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I have had my questions pile up so I’m going to answer as many as I can today! Let’s get started. Some of these questions are from as far back as August so they are what I will start with first.

Do u take spell requests

– Yuna Y

Everyone, I write excessively about the fact I don’t do paid spellwork/pay for pray. It’s all over this site. All over it. Especially enough that the average person should and does understand that I don’t like them. And I said so. And here’s how the convo went:

Not at all

Can u make an acception for me please

That’s stupid. Fix your own problems. Plain and simple.

Your rude

I write about this on my blog over and over and over again. If that didn’t dissuade you, then I am not going to be nice.

First of all I didn’t know u had a blog and secondly u weren’t nice to begin with

Then how did you contact me to start? That’s why this address exist, because of that blog. If you failed to research, that is not my problem.

Ur evil I don’t have to explain myself to the like of you

Not evil, I’m stern because I generally hate spell requests, which I’m usually vocal about. Wherever you got my info from should have mentioned that.

I’m sorry I didn’t know u hated spell request

Now you do.

Wanna call it truth

That made no sense but here’s free advice: don’t bother with spell requests. You’ll probably get ripped off online

Ok thx and I was trying to ask if you want to be friends with me

No thanks

This is more of a post-mortem than anything. I don’t like to be asked for paid spellwork, as I have said. This person really seemed to very much not get it. I don’t make exceptions for anyone, ever. Because no one’s problems are so great that I, a total stranger, feel like I have to get involved and magickally at that. Go find the pop witches who spend their time hexing Donald Trump for that. (It’s not that he doesn’t deserved to be cursed, it’s just – you have honestly no idea if your spellwork even took hold because his life is very distant from the average person’s view, regardless of what he spews on Twitter. Plus, if you’re only just noticing that bad people existed starting with Trump, you’re a bit of a fool yourself). I don’t mind suggesting normal life problems fixes but that’s it.

It’s not evil to say “I said plenty times in the past I don’t do this. Still has not changed, so absolutely not.” If this kid thinks that’s evil, either they’re so sheltered they honestly don’t know what actual evil looks like, so terrible at being even remotely manipulative they couldn’t even guilt trip me into trying to help her issues or so dimwitted that they thought having a hissy fit would work. Also, I would like to remind everyone: she contacted me, not the other way around.

And the “want to be friends” thing? After acting like this? Are you cracked? Freakin’ no way! I don’t want to be friends with people who will bug me every twist and turn for spellwork because they are too lazy to fix their own problems and pitch a fit if I don’t. That’s not a friend, that’s an annoyance. Mosquitoes are less irritating.

 

My name is Cindy S. My fiance has been cheating on me. I have contacted different spell casters and paid for services and all of them have just taken my money. What can I do to make him stop cheating and to be faithful to me and love me like I love him. I have been good to him. I have never disrespected or cheated on him. I take care of his kids and him. Please can you help me

– Cindy S

Good thing she said “fiance” and not “husband”. Just call off the wedding and find someone more faithful. Much easier said than done but dumping the guy is generally the best solution. Burn his favorite thing, too? Just pack your bags and leave because you may love the guy but it is bleedingly obvious that he doesn’t love you. At all. Yeah, there are kids involved but they are his kids, not yours. Unless there is major abuse happening, you don’t have to stick around.

And it sounds about right when you’re looking for spell-casters online – you got ripped off. Just like I said in the last one, you’re gonna get ripped off if you try to find those who do paid spellwork online. I say this over and over. It’s the internet, anyone can say anything and when there is money to be made, the bs meter rises likes magma.

 

Hello I think I’m cursed by a dredge. Can you help.

– Beck N.

I will always think of a Beck song when I see anything “Beck”. That is because Beck is an amazing musician, I love “Nausea” and “E-pro”. This question, not so great. If it were a Beck lyric, I would be like, “Bro, this is so deep, maaaaaaaaan!” but this ain’t that. What in the Hogwarts is this person talking about? I have no idea. And the world of magick is far and wide, I’m not going to hit the books to figure it out.

Enjoy this Beck song instead, “Colors” from his newest album Colors:

 

Soceress women going get me
– Albert

What this reminds me of:

Here is the thing, usually people who do not engage in magick on average send me things like this. And on average, this is usually not the case. Especially when it is coming from a guy, then it is usually some normal issue that flies into the face of their misogyny and then imagination takes over and flutter straight into my inbox. Chances are quite good that it is not a case of actually evil, female witches out to wraith this poor soul but someone who just need to look at their problem from another, very normal perspective.

 

I DON’T KNOW IF YOU CAN HELP ME BUT I MYSELF AM NOT A WITCH AND I CAN NOT PAY BUT IS THERE A SPELL THAT I CAN DO TO MAKE SOME ONE HOPELESSLY INLOVE WITH ME JUST ASKING I’M DESPARATE I MISS HIM

– Juliet L

My response when I initially replied to the email:

A) STOP SHOUTING. I STILL WON’T CARE.
B) Read my site, this is a stupid question. It’s your problem

This didn’t turn out to be a long convo like the first person, I got a simple “ok” afterwards, which is fine. Here is the thing, I check my email a lot. No one has to post anything in all caps to get my attention at all. And shouting to get my attention for paid spellwork is beyond irritating, hence why I called it a “stupid question”. I favor research, not blind blundering.

Also, I don’t like the manipulative vibe of “make someone love me”. Notice this is second time I’ve gotten something like this? And I’m not cherry picking, I’m simply clearing out my inbox of backed up questions. It is creepy beyond reason to ask for someone to be hopelessly in love with you, especially through magick. You may as well ask for a stalker because that’s exactly what you’re gonna get. Free will can suck because that means the person has the very open option to use their free will to express not being with you but it is a thing you have to respect. It isn’t fun and it’s a good fraction of Kleenex tissues yearly income but it’s there for a reason.

i recently moved in an old house, pre civil war old. I felt something watching me. this is not a new feeling to me. The thing that is makeing me wonder is the odd things ive found around the house. Number one I was told recently that 4 years ago a man passed away at the home of an illness. His name is written on every tree surrounding the house. Their is a unique handmade broom above my cabinets in my kitchen. All things were taken out of the house but the deceased mans clothing and the broom… any idea if this could mean a spell of some kind?

