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There are several months that I went without doing Ask Black Witch so I’m going through the lot of them today and answering! Some will be grouped together because they’re the same question, especially the dumb ones. As I always say when people send them in: “Good questions are appreciated, stupid questions are eviscerated”.

Let’s get into it:

A few years ago I found a strange object on my front doormat. It appeared to be a kind of wreath made from twigs and also some of the solar fairy lights from my garden. I dismissed it at the time but I’ve had a very bad run of luck since and only just remembered this incident. Could it be some kind of curse? If so is there a way to reverse it? Thanks for your time.

– J. Lee

This question was from months ago! I feel bad I didn’t get to it until now but here it goes.

A good way to know if it was a jinx versus “life sucks sometimes”: When you threw it away, did the misfortune stop after a while? There’s a bunch of other ways to check but that is the top one because no more wreath, no more issues! Otherwise, I think you’re just practicing confirmation bias because things have been crappy for a while and this is the only out-of-place thing your mind could come up with.

I get a few questions like these, the “something suspicious occurred and now bad stuff happens, am I cursed?” and the part that marvels me the most is that practically everyone who asks do not really know anyone who practices magick in any way, shape or form but I have a phone book full of magick practitioners and I don’t ever think the same “I’ve been hexxed” thought.

Unfortunately, life is pretty crappy, bad things will happen, even way out of the blue. I think this situation is a reference of confirmation bias. Bad things were simply happening, this is the only odd thing her mind pinged up and there you go, the thought connection of “Weird wreath + string of bad luck = weird wreath is causing the string of bad luck”. They could very well be a coincidence, not a correlation.

One reason why I say that is because, if I wanted to jinx anyone, I don’t think I would leave a jinxing item right where someone could find it easily. I mean, if you’re going to be a vengeful person, why not try to stretch it out as far as you can? If I were trying to leave it on someone doorstep, it seems more like a scare tactic than an actual jinx.

Now, maybe someone actually wanted to jinx you and this is really why they made this. If so, talk about poor skills! Chances are stupidly good they got sticks from nearby trees, regardless of kind of tree (the type of tree matters in magick), yinked your fairy lights because maybe they thought the “lighting” property of the lights (I can probably bet they were off/unplugged) would “activate” the spell since it is something of yours (but not something worn like clothing or hair). And left on doormat because…they wanted you to see it, I guess? Otherwise, it would have been hidden somewhere to cause latent mischief. It just seems so poorly cobbled together that I kind of doubt that this is a real jinx.

Basically, it’s possibly you practicing confirmation bias and pretty much reading into a weird prank.

Hello. I really need to talk to you. I have been following your page for about 3 years. I even bought the book where to park your broomstick which I do enjoy. I am a Christian but I have a real desire to learn about witch craft. I feel it in my heart. About 3 years ago I was interested in learning about African American people who practice their calling and I found you. I happen to be African American and I feel that you are important. Can I trust what I am hearing? I hear angels who led me here? What advice can you give about becoming a witch?

– Gina I.

I am glad she takes my suggestions, this is very nice. The book is super informative! Thankfully, there is Christian occultism and Christian witchcraft (just means that you still do regular Christian things but use it also in spell work, such as referring to the Holy Trinity instead of the Lord and Lady/God and Goddess, perhaps work in Angel Work, stuff like that) so you don’t have to worry about a major pull between Paganism and Christian practices. I actually wrote about this at length.

As for hearing angels, that’s fine but be cautious. I would recommend doing more research about angel work and keeping up with your meditations, if you’re doing any, to balance yourself. This also helps ward off any “am I possessed/haunted” paranoia that tends to come if you’re not keeping in touch with yourself. Y’know, continue practicing grounding, centering, things like that. I recommend using meditation apps like Intellicare’s Purple Chill if you have any difficulty.

Keep a journal, too. The best you can do is write down what you hear and your reflections so you can review them later down the line. This will help you note trends and patterns in your practice. I recommend being cautious because the thing about angels is that they’re not exactly “people with wings”. Interacting with angels can be pretty scary, especially when you get to Seraphims and Thrones. Angels, as a whole, basically just do God’s bidding and don’t really mess with humans much because, hey, it’s too big a universe to just mess with only one of God’s creatures because they’re so dumb they even attack one another based on how light or dark their skin is. Even giving guidance to a random pill bug skittering across an flower bed is probably a better use of time, at least it helps nature just a bit.

A good Angel Dictionary/Encyclopedia is The Encyclopedia of Angels, Second Edition by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. There is a .pdf version online but it’s a very good book so I strongly recommend buying it if you can, as you can see from the online read-through. This book has an index, bibliographic references, everything to serve as a great basis on reading up about angels according to Abrahamic lore.

Hello, I am somewhat new to the magical world. I am an Atheist and the question I have is regarding that. My question is, since I am an Atheist will things such as magick be weakened or non existent when I attempt to perform a spell?

– Reinhardt V.

Witchcraft is a lifestyle, not a religion. You’re thinking of Paganism, which Witchcraft has plenty of involvement with but Paganism, as a whole, does not hold the copyright on Witchcraft. Magick is fueled by intent and energy work, so you just have to practice on those and modify learned spells that have a focus on deities and entities for yourself.

However, you’re still going to have to do research in spellwork and most likely read up on deities anyways as you learn magick because modern Paganism pulls from a variety of cultures, which had deity work in them. This is so things will make sense or prepared to be incredibly confused.

I have what I believe is a hex with a property of “all hexes and curses stuck” on me. I don’t think the person who did this is still angry and she may have forgotten to remove it. How do I go about removing the hex and any other curses or hexes that are stuck on me because of it? Thank you for your time.

– Jacob

Spells are usually powered by intent so if the intent loses power (being pissed at you) then sometimes it dissipates. If it’s constructed to be “karmic only”, then it stops by itself after it deals out what you dealt out to her, (this is a hyper simplification of “karmic jinxes”). If it’s one of those follow-you-around jinxes, you can break those using dragon’s blood (comes in a body wash formula! Tis nifty!) and bay leaves but if you know the person who did it and the fact that water is under the bridge between the both of you…why don’t you bring it up to them?

Yes, it would be an awkward conversation, especially if the person doesn’t practice magick and this all could be a case of “confirmation bias” (meaning you’re reading into a situation to see a problem that possibly isn’t there) but if you’re certain, bring it up. Maybe you should talk to the person.

I am doing a lot of research about Body Switching spells. I am quite new into Wicca and Magick in general, and I’d like to know if you would have any resources or lectures about this subject in general.

Now, I would understand if you refused to tell me, seeing that a lot of people seem to be asking you to do spells out of fetishes. That’s not my case. My problem is that I believe that, even if the medical processes can appease a lot of dysphoria, I would rather switch body with a person that shares the same problem as me, except from the other biological sex. I have the consent of that person, so this is something we both agree on.

If you would have any information about these kind of spells ( if they actually exist, that is ) I would really really love if you could share to me any kind of knowledge you would have regarding Body Switching.

Thanks a lot for your response in advance.

Sincerely,
Melissa

This – THIS – is how you ask a question! It’s about body switching but notice the reference to obvious research and reading prior posts! The mention of body dysphoria, the acknowledgment that this is not my favorite question and why. This whole letter is why it’s not getting shoved in the “dumb question” section! It is do-able, everyone!

Now to the question because it actually sounds like a question that is transgender based. That’s an authentic question. And I’m gonna answer it right now!

Even for switching for transgendered purposes, it wouldn’t be a perfect solution because it’s not fixing a picture-perfect problem. Gender is fluid and gender identification can be tough. When a trans person is in pre-transistioning, they commonly feel like their body isn’t theirs, like it’s just a rental space they’re inhabiting. That makes sense to want body switching because it slides well with that kind of thinking and reasoning. They’re not switching because of fetish but because they want to feel like they’re in the “right” body of their true gender. That actually makes sense.

But here’s the thing about bodies: they’re unique. Even if body switching was done, there’s little bits and features everyone has that is specific to their body, from the allergies they have or the food they prefer. Even if you switched with your friend, who is also trans, chances are you would get on each other nerves with “You didn’t tell me your body does/n’t [xyz]!” I haven’t even brought up society yet because unless you two are coincidental twins, someone’s going to notice you’re not the same person they saw yesterday In any way, shape or form and the fallout won’t be fun.

In magick, things may be improbable but not impossible. However, this is also a “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” thing, also. If anything, it would be best for you and your friend to focus on transitioning the normal, mundane way because regardless how you transition, it’s going to be quite an experience that will need some time to get used to. I recommend joining groups and communities for Transgendered people (I’m sure youtuber Kat Blaque has suggestions) so you can help with the dysphoria and talk with trusted, pro-trans therapists to help sort out your feelings. I found this site called Trans-Health, the online magazine for transpeople. I also found MyTransHealth, so you and your friend can find doctors that best suit you! I just googled “Trans Health”, I recommend doing the same, there’s a lot of sites to look at.

Hello, I’ve been looking through your blog but I can’t seem to find anything on this matter except for the body swap strike, however that’s not what I’m looking for (I also have a problem trusting people who want to swap bodies with their “friends”).

I don’t want a spell, because I don’t think I can refine my energy well enough to conduct one yet, but if you could point me in the direction (if I’ve missed an article or if you know a website that I’ve yet to find) I would appreciate that so much.

I’m looking for some way to replace my female anatomy with male anatomy. I want my body, hence why I don’t want a body swap, but I want to get rid of the female anatomy I have. I don’t know if you believe in the Greek gods, but I talk to Hermes and I’ve asked for his help, but I’m still trying to tune into the godphone…

Any advice is appreciated and honestly if it’s too much of a bother then please don’t worry, honest there are no hard feelings you’re probably busy.

Thank you for you time,

Max

Another question that references body swapping but I’m not razzing it. What these two have in common: being transgendered. That’s literally the only reason I’m not ripping into them. Being trans is not a fetish, it is a state of being and what real people actually are so they don’t deserved to get ripped into.

For everyone, Hermes/Mercury is a deity that is commonly used by trans and other queer Pagans as a patron deity because of various mythos (so is Aphrodite and Dionysus, and a group of others – here’s a short list and another one ). A “godphone” is a term in Pagan community that pretty much means being personally and individually in tune with the deities and communicating with them person-to-deity, like talking on a phone, hence the term “godphone”.

I just answered a transgendered person’s question above so I don’t want to give a copy-and-paste answer. Just like her and her friend, I recommended going to sites such as Trans Health and My TransHealth.

