Category: Pagan Life

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.


  • 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.

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.


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.

No Sale

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


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:



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:


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.

Why Be Here?

So, I’m researching when is the next upcoming high rite to attend at Cedar Light Grove*, which is on February 1st. In this I am reminded of feeling a bit of being different in rituals of past. I usually attend the high rites (which is pretty much the Pagan equivalent to only going to church on Easter and Christmas if you were Christian) because I thought it would be nice to be a bit more social. Maaaaaaan, I feel like a fly in the milk there. The people at the Grove are very nice but I miss being around people who look like me. It sucks when you scan the crowd at the circles and it’s pretty much nothing but White faces and you’re clearly the only Black person there. That and continually thinking, “Good gods, can we get some Mos Def or Lupe Fiasco up in here when we do the music or rhythm parts? At least some ?uestlove,” while time checking the phone sneakily, wondering when ritual will be over.

I have brought it up, of course, to one of the higher ups of the Grove, Ms. Karen. She mentioned that there were Black members of the Grove at different times in the short history the grove has been there but they never seem to stay for the long haul. One thing I do like about Ms. Karen is that she reminds me of Ms. Donna, who I got my first bearings from in Paganism and is thus, fairly straightforward. However, even she jumped quick to mention that they’re not ousting minorities, the minority members are just leaving for their own reasons. I didn’t think the Grove would do anything major to drive people away but it would be nice if some Black Pagans stuck around longer. (Hence why I put up the place’s name and their next high rite in the first two lines of this piece, hint hint.) She suggested that I talk to one of the further higher ups on having a workshop series there for Black Pagans. Although, I didn’t really get a chance to really talk to the people I needed to because it was super late night and discussing business while super sleepy is generally a bad idea. Updates on that will be in the future if I’m successful or not.

I think when I’m there, it reminds me usually of the feeling I get when I’m in massively White spaces…because it’s a massively White space. Sometimes I’m hesitant, just waiting for someone to say something or do something racist and or classist, usually in the form of a micro-aggression. And usually, it happens. When I was at now-defunct Mystickal Voyage, it was someone trying to tell me that slavery ended in 1865 but women are still oppressed today so somehow, I don’t experience racism (nor sexism since apparently by her logic, Black women don’t exist) and that I’m being a wet blanket about a throwback topic from the 1950s. Riiiiight. And I couldn’t really freely interact because being a Black person (or really, any minority) in a majority White space, you have to watch what you say and do because the last you need is someone thinking you gave them the pass to be as openly bigoted as possible and as strongly as possible. I can’t really joke about the fact I was raised in the inner city because someone is going to make a “ghetto” joke or even say the n-word because “Oh hai, a Black person is here and they’re talking about the hood! Let me show how street I can be, freshly learned from Macklemore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Miley Cyrus!” Dude, no.

Let’s pause for a second. I don’t care what anyone else feels, Black, White or otherwise. But I don’t like nor can really stand the n-word. I don’t say it. I don’t like it when others say it either. Not “I don’t mind when Black folks say it but White people can’t.” It’s “I don’t like anyone saying it, Black or White. It’s a crappy word. The end.” Just don’t say it. Seriously. Especially if you’re White. Reaffirm your Whiteness in other ways. Like, join the Tea Party or Westboro Baptist Church or something.

Moving on – I don’t like the feeling I get because I can’t really be me if I have to be on guard regularly. I don’t have to worry about rape jokes, that’s nice. I don’t have to worry about homophobic jokes, huzzah because I don’t like hearing them. The atmosphere is pretty progressive but the thing is, it always seems like race is the last frontier for people to be actually progressive on. Since folks are so afraid to talk about racism (and racism intersectioned classism) because it involves deconstruction of Whiteness and bringing a lot of fetid cesspool thinking to light and people not always feeling happy about themselves or the cultures they were raised in, they just power straight through blindly with all the hidden bigotry they can muster. You know, having the Isis statue with the ski slope nose but freaking out at the person who mentions that Isis shouldn’t have a ski slope nose…nor be lighter than Beyonce or Nicki Minaj. Being ok with having a Yemeya statue that looks like Brighid but nearly going into convulsions when someone brings up that Yemeya should be waaaaaay darker than that. Like, making her darker than 12:01 AM would be more accurate than having her lighter than 12:01 PM. Basically, it’s hard being comfortable somewhere where you should be comfy because you have to worry about been seen as an object to interact with than a individual person.