– samantha b

Honestly, without more backstory, it could be something or it could be nothing. It’s pre-Civil War, that house saw a lot of death, destruction and illness. Also, it’s the lands of the Civil War, dead spirits are everywhere. I should know, I live in Maryland. Welcome to war in very prejudiced nations, everyone! Your house could be haunted from that alone. Note the “could” and the fact it is not an “is”.

Name being written on every tree surrounding the home while ill does sound spooky but also could be border marking as well (I have heard outrageous stories, some from my own homeowner friends, of people executing various ways to express “This is mine. And this. And this. And especially that.”).  It could also be some young person that watched waaaaay too much Charmed thinking that marking a name on every tree in sight could hold magickal purpose (not saying it can’t, but the type of tree does matter. Different trees mean different things. Scribbling something into an oak could mean something different than scribbling into an ironwood). It could be a load of things.

I wouldn’t think too much on why they left someone else’s clothing there outside the fact that the movers could have thought, “Dude, that’s a dead guy’s clothes. He died of illness, not old age. I’m not touching that. Ew.” The broom could be seen as part of the decor, just like the lamp shades and cabinets, and thus it stayed. The realtor could have looked at it and said, “Let’s keep it, it could justify me tacking three grand extra to the price.”

I would err on saying “not a spell” but feel free to do a top-to-bottom home cleaning with some good ol’ Lemon Pinesol to allay your concerns at least a little. Perhaps deep cleaning could help.

 

Am I going have this soldier boy Delane [redacted] to be my husband does he love me love me a lot

– Antonette A.

Dude, I get these questions a lot. I’m not a walking Magic 8 Ball, everyone. If you want to know if someone really cares about you or will marry you, try asking them. If they seem to beat around the bush for such a direct question, please remember that a non-answer is still an answer, just not a positive one. If you want to know if the person you’re dating will be your husband, go buy the ring and propose to him already. That’s probably the most surefire way to know (unless you have been dating for less than two years, then it’s moving much too fast and being far too hopeful).

hi im grace could i [p]lease be pregnant and could you make my water break

– Grace S.

Le grossssssss.

First of all, I hate children. That’s probably one of the few “witch stereotypes” I actually have. That and the fact I have a cat. Why would I, of all people on this planet, be asked to be any version of a midwife or obstetrician? I personally think there is already too many people on this planet anyways, why add more?

These are questions to ask a doctor. An actual obstetrician, not a random person on the internet. Visit your local Planned Parenthood and work the rest out yourself. And given the very poor show of smarts, I would strongly recommend holding off on having kids because dimwitted people should not risk creating more dimwitted people.  Child care is difficult. You don’t have to be a genius but you do want to have more than two brain cells to rub together.

 

Hello – i have been scared to talk about this and was wondering if you could help me personally,

I have been practicing the pagan faith for a few years now and I am very in touch with it and spirituality, I’m also empathic and have mediumship/psychic tendencies and abilities. For awhile now, I have been getting distressing nightmares except they’re not nightmares…more like visions. As time goes on they keep getting worse, I get visions and nightmares of things non-human and the world ending. I’m scared. There’s so much fear and death and horrible things/feelings. When I was little I used to see dark entities/shadows and felt like i’m being watched, and i had very bad night terrors,most of it went away as I got older but I have always had mediumship/psychic abilities/visions etc, The whole thing with feeling watched has never gone away and I get it to this day – although the darkness doesn’t feel threatening to me. I figured this was all me feeling this but other psychics/seers/gifted people that i’ve met have all said I carry a dark energy and aura, and all gave me cards to psychic friends or aura cleansers/psychic health people. It’s that type of darkness I feel again. I want it to stop, I don’t like these visions of the end of the world and the darkness. I don’t like feeling people’s pain.

Blessings,

Natasha

I would strongly recommend learning how to meditate. That’s is the best solution I can come up with. If you have an actual ability to foresee and sense, meditation is your best bet to keep it under control or it will easily become very distressing.

Try following this to get better at controlling breathing and getting started in meditation. Try not to think and stay focused on the image.

This is a great gif to look at to learn how to get started. Just do this 5 – 10 minutes a day and this should help calm things down bit by bit. It won’t be overnight but it is a start.

 

Hello. I am a young writer who wanted to connect to a writer god. I chose Anansi as African Deities always appealed to me the most. I am nervous and did not realize the urgency of contacting a god. I asked to become a student of his and for a favor involving love, as well promised to name my first born after him. I am a young gay author and I feel as if I jumped into this with only lite witch craft knowledge. What should I expect?

– Dakota S.

This is what I was referring to during the Alt-Black podcast. Let’s look at the whole convo and do a post-mortem.

Ok, this is not a bright idea. At all. Don’t do it. At all. Anansi will *not* help how you want him do and DON’T OFFER A KID, even just to name them. I’ll go in detail on Ask Black Witch.

Don’t do it.

Like is there a way to reverse this? I didn’t mean to ask him for the love favor, I was invoking a story of love and absentmindedly said “Bring my love back to me,” and I want to take it BACK SO BAD! I did not mean to let is slip at all, but I was getting into the story. I had left him treats, beer, and cigarettes, and he was telling me he was there by flicker of a candle. Again, I wish to be a student but DONT WANT THE LOVE PART! I feel so bad for asking it, I just want to be a student of story telling!

I don’t provide spell help, sorry.

Shit. I’m sorry to bother you with all this. I didn’t even mean to let it slip, this was supposed to be way different with other story tellers and as a way to become better writers. I’m so sorry.

One last thing…. all this started from a dream where I met Anansi. Do you think he deliberately reached out to me knowing this would happen?

I left out some stuff to keep this bare-bones but this is a “yikes” situation.