Hermes is a good deity to talk to, he’s pretty understanding. I’m sure Dionysus, the Greek patron god of transgender folks would like to hear from you as well. As well as Hermes’ kid, Hermaphroditus. And a slew of other deities. This, as well as working with doctors and pro-trans therapists should be the best bet as you progress along. I also suggest keeping a journal and doing meditations to help focus your mind will definitely help keep the godphone in tune.

I’ve been into magic when I was I kid and in my dreams, sometimes I can fly and a spell caster casted a lot of spells for me but it’s taking forever to get my package, what does that mean?

– Kashawnda C.

It could mean a multitude of things without more details, frankly. Flying refers to freedom, generally. It’s a very common dream, actually. Spellwork in dreams generally refer to transformation or restriction (because spells change things or sayings like “It’s like you’re under a spell”). Since it is something someone is doing for you and not on you, it seems that it’s more of a transformation/transition kind of thing and you’re receiving help. Chances are, in real life, you’re making changes and moves, with the help of others, and they seem promising but you’re possibly getting tired of waiting for the show of these changes to finally appear.

Recently 3 of the witches in our coven have become connected. We each have a spirit (which have all been seen by us before we told one another) and familiar(completed on the past full moon the 3rd witch got hers.. well it came and forced its self onto her). I am not sure what each of our spirits are signifying. I believe mine is a nature nymph. We all feel a event is coming but I can pin point what it is. My birthday is the nearest and it is a new moon. I will be turning 21 and I’m going to a town known for the supernatural. This was planned before this connection. It may have nothing to do with it but I felt I should include it. Do you know what is happening? Is it an event? Good or bad?

-Talynn L.

Familiars are generally animals that are help the witch bond and connect with their spellwork, so I’m hoping that “forced itself onto her” isn’t in the regular “she-didn’t-have-a-choice-one-way-or-the-other-and-it-was-frightful” type of way. Which would be bad.

Meditations are best to help you see and understand your spirits/entities. That and research on magickal entities because then you’ll understand better what you are dealing with.

As for big events, it’s hard to call if you’re right or not because the only way big events are known that aren’t immediately local, is through news. But if no one reports on it, it’s almost like it never happened. It’s like the “if a tree falls in the forest…” argument.

Now, for you becoming 21 (which, isn’t really noteworthy, astrologically. No usual natal major planet returns I can think of – the closest I can think of is Jupiter and that’s around age 24), going to a town known for the supernatural (this could be Salem, this could be New Orleans, this could be somewhere else. Either way, do not hijack any graveyard dirt from those locations, it happens too much) and it being a new moon (it refers to new beginnings but it isn’t a huge reset button or start button)… I think nothing of great general importance with happen. It might be an important trip for you but thaaaaaat’s about it. The world will keep revolving as it always does.

Now, here are the stupid ones:

These questions are categorized as such because the person did next to no research, just decided to send me an email without really thinking. It doesn’t really matter that I answered the question before, or wrote a whole column on the subject, and it was a rule breaker somehow. Here are the rules (in brief):

  • No asking for spell requests/pay for pray
  • I’m a witch, not a genie, don’t bug me with wishes, especially things like body switching and jinxes
  • Speaking of jinxes, I’m “Black Witch” because I’m a Black person practicing Paganism and Witchcraft (oh wow, such crypticness! Who could have guess? I mean I only reference it on the About Me page and literally everywhere all over the site and the stark lack of “left hand path” material), if you assume I call myself “Black Witch” because you couldn’t perceive the obvious from even a skim of reading, expect no sympathy

The rules are more in-depth around the usual “Ask Black Witch” submission portals but this is the gist.

Let’s get started! By category!

Body Switching:

Do you know how I can become a shape-shifter and be able to turn into anything

– Alexander Wilkins

Why do people keep asking me things like this? Despite the fact I have written time and time again about it

Confused for a Genie/Asking for Spell work

I’ve come across a very sh[*]t and harmful woman. I thought I would never turn to black magic or anything dark but I can’t wait for karma to hit her again. she needs a lesson learned asap

– donovan rodriguez

Ahhh, the usual “Thinks Black Witch practices black magick” bit. I need to start charging people every time they send me a letter stating that.. This was a looooooooong email chain so I’m not showing that but pretty much, this person is intensely spiteful but for some odd reason, is going to a witch instead of buying a gun or something (it’s the 21st century, everyone. I’m not a metaphysical hitman. Do your own dirty work). Here are some choice responses this guy decided to send me:

Just thought I’d come to you first because I don’t want to pay a black witch to do the spell but if I have to I will I guess 

So, this guy thought I’d go against my fairly well stated/easily found policy of no paid spellwork/spellwork for others and on top of that thought I would do it for free. Free. Maaaaan, I don’t think this guy is jinxed or harmed, he’s just reaping what he sows, which is douchebaggery.

At this point I don’t care about being cursed. after what she’s done to my mental health. so no I won’t stay away from magic. black witches are not hard to find since more and more women have taken interest in it. I just rather look for a skilled one 

Uh, if witches who practice the left hand path are not hard to find, then how’d he land on my site? And why do people gender things that aren’t gendered? Seriously? This guy is profoundly an idiot by my standards. Men and women practice various paths, including left hand path (actually, I’ve personally seen either more guys or something close to an equal gender split when it comes to left hand stuff).

I suggested a therapist because if your mental health is harmed, thaaaaat’s who you need to talk to. Just like if someone stabbed you, I’m going to suggest you talk to a doctor. I don’t think it gets any simpler than this. Y’see, when people get into magick for these reasons, that’s a problem.

The  for all I know you’re a scammer too with no real information in magic. yes there are dudes too but I’ve come across more women than men who practice it.  

I should charge people every time I hear that. I may call it the “Baby rattle defense” because when these folks don’t get what they want, they call me a scammer and other wild things because it’s a temper tantrum. Reminds me of when babies go “Waaaaah!” and shake their rattles in infant fury.

If I’m a scammer, then why am I refusing money as policy? The goal of a scam is to sheist someone out of their cash. That’s why the character “Joanne the Scammer” is always going around pretending to be people she’s not and taking things from others via deception or sneakiness. Granted, this dude said he wasn’t going to pay a dime, scammers generally block folks who say things like that because why hang around a dry well? Time is money to a scammer.

I always have folks who don’t know anything about magick telling me I don’t know anything (despite being cited in at least a couple academic books and taught a workshop) because I’m not providing any useful information…outside of what I have written and posted at length on a publicly-accessed website I’ve ran for almost ten years, complete with a search bar and category list.

This go-around goes on for quite a while so I can spare you all from the rest. It ends with the guy saying he found someone who will do his bidding (either a lie or he found an actual scammer and is being fiscally frisked because, well, a sucker is born every minute) and that’s that.

hi im [H] i some tme ago was serching for help from wiccas for true love spells and one told me me and shannon moore prince of punk embodyment of dilligaf a pro wrestler were soulmates and under a curse keeping us apzart if thats true can u or someone brake the curse for free all the info i can give u is im [redacted] born [redacted] on a monday at [redacted], in [2424 no house, no door] and shannon [redacted] moore born in [redacted] in [redacted] in the usa is all the info i can give you.i have no pictures no noting but what i just gave you.can u please help me? i love shannon moore with all my heart.please help me please n thank you.

– [H] L.

My initial response: “Holy moly, why?! Good gods of the holy divine above and below, what the [redacted]?! Holy [redacted] nuggets, why do people send me these [redacted] things?! Are they out of their [redacted][redacted] minds? [Redacted]!!!”

Why do people send me literally all their personal info? Holy crap, I think I could have gotten her social security card and bank account if I was nefarious. This is the second or third time I got something like this that I can think of.

Goodness gracious, I worked with enough famous people to know that when you’re around your favorites or they’re the subject, the logic part of your brain pulls out a newspaper and goes, “I’M ON BREAAAAAK.” It’s a thing that happens. And before anyone goes, “Oh my god, this person is freaking crazy”, think about the times you freaked out over anything, famous or not, and come back to read the rest of this post. This person isn’t mental or anything, just incredibly infatuated with a wrestling persona, it happens.

Also, for the record, I’m not Wiccan. I’m Pagan. Yes, there is a difference. You don’t assume every Christian you meet is Catholic, right? Apply same logic here.

In addition, this is Exhibit A to Z to Aa to Zz of whhhhhhhy love spells, especially “true love” spells can cause more problems than they are worth. And why you shouldn’t listen to every dink you meet on the internet. This is “you were Cleopatra in a past life” crossed with “Twilight” level of things. And judging from the writing, I’d say this person was a teen. And judging from pro-wrestling standards, I’d say this Shannon Moore person was an adult. And judging from those two probable facts, I’d say that would be a major problem at the outset. Among a metric crap ton of other things.

This is merely just regular fan obsession that, most likely, the person will grows out of. I usually post at least the first name but because I know this is going to be insanely cringe worthy for her when she gets older, I tried to redact and modify everything. I remember being a teenager and I have worked with fans tremendously over the years, it will happen.

General Stupidity/Severe lack of research

Do u know how to make a wish potion

– Jalana G. 

Christ, really? This could fall under “confused for a genie” but it sounds like they want to make it themselves (I could be wrong but that’s what I’m reading into this) so it’s going under “severe lack of research” because practically every book in Paganism/Intro to Witchcraft gives basic how-tos on potion making and more.

It would be perceived differently if she said “I’m working on a wish potion but some ingredients are hard to get, like [specific kind of rose parts], what do I do?” At this point, the person is showing some knowledge of what they’re doing, just a little stuck. That’s fine. Sounds a lot better than sounding like they want to be spoon-fed info because they have zero interest outside of what they’re doing. Granted, this question could be asked by a dabbler but, hey, at least they’re doing a little bit of leg work.

  1. can you turn me into a werewolf very night please
  2. can you please turn me into were dragon please
  3. can i have a real tiger tail growing on my butt please as a friend
  4. or can you fix my computer from cookes and vireses please

– Sara McVicker

These four, separate, moronic questions were given to me between March and September by Sarah McVicker, a young person who, according to what I found, lives in Monroeville, PA that calls herself a professional artist, coupled with an empty portfolio DeviantArt. She likes watching Markiplier and JackSepticEye and has a loooooooooot of spare time that should be better used on her studies and not bothering random people on the internet.

Everyone, please remember I’m a person. With an extremely low threshold for bullsh*t. As in, you’d need an oil driller and radar to find it. And a background in research, including digital research. I understand it’s fun in theory to bother me but get too far with it, and I do get vicious. Heck, I still remember when I doxxed a Bible thumper that tried to be a hateful douche on here (also was from Pennsylvania, but a different part, I think). The reason I’m not dumping her schooling information, home address and more is because I haven’t heard from the kiddo in a while. On top of that, she’s a kid. Telling the internet is bad but I’m sure a personal phone call and conversation to the parents might be worse. However, if she decides to start right back up again, I’m sure her parents are gonna love to hear what their kid is up to when they don’t monitor her activity on the internet.

