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Amazing news, everyone! Black Witch is now outfitted with a 3D printer!

The World is Mine! I can print whatever I want!

This is great! I used to repair them and make CAD files to 3D print for others so I got one of my own. I’m still sorting the code out on the profile files so I can have a more plug-and-play experience.

I plan to add these 3D printed items to the Black Witch Gift Shoppe (which is currently empty because I very sporadically fill it). I plan to restock the shop with journals but I also plan to add knickknacks to the store. Here is a WIP of a sample CAD (Computer Aided Design) shot:

 

More will be added! The thing about 3D printers is that they are fairly versatile – if you can think it, it can be printed. Things can be printed in a variety of materials: wood, metal, plastic, flexible, etc.

This also means that I can eventually open up a small custom 3D print design service because 3D printing is still new to a lot of people and thus still not very present or chatted about much in the Black community, where we could get a lot of usage out of this. It isn’t because Black folks are tech-adverse or not bright, it’s because tech (and the rest of STEM) has a serious racism problem they like to gloss over a bunch that basically boils down to this: keep them out by any means necessary – tokenization, make subject appear too complex or boring, plain old micro-aggressions or blatant “we seriously don’t want you here – get the hint and leave, dummy” racism.  I could go all day about this but long story short, hopefully having a small 3D print custom design service on Black Witch will be useful to those who could really use it. I’ll be creating a page for it quite soon, I just want to make sure all the details and pricing make sense, especially for those who are new to 3D printing and thus don’t know the terms.

Huzzah, hopefully, this will make things super easier!

Not a Demon

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I get a lot of pretty dumb questions here on Black Witch. I honestly wish I had a better spectrum of inquries. Here’s one from the BW Facebook fan page:

Why do people ask me stupid questions like these? I got some weird guy in Australia with a super obvious fake name of “Nixon See Dee” who probably is a teenager or a young adult with no life.

Some may think I’m harsh. Let me break down why this is stupid.

People who have “weird” experiences – which usually turns out to be normal human life experiences – tend to believe it is proof that they are part of the supernatural or metaphysical automatically. It isn’t. Part of the basic litmus test for if you are part demon/angel/undine/gnome/whatever is that you wouldn’t have to ask about it because it is already part of your life. Your parent would have remembered being with some random spirit (this is another thing – the person will believe they are half-whatever magickal but can’t trace which side of the family that half is…because it isn’t there) and the magick would have shown up significantly during child rearing.

Also, it seems people in the West are obsessed with being demons or angels. Can’t even recite a single line from the Book of Enoch or a single word of Latin but somehow are on the family tree of fearsome entities. Does this mean I don’t believe people could be part of mystical families? Not necessarily, it’s a big world and truth can be stranger than fiction. However, it is extraordinarily improbable. Especially when the person asking has to actually ask.

Obviously, my initial response was too difficult to understand for this guy, hence his reply:

“Ra sounds”? “Noises of the devil?” Sounds like a super Christian who is having a hard time adjusting to life and hence crafted this up. Like I said above, hearing a “Ra ra” noise is not a demonic noise personified. Demons can make a variety of noises but they’re not exactly the loud crowd, honestly. Unless it involves knocking stuff over to troll people, then they are all for noise. (Note: If stuff is getting knocked over inside your home, it is not automatically demons. Please read more books besides the Bible. Thank you.) Also, two things about the interacting with animals: A) Interacting with animals telepathically isn’t inherently demonic (Not everything potentially metaphysical is not demonic – remember, everyone, this isn’t a Christian site, so the unexplainable isn’t shoved in the “work of the devil” pile) B) These occurrences with the birds and dog are not exactly iron demonstrations of telepathically talking to them. Given how this dude is, he’s probably reading into everything he sees and interacts with as him somehow interacting with them and “proof” that he is of at least partial demon heritage. I’ve practiced witchcraft, psionics and am fairly studied up on the occult, I’ve seen the type a million times: male, usually young (but can go well into mid-age or more), and very self-absorbed.

If you have to ask “What counts as demonic?” it is very safe to say you are not any parts demon. You’re just a normal person with a possible complex. Like Austin Gillespie (he calls himself Augustus Sol Invictus), the neo-nazi who thought that he was a god – even when he was battling stomach flu. He’s just a self-absorbed, dumb nazi.  Seriously, read up on the SPLC write up of this guy, it’s a great demonstration of what self-absorbed bullsh*t personified looks like, the Pagan edition. Befriends a woman he met online, she was nice enough to put him up in her home for his stay but she had to pay for all his expenses and he broke into her phone to basically pry through all her life. That’s not all the crap he’s done, frankly. This is why there are women-only sects in Paganism, sheesh.

