well, changing religions is serious business. People use faith as the bedrock of their morals and beliefs, thus why you have to make sure that you’re going to be okay leaving one religion for another. Otherwise, you’re never going to feel at home in whatever faith you choose.

Hi,

I’m from Malaysia. I would like to ask is there a way to find out if a person is dead or alive?

Sorry I ask this because, last year on my Birthday – he came into my dream. This guy was my former schoolmate and admirer but we don’t keep in touch. After 21 years, he came into my dream.

In the dream, we went back to our school days where he met me, then jumped into when we are in working life and we date. Final part was then, the both of us get married. Weird is that, he appear in a very bright and clean. He does not utter even a Single Word.

I’m not sure if this means he is dead? I want to find out the truth. If he’s dead or still alive.

Please advise me what to do. Thanks.

- Jennifer S.

Dreams are interesting. You could be getting an omen, learning information about someone or the person could be standing in as a dream symbol. If he seems to be showing all the dream signs that he’s died, you should search for his records. Ask around if you know anyone that may have possibly known you both, look in the papers for an obituary. I guess a good date to start is around when you had the dream and go from there.

If you found a living person (as in, he’s alive and well) then just take what you saw in the dream as a symbol. And that symbol would be whatever this dude meant to you. So if he was the creative type, it refers to creativity. If he was the hyper analytical type, it refers to logic and so on and so forth.

If you found a dead person, it’s up to you what you want to do. If the person died recently, send the family some flowers and your condolences. If it was a while ago, just let sleeping dogs lie and see what symbol he could have played in the dream.

Alright, that’s the Ask Black Witch for this month, everyone. Next month is a new series called “Shut Out” and the subject is mental illness in the Black community. Topics include dealing with mental illness, culture and stigma not only from the Black community but society at large. That means there will be guest writers for this upcoming series to provide their input and perspective.

Hello my name is Kiara and I’ve been researching Paganism/Witchcraft for the past few months. However, since I still live at home (I’m a 20 year old college student), I’ve only been able to learn through online research. I’d like to start getting some books and was wondering if you had maybe a list of reputable authors or books. I apologize if you’ve answered this before but I couldn’t seem to find it through your tumblr or Black Witch website. Thank you and have a great day!

- Kiara

I guess this means I have to do more work in making BW much more searchable or create a new webpage for books I have already recommended on Black Witch. I have suggested a lot of books, especially during The Arts!: Samhain Editions. The book I recommend the most is Where to Park your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy.

And that’s all the Ask Black Witch for this month! Next month is a month long series called “Stuck in My Head”, focusing on mental illness in the Black community.

Before we get started, have you seen Huffington Post’s feature of me in “Celebrating The Diverse Spirituality And Religion Of African-Americans”? You should check it out.

Music Inc
Without a doubt, I love this game. I learned about it via Tumblr and am glad I did. It is a free mobile game created by UK Music, the Intellectual Property Office and Aardman Animations – I am a big fan of Wallace and Grommit since I was a child so I was like “Meh, meh, SOLD.” – and it creates a pretty realistic glimpse into the music industry and “let them experience the challenges encountered by artists in the digital age”. Oh man, is it a great game, here are some screen shots:

Screenshots_2014-02-10-20-44-26

Screenshots_2014-02-10-20-35-45

I like that it is pretty neatly packed with you trying to find artists to sign and furnish them into world-class performers that, of course, will earn you major money but it comes with unforeseen bumps such as song leaks, the fiscal effects of piracy, frustrated musicians, online flame wars and how everything means so much, even if it is just a little. You can track song stats your performers made, release songs, shelve songs, put folks on tour, get them producers and other outside creators, bump up their image and more! It’s a great game that does not go for gimmicks to prove a sobering point that making it in the music biz is really, really hard. As you’ll see, none of this is easy or cut and dry. However, it’s possibly not really directed at artists like the review said since artists are not really at the center of this game but someone trying to start up a label. The artists kind of seem like horses in a stable or a gaggle of kids you have to take care of.