Thing is, being in White dominated spaces, it’s hard to have a list of topics to talk about. When I’m around other minorities or simply other Black folks in the same backgrounds I’m in, I can talk more freely about things because in case I make a fleeting reference to race or culture, I’m not going to be most likely greeted with micro-aggressive racism/classism right out the gate because the other folks understand where I’m coming from. There’s no risk of hearing, “Not all White people are like that”, or “Well, that’s just your opinion”, or “Isn’t that racist against White people? If the roles were switched, people would be crying racism,” because if I just want to talk about Whitewashing of deities, how Pagan media is so snowpiled to the point it’s almost phony when people say that the face of Paganism is diverse…but somehow keep showing White person after White person after White person, then I want to talk about it without having to hear people trying to reinforce the status quo. I want to be able to talk seamlessly about things, not pit stop every five minutes to explain cultural differences because the person I’m talking to didn’t understand my reference, or worse, learned about the reference from whatever Seth MacFarlane has made and The Wire.

Hey, I still remember the one time one of the other folks at the Grove touched my hair without my permission. I have OCD. Not “Oh, I’m so ocd about how my pens are lined up”, I mean, I have been officially diagnosed with it at least three times. I have had very poor experiences in regards to the fact folks just seem to think I have zero need for personal space (actually, I need a lot, usually). I also have several years (around a decade or so) in martial arts training. I don’t like it when people grab my hair, plain and simple. I’m not a petting zoo. Though the person apologized fairly profusely, it still bugs me because I’m natural haired and it’s really common in White spaces for some random person to up and go yink! if you happen to have an afro or dreads. While I surprised myself for not hitting anyone (remember, I’m a martial artist and this happened behind my back), I still don’t appreciate anyone just randomly touching my hair/head in any way, shape or form. Plus, it makes me concerned that it could happen again in the future because just like any Black person who has been in mixed crowds, just because you explain you don’t like something done to you doesn’t mean folks are going to respect that and stop doing it. If that were the case, racism probably would have been solved a long time ago, ditto with other forms of oppression and bigotry.

I’m Black, I can’t separate that from my identity. I don’t want to either. It’s nice that some Pagan groups want to put in more effort than others but something is not attracting and keeping Black Pagans to stay with these groups. This doesn’t mean that the groups are pretty much Stormfront in eco-safe clothing, there’s just something in the culture that doesn’t allow minorities to really be themselves or to still feel very alone. That can make many Black Pagans feel like it’s time to move on or, like me, just come only during the high rites instead of being a more dedicated member and part of the group.

So, if you’re in the DMV area and you want to spend Imbolc somewhere new, go to Cedar Light Grove. I am not sure if they have overnight rituals every high rite (they did for Winter Solstice and Samhain), but pack a sleeping bag if they do and you want to stay the night. It would be nice to see more diverse faces.

Next week is The Arts!, here is what is being featured:

- Dee1
- Love! Love!
- Deino3330

*This post is not for the intended purposes of shading, reading, criticizing, slighting or dissing Cedar Light Grove. For the most part, they’re pretty ok.

Okay, Mr. Illuminati: Part 3

As of recent, out of complete curiosity, I decided to follow the music industry tag on Tumblr. Some of it is good but wow, there’s been an uptick in “I saw so-and-so with the devil” type accusations of Illuminati connections as of recent. Stuff like this:

Ok, Mr Illum Ex-1

Ok, Mr Illum Ex-2

I swear, people have such a limited concept of how fame and the music industry works. The entertainment industry too but we’re focusing on how folks are confused on the on-goings of the music industry. I think the twinge for me is that, as aforementioned in the original “Okay, Mr. Illuminati” and “Okay, Mr. Illuminati: Redux“, I have friends in professional music and in the occult and let me tell you, the two never overlap.

