Category: AfroPunk/The Establishment


So, this is the last Black Witch post on Afro-Punk. I first started there three years ago when there were regular columnist rotations such as Dorm Room Diaries and T.O.B.E. and even cartoonist Keith Knight was here. I think that Afro-Punk has indeed changed since then and rapidly at that and it feels a little out of place for me to stay here as a regular columnist. I’m sure it’s odd for some of the newcomers to see my columns pop up in the midst of the usual Afro-Punk postings because I hit a pretty particular niche (the Black and Pagan demographic).

I’ve had an awesome run there. Some notable memories:

- Helping photographer Nastassia Davis get put on BGLH (Black Girl, Long Hair) and in turn, on Afrobella. Yay, helping friends out.

- Meeting Lupe Fiasco in NYC and having him actually know who I was before I could really get two sentences out my mouth after “Black Witch” and him asking for my business card because he was happy that I gave his rock band, Japanese Cartoon, some shine. He’s a really cool person that I am really happy to meet and even chill with. He has a brilliant sense of humor.

- Got bored at an Afro-Punk holiday party, found an empty room at the [Walberg Center in NYC?] where nothing but a bunch of DJ’s were mixing and scratching one by one on stage with vinyl. It was so cool seeing seasoned musicians mix, fade and cut the old school way in the hometown of Hip Hop itself.

- Running into Solange Knowles at the 2012 AfroPunk Festival, it was a massive surprise. Pharrell Williams was too.

- Running down Reggie Watts at the 2012 Afro-Punk Festival in full gothic lolita (how I didn’t fall is beyond me) for an interview

- Hanging out with the Afro-Punk staff at Free Candy for Battle of the Bands last year, I really appreciated it

And many more memories. It was fun but I think it’s time for me to go.

Now, BW isn’t finished for good, I still have my own site here on WordPress, a Tumblr, an FB fan page and a Twitter account. It’s just ending on Afro-Punk. It’s nice to have gone on for so long though, it’s really nice. I didn’t think that BW was going to last for this long, especially not years. There’s still a lot I want to do and a lot I want done with Black Witch so, again, BW isn’t going to disappear off the face of the internet.

So, here’s the final Black Witch post for Afro-Punk:

“It’s October!”

I can usually tell when October is rolling around. How? My inbox starts to fill with some of the most idiotic questions I could possibly ever encounter.

Here’s the basic format of how these questions will be:

Poorly written: No matter what, these questions will always be written with a cross hybrid language of text speak and illiteracy. And no matter how much I ask them to repeat themselves in basic English, they still write as if they’re sliding their face across the keyboard. And it isn’t a case of “maybe English isn’t their first language”, I’ve worked enough with international folks (and speak multiple languages) to know what ESOL English looks like and it is usually better than what I’m seeing.

Subject matter is usually pretty derpy: The most letters I’ve gotten now are people thinking the Devil is paying them a visit or they want to be supernatural beings. I just…come on, someone send me some good questions, not some plain Jane subject. It seems everyone thinks Satan is personally pestering them. I know the dude gets around but jeez, I think even the devil would take some time off of trolling humans. There’s a whole world of spirits and energies, I’m sure humans can’t be that interesting.

Attempting to sound desperate/powerful: I don’t know why but people will talk to me like I’m their last and only hope in the C-rate Marvel Comics movie that is their life. I know to the untrained eye, I look like I’m going way too hard on these kids but trust me, once you have been practicing metaphysics for a long enough time and field enough questions, you start to get the sensation that it really isn’t as big a deal as these kids are making it seem.

Conspiracy Nuts!: These guys come once in a while but they’re memorable when they do. With their “I saw so-and-so with the Devil” accusations of some musician being part of the Illuminati or how the President has a secret conspiracy to sell America to China because Obama is somehow a secret Communist Socialist Nazi that hates America (yet will somehow put up with its bullsh*t as the first Black president), these guys are clearly off their rocker. They could use a hug…from a strait jacket.

Spell Requests: Despite the fact I have said countless times that I don’t post spells on BW, I still have people asking me for magick or for me to cast spells for them. Firstly, if you want a spell casted for you, that will never come cheap if you want it done well. Secondly, I don’t cast for others. Third, I said I don’t pass out spell info, why did you think this was just as good an idea to approach me with?

Look, everyone. I love hearing from my readers. I think it’s neat that y’all care enough to actually talk to me, I really do appreciate that. However, when it comes to asking me questions, I really prefer good questions in opposed to the Treehouse of Horror variety. Good questions make me think and I can feel like a real conversation is happening. With poor questions, I just feel like I’m simply receiving crap by the payload. It’s not that I mind answering questions, I just need them worth my while.

When it comes to metaphysics and the internet there, you can research your question before popping it into my inbox. I always appreciate a well thought out question.

Now that October is here, I guess it’s time to get things into swing.

As it is October, that means that this post starts the Samhain Pickers Giveaway. All you gotta do is submit an email to thisblackwitch[at]Hotmail.com with “Samhain Pickers” in the title and in the email, put down this info:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Type of divination (cartomancy, tarot, natal chart, dream interpretation)

Three winners will be picked on Samhain (Halloween). Only one submission per person!

Also there will be an Ustream chat on Samhain/Halloween at 8 PM EST. Be there!

So, Samhain is around the corner and Afro-Punk asked me to write some pieces on it. No problem. Already was on it.

Samhain is Halloween and one of the biggest holidays for witches, wiccans and Pagans and personally one of my favorite holidays. It’s so nice and spooky and fun! And you get free food from your neighbors, always spiffy. Halloween is a fun holiday but also a holiday filled with a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions. Let’s start with the biggest misconceptions: The spells

Firstly, please do not sacrifice animals on Halloween. It won’t work, regardless what you’re trying to accomplish and this is the 21st century, Witches such as myself have other, far simplier methods for magick working. I don’t sacrifice animals and neither does anyone else I know and I’ve been practicing Paganism and witchcraft for about ten years now. Again, no sacrificing animals, not necessary. It’s cruel to the animal (and illegal). And in case I have to throw this in there: no sacrificing people either. There are other ways to cast effective spells that doesn’t involve a bottle of chloroform and a burlap sack. It’s cruel to the person (and illegal). No killing, no maiming, no harming. Sign up for the military if that’s what you’re into.

Now, the spells. What I touched on above is a pretty big stereotype, misconception and a harmful one. People who usually know nothing of magick but watch a lot of movies get this thinking that killing or maiming living things for Halloween will have some spectacular effect that frankly won’t happen. From summoning the devil to trying to revive a long dead relationship, there is really no need to take the life of another to make these silly things happen. None. Whatsoever. At all. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or earnest the intention of the spell, sacrifice is not necessary at all. While it is true that sacrifices has happened in Paganism’s history and still continues in some pockets of the world, they’re done by extremely skilled practitioners and with respect to the animal’s life, not some random loser out for serial killer-esque kicks and giggles so again, refrain from doing any harming. No blood.