With the game, I wish you could have options to go on tour with other folks on your label (if you have more than one or two artists). I haven’t unlocked all the tiers of the game so maybe you can but I haven’t seen it yet. I would like that because it’s extremely realistic when performers go on tour, they tend to sometimes be on the same label, which rakes in more money for the record company. And it would be great to have the option of various artists on your label being able to guest on other label mates’ songs since that happens as well. And more diverse music hopefuls! They’ve got a great line up so far (some of them being light spin offs of actual performers), I want to see a bigger sea of different faces. Or at least have more different people pop up on the “Pick an artist to sign” section once your label gets more notoriety since that’s also pretty realistic as well as bigger labels have more people clamoring at them than start up labels. I think a little of a “Help” section may be nice, too, because even I was perplexed a couple times and I actually know how the industry works (for the most part). Oh, and I was a bit frustrated (because it’s me), that there were no songs for me to hear because I kept thinking, “I don’t know what the song sound like so I don’t know how to play the market!!!!! But I also wanted more input from the artist. I mean, they’re the ones the business is dealing with, I wanted to see “An artist complained about their 360 deal, they wanted a 7 months/5 song option!” or something like that (since the game goes with months and songs instead of years and albums, even though the latter is what really happens in reality). Again, as aforementioned, this game is more so pointed at the person starting a label and artist trying to express themselves without going broke.

I showed my friends this game because I thought it was that interesting and one, Vicki, had this to say:

“Mmkay so it’s an addictive strategy management game and it’s hard as sh*t. The most I’ve been able to do is sign 2 artists but I wind up going bankrupt and having to start again….Reading the review explains why the game plays like it does. Like for example, no weight is placed on the actual song and the artists are treated like not people. There is a ton of emphasis based on piracy. This game was just made to portray multimillion dollar recording agencies in a sympathetic light when if you look at how the artists are treated, they’re just money makers. In the game, you start out with £1000 when in real life, these companies have billions. Like it’s designed to make you think that the business is suffering. That being said, it’s a really fun game. Kind of like Spent.”

I actually agreed with this notion because the artists, once you think about it, are pretty faceless in a way. You get a name, face and genre but you don’t treat anyone different based on their genre, sound, etc etc. That’s probably why it frustrated me earlier because I couldn’t hear music to determine how I wanted to go with the music because the artist doesn’t really play a part except to be like a horse in a stable.

So far, this game is amazing even though there are some flaws and I highly, highly recommend you check it out. It’s a fun game that can get frustrating at times because the music industry is actually frustrating but very enjoyable, all in all. You have got to play this game. It’s playable on iOS and Androids devices.

Le1f
Le1f’s music is really an interesting sound and with very interesting visuals. I first heard of him from his video “Wut”

I think this video is great because not only does the rapper show his skills in flowing with his deep, gravel voice, he shows different body types and even uses White bodies as props, which isn’t commonly seen. Usually it’s Black folks being used as objectified props (Ex: Miley Cyrus, Die Antewoord, Lilly Allen, Mackelmore, Grimes, the list goes on and on and on and on) so the imagery is really striking and (certainly refreshing). That and he has an uber crisp Harlem shake. Le1f would have been a better rapper to tote about in regards to gay rights than Macklemore because Le1f could actually count for a better representative of being gay and interacting with hip hop than Macklemore ever could, who’s only song about being gay was about having a gay scare. Not to mention, just like Paganism, gay lgbtq groups have a “White is right” problem, which is probably why Le1f doesn’t always get the shine (as well as other gay rappers who are minorities) that he deserves.

If you want to know more about him, look him up here

Website

Twitter

Soundcloud

Orisinal Games
I used to play these games so much, I loved them dearly. Back in around 2003-2005, there weren’t a lot of gaming sites online and I remember coming across Orisinal as something cute and gentle but challenging. And these games are created and coded by a girl, which is fantastic! Look at all the work she’s done.

Orisinal

I really like the game High Delivery, a game where you collect flowers using a fan and deliver them to heaven. The sound and visuals are very serene, I love the game very much. I highly recommend playing it.

That’s all The Arts! for February! Next week is Ask Black Witch. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

No Sale

Being BW, I like having a decent comment section. Then occasionally I get this gem:

Post

The derp is real in this poor attempt of someone trying to hustle their wares. Wow. I explained in the comment but let me break it down in detail because I must say, I do not – I repeat, not - like posts like these. I thoroughly got rid of the emails but the email was the first dead giveaway this was fake. You know, I’m going to hit on all the issues bit by bit in list form! Yaaaaaay.