Back to this dunce at hand:

Firstly, I think he meant “Western Christian culture” because “English culture” literally zooms into England only. And England’s occultic history isn’t exactly chock full of demons – that’s a Christian repainting of indigenous faiths. And I doubt he’s smart enough to be so hyper focused on the occultic history of England or I would have probably heard the name of some random entity by this point of the conversation. I haven’t.

Now, it really does depend on the culture because – surprise, surprise – different cultures perceive the same thing differently. With their own names, background stories and everything. It’s called “cultural diversity”. And once you take Christianity way off center focus and try to see the culture for itself, you find way less demons. They do exist in other cultures but when looking through the Christian gaze, everything Pagan is demonic, including the neutral and benevolent deities and spirits. I mention the Christianity so much because that’s usually what the asker at least passively believes in and frames their “amazing story” by.

And note that I said about two or so times at this point to the guy some variation of, “if you have to ask, you’re not demonic”. And note how he’s just plain not listening. Feeling intense energy doesn’t make one demonic. Many people feel that. Many people invoke that at music shows and while creating something. It’s part of being human. Nothing incredibly metaphysical or occultic there and definitely not demonic.

If he feels that he is part demon, it really is from the media he interacts with. The full bit below:

It really is. Usually teens get this kind of thinking because they’re super new to the world of magick and witchcraft and they’re coming from the usual pop culture depiction of it being dark and scary and how nothing is as it seem but everything is jaw-dropping…and they’re doing it. This wows them. And then they spend way more time beyond “dabbler” status and calm down.

Again, the guy is bringing up the “ra sound” as his groundbreaking basis of proof that something spooky is definitely afoot. Which is a super low threshold of proof. And here comes the reference to a satanic meditation. Given this guy so far, for all I know, it’s a 100% normal, garden variety meditation that involves a focus word and he probably decided to use “devil” or something equally fluffy bunny/dabbler. Even if it were a bona fide satanic meditation, that doesn’t make you half-demon still. Not at all. Potentially engaged in demonic practices but not a demon – or even a partial demon – yourself.

This guy really doesn’t get it and I’ve said it as plainly as I could. Actually, at this point, it begs the question of “why did this guy ask if all he wanted was blatant confirmation bias done for him?” It’s pretty pointless to ask if you already think you know the answer. At that point, you’re wasting someone else’s time out of complete selfish vanity.

I got confused with the “Ra” stuff because frankly, I still didn’t know what was the sound he was talking about and I do know that dabblers tend to mishmash Christian rhetoric with very orientalist ideas about Egyptian deties commonly. Too commonly.

Instead, the guy says “monster sounds”. Now things are getting very childish. It probably is a normal sound. This dude is seriously reaching for something that just plain isn’t there.

Yep, this guy is basically the super basic version of Austin Gillespie (the dude’s Latin name is incredibly ridiculous and I actually have Thelmites for friends so I’m 100% not using the alternative). Like, the selfish stupidity of it all. The obsession with their genitalia (I’m certain if I let the dude talk longer while gassing his ego, it would have devolved to that – it always does) at the end. The absolute refusal to listen to reason. I don’t practice demonology or anything of that nature – this site is called Black Witch because I’m a Black person that practices magick, pretty simple to understand – but I know enough about it to tell that this isn’t it.

I’ve encountered a lot of people who would believe they are part something magickal, besiged by demons or something else that is outstanding. In the scope of the human experience, it is entirely understandable that some people will feel that their life is a little more magickal than others. However, it’s not entirely common to be part-fae/demon/undine/etc and finally discover it when you’re much, much older. At all. Unless it was already in the family tree, it’s extremely unlikely. Extraordinarily unlikely. I remember one person telling me they believed they were part werewolf because they liked raw/rare meat. That’s a low threshold of proof. Believe it or not, there are many people who prefer their steak not so well done. It simply just isn’t. Same thing here. Low threshold and, on top of that, very self absorbed. That doesn’t mean there’s a demon here, just a dense person.

I didn’t get any worthwhile questions this month so I’m taking the time to talk about Venmo on BW.

