Latest Entries »

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.

Since my last post, AfroPunk’d, it appears I have had a flurry of reactions on not only my fan page, Black Witch, but also on my own personal page. Not only did I get in touch with my old Editor in Chief, Lou Constant-Desportes, I also manage to get in touch with original AfroPunk creator and documentary filmmaker, James Spooner. And this is what today’s post will be about.

Spooner has stated in the 10 years that he’s parted from AfroPunk and it was under Matthew’s care, not once was Spooner passed on any information in regards to screenings of the documentary, AfroPunk. He kinda wants to take his brand back again. Starting with the very beginning: the documentary.

This is an all-call for anyone who is Black and goth, punk, lolita, skater, otaku, – just plain Black and actually different – that would like to host a screening in their city. Please visit the website AfroPunkFilm.com and fill out this form.

This a pretty short post so here is a new music video from Payable on Death called “Rockin’ with the Best”, coming from their new upcoming album Circles. The album will be out November 16, 2018.

 

AfroPunk’d

A lot has happened recently for AfroPunk and they’re not too good. Ericka Hart got booted from VIP because Matthew, co founder and remaining head of AfroPunk, saw the “AfroPunk sold out for White Consumption” shirt her partner wore and wasn’t too happy about it. Then you have long time editor in chief Lou Constant-Desportes also departing because AfroPunk changed and not for the better. This is on top of other articles about AfroPunk pretty much absconding its roots for more corporate sights.

Black Witch got started on AfroPunk back in 2010. Lou was my head editor (and really nifty at it!) so this is noteworthy to me. I left AP back in 2012/2013 for these exact same reasons, seriously. 2012 was the beginning of the end to me, when the changes started to get putrid.

Here is a glimmer from that linked post:

So, this is the last Black Witch post on Afro-Punk. I first started there three years ago when there were regular columnist rotations such as Dorm Room Diaries and T.O.B.E. and even cartoonist Keith Knight was here. I think that Afro-Punk has indeed changed since then and rapidly at that and it feels a little out of place for me to stay here as a regular columnist. I’m sure it’s odd for some of the newcomers to see my columns pop up in the midst of the usual Afro-Punk postings because I hit a pretty particular niche (the Black and Pagan demographic).

I have met and hung out with Matthew at many AP events. I even still remember chatting with him on the forum boards. I’m not gonna dog pile with stories I don’t have. He’s definitely the persistence, go-getter type, which I thought was omega cool but sometimes he’d be dismissive about issues that were undercurrents to bigger problems. I just figured, “Eh, he’s got work to do, can’t fret over every little thing,” but it really snowballed. Then there was 2012 AP Fest, which went straight-up wtf. And the first sight of Afropunk today.

I went to AP Fest 2010 (when it was free) and 2012 (when it wasn’t, but I got in free as staff). I would have done 2011 but a hurricane happened. Like, I was really willing to go in a hurricane, I was even joking with