Alright, let’s start from the top of why worldwide success does not mean you joined some secret society that dispersed back in the 1800s. The music industry, as some of you could believe, is remarkably hard to get into and very, very easy to never get as so much as a nick of notoriety, regardless how much time, effort and money you put into it. Given the industry (and its outdated ways) like to hype up to about 10 different people and leave the rest to float for themselves practically, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that some artists have much more stage and media time than others. However, this is due to a lot of people that you don’t see, the managers, the board members discussing who’s numbers are doing well and who’s numbers are slipping, the execs who decide which albums go on the shelf if certain changes won’t be made and who will get the okay no matter what. There are no evil sorcerers or warlocks or whatever have you killing goats and chatting it up with the devil just so Beyonce’s album can sell well. That’s really ridiculous.

I’ve already defined the Illuminati in previous posts as defined by Watkins’ Dictionary of Magic. So you can read up there but you can also read the book International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders which, if not available in your local library, you can order online because holy gods, the stuff people come up with shows that there’s a lot of misinformed (and scared yet dimwitted) people. Usually, I’m glad to hear some creativity but assuming who is part of some secret handshake club is one place where it is brutally misapplied! The book International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders really goes in further depth about Illuminati and other secret societies to put all your conspiracy fears to rest. Seriously, go read!

Alright, moving right along!

As I said prior, I have friends in the music industry and I have friends in occult fields, including secret societies. The two NEVER overlap. Ever. At all. Not under any circumstances. Never. Ever. Evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvver. Not ever.

If that happened, there would be folks having heart attacks all around because my music friends would freak the hell out since this stuff spooks them too. Legit terrifies them. The music friends I already have are already squicked out by the magick stuff considerably. It’s a non-topic when I’m around them. The most I mention is “My Yule/Winter Solstice was nice, how was your Christmas?” and even that is pushing it! Good Gods, I get texted heavy duty bible quotes and Christian prayers that are familiar to what my Grandma would probably memorize from multiple music friends, no metaphysical chicanery happening here. One music person I know is currently on Henny Penny mode after asking his Siri about July 27 and it responding that it is when the Gates of Hades will open and he took “Hades” for “Hell”. Here’s hoping he won’t shovel out a bunker and start shouting about how the end of times is nigh while stockpiling on survivalist guides and canned foods. There’s little room for any magick and occult among my music friends. Some still believe the Boondocks’ wildly inaccurate version of the history of Christmas. With the rest of my music friends that don’t go on high alert around Halloween, they really don’t care. If it has nothing to do with them personally or requires waaaaaay more work than what already being in the music business entails (which is recording, writing and performing), they mainly give nary a whit about it. That includes secret societies.

And this is my music friends. Oh man, my occultist friends would freeeeeeaaaaaak out if someone remotely famous came to their meetings. I’d prolly be the first to hear because while my friends in that group are great at keeping rituals secret, let Jay-Z or Lady Gaga show up, all they would do is squawk. Still keep it silent about rituals and stuff, of course, but squawk like a parrot on a loudspeaker about their brush with fame. They’re not used to interacting with high-visibility music folks like me and trust, it would show. I know this. People in secret societies are pretty normal and thus are also prone to being star struck. My friends wouldn’t communicate secrets, they would be too horrifically bashful and incoherent to make it happen. Or ask a million and three questions about the music and become that annoying, over-doting fan. Even if the musician asked for the secrets of that order, it still wouldn’t happen because of the fangirling/fanboying.

Dude, I could totally see this happening:

Version 1
Me: Dude, we’re gonna meet [random hi-vis musician], try to be cool about it.
Secret Society Friend: Ey, they’re people. I get it. They’re just like you and me.
[Random hi-vis musician]: Hi, I -
Me: You said you were gonna be cool about this!
SSF: [hides behind me]
SSF: [whispers] I think you’re awesome.