Since Halloween is associated with magick and spells, that means I could bet dollars to donuts that many people from the everyday dimwit to the well-seasoned witch is attempting some spell of some sort, whether they got the spell from the internet or from a book on witchcraft that very night. Actually, I usually don’t since it’s like shopping on Black Friday, not my thing, everything is clogged and not interested. I rather terrorize my friends for free snacks or watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror, I can cast spells any other time of the year, it’s no big deal. Other witches celebrate differently or the same, we’re our own individuals.

Next to spells, there’s the belief of summoning the dead, usually via Ouija board. Though it is correct that Halloween is the day that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest, talking to the dead is no simple task. It’s too simple for things to go wrong and I would strongly advise against it. I don’t mess with Ouija board and neither do any of the witches or occultists I know. This is not to say no one does, but those who do are usually pretty skilled enough to handle anything that could go wrong because despite the honest fact that you could be trying to summon Jimi Hendrix, it’s still very possible you could get a demon or some other malevolent spirit. Without proper skill, anything can come through if you don’t know what you’re doing and most folks don’t. Last anyone needs is a destroyed room or haunted house.

Halloween, having its starts in Ireland as Samhain (meaning “Summer’s End”), is about the passing of the year and a day of the dead. It was originally the New Year’s Eve by the Celtics of the British Isles and France, marking the “death” of the old year and the “birth” of the new year. It was also regarded that the invisible veil between the living and the dead grew to its thinnest point at sundown, thus communication between the worlds is easiest.  As written in A Witch’s Halloween by Gerina Dunwich, the folklore goes:

“Every Samhain, a deity known as the Lord of the Dead was said to gather together the souls of all men, women and children who had died during the previous year, and had since been confined in the bodies of animals while waiting to enter the underworld. With their sins expiated, they would be set free to begin their journey to the Celtic underworld of Ti-na-n’Og, whose open gates awaited them.

In addition, homesick spirits were free to roam the mortal world and return to their old earthly homes to seek the warmth of the hearth fire and the company of their living kin. Families prepared offerings of fruits and vegetables and hilltop bonfires, which illuminated the night sky with an eerie orange glow and served as a guiding light for the souls of the dead. These fires were kept burning throughout the night to frighten away any evil spirits intended to harm the living.”

This is roughly how Witches, Pagans and Wiccans celebrate. It is celebrated as a day of remembrance of those who have passed on or as “The Witches’ New Year”. This does not mean that we don’t have Halloween parties or anything of that nature, we just treat it a little differently than the average person. There are various rituals and divinations that can be done and the best way to go about them is through books. I highly recommend the book A Witch’s Halloween by Gerina Dunwich.

That’s all the Black Witch for today!

Also, this is the third annual Samhain Pickers where you submit your info and if you win, I do your divination (Tarot, cartomancy, basic natal chart or dream interpretation).

How to submit:

Name

Email

Type of divination

Send to thisblackwitch@hotmail.com with “Samhain Pickers” in the subject line. Winners are picked on Oct 26. Good luck!

Busty Girl Comics
This comic I found on Tumblr is one I have grown to love so much. Instead of the average comic or modern media which usually oversexualizes breasts and dehumanize the person who has them, busty comics looks at the perks and strifes of women who are considered “busty”. Showing breasts as a natural part of the female body instead of something that’s there for guys to stare at (which dehumanizes because it removes true ownership of the body part (the woman) and assumes that it is the ownership of the public, which is very wrong), it re-humanizes women and make them into whole beings like they should be. Busty comics is very crafty at not necessarily desexualizing breasts but normalizing them as body parts, which is what they are.

What I also love is that the comic is actually diverse. Not “Oh hai, I’mma chuck a Black person in there once in a while so no one’s gonna call me racist, tokenization is a lifesaver,” but actually diverse. This is what really makes me love the comics because I can show it to friends and they’ll take to it easy, not go “Eh, if I wanted to see an online White out, I’ll download a snowstorm app.” To see yourself is important, especially since breasts are sexualized differently due to race so it’s important to show the faces of various women having the same problems/successes because all women need to be re-humanized in opposed to be involuntarily desired simply for body parts.

Look at these below:

 

What I also like is that the tumblr is also used as a place for women to celebrate, not hide or slut-shame, their bodies. They can talk about what they like about their chest, what they don’t, the reactions that they get, the reactions they wish were strongly outlawed (cat calling, street harassment), how to manage their size and everything in between to make lives better for them. Some women are busty, some are flat, some are in between but it’s great to have a site for women to be able to not have their bodies seen strictly as if it exists for men and taken apart, derided, humiliated and dehumanized for that exact reason. If a girl has a big chest, it doesn’t make her a slut or “easy” no more than is it okay to assume a Black person must be nothing but a criminal or servant simply because they’re dark. That would be nature (and yeah some girls get surgery on their chest, you can also change your skin color, too thanks to the wonderful world of racist and sexist bullsh- I mean the wonderful world of science and medicine.) but culture, which is usually pretty androcentric (male-based gaze) likes to blissfully ignore that part. Busty Girl Comics flips the idea on its head and brings back the discussion to the group usually silenced the most on it, the women who have them.

Busty Girl Comics
BGC FB Fan Page
BGC Twitter
BGC Store

Princeless
A common complaint in the world of comics is how so stereotypical it is. White, male, heterosexual, doesn’t think strongly on minorities and women. Even I have made the complaint because it is very true: for example, think of all the advertising for The Avengers and try to remember how many times you saw Black Widow in comparison to the rest of the guys. Try the Justice League, think about Wonder Woman. Alright, movies. Name any popular or well known female superhero lead film. Actually, name five. There’s just a drought of anything that ain’t a White guy running around.

Also, it’s not every day to find a comic book that has a Black female lead and one that is not drawn as if by 14 year old boys. I came across Princeless on Tumblr and pretty much tracked it down until I managed to read a sample copy. I have to say, it is definitely a story any Black girl could relate to for once. From the Queen doing the lead character Adrianne’s hair to Adrianne setting a prince straight about how Whitewashed all princess tales are.

What I like about Adrianne is that she’s witty but not obnoxious. She’s rational but not an emotionless robot. She’s a realistic character with a strong personality, something that I like immensely. On top of all that, she responds to the stereotypes that women in comic books and fantasy are often held to with a fighter’s realism and outstanding humor.  Princeless is a story for all ages. It doesn’t fasten to silly gender stereotypes and lets the characters be themselves instead of be idyllic.

