Category: Pagan Life


Good For You

Alright, before we get started, may I remind you that there is the Samhain Pickers that is currently going on. If you would like to win free divination from me, please send an email with “Samhain Pickers” in the subject line to thisblackwitch[at]hotmail.com and make sure you put this in the body of your email:

- Name

- Email

- Type of divination (tarot, cartomancy, dream interpretation, natal chart)

Three winners will be chosen on Halloween/Samhain.

Also there is the Black Witch Ustream chat that is also on Halloween at 9 PM EST. Be there! Also, don’t forget to keep your black cats indoors around this time of year.

And remember, to stay updated with the Black Witch Fan Page, you must click “Get notifications” because Facebook sucks.

keep up with BW on FB

Onwards and forwards!

Oh, what I like most about this time of year? Aside from the fact it is no longer blazing hot – there are Halloween specials! I love Halloween specials! I always have. Hey, right now I’m playing a Halloween special from Bob’s Burgers. I just love how creative show makers get for this time of year. I grew up watching The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror every year because it was so entertaining. That and regular, live action shows would have great Halloween episodes. Even if I didn’t like the show, if they had a Halloween episode, I would watch it.

Usually it’s hard for a show to go wrong with Halloween episodes.  Unless they actually say the word “Pagan” or “Wiccan”, it’s not that easy to make me just want to turn off the tv. Now, granted, some folks are just champions at being awful but no shows come to mind when I try to think of them. This is a good thing.

I do understand that some Pagan groups don’t like Halloween episodes because they are worried (kind of rightfully so) about how these shows depict Pagans and other metaphysics practitioners. While I can watch these specials and know for fact that it’s just make believe and the creators are just trying to get into the spirit of Halloween, there are people who think these shows are showing the real deal of life working with magick and metaphysics. It’s part of why I have to write up there for people to keep their black cats indoors. However, I don’t think I’ve come across stuff that could offend me as a Pagan. As a Black person and as female, oh sure, there’s plenty of wtf on tv to choose from. They could have a green-faced witch and I probably won’t flinch nearly as much as I would with a person in Blackface (don’t do it). I wouldn’t recommend a show to go with depicting a green faced witch unless they’re shooting a segment involving the Wizard of Oz but it doesn’t bug me much since I’ve caught way more unnecessary heat for being Black and for being female (as well as for being both). Then there’s the glaring fact that even in Pagan media, they’re worse in actual depictions of Pagans who aren’t White, which is even more insulting.

Yay, representation and boo, the blatant dismissiveness of it and ugh, hypocritical Pagan media creators! Let’s move on, I’m bored already. [I'm allowed to have an off-day]

So, I feel random because I’ve been working on all sorts of writing. Creative writing (I originally started as a story writer and poet since I was 10. Frankly, I have almost no idea how anything remotely resembling journalism came into play), new articles for a new magazine I’ve been picked up for (details as they are officially released) annnnnnnd of course, Black Witch. Also, I gotta prepare an interview which could be a bump up in the Library of Congress* (yay, I might be working in Preservations as a book repairer (wait…”Library Technician”) to use my bookbinding skills to repair and restore LoC book collections so I pretty much can get an official, official start of my Library Science/Archivist track career (I plan to get my masters in the future, eventually, but I just wanna work now.)) This means I have been omega busy but I’m doing the best to not get this blog neglected. I just have a lot to do.

To make up for the busy-ness, here’s a picture of my cat and an original smorkin labbit.

Cat and the labbit

However, I still get distracted by social media a bit. I thought these tweets from former My Chemical Romance front man, Gerard Way, were funny. (He’s the epitome of Halloween in my mind, all I need is a vid going “Let’s get spooooOOoooOOOopy!” and I’ll be set for life.)

Way1

Way2

Way3

Way4

 

 

The man doesn’t have odd dreams (ok, he most likely does, going off of basic probability and the human condition, but simply doesn’t tweet about them.) but I somehow found this interesting because usually people come to me with these kinds of dreams, the very ones he described and usually it’s regular folks who simply have famous cameos in their dreams. For Way, this is a little different because even though he may not have ever met Dre (or if so, briefly enough to not really stick) or even not know him personally, it’s a different construct. I’m not going to dissect or interpret this dude’s dream because that’s not important and I’m limiting all divination and metaphysics services to Samhain Pickers because, y’know, time. That and I don’t know Way. Got mutual friends with him, I’m sure, but I don’t know him himself. I’m just musing.

Basically, when I do dream interpretations – or when anyone does dream interpretations – who the dreamer is totally matters. For a random kid dreaming the exact same thing, it could all mean something totally different, depending on the celeb cameo, which is Dre here. A kid in their teens is also going to see Dre differently than someone in their 30s and 40s because one grew up with knowing about the guy and the other probably associates the veteran rapper with sound leaky headphones. For Way, since he’s been around the industry for a while, he’s probably going to see Dre a little differently. I just think the fact that Way had a dream about someone in a different part of the music industry being in his home during a contest of basically “Which way did Way go?” is chuckle worthy to me but also made me wonder how he saw Dre (remember, imagery meaning is partly hinged on the dreamer), which also creates the angle of idea for the other person in the Dr. Dre mask, since a mask can also mean a myriad of things.