Version 2
[RH-VM]: I heard you were in a secret order or something. So how would I join? What are the secrets to fame, money and adoration?
SSF: [thoroughly riveted to the spot]*Mumbles incoherently*
[RH-VM]: Did you hear me?
[RH-VM]: What?
Me: And now it’s time for my friend to go, I told them they had to be on their best behavior when backstage and now they’re foaming at the mouth. Did you really think they were gonna be calm? Just sell cds, do well on Soundscan and read your contract, there ya go. Secrets. Should have already known this by now.

Seriously, that’s how it would go down. No secret handshakes or incredible information. Just one person having a psychobilly freakout moment meeting someone they’ve only seen on their tv or on the cover of a magazine. It would be ridiculous to assume otherwise. Nothing outrageous or ominous would occur. No matter what, people are very much not the cardboard cutout stereotypes that movies and media would like to paint them as and that includes occultists. Besides, I would be major surprised if any of my music friends were doing occultist stuff just to generate fame and fortune on the sneak tip.

Actually, I can imagine that, too:

Me: [Enter dressing room] Ey, dude, I got my pictures from earlier today. You want me to send them to your phone or email…them….what are you doing?
Music buddy: [sitting on floor in full ritual regalia, complete with wand, drawn circle, everything] Shut the door! You can’t knock?!
Me: Fine, sure! What are you trying to do? Did you see The Craft or something?
MB: I’m trying to make sure I have a good show tonight and keep my album sales up so I’m studying occultism. I’m joining the Illuminati. I gotta get up there somehow. Beyonce’s doin’ real well, I – stop laughing!
Me: I’m dyin’! Ha! Seriously? You not prankin’ me about my religion? Some of this stuff looks expensive to prank people with.
MB: No! I’m really tryin’ to summon a spirit to give me a good show and keep my sales up. Why you think this is funny? You’re ruining the ritual! I thought you were a witch!
Me: Are your sales that bad? Geez. Is the tour underwater like that? Why aren’t you talking to your lawyers about that instead of summoning – is that a cat?
MB: …Yes.
Me: … Why do you have a caged cat? Are you about to kill that cat? You know how I feel about animal abuse, right?
MB: I’m tryin’ to summon somethi-
Me: Oh my gods, you tryin’ to kill that cat ‘cuz you can’t sell a record or some tickets? No. You not. I’m takin’ the kitty. Fluffy don’t need to pay just ‘cuz you selling wood in record sales, apparently. What Illuminati gonna let you just kill animals, you dingbat!
MB: You’re ruining my ritual! I read on the internet that you gotta have a sacrifice -
Me: Who are you sacrificing a cat to? And why a full blown ritual now? You know these things take about 45 minutes at least. You have soundcheck! Wait, have you had soundcheck yet?
MB: Gimme the cat, I thought you’d be understanding! I gotta sacrifice it to Beezlebub so I can -
Me: WHAT? Oh my gods, you ain’t makin’ any sense and now you’re trying to murder animals. Illuminati was about illumination of the mind as based on the Christian bible. It was about enlightenment, fool! They believed it could be achieved through the arts and sciences in addition to devout Christian practice. Why would they focus on devils and demons if that’s what they’re trying to not focus on? It was started by a Bavarian law professor centuries ago, they’re not even around! I’m takin’ the cat, dude.
MB: What about my show?!
Me: Have a prayer circle for a good show like everyone else does! And do your soundcheck instead of havin’ ritual! Wait… Have you been killing animals regularly? Dude, are you turning into Tony Jaa?
MB: I just -
Me: Dude, no. I’m about to go CNN about this. Get a therapist, talk to your label about why you not sellin’ well, talk to your tour guy about why your shows make you so insecure that you’re murdering defenseless animals in your dressing room and get a press packet done up for all the animal rights people that are about to get on your case!