- Email was self-promotional: No site representing Black Witch has anon. If you have something jacked up to say, you have to identify yourself. This means, to post a comment on BW, you have to post an email and the person so “refused to leave a name” the exact same email in the text that they did in the email section to post a comment. Usually, people put down their own emails in opposed to someone else’s, even if they thought the business was great because, well, they’re not that business’ PR person. This person covered their tracks poorly.

- Jacked up story that makes not a hair of sense: So, apparently this Cynthia – I thought you weren’t going to leave a name?! – person is trying to get back a guy who cheated on her…but he’s upset she (rightfully) freaked out and won’t speak to her. Yeaaaaah, this almost totally confirms the story was not only made up but by a guy. The sexism in the passage is too great to be realistic. Usually anyone who has been cheated on generally don’t want anything to do with the person who got caught. If anything, it’s usually the cheater that’s begging to get a word in edge-wise, not the one who has been betrayed. This story makes no sense. Must go in deeper.

“My name is Cynthia and my ex-boyfriend dumped me 8 months ago after I caught him of having an affair with someone else and insulting him.”

Wait, your cheating boyfriend dumped you because you insulted him after catching him with someone else? Yeah, that makes no sense, I tell you. This is how I could tell a guy wrote this because it minimizes the usual reaction a woman has to a dumping (hint: it’s a lot more than mere insulting going on because women happen to be people and people don’t like betrayal in their personal relationships in general). It somehow frames the guy as if he did nothing wrong and his chick – Cynthia, here – totally freaked out and it was an inappropriate response. To be honest, I thought the message first said, “He caught me having an affair with someone else” because of how the sentence was fraimed.

“I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me”

So you want your cheating boyfriend back in your life – remember, this dude wronged Cynthia, not the other way around – and he won’t talk to you because somehow you bruised his ego while he trashed your trust. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. This story is so fake. Usually it’s the cheater that has the hardest time ever talking to the person whose heart and trust they broke, not the person who was betrayed. If anything, they want nothing ever, ever to do with the person. Even if they do come back, it’s not without some genuine time away to think about things.

“I was so confuse and don’t know what to do, so I visited the INTERNET for help and I saw a testimony on how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problems to him….. he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my peter came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married.”

The person writing this is probably older than they would like to portray themselves. Seriously, who capitalizes the word “internet” like a Christian does with the word “Lord” or “God”. If anything it sounds a bit churchy with going “I saw a testimony….” Just doesn’t sound right, like the dude is trying to seem bigger than big, like a life saver somehow. Oh wait, I forgot, the spell caster did say he was a guy while parading as Cynthia, so I was dead on. So pretty much Cynthia asked spell caster to cast a will-bending love spell (which is a major no-no in many spell-caster eyes, regardless how they feel about karmic repercussions or otherwise because nothing says “I love you” quite like “I will zombify you into loving me.”) to drag this totally-not-interested-in-her-anymore guy – Peter, his name is – back to her and warp him into marrying her, despite not showing any change to his personality. Begging for forgiveness and being brainwashed into marriage doesn’t count as “Will try to be a better guy.” Happy Valentine’s Day! Clearly the love is so strong in this mythical relationship.

“Once again thank you oral spell caster, you are truly talented and gifted contact his email:[derp@thisisbullsht.never - BW]“

“Oral spell caster”? That makes not a whole lot of sense in the context of your message. If it was over the internet, how could you know what the person did to cast a spell? For all you know they did this with bunch of chickens:

chickns1

chickns2

And called it a day. That and the rear-loading of how wonderful this no-name caster is a bit much. I understand singing praises but this sentence strikes me as a fourth wall starting to show cracks.

Look, I don’t mind people wanting to attract new business, especially other Pagans. Thing is, there’s a way to go about it and this most certainly ain’t it. I don’t advertise any spell casters on here usually for a variety of reasons but it still would be better to ask than to try being slick like this person. I don’t appreciate that. Start your own side business using your own means and resources if you want to do pay-for-pray but don’t spam my site.

Next week is The Arts! Let’s see who’s getting featured!