Since people dream usually because the mind is unwinding from the day, filing away memories or just letting your subconscious do the talking, and Way isn’t here to talk about his dream (which he felt was noteworthy enough to tweet because of its funny nature.), I guess we can sum it up to having too many nacho burritos before bedtime. Maybe he saw a Dr. Dre poster in passing while at a venue and his mind just took it to bed with him. I dunno. But I surely did find the dream description entertaining.

And now is roughly the end of the month so The Arts! will be The Arts!: Samhain Edition. After that is Ask Black Witch.

* I usually don’t talk about my real life stuff much here on BW but job at the Library of Congress is a good enough feat for me to mention here. ‘Ayyyyyyyyyy. And BW isn’t blocked on LoC networks meaning someone filled out a form for my site to be accessible. ‘Ayyyyyyyyyyyy (Bring me food. Adams building. 5th flo’. Passion fruit macarons or azuki mochi, taro bubble tea. Or leave it in Madison building, Green/Yellow core, CIP/Gov Docs. area, B flo’)

First and foremost, I want to remind everyone of Samhain Pickers. It’s happening! Everyone who wants to take part and get a free divination reading from me has to send an email with “Samhain Pickers” in the subject line and this information in the body:

- Name

- Email

- Types of Divination: (Tarot, cartomancy, natal chart, dream interpretation)

Got it all filled out? Send to thisblackwitch[at]Hotmail.com and I’ll pick three winners, chosen at random on Halloween/Samhain.

Next, are you aware that you won’t get great updates from the Black Witch Fan Page on Facebook if you don’t click “Get Notifications” on the Like button?

keep up with BW on FB

And finally, keep in mind that on Halloween/Samhain, I will be having my annual Ustream vcast. It will be at 9PM EST and broadcasted here. You can also interact with me either using the Ustream chat function or send me questions via twitter (@thisblackwitch).

Also, keep your black cats inside since Halloween is coming around, some people erroneously think witchcraft involves horrific animal sacrifice and Halloween is when these stupid people are at their most active. Don’t murder innocent animals because you’re an easily-duped idiot. Just go trick or treating or watch Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin or The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror.

Ok, so announcements are out of the way, let’s get started.

Since Samhain is coming ‘round, here comes that special time of year where I do the tricky dance that is getting off on Samhain due to religious observance. It is most trickiest when the job is new.

I kid you not, whenever I initially ask, “Hey, can I have off for Oct 31? Religion thing, I’m Pagan,” the boss looks at me like this:

Are you serious

And I totally get it. Paganism isn’t that well known so if someone says “I want off for Halloween because religious reasons.” They’re thinking, “Eh-henh. Religious reasons being you’re looking for the Great Pumpkin? Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Next you’ll want Arbor Day off.”

Even though I can easily retort, “We take a day of for Christopher Columbus, the rapey, disease-carrying, imperialist pillager that couldn’t read a map. One dude. Didn’t even find America first, I think that was some dude in China. Besides, people already lived here before Mr. Follow-the-what-star stumbled onto them,” and want to follow with, “Can’t I switch? At least one of the days mean something to me,” instead, it’s a delicate parrying of words. Which suck.

Usually, I have to first explain to people what Paganism is. Since most folks are from Abrahamic faiths (usually Christianity), this means I also have to inform them that I am not somehow evil. And since I work in the Library of Congress, it never ceases to amaze me that folks overlook that we already work for morally wayward people – the most obvious ones being housed in the third word – but being Pagan can still spook folks. The worst I do is be the snack bandit and make fun of the overly White-washed exhibits, not destroy communities and greenlight wars for profit.

However, when it comes to asking for Halloween off, I usually like to work at a job for at least six months and also have poked the higher up for a day off for a different Pagan holiday like Mabon or Solstice. At least I can ease people into the fact that I’m Pagan and no, I am not going to perform acts of evil because I am Pagan. I don’t have enough lobbyists to do so.

Now, in previous jobs, I have gotten Halloween off, in addition to other Pagan religious holidays. They told me I would have to use my personal leave but eh, whatever. But I have learned in my experience that it’s easier getting Halloween off when I already asked for other holidays because it reaffirms that, yes, I actually am an observant Pagan and no, this is not an excuse to go party all day. I don’t even really party like that. I can’t even drink alcohol and all my musician friends are either touring, in the studio or too far away. The cat is my most constant source of entertainment, next to Tumblr. So taking off other holidays like Mabon and such (I like Mabon because of food and it’s the start of the holiday season for me), it helps reduces the chance that my higher up is going to look at me like I’ve gone temporarily stupid and remember, at my job, some of our patrons are actual members of Congress so we know stupid. Excruciatingly familiar with stupid (and childish). Therefore, I have to be on my p’s and q’s. And occasionally refresh my knowledge on worker rights in regards to religious beliefs.

It’s just, Christian holidays are already built into the work calendar and there’s even laws in some places about how you can’t work on a Sunday because that is supposed to be the Sabbath (in the Christian faith), and so on and so forth, it sucks around these times when you’re a different faith because you have to decenter all that. And it isn’t really fun when you have to work on your bigger holidays but know good and well if Christians were told to work on Easter and Christmas, they would start citing the first amendment quickly.

Granted, employers want to make sure their workers aren’t making up holidays or reverences to already established holidays just to have an excuse to not be at work but when there’s irrefutable proof of an actual practitioner that wants to take a day off for their holiday, the request shouldn’t be under that much great scrutiny. If I were running a workplace and someone asked me for off on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, it wouldn’t be wise of me to respond, “You eat fish, pork and you’ve made bets on the Super Bowl annnnnnd you take office paper clips home as if we’re a store, and I’ve never heard you refer to Jesus or God besides swearing in anger, how can I be sure you’re Christian?” because since the holidays are Christian based, people are going to wonder why I’m trying to dig deep since you don’t have to live like the Amish or Quakers to be Christian.