Yep. That’s most likely would happen. That’s why I’m glad that the two are deftly separated.

So, in case you’re still mentally lagging: fame ≠ Illuminati or any other secret society. The music industry and the occult are two very different things. You don’t need one to have the other. There are a lot of reasons why some rocket to fame and some don’t. Look at documentaries or interviews about how A&R and Artist Management works and how the music business is doing. There are some really good ones out there, I even found a few on Tumblr under the music industry tag. And I assure you, they won’t talk about secret societies or anything of the sort. Because they aren’t a part of any. If any musician was trying to be like Y. B. Yates or William Blake, that’s more so for their own personal reason, not for their professional career. Even professional musicians have personal lives. Watch this awesome video of Jeff Fester, A&R of Jive Records, he details a pretty good bit of how the industry realistically works.

Blessings to you, Black Witch. I am always searching for information as I have only been a seeker and practicing as as solitary for a little over a year. I want to ask you what the best way is to deal with my fear of the spirit world. When I was in high school and several years after, I had some very frightening experiences after playing with a Ouija board with some friends. Bad decision. Every since then my perspective of the spirit realm scares the hell out of me and I don’t know how to get past it especially because there is no way I can walk the path of a witch, yet be afraid of the spirit world. It is because of my bad experiences that I consider any spirits bad and out to get to me. It’s really becoming a serious problem that I need some advice on how to cope and release the fear. My fear is hindering my practice.

-Maria J.

Oooooh, I know this feeling, it can be really scary working with the spirit world! I understand wholeheartedly about wanting to get past the spooks of interacting with the spirit

world to feel like you’re a well-rounded witch, it really does feel like there’s no way around it. I also understand from personal experience how interacting with spirits and it goes awry can really leave you completely halted.

Best thing I can suggest is research. Research on magickal self-defense (things like amulets, herbal mixes, wards, etc etc) and research on spirits. Now I’m sure with the latter, you’re going “Wat? Lol, no,” but researching various entities and what they’re really like may help you. Most likely, what you summoned was some random spirit that felt like trolling humans (and this letter is why I usually tell people don’t diddle around with Ouija boards) and since it was your initial experiences with spirits, it left you scarred. First impressions really are everything, especially in magick. Knowledge is probably going to be your best bet here since there’s no other way around it unless you want to buy all the shrine bells, iron, holy water and blessing powders in the world to make you feel a teensy bit safe, which will fade over time. It’s best to research to allay your fears. And don’t research the scary spirits first, just get some basic knowledge on spirits and the spirit world (preferably in books and most preferably written by people who aren’t loopy new-age type folks). I think the book The Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Stiles is a good suggestion. Try not to be freaked out by it and know that just because you have a book on spirits in your home or you reading an entry on spirits ever does not mean the spirits you’re reading about will come crashing in. It will not automatically summon anything, trust me on that. I had the same fear with spirits due to bad experiences and being really knowledgeable on the subject really helped. I think it’s that not-knowing that ramps a person up because it leaves you feeling helpless and helplessness is a terrible feeling.

Also, you don’t have to be a pro with spirits to be good at magick. You can work strictly with energy until you get past the jitters about spirits. You can study alchemy, improve your herbal knowledge (which I would recommend because it would make you feel better and less defenseless), there’s plenty to do until you fully work out your phobia so you can continually progress while working on yourself, which is very important.

Do you ever have trouble finding others like yourself? I’m a black woman inclined towards esoteric teaching and occultism. Sigil magic is a part of my focus, though I’m new to the path. I’d love some advice. :-) Peace

- Venicia

Even with Tumblr and being on African American Wiccan Society’s group, I still have trouble finding other Black Pagans. A lot really don’t want to be out with their work and some are not really Pagans, just completely nuts and somehow floated over to Paganism. Or are just Afriboos that just so desperately want to remove any iota of Western influence (besides internalized racism, homophobia annnnnnnd Western-stemmed misogyny). It’s pretty difficult, especially if you want to interact with them physically, in the real world because they’re either scared someone is going to find out they’re Pagan/practice witchcraft/occultism or they don’t feel like dealing with White Pagans who think now that a Black person has arrived, it’s time to try out all their best racist jokes and passive-aggressive complaints about Black people in general. Or a combo. Even I have sat out of plenty of Pagan events because I get tired very frequently of being the only Black person there and for White Pagans to assume I’m somehow the Ambassador of Negroes. Yeah, for folks who claim to be colorblind (which is a big and harmful myth that actually upholds Whiteness, not dispel it), they seem to notice it pretty well.