Ahem…

New thing alert! I switched from Ko-Fi to Venmo! This means that instead of seeing “Support Black Witch with Digital Coffee”, it is now “Support Black Witch with Venmo”. The change happened because a) ease of use b) more people have Venmo c) much more versatile. This means everything Ko-Fi related is gonna change in the sidebars and Venmo is going to be flouted a lot more.

Venmo is a much easier way for readers to donate fiscal support, for me to do transactions if I ever decide to open up for doing paid divination, natal charts, custom 3D printing or bookbinding for others, whatever. Life is made simpler. This also means that I will be changing the sidebar to account for this. Venmo uses QR codes so this makes life easy for me since I’ve already had QR codes on my blog for years.

This is what the new BW Venmo code looks like now:

Custom designed by me, ha! I’m super used to making these and it’s totally functional

This will now be in the sidebar and wherever appropriate.

Support Black Witch with Venmo, coming soon!
Join the Black Witch Discord Server

Before I start with this post, there’s gonna be a teeny-weeny change here! Black Witch will be using Venmo for instead of Ko-Fi, now. For a few weeks, I have began posts with “Support Black Witch with Digital Coffee” as a way for readers to donate via Ko-Fi but it’s getting switched to Venmo. This will be it’s own post but for now, let’s continue with below.

Alters
This is a trailer for a short film about having Dissociative Identity Disorder. Constant readers will know that I talk about DID pretty extensively, especially if there is any good media about it. While this is simply a trailer, the video looks great, just like the website.

Does not center Whiteness
Just about every storied retelling of DID I have come across has a White person at the center. Sybil: White. Split: White. Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde: White. United States of Tara: White. Even when I look at documentaries about DID, they feature White people, always. Besides K-Dramas Heal Me/Kill Me and Hyde Jekyll, Me, everything stays very blanche neige. Even only super recently did I find a Black youtuber who talked about having DID, axolotls-in-a-trenchcoat.

In Alters, the lead is not White, but Latina. The alters don’t appear White. This is really great because not every person with DID is a White person. For example: I’m not White and I have DID. Severe and extensive long-term childhood trauma happens to way more than just to White people. Way, way more.

Well Researched/Well Done
The trailer doesn’t appear that they will rely on DID tropes but be more honest in its retelling. Basically, the creators did their homework, it seems. Usually, stories about DID sound very absurd and always forget that every person with DID all started out the same: with extensive childhood trauma. It appears the lead will be moreso humanized than anything – a person with DID who is simply just trying to get through life just like everyone else.

The website even has a fact sheet about DID. Also the writer for the script has DID herself so it really showed for great accuracy from a primary person’s perspective.

Why this trailer appears promising
Reminds me of another, creatively accurate telling of DID, short film called “Inside”, which I have also featured here. DID is not a hard disorder to display if you have enough actors on one hand (and a smart researcher in the other). Those with DID constantly say that their alters (short for “alternate identities” – not to be confused with “alter ego”, which is generally used by entertainers, not those with DID) are like separate people, complete with their own ideas, looks, thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes. While this short film plays on the mental asylum trope (dark and spooky), the depiction of what it is like to have DID is pretty dead-on.

I really look forward to seeing the full film, which also will be featured here.

Abdullah X
To say that this is a constantly changing world is putting it lightly. In America, there are constant mass shootings, a numbnut in the White House (that’s working on getting himself impeached because a) he’s a numbnut and b) don’t take help from Russia to become an American president, we’ve got a long history together and it isn’t a fun one, so much going on. And super hard to keep the faith. Or at least keep the faith from getting twisted. America has a very, very long history in both Christian extremism (Timothy McVeigh, Ku Klux Klan) and the more displayed in media, Islamic extremism (Daesh/ISIS).

Religion extremism happens from a bevy of reasons – xenophobia, nationalism – but it basically is a power grab thinly veiled as “God told me to do this”. In pretty much every case of religious extremism, it’s usually a group of guys – or one guy – who thinks God wants them to murder everyone but deep down, that’s more of a phony front than anything. The Klan believes the bible doesn’t want Black people to exist (really, they just want to murder Black folks wantonly because they’re incurable terrorists fueled by racism). Daesh/ISIS wants the West to back off and spread Islam everywhere (really, they just want to do a power grab in an unstable political environment because they’ve murdered other Muslims by the payload, too). Sticking with both Christianity and Islam, there is nothing in either of these religious texts that say “murder everyone who disagrees with you”. Tons of stuff about accepting others, especially those who help others like doctors and teachers, but nothing about mass murder being a great PR move.