How frustrating. If I can’t take off for Samhain, there better be a good snack haul that day.

Nothing New

Now, it’s October, so that means it’s time for me to start thinking about what witchy books to suggest for The Arts!: Samhain Edition. However, there’s one problem: I haven’t been reading any magick books as of recent. It’s just that the books on metaphysics I have come across aren’t really good. They’re too new agey, not really well rounded, not super worth reading. I noticed that when I would come across new books on metaphysics and it would only take me less than thirty seconds to go from “Wow! What’s this?” to “…Meh.” All the books I have been looking at or referencing are books I already have.

So far, new books on metaphysics and magick are mainly following after trends. It isn’t that they never have followed trends (publishing is a business, after all) but now, it’s gotten really sappy. Like, there’s more focus on vampires and paranormal than anything. And really bad sex magick (I seriously saw a book based on 50 Shades of Gray, it was sad), that should never make it to print. Ever. This is a problem because quality books aren’t getting printed out. Or if they are, they’re hiding way too far underneath all the crap books.

Another problem is that, for me, there’s but so much new information I’m going to find on the shelves of book stores and metaphysics section of libraries. A lot of books that are in regular circulation are pretty much the basics to the intermediate of magick and metaphysics. I already know the basics and the intermediates. It doesn’t mean I know everything but it does mean that I need to move on to something a little more challenging.

Or, for now, I can move to online.

I have found better information online than I have in some of the books I have read. This is astonishing to me because usually I would rather go to books for ideas and learning but it seems as of recent, I have found Tumblrs that presented interesting and more dynamic information than the newer books I have come across. One that I can think of is TheLivingWiccan Tumblr. On this Tumblr, there is not only spell information, there is active discussion of Paganism (Yes, I know that the blog is titled with Wiccan but it is still good for Pagan stuff), and with the active imput, there’s much more to learn or at least to engage with. A couple more are kemetduasekhem and TrueRiptide. Those Tumblrs are more about Kemet Paganism, which isn’t my denomination* but is still really informative. Also there’s the Magick tag on my Tumblr.

However, I still find books crucial to learning metaphysics and magick because, frankly, it’s all been done before. We’re mostly using symbology and ideas that have already been established, some for centuries. I think, when reaching to this level, it’s good to try to examine various parts of metaphysics as separate fields such as herbalism or specific sigils traditions. That means, the more advanced the knowledge, the more extra learning is needed. That means learning old languages, reading old source material, things of that nature. This means that knowing ample research skills are a must, especially since some texts are very dated and possibly will show incredible bias (much like some texts of today).

It’s important to know how to discern what is good information and what is not. These skills can be transferable to also researching online because it is important to not take on terrible information that was painted as useful.

The basics of research is that the main game is to be objective as possible, and so does the material. While it can be true that everything has a bias, you have to find the least biased one of them all or at least material that is most biased towards what is actually the truth or reality of a concept.

For example, if there is a site that talks about Chinese mythology but the site does not seem go beyond pop topics that are Westernized (such as Feng Shui, the Chinese horoscope wheel and I Ching) and their mention of China does not reflect the vast diversity of China but instead paints the Chinese as a strongly monolithic and nearly elf-like people, then the material is not worth reading. Also, if the sources are mainly filtered through the West (that the writer got info from a British university, an American research book, a German “expert/scholar” on China, etc), then it is possibly not good since they’re not letting creators speak for themselves. It’s one thing to read a translation (although, it would be good to learn some basic Mandarin Chinese to help determine whether or not the translation is accurate). It’s important to note when orientalism and yellow peril is occurring when researching Chinese mythology because those can kill the validity of any research quickly as it is not based at all on logic but on low-intelligence concepts. Also, here’s a big one: If the writer is trying to make it sound like the material is similar to Christianity, uses Christian concepts to describe beliefs or even so much as brings in another, different cultural idea (such as chakras, which is from India, not China), the book/site is absolutely worthless.

There’s a lot to doing research but it is most important to note that there will be a lot of supplemental reading for even the supplemental reading so try to start from the basics (not Wikipedia, an actual encyclopedia) and use the bibliographies or their reference material as a jump off point.

Also, if the text is even slightly:

  • Homophobic (the text seems strongly heteronormative, erases gay people, depicts them as bad)
  • Misogynist (women are not really present in the text except as example of male existence)
  • Too binary/sexist (uses strict gender stereotypes to discuss actions of the past, does not allow people to depict themselves, puts them in gender boxes that don’t fit.)
  • Racist (a group of people are seen as magical or lowly in comparison to Western ideas of Whiteness. Consistently dehumanized and seen through both popular and subtle stereotypes)

Then the text is problematic and not worth reading or if you still would like to read, be sure to be as hypercritical as possible so you don’t mistaken bigotry for distributed fact.

However, a text is not bigoted if it talks in earnest about what happens to oppressed groups. If the text talks about how women are abused and in what ways, it’s not inherently misogynistic since that is the reality for women throughout the ages (it’s why Feminism/Womanism exists, after all). It is only seen as problematic when the women are framed as mainly objects that are acted upon and that’s it, the text doesn’t talk about women as people, reference women scholars, spotlight important women activists/leaders at the time, or use texts and quotes said/written by women in addition to men or in greater amount than men. If women are absent except as cold research subjects, the material is possibly biased because mainly men are doing the talking and that’s problematic.