So, what is the gist of the story about? Well, it about a princess named Adrianne who becomes trapped in a tower thanks to her parents on her sixteenth birthday. They force her to stay there, protected by a dragon, until some prince can come along and save her to be awarded the prize of becoming the next heir to the throne. Adrianne doesn’t really dig that so she decides to set off on her own and rescue her five other sisters trapped in different dragon-guarded towers across the land.

Here, read the first issue! Keep your eyes peeled for a Princeless giveaway!

Princeless (Action Lab)
Action Lab Comics Twitter
Princeless Tumblr

Afro-Punk Festival
It’s that time again! The Afro-Punk Festival is coming ‘round again! Last year’s got canceled by hurricane Irene (and NYC prolly being shook about the earthquake that happened earlier that week)  but this year seems to be a go! It’s August 25 – 26 and most importantly it’s free.

The AP Fest. will be in Commadore Barry Park in New York, free to the public and here’s some of our line up:

Erkyah Badu
Janelle Monae
Toro y Moi
Bad Rabbits
Gym Class Heroes
Ninjasonik
Straight Line Stitch

There’s plenty more! There’s also going to be BMX riding and skateboarding so if you like to live life on wheels, this is for you. Keep checking Afro-Punk for information. I’ll be at the AP Fest most definitely.

APFest – For all your updating needs

That’s all The Arts! for this month. Next week is Ask Black Witch so send your questions in!

Firstly, I wanna start off with saying that starting today, I would like to try a contest that will stretch through next Friday, April 13. It’s a literary contest to celebrate the fact that it is Poetry Literature Month. That means I would like for you readers to send in your poetic works, it can be text or it can be on video. The winner will be featured on this month’s The Arts! So get them in! You can submit them through twitter, the Black Witch fan page or email. Check the About Me/Contact Me page for contact info.

Secondly, I’m planning a first ever BW Meet and Greet for June 9th. It will be in Baltimore, my hometown, so keep your eyes peeled for details. Onward with the column.

Sex and sexuality in Paganism is pretty opposite from Christianity. Christianity in general is known for being a sex-negative religion, meaning that it paints a pretty negative picture on sex and sexuality such as regarding sex as something carnal and animal-like, taking away from the pureness of the spirit, and that sex should only be done after marriage and even then only to be makin’ babies (insert your Gingrich jokes here). Then there’s the idea that contraception gets in the way of God’s choice to decide if you’re going to have kiddos boppin around or not. Ooh, and that since sex is only to have kids, there must only be vaginal sex, everything else is sinful. And it has to be between two people of the opposite sex, no more and definitely no less and ab-so-lute-ly betta ever evvvvvvva never be between two people of the same sex. Apparently that’s like binking your toaster or pet dog [insert your Santorum joke here (like I just did, hehehe)]. Men should only want it, women should have zero drive (it would be sinful if they did) and everyone should be abstinent until their wedding day or someone’s gonna get a lot of shaming going on. And don’t even think about it either, that’s also sinful.

Paganism in general is pretty sex-positive. In that sex is seen as part of nature and that it’s natural to have sexual drive and desire. We have at least two holidays for it on the Wheel of the Year, Beltane and Ostara (Spring Equinox). We’re pretty open to contraception, the first use of contraception was used in Mesopotamia and early Egypt – Egyptians invented the first condom, actually. Sexuality is seen as natural so if you’re heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, demisexual, pansexual, etc etc etc, it is what it is – as long as it is consensual and everyone is on the same page. Whatever you do in bed is your business. What you fantasize or view or experience is also your own business – as long as you can keep it under control, know how to separate what goes on in your head versus what goes on in the real world and how not to go overboard/become a creeper about it. There’s more emphasis on responsibility than guilt here. And more cultural choices for women to express themselves without as much slut-shaming that occurs frequently in Christianity. For those who don’t know that term, it will be explained later on, just follow me for now.

Now some parts of Christianity isn’t wack, such as waiting (abstinence) and wanting to have a fair foundation ready before having kids. I agree with those. Sheesh, even Pagan parents are kinda going “Maybe you should wait. Like, waaaaaait.” But instead of Pagan parents simply telling their youngin’s to wait for their wedding day, they’re more likely to tell them to wait when they’re ready and responsible enough to handle all the responsibilities that could come out of it (*koff*pregnaciesstd*koff*)…and perhaps with a side lean of “when you’re out my house and old enough to afford a house” slipped in. Pagan parents may be more open-minded but that doesn’t – and shouldn’t – stop them from being parents.

Now we got that snippet out of the way. Back to the slut-shaming and suches.

Slut-shaming is pretty much condemning women for what they wear, things they do/say/act and if they are not ashamed of expressing themselves outside the constricting gender role for women as usually defined by culturally Christian standards, maybe by having casual sex or don’t mind watching pornography. For example, say a woman walks down the street in short-shorts and a halter top. Slut-shaming is to shun her if she tries to speak her mind (though she may have a Ph. D., probably personally turned down a position from Obama himself just to work with United Nations and is most likely going to secure a Nobel Prize or two before she hits 60) because of the assumption that since she’s not dressed like a “smart-looking woman” or in any way that would deny desire from men, she must be nothing more than a whore or easy since she’s “showing her goods”. It would be “okay” to call this chick with the Ph.D. a “slut”, regardless of whether she does or does not have sex, or even to call her stupid because she’s not dressing like she’s about to teach a class. It would be “okay” to touch her even though she doesn’t want the attention and most definitely does not want to be grabbed nor objectified. And if you raped her, society is expected not to blame the guy who wanted her – also known by legal documents as “the rapist” – but her because she was “asking for it” by wearing the clothes she wore.

Yep. Chick with the Ph.D. apparently deserves to be slapped, shouted at, grabbed and sexually assaulted because she wanted to wear her favorite pair of shorts and top,* just like Trayvon Martin totally wanted to get stalked and gunned down because he decided to get Skittles and rock a hoodie while Black. Ugh, I swear, when will people stop bringing things like rape and murder upon themselves? Sheesh, it’s not like guys can control their groins and glocks and such over clothes.

Yah, sounds stupid, huh?

That’s slut-shaming, it’s part of rape culture, which is a different column/post. Paganism does have its douchebags but because the religion has so much based on matriarchy and is pretty women-friendly – we’re best known as “Goddess-based” religions, remember – there’s less slut-shaming and quite more gender equality here. Although sometimes guys feel left out because sometimes the male counterpart of the religion can be seen as diminutive in comparison to the female part of the religion but trust me, we’re pretty balanced for the most part.