DO YOU KNOW HOW to call a vampire and if you do, can you tell me how LIKE WITH instructions?thanks!

– Merissa

These are the questions I get in my inbox. Why do these folks exist? Even with my usual snippy ways and saying “Lolz, American education in action, everyone” this is beyond that level of stupid. I don’t care if it is trolling, it’s just not bright. I like acting stupid sometimes but I don’t do it on other people’s spaces.

I can control the weather, and move stuff with my mind. And sometimes my dreams come true. What am I.

– Dylan S.

Don’t know. Don’t care. I’d treat the question better if it were framed better.

Hi i have a question im hoping you can answer ive ask this to others and either they dont never respond back or they just have no answer. Its about theses popular love hoodoo oils being sold ill like the recipe or just what exactly herbs oils and curios would go into them or what oils and herbs and curios to to use to receive the type of attention from the one you desire or admire from a distant. I like preparing and making my own oils better to buying from others to put all my intention placed in. My question is what are the recipes for these oils such as LICK ME ALL OVER OIL which incites Desires, Passion, Seduction, Control,LOTTERY WINNER OIL ,MAKE HIM MINE OIL – Control, Commanding, Passion,THINK OF ME Potion Ritual Oil Anointing Oil,Talk To Me Oil and the Man Trap Oil,.

– Ruby Gem

The actual question in this block o’ text: what are the recipes for these various hoodoo and voodoo oils because the person wants to replicate them instead of buying them.<

There’s probably a range of reason why this person doesn’t hear back from others, I haven’t much clue. However, I don’t really care much for those oils because they seem snake-oil-y to me. This doesn’t mean that concoctions in Voodun and Hoodoo aren’t legit, I’m just saying these commercialized versions are a bit odd to me. Part of it are the names (“Man trap oil”? That’s just…no) and the supposed intent (“control” popped up twice, that’s a problem). For all I know, these bottles are filled with Crisco, random sidewalk pebbles and Italian seasoning.

Here’s some Facebook messenger questions. I am very accessible on the Black Witch fan page. Heck, I have a 100% response time and take around nine minutes to reply. I’m trying to get that little green logo that shows I’m really quick and swift with responding, aw yiiiiiis.

hi how can i become a black magic practitioner

– Sanu Francis

My FB response: Read books? I don’t practice negative magick in particular so that’s my best suggestion

I’ve got nothing to expand on that. Frankly, I don’t practice the left hand path…at all. It’s not my fault if people don’t want to even do the slightest bit of research. Durr.

Hello, I don’t no if this is the ryt place but I am lookin into a black magic spell to get my ex back I want him back badly but he seems happy with his new girlfriend, but he made me so happy, I want him back

– Donna Chapman

This is incredibly awful for the most obvious reason: it’s abuse via controlling, plain and simple. This person doesn’t love her ex, she just wants to make him freaking miserable. She’s upset that he’s making his new flame happy, how she used to have that and now wants it back after the relationship already fell off a cliff for whatever reason. It has completely nothing to do with the ex personally, just that she felt good when he was her’s.

If the ex seems happy with the new gf…leave him alone. It may hurt to hear this but it’s over. You’re out, she’s in. Regardless of what the break up was for. And just from this small intro of a message, it seems like he made a good choice getting away and finding someone new and hopefully far less controlling.

The “ryt” place for her would be in front of a therapist to work out her feelings of controlling others and tendency to abuse and be dominating. This is no different when a guy contacted me on Facebook asking for the same thing.

My concern is my younger brother David. He’s a bane in my side, he gives me nothing but heartache and aggravation. I want to know if you could put a spell on him, so he can suffer as he makes me suffer?

– Rose G.

Why do people never do research? I usually state over and over that I don’t do spellwork for others, on others, about anything. Especially for negative reasons.

If he was abusing you, then I would have simply suggested mundane/non-magickal things like how to separate yourself, etc etc. If he’s just being a pain in your side, then you’re going to have to grow a spine and confront him or deal with it instead of bothering other people to solve your problem.

Or go Greek mythos with it: try to poison him or something. I mean, geez, it’s your family, it’s your problem. Maybe try growing a backbone, that would probably be better suited for your issue. Don’t like being a big sister? Complain to mommy and daddy or steel up and deal with it head on.

I got a couple more but they’re pretty small ones and one that basically warrants its own post but that’s it, I’ve caught up from basically super late July to now in February. Hurrah.

For quite a while, I’ve had supportive donations opened on Black Witch, such as direct donation, such as Paypal and Patreon. Granted, I’ve never pitched them much and with Paypal, they only just came out with direct donation for general purposes, not framing it like a purchase (Paypal.me). Supportive donations are different from emergency donations because they are, first and foremost, not based on emergency. Supportive donations simply help support the creator (which, in turn, helps them avoid fiscal emergencies).

Introducing Ko-Fi! It is digital coffee/donation feature. You can donate to Black Witch by buying me a digital cup of coffee. The reason for “digital coffee” is because sometimes it can be odd to ask for donations and it can feel odd to give donations. Hence “digital coffee”, it’s a placeholder product that helps make it feel more like you’re offering help rather than just randomly throwing coins all over the internet.

Donations are nice because this blog lapses for long, extended periods of time. This is because either I am working, tired from working, etc. Donations help make things easier because I can use it for BW means such as keeping the site ad free, buy materials to create and sell in the BW Shoppe, etc etc. Unfortunately, Black Witch consists of a lot more than being a bump on the log, typing full columns in 15 minutes. I really don’t think that ever happens, honestly.

Hurrah. Now that I have explained it, let me show you how it works!

The link is here, under the “Support Black Witch” box:

See the huge coffee cup?

See the huge coffee cup?

Click either the link or the coffee cup and you’ll be taken to a site that looks like this:

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It’s pretty straightforward, just put in a name or message if you want, choose “public” (everyone will see your donation) or “private” (it will be hidden), select how many cups of coffee to pick (each cup is $3) and click “Support Black Witch”. It takes paypal and cards.

There is a Supporter Reward Available, it’s a thank you letter!

And that’s Ko-fi, in a box!

It’s been a while! So let’s get into it

NekojinDesigns
During Otakon, I saw the cutest pillow. It was blue with a little kitty sleeping on a crescent moon among the stars and curled up next to a pentacle. I usually don’t buy things with pentacles on them because generally, they look gaudy and/or awful. This demonstration of the pentacle was nice and very cute!

As you can see, it's well used

As you can see, it’s well used

Since I’ve gotten the pillow, I use it all the time. When traveling or staying home, this pillow is everywhere because it’s so soft and nice. The pillow is made of fleece, cotton and minky (a super soft, fur-like fabric that is the face of the design) and filled with polyfil.

Visiting the site, you can see the variety of items, not just pillows. There are earrings, bags, pins, stickers and more! There are even LGBT+ paw pins and even Ace/asexual stickers and pins.
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The pillows look like they’re on custom order, meaning you’ll have to contact the creator, but it seems the price hovers around $25, which is totally worth it.

Sites:
Main Website
Twitter
Tumblr
Facebook
DeviantArt
Pinterest

Nicky Case
I’ve been on Newgrounds since 1998 when I was playing Crazy Shuttle. Sometimes, there are some serious gems among the mindlessness and Nicky Case is a creator of a few of them. I remember when I first saw “Coming Out Simulator

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“Coming Out Simulator: A Half-True Story About Half-Truths” is about coming out to very hyper-conservative parents. It’s a good game that makes you think.

The game that I really want to bring up is “We Become What We Behold

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This story is about media frenzy and how when vicious things go viral, a terrible cycle ensues. It’s a five minute game, a quick game but with a salient message.

There are other great games as well, such as “Neurotic Neurons”, which is about brain chemistry, therapy and anxiety.

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Sites:
Website
Patreon
Twitter

Gimme Gimme

First and foremost, check the web address! thisblackwitch.wordpress.com became thisblackwitch.com! Hooray!

I get a lot of messages from my Black Witch FB Fan Page. A close second would be my email. This isn’t bothersome. I appreciate reading from readers. However, when I first started Black Witch back in 2011, I thought I would get some derpy letters but most would be pretty substantial.

Wow, was I wrong.

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Whyyyyyyy? How did this happen?

I get some but most are usually from someone who wants paid spellwork, want to switch bodies, want spells done for them…basically, folks who are very “Gimme gimme”.

Firstly, whenever I’m asked these inquiries, I tend to snark “you should have read my site on paid spellwork instead of writing to me”. This is because I always mention that I do not do paid spell work, that I do not do pay-for-pray, that I am very clear about it and will ream anyone who asks. Regardless if you show up at a blog or fan page for said blog, please read about for a little bit. It isn’t going to hurt to do research.

Secondly, inquiries like these are usually from the most dense of people who can not see past their own wants, even when thoroughly explained to them. Even when going over the ethical ramifications (after explaining that I’m not doing spellwork for others, either), they still generally go, “but can you do this for me?” Which is annoying because it shows how dedicated these folks are to not listening…and possibly where their problems started.

I don’t mind giving life advice, it is nice to do. But I think the simple fact that folks are writing to a Witch, they think I’m all spells and potions and get disappointed that I’m not doing exactly that. Here’s the thing, not everything needs a spell. That and if the person does not practice anything in the metaphysics, I’m not going to talk to them about it anyways. Why? Because they’re not practicing, it’s pointless. Oh and I’m not the Wal-Mart of spells and magick.

When practitioners write to me, I try to be as helpful as possible. Mainly because, for once, a real question was asked. It’s not a “gimme gimme” question, it’s a “hey, I was working on something but I got stumped” question. Bouncing ideas off of someone is not a bad thing. They know what they’re talking about, they’ve done some research, great to help! It’s better than, “I don’t like that my ex is happy with his new girlfriend, how do I hex him?” or “I didn’t get into med school, I want to reverse time” or “I want to switch bodies, how do I do it?” Those are “gimme, gimme” questions.

Here’s what makes them “gimme, gimme” questions: even when some claim to be interested in magick, it’s pretty obvious they only want to get what they want and then off they go. No concern for anyone or anything. Frankly, no one – me included- wants to take time out their day to go through the time, effort and energy to handle someone else’s problem. It could blossom up worse, they keep coming back instead of learning life lessons (it always does with these sort of people, they never stop needing something “fixed”), etc etc. No practitioner would – with exception to those who actually do paid spellwork, of course. And even they themselves won’t do any spell simply because money gets mentioned. Speaking of which…

Folks who ask “gimme gimme” questions always act that money moves the world around them. That if they bring up money, that I’m magically going to do whatever they ask. Even if I explicitly say continually that I don’t do paid spellwork. It’s a pretty selfish perspective, actually. I don’t accept money for spellwork because of my personal ethics. However, it’s pretty hyper evident that these folks seriously don’t care about my ethics or anything, I’m just a candy machine that dispenses spells, the solutions to their problems. It doesn’t matter how much money they’re offering, it’s not happening.