Same with other oppressed groups. Even in metaphysics, there are still people involved. And people are still people, even if they don’t have the privilege to be seen or depicted as such.

Also, if a person tries to make up a new word that just sounds new agey or is a clear attempt to replace an already established thought and ideas (such as energy manipulation, chakras, meditation, etc). It’s probably not accurate or worth looking at unless you want to conduct a popcorn gallery.

And finally, if they want your money and say that they have the power of the universe, all here in a book or a downloadable file, that person is a phony, a fraud and a fake. Bar none. If it was that important to humankind, it wouldn’t be so restricted.

That’s all for this week! And since it is October, that means the start of Samhain Pickers! The rules are simple: Submit your entry to me via email (thisblackwitch[at]hotmail.com**). Make sure you have “Samhain Pickers” in the subject of the email. Winners will be picked on Samhain/Halloween to get a free divination reading from me! Make sure to include this information in the body of the email:

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

And the Samhain Ustream Chat is on, yep, Halloween/Samhain. It will be at 9 PM EST. Be there!

Also, did you remember to click “get notifications” on the Black Witch Fan Page? Do so enable to stay up to date with new Black Witch happenings on Facebook.

keep up with BW on FB

* Since White folks magically become illiterate and their comprehension skills drops straight to “severely mentally challenged” when it comes to these things, I’m going to say it again: I’m not part of any African Pagan tradition. I’m fairly general with my faith, I’m not strictly part of any African Pagan tradition.

**Written out in a fashion so bots don’t stuff my inbox. It’s aggravating.

So here is The Arts!, let’s get right to it.

Find an Event (Pagan Pride Project)
Want to find a Pagan event in your area? Discovered via the African American Wiccan Society group on Facebook, this site, the Pagan Pride Project, can help you. These seemed to be primarily focused on Pagan Pride events but it is just as useful to know about those events as well.

The site works easily, you just put in your zipcode and there you have it. Look at what is in my area when I put in my info.

Pagan Pride Project

What convenience!

Tropes vs. Women
This is one of my favorite online series. Anita Sarkeesian, who is the creator of Feminist Frequency, created this series which deconstructs video games through the lens of feminist theory. From this deconstruction comes the identification of tropes that are so strongly prevalent in so many games, especially popular titles such as Mario, God of War, Pac-Man/Ms.PacMan, Hitman and Grand Theft Auto.

Here is the first episode, which breaks down the concept of a trope and starts with deconstructing the idea of the Damsel in Distress.

The latest episode, which I will admit, gets a bit grisly so if you can’t bear seeing images of violence and brutality, skip to 23:30. This episode is Part 2 of using women as background decoration (Part 1). Remember, if you can’t stand bloody brutality, skip ahead to 23:30, where Sarkeesian sums it all up.

And, yes, the series does get a lot of hate and crap flung at it by wildly misogynist and anti-feminist gamers. Here is a write up on Dr. Nerdlove about the whole debacle here annnnnnd here.

Actually, she talks about it here at TEDxWomen about cyber harassment and online mobs, which she has to routinely – even to today – put up with. Since I’ve told guys I’ve worked with at the Library of Congress how bad gender harassment can get online – as well as how it can eventually trickle offline – just to write a well-formed opinion about games and they were completely floored in disbelief, lemme slap this video up here.

And of telling dudes at the LoC about gender and gaming, I really remember the one dude who was from the Performing Arts Division collecting Prima guides in my area and I saw he picked up one for Remember Me. I recommended it strongly since I’ve played it and it had a Black girl as the lead. That started a conversation of gender and video games and he mentioned he had a 9 year old son and wanted me to recommend women-starring games (that were age appropriate) because he literally said “I don’t want my son to grow up and he’s hitting women on an elevator”.* This dude actually cared that his son wouldn’t become some future harasser/rapist-in-training/douchebag and knew part of how was by playing games that would let the kiddo see that women are people, not simply things to be acted upon and in brutish fashion at that. So I recommended a series of games that were appropriate for his kid to play now at 9 and when he gets older as well as what to look for in games that star women so his kid can have tons of fun (because games should be fun) and continue to develop healthy ideas about women.

And remember, next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

*This is in reference to what Ray Rice did. It was awful.

Metaphysics and Reality

When being a witch – or psionic, or high magician, or anyone else being involved in metaphysics and the esoteric – it can sometimes be difficult dealing with having your experience and/or beliefs dismissed. Being told that “spells don’t work”, “your gods aren’t real”, “no one can predict the future”, can be so annoying and aggravating.

Now, a lot of people go by personal experience and media they’ve experienced. Granted, if someone hasn’t knowingly seen ghosts or only know about pop metaphysics learned via reality shows and tv dramas, it kind of makes sense that they would be dismissive of occultic happenings. However, it is important to note here that there is a difference between make believe and reality. What happens during Supernatural and Sleepy Hallow is make believe (I love Sleepy Hallow like I love my cat but they still over dramatized sin eaters and Supernatural has a too much of a race casting issue to be anywhere near accurate). There is not nearly as much glamour and sparkliness and bright lights in actual magick, those are just creative choices by the director and producers to best convey that something magical is happening or else the viewer would be so lost given that tv is an audio-visual medium so it has to express the other senses somehow. Reality is much more boring, the metaphysics doesn’t add a pop of spice to one’s life. Confusion, oh sure. Spice, not as much. Since what people experience isn’t what the tv and movies promise them, it’s easy for people to say “Oh, that’s not real,” or “If people could really do that, it would be all over the news/social media/etc”. And trying to explain metaphysics in layman terms to regular people can be so easily confusing, it’s almost easy to just not bother to explain. It just becomes such a bother to the practitioner when hearing such dismissive things about the esoteric are so constant.