Your best chance would just to be on Tumblr and wrack up Black Pagan friends that way. I would recommend following idanceitarotiart, who is pretty nice, and go from there. Also, check out the sigil tag on Tumblr, it’s really nice and you’ll learn lots of new stuff.

And that’s all the Ask Black Witch for not only this month but this year! W00t!

Here comes the holidays! I guess this is more of a “what to do if you know someone who is Pagan but isn’t out the broom closet yet” post with some bits of “what to do if you’re recently out of the broom closet” in it. Eh, we’ll find out as we go along.

For those who know that someone is Pagan but that Pagan has not opened up to family yet:

It is not your place to determine whether the Pagan you know should let everyone know that’s their faith now. It’s never your place to out them. It never will be your place to out them. It’s up to the Pagan person to out themselves. If the Pagan person that you know don’t want to open up to family yet, don’t spill the beans for them. They won’t appreciate it (I can definitely say that from experience and so can others, don’t do it) and, as I always remind, you could be shredding your own personal relationship with them because you pretty much disregarded their trust. Don’t risk it. Even if you think that things would be so much better if they just told everyone that they’re Pagan and got it over with, remember that life does not work out that way. If the Pagan person is still living with family, you could be risking them getting thrown out or treated extremely poorly. Also, no one likes to be surprised with having to deal with whatever fallout could occur – and yes, they’ll mainly be dealing with the fallout because it’s their problem, not yours – and trying to navigate temporarily rocked familial relationships on the fly. You can be for the Pagan person that you know as much as you like but it’s their move on the when and where when it comes to revealing to the family about being Pagan. And if the Pagan person explicitly asks you to tell the family for them, review it with them to make sure they’re actually okay with it and that you fully understand. Or better yet, tell them to say it themselves.

For those who have recently came out the broom closet to family:
You’re probably going to deal with some douchebaggery. Y’know, family members that think that your religion is a phase or a hobby you’ll grow out of. People who think that while their faith is valid, yours isn’t, which means it’s probably going to be derided or outright disrespected. Usually here I would say that you have to tell them that they’re going to have to choose between their bigotry and you but I understand that some Pagans live with their families. With that, I’m going to have to say you’re going to have to pick your battles but try not to let anyone walk all over you. The best you can do is keep religion a non-issue and don’t mention faith at all or try to inform people about being Pagan, including correcting their inaccurate assumptions.

Even though the holidays are supposed to be bright, merry and gay, it’s become a really stressful time if you’re new to opening up to family about being Pagan. No happiness at all. The best that you can do is to try to navigate it the best that you can.

If you’re not Pagan but know a family member that is, be nice and make them feel welcomed but don’t be annoying with a series of prying questions. No one likes spending the holidays feeling like they’re being interrogated, especially about their faith. If you’re that interested in it, that’s why libraries exist. And you don’t have to interject their faith into everything. If they want to get a glass of water, it’s probably so they can drink it, not summon some random ocean deity. Just treat them normal and if the person wants to talk about it, they will. It’s cool to ask a couple (non-prying) questions but keep it light and few unless they really wanna talk about it. Basically: try not to be a douche about it.

Next Week is The Arts!
- Holiday funsies!
- Play with Shelter Kitties

BW Sick Day: Let’s Game!

Ugh, sick again. Total dislike. I’ve been sick all this week so that means no column. Instead you can play Fear Less a flash game centered around a girl who always dreamed she was running from Death, but now it’s time for her to take up her sword and conquer the darkness in this fun game.