Zeroing in on young Muslims trying to navigate the world around them, it can be very tough. Everyone thinks you’re a terrorist. You start to become paranoid that FBI will eventually wiretap or even swarm your mosque. All this negative exposure, it leaves open the chance to be radicalized because fear makes people act in very surprising ways. This is literally how street gangs work and recruit: join us and get protection from them – or, better yet, make them pay.

This is bad news bears for so many reasons but Abdullah X breaks down radicalization for young Muslims and even tries to prevent it.

The video is really well animated and greatly done. I like how he takes the subject, it is definitely directed for young Muslim viewers. He doesn’t make his points boring, he gets to the point and is engaging. The videos serve as very good counterweight against radicalization. There also is a comic that you can download in the Apple store.

Not a Genie

I’m starting to adopt a new phrase:

“I’m a Witch, not a genie”

What this means:

I don’t cast spells for others. Ever.

Y’see, every time I have gotten a spell request from a new dimwit that doesn’t even do cursory research, it pretty much sounds like what they would ask a genie, in the sense that:

a) They want it done, no legwork or intense thinking on their part, no different than going to a fast food place instead of cooking their own meals

b) Usually for free (which is a super never-going-to-do. Spells can easily cost hundreds or thousands, no trial offers.)

c) About anything they personally want changed in their life, no different than what someone would ask a genie

It’s pretty obvious for me that they’re not dedicated practitioners of metaphysics, Paganism, witchcraft or anything remotely occult. Just whiny morons that seriously need to stop passing the legwork of their life lessons to another person in hope of avoiding any of them. Or fetish-y weirdos that would benefit more from attending like-minded groups instead of bothering me. Either way, there’s a reason I restate this callous remark…because frankly, I’ve never been a fan of people like these.

Life is hard. This is why therapists exist. This is how liquor and drug companies as well as drug dealers sucker people out of their money and lives in exchange for escapism and self-feigned avoidance from problems that are always going to be waiting for them as soon as they sober up. Always. However, people who don’t actually practice any part of witchcraft or occultism should stick with normal, mundane methods to solving problems like everyone else.

Looking for anyone to play genie is pointless. Especially because these types of people never go away if you actually help them via magick. They pretty much start to dump allllll of their life problems on your lap like you are their personal druid. All of their problems. I’ve seen it happen a good number of times in my life from others. These beggars go one of two ways: 1) They keep coming back again and again because they don’t learn (especially if the spell casting is fairly inexpensive or free) 2) They start to complain about the spell caster because life isn’t turning out exactly the way the beggar wants to, frame for frame (especially if the spell casting is fairly expensive or the caster already said no but went with it anyway because the beggar wouldn’t go away (the “not going away” part is super common)). Either way, your life gets caught up with theirs and they want to be no.1 in your life – always fixing the situation, always monitoring the situation, basically being their lookout and shield.

There’s also doozies where people go to other witches and psychics/intutives because they got scammed by some fake witch online as if there is a Witches & Wizards Better Business Bureau. (The link is nifty, read it!) Even I got one, someone complaining about being schemed by another faceless “witch” online. I think I simply deleted it.

This, by the way, opens this person up to being scammed some more because there are a lot of really not-nice people floating about on the internet willing to pretend to be anything as long as it parts you from your money faster. Then again, beggar types are very much not too bright. Folks have honestly gotten upset I don’t do paid spellwork and then accused me of attempting to scam them because the fact I’m refusing money is a telltale sign that I am very much a nefarious scammer that pretends to be a witch…hence why I refuse possibly paid requests? These folks don’t make any sense. Because they don’t think.

I saw how annoying it was for others, regardless of the pay (if there was any at all) that, frankly, it seemed better for me to just not engage with any of that at all. I do spellwork for me and me alone, because that’s how my practice is. Never for others and especially never for strangers, particularly demanding and irritating ones who act as if I should drop everything I do to help them.

Getting continual requests are very irritating for me. This is why I’m always frank and quite cutting when I get them because of how constant they are. It would be nice if more research would be done before engaging with asking me questions.

It’s Not Occult

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I seem to be running into more people who have a tendency in confusing regular life for the occult or as an act of witchcraft.