Then you have folks who are strongly in the “Science know all” camp. Just looking at science’s track record with simply race (eugenics, anyone?), gender (science “discovered” the clitoris three different times, that’s depressing) and mental illness (the hard sciences still sees psychology as hokey) shows that science isn’t perfect. While science is definitely important to determine physical ideas and theories, it doesn’t know the answer to everything because science is ever evolving. What science knew 100 years ago is radically different from today and what science will know 100 years from now is most likely going to be radically different from the world of now. Besides, metaphysics literally means “transcendence beyond the physical”, of course science isn’t going to have the answers for the esoterics – at least, not readily. That and it seems when someone does do actual sound studies on parapsychology, science tends to go “Ehhhh, we’ll ignore that.”

Then there’s the fact that science in the West is not really that inclusive of various cultures and beliefs. I know, science is supposed to be all logic and if it can’t be proven, it’s not worth noting but when scientists feel compelled to use science to justify stereotypes and bigoted beliefs of race and gender, maybe science could stand to be a bit more diverse in its perspectives, it would probably arrive at some answers baffling science in general faster.

All in all, it can be tough keeping up the faith, so to speak. I guess the best way to deal with this is to try to find like-minded people and spaces wherever you can but to not get overboard. You want to keep your metaphysics/psionics learning up so you don’t give into subtle discouragement (and, trust, that is hard because it is everywhere in Western society) but you don’t want to become a ditzy hippie thinking that having a wide array of crystals alone will heal cancer and death. I always like to remember that nothing is impossible. Possibly improbable, but not impossible. If there’s one standing idea in all metaphysics, it is exactly that. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

For The Arts!:

Find an Event – Pagan Pride
Tropes vs. Women

Alright, time for more Witchier writings! Gotta bring some balance back to the site or it will be all gender and race issues. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing but that’s not 100% what this site is about (About 50%, 60+% when I super feel like it). Besides, if I posted more regularly on race and gender, it would only be a matter of time before White allies would just thieve my work to boost their own visibility. Can’t be having that. And also can’t be having folks forget that I practice witchcraft and my site’s name isn’t an attempt at being edgy.

So today, let’s talk about the wrong reasons to get into spellwork.

Now, of course, there are the basics of why not to get into spellwork so here they are:

- Revenge
– To look/be different
– To control others
– To pass the time

Let’s break these down further:

Revenge: Hexes seem really convenient when you don’t know anything about them, I’m sure. Now, I’m not entirely anti-hex (I’m more for “grey magick”) but if the only reason you see usefulness in practicing magick is to jinx people left and right for wronging you, that’s not good. You’re not defending yourself (which is different), you’re just going at people who you feel wronged you, even though it could actually be you who is in the wrong. And that’s part of the whole point, being vengeful when really, it could be you who is the bad guy. It’s important to try to be objective whenever possible and use mundane ways to react to people who crossed you or at the very least, do grey magick such as karma spells so if that person is in the wrong, they’ll get their just desserts and if it is actually you who is wrong, then the yoke will be on you instead. Otherwise, don’t do it.

To Look/Be Different: How hipster. And annoying. You’re not showing any respect towards metaphysics and let’s be honest, you don’t care much either way. The part that is problematic is that these folks tend to be major psuedo-intellectuals on the subject and oh man do they spew such nonsense, one could ride a surfboard on it. Here’s the thing about spellworking: it requires a lot of heavy reading and none of that is Harry Potter or Twilight. Yes, imitating what you saw in The Craft is great fashion-wise but that’s pretty much it. Trying to impress random people by saying “Oooooh, I do spells, I’m so spoooooooky!” is pretty annoying.

To Control Others: This is bad, even if you were doing it in a mundane way. Remember, if it is wrong for mundane ways, it’s wrong in magick. Want to get a date? There’s a spell for that. Want to force someone to love you? There’s a spell for that. Only one of them are morally acceptable and it isn’t the forcing one. Gotta have free will, kiddo. It’s important. Being controling isn’t good at all. Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

To pass the time: It’s one thing when you’re a practiced witch and you’re doing magick because you’re bored out of your skull and thinking, “Hey, some random pope used to summon entities and spirits for teh lolz, I should try that,”* it’s another thing altogether to try magick just because you’re bored. That’s called “dabbling”. Don’t do it. Ever. Spellwork is a practice, not a simple hobby.

Spellworking can be pretty intense (especially when things go wrong and then things go really wrong.) It would be wise to simply get into it due to a natural, intrinsic pull in opposed to trying to look different or because your current life feels boring and thing that knowing spells would liven things up.** There’s a lot of work that goes into spellcasting, it’s important to respect that and to be earnest about getting into spellworking as you grow your information about it and start doing it more and more. And for the love of the gods, don’t do spellwork just because Halloween/Samhain is coming around. That is so not cool. And unbelievably corny. Even I don’t do magick around Halloween/Samhain.