Click to play!

See you next week!

Let’s talk relationships. Well, first, let’s briefly mention how I won’t be at Pantheacon after all and the details are at the bottom of the post. Now, let’s talk relationships. Mainly ones that have flat lined and there’s no chance of revival. At all. Ever. Not even if the survival of humanity depended on it.

See, being a Witch, this means I get all sorts of people in my inbox. This also includes the “I Want Cha Back” crowd. These folks, you might as well play the iconic Jackson 5 song, they nearly recite the lyrics word for word without knowing it. These folks tend to contact me in hopes that somehow, despite the fact I have said several times on my site I disagree with manipulative love spells and don’t do Pay for Pray, that I’ll do it for them to bring back that just-recently-reconsidered-special someone in their life. And usually it’s supposed to be done without the recently departed significant other’s knowledge. And usually it involves the fact that the ex is the one who broke things off (and with good reason).

Yeah, no.

When it comes to magick, I always tell people to imagine the mundane version of the magick to get an idea of what they’re doing. For this, it’s no different than stalking and harassing your ex and yelling “I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU!” at them as they walk down the street. Very rapidly. Away from you. Far. Away.

Here’s the deal, people: you can’t make people fall in love with you. (Well, you can but they’re not really going to be in love with you. I’ll get to that in a sec.) Love is a natural – and sometimes, a pretty frustrating – process, you can’t really force it. If it were that easy, Ok Cupid and other craptacular sites would never exist … or, at least, not to the extent it does today. If you screw up in a relationship and the other person breaks it off because of that reason or if that other person thinks it would be better to be single for a while, that’s up to them. Not you. It hurts to go through a break up but you can’t force someone’s hand. That’s not natural. And it’s controlling, which is not love. That’s abuse.

Now, note I said that you can make someone fall in love with you but they’re not going to be in love with you. It’s kinda like the mundane world version of blackmailing, harassing and guilt tripping a guy or girl to love you. They may be showing the displays of what is outwardly considered affection but it’s not coming from a place of affection but more of a place of “Will this person stop bothering me?/I don’t feel like I have a choice.” They don’t really love you, they’re just faking it until they see the first opening to dash out into the wilderness like a spooked rabbit.  It’s not right to just control someone’s heart and go, “Newp. You love me now. I may be a screw up and will mess up to the point you’re fully justified to break things off or maybe you need some time to yourself but newp, not letting you go because it hurts me too much.” That’s pretty selfish. Which also isn’t love. Affectionate love isn’t that self-serving and never should be.

Break ups happen for a multitude of reasons. It seems as of recent I’ve been getting the “I messed up/the former bf/gf thinks I messed up but I totally don’t get it” letters. They’re not what I like to see because, welp, I’m gonna probably side with the person who left you because you didn’t get it together as appropriate for the relationship. And I mean when there’s an actual problem in the relationship, such as you being a poor communicator, relying on tired gender tropes and trying to shove your now-ex into said trope boxes, and/or just having too many issues and not dedicating enough time to unpack them in a healthy way. It’s important for people to know that when they’re in a relationship, they’re taking on the role of the significant other, not the replacement-parent/authority figure.

For the former, the “I messed up”, these folks are aware they screwed up – too bad they figured it out faaaaaaar too late. These folks have got to know that there is such thing as the Point of No Return and said point has such a name for a reason. If the now-ex person was a good or even average communicator, chances are they already said their piece and made it known that there was some problematic behavior they weren’t gelling with. Life isn’t like tv, it’s not always that the now-former significant other just up and leave without letting you know beforehand. It’s nice that the person coming to me finally came to their senses about their behavior but guess what? If you have to come to a witch to repair things, it means you still blew it big time, and I mean nuclear. It implies that the ex doesn’t want anything to do with you, doesn’t care whether or not you learned your lesson, and doesn’t want to come back to you. And who am I to force them? I wouldn’t want it done to me, why would I want to do it to others so they can be dragged back into a relationship that made them so unhappy? And this is running on the assumption that the person coming to me not only knows about how bad their flaws were but actually changed them and plan to keep it that way. Usually folks slide far too easily back into their old ways when they feel like there’s nothing to lose from doing it if that desire to change isn’t intrinsic (meaning: coming from the inside). If you messed up, learn how to remedy that and move on.