It’s should come as a surprise to literally no one that life is stressful, tricky and irritating. It is complicated, makes very little sense and all around baffling. When you have things like war, the drastic and more overt resurgence of White Supremacy as well as the general terribleness that people seem to be, it can certainly feel easier to say something nefarious is afoot and it is through magick. “Bad/Negative energy”,  accusing someone putting a fix on them or some other flexed about excuse that pretty much conveniently avoids the concept that some people are awful people, no magick needed.

The more recent claims I have heard is witchcraft. Like, “Oh, I’ve studied witchcraft. This is why [person] is being so difficult, they’re doing witchcraft.” Basically, it boils down to no matter what, it is witchcraft somehow. Their terrible attitude towards you? Witchcraft. The fact that you seem to be in their cross hairs for every little thing? Witchcraft. It’s not general malice, or prejudice, it’s supernatural.

This is a Pagan site so I’m not going to sit here and say that magick isn’t real, jinxes don’t happen and folks don’t engage in witchcraft. However, the average person is not engaged in the occult, particularly not to the point of actively putting curses on others. Maybe cursing at others but not cursing on others. When being told things like this and especially by those who never have really worked with anything in occultic studies, it honestly irritates me because it feels like it is hitting a straw poppet instead of looking at the matter at hand.

By focusing on saying “oh, it’s magick/witchcraft/the occult”, it almost works as a some protective shield from the actual reality of the situation. It starts to feel that it is a battle of energies and just a bigger Goliath than expected so if things don’t work out, don’t feel bad because it’s almost like battling an evil greater than life itself. If one faced their situation with a realistic and honest, “This person doesn’t like me and their actions are starting to drastically effect my career/life/relationship,” that can leave a whittling feeling because it’s going to be a battle of wits and a taxing one at that.

It also expresses itself by claiming everything unsavory is “negative energy”. Such as “they’re trying to pass their negative energy onto you”, “this person constantly infects the air with their negative energy”, “I think you’re giving off negative energy when you talk about why gentrification is a bad thing” and other choice quotes. While energy is transferable, it really isn’t this. Sometimes, describing things as giving “negative energy” are just things that just bothering the person who is claiming there is “negative energy” and it’s an easy way to put the issue to bed without dealing with it. It isn’t a case of some weird version of feng shui, it appears to be more of a desire to avoid a problem because it is hard to deal with.

Usually, it is said in situations that the speaker doesn’t want to engage in simply because it is too arduous, generally for them. And the speaker usually, again, does not practice any metaphysics, it’s just a orientalist borrowed phrase. I use the term “orientalist” because it is indeed borrowed from various energy work, spiritual and meditation practices from several different parts of Asia but watered way down into hyper-simplistic ideas such as the binary of “good vibes/bad vibes – positive energy/negative energy” that is easy for Westerns to understand, but only with a bunch of Yellowscare prejudice slathered on. Hence why it only really gets used when the speaker gets very uncomfortable about a situation. It would simply be better to say, “I don’t want to talk about [this situation] anymore” or “I really don’t like you because [reasons]” instead of dodging because of some mysterious force that seems to simply overpower a situation…especially when it goes awry.

Granted, these sayings get used in the positive, particularly to affirm appeal – “This place has good vibes, I like it” (actually, just “vibes/energy” gets used in the positive but not references to magick or witchcraft) – but when used in the positive, it’s not served as a justification to avoid a bad situation or explain a wayward person’s bad behavior. Not only is it foolish-sounding, it’s also incredibly evasive of actual problem solving. Both excuses – because they are indeed excuses, not genuine practices of magick – seem to be more so diversions than actual examinations of the problem at hand. And from people who don’t practice, just did cursory reading and not even from decent material. Just new-agey, cobbled up nonsense used to deflect situations and unsavory topics.

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Ah,  dealing with Christians. When they learn that someone around them is not Christian, it almost becomes professional victim time instantly. And all the while, being really harassing and disrespectful simply because they finally met someone who openly said in the same room as them, “I’m not Christian. At all.”

Y’see, I don’t cover up the fact that I’m Pagan. If the solstices come up, I say such since it is a holiday for me. If they bring up some obscure part of the Bible, I joke that I wouldn’t know because I’m not Christian and haven’t been one since Bush Jr. was in office, first term. I remember when I was in university, I bombed a pop quiz in my Middle English literature course because it was “Name five books in the Bible.” I think all I put down was three at most and my thinking went like this:

“Ok, Genesis is one. And…oh! Revelations because that’s the one Christian cite all the time. And Leviticus gotta be one because they somehow hate gay people but love football – which one has the commandments again? And Paul? Is that a book?”