*I can neither confirm or deny that I have done this. However, I am glad I have a Nintendo 3DS now.
** It doesn’t, my life is still boring.

BW Busy Day

Seems like I’ve been nothing but busy. Suxxors.

So here’s two kitties boppin their heads in tune

And an episode of one of my favorite Korean shows, Running Man. I found this one on SBS FunE (I think they have Running Man on pretty much all day, every-freakin-day. I have rarely seen a different show on that channel short of entertainment news shows but a complete marathon of Running Man*). It has English subtitles but as this show is on Korean television, it’s in all Korean.

 

*Punz!

How does one go about reading their own future or getting their future read for real free?
- Austin

Learning to do divination is just a means of research for what type of divination you want to do. There are so many of forms of divination from tarot to reading flames to scrutinizing how the wind blows. That’s up to you to decide how you want to go about which form you want to pursue and then research about it (especially if it is lesser known) to see how it works. Divination is just a tool, like a tv remote. You  can easily get up and turn on a tv, change channels, manage the volume and settings, but a remote aids you to do the  same with but without having to move. In some respects, divination makes things easier because there’s something for your intuition to process what it is trying to say through. And notice I never said once about how “you have to believe in it,” because that’s crap. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. 

A free reading done here on Black Witch only happens during Samhain/Halloween and only through the sweepstakes “Samhain Pickers” where a reader has to submit a ticket (email) and they have to be one of the three winners picked. Otherwise, all readings are paid readings and those are only when I feel like doing mass divination (which isn’t often (mainly when I’m encountering financial strife (not as common as prior, thankfully) or someone makes a 20″ tall statue of Storm.) I suppose you can bump around on Tumblr but you may not find as many free readings (and make sure they’re free, if they ask for money during any point of the process, it isn’t free) as paid ones.

And that’s all the Ask Black Witch for today! This was posted from the WordPress app so it shows up odd, that’s why and make sure to inform me so I correct it later.

Batter Up

So, it’s been tough trying to post new stuff with all that’s been happening as of recently. I honestly was working on a new post about frost magick (sorry everyone who’ve been waiting for magick and spellwork posts, y’all going to have to wait more).

Frankly, I feel very frustrated. While what happened in Ferguson is really an everyday occurrence for being Black, it really is frustrating because these stories are really getting way too common. I mean, it’s always been like this, that you can’t really do anything around cops or other forms of authority without risking a bullet, but it’s getting really tiring. And while this is tiring, White allies make it worse.

Worse. Not better.

I have seen everywhere from Tumblr to Twitter to Facebook, White allies forever keeping silent about what is going on or continually bumping their gums about how it is a “human being” issue and not a Black issue. Brah, I’m getting so sick of that I can’t even see straight. Does empathy for specifically Black people bother you that much? Because I don’t know of a story when a White person have been shot by a cop, aggressive homeowner or random vigilante, completely unarmed/hands up/coming home from the store/needing help from a car accident. And these stories I reference are the ones that made it to media. There’s thousands more like them. A White person is automatically considered human before the gun is drawn, a Black person has to have a national debate on personhood even well after they’re dead.

Hell, being White while criminal gets you on the cover of the Rolling Stones magazine, taken alive to see a trial date, get to be talked about as “smart”, “bright”, “promising future”, “great grades”, “attractive but mentally ill”. It’s always mentally ill isn’t it, too? It’s never “terrorist”, “Mass murderer” or “thug”. It’s “mentally ill”, like the dude was normal during some point of history but then they went completely coo-coo.

Imagine if it were a Black cop that fatally shot a White kid. Man, that cop would have been saying goodbye to his career and hello to a jail cell if not an electric chair. Dude would have been demonized as a “thug”, a “ruthless cop”. There would have been “See? White people do experience racism” tv features everywhere. The kid shot would have been anglicized as a “good kid”, “great grades”, “promising life cut short”. And media wouldn’t go from “kid had no records” to “kid may have been involved in a strong arm robbery.”

And given the default human being in the West is a White person, White allies who pull the “Why aren’t we saying ‘human being’?” are actually saying “What about my feelings? Why is a Black person getting attention? It would be easier if we could have the option to imagine they were White.” If you want to say how race isn’t a factor in how you see people, why does it bother you when someone says they’re anything other than White? If you’re so colorblind, someone mentioning a Black person being harmed should be a non-issue because a Black person is a human being. No one is implying that a Black person and a human being aren’t the same thing…unless that’s really how the White ally feels deep down inside. Which, considering their actions, it wouldn’t be at all surprising. Just a bigot that simply tends to lean democrat.

Unless it’s about using Black life to further their own causes or to use as crude examples or as pawns for their own means because then they never avoid mentioning the fact someone is Black when it comes to that. It’s never “human being” then. Black is hyper emphasized like that’s all they notice. And as if that’s all we are.

Now it is fact that this issue is a Human Rights issue. That’s true. Black people should be able to have access to their basic human rights. Because they’re human beings. Thus, should be open to their human rights. White people, the ones who tout this erasure of race in favor of saying “human being”, don’t have to worry about their human rights being so much as dinged. No one is trying to take away their human rights. They still have access to better schools, food and resources, there’s no denying that.  They could bomb a marathon and wind up on Rolling Stones with a really appealing picture and entry. They could air out a movie theatre full of people and still get taken alive. Keep in mind, these are White folks doing very, very illegal things. Neither can say, “I’m innocent. I was just walking by.” Even Timothy McVeigh, who is solely responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, got better treatment than the innocent Black folks (men and women because despite Black girls are no safer) who have been gunned down or nearly murdered because of their skintone. It took them years to bake that guy and people were actually arguing that he shouldn’t be put to death because he’s a human being. What they meant was “He’s White, can’t possibly be that bad despite the glaring fact he’s a complete and total terrorist.” Innocent kid walking down the street? Totally fine to turn him into swiss cheese, even though he had his hands up. And to assassinate his character now that he’s dead and therefore can’t speak for himself, thus all the robbery accusations now.