Here is Anansi, as defined by Mythology Dictionary:

A trickster-god of the Yoruba. Father of Ntikuma. He was originally a creator-god but was changed into a spider when a king kicked him for killing his huge ram, which had eaten Anansi’s crops. Others say that he was defeated in a shape-changing contest by the chameleon and came down to earth on a rope. He now appears both as a spider and a man. He begged a single cob of corn from God, promising to provide him with 100 slaves. By pretending the cob had been stolen, he tricked a chief into giving him a basketful of cobs to keep him quiet. He swapped the cobs for a hen, the hen for some sheep and the sheep for a corpse. Pretending that this was a son of God who had been killed by the sons of a chief, he persuaded the chief to give him 100 young men whom he presented to God as slaves. To prove that he was as clever as God himself, he captured the sun, the moon and darkness in a bag. When he produced the sun from the bag some people were blinded. On one occasion he got stuck to the Gum Girl, on another an antelope carried him to safety from a bush fire. To repay this kindness he wove a web around the antelope’s baby, so hiding it from the hunters. When he asked the sky-gods to sell him some stories he was told that the price would be a fairy, a hornet, a leopard and a python. The gods were so impressed when Anansi produced all these items that they gave him all their stories, which they called Anansesem. In one story he owned a pot that was always full of food, and when his children broke the pot he punished them with a whip. The inquisitive children examined the whip, which then started to beat them and would not stop. On another occasion he boasted that he could ride a tiger but the king asked the tiger, who said that this was a lie and tried to get Anansi to retract in the king’s presence. By pretending to be ill the spider induced the tiger to carry him on his back and, of course, he needed a bridle, a saddle and a whip. When the king saw the spider riding the tiger, he welcomed him to the royal palace.

Yah, that guy. That’s who this person summoned with beer and cigs and a child. That is not a good idea. Like, my instinctive, initial reaction was this:

 

Anansi is a great and wonderful deity – as in, he’s clever and will always leave you with something to learn. Problem is, is literally everything that was penned above about him. Especially if you are a young queer writer that just wants to dole out a story. I also would like to mention that Anansi, though a very creative and clever deity, is not a griot-type deity. He had tales made of him by other gods the same way a king asks a painter to depict them. It’s just…augh, of all the deities to ask for writing help, Anansi wouldn’t even have been in my top twenty!

What is there to do here? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, hope Anansi literally doesn’t care, especially about the kid part. Maybe he’ll think “I can do nothing with these people, I’m bored,” and leave. That’s about it. Or dig an even deeper hole for yourself and ask another deity to help you out. Or entity. Or anything. This spider fools tigers and kings, steals the sun and moon to prove a point and did one (1) person one (1) solid simply out of “eh, you helped me, so I’ll help you. Consider debt repaid.” The best I could suggest is hope for the best and try to correct things with Anansi – and don’t offer him anything else! This is why I don’t work with deities much and I do research before I do with the ones I plan to. This is also why I say don’t dabble.

Like, other African deities for writing and creativity, your best bet would probably be MawuLiza (Sometimes spelled as “Lisa”), and Seshat (Egyptian but still, Egypt is in Africa). GodChecker and Mythology Dictionary has a lot of African deities so give those lists a gander because Anansi is not some super evil deity, it’s just tricksters are difficult to work with and be on the straight and narrow with. Nothing is ever clear with those guys.

 

so this event happened when i was 14 or 15 i was home alone with my uncle … he has seizures , for my luck he got one that day while u was alone with him . i called my parents screaming in panic they rushed home and called 911 for my uncle in that time they didn’t know i was having a panic attack my first one yet. after that day i didn’t feel like my self i felt as if i was floating as if my body was on earth and my mind wasn’t. my parents took me to a “warlock” this guy was legit as soon as you would sit down he’d predict your future stuff like that. so i sat down and he asked which one of us (my dad mom and me) was a witch. we sat in shock and he said you (me) you’re a natural born witch. i told him everything as i was telling him this the energy in the room was thick only me and him felt it. i felt as if i were flying . he told me it took me so long to realize i was a witch because something traumatizing had to happen he said he realized he was a warlock when he saw his best friend get murdered he said it feels as if a part of you has been taking which is how i felt. he told me “you have such an amazing gift your could either use for good or bad, you’re going to do big things when you learn how to control your gift” . after leaving my mom told me when i was just 7 months old another warlock told her i was a witch as well. can someone help me cope with this,should i believe him? what should i do?

-Yajaira C.

This is gonna take a while to unpack, get a cup of hot cocoa.

Okies, let’s start with the lingo. Warlocks are usually shorthand for “bad (usually male) witches”. The word is middle English, warloghe, from before year 900. In ye olde English, it stems from “waerloga”, which mean “oathbreaker” because “waer” means “covenant” and “loga” means “betrayer” (and that word comes from “leogan”: to lie). Yay, dictionaries!

Note that there is nothing about gender in there. Just “liar, deceiver”. Outside of D&D and World of Warcraft, no one I have ever come across has ever called themselves a “warlock”. Male witches are just “witches”. Because they are practicing witchcraft.

Now, it sounds like what you experienced after your uncle’s health episode was dissociation, not a mark of being a witch. You just went through something traumatic, it makes sense you would feel this way. You don’t have to experience something traumatizing to become a witch. At all. Maybe in the movies and on television to speed up the plot but not in real life. Which is a good thing, trauma is awful.

The thing about witchcraft is, with practice, research and time, anyone can do it. It’s only considered “occult” (which means “hidden”) because people from other faiths (usually the Christian one) considered it such and did everything they could to make it so. Does this mean some people are not more inclined than others with abilities such as clairaudience and such? Nah, talents can be anything. I recommend the same thing I suggested for the other person above: learn meditation and start from there. I always recommend Lauren Manoy’s book Where to Park your Broomstick and anything by Ellen Dugan because they are wonderful writers for beginners.

So, I realize that you don’t do these, that is not what I am asking. Honestly, I prefer to perform my own spells, and you don’t do “pay-for-pray” as you call it, which is great. But anyways, this is my question. And yes, I know you hate these questions but you seem to be the only person I have found that seems even somewhat legitimately knowledgeable on the topic. Is body swapping possible? I am not asking you to do, it, just if it is possible, and if so, how would tat be performed. And 2, if possible, would it be possible for me to perform that for two friends of mine who willingly want to do so (as in, not myself involved in the swap, just casting for them with them in my presence)? And what are the possible side effects, if known? Thank you, and I apologize for bothering you.

– clmcgowan

Person notes that I hates this question. Basically asks it anyway in a very roundabout manner because somehow they have not thoroughly read through all the other times I have talked about it.

Here’s the thing: I don’t just dislike being asked to do body-switching. I dislike dabblers asking about it even when they want to do it by themselves because, guess what? It eventually winds up in my inbox. When daft people do daft things in magick, it tends to wind up in my inbox. Because they are dabblers. I dislike dabblers in general.