Sex in Paganism isn’t all orgies and stuff like that. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how that stereotype came to be but I have the idea that within the Christian framing of mind, anyone who wasn’t going by their way of sex rules were probably considered raging nymphos because usually the opposite of chaste virginity, as taught in Christianity, is sinful, lustful and very taboo sex sex sex. So with this framing/perspective, something as vanilla and mainstream as basic spanking can seem like it’s a banner of kinkiness and the person remarking upon this can sound like they’re 12. Now does Paganism shun sex with multiple partners at once? Not really, we’re not Christianity. I think the Pagan perspective on sex is kinda the three S’s:

- Be Smart
– Be Safe
– Don’t be Stupid

To break it down:

Be Smart: Learn about contraception, debunk as many myths on sex and genitalia as you humanly can, learn about STDs, figure out your stance on the abortion debate and kids for yourself (do you want kids? Would you or your girlfriend/wife/whatever be comfortable with having an abortion if a slip up occurred?), learn about condoms and lubricant, learn about consent, learn about what safe sex is, learn about yourself and what you prefer sexually, know your limits and respect them, learn about Plan B. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and know that there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin if you want to be one and know that having sex does not make you an adult nor does watching a lot of pornos make you an expert on sex.  Read Dan Savage, listen to Loveline, write to Demetria. Just be informed.

Be Safe: Consent is your friend. No one wants to start off the night having fun and finish the week trying to explain to the cops how you didn’t rape him/her, it wasn’t like that at all, officer. Get tested. Try to stay away from risky sex choices which could lead to unwanted pregnancy or STDs such as doing it while under the influence of anything or with unstable people. Use condoms and always have a backup plan in case that breaks and remember, consent is your friend. All sides should be willing, not one coercing the other into whatever sex act is about to take place. And “stop” means “stop”, or whatever safe word is established to play the role of “stop”.

Don’t be Stupid: No coercing anyone. It is not a must if you’re Pagan to have sex. Not at all. You can be a virgin all your life, it’s not a bad thing. You could wait ‘til marriage and no one should have a bone to pick with you. You could have casual sex and that’s not a problem. You could be strictly monogamous and no one should care. You could just plain wait and that’s okay. Anyone who tells you different most likely does not have the best intentions for you or simply bought into the same nonsense that you must have sex to become a whole person/have wisdom. If wise Sages came from boning, most of the perils of the world wouldn’t exist. You don’t have to perform the Great Rite with anyone, it’s not necessary for ritual. If you’re uncomfortable, leave. If everyone is not on the same page, get everyone there or just say, “Eh, rather not.” Don’t treat people like they’re walking sex objects, fleshlights and dildos have been invented for a reason. Don’t believe sex myths (“You’re not going to get pregnant only through anal sex”, “if it isn’t vaginal, it isn’t sex”, “If he pulls out, she won’t get pregnant”, “Can’t get STDs from oral sex”, “Can’t get pregnant during your period”) and don’t pressure anyone into sex. You could say hi to them, be nice to them, even shove them out of the way of a train or go back in time and rescue them from the World Trade Center Spiderman style and guess what? They do not owe you sex. At all. Ever. Kindness doesn’t work that way.

Sex in Paganism is about responsibility. We don’t have a Devil or any other absolute evil to dump blame on. And I mean honest responsibility, as in, if you’re not ready, don’t do it. Not “Sweet, a religion that will let me have tons and tons of sex!” Newp. You still have to act like a reasonable person, preferably treat people (both genders) like human beings and deal with rejections, missed chances, wack communication and more stuff that comes with being human. And since Paganism tends to have some feminism injected in it, that means we frown on rape culture and objectification a little bit more than the major three. A person is their own being. If they want to wear a halter top or show off their pecs, then that’s it. It doesn’t mean, “Come here and grope me or cat call me”. It just means someone has high self-esteem and pride in their body. And since we’re more welcoming to homosexuality and bisexuality than Christianity in comparison, that also means the person who might hit on you just might be the same sex, even if you’re not the same sexuality so if you have some outdated gender perceptions, prepare to get brought up to speed. Everyone is responsible for themselves and what they do to others, pretty much. Does this make Paganism the perfect religion? Heck no. We have some serious short comings ourselves but in comparison to the norm, we do have some progressive streaks going.

* – I would have written “While female” to parallel “While Black” but you can be female while Black (I am) so it would have been a bit redundant and I prolly would have gone off a tangent about intersectionality, street harassment and rape culture. Another topic for another time.

How Romantic

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

I talk about a lot of things here on Black Witch, and believe you and me I have more up my sleeve, but ever notice I’m not very flowery in my talking? As in, I don’t talk about the positive energies that are in rivers and how I would love to wash my clothes in said river because it connects me to mother earth and how I wish I could fetch wood from a forest to heat my simple home out in the empty but lush wilderness?

No doubt these are beautiful notions that harken back to a “simpler” time but it’s an over-romanticized notion. To romanticize something means to see a perspective with rose colored glasses on, even to the point of glorifying it. Think about modern hip hop and how most of its listeners are White, Suburban and dream of being the gangstas they hear so much vomiting from their speakers but would never fully trust a Black person near their iPod nor would dare live in the hood lest they find a very real reason to picket and shout “We are the 99%”.

The depiction I very commonly hear is that living in nature is simple and that mother earth would always provide and life would be happy. Wroooooong. It was not easy living among nature pre-modern technology. The days were long, winters were brutal and there’s a reason tech exists today from refrigerators to cell phones. Living with nature was not at all fancy and cute, where all you have to do is hunt, farm and amass. Try “not get eaten, killed, suffer a bad crop and struggle”. Walking miles to access water, having to hunt while not become the hunted, make sure nothing is poisonous and God/dess help you if the crops catch a terrible virus or infection. Make your own clothes, churn your own butter (given that you have cows to milk (which if you live in the woods, you don’t)), make your own food from scratch, build your own house from the actual trees around you, etc etc etc. Shucks, the game Oregon Trail is more accurate than the average Pagan writer who spouts that getting back to nature is as easy as sitting on a rock listening to the wind while waiting for the cauliflowers to come in.  

The whole life-would-be-better-living-among-the-wolves-and-trees isn’t for everyone. The average person (especially the average Pagan) would not have the skills to survive in the woods because those skills aren’t instinctual, they’re taught from centuries of trial and error (otherwise known as “natural selection”) and Google can’t bail you out of everything. Yes, life was simpler back then because of the lack of cell phones, laptops, Mp3 players and 9-5 jobs buuuuuut harder than today because of the lack of cell phones, laptops, Mp3 players and 9-5 jobs. There was a different set of skills and expectations living among nature than it is today. “Different” doesn’t mean “easier”, just “different”. And it doesn’t differ regardless if Pagan A wants to live in the woods and Pagan B wants to manage a farm. Again, it isn’t for everyone and the knowledge isn’t instinctual but learned.