The police are going to get dissolved in Ferguson. That’s not a good thing if you’re Black because your oppression just got upgraded from “cop” to “National Guard”. Before some White ally goes “But, what about Little Rock Nine?” What about how that was a rare thing (that’s why it was considered remarkable) because usually the National Guard gets summoned to do what the police can’t in weapons, manpower and might. And when it comes to race problems, that means folks are gonna be leaving protests in body bags. And it’s tiring to hear “White people live in Ferguson, too,” because they’re not targeted. At all. Unless they decide to march with Black protesters, no officer will look at them twice. Hey, they could march with Black protesters and the police will just filter past them to get to the Black people, even if it is the White person that is throwing Molotov cocktails and looting. I’m almost certain if one was too scared to walk off their porch because of the firefights, an officer would escort them to wherever they gotta go. They’re not in danger. It still is a race issue, no need to worry about the less-than-30% of the people who live there. How about the 70% who are acutely targeted? Now is not the time to go “Won’t someone please think of the White people?” because trust us, we’re thinking about you. About how you’re killing us, dismissing us, making it worse for us and still trying to make it about yourselves. Stop being so selfish because no White person is in danger. They got the National Guard protecting them whether they want it or not.

If White allies want to do something, how about not make it about them and their feelings? How about not attempting to erase the racial overtone of this situation as if it doesn’t matter? How about not supporting other White allies who say this type of stuff and refuse to listen to the Black people in your life, even if the only Black person you know of is a musician you follow on Twitter? How about noticing that Black person already means “human being” so you don’t have to mention the latter (unless you don’t see us as one)? How about not trying to use this moment to live out your dystopian dreams because this is not a video game or a movie? How about just treating us like people instead of things to make yourself look better?

White allies forever wanna say they’ll defend us, they just never had a moment to put that desire to functional use. Well, here is that shining moment to prove you’re not a lying, two faced, selfish, cold hearted and wildly bigoted, sack-of-crap yuppie you constantly depict yourself as. Time to see how much you’re really being honest about how you stand up for what is right, to always do the right thing. Time to step up to the plate and finally batter up.

Let’s see how fast you strike out.

Self-Bound

So, I had to deal with a recent encounter of intra-race policing. In the middle of having a conversation with someone about rock music, a completely different person swooped into the conversation and completely interjected with “Are you Black?” We’re all in the same room, I’m not obscured annnnnnnnnd that was a really random comment when the subject was just on “Oh, so you like this band? Have you heard of this other band?” Ah, Black folks telling me how to be Black because they know near nothing at all. I immediately and snarkly responded “Uhhhh, I’m related to Marcus Garvey and my hair is in afro-puffs so maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe?”

The person responded “Who he?”

Are you freaking kidding me?

How is it this person wanted to police my Blackness because I listened to a Black created (albeit White washed) genre but she don’t even know who Marcus Garvey is. Dude, if you know less Black history than a White person, that’s when you put away your race police badge and keep to yourself. Of course, as with my experiences of dealing with dimwitted people, the person decided to keep talking. Despite the fact there are members of the Tea Party and hipsters more informed on Black history than her, person continues, “I hear you talk and you don’t sound like a Black person.”

If the person was smarter, the word they probably was looking for was “mushmouth”. I don’t sound like I dropped in straight from a minstrel show. Or “hoodrat”. Come on, I can speak 5 languages – excluding Latin – and have an English degree. Yah, I probably wouldn’t sound like an illiterate person. Reading books, particularly books with actual sustenance and even cultural value, can do that to the brain, even while Black. I know, shocker, right? It’s – it’s almost like I’m a multi-faceted person.

Let’s not even get into the fact this was when Shades of Ritual was coming out soooooo it isn’t exactly like I don’t spill ink on the subject of race to have some lesser informed bumpkin attempt to check me on something they themselves know way too little about. Thaaaaat irks me because it means all the stuff I say, the theories and explanations I implement, all that means, like, nada because being informed and simply different – not doing anything wrong like doing drugs or harming people – just being different, or simply considered different, apparently equates to “Whiteness”. Basically, when these folks think they are somehow fighting Whiteness by saying ostracizing things like “You sound White” or “How come you don’t talk like you Black?” (read: why do you sound literate? We’re supposed to be allergic to education.”), they’re actually upholding Whiteness through self-oppression and spreading that self-oppression around like SARS to others.

Then here came the kicker: “I’m not racist, I love White people, but just by listening to you , you don’t sound Black. It’s just -“

I’mma let you fill in the gap.

This person barged into a random conversation about music to call my racial identity into question as if that’s totally normal and then wants to go “I’m not racist.” Dude should have completed the sentence with “I just don’t like seeing Black people act like individuals with lives of their own. It bothers me because a White person hasn’t signed off on whether we can have access to it. That’s really important, ’cause how we know we Black without a White person to measure against as the yard stick?”