I told the teacher my thought process because he lamented how easy the quiz should have been. I retorted, “Can’t you do five books in the Koran or something next? I would have probably done better. I’m not Christian, I don’t keep this info in my brain on hand.” I simply don’t twist myself into knots to learn strictly one holy text, especially if the followers seem know about it (or care) less than I do. If it were the Bhagavad Gita  or Torah, that would have been interesting. That and I was expecting a quiz on Middle English literature texts like Chaucer*. I’m already hyper surrounded by Christian belief and rhetoric, that is far more than enough for me.

My issue with Christian folk isn’t the fact they exist. It’s the fact a very sizable chunk of them think they and they alone should be the only ones who exist and anyone not them should be harassed otherwise. Because if that person states they are not Christian and have no qualms with it, it somehow is a existential threat to the Christian – despite the fact that American society is intensely Christo-friendly…to the point of literally bombing other nations for not being Christian (*koff*thefertilecresent*koff*) and normalizing the ostracization  of not being Christian. For example,  Mosques somehow are suspicious but churches aren’t – nor do they get surveyed by the FBI en masse simply based on faith despite a big amount of terrorists in America are usually Christian or Christian-leaning (and White. And Male. But that’s another column). Like Timothy McVeigh for one and then there’s pretty much everyone in the Tea Party, Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the list goes on and on. Even Donald Trump ascribes to Christianity and the religion itself still doesn’t get a bad rap. No one else really gets afforded this luxury. A Pagan person does something not too smart, every Pagan gets hit with whatever they’re labeling that particular person. A Muslim person does something awry, the same thing happens. A Christian can be a serial gambler that eventually rents out a suite to shoot a bunch of people below with enough high-powered guns to fuel a militia annnnnnnnnd it’s just them that is hit with whatever bad rep they get – if they get any at all. (Mass shooters, unfortunately, get glorified. A lot.) This isn’t to say that Christianity should be seen as a terrorist religion (though I’m super sure Islam, and all its practitioners, would love to take a very extended break from that label everyone puts on them) but simply the fact that they have a lot of privilege for a faith that believes it is persecuted all of the time. And some of those times simply come from the fact they’re breathing the same air as someone who is not Christian, which is hardly oppression.

There is also the fact Christians tend to have a super strict “Either you’re Christian or you’re atheist – no middle, no other” binary thinking. Heck, most Christians who get the vapors about me being Pagan can’t even figure out the difference between an atheist and a polytheist. Despite being stupidly simple:

A- (“lack of”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “atheist” = “lack of belief in deity”

Poly- (“many”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “polytheist” = “belief in many deities”

An omake:

Mono (“one”) Theist (“belief in deity), so “monotheist” = “belief in one god”

There ya go. And all are valid because they simply are. To confuse me for an Atheist simply because they don’t want to acknowledge that, O Hark! a Pagan exists! in their midst is really insulting. Extremely insulting. That and getting moody that Christ is considered no different than any other deity – actually, Jesus Christ would be ranked as a demigod, (like Hercules) because only dad was a god, mom wasn’t – in the general Pagan ranks of marking divinity. And Christians have got to understand that”demigod” means “halfgod status”, not “demon god”. Dictionaries, moreso than Bibles in this instance, are important books, too. Just like being not a douche over religion is also important.

Being dismissive about the fact other people believe in something different is also disrespectful. Saying things like “When God finally reveals Himself to you and shows you the right way in your life -” I already have a deity, several of them. Because I’m Pagan. Which is already a religion. That predates Christianity by 50,000 years. If I was this level dismissive of the Christian god, they would act as if I personally killed Christ. Treating people from different religions as deluded, hoodwinked and stupid because they’re not Christian is super rude. Yes, the Bible said proselytize but I don’t think it said “harass, murder and start wars over this book.”

Yes, I was originally raised Christian (I’m Black and live in the South**, thus making Christianity most likely religion to be raised in) but it’s stuff like this, in addition to the rudimentary fact that upon taking a closer look to the religion, I learned I didn’t click with anything I read in the Bible or the various studies of it.  It took three years but it seemed Paganism was a way better fit for me. But what definitely wasn’t keeping me tethered to Christianity was the continual and prejudiced “our way or no way” manner of thinking that seriously pervades them. It’s like they think America is supposed to be an all-Christian nation (we’re not, sayeth the Constitution) and the planet is supposed to be an all-Christian planet (we’re not, sayeth the many billions of non-Christians). Being hateful, including to people who are simply different (such as being trans or queer) is not something I find endearing and if it seems to be a consistent trend in a faith, even down to the texts, I am not going to stick around.