The person also seems to deftly ignore the “I don’t provide spell help” that I bring up also on my site. They clearly do not know what they are doing, hence why they are bugging me. Because somehow books magically stopped existing and the concept of research has never happened. The internet doesn’t know everything, even if it is vast and wide.

How do I know they’re pretty much asking for a spell? The tell-tale “I am not asking you to do, it, just if it is possible, and if so, how would [that] be performed?” That is asking for a spell. If you knew what you were doing, this wouldn’t be a question at all. You would also know that upper forms of magick are difficult and have more cons than pros, hence why they are called “advanced”. It’s witchcraft, even with the best intentions and handiwork, it can blow up in your face quite brilliantly. And the less learned you are, the more likely it becomes a case of “when” than “if”. And when it happens, back into my inbox will I see this person again, with a brand new problem they’re not apt to solve.

This is why I find such a question annoying. It’s not teaching someone anything, it’s just adding to stupidity and dabbling. This is why I tell people to not dabble.

The Arts!: Holland, Dom & Hyo

Welcome to The Arts! My cat and I are loaded from Thanksgiving eating (dislike the history of the holiday, I just like the food part. Ditto with July 4th). Before I go into The Arts officially, I would like to mentioned that my shop, BW Shoppe, is having free shipping from now to Cyber Monday. It appears that my 3D Printed bookbinding stuff is selling a lot but there is plenty more, such as Black superhero symbol stuff and gender symbol stuff. Now, onwards and forwards!

Holland

I was recommended to listen to this Korean vocalist by a friend of mine. Usually, I’m not big on K-pop (the most I know is Big Bang (mostly G-Dragon), Psy, and that BTS is very popular) but what makes this vocalist stand out is the fact that he is a queer idol, which is quite rare to see in Korean popular music. Just like in America, it is difficult to be any part under the LGBT+ flag and in music because general prejudice against people who simply aren’t straight. Add in the strict dating rules idols have to keep an appealing and very straight image and it can be stifling. However, being gay is this part of Holland’s identity, which he puts front and center. It actually adds dynamic to his music, especially his love songs, which revitalizes an oft-plowed and over-picked subject. Take a gander on his music video “Neverland/네버랜드”

He also has a twin single, titled “I’m not Afraid” and “I’m so Afraid”

He has an upcoming mini project as well! Follow him for more information:

Instagram

Twitter

Music Videos

Dom & Hyo

I’m always trying to improve my language skills but it is difficult to learn languages. Especially when you know a lot of them. One day, you feel confident. The next, you feel like you only know three words. Korean is a language I’m still working on and sometimes the grammar still eludes me. Or crashes into my Japanese. Or French. Or Chinese.

Dom & Hyo is a site that helps with Korean learning through easy-to-understand info-graphics.

 

 

Also, there are webcomics about the creators of the site, Dom and Hyo.

The comic is entertaining and a pleasant read! Check them out on WebToons!

You can also check out their channel, which also features great how-to’s for navigating Korean.

That’s all for today. Next week will be a big Ask Black Witch because I skipped a few! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated, send them in!

It’s getting to be that time of year again! Gift procurement for the holidays. My shop, BW Shoppe, will be having a free shipping sale between the dates November 20 and November 26). All free shipping is domestic, except on November 26 – that day will include international free shipping.

Here are the wares available on the site:

Bookbinding Supplies
These have sold surprisingly well! There are awl guides, sewing cradles and corner cutter guides. I designed each of these items myself.

Gender Signs
The BW Shoppe has a vast array of gender symbols that can be turned into keychains, key charms, whatever. There are four versions: one with a hole at the top for keychains and phone charms; one with no hole at all; one with a pentacle in the middle; one with no pentacle at all.

 

These took forever to design but they look wonderful!

Black Superhero Symbols
I’m a fan of comics and there isn’t enough product with Black superhero symbols or visuals on them (when was the last time you saw a Static Shock mug or a Moon Girl stuffed toy?) I 3D printed some small ones to be used as keychains and trinkets (why so many key charms? Because repairing a 3D printer in the middle of a long print sucks).

Right now, I have Black Panther and Static Shock available. I would like to add more in the coming days, however.

Handbound Books
As I am a bookbinder, I also have journals I have bound sold online. They vary in their styles so give them a gander

That’s the snippet of stuff I have available on the site, please visit!

Around Halloween, I was sent a book by the author, Melanie Marquis to review. It is titled Carl Llewellyn Weschcke: The Magickal Life of the Man Behind Llewellyn Publications. I had just reviewed another book so I spaced this one out a bit.

My experiences with Llewellyn publications are so-so. They have books I used aplenty such as Richard Webster’s book on Cartomancy Playing Card Divination but they also have came out with a loooooooot of not-so-good, such as Silver Ravenwolf and Edain McCoy. (Silver is a post all on her own so I’ll save it for that. Ditto with Scott Cunningham) As far as Llewellyn goes in terms of “are they good to recommend?”, I usually try not to steer new people towards them because there’s a lot of fluff among the diamonds in the rough. They definitely cornered the metaphysical market and certainly gave it a major dose of capitalism, that is certain. Llewellyn is probably a strong part of the reason why I have to explain “I’m not Wiccan, I’m Pagan” to almost everyone I meet.

I’m not the only Pagan who feels this way, here’s a chatter thread from Non-Fluffy Pagans on Livejournal and an essay titled “Green Witchcraft: The Llewellyn Complaint“. Heck, the book I always recommend Where to Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy isn’t published by them but by someone else entirely.

Now, back to the book.

It pretty much is a memorial book to the founder Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, published by Llewellyn (I almost want to say “obviously”.) It’s his life story, charming quotes from people who knew him or interacted with him, pictures from his life, things like that.

At least this book, unlike the last one I reviewed, has a bibliography in the back. That’s good.

The book starts with his early life, which I guess you could say was a semi-charmed kind of life. Private school kid from fairly well off and very atomic family in Minnesota that seems very Leave it to Beaver with a touch of occultism here and there. Very pampered and with no need to want, basically. Though framed as the “average American upbringing”, it really isn’t. Not every American kid goes to private school and their dad buys land for a new summer house – during the Great Depression and World War II, two instances in American history that weren’t exactly economic upticks. Maybe it is because I’m a Millennial – and a Black Millennial, at that – but it sounds like Weschcke came from wealth. His family wasn’t Warren Buffett but they definitely were pretty rich. Not average.