For the latter “I have no idea how I screwed up but the bf/gf still left me because they think I’m [insert what could actually be the problem], I want them back”, that person is just myopic. Sometimes erratic breakups happen but these folks tend to have a very evident problematic trait that they have no plan on working on any time soon nor want to work on because they themselves don’t see it as problematic. Those folks are unbelievable because wow, talk about dragging someone back to hell. This means they’re not going to work on their problems (because remember, it’s not a problem in their eyes) and they don’t understand that people don’t have to put up with their nonsense if it’s not reaping any super justifiable benefit. People are allowed to be flawed because everyone is but no one should be expecting anyone to deal with their issues as if that’s all that should matter in the relationship. Relationships can’t survive in a one-sided fashion.

It’s important to note that both folks are pretty self-preserving. Instead of letting the ex go (which is a painful and extensive process, let’s not negate that), they’re trying to force someone who’s already made up their mind to leave back into a place they, the ex, already expressed they didn’t want to remain. There’s no thinking about why the ex did it and what good did it do for that ex to leave a problematic person behind or what traits need to be worked on as a whole to prevent this all from happening again. Instead it’s about what unhappiness comes from a break-up and how to somehow turn back the hands of time to revive a dead relationship. Which then becomes a zombie relationship because there’s no love, there’s no feeling. It’s just an undead lingering feeling that will just wrack up more problems and less love because again, you can’t force anyone to love you just like you can’t force a dead person to be alive like they were previously. This is controlling behavior, which is not based in love. At all.

Controlling anyone, removing anyone of their freedom to choose, that isn’t love. Not at all. It hurts having someone leave you but forcing them to come back won’t make anything better. The love is gone, dude. Casting a spell on a person (which is a long and grueling work because chances are it’s going to have to be refreshed again and again and again depending on how long the client wants the spell going) is a terrible way of showing someone that you “care”. It’s no different than sticking a gun in their face and saying “So, we’re gonna be exactly like we were before. You never left me. We never had problems. I’m the guy/girl for you and we’re going to be happy, happy, happy. You just don’t understand it yet but you’ll see. We’re meant for each other.” That’s crazy talk. You need a visit from a therapist, not your ex if you truly feel that way.

Oh. And then there’s the obvious, “No one really likes it when you cast a spell on them to like you” part. I think it needed its own paragraph. Seriously, think about it: “I had a spell casted on you so we could be together, I just really didn’t want you to leave me,” is not going to get you greeted with admiration.

So, if you’re dealing with break-up pangs, don’t contact me about Pay for Pray. I don’t do it and I definitely don’t do it for something as unethical as that. Just let that person go. If they wanna get back with you, you better have your ears open and get ready to do some longstanding work. If they never want to get back with you again, respect that decision. I didn’t say “don’t cry about it”, “don’t get emo about it”, “don’t post ranty blog posts about it”, “don’t express unhappiness about it”. I never said, “Just accept it with a smile and move on as if nothing happened”, I said “if they never want to get back with you again, respect that decision.” You’re free to be as upset as you like. You just aren’t free to take someone else’s freedom of choice just because it doesn’t work with yours.

Now, about Pantheacon. I won’t be able to go due to travel issues (*cough*TSAandPTSDdon’tmix*cough*) and I am going to instead try to do a livestream of my feature instead on the day and time I was supposed to be doing it in Cali, which is Feb 16, 11 AM PST. More updates on that later.

Next week on The Arts!….DOCUMENTARIES (fun/interesting ones, I swear)

- Jimi Hendrix
- Paris is Burning
- Century of the Self



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