I’m certain there’s probably a couple readers out there thinking, “Sheesh, if an idiot offers me a blank check to fix their dilemma, I’d tell them to brush their hair with a fish for ten nights and accept the money. Who cares if it does or doesn’t work? It’s money!” Yeah but it certainly isn’t worth it. For one, my reputation would sink like a rock. Two, regardless of whether the spells work or not, these folks will keep coming back. Three, these people are usually asking for spells because they’re myopic megalomaniacs that can’t think of anyone but themselves. I can’t stress that part enough.

Sometimes, a person writes to me about wanting a spell but because they’re feeling cornered about an actual problem. They’re in an abusive household, they’re trans and we live in a transphobic world, etc etc. I usually try to offer some real world solutions. Again, they’re not practitioners so I’m still not offering spells. Instead, they need resources to contact. If they were a practitioner in the same boat and they were asking for spells, I would still provide resources and perhaps a teeny small spell so they don’t put more focus on the spellwork than they should on the resources offered to them.

Frankly, I really rather get letters and messages from people who actually practice metaphysics or simply have good questions rather than “gimme gimme” questions. When I find a new blog, instead of bugging the writer, I just read through the blog end over end. Usually what questions I have are probably answered in some article written over three or four years ago. I wouldn’t mind the same for here. I wouldn’t mind if someone read a column and asked questions derived from the writing. I just mind when it’s pretty glaringly obvious that the person didn’t decide to read anything at all or did read a bit, they just thought that they could ask for the same thing.

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Look at what I found in my pile o’ mail (yay, depressive episodes!) It’s my Internal Affairs letter from the raid that was done on my apartment literally a whole year on this day.

I have gone through a lot this past year with my EEOC situation and the fact it turned into a police raid that really trashed my apartment. Long story short, the officer was found guilty (“sustained”) on committing violations in regards to the raid and pretty much everything around it.

I’m really tired of going through things like this. Seriously, it would be very nice if I or others didn’t have to worry about losing employment for suspicious reasons or being raided for even more fantastical and non-existent reasons. The EEOC process was really arduous and annoying, Internal Affairs surprisingly wasn’t that bad but still taxing. However, all in all, this whole ordeal cost me way more than it should.

Frankly, while some are going to be very supportive and say, “hooray, this is great”, most of this stuff doesn’t feel like an actual success. Like, yes, the EEOC got involved but talk about muted. Yes, Internal Affairs listened to me after all but I could have gone my whole life with out being raided, especially for faulty reasons because of a corrupt detective. I doubt anyone learned anything except for how to hide their bigotry better, no real lessons learned because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, everyone is very good at evading responsibility and accountability.

What really also hurt was when I really could use help in pulling everything back together and cleaning up my apartment after a cop trashed it was how I felt pretty alone and not really cared about. I asked on my personal social media for help to clean up my place but honestly, I got mainly nothing. Only one person came. Another wanted to as well but were going through cancer treatment so it was understandable they couldn’t come. Now, when I posted the letter on my personal social media, I got an outpouring of support that, frankly, I felt was a year way too late. I didn’t think the post would get so much traction, honestly. The initial news didn’t so I figured this would be the same, next to no response. To be honest, I kind of wish it were. I didn’t expect folks to come from far and wide or if they were going through anything, just local folks I know who generally are able-bodied and are out and about over police violence in general. Newp.

If anything, I didn’t want people to go out in the streets and march, nor bug media on my behalf or anything potentially endangering like that. Just help me shift boxes and lift the ones that were dumped in my cat’s litter box. It isn’t storming the Baltimore City Police headquarter demanding accountability (which is rare to get) but even just an hour of pitching in (or, sitting down and listening while I shifted boxes, which is basically what I made my visiting friend do) would have done some good. I can’t help but to feel irritated and angry from the lack of response when I needed physical help but now everything is over, everyone wants to celebrate.

That raid and literally everything that happened after that was terrifying. Very terrifying. Especially when interacting with a detective that was less concerned with solving a case than just having a Black kid to burn. I actually thought I was gonna die in the back of a police station, the detective was pretty terrifying in how obvious he didn’t care about protocols, rules or rights. The fact that I was well-versed in civil rights law, previously worked in the Library of Congress, knew folks in law enforcement and knew police investigation protocol is what helped me most to walk out the police station breathing. All I wanted next was to help have my apartment cleaned up because hey, I have trauma disorders and there was absolutely no way I would have been able to live in the apartment with it looking like this:

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Yeah, I could wait for someone to be free maybe weeks later to perhaps swing by when the spirit moved them with everything like this. Totes. Didn’t kick my disorders, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into debilitation mode. Yeah, naaaaaaah.

So, it took about nine months (DOJ says Internal Affairs should solve these cases in 90 days) to get this letter. This letter is awfully rare to get, only 8% of complaints lodged against the police get “sustained”.

This was really difficult and I’m still pissed about it for a variety of reasons is, I guess, what I’m trying to say.

 

 

History: Stuck on Repeat

We’re about six weeks away from the inauguration, which is strongly concerning. Hate crimes are spiking, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and will only be expected to rise even with the inauguration and well into the new administration. The one thing I’m most concerned about is the possible likelihood of forced retention of mass groups of people based on religious, cultural, racial or disability status. Basically, camps…and not the fun, marshmallow-at-a-bonfire-with-sing-a-long kind of camps. More like the human-rights-violations-everywhere-everyone-is-gonna-look-back-on-this-and-puke-or-make-hella-excuses kind.

Granted, given I have a mostly American audience, meaning a good chunk of my readership probably slept their way well through Government & Civics and their political science courses…or simply got a crappy education. This spells out that some folks probably are gonna say, “Camps totally can’t happen here! We have checks and balances! Germany had a different system! We have the freedom of due process and our amendments.”

Firstly, if you said the last sentence, it’s an 85% chance you’re probably intensely delusional. Both recent and not-so-recent history has held these truths to be quite not evident.

Secondly, during World War II, America had Internment Camps, also known as American Concentration Camps (as recommended and expressed by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in their Power of Words Handbook). This was while America was at war with the Axis of Evil (Germany, Italy, Japan). Note, only Japanese Americans were detained only, no German Americans or Italian Americans.

If you never heard of the Internment Camps/American Concentration Camps, don’t feel too bad, let Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda bring you up to speed with his song Kenji on his solo album Fort Minor: The Rising Tied

Imaginative, no? Here is another that breaks everything down on the historical, government-y side, because you do need all sides (or as many as possible) of an argument enable to make an argument:

Here’s the thing: all in all, all of this was government sanctioned. Thought up by the president, passed by the Congress, defended by the Supreme Court a couple years later (Korematsu v. United States). Not only was this greenlit, it was even portrayed as if the Japanese Americans were totally cool with it (because they’re so obedient! Those loyal model minorities! If only all minorities could be so accommodating, like those nig– uh…no minority group in particular, just a general wish upon a star, heh heh.) And that the US Government were simply doing the right thing: it was wartime, everyone has got to understand. Better safe than sorry, that’s why there were camps for Japanese Americans, German Americans and Italian Americans…oh, wait. The two latter never happened, only Japanese Americans got cuffed.

Here is a war propaganda video read out by General Milton S. Eisenhower, the first director* of the War Relocation Authority (WRA, and “Relocation” can be reworded to “Incarceration”, according to the JACL handbook), and brother of later president Dwight E. Eisenhower (you’ve seen him, he’s on the dime). Played by Periscope Films, you can view this and more on Denshō’s Youtube channel.

How charming! It’s like a mini society! Watch them “J*ps” work so hard and diligently, building houses, having schools, letting their rights be taken away. It’s practically a Norman Rockwell painting of the American spirit of perseverance…and he did indeed cover WWII:

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Feel the Americana! Feel the togetherness!

How delightful. And heartwarming. Almost like Mike Shinoda just painted a dreary picture on a very picturesque situation simply because he wasn’t there, just his dad.

Oh, wait, George Takei was there, too. And it sounds like from his personal, lived experience, Shinoda’s take is a lot more accurate than Gen. Eisenhower. It didn’t sound like a fun trip to the desert, it sounded a lot like being suspected, rounded up and detained because of a crime never committed. Kinda like what the TSA does now to anyone dark enough to be “suspicious” in airports. Or what police does to civilians dark enough to be “suspicious”. Or what FBI agents does and did to countless Muslim Americans (and with a chance for a one-way ticket to Cuba for an indefinite stay at the Gitmo resort), because “suspicious”. Man, I wonder why White guys didn’t get rounded up by the payload when Timothy McVeigh did the Oklahoma City Bombings. You can check out more first-hand accounts here at Densho.org or on their Youtube. I strongly recommend it.  Actually, let’s see George Takei talk about his experience in the camps:

The reason why this happened is because of the rising anti-Japanese sentiment many Americans had before and during WWII: that the Japanese were evil, sneaky, rat faced and intensely vicious in their sleeper attacks. You couldn’t predict them so might as well bound all of them up to make sure. That without the Japanese, Americans could live safer…by detaining Americans with reckless abandon. Kinda like now with talks of a “Muslim registry”. There was plenty of media about that depicted Japanese people as inherently “other” and someone to vanquish, mock and despise.

“Commander Duck”

“Tokio Jokio”

Oh yeah, such open mindedness will breed from these films and many like them. Just like all the movies and first person shooter games that are set in the Middle East create such warm and happy feelings about those who practice Islamic faith. And in “Commando Duck”, a hidden Japanese stereotype militaryman said “Oh no, no wait please – Japanese custom say ‘always shooting a man in the back’, please.” Funny that, it’s what American soldiers did to Japanese Americans when they were in the camps because, well, Americans don’t gel well with being detained in mass prisons for bullsh*t reasons. Watch the retelling of the “Manzanar Riot”, witnessed by Richard Yamashiro.

This official propaganda, which was constantly everywhere, is similar to how Germany had films about “the evilness of the Jew”, by showing Jewish people in normal marketplace environment and playing it up as how they are just such a cancer to the German way of life.

Here is German propaganda pretending the camps and the ghettos** are totally nice places, that the Jews are totally being respected while despised.