In Weschcke’s later life, he went to college, got a degree in business, joined his dad’s pharmaceutical company where he eventually became an executive, so on and so forth. Nothing inspiring, all bland. I’m not a White guy from a prosperous family that’s so wealthy, it could deftly deflect one of the worst economic downturns in American history. I’m a Black woman that was raised in the inner city from with a half immigrant family that constantly had fiscal turmoil (and still does). Hearing’s Weschcke’s life story really does not make me well up with “wows” and awe. It kind of irritates me.

There is a chapter on Weschcke’s involvement of the Civil Rights Movement. My prediction is: feels impassioned of the maltreatment of Negro folk and decides to go front and center, a bit Liberal White Savior/I’m-Totes-An-Ally style.

I had to laugh at the statement “It was a time when racism was common.” Uhhh, when wasn’t it? Like, there are lynchings going on now. I think the most recent one was a few weeks ago, if not this month. I actually have to check NAACP’s website for travel restrictions when I think of going to music shows out of state. I literally carry a hot shot and tool box, spare oil, an electric tire pumper and a funnel in my car in case I breakdown in sundown towns. Segregation still exist, it is more de facto and very much prominent. This was well before Trump got in, the hatred never left.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd I was right. Granddad started a St. Paul NAACP chapter in St. Paul in 1919, even was unanimously elected to board of directors. Weschcke hosted the 51st NAACP national convention. Hm, I wonder how many Black people worked at his companies – and of that number, how many of them were in lofty positions or was it the usual “Apply bleach the further you go up” thing companies regularly do, where it’s diverse at the bottom but not at the top? This chapter annoyed me. When it comes to Black history and the Civil Rights Movement, I enormously discount the actions of White people in it because the problem of prejudice in this instance is one that they created. You don’t get a cookie for “Mostly abstains from being awful”. That and it’s the NAACP, who has had missteps (backing Rachel Dolezal and the fact they tried to ice out Black Lives Matter, to name two). And how many Black authors has Llewellyn had? (Hint: Goose egg.) And the Llewellyn staff group picture seems pretty snowdrift to me. I think of all the pictures posted in the book, I only spotted exactly one (1) Black person. Uno. Ichi. Han-nah. Une. Yi. One. Classic White Savior, basically. Being a Black Pagan, I literally never saw any diverse representation from Llewellyn books. Ever.

The rest of the book is informative if you really want to learn about the person who created Llewellyn Books but it simply isn’t for me. If anything, learning about the man behind the books made me more annoyed than anything positive.

It is nice I was sent this book but, honestly, I would much rather appreciate more diverse books on much more diverse people. Y’know, books not centered on the White gaze. Especially in Paganism.

 

 

 

 

I was featured earlier this week on a podcast called Alt-Black Podcast! I talked how music got me into my faith, why I think dabbling is annoying, my experience with Afro-Punk and more! Give it a listen! I like that they gave me Baltimore Club bumper music!

 

I was contacted by Hachette Books/Ilex about a new book they had coming out titled The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star.

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Upon first impression of getting it, it looks well made and not very kitschy. I could sort of see this book in a metaphysical shop, which is good. I could definitely see it being sold in The Discovery Store more, though.

First thing I looked for was a bibliography because usually good books on magick have those (otherwise a person could say almost anything). There isn’t one here but noticed this book is more of a spellbook for beginners than an intro to Paganism with some spells in it. That’s sort of okay but I prefer info. The first proper book I read on magick, Where to Park your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy, was crammed full of this so it is pretty much my baseline for any magick book.

The book is very colorful and artistry is well done. It doesn’t look like it was dropped out of Tumblr and sold. That’s always a good thing. At least this book isn’t trying to copy Sephora’s bad ideas. (That witch kit is atrocious for so many reasons).

As for content, the book is extremely European based and strongly Wicca based.  Granted,  so was Broomstick. I’m not Wiccan, though, so there is that. But as for the Eurocentric info, I think books on magick nowadays should be way more diverse. Otherwise, it looks like magick just started in Europe and the world followed. So note that the book is very Eurocentric in its practices and perspective, which could make PoC readers easily feel like a fish out of water. Actually, any reference to anything non-Euro is super cursory at best. Like, very bland and even less in-depth than what’s mentioned of the Greco-Roman deities, which already isn’t much. That’s not good.

The book is also fairly cis women-centric. I mean, so is practically every Western book on witchcraft out there every but it creates a ripple effect that somehow ends up in my inbox. Questions of “why can’t [insert gender here] practice? What should I call myself, I’m a [insert gender here]? Is ‘witch’ still accurate?” pop up. If you practice witchcraft, you’re a witch, plain and simple. It would be nice if books reflected this a little better. It is good to focus on women but witchcraft didn’t appear as a result of feminism, witchcraft was a moreso natural occurrence of working with and influencing the world around them. Wicca is goddess-centric, true, but it should be noted that Wicca does not hold the copyright to all of witchcraft. Wicca is just one faith out of literal thousands, even when whittled to just faiths that use magick.

I do like that this book doesn’t give a shopping list that could make a newbie go broke quick. I definitely like how this book tries to be sensible with its targeted audience. However, I don’t agree entirely with the idea of “you have to believe it for it to work”. My personal practices – and my inbox, primarily my inbox – hold a different story. I always explain it like this: I personally know Black folks who legit don’t believe that racism exists, annnnnnnd they still get harassed and/or beaten by officers and racists, if not called slurs. The fact they don’t believe in something so extremely real as the ground they stand on didn’t keep the reality of that concept from still impacting them. You don’t have to believe in something to make it happen, if the right cogs are there, it will happen. If the “you gotta believe” bit were the case, I would get far less, “I dicked around and tried to summon a demon because I thought nothing would happen and now my apartment is haunted. Gimme a spell to fix my problem” letters. Much less.

Actually, I still remember the time I accidentally summoned a Throne angel by simply singing a ye olde gospel over and over with gusto. Never gonna do that again. Angels are not fun and you definitely don’t want to summon one, especially on accident. They do not look like “people with wings”, try “Wow, the makers of Bayonetta really did their homework. And all of the extra credit.” 0/10, would not accidentally summon again. I did not intend to summon a Throne. The thought of believing that such a thing would happen was the furthest from my mind – I seriously thought the song was about wheels and the sun, that’s it!