For the Christians going “Not all Christians”, don’t tell me – tell other Christians so they know this behavior in very not cool. I couldn’t care less with the No True Scotsman rhetoric either because it still lowkey condones and covers for the problematic behaviors that the other Christians do that they refuse to correct. Which doesn’t fix the problem, it’s just asking everyone to play pretend that it isn’t there.

* Yes, he is French and hated the English. English literature professors still twist themselves into pretzels to include him. In the very same way they try to keep PoC/minority literature out, especially for that time period.

** Maryland is part of the South. Most northern Southern state but still the South. Part of why we are called the Old Line State (Mason-Dixon Line) and why we have a Robert E. Lee Park (which is probably about to be renamed soon, which I support) as well as a Ulysses S. Grant Park, confederate statues (some currently removed) as well as Union statues and other stuff that a quick stroll through a history book will tell you.

A while ago, I tried a particular tea brand that was part of a Pagan subscription box I reviewed, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends. I remember saying the tea was pretty okay but the name – particular the “Hoodoo” part. To recap:

  • Amy Blackthorn, creator of Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, is not from the pan-African diaspora – meaning she’s not a Black person. At all.
  • Blackthorn does not practice Hoodoo, she is more Celtic/Druidry, if I’m not mistaken. Even if she did practice Hoodoo, it wouldn’t instantly fix anything.

Hoodoo, like Voodoo, is an African diaspora-based spirituality borne from coping with slavery and being forced to abandon their original faiths and identities by vindictive and malicious captors, the slave owners and slave traffickers. Also, like Voodoo, it gets a bad rap, usually borne from racism.

I brought this up to Blackthorn. My interaction with Blackthorn was been none too charming. When mentioning this up with her, she had a very sour, “mind your business and let me make my money” response, which I wrote about. It was titled: Blackthorn Teas: Whose Culture is it Anyways?

Turns out, it caught traction with an online magazine, Dear Darkling magazine. I got an email not too long ago from the editor-in-chief and this is what it said:

I’m the editor-in-chief of Dear Darkling magazine. We were recently contacted by Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, and asked whether we’d like to sample their tea for review purposes. Knowing only that this brand was popular among the pagan community, we agreed.
However, as our writer was doing research for the piece, she grew increasingly uncomfortable with their usage of the term “Hoodoo.” She reached out to me, and I did my own research, which was when I found your blog post about the company.
Dear Darkling does not support or condone any sort of bigoted or racist behavior, including cultural appropriation. The more we learned about Blackthorn, the more we knew we would not feature their brand in our magazine. Not now, not ever.
I just want to thank you for being public about your experience with Blackthorn. Beyond their clear appropriation, their behavior during your interaction was inexcusable. I’m so sorry you had that experience, but I’m glad you wrote your post about it. It proved to us that Blackthorn was not a company we wanted anything to do with.
Also, I want to thank you for the list of POC tea companies. We aim to support and amplify POC voices whenever possible, and with it being tea season, we’re happy to have some new companies to drool over.

Here are the Black-owned tea stores I referenced:
1. Wystone’s World Teas
2. SoRen Tea

I am very glad to see this kind of response. Blackthorn should be more mindful of her business actions, especially during times like these. If she named her teas pretty much anything, avoiding appropriation, all would be fine and good. No discovery of awful and racist attitude, no poison pen post, none of that. It was Blackthorn’s choice to use such an appropriating name, to react the way she did, everything. Hopefully, more will drop her brand in the future as well. She earned this by herself, no one else.

In other News! I will be teaching a Cartomancy workshop at the Dawtas of the Moon convention in Baltimore, MD on Oct 20. That’s tomorrow! Also, this is technically the first post for October (The Arts! and Ask Black Witch are for Sept). I’ve just been super busy with Dawtas and dentistry (getting extractions suck).

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All the questions for Ask Black Witch for September were all crappy so free space! And it’s a couple weeks late, boo. I will spend this time to talk about stuff I’ve been doing, up to Oct 1.

I was in a podcast recently, Feminist Killjoys, PhD. I talked about Paganism, mental health and more!