And what actually happened, as shown by Youtuber Miles Jai. Press play to start at the marker:

Frankly, it’s concerning because all this shows how little protected people are in times of need. And how hatefulness can be super pervasive to the point it’s greenlit as “helping the country/world”. And the worst part? Most get away with doing these atrocities, hiding behind legalities, technicalities, multi-layered and scalpel-like wording – being very careful to mind the red tape so they can dance expertly around it as if this all just was one, big misunderstanding. To be legally perceived as no different than bumping into a stranger on the street and making them drop their baggage.

For example, only about 50 or less Nazi personnel were actually convicted with war crimes, but thousands got off the hook. Most are old and frail now, so the lot of them spent their lives free from any wrongdoing they did. And when they do land in court, all they have to say is “I never physically, personally killed anyone. I was just doing my job.” And off they go, to spend the rest of their golden years in the sunset:

Immense amounts of people suffer, perish and die, just to be pictures and tales of history – as if that’s all these people were born to do, just be cautionary tales – and those who commit such wrongdoings get to have fantastic cop-out arguments while everyone else “ooh” and “aah” about the whole occurrence, which will eventually become a boring and intensely neutered museum exhibit or textbook entry. Sometimes, it seems like very little is done to actually prevent such occurrences, just a bunch of “If only there was another way or we could have seen this coming. Our thoughts and prayers are with the fallen.”

Like now. Just like it happened right after 9/11 when the Muslim population was under intense scrutiny over the attacks, simply because they were Muslim. When FBI started busting down doors of innocent Muslim Americans of various stripes and backgrounds simply because they opted for a Koran and not a Bible to pray to. Apparently being Muslim was enough to justify “suspicion” of terrorism and trash their house.

Sounds familiar? It happened to the Japanese Americans during the 1940s as well:

Geez, this “suspicion” sounds a lot like “intense, racially-induced paranoia”. Because this is the same FBI that can’t seem to spot or stop people like Dylan Roof or prevent Sandy Hook or douse the long standing terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, who have performed bombings, attacks on Americans and more. Huh. Interesting.

And now, it’s about to happen again with Trump getting into office. Because all he basically said during his campaign was “noun-verb-geyser of bigotry”. And if anyone thinks that this dude won’t throw us into a war, that person poorly understands how an arrogant, myopic bigot thinks, especially when nuclear launch codes get added to the mix. And it’s usually around wartime and war-leaning times does things like camps get rolling. And do they roll, but gradually, you bet.

First, it always starts small and simple: registries and curfews. Nothing vicious, no one being harmed, just a set bedtime declared by the government. The only folks really hurting are those who love watching late night movies at the theatres. Just abide by the rules and you’re good. In 2002, we didn’t have curfews for Muslims, but we did have a Muslim registry, the “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” list (NSEERS, also called “Special Registration”), which was stopped in 2011 because its unconstitutional nature. Oh, and the TSA as well since 9/11 was done using planes. No curfew but traveling is well hampered, all thanks to security theatre.

Second, it moves into sectioning groups of people into particular neighborhoods – “ghettos” or strongly zoned areas – so everyone knows where you are. The US already have tons of housing and zoning issues like these already, plenty of areas are greatly segregated.

Third, “relocation efforts” are introduced.

As referenced prior, mainstream media starts to push propaganda of “the enemy” and can back the government as well. They’re currently doing it now to make the Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis appear palatable. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be traditional media, even on Youtube there’s the “bomb prank” where someone dresses up in stereotypical “Arabic”  wear and plops a black bag around someone and runs off:

Yeah, not paid for by Fox News or CNN, this is some individual’s “clever” thinking. They didn’t have to do the super racist costume. Here is an example when someone does the prank without the Islamophobic stuff:

However, a quick search on Youtube shows more Islamophobic versions of the prank than not, with different people conducting the prank.This continually associates Islam with terrorism and very much stokes fears that the American people are under threat of the “evil Muslim”. These pranks are not much different from films like “Tokio Jokio” because they have the same effect, it’s just one was paid for as official propaganda and the other was merely a result of being extensively exposed to anti-Muslim propaganda for over a decade and using such ingrained rhetoric for personal creative works that delivers to a wide audience.

Does all this promise that Trump is totally, totally going to have camps of some sort? It’s a relatively likely possibility, given history itself, his demeanor, his actions and his personal take on everything. Oh, and the fact that one person in his crew already suggested that we bring back Internment Camps. Trump is not at all reasonable and he does not appoint anyone who is. He’s not even in the oval office yet and already making bad choices. This is alarming because it’s just history all over again.

What can people do about this? Well, safety pins are a cute non-solution but I think trying to understand and learn what is happening is best here. On the Black Witch Tumblr, I actually have the “Race and Racism” tag. Try starting there.  That and don’t be like Gen. Eisenhower, actually stand up for your beliefs, not just say, “Oh, I feel queasy about this, let me distance myself to feel better.” If acts of prejudice pop up, do something. Except for “sign up for the Muslim registry to cloud the numbers” because the US Govt used the Census to round up Japanese Americans and to know who gets put on the registry. Then revamped the registry system during Bush Jr. You can sign up but the system already knows it’s a false positive. There’s already a tried-and-tested system waiting. General resistance, like attending protests, openly talking about these issues and more would do better. This doesn’t mean that it will turn Trump’s presidency into a well muted one, but it’s better than just slipping out the back because all this causes bad feelz. I also recommend getting a copy of the ABA book of Human Rights. It’s nifty.

Before I hear, “Both the Jews and the Japanese got reparations! How is this bad?! Free money!” I can tell you from personal experience, going through an immensely prejudiced experience is not worth any amount of money received. If you asked anyone who got fiscal reparations “choose between getting all this money or not ever going through the experience at all”, all of them would say, “never go through it at all.” It doesn’t wipe away the terrible memories that will live forever. It doesn’t wake up the dead that suffered. It changes nothing, just adds a little extra cheddar in their pocket while the government revs up to do it again. This isn’t “free money”, this isn’t like scratching off a winning lotto ticket. The camps weren’t a game show and this isn’t a prize. This is an official “My bad, we’ll be more cunning about it next time.” Sure, the German government, very unlike the American government, actually did make strides to help future German generations understand that Nazism was a terrible thing they did: mandatory field trips to the camps, banning hate speech and symbolism, backing those bans up with severe laws, etc etc. Y’know, taking responsibility. The American government just gets into an emo tizzy and rather sweep things under the rugs. I mean, how many of you actually knew of the American concentration camps

Also, before I hear: “Trump isn’t that bad, he’s just using the ‘build a wall’ nonsense because it got him votes. His real plan is way more nuanced that than. Just too magnificent for the average American to understand.” The New York Times said the same about Hitler:

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The article reads:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch messes of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler  with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

The Hitler movement is not of mere local or picturesque interest. It is bound to bring Bavaria into a renewed clash with the Berlin Government as long as the German Republic goes even through the notions of trying to live up the Versailles Treaty. For it is certain the Allies will take umbrage at the Hitler organization as a violation of the military clauses of the treaty and demand disbandment, even as in the case of its predecessor, the Orgesch.

This would be a funny Hurrr Durrrr moment if it weren’t so terrifying, and verified by Snopes. It’s also such a glowing reason to get your passport straightened out, if possible. And see Takei’s play “Allegiance” if it is in your city, it’s going to be in select movie theatres!

*Granted, Gen. Eisenhower did leave three months later because the camps were bothering him but it doesn’t change what he did. Especially since all he did was dip, not try to close the camps. The least he could have done was boost Korematsu’s stance further. Neither happened. Just left to save his mind, literally no one else. That doesn’t make him a hero, just a coward with temporary moral depression and a cardboard spine.

** By the way, that’s where the American term “ghetto” comes from, because of the same conditions. So if a kid says they’re from the ghetto and live in America, it’s pretty similar when a Jewish kid said the same back in the 30s and 40s. Hooray for White kids who call everything “ghetto” for the lolz. Because why be anti-Black or anti-Semitic when you can be both?

Tech Witch

One day, I was on my way to Sally’s Beauty Supply store and discovered next door, the Radio Shack was closing, thus had a 60-90% off sale on everything in the store. So, instead of buying blue hair dye like I was going to, I beelined for the tech stuff I could get for uber cheap. Like, buying a pack of capacitors for .45 cents. Though I should have totally gone for the 555 Timers. I like to fiddle with electronics and build/construct things – I’m currently working on an automatic cat feeder because my cat is fat and I have mini-amnesias due to having trauma disorders. My cat will wharf down her food and pretend she’s hungry in hopes that I forgot I fed her ten minutes ago and give her another dish.

My cat, who is fat

My cat, who is fat

I also repair electrical problems in drones and mechanical problems in 3D printers. Basically, I’m very techy.

Given that we live in a world of tech and technology, I do wonder how it can be applied to magick. Granted, I don’t think it is very seamless (I doubt you can do a smoke cleansing with your phone and I still side-eye “rebloggable spells” a bit) but am definitely sure parts can be integrated.

Alright, I’m not much a tech witch, I don’t include tech much into my practice, if at all. I write down things and use natural stuff like sticks, stones and incense. If anything, I would probably be concerned of energy waves from the phone messing with the energy trying to be created in the circle so I just curve around all that and keep it analog. This doesn’t mean that folks who put protection sigils on their phones or cast an anti-theft spell on their computer is silly, I just don’t do the same. That and the idea of using magick on your stuff – including your tech stuff – is normal to me. Using your tech in magick, that feels a bit different to me, if not foreign.

I guess part of it is because technology is comprised of so many different parts and things, it would drive me into a finicky mode. There are so many things that make our tech that has various individual properties that makes up our tech. This is kind of why I’m not much of a tech witch. Simply isn’t my kit. That and I’m still trying to wrap my head around things like tumblr spells that are mostly emoticons/emojis and basically are suppose to work with every reblog. I understand the “gathering energy” part (the many people passing the post around), the “intention” part and how it’s kinda supposed to work but I would imagine the energy is a bit mottled through the tech. That’s just my perception, though.

However, this doesn’t mean that tech isn’t starting to really becoming useful for Pagans. For example: 3D printing, sky maps and moon phase apps

Many weather apps, like WeatherUnderground and AccuWeather will tell you the moon phases. I use WeatherUnderground, which shows me not only the moon phase and fullness of the moon, but also how much daylight I have.

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This is really great for determining fullness, when to perform rituals or whatever have you. I think most, if not all, weather apps show you the moon. Even on smart watches, such as the Apple Watch, you can track the moon phases and travels.

Then there are sky maps, which let you see constellations, planets and stars through your phone. You can even use it to help spot planets in the night sky, look for conjunctions and more. I use Google Sky Map but there are plenty about.