Long story short, you don’t need to believe in something for it to happen. Just the cogs to make it happen. Belief gives it boost, that’s for sure, but it is not the core.

Again, about the gods and goddesses referenced in this book: they are Greek/Roman deities. And a passing reference to Egyptian deities. And a teeny tiny touch on East Asian dragons. And none of Africa (outside of Egypt, which is usually whitewashed to the moon and back). I really don’t like this part  because I rather see more diversity in description. However, since this book is primarily constructed in the Eurocentric gaze, this is pretty much garden-variety practice. Though, the section about them is a very underwhelming for me. There’s a lot more that can be talked about in regards to deities and magick work. Ditto in regards to who the different deities are, some of the descriptions in the book gloss over them with too little depth. And that’s just the Eurocentric ones, the rest of the world hardly gets noted.

And here’s one bit I saw that I think is a bad idea: mixing deities during spellwork. Don’t do that. Stick to one pantheon per ritual. They will not work well with each other and they’ll be much less eager to work with you. It shows a lack of care and faith, which deities are not big fans of.

Moving on, there is an informative page on moon-work and candles to prep the reader on the spells in the book. This means the book will be using a lot of candle magick. That’s good for beginners. Also, because this is candle magick, I would like to remind folks to be careful and always have soil or baking soda around to throw on the flame if it turns into a conflagration. Or do what I did when I was younger and do all your magick work on the lip of a filled-up sink (unless you’re working with oils also, then throw in the baking soda, too).

The spells are broken up into sections, starting with love and sex spells. Each spell section has little “Did You Know” boxes in some of the spells. I like those because it embeds useful information right where the reader can see it and for that particular spell. Things like “how long do spells actually take” or “what are the best days for casting and why”. Helps keep things realistic and practical.

For the love and sex spell section, I like that there is the “don’t be dense about this” warning at the start that is very simple: Don’t play around, don’t control others and know what you want (as well as what you don’t).

The spells constructed seem very simple and straight-forward. Like I said prior, there isn’t a huge shopping list and the vast majority of the materials asked for are already in your home or can be purchased at the dollar store. However, they use British English (“sweets” instead of “candy”, “leather thong” instead of “strip of leather”) so be mindful if you’re not accustomed to it.

The section on love and sex seems very decent, I haven’t spotted anything that I have qualms with so far.

The next section is the friends & enemies section. The intro to section is very simple, especially about how you shouldn’t do magick when until emotional turbulence and that impinging on free will is wrong. The spells are nice, such as how to get better at making friends (note: not “get popular”, simply “make friends”), making gossip cease and getting rid of a bully.

In the “Friends and Enemies” section, they have a page on gemstone magick. It is quite cursory and simple. Too simple for my tastes because there’s so much that can be covered. For a beginner, it is important to keep things simple but not too simple.

The third section are spells for work and employment. It’s a bit of a first for me to see but useful all the same. Employment is a part of life and, thus, should be included. The intro keeps things simple: this is to help you, not do the leg work for you. Also, it will not make you rich in a week.

The spells are for interview success, procuring a job, dealing with unemployment, things like that. There are also spells for exams here, it seems to cover a lot of bases. Again, the spells seem useful. Also, for any spell that involves drawing money, I always look to see how much the spell makes you do, in terms of getting materials to do the spell. I dislike ones that assume you have a payload to work with. I noticed these spells ask for things you already have (like black pepper) or are very cheap and easy to get. One thing I also noticed is that the book neglects to mention that white candles can be all-purpose in case you can’t get your hands on a particular color.

The next section has “Home and Family” spells. This section shows that this book is not directed simply at teenagers but young adults and regular adults as well. There are spells for how to get an apartment, clearing out the energy from the last person, etc. And what I like most: NO SAGE. Sweet buttery Jesus, there’s no sage use in any of these spells, that is fantastic. I am thrilled to see that. Because there is more than sage out there.

For that reason alone, I think this is a great section.

The final section is “Destiny and Fortune Spells”. Though it sounds immense, they’re spells that generally help with luck and to maintain overall happiness. The spells are simple in this section, nothing too grandiose or difficult.

All in all, the book isn’t too bad, it fairly regular and plain jane. I really would like to see a magick book that wasn’t so Eurocentric, though. The Witchcraft Handbook is moreso a simple spellbook for beginners but that’s it. For a handbook, there wasn’t a whole lot of information that could make it a suitable reference guide. There’s little tidbits here and there so you have an idea of what you’re doing but nothing more than that. It’s just a plain book o’ spells and that’s that. No real background, no really vast information, nothing super deep.

As far as bookstore spellbooks go, it’s not too bad. It isn’t 5000 Spells but it can be useful. The spells are simple and easy, not intended to break the bank nor make you feel like you’re doing Ceremonial Magick 301. What stands out to me are how simple the spells are. They are reasonable and that is a venerable trait.

The Witchcraft Handbook is less of an actual handbook and more of a regular spellbook for newbies who are interested in the craft but just want to get to the “fun” parts. I wouldn’t generally recommend introduction books that are not information dense so while this book is good, I don’t think I would have featured it on The Arts! because of the lack of crucial information. The thing is, if you don’t have deep, crucial info, that’s how you get more dabblers and less actual practitioners. Dabblers don’t care about the background info, they want fast-food magick: just do something and it is done. To thwart that, having background and in-depth information helps.

Would I recommend this book to someone new to magick and Paganism? Nope. Not enough in-depth info. I’d point them to Broomstick instead. Would I recommend this book to someone who’s spent time in magick? It’s a strong maybe. The title is misleading so I would warn the person it really isn’t a handbook but a plain spellbook that has basic spells. Good for if you’re low on ideas or want something very simple but that’s about it.

 

Halloweenie and Randomness

Halloween is tomorrow and I am hecka behind thanks coming back from my cold (and been distracted by my Korean variety shows*). I am busy and feel like talking about randomness and Halloween so there we go.

First things first! My blog’s store, BWshoppe, is having a saaaaale. Ends Nov. 1. Browse my wares, buy my stuff (my 3D printed bookbinding stuff simply flies off the shelf).