While some people could totally and realistically adapt to such environments, it isn’t because they judge on how well they camp. Some Pagans I have met said that they could fare well in the lush forests of North America because they know how to camp and living out in the wilderness is simply one big camping excursion. Not really. Y’see, when you camp, I bet that the supplies taken are meant to last the duration of the trip. Stuff like food, cooking instruments, water, etc etc. And depending on where you are, there may be an outhouse already constructed for use nearby. Not the same as living by your own wits and for those who have camped, there are notations of realistic difficulties, which are totally acceptable.

What usually set off my alarm whenever the discussion of being close with the earth comes up is usually the implication that once out in nature, there will be nothing but them and the universe, that they will have plenty of time to ruminate and absorb the vast wilderness of nature or always and forever be in sync with nature and all of its beautiful, glorious ways. That’s nauseatingly cute but I do doubt that everyone out in the wilderness saw their living in such a manner, as 24/7 nature worship than a means to survive. While there was incredible reverence for the divine members of nature and the universe, there was still the undertone of “Pleeeeeeez don’t destroy my crops/house/family/life.”

Now, I’m sure some reader is going to be moody about the whole column, probably say that nature is beautiful and I simply don’t recognize it and things like that. That when they went to go be among nature, they never felt a sense of serenity quite like it before. I’m not going to discredit them, their feelings are legit but I’m not going to sit there and believe that living in nature is as easy as some would like to believe. It isn’t easy and as I said before, most Pagans couldn’t hack it. Having a romanticized perception of the task is just as dangerous as simply wandering into the woods one day and trying to start your new life from there – actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two actions were related. To see the arduous task as if it was built into your DNA could get someone killed.

Instead of dreaming that living among the bears, wolves and poisonous berries is ideal or wanting to wash your clothes in the river enable to connect with the positive energy in such river – start a little garden, learn botany, get into worthwhile environmental activism (keyword: worthwhile) and go camping from time to time. Unless you can actually survive in the woods and know how to keep that going, just invite nature into your life and learn that not everything is all about the energy. Some things are just about living.

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

As a diviner, I love getting a plethora of questions – but not always. Sometimes I rather be much left alone instead of sought out for advice or getting a constant question and/or from a constant person which makes me wanna pack up and go home.

The question that I get waaaaaaaaaay too constantly as a diviner? Love or death but love has got to take the cake along with the pastry shop it sits in and the bakery it came from. Too many love questions, far too annoying. Look, I understand everyone wants to be loved but to constantly hear over and over, “When will I get a new boy/girlfriend”, “Should I date this guy/girl?” etc etc etc, it can be pesky. Why? Because the person will forever ask since they feel like they have a back-up system, namely the diviner they decided to latch on to give them the ethereal 411 on whether the person they’re dating or whether their health is up and running well (pertaining to the slew of death questions I get).

The problem with asking too much is just that, you’re asking way too much the same question or a multitude of questions enough that I would question if you’re capable of handling life without a helmet and a GPS sewn into your undergarments. It’s one thing when the person asking for a reading is friends with the diviner because there’s a background already established and the readings are just another element or resource in the friendship. The diviner is likely not to mind too much because as a friend, they want to see that readee succeed, be happy or do well for themselves. The readings are just another form of checking up on the readee/friend and making sure they’re making the right choices and foreseeing the bad ones. That’s a different take than some person who is contacting the diviner over and over because the diviner is, well, a diviner. There is no background and frankly, the diviner could be going through something serious in their own life but the readee would expect the diviner to put all that aside and get to work.

Media generally likes to tout diviners as mystical, magical creatures that are much like non player characters (NPCs) in video games and movies – they’re just sitting around doing nothing until that person who is in desperate need of having their palm read to make sure the girl they’re dating is the one they should or will marry bursts forth, foaming at the mouth in anxiety. Too bad that, according to my phone, email, work documents and other pretty realistic things, that’s not the case. The average diviner is not going to be waiting around for someone to run in like they’re on fire wanting a tarot reading just like the average diviner is not some creepy-looking Gypsy with a floofy turban and a crystal ball that’s ready to drain your pockets. Shucks, even diviners who are Gypsy aren’t creepy-looking Gypsies with floofy turbans and crystal balls ready to drain pockets. It’s stupid to say, “We’re people, too” but one would be stunningly surprised that it’s very commonly forgotten considering how many times I’ve had my phone blown up by people too paranoid (I like to call them “metaphysical hypochondriacs”) to live life on its own since they met me or anyone else who was remotely decent at offering advice towards the human condition.

When people ask way too much, it’s usually for things that can be solved with some common sense or a stern talking to. When it’s questions about love, I usually don’t have to do a reading, I just have to ask, sit, listen and respond because often time people play up problems far bigger in their minds than they actually are. It’s not a reading they need, just someone to sit there and listen/respond to their problems. However, it’s sadly not a soundboard these people want, oh noooo. Not “magical” enough, too normal. It’s got to be with something “unusual” such as playing cards or interpreting someone’s dream or handwriting. Something that may involve me wasting more time and effort than I actually have to all because someone is interested in seeing what they perceive as an interesting trick. This means I could tell them all the wicked nonsense I could drum up in my brain and so long I’m standing behind a tarot spread, that person just may believe me. It won’t matter if I’m right, wrong or just plain crappy at reading the future, these people will keep coming back because of the visual appeal.

And that can make any diviner moody.

Look, we diviners are good at telling the future because we worked pretty hard at it, believe it or not. Buuuuuuut we’re not fortune cookies and not fortune telling machines because life would be pretty boring to be someone else’s sidekick to their own super droll life. I try to make sure that I only have to do one reading a person because if you have to come back, that’s a problem. It’s one thing if a person I’ve read for comes back months later for a follow up because time has passed and variables may or may not have changed which could change the trajectory for the potential future but a person who consistently calls me because they want a reading a month later, a week later, a day later, an hour later – that’s real annoying. Like I said, it’s one thing if they’re a friend (especially since I’ve done this to my diviner friends in low times) but it’s another story altogether when it’s some person that I don’t really know that wants a reading. And another. And another. And another…

When it comes to subjects such as love and death, the future can change tons sometimes. And asking a diviner fifteen million times when “the one” is going to come by because the last reading wasn’t so positive doesn’t help nary a single iota. Yes, we know it’s a big deal, very important. Yes, it feel like no one is ever going to come in your life and hey, you might be right because not everyone falls in love. Yes, men/women can be weird/fickle/crazy/wack/[insert negative gender stereotypes and roles here], despite the glaring fact that the most common denominator of all these bad relationship is the person asking for the reading. But they have got to remember: divination is simply another way to give advice. It serves as a mirror of what’s going on, has gone on and is going to happen (with strong potential). The change lies within the person, not their ability in pestering someone to give constant and repetitive advice and that change takes time.