Then there’s 3D Printing. Granted, it still isn’t accessible to quite a lot of people – they’re mainly found in libraries and on college campuses, in regards to mass use – but can be very useful when it is. For example, the most common filament (“ink” for 3D printers) used is PLA, which stands for Polyactic acid (not actually acidic in nature) , which actually is completely biodegradable and comes from sugars and starch. Even smells a bit like caramel when printing. Yes, it is plastic, but it is nature-derived plastic, which can make it useful for personal practice or even group practice. PLA is one of the many materials a 3D printer can print in. There’s also wood, metal and ceramic.

This means that a Pagan person could print a chalice in the very color they need it in. Or create a specialized holder, tool or anything that is needed in whatever color, material or design. They could create beads or a stylus with their chosen sigils. They could create boxes, statues and more; if they can think it, they can print it. It really would be very nice for practice to implement hyper specialized materials and items into Pagan practices. A practitioner could either charge a whole spool of filament to print a variety of things or they could print something and charge that instead. Hyper customized holders, runes, candle plates, wands and more! Talk about endless bouts of ideas.

New forays into technology can be useful for old practices, which is really interesting as well as potentially ground breaking for Pagan practice. However, this has always been the case, if one would think about it. I mean, when glass, silver and steel could be used to create items, I wouldn’t be surprised if the question of “can this be implemented into ritualistic practice” came into play. With that thought in mind, it probably is redundant to ask, “hey, is this new tech good for Pagan practice?” because as long as the source of the practice is the same, why wouldn’t implementing new devices and tech be a problem?

Not My Flag, Not a Chance

There’s been so much chatter since the election, mainly about how terrible Trump is going to be (usually said by practically everyone who isn’t White, Straight, cis, etc) and how we should still give him and his folks a chance (usually said by anyone White and usually Liberal (conservatives just froth at the mouth over admiring swastikas now, imagining the next four years in glee, I’m guessing)).

Frankly, anyone who says we as a nation should give Trump a chance is quite historically challenged and a total ditz. Trump’s troupe blew whatever chance they could have potentially had when they were on the campaign trail talking about walls and mocking disabled reporters…oh and doing covert sieg heils* at the RNC gathering.

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Those were big opportunities to show that they simply wanted to repair the country from it’s economic sluggishness, dismissive political attitudes to rural Americans, etc etc. I mean, Trump did offer several solutions…it’s just practically all of them came from a book probably titled How To: Second Coming of the Third Reich, Special 14th edition with a teeny cover sticker that says “Now with 88% more hate! Ruin your country beyond repair or your money back! See inside for details”. Meaning: none of these solutions actually work. The only thing the Final Solution did the last time was give Germany a huge luggage crate full of baggage to cart about, because the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind about Germanic history is mainly the terrible stuff they did in the ’30s and ’40s. More like a final solution for murdering a good reputation, if anything. Going Nazi wasn’t a great payoff to them, just like it won’t be for us.

I, nor anyone who have been historically affected by messages of hate and mass disparagement, should give anyone a chance if that’s pretty much all they’ve came out the gate with. I even tried to research Trump’s stances on actual issues during the election season, and about all I got that was pretty solid was “I don’t know…but we will just pour in a chunk of hate and see where that gets us.” That’s basically it: build a wall, get rid of non-Whites and more police. This is not a solution to anything. It’s just a recipe to make America not “Great” again but to make America White again. And Trump’s people have actually said that, word for word: That they believe America should be White only and White succeeding, that they hate anyone not Christian, not White and not Male. They’ve done openly displayed sieg heils at Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis gatherings.

Yeah, this happened, too

Yeah, this happened, too

Give this a chance? For what? It’s been shown countless times in even the past one hundred years that just giving hate a chance doesn’t magically transform into peace, it just becomes more virulent hatred that’s just been given a head start. Granted, no one not on the business end of that would definitely say, “Let’s give them a chance.” Since they have nothing to lose, the idea of fighting or being actively despondent or even cracking someone’s elbow in the middle of their Nazi salute seems “violent” and “not how peace works”. Because Americans always have politely asked for things like rights and country and politely discussed things over. Totes exactly what we did with the British and the Native Americans**. We’re such a peaceful nation, we don’t even have mass shootings.

Unfortunately, this is not reality. My family members don’t remember our ancestors being able to walk up to the Overseer or Master and say, “Hey, I’ve already put in my eight hours so I’m heading out. I’ve even kept track of it on this here scrap of paper – oh! and we’re running low on ink, I like the iron blue one from that guy down the street, it’s really nice and last for pages – See? That’s 40 hours, I took an hour off for lunch and everything. Also, it’s, like, super hot in the middle of the day and you made us work…that’s not cool, you always do that. Everyone around here thinks you better shape up or we’re leaving. Especially since you don’t pay us…which, I’m preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure is illegal. Like, super illegal. And I cut myself on a sickle, where’s my employee healthcare? One of my friends a few rows over heard over in Korea, they have a king named Sejong and he – a king, mind you – put in stuff like maternity leave. We should try some of that, or we’re leaving for good! You can find some new pickers and they’ll say the same. What say you?”

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, that’s not what would have happened. Would have been nice but very much didn’t happen. Instead, slave rebellions happened. Fighting happened. Dying happened (by the payload). Lynchings happened. Escapes happened. Suicides happened. Talking is great for some things but not when the person you’re talking to doesn’t even think you’re human. Even Schindler didn’t say to his fellow Nazis, “Hey, about this ‘kill all Jews’ thing. Ever wonder how this will help our country – like, actually help Germany? I mean, I’m just saying! Just saying. Y’know, for kicks and giggles, think about it. I mean, this is a lot of work to murder useful people like doctors and teachers. Just seems a bit dumb – I’m just saying, though! Just saying. I mean, we even killed a gay carpenter and we’ve had a crappy chair and tilting table for weeks. No carpenter, but we stick with the sh*tty table. Yes, Aust handles carpentry but, c’mon, everyone knows he’s bad at it, that’s how we got the table. We had a master carpenter and just killed him. Does that scream ‘smart’ to you? Think about it.” That would have been nice, imagining Schindler doing thoughtful roundtables with fellow Nazis at night, even with a rabbi present, because representation. But that’s not what happened. You can’t talk people out of hate so easily. That would be totally awesome but, as shown by history, totally not realistic.

Hoping that the current batch of fascist douchebags are going to be somehow different and totally open to conversation is intensely delusional. And increasingly so with each and every new pick Trump makes for cabinet. Even the minorities (the extreme, token few) he eyes are poster definitions of “internalized racism”. Everyone in Trump’s camp plans to roll back the clock like mad. And that makes Americans such as myself very, very concerned. Because I’m Pagan, I’m Black, I’m female, I was raised poor and in the inner city and, frankly, this is not my flag:

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

We are too diverse for this bullsh*t. But frankly, not everyone feels this way. Especially those who felt “othered” when mentions of diversity are said. Even those who swear up and down they’re allies but are actually in it for the saviorism. Even those who say they don’t see color but get offended when a Person of Color gets ahead in real life or even introduced in a comic book, sputtering, “We’re all one race, the human race. Why is Spiderman Black? Like, isn’t that racist? Why can’t he be White? He has to be White!” Even those who reblogs the #noDAPL Water Protectors on Tumblr and goes to the tribal land – not because clean water means anything to them but because they want to have a winter Coachella, complete with disruptive drum circles and asking Natives insanely dumb questions like “What’s my indian name?” instead of “Where do I put the crate of Milk of Magnesia and portable heaters?” Apparently, to those folks, we’re just too diverse a country that doesn’t benefit them, period. And now they want everyone to give Trump a chance since Hillary Clinton didn’t get in. (Is Clinton perfect? Heck no. Just isn’t that level of hateful) That maybe everything will be all right with the Alt Right, if given the opportunity. Just like it was all right during the ’40s when Japanese Americans had to go to Manzanar, USA. Or when anyone Jewish, Black, disabled, whatever, had to go to the death camps (the holocaust killed more than Jews, remember that. The first to go were political opponents, actually. Germany was a diverse nation, too. Just like now). What absolute insanity.

Even media that tilts intensely liberal like Mother Jones, CNN and MSNBC now falls over itself in trying to romanticize the Alt Right and distance them from the Neo-Nazi rhetoric they constantly spew, even the triple parentheses that they use to signify anyone who is Jewish or “Anti-White”. Simply because hatred got a makeover, it’s time to play nice with them. That’s ridiculous. And these are some of the same folks who won’t shy from saying “Feminazi” or “Grammar Nazi” (even joke about the Soup Nazi from Seinfield!) but have a hard time calling an actual Nazi a “Nazi”. Or “White Nationalist”. Even if the bigot does the salute and all! What is needed? The Hugo Boss uniform, heel clicking and goose stepping?

I don’t think anyone needs a chance to get to that point. That’s much too far.

 

* Sieg Heils: The hand/arm motion that Hitler is commonly associated with. The Nazi salute

** We told the British where to shove their tea and massacred Natives (even now, American police are trying to literally freeze out (water cannons and everything) the Sioux over the tribe wanting to defend clean water. By the way, Flint, MI is still happening)

Yep, first post back and I’m down with a headcold. Been fighting a head cold all this week. However, even without a headcold, this week still sucked for a lot of folks. Trump won the election. The part that sucked the most for me is that I called it.

When folks would ask me who I thought would win, I would respond, “Unfortunately, I think it might be Trump. The country has gone too left so we’re due for a conservative snap – which this gump-faced, fake-haired cheeto is part of. In addition, he’s a great salesperson, he could sell water to a fish, it just would unfortunately be clear blue gel. In terms of dupin’ the stupid, he’s good at that. And Americans aren’t known to be the smartest people in the world. Far from it.”

I’m an Independent (meaning I am not part of any party, they all suck) and I identify as a socialist (meaning I strongly believe that institutions like healthcare, education and social/fiscal safety nets should not be for just the rich and wealthy but for everyone). But also as a Black, female, Pagan person, I was kinda looking forward to basking in all the folks who were going to say how wrong I was.

 

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So wrong, so nice

 

Instead, this was me when I checked Google for the Electoral vote count:

 

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You can’t be serious

The US has really elected a moron that is very much planning to be a grade-A fascist. Of course, only White folks (also known as, “the voter bloc that mainly voted Trump in”), don’t see how Trump could bring a lot of bad news to a lot of people. Granted, this is the same group that said tried to say racism was over when Obama was elected…then voted in Trump based on his super racist platform.

There are already protests against Trump winning because, frankly, folks who aren’t White, straight, etc. are pretty concerned. It isn’t that Hillary would have been the daughter of God superceding Obama in everything he’s ever done, but at least folks who generally are targeted by the Ku Klux Klan would have not been as worried. She would have screwed up the nation as well but without the potential reality of political camps and a major spike in hate crimes. Instead, a sexist, racist rapist got elected and will be taking all those disparaging beliefs (and near 100 of lawsuits, let’s hope one of them will get him impeached) to the oval office with him. If it were some other Republican besides Trump, I’d probably be ok. Buuuuuut it’s not.