Update on my cat feeder project: Still working on the code so it won’t rapid-slap my cat and then go full on rebellion. The tech stuff is mainly done, I just have to code and then assemble the whole thing. The goal: Feed my cat a cup of food once a day…and my cat doesn’t destroy the machine. And the machine doesn’t rapid-slap me or my cat. This machine isn’t evil, just very rebellious. It wants to live with vigor. I need it to tone down the vigor.

For Oct 20-22, there will be the Dawtas of the Moon convention, in its second year. It’s hosted in Baltimore and I will be teaching a Cartomancy Workshop, teaching the ins and outs of cartomancy, playing card divination. Get your tickets!

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I haven’t done video games in a while! I play them all the time but rarely feature them on The Arts!, which is a bit uncanny but, meh, let’s get into it!

Detention

All horror games are pretty much the same nowadays: Play as a White person. Guide yourself by dim light via candle light, flashlight or lantern. Get jumpscared a ton at every twist and turn. Detention is definitely not that.

Detention is an atmospheric horror game set in 1960’s Taiwan under martial law. It’s scariness is not in the jumpscares that are fairly common in horror games today but in the look and feel of play. There are various religious elements that are based in Taiwanese and Chinese culture and mythology, which really helps the game stand out from being just another scary game.

This game is historically accurate and very artistically intriguing. The atmosphere is haunting but not hyper formulaic, everything is visually stunning and the fear isn’t the jumpscare (which are very few) but the history it derived from, the White Terror – Taiwan’s martial law. The rhetoric behind the White Terror, how it was incredibly oppressive. The fear is from how they affected the world around them, not garden-variety jumpscares and intense gore.

The game is a Point and Click where you first play as a Taiwanese boy going to school but you play the rest of the game as a young Taiwanese girl. There are plenty of Chinese loaded into the game but it is well translated so no need to worry. I can read Chinese but the English explanation are just as seamless.

Now available on Steam.

Papers, Please/Here’s Your F*cking Papers
This is a twofer: Papers, Please and the response game Here’s Your F*ckin Papers. Both games are about the hardships of immigration, seen on both sides.

Papers, Please puts you in the shoes of an immigration processing official of fictional nation, Arstotza. Most people, you have to deny because of super arbitrary rules, such as suddenly needing a new type of voucher that has a super short expiry date that can easily go bad.

The game is a fairly straightforward desk job sim. You simply play border control and you need a sharp eye so you don’t let in anyone that should have been denied. The issue with this game is how unfeeling it makes you towards immigrants, sometimes getting an “eh, everyone has an excuse – keep moving! Next!” feeling. If anything, this is a game that looks at bureaucracy and how cold, hypocritical (abysmally paid but expected to keep up a large family or be replaced) and unfeeling. There are 20 endings to choose from but all in all, it’s simply one side of the coin.

As anyone can hopefully imagine, emigrating to another nation is not easy. It’s not like you get clear cut directions, available in countless languages and there’s a super short line to stand in, where all your papers are neatly processed, stamped and passed back to you in a well assembled folder after paying a small fee. One of my parents is an immigrant, I can tell you the Green Card Shuffle is stressful, expensive, annoying and full of absolute, bona fide bullsh*t. And it’s amazingly easy to fall into “undocumented” status, even if you do everything right – which is insanely hard to do. Can’t pony up $6k in a few months? Undocumented. Forgot to get some super obscure holdover form from the Reagan era stamped or with the correct seal? Officially “illegal”. Couldn’t reprocess your papers in time because you didn’t know your green card evaporated when the parent who brought you as a kid died? Sucks to be you, dude. Trump says something stupid and both ICE and Immigration follows through? Lolz, fill out some more papers and pay more thousands of dollars you suddenly have to satisfy or everything you did and paid is officially null and void – and you won’t see a penny returned. Immigration is burdensome, expensive and just plain painful.

Out comes, Here’s Your F*cking Papers, which captures that frustration.

The game is not as flashy as Papers, Please there are stick figures and real life images hastily placed as if a near rudimentary Newgrounds game. Compared to Papers, Please, Here’s Your F*cking Papers appears very elementary (I’m used to response games being very similar in aesthetics) but it gets the point across: Immigration is a struggle and it is moreso through design than through happenstance the extreme difficulties of getting even basic citizenship or refuge.

Papers, Please is available on Steam. Here’s Your F*cking Papers is available on the dev’s, Creatrix Tiara, game page.

In other News! I will be teaching a cartomancy workshop at the Dawtas of the Moon convention in Baltimore, MD on Oct 20. Please get your tickets now!

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