Last weekend, I hung out at the Black Witch convention, Dawtas of the Moon. I even bought a teeny spell bottle because it glowed in the dark (because I am a sucker for things that glow in the dark). I thought I would stay for a moment but I stayed the whole day. I really liked the pendulum class!

This past weekend, I 3D printed geta shoes because I always wanted a pair of getas. The images live on my Instagram (@thisblackwitch). I created the files and everything myself. They fit perfectly, I’m blown away.

This weekend coming up, I’ll be a guest on a podcast and most likely going to a Samhain rite. Tomorrow, I’m going roller skating. I still have no costume (but I have fake blood and an imagination, I shall come up with something). I will be having a Halloween Live Chat at midnight EST, tonight on the Black Witch FB fan page. I may stream again as I go skating. Be there!

* Dude, Safety First, Gag Concert and Running Man are good shows. So is Return of Superman.

Sick Black Witch

I’m sick!


This means being stuck in bed with honey citron and green tea, watching Psy music videos back to back (they’re not bad!) and a tower of warm mango juice.

 

Here’s Psy – I Luv It

Hello,
My question has to do with control and irresistible candle spells. What is the amount of time that one must wait to see results and how long will the spell or spells work??
It was also suggested that I use a particular soap and cologne, what are the reasons for this?
I appreciate your attention and assistance in this matter.
Thank you very much.

Lamont M.

 

This question has so many reasons why it is stupid. So many. Let me count the ways:

A) I don’t help dabblers and fluffy bunnies – because it’s an absolute waste of my time … any practitioner’s time, to be honest

B) The subject of the email sent to me was “Voodoo Candle Spells”, that pretty much means either I’m going to be heckling you or it’s weird spam.

C) I don’t help with spells that talk about controlling others. I talk about this at length time and time again. Get a therapist, instead.

This is just a terrible question all around.

Do you believe in negative energy that stays in a home after someone moves out or passes? My hubby and I moved into an apartment (hospital housing) 6 years ago and have felt nothing but a rollercoaster of emotions (mostly out of nowhere). Any recommendations on cleansing homes? I’ve read about sage, but not sure how reliable some of these websites are.

-Rea M.
  

If you found the spell online, it is probably bs. You can say anything and it won’t be contested, just posted. Plus, regular spells aren’t always needed. Cleaning the home with lemon (juice or extract) tends to help, just add it to your usual floor cleaner. Lemon is noted to banish negative energy so it works just fine. 

However, before the rest of the world runs out for lemons, it always is best to look at how life is going (honestly) and see if there is a regular, mundane source. Usually, there is. This question is partially cut because they’re an old school friend so there’s a bit more to the story that I did not post but lemon is their best bet. 

Burning Cross of Thorns

I got a comment earlier this week, in response to my post Blackthorn Teas: Whose Culture Is it Anyways?, and it was a long litany from a All Lives Matter type. I spent so much time writing a response to it, I figured it warranted a post of its own for all to see very visibly. And so I can include the Racist Bingo board. That board is my buddy. Oh! And a new board: The White Privlege Board because this comment is soaked in it.

 

” Hoodoo is neither a religion, nor a denomination of a religion—it is a form of folk magic that originated in West Africa and is mainly practiced today in the Southern United States.

The Whole Bushel-
Hoodoo, known as “Ggbo” in West Africa, is African-American folk magic. It consists mainly of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a significant blend of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore. It is in no way linked to any particular form of theology, and it can be adapted into numerous forms of outward religious worship. Although it is not a religion, there are elements of African and European religions at the core of hoodoo beliefs. Teachings and rituals are passed down from one practitioner to another—there are no designated priests or priestesses and there are no divisions between initiates and laity. Rituals vary depending on the individual performing them; there is no strict approach that one must adhere to. Today, hoodoo is mainly practiced in the Southern United States, and most people who practice hoodoo are Protestant Christians.

Hoodoo tradition emphasizes personal magical power invoked by the use of certain tools, spells, formulas, methods, and techniques. It ascribes magical properties to herbs, roots, minerals, animal parts, and personal possessions. Some spells even make use of bodily effluvia and detritus (menstrual blood, semen, urine, spit, tears, nail clippings, hair…you get the picture). Hoodoo spells are typically carried out with accompanying Biblical text, usually from The Book of Psalms, but they are generally not performed in Jesus’s name. The intention behind hoodoo practice is to allow people to harness supernatural forces in order to improve their daily lives.”

Isn’t what you’re doing as far as saying Blackthorn can’t/shouldn’t be using the word Hoodoo very similar to the days of “Whites Only” restrooms and drinking fountains? Should anyone be able to practice Christianity, or call ourselves Christian, seeing as how Christ was an Isrealite? Take anything that uses a name or technique that originated from a different race or culture. Should someone not of the originating culture be allowed to use that name or technique?
Go back and re-read the first half of the second paragraph of the pasted section about herbs, roots and minerals. I think, by definition, Blackthorn’s teas are exactly what that paragraph says.
I cannot speak to the way she handled your criticism. But, I can say that what you are saying about her using the word Hoodoo is every bit as racist as you claim she is being by using the name.
We are all human and we all bleed red. Don’t be part of the wedge that divides us. Be part of the glue that holds us together.

 

Before I begin my breakdown, let’s bring out the Racist Bingo Board!

So close to Bingo!

And because there was absolutely monumental fail, let’s crack out the White Privilege bingo, just for this!

First ever debut on Black Witch! W00t!

Now, my response. Anything I add that wasn’t in the original comment block will be in a different color:

Oh, look! A racist appeared!

That’s a nifty quote but I’m an actual Black person who works in libraries and research! And knows about Hoodoo and Voodoo from both a research and cultural perspective.

Let’s breakdown the bull because there is so much fail here in this comment.

“Hoodoo is neither a religion, nor a denomination of a religion—it is a form of folk magic that originated in West Africa and is mainly practiced today in the Southern United States”

It’s is a cultural practice. Some practicioners actually see Hoodoo as a form of spirituality and religion given that there are deities and spirits they do work with. Hoodoo was born from the extremely restrictive terror that slavery produced as a resistance to the psychological mind-breaking tactics commonly applied, such as ripping culture and history from someone. It has some Christian components to fly under the radar of slavers and overseers but held on to many different West African components (that varied because there were different tribes in West Africa) so they could retain their history while dealing with torture conditions. Either way, it doesn’t reduce the importance it has to a culture. Dia de los Muertos is not religion based but it is definitely Mexican culture and nothing else – and should be respected as such. Ditto with Hoodoo.