- Music Inc.
- Le1f
- Orisinal Games

Snowdrift Opinions

Wow, it’s been a two weeks of race stuff for me. First, it starts with after the Grammys and how everyone is pissed that Macklemore swept the rap section (I don’t really have an opinion over that musically since I’m firmly in the rock part of the business but Nikki Lynette wrote a really good piece on it as a Grammy voter). And finishes with some why-don’t-you-spoon-feed-me pandering.

We’ll start with the music stuff since that happened first.

See, on Tumblr, it all started with an ask that was very well answered by Something Wratchet about why folks are up in hackles over why Macklemore won, particularly over Kendrick Lammar because it is like the best metaphor of gentrification ever:

Ask answered by Something Wratchet

And what it turned into was a quagmire because a random White Pagan with, as he says, no knowledge of music, music industry or anything that could translate into intellectual discussion on this topic decided to stumble in and throw around what is usually nicknamed White Opinions everywhere and then shifted almost seamlessly into White Tears. Yep, this guy, Pathfinder-Tarot, is exhibit A, B, C and D of why White Pagans can’t make friends with minority Pagans so easily. Check below and click to read the whole thing:

Click to read the whole thing

Click the pic to read the whole thing, it’s a doozy

White Pagans really should collect this guy and talk to him about why for a person with pathfinder in the name, he’s hella lost mentally. I even had the chance to pull out the bingo board (and the ignore button because if he’s following me for my content, maybe he could try elsewhere since he doesn’t deserve it as a non-ally, maybe leave the religion altogether.)

The bingo board o’ destiny!

'Da Bingo Board o' Destiny!!!!!! Derailment Bingo

‘Da Bingo Board o’ Destiny!!!!!!
Derailment Bingo

You can print and play at home. I didn’t even read the rest of the whinging after a certain point because for someone who called me angry (how dismissive, I’m apparently angry because y’know, that’s the only setting I can be on when discussing race because if there’s one thing White folks who are clearly caught up in their feelings don’t like, it’s how the person they’re talking to might have a point) he’s just crying and crying and crying to the tune of “won’t someone please think of the White people! We’re all human! Can’t you just ignore the past like we want you to?!” Seriously, if the guy is this bereft of knowledge of why Macklemore’s win is problematic racially, he probably has zero clue why the lgbt community doesn’t like this guy so much as media does. His song “same love” starts off with him basically saying “I had a gay scare in 3rd grade because I was doing all the stereotypical gay people things I learned that only gay people do, glad mom set me straight”. If the best song about queer love is by a dude who had a brief worrisome moment that he might actually be queer, thaaaaaaat’s saying something.

And folks, if you’re going to talk to me about privilege, don’t be like Pathfinder-tarot and not know the difference between different forms of privilege such as class privilege from racial privilege because that Ukraine reference is from way out of left field in his futile attempt to derail the conversation. I’m academically trained in this stuff, please know what they hell you’re talking about before getting caught up in your feelings. Especially if you’re going to say you’re not an ally because to say you’re not an ally to a minority, this is what they hear: “I’m a racist and proud of it. I wanna be best friends with George Zimmerman and regularly watch Fox News. Obama is the worst president we ever had because he’s Black.” The only opposite of ally is pretty much bigot, there’s not a lot of gray area and if you’re declaring to be the opposite of ally, then you don’t deserve respect.

I do appreciate the assist from Tumblr user, thedappledsky because for a 19 year old, she’s very sharp as a tack and I like that because this guy was super annoying and would not shut up, good gods. Even brought up his zodiac sign as if that’s some major declaration of will or something impactful. That’s how you could tell he was way out of his league on the conversation and deserves to be hung high for other White Pagans to see why they should just keep their mouth shut or if they believe minority Pagans are making up all the interactions they have. Seriously, collect your boy. I’m sure he has an ask box on his tumblr so whatever you want to say to me, just say to him because I don’t care to hear it.