In addition to protests, there are also folks online who want to assemble for future protests and disruptions using encrypted networks and short range communications, such as Tor and Signal. I wouldn’t recommend this because Tor, for example, was made by the government (no, really, it was) and Signal can be intercepted. It’s really difficult to find a good network to assemble and help folks organize but, trust, they exist.

This is a very unfortunate election. It was a long time coming but that doesn’t change how terrible things are about to be. I expect a lot of civil right laws getting rolled back extensively. We’re a nation that has put whole groups of people into camps and prisons out of fear, disdain and/or hate (why people think these things can’t happen is beyond me). There’s actually no telling what will happen with this upcoming presidency. I definitely know Trump has a vendetta list and media folks (just the ones that depicted him honestly, or as he considers it, “badly”) are very close to the top. And given how Bush was during 9/11, it’s not hard to imagine limitations to freedoms of the press because that’s exactly what happened.

If you’re going to protest, that’s fine and dandy. The more important thing you can do is inform yourself about government, how it works, how it doesn’t work and what you actually want to solve because simply getting Trump out won’t solve all the emotions and feelings that got him elected in the first place. Nor the problems that people thought the current administration ignored or were too slow to fix. He didn’t get elected in a vaccuum.

Trigger Analysis

It’s seems that the term “trigger” is more and more in the public lexicon. Moreso as a joke (Ex: *sees something remotely disagreeable*, “Oh, I’ve been triggered!”. Ex2: “Trigger warning: happy people”) and collective irritation. Back in 2015, the Atlantic had an article called “How Trigger Warnings are Hurting Mental Health on Campus” and that set off a spark that basically let people show their best ableism.

For those that care not to read or are already familiar with the concept of “butthurt babyboomers*“, it basically is a writer whinging about how having trigger warnings, such as “Ahead: Rape, Violence” in classes makes young, millennial college students emotionally feeble and ill-equipped to handle the real world…despite the fact anyone could argue that anyone who needs a “rape” trigger warning before being old enough to go to college already got a crash course in how the real world is cold and evil. It probably would have been a better article if it were about the fact that there’s a lot of really bad things in society that traumatizes people at an early age and how it can cause a ripple effect in their life, like rape. I guess the writers would have thought “Ehhhh, let Ta-Nehisi Cotes handle it, he always writes about dumb and weepy sh*t.”

I’m not going to break down the article because that’s not prompted this column. It’s the fact that a lot of people still seem to not get that mental health is pretty important…unless a mass shooting happens, then everyone wants to talk about how they want to keep crazy people away from teh gunz. This is inaccurate because the average mass shooter is White, male, 15-28, Christian or culturally Christian-leaning, dealing with humiliation/anger (not mental illness) and very, very lucid about the world and themselves – basically, not crazy, just very hateful and inspired to be violent.

I’ve written a number of columns/posts here about mental illness, triggers and stuff like that. Probably to the point that folks are wondering “Does she even talk spells and magick anymore? It’s all about being Black and mentally ill.” A) Now you know why this blog is from a Black Pagan Perspective. B) Of course I do! It’s just dealing with systemic ills can really take a lot of my time C) I’m not Silver Ravenwolf, geez.

Triggers, as they’re commonly known, are not for all disorders. Some disorders do not need triggers to go into action, like depression and schizophrenia. Rather, it’s anxiety disorders (Ex: OCD) and trauma disorders (Ex: PTSD) that tend to get use out of trigger warnings because they tell people “Eh, you probably don’t wanna see this if you’re not interested in having an impromptu episode” and the person affected can move on about their day. Technically, society already has a lot of trigger warnings: Video games have ratings, movies have ratings (remember how not-smart parents took their kids to see Deadpool, and discovered within the first half hour how it earned the R-rating?), even television shows have ratings – I remember when those weren’t a thing until the 90s because parents started complaining – everything has ratings that serve as warnings of “if this bothers you or your kids, don’t watch”. Music has “Explicit” warnings on them. Even news programs and documentaries have “May contain graphic/disturbing images, viewer discretion is advised” before they start with the disturbing stuff.

Funny those didn’t prompt articles from The Atlantic about how we live in a bubble-wrap society.

Let’s be quick about this, how about we take a proverbial person who is likely traumatized and benefits from trigger warnings everyone else thinks they need to stop being a pansy about: A US soldier that got back from two tours in the sandbox, now gets tetchy when someone plays Call of Duty or Modern Warfare because, unlike the gamer ragging about triggers, they actually served a call of duty in modern warfare. Twice.

Nah, too easy. And it’s September!

Our proverbial person will be a 9/11 survivor. For the lolz, everyone, because this is just an example. (If you lived through 9/11 as a NYC’er, get an ice cream and speed scroll until the text color changes back to normal. Or click here to the rest of the column. I’m not interested in triggering people to explain to the stupid why their “triggered” jokes suck.)

Our person, “Suv” is their name, is a regular person, a joe-on-the-go type that enjoys Broadways and boxing matches on tv. A regular American, works a job, goes home, eats and goes to sleep. Suv is just a regular New Yorker living in the boroughs. Working as a package carrier, he tries to stay afloat as he nearly gets mowed down by at least five taxis a day trying to race a package from one end of Manhattan to another. It’s a crap job but it is what it is, puts food on the table and keeps the roommate from planning his death for insurance money when the rent is due.

Everyday basically is the same but instead this time is different. Late to work, stuck in traffic on his beat-up Cannondale, already can hear the sussing he’s going to get from his manager. Casually looking up, he sees the NYC skyline is always what it is – with exception to now the North Tower of the twin towers now has a plane parked firmly in it from a booming second ago. Suv thinks it’s a mistake and gets to the sidewalk to avoid drivers now confused and panicked. The twin towers aren’t far, basically a few blocks up and near the deli joint he likes to pit stop at for free snacks from the owner, an old high school buddy.

Keeping watch of the skyline as time passes, there’s chatter abound from the radios and screens around. Frankly, while there are stories getting tossed about here and there, no one really knows what is going on. But by a little after 9 AM, it was pretty certain the “it was an accident” theory was not it: second tower was hit and Suv totally saw it. Looked like a B-rated movie, the wall buckling like phony cardboard when the plane hit it. Couldn’t be fake but Suv couldn’t help feeling it was. Officers were already trying to corral the crowd, saying help is on the way, firefighters have already been called, gawking isn’t solving anything, so on and so forth.

Now, the day was pretty chaotic, Suv got scared, didn’t know what to do but go forward because all he figured was he needed to get some place safe and his buddy was up the way a little. Nobody really stopped him pedaling towards the towers until a cop nearly ripped him off his bike, barking at him to go turn back and go home. Not really sure what to do because the streets were glutted with onlookers, cars and commotion, he just stayed and watched. The officer that was fussing at him was more busy fussing at others and listening to his radio transmitter so Suv didn’t have to worry.

After watching people jumping, towers burning and more noises up and down the street in an absolute daze, eventually he saw the South Tower fall. Feeling like it was just a bad disaster movie, Suv kept watching until a random tourist yanked the back of his shirt and told him to start moving, “Drop your bike and run.” Suv glanced at his bike and thought that the person was crazy because bikes are faster than people and this splotchy blue Cannondale may be part rust bucket but it’s his bread and butter. Instead, he tries to bike away but wobbles as he couldn’t get in a stride among the panicked crowd rushing into him and past him. There were shoes and briefcases on the ground, he eventually had to get off and run aside his bike. Everything was loud but the growing thunder was louder and looking over his shoulder as he hurried along, he saw why.

Never was Suv in a dust storm before, he didn’t know they were so fast. They always looked so slow and far away on tv. While he thought he was making some headway escaping the growing plume behind him, another enveloped from the side in a rush of grey. Quickly pulling up his collar to hide his nose and seeing nothing while feeling everything, Suv felt for a wall, any wall with a corner. Finding one, he sat behind the corner with his eyes closed and half his face tucked well under his shirt. He tightly crouched against the wall behind his bike, covered face tucked into his legs, dust getting everywhere.

Eventually dust subsides, Suv is found by a gray-covered officer who saw him huddled behind a newspaper stand and wondered if he was one of the dead. Trying to regain sight, Suv makes his way back home.

—–

Throughout the years, Suv basically lives a normal life. 9/11 was a bad day but it didn’t happen to just him, he figured. If anything, besides a national memory, he thinks it doesn’t affect him much. He doesn’t really dwell on the day much and still lives the average NYC life of trying to deliver packages around the city. Granted, as he tells it, planes and tall buildings make him a bit “weird” – but it’s nothing serious. He’s not like those people who survived the Titanic and became spooked by seeing ice in their drinks. He just don’t like hearing or seeing planes and he’s always had a fear of heights, it’s just a tad worse now. Blue skies make him a bit antsy, always glancing at them but no one’s ever really picked up on that.

When he went to see his sister in Oklahoma City, he took a train, thinking it would be nice to trip through America even though it took hours longer than a plane, which is what his sister suggested. Besides, Suv never took a train before, so what if his sister didn’t like waiting a bit longer? It’s his money and a new experience. 

Oklahoma City was a fun experience. He laughed, he hanged with his sister, made fun of her boyfriend’s Midwest accent at every opportunity, ate food, bought an “I’m OK” shirt and went home.

During the train ride, some teenager beside him was asleep with his iPod going and the earbuds were awful. They might as well be re-classed as “muffled speakers” because Suv could hear everything. Including the new B.O.B. song, “Airplanes”. That didn’t sit too well with Suv. In a flash, he started to feel panicked and worried. He couldn’t really get much of a grip on himself but the song kept bringing him back to nine years ago, where he stood on the sidewalk and faced the dust, the jumpers and the tragedy. He simply couldn’t breathe. Hearing the lyric of “if airplanes were shooting stars” simply got to him and he was curling up, waiting for the dust to come.

Nobody really paid attention to him except for an attendant, wondering why a passenger was having a panic attack. Figuring that perhaps he’s just not good with trains and hoping that’s all he was, the attendant came over with a bottle of water and reaches over the sleeping teen to get Suv’s attention. She did, but his petrified look made her jump a little. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, can I offer a water? Do you need to go to the restroom? It’s in the next car.”

Suv thought it was the officer that tapped his shoulder but instead it was an attendant, which made him feel embarrassed. He probably looked so wild a second ago. Trying to figure out his breathing pattern, he takes the water and tries to make light conversation to beat back the awkwardness as there was a different song playing now, “Is there an air marshal on board?”