Addition: Speaking of Dia de los Muertos! Disney thought the exact. same. thing. The Latin community considered it quite loco and were loud about it. Academic expert in Latin representation in media William Nericcio said it best: “[Hollywood’s] attitude towards culture is like a pelt hunter from the 19th century. They need the skin that people recognize and value in order to sell a project that will yield predictable profits.” Blackthorn is doing the exact same thing. And it isn’t “value” in a good way, it’s just something to snatch up and profit off of while still holding damaging beliefs of the group you took from. Like Black slang and dances. 

Now, Disney withdrew the trademark and rightfully should, given their long, long, loooooooooooooong history of portraying racism throughout their many films. Even the “diverse” shows on the Disney channel have racist and colorist underpinnings (Name me three Disney shows with dark-skinned lead characters in the last ten years. Extra points if they’re girls). Blackthorn should do the same. And the film that Disney was making? It was Coco. They would have done super okay without the legal colonizing, the film did well by itself. Dia de los Muertos isn’t just a fancy backdrop for an animation film, there is history and culture there and those need to be respected. 

“Isn’t what you’re doing as far as saying Blackthorn can’t/shouldn’t be using the word Hoodoo very similar to the days of “Whites Only” restrooms and drinking fountains?”

NOPE! It isn’t. Blackthorn is hijacking a word that is not from her direct culture and history. She’s White, she comes from a group of people that made it so that Hoodoo hadto exist. It’s just another form of colonization, she’s taking something that isn’t hers and was created specifically because of prejudiced people like her. She would have been fine-ish if she was engaged with any part of the Black community, (I know her and met her, she’s definitely not) but instead, she’s hijacking. She doesn’t even practice hoodoo.

It’s not the same as “Whites Only”. Jim Crow rules like that primarily existed to benefit White people and uphold supremacist thinking through de jure laws. I’m not trying to uphold supremacy of any sort, I’m telling White supremacy to get it’s hands off of snatching other things. She isn’t part of the group, she’s just using the name baldly for money making purposes. It’s racist to do so.

“Should anyone be able to practice Christianity, or call ourselves Christian, seeing as how Christ was an Isrealite?”

“Ourselves”? What is with the “Our?” I’m not Christian and neither is the core audience of this blog. Christianity – especially Western Christianity – has a looooooooooong history of imperialism and forcing others to practice Christianity for hundreds of years. It’s actually part of why Islam and Judiasm has a bad rap in Western nations, because Christian influenced media depicts them poorly. This means the point you just raised is super moot. You can’t say “should people practice Christianity” when it’s been forced down so many throats – it’s even how Hoodoo, Voodoo and even good chunks of Santeria came about. Because Christians don’t know how to leave other people alone.

“Take anything that uses a name or technique that originated from a different race or culture. Should someone not of the originating culture be allowed to use that name or technique?”

Not if they absolutely plan to hijack it as if it’s just a nonsense word like “Pepsi” or “Swiffer”. Or use it to evoke stereotypical beliefs already established (Hoodoo has a lot of stereotypes due to White culture and beliefs creating those stereotypes.) Then no, they need to keep their hands off of it. She could have named it Blackthorn Celtic Teas (which is more of what she actually practices) and the name could have been just fine. If you can’t be respectful as an outsider, then don’t bother at all. Especially when all they’re using it for is to make money. Which is what Blackthorn is doing.

“Go back and re-read the first half of the second paragraph of the pasted section about herbs, roots and minerals. I think, by definition, Blackthorn’s teas are exactly what that paragraph says.
I cannot speak to the way she handled your criticism.”

A) We’re not in a college class
B) You are not a professor
C) You really want to be mindful of your words here, this is my spot, not yours. Don’t sit here and be abrupt with “Go back and read…” as if I’m too stupid to comprehend what I read in the first place.

I know aplenty about roots, herbs and minerals. I also know that different roots, differnt herbs and different minerals have different and respected meanings that varies throughout many different cultures because of their varied histories. Anyone practicing magick for longer than a few months would know that. Blackthorn showed no care or concern for that and a vast majority of the teas she had were not exclusive to Hoodoo roots and herbs. I’ve seen green teas (That’s Asia), for example. “Hoodoo” in her brand name is strictly that, a name. No connection to the actual product in a way that makes sense.

It doesn’t matter what you think about how she handled her criticism. She did that to herself, that was her own choice. She wants to be racist and defend it, that’s on her 100%. I have no sympathy for that.

“But, I can say that what you are saying about her using the word Hoodoo is every bit as racist as you claim she is being by using the name.”

How is it racist to say, “You’re hijacking a word from a marginalized community you’re not apart of and it is not right. Especially since you are from the community that does the marginalization”? Racism doesn’t occur in a vacuum. You’re just being stupid by saying that. It’s not racism to defend your culture from racism. It’s plain and simple defending from further colonization and prejudice. She wanted to make that simple-minded choice for herself, that’s what she did. She should have known it was going to cause a problem – unless she thought her buyers were going to stay White. White folks tend to be actively blind to prejudice that thoroughly benefits them, just like what you are doing now.

“We are all human and we all bleed red. Don’t be part of the wedge that divides us. Be part of the glue that holds us together.”

This is such utter crock. I’m a Black human being. I have a history and a culture and an idenity that is unique from other histories and cultures and identities. I’m also female, do you think women shouldn’t have access to menstrual items because guys can’t use them? Here’s the thing, you may want to ignore it but we’re all different humans. Painting with a broad brush is a nonsense argument. We’re not judging people by blood type (though I feel like you don’t research how racism even impacts medicine – including how people give blood) people are being judged by their skin tones and the darker you are, the worse it gets – to the point that blood does get spilled and at a lot greater rate than their far lighter counterparts.

” Don’t be part of the wedge that divides us. Be part of the glue that holds us together.”

You should tell Blackthorn that, she needs to stop being divisive by being so racist. You, too. You’re not preaching to the Klan here, you’re on a Black person’s website.

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