Yup, time. That little abstract concept that nobody who is waiting for something or somebody likes. Instead of being stagnant and nagging your local diviner with the same question over and over and over and over, create some change. Advice was given already and it’s not going to change because nothing incremental has happened. That means living life for itself and stop asking a billion questions on every minute detail, it doesn’t prevent mistakes, wack coincidences, freak occurrences and other things that are out of one’s control.

In short: once you get a reading, stop asking and start living. Unless you are friends with the diviner, then just gauge it out with them. And if you want love, adopt a pet. (And as an alternative, try the shelter pet project)

And now that it’s October comes the second annual Samhain Pickers Divination Giveaway! What do you get? A divination reading from me, Black Witch! Last year’s went ever so well, let do it again! All you have to do is submit an email with “Samhain Pickers” in the subject line and include in the email:

- Name
– Email address
– Type of divination desired (Choose from: Tarot, Cartomancy (playing card), natal chart, dream interpretation)

Your email is your entry form and you can only submit once. How the picking is done: I list the emails/entries as they come in so if you’re the first submission, you’re entry #1, if you’re the thirteenth submission, you’re entry #13. I use a random number generator (via random.org) to pick three winners on Samhain/Halloween. Acceptance for entries start now so submit! All readings are confidential.

Also there will be my second annual Black Witch Samhain Ustream chat which may be done via the Afro-Punk or Black Witch Ustream, also going to be on Halloween so be there! Times will be announced next week!

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

NB: I will be short on time to do the Ask Black Witch for this month due to the Afro-Punk Festival so if you have a question to submit, please send it now! Check the About Me/Contact Me page to learn how.

What’s a fairly common question I get when doing divination? Death. “Am I gonna die?”, “When am I gonna die?”, “Can you see when my death is?” Seriously wanna make you speed up the process while doing Darwinism a favor.

First and foremost: Yes, you’re going to die. Everyone is. It’s a terrible fact of life that is not easy to come to grips with but everyone you know and love, including yourself, is going to kick the bucket hardcore one day. It’s not a fun fact but a true fact. Unless someone’s got some immortality secret, everyone is bound to meet their Maker one day. The main question is whether it will be sooner or later.

I don’t do death divinations in that, no I don’t care to predict when or how you are going to die and frankly, I couldn’t care less. I know it’s a common thing in movies and television for some normal individual get a palm reading and the fortune teller says with a knitted brow that their end is very near, possibly at the hands of some very misfortunate events or a psycho-killer. Or maybe the normal person will get their tarot cards read and dun dun duuuuun – the Death card shows up.  Then the victim dies or escapes death or helps someone mistakenly die or escape death somewhere down the line in the script. Cut and scene.

What’s up with all this dying nonsense? Diviners aren’t death clocks. Unless reeeeaaaaaallllly close and possibly related to something very imminent such as health taking a turn for the worse or something like that, death isn’t that easy to spot and certainly something diviners shouldn’t be looking for. Besides, divination isn’t even that scary, not even the Death card.

Revelations Tarot

Let’s talk about the Death card, one of the most popular divination depictions in entertainment, especially when a plot twist or foreshadowing is needed to keep the story (and viewer’s attention) going. It’s card number 13 (XIII) in the major arcana in your average, run-of-the-mill tarot deck. Usually defined with a symbol of death almost regardless the deck so it could be a scythe, the grim reaper, a skeleton, etc. It’s always refers to death somehow. In the deck I use, The Revelations Tarot, the death card is symbolized by the Hindu death goddess Kali dancing while balanced on a scythe and a skull lingering in the background. Now, I’ve had this card show up in my readings for myself tons of times and haven’t freaked out once over it. It’s just the death card symbolizes more often than not a symbolic death instead of a physical death. It’s the end of something, a job, a relationship, education, etc etc. It could be downsizing at work, a break up or a graduation, something that’s going to bring the current or future situation to a stop. Nothing vicious there, everything has to end someday, especially for something new to come along. The Death card is more about transformation than someone simply croaking. The only way I would ever concern myself with the Death card and actual death is if the Three of Swords were right beside it because that’s usually symbolized with a heart that has three swords in it and that’s a little piece of lore that I was taught. Even then I wouldn’t say, “Zomgz! You’re gonna die! …Can I have your watch and tv?” but more along the lines of, “I think there might be a health warning in this spread, have you seen your doctor lately?”

If it’s not tarot, it’s palmistry I get the “Am I gonna die?” questions. I seriously don’t know why but I’m a-guessin’ it’s got something to do with stuff that’s either on the big screen or small screen. That and lore which floats around and tells you that you can be told of your death on the palm of your hand. Either that or people who probably have no lives that are desperately trying to come off as funny or cool but succeed only as coming off annoying and stupid sounding.

It is possible to find out when you’re going to croak through palmistry because unlike tarot, it’s a more expansive form of divination that looks at more the forest than the trees. If you can work the timing on your hands very well (a pretty tricky talent to hone), it is possible to learn of your death but I doubt those who are suicidal or have abrupt deaths all have short life lines on their palms, there’s more that goes into situations like that which would spell it out. Things such as proneness to bouts of depression and a complex that makes a person refuse help or deny acknowledgement of the notion that they need help in the first place (can lend itself to suicide), to have a run of bad luck or terrible coincidences, etc etc etc (could lend itself to accident).  Palmistry uses timing using either two things, the mercury mound under the pinkie finger, the venus mound resting as the padding of the thumb which measures the life line. However, I just about never do death timings because as I have stated before, I have no interest in them. Besides, you’re going to find out one day.

Even with the availability of being able to discover timing of death, it’s not all a sure thing. Just about nothing in divination is written in stone and hence has the potential to be avoided. Keep a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, etc etc, things of that nature which naturally extends life. Granted, there are some things that just can’t be stopped in life for some reason or another. Sometimes, something is bound to happen one way or another but hey, that’s life. Either way, yes, you’re going to die. Everyone you know is going to die. People come and go on this earth always, you and those that you know are no different.

It’s just a matter of when, where and why and that, you’re going to have to find out on your own.

Next Week on The Arts!: Short Films!!!!!!!!!!!

- Sijia Luo
– Vancouver Film School
– Wong Fu Productions

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

Lord, I saw this on my twitterfeed a few weeks back, someone had a dream about Janelle Monae and they thought it was yet another one of their “layered, complex, and seemingly random” dreams (I seriously quoted that, copy and paste, no edit). Monae was a Marvel comic-styled superhero. Not something mega far-fetched, mate.