This confuses the train attendant. She corrects, “This is a train, that’s for airplanes. However, you’re safe on a train, nothing ever happens here. If you need to go to the restroom, it’s in the next car.” Suv is a bit embarrassed but somewhat relieved.

Despite this one moment, Suv thought he was mostly unaffected by 9/11. If anything, he just chalked up what happened on the train as a “weird” moment and tried to focus on getting back home. Thing is, Suv has these “moments” pretty frequently, according to his roommate.

The roomie always played the buffer by noting when Suv was getting into his “weird” state and just would whisper to people, “He was at the Twin Towers.” People would be more accommodating without Suv knowing why and all was hunky dory. When Suv would come home and complain about people being douches because he didn’t like delivering to airports or tall buildings, the roomie knew it was because he wasn’t around to brief anyone. He was okay with doing it but, just like one kid pointed out to the roomie as Suv was pacing a Duane Reade once: “9/11 was nearly a decade ago, why isn’t he over it?” The roomie wasn’t interested in playing The Therapist forever, just like the last roommate didn’t. Nor the one Suv originally came home to, coughing and choking from the debris. Suv’s a cool dude but he lives in NYC, planes and skyscrapers are pretty much New York City. As time goes on, less and less people are getting accommodating about Suv’s “weirdness”, especially younger people, even in New York. Seems like everyone is moving on but Suv.

Eventually, Suv moves to Chicago. NYC is getting pricy and Chicago seems like a slower city, his roomie mentioned and he agreed. It annoys the roomie that Suv has to go by train or bus or driving but no planes. At all. The roomie even suggests that he takes a plane and Suv gets there however he wants to but Suv wasn’t hearing any of it. Every time the roomie asked, “What are you afraid of? Nobody’s gonna hijack the plane!”, that pretty much derailed every conversation into a big argument that then derailed into the roomie dealing with Suv’s freakout sessions. Once, Suv even had a meltdown about the fact they were living on the seventh floor in the middle of an argument. A week or two of conversation and arguments, it was agreed they would drive to Chicago, all their stuff in tow.   

Chicago was nice. Cold but nice. The new place was a second floor apartment. Both roomie and Suv could land jobs so no one had to survive on peanut butter cookies like they did for the first two weeks after all the gas money, on top of rest of their moving expenses, drained their pockets. Suv was adjusting way better, he wasn’t checking the sky as much, there weren’t as many planes and not so much skyscrapers.

Once it wasn’t so cold, Suv and roomie walked around Chicago and headed to the downtown area. Suv was feeling a bit alert because of the masses of people milling about him as his roomie walked aside him, attempting to throw bits of hot dog buns at the pigeons, but for the most part, Suv was fine. He always felt a bit alert when outside and not on his bike so this was his normal. They walked past the building originally named the Sears Tower and saw a tour ad stating “Visit the Observation Deck of the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world at 108 stories! Come inside for details!” Suv went into full blown panic, even the roomie was surprised. All Suv could feel was terror and he couldn’t breathe again.      

It wasn’t smart and Suv knew it but he looked up. And in his head, he just saw a plane plow into the building. The roomie, knowing the drill, tried to tell the security guard by the door, “He saw 9/11 up close and personal, he ain’t gonna hurt anybody, just freaking out. Can we go inside?” This made Suv respond worse because there was no way he was going into a building that’s going to eventually collapse and kill everybody. “We have to get NYPD,” is all Suv said, attracting a crowd and their camera phones. The roomie, not at all an extrovert, was about to have a meltdown himself from all the attention. Suv spotted a hot dog cart, expecting the impending dust cloud, and hides behind it, covering his nose. He wasn’t in Chicago, it was New York City again.


Alright – that was longer than even I anticipated and I’m the writer. I tried to make it as brief as possible so I could make my point.

So, Suv here, has a trauma disorder, he has PTSD. His triggers, if you couldn’t tell, were airplanes and tall buildings. They were beyond phobias like Suv was playing them up to be. Here’s what makes what he has PTSD:

He dissociated: His brain dissociated from the tragedy that was around him and made him think he was watching (not “in”, “watching“) a bad disaster movie. Meaning, his brain pretty much attempted to block out the fright of the situation and make it seem unreal. Technically, this is a derealization episode Suv had. Despite that, it’s like his brain plays the bad movie over and over again years later and, this time, he’s part of it.

He’s hyper-vigilant: Watches the skies a lot, especially if they’re blue skies (because the sky was practically crystal clear on 9/11). He may not know it but this is pretty much a “trauma-time” because he’s actually looking for planes, fearful of seeing another attack, despite the fact that it’s been years. Says he has a phobia of heights, thus why planes and skyscrapers bother him but frankly, it’s because he had seen a plane plow into a tower with his own eyes. Twice. He also saw people jump to their death from the towers.

He’s anxious: Sees a plane or skyscraper? Reminded of planes and skyscrapers? He doesn’t handle it well. It makes him “anxious”, as he likes to call it. His roommate would describe it better as “terrified”. So would the onlookers in Chicago seeing his breakdown by the Sears Towers, if not “tetchy”.

Has flashbacks: Gets triggered, he’ll think it’s 9/11 all over again. (This is why it’s important to be mindful of triggers) He doesn’t have to see a plane plow into a building, his brain will play it out for him instead, which is hyper-realization as his mind superimposes the attacks on tall buildings. Basically, he’s reliving the event. Why, he even started to relive the event from a song that had nothing to do with terrorism, 9/11 or anything, it was a reference to planes as a simile.

Became event-evasive: Suv had a sudden preference for ground transportation (cars, buses, trains) instead of air flight, even if flying was the easier/cheaper option.

When faced with his triggers (planes, tall buildings), Suv couldn’t separate modern day from 9/11, even a decade later. Granted, I could have gone deeper and brought up terrible sleeping troubles, being hyper-associated with the number 9/11 to the point Suv wouldn’t want to call 911 for help or things like that but all those experiences are from trauma. Just like any person with trauma, it’s difficult to manage with triggers, even worse when you don’t really know what’s going on because you didn’t know it was PTSD.

Granted, here comes the question: “What? Are we supposed to magically know that this guy is a 9/11 Survivor and never talk about planes or buildings ever? Wouldn’t it be easier for this dude to move to some meadow and deal with it that way?”

No. It would be up to Suv on whether or not he should disclose that he saw 9/11 and that those are his triggers. However, it would be easier if people didn’t openly and continually discount the simple fact that folks have them. (Remember, he didn’t want to see himself as just like those who survived the Titanic and couldn’t have ice cubes in their drinks as a result because it reminded them of the iceberg). In a way, he was trying to tell people he had triggers but didn’t call them that, he just said planes and tall buildings made him a bit “weird” because he didn’t want to come off as hyper-sensitive or crazy. If anything, he was downplaying his reaction, which is what people with trauma tend to do because of the stigma.

It’s not easy to tell who has what trauma. Suv could even mistakenly set off another survivor with a loud ringtone if that other survivor had a trigger about sirens and loud noises. People with trauma don’t like to wear what their buttons are on their sleeve.

Also, running away isn’t always an option for the traumatized. And sometimes the traumatized don’t want to run away because it’s almost like saying “I’m affected”, which people don’t like to think of themselves after a trauma.

If anything, it’s pretty obvious that Suv is going to have to get help for his trauma because it does indeed affect him a lot but it’s not uncommon for people to go years without getting help. Sometimes, intense reactions are delayed, it can take years for something to blip up as intensely like what Suv experienced on the train, several years later after the attacks. Either way, it’s better to be mindful and not be a terrible person about the fact that someone has triggers.

Out of all this, note that the roomie does not have a trauma. Yes, he was eventually distressed from the crowd gathering due to Suv’s episode but “being the center of attention” is not a trigger or trauma. It’s normal to be anxious when the center of attention, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. Suv had a trigger to his traumatic episodes, something that reminded him of his traumatic experience. That’s why they’re called “triggers”. Just like how peanuts can trigger an allergic episode, certain things can trigger a trauma episode. However, no one jokes about the fact that people can be allergic to things like shellfish or wheat, nor do people joke about how epipens are very expensive and how they’re so unnecessary because it’s just getting in the way of evolution sorting itself out. Or if someone does joke about that, they’re seen as a terrible person because folks can’t help the fact they have allergies others should be mindful about.

As always, I explain to people the best way to deal with the fact that some people have triggers is to think of it like allergies. You can’t look at someone and say, “Yep, I know they’re definitely allergic to cotton. Totes.” Or feed someone fish and automatically know that their throat is about to close up in a few minutes. Or that they have asthma. Or anything, really. It’s why people, including myself, wear medical bracelets. It’s why people check the labels at the back of products. Folks who are impacted with their issues try to sort out their lives to make it easier on themselves (note Suv had rather take ground transportation and avoid tall buildings instead of simply just not leaving his home). That’s people taking care of themselves and their disabilities, not wallowing about totally helpless.

However, imagine folks did make fun of having food allergies and trolled about over the epipen. That means there wouldn’t be really any open discussion about the jack-up in price, how people can have cheaper alternatives, so on and so forth. No one is really shamed for talking about Claritin because they have seasonal allergies. No one mimics people having hives or sneezing attacks because it’s funny. If anything, it would be seen as odd, like the person simply didn’t understand the human experience or concept of allergies. Granted people do try to offer snake oil methods for allergies but for the most part, no one would tell people, “don’t take your Benadryl, that’s what’s making you sick” or “you need to grow up and overcome your allergy. I had the same allergy as a kid and now I don’t!” and those who do sound downright mental or overwhelmingly stupid. Just apply that to triggers.

If someone has a trigger, don’t shun them or make fun of the fact that people have triggers. It makes people talk less about their traumas, and even incredibly less in how to handle them. Imagine people never getting help for their allergies because someone thought the fact they had any was idiotic. That would be a lot of miserable and/or dead people. Instead of trying to have a sonic ear for those who have traumatic experiences, try not to rag on the fact that there are people who do actually have them. Yeah, anyone can make fun of Suv for the fact that planes and skyscrapers bother him because it seems so ridiculous on its face. Or the fact that a simple pop song can send him into a tizzy. However, it’s not so funny how he got his trauma yet the same person who would probably make fun of Suv would possibly be reading this post right now and say “OMGZ, Black Witch is sooooooo disrespectful to people who went thru 9/11! Never forget!”

To sum it up, triggers are not light, non-happy reactions that only weak people have because they’re weak. They’re a psychological response and earmark to a greater trauma previously experienced. It’s best to treat them as such.

*If babyboomer and butthurt about this phrase, take a bit of your own medicine: stop being sensitive. And croak already.

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