The next one is an ask I got while I was at the Imbolc ritual:

click to read answer. Apparently the tumblr is deactivated now

Click through to read answer. Apparently the tumblr is deactivated now

 

Dude, I know she really means well and usually meaning well would get a nice response out of me but talk about lazy. Seriously? Does she really need to be spoon fed about how to be an ally personally when there’s a) Google b) my website, which has a new section called “race” c) Abagond wordpress, which is in the Links of Interest annnnnnnnd d) There was this really popular comic about how to be a White ally, as explained by a White ally, JamietheignorantAmerican, that made the rounds on Tumblr:

Click to read it all, it's really good and very informative

Click to read it all, it’s really good and very informative

I think I saw this comic in passing at least 5 times in a week, there’s no way this girl could have not seen it. While Bonnieeleven asked really nicely, it annoys me greatly when asked these questions because it means White folks think it’s my job to personally educate them only for them to never retain the information. They’ll forever make flubs just to come back again to a different person to be spoon-fed information once more. There is Google, there are tons of information out there to help teach them what to do from folks who could explain it better than I ever could. There’s that comic I just posted!!!! That comic gets it! There’s even really useful links at the bottom of that Tumblr for White allies!!!! If you can research metaphysical tomes that takes hours to find, then you can do a basic research on how to use your privilege in a constructive manner that doesn’t turn into pulling a Macklemore or being an insufferable White liberal (which is pretty much the same as pulling a Macklemore). Actually, I like this writing by The Cynical Witch titled The PPC and STFU. She gets it, too. Read, understand and comprehend. This part drives the point right home, after citing my work:

It is not my job, or hers, to educate you on the myriad ways you (and I) benefit from white privilege. Instead, I am going to ask the long time members of the pagan community to stand up. I want to know: why are you letting this happen?

Simple, ain’t it?

As for Bonnieeleven, I wasn’t able to respond to the follow up ask but it seems it would probably have not been worthwhile:

bonask2

First of all, seems like this ask was cut off at the start, I couldn’t find the beginning anywhere. Second of all, why is it so important I give you a pat on the head? One should be fighting against racism and other forms of bigotry because it is the right thing to do, not for brownie points from the oppressed. I could sit here and assume this chick is secretly a Tea Party member and die-hard, Southern bred Republican, complete with Texas education and she should still be fighting against racism and other forms of oppression nonetheless. Would it bum her out? Most likely. Should it stop her? Nah, not really. Look, if you want to be a good ally? Do some leg work instead of asking me to do it for you and expecting brownie points. Allies are better appreciated when they fight oppression for intrinsic reasons (right thing to do), not extrinsic (the oppressed might give you a cookie).

If White Pagans wanted to be of some use to their own religious community, they should cut the White guilt and White anger and just educate themselves instead of annoy their minority Pagan counterparts. It’s not our jobs to teach them how their privilege is harmful when there’s so much info they can find themselves.

It’s Ask Black Witch, where you ask me questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Let’s get started!

Hi, I am also a African American woman who practices witchcraft but I consider myself a Christian witch choosing to worship god in a feminine and masculine aspect as my only divine energy…. Do You think it’s possible to be a Christian witch?

- Janelle B.

I actually was a Christian witch when I was starting out. I pretty much went: Christian -> Christian Witch -> Christian Pagan Witch -> Pagan Witch. Christianity is a religion whereas witchcraft is a lifestyle. You don’t necessarily need a religion to practice magick (even though a lot of books are constructed in this fashion). I understand that some may find it confusing due to Exodus 22:18 “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” and figure that’s pretty clear cut but here’s the thing: that part was kind of mistranslated, partly for political reasons. Originally it was, “thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live” but then got re-edited to “witch” when King James felt like re-writing the Bible (who, I’m sure we all are aware, isn’t the first to give the holy text the Wikipedia treatment) which was also during a witch craze (it’s where the term “witch hunt” comes from). The word for “witch” as we know it didn’t exist back then and the word that did exist was mainly meant for “poisoner”. Also back then, what we consider were witches were also healers and doctors so to go with the old school idea of a witch, you would pretty much wind up with “thou shalt not suffer a doctor to live”, which is a unarguably bad idea.

Getting back on track, you’re still putting focus on the Christian deity (who I think is never really classified as Dude or Dudette even in the Bible unless consciously put in there so you’re still ok), you’re not letting other deities come before this one and this is just to improve your relationship with the Christian deity. You’re fine, it’s very possible to be a Christian Witch. You’re pretty much practicing magick with a strong emphasis on Christian texts, lore and ideas. This means you’re gonna have to do a lot of research (which I strongly advocate) but yep, it’s doable.