Y’see, I don’t mean to single this one person out but he resembles a people that I all too commonly come across as a dream interpreter, the my-dreams-are-soooooooooooo-deep-Freud-would-have-to-name-a-new-theory-after-me-just-to-only-partly-understand-it type. Or in other words, the “speshul snowflaek” type.

Ah, special snowflakes, they think they’re so unique. The term stems from the childhood chatter from adults that everyone is as unique and special as a snowflake because no two flakes are alike (although I am pretty determined to prove that wrong, I have been known to staaaare at snowflakes for hours on my black gloves, mentally cataloguing whatever I see until I get a match. No luck yet.) and hence are comparable to people, who have “unique” experiences and lives. Now, I’m all for making people feel special and happy. The problem is, is that this creates a sense of over-inflated self-esteem for those doing absolutely nothing but existing, hence the term “speshul snowflaek”, which is written in such a fashion that reflects the moronic qualities these people generally hold about themselves. Nothing is wrong with being unique but not when it’s for something not very unique. For example, this blog is unique in subject matter (albeit that is starting to dwindle in itself expectedly because other Black Pagan blogs are coming about) but not in the fact that it is a blog. There are millions of blogs on the ‘net. A special snowflake is a person who makes something so common or trivial seems grandiose, kinda like wanting applause for getting open a difficult jar of pickles. They are an annoyance to dream interpreters everywhere.

The mind is a very intricate place, granted. It is woven together from genes, experiences and personal revelations or lack thereof. If the mind were a simple box to tinker in, psychology would not be the expansive and perplexing field that it is today and mental problems would very rarely, if ever, reach to the point of debilitating without the aid of any pill or expensive session with a therapist. Mental institutions would be unheard of and most movies that talk about insanity would look like the very pieces of utter nonsense that most of them actually are. Dreams are the free (if you don’t count lucid dreaming) expressions of that mind and has its many symbols and deeper web of meanings so yes it’s going to be pretty baffling at first, uneducated glance. The reality is though, thanks to many centuries dedicated to understanding the mind inside and out, the mind is still a perplexing state but not nearly as much as it was 200+ years ago. Dreams are indeed layered and complex and seemingly random but seriously, you just described practically everyone, excluding those who may have a strong case of alexithymia, a disorder which gives those affected logical, rational dreams (as in a dream about a bowl of cereal is just a dream about a bowl of cereal) due to lack of imagination. I can tell you with honesty and experience from doing dream interpretations for others: no one has the weirdest or quirkiest dreams to rule them all. All dreams can be off the wall in their own respects, there is nary a dream that stands out to me with any “whoa” factor and I’ve handled hundreds. Not. One.

But still that does not stop a horde of people who claim so hard that they are indeed that speshul snowflaek, that one person with a mind so deep and amazing that they are indeed an enigma. An enigma like none other. That all who experience the intricate labyrinth that is their mind, they will marvel in response at the amazement of what their expansive brain can drum up during their mortal slumber…even if it is Janelle Monae in a cape drawn Marvel comics style – which I think can be spotted online somewhere, check fyeahjanellemonae tumblrs first.

There’s nothing wrong with taking fascination into dreams and the mind, I wouldn’t be doing any of this stuff otherwise, but please don’t think that you’re the uniquest of them all to walk the earth. If you have been raised in a culture that is acknowledged by someone in the psych field or psych-savvy over the course of history, I can probably explain away your dream with the help of a good dream dictionary and some background in both psychology and sociology. The mind is a puzzle but every puzzle, no matter how unsolvable, has pieces to them. Even if they don’t fit together perfectly or something is missing, they have something to put it all together with. That’s minds and dreams for you.

Got crazy dreams? So do I. So does Janelle Monae.  So does your best friend. Obama too. We all sleep. We all dream. We all have dreams that make us sit up and go, “Wait, what?” They’re going to vary among us because of who we are and our backgrounds and some of the symbols are going to be personal to us because they affect us differently. Think about it: if Obama, Monae and I dream about the White House, a concert stage or a forest we’re gonna say something different each because of our separate statures in life – but they can be explained somehow or related to something. It just depends on how far one’s mind can reach to understand the links.

Don’t be a speshul snowflaek. Just be you. You dream. They’re weird. It happens. You’re a person with a functional mind so definitely feel free to mention your dreams and write them down and stuff because it’s very helpful in you getting a better understanding of yourself. But please, know that you’re not the only one who dreams of their favorite vocalist as a superhero. It happens all the time, trust me.

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

Bus preachers. I don’t know if they exist anywhere else but they’re a staple in the Black community. They’re Christians who either are pastors doing unnecessary overtime or wannabe pastors preaching what is not entirely their flock. They believe everyone should hear the word of God – regardless whether everyone wants or needs to or not.

They bleat to their captive audience the glory of the Lord and His Father and how good They are to the preacher and how all should rejoice and be gladeth in it for this is the day that the Lord has made. All who refuse the notion is an outright sinner that will verily soon feel the dark persecution of the Lord for unknowingly siding with the Devil and his wicked ways. Everyone else should get right with their life too because Judgment Day is comin’. It’s comin’ and there won’t be no foolin’ God so be faithful to the Lord, be gladeth in His creations – or suffer.

God, how annoying.

I’ve got nothing against the Christian God, really, but some members of his fan club ought to go on mute when it comes to preaching in public places. It’s rude, myopic and frankly, very annoying. They’re not blind to the idea that not everybody is Christian but totally deaf to the notion that Christianity is not for everyone so all that preaching could be going down a sink. It is not fair to me, the Pagan, that I have to hear you preach simply because the Lord compels you but if the tables were turned, it would be problematic and praising the Devil somehow.

I don’t mind discussion of religion, I think that’s fantastic or I wouldn’t go through the trouble of having a comment section, a fan page, twitter, email or P.O. Box otherwise. But discussion is very, very different from preaching. Preaching is not discussion, it is very one-sided and the only time the preacher allows talking is for the call and response and the response isn’t a free response, but something you’re supposed to say. Preaching is great in church (given the subject stays on God, Christ or the Bible) because all the listeners are supposed to be there and attentive, just not on a bus filled with diverse beliefs where the people who don’t believe the same don’t need to hear all that preaching.

Some may think it isn’t right but I usually challenge bus preachers (street preachers don’t bother me as the audience isn’t captive, just walk away). Hey, they felt like spoiling my ride and my quiet, surely they should expect some repercussion somehow, some way, some day. It’s fun to debate sometimes and since just about all arguments I have heard before, it makes for nice entertainment. See, I was raised Christian, these Christians can’t go super far being challenged before they trip up somewhere and start backpedaling – and that’s usually where the fun begins. I’ve learned that bus preachers are pretty ignorant about any religion (and even other denominations) that aren’t theirs and actual political religious history, hence mad easy to trip up.