That’s upholding Whiteness, whether they like it or not. If you’re Black and hearing about a Black parasailer bothers you because “Black people don’t do that, we’re terrified of water”, that means you’re upholding Whiteness by saying that a) This Black person is not Black at all because only White people can have fun and do daring things, everyone else has to settle for the usual “crappy life of the Negro” narrative where it is filled with just about nothing fun but there’s an awful lot of stress so here you’re already ostracizing a person from their own culture just for following their own passions and b) This  person is an outsider because they’re too different, therefore somehow “not Black”.

Remember, Blackness isn’t theatre. You can be Black while astronaut, astronomer, parasailer, skateboarder, rock climber, aircraft trike pilot, whatever. You don’t magically turn White because you didn’t live in the projects, got a good education, got a job you actually like or listen to a Black created genre of music such as rock or blues or jazz (or basically nearly every genre but classical and polka). You’re still a Black person. Skin still dark. Nose still wide. You didn’t magically change into a White person because of your individual interests. Folks tend to forget that. That’s why I snarked to the person who asked me the really stupid question, “Oh man, I forgot I was Black. Lemme go rob somebody to redeem my Blackness. Totally forgot.”

That kinda made the person quiet for a minute. They went, “Not all Black people rob and are like that.”

“You said I wasn’t Black enough, I guess that’s what Blackness was. Thieving and acting like you came out of Birth of a Nation” Yes, this chick most likely didn’t know what Birth of a Nation was but who cares? Probably would have treated as a life guide of how to exist while Black whenever BET has slow days.

Look, if you don’t question someone’s racial identity of whether or not they’re Black when they’re joining gangs, committing crimes, living on a suffering wage or listen to gangsta rap but you do when they’re not, that means you equate Blackness with eternal hardship and to super limiting genres which further regurgitate those hardships – again, which upholds Whiteness because hey, why wait for a White person or institution to oppress you when you’ll do it yourself? What convenience. That way they don’t have to work or risk looking criminal because you did it all to yourself. Self-oppression/internalized racism does not fare well because it causes just as much damage as expressed racism – if not more since it is coming from the exact group you’re part of. You’ll hear such popular hits such as “You must think you White”, “Why are you such an Oreo?”, “You know Black folks don’t do [whatever it is that you're doing]“. As aforementioned, these folks think they’re protecting a really monolithic and (usually toxic) idea of Black culture but man, they’re upholding Whiteness like there’s a trophy to get out of it because the Black culture they’re thinking of – that one is actually framed through the lens of Whiteness.

Whenever I get the “You don’t sound/act/look/think Black,” it’s interesting what folks count as “Black” and what is counted as “White”. It’s like a really screwed up game of Green Glass Door:

  • Talking standard English or simply without a hood draw to your words = White. This mean you could be a Black person that was born and raised in England and because you have a British accent, you are somehow “Not Black” on the grounds of “Black people don’t talk like that.”
  • Liking anything that isn’t in the narrow confines of what is considered Black culture today = White. Apparently, if you like rock – even if all the bands you listen to have all Black members  and the lone fact that rock was created by Black musicians – or anything that isn’t hip hop, gospel, R&B and/or Soul, somehow that means you’re not Black anymore.
  • Not Christian? = Brainwashed by White folks to think that you’re White. Despite the pretty glaring fact that Christianity itself in the US was only “accepted” by Black folks because it was forced on to us as a psychological tactic to break all bonds and ties to identity and a sense of self so to make a “better” slave. (This doesn’t mean that Black Christians are slaves to a mentality but it would really help if they understood how they historically came upon the faith they have.) According to my experience, even simply praying or acknowledging African deities made you “White”. Whiiiiiiiiich doesn’t make sense, especially considering historical context.
  • Dress in raver clothes? Like punk? Prefer to have glow in the dark dreads in every color possible to glow in the daytime and nighttime? White, White and White. And you can forget that whole “Black carefree girl” thing, it doesn’t include Black girls in alternative cultures such as Rivethead, Cyberpunk, Goth or even Lolita.

It’s really frustrating and that frustration can be ever so apparent. There are Black kids in alternative cultures or simply with unique interests to them who want nothing to do with mainstream Black culture because they pretty much got pushed out by all the “Not Black Enough” chiding they heard everywhere from Black people. That alone can make people internalize self-disdain, racism and even make someone engage in dangerous acts such as skin bleaching because they’re so convinced that what they’re seeing is all Black culture has to offer and what they’re getting. In making a choice backed by all the ostracizing, they rather not be associated with all that, even if it means using caustic chemicals on themselves. That’s a problem.

Race policing should be used for people to get accustomed to seeing a Black person not simply be a stereotype or to expand their interests outside the super-enforced monolithic depiction of Black culture. It shouldn’t be used as a method to convince people out of improving themselves or exploring the varied interests they may have because that doesn’t protect Black culture from being further infected with Whiteness, it actually reinforces Whiteness because what is usually sided with what is “Black” and what is usually sided with “White” is nearly night and day. And Blackness is constantly aligned with negative traits and aspects, even if those traits and aspects aren’t true.

Basically, it really annoys (practically infuriates) me to deal with Black folks being more prejudiced about Black people doing things than White folks are. Nothing good comes out of the mentality. At all. Being Black is not a performance where if you stop, it goes away. It’s part of who you are, no matter what.

So seriously, wipe off the burnt cork, it really isn’t necessary.

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