And I know some folks are thinking, “How can you be a Christian Pagan Witch?” Basically, that means you’re Pagan with Christian centered beliefs and you practice magick in line with those beliefs. So instead of the basic Lord and Lady or God and Goddess, you believe in and pray to the Holy Trinity, study the Bible (and all related texts) and other stuff Christians do but fuse it when your Pagan beliefs where appropriate.

Hello, I’m from Baltimore and I’m 22 & black. I’ve always been fond of pagan lifestyle and all things elemental, soul origins, starseeds etc. I’m very I tune with black history so I am thrilled to have found a page/source coming from a black, female, pagan. I was wondering could you give me some insight on how to start practicing magick the correct way. I also believe I have premonitions in my dreams. When I wake up I write my dreams down and they always happen either a week, month, or a year later.

- Tara

Yay! Baltimorean Pagans! Y’all need to show up when I do meet and greets so Black Pagans can meet each other -_- At least be at the Imbloc high rite at Cedar Light Grove tomorrow. I’ll be there!

I think the best way to practice magick “the correct way” is to really just read a lot. Since you’re in Baltimore, I would highly recommend going to the Central library on 400 Cathedral St. and you’ll find books on the second floor of the Business and Social Sciences section. It’s smart to not only read books explicitly for Pagans, Wiccans and neo-Pagans but also read books on history, religion (various religions, Paganism dates back to the Paleolithic period, there’s a lot to cover), cultures (again, Paganism dates back to the Paleolithic period, there’s a lot to cover), and whatever you plan to get into most definitely. Want to learn potions? Good, pick up a book on herbology, chemistry, medicine and biology. Trying to do sigils? Pick up a book on symbolism, history and sigil working. Think outside the box and don’t strictly depend on Pagan authors to tell you everything you need to know. What you need to know is proper information, that’s all. Want to focus on Pan-African magick? Research everything I just told you but take on some added books about the Black experience all over the world from children books to dusty, heavy tomes so you can thoroughly understand what you’re doing (and avoid becoming an Afriboo, you don’t want to be that). Check out some books that I have listed on this site, especially books in the “The Arts!: Samhain Edition” posts. Here are also some Afro-centric books that you shouldn’t overlook:

Encyclopedia Africana (This book is freakin heavy, I’m lettin you know now.)

The African-American Family Album (This is a great book, I strongly recommend it)

And Mythology Dictionary is your friend. Also, it’s not irregular to have precognitive dreams, but it is good you’re taking notice of them, however. Maybe you can notice a trend to tell the different between a pre-cog dream and a regular dream.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the idea of noetics being used to investigate/explore the physics of witchcraft???

- Madstand

I actually researched noetics a little so I wouldn’t be answering incorrectly (I get rusty, too). Noetics, everyone, is “A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences,” which is explained on the front page of Noetics.org.

I’m usually iffy with science trying to get into metaphysics of any sorts (and I mean by “metaphysics” is its stark meaning of “transcending the physical”) because science doesn’t really do a good job with anything that can’t be measured physically and thus even scientific tools and techniques can be lacking. It is possible, I’m not arguing that, but extremely difficult. I’ve seen this with science’s interaction with psionics and even with religion. And already with psychology as we currently know it, a science which is based on something as intangible as the human mind and, by extension, the human experience, has holes big enough to ramp a monster truck through because it’s so limited in its knowhow of the human mind and the human experience when it is not hegemonic. If psychology, which has a lot of difference organizations, money, people and schools of thought, can’t see past their own limitations to improve their work, I don’t expect anything better of noetics to explore witchcraft, which is really diverse and thus would require some serious thinking out the box, which I’m convinced science has a hard time doing usually. To explore witchcraft means you’d have to sooner or later explore the people behind them because magick doesn’t always simply pop up out of nowhere, it is created and brought forth. This isn’t to say magick doesn’t exist without people but people definitely add something to the mix, we don’t live in a vacuum separate from nature and life itself.

Basically, noetics to study the physics of witchcraft sounds great on paper but that’s it. Only on paper because it will be screwed up in practice, especially since there “subjective” inner knowledge will be strongly limited.

And that’s all of Ask Black Witch for this month!

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