I am very aware that it is a must for Christians to spread the word of God but there are ways to go about it that doesn’t have to come straight out of the “Unbelievably Annoying” category. Paganism doesn’t have (nor I think condones) proselytizing but in my experience of dealing with Christian friends, readers and people, what works best is to not blast it out and force it down people’s throats. Express it through living, that goes a lot farther because that person is just doing them, nothing to get mad or annoyed at and everything to admire. Not only that but it doesn’t kill them that they’re willing to understand beliefs that aren’t their own. See, then you, the Christian, may feel free to talk about your faith because I don’t feel harped at about mine.

As said before, Pagans don’t preach or proselytize – it’s part of the religion not to yammer broadly in the ears of those who don’t want to hear it – but I have heard of Pagans who have participated in doing this, just to the lower degree of waiting to be provoked instead of standing up and ruining everyone’s commute. Pagan fundamentalists, they’re called. They’re fewer in number than the Christian variety but look and act the same, just with 14% more crazy and 32% more self-embarrassment. I’ve never met one (or it would be up here on Black Witch toute suite) but from what I heard, “wack” isn’t word enough for these people. It’s something beyond “trifling” and somewhere in the neighborhood of, “Lol, wut?” Granted if I did meet one, I’m afraid I would – excuse my momentary vulgarity – have to dick with them just because. They spew outright nonsense as super pseudo-environmentalists, probably couldn’t tell you a single country the equator passes through and their minds got way too hyped from Live Earth. They don’t understand the nature part of Paganism (which is 99% of the foundation of the religion) and honestly, they could afford a piping hot cup of Shut The Hell Up.

My main thing? Don’t shove your religion down other people’s throats. Just live, leave me alone and followers will come if they feel it in their hearts. Have a nice trip.

On a lighter note, tommorow is two things: The Black Weblog Awards live ceremony (which, sadly I won’t be physically there for) which will be broadcasted at the Black Weblog Awards site and the pre-orders for this blog’s very first book Black Witch: Life from the Black Pagan Perspective, vol. 1 starts. The book will drop on Sept. 9th through Lulu publishing so if you want to pre-order, go to the Black Witch Shoppe page for info.

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

I made these when I was the president of my university’s Pagan Student Union. This mini guide is basically for those who want to seek out a psychic parlor to get a reading and not want to be jipped. Now while I do personally suggest people simply learning divination on their own since it’s a lot cheaper and not that difficult, some folks would like to still go to a diviner for guidance. Here are the tips:

Faker faker #1: Conduct of diviner
Does the diviner act like a normal person or a car salesman desperate to make a deal? Some cons will bear down on you like a hawk or even try to give you some info about yourself that you probably already knew or that you gave away. For example, she may note that you’re a traveler or a big spender. You may think that’s novel but you could be using a very fancy and expensive phone or letting off that you like to be adventurous.  A diviner is a normal person, just like you, and should act so. If they act the least bit odd, walk out.

Faker faker #2: You seem to have to keep paying for more information
You originally walked in for a mini tarot reading for $5 and now you got yourself a full tarot reading with a special palm love reading, astrology job reading, a special good luck kit and what the weather is going to look like in the next month before you head to Sri Lanka, though you have no travel plans whatsoever. Total: $350 and counting. A diviner shouldn’t be pressuring you to pay for more than what you want. Sometimes you just have to be assertive and tell them that you just want the reading you asked for and that’s it but they will try to lure you with cliffhangers (“Oh! But I see this mysterious someone that could be coming into your life. S/he may be the one maybe, I could look further with a palm reading—but that’s aside the point…”) but don’t take them. It’s just more sensationalism to get you out your money. A good diviner usually does a reading without side commentary. All divination is, honestly, is to give sound advice. Nothing outrageous, just normal advice.

Faker faker #3: Gotta give up something “Cursed”
Somebody you love or you are gonna die! Quick! Fork over that heirloom diamond ring your mother passed down to you — It’s cursed! Seems like the more pricier it is, the more cursed it is. Capitalism sure can be a downer sometimes. However, be rest assured that most likely the stuff you own doesn’t have a hateful spirit or something bound to it. If the diviner is trying to give you a serious scare story for something in particular, chances are it’s expensive and can be pawned for a lot of money. I think you should call the cops on this one, this is racketeering.

Faker faker #4: Tricked into casting a spell/you’re “cursed”
Your ancestors somehow slapped Abe Lincoln and stomped on a dodo, now you’re paying the price as their kin. To correct the past, you have to buy $400 leather shoes from Nordstrom (can’t be from anywhere else), spit in them at 4 AM for a week and bathe in lye for a month. If what they ask you to do sounds against your religious beliefs, downright insane, illegal or something you would laugh at someone else for doing, you shouldn’t do it either. They’re pumping money out of you somehow and screwing you over in the process. The truth: Most people aren’t cursed, just a run of bad luck. People don’t really jinx each other that much. If the diviner says you’re cursed and want you to do unethical and pricy stuff to nix it, you’re probably not. Proceed with running and calling cops.

I’m not sure if many, if any, saw the old website or even read that part (it was all super glitchy) so I figured why not put it up here where it can be seen more? I wrote this after teaching Divination 101 classes for PSU after talking about it as a whole and noticing a lot of people have no exact clue how not to get hoodwinked.

In addition, I had on the “Truths and Myths about Pagans” page a small FAQ about diviners:

Firstly, I personally can see how divination can be turned into a cash cow. All you need is something people can’t entirely explain but believe works, desperate folks in need of guidance and those same people to have nice amounts of money (gullibility works fine too) and then you have religion—I mean a cash cow. 

There are cons in pretty much any field. Quack doctors, lawyers, priests, scientists—you name it, someone did it. Divination is no different and there’s plenty about. Cons, like Ms. Cleo, usually prey on people who they believe are in so much distraught they don’t think sensibly about the advice they’re given or money they’re about to fork over. Often a con uses what they see, what you say and fear tactics (“oh, so and so is going to die if you don’t…”) to get your cash.

So there you have it, a mini-guide on how to get your divination done and not to have your pockets done in. I still recommend my readers to learn divination themselves but if you don’t want to at least now there is a guide that can tell you what to look for and what not to go for. I’ve never gotten a reading in a psychic parlour before – I’ve been in them but mainly to mess with the pseudo-diviners for kicks. But many I know have and it’s unbelievable – and downright funny for some of them – how they got the wool put over their eyes and so soundly at that. Still got questions? Just throw them in the comments or email me or fill out an Ask Black Witch form or any other way to talk to me. As always, I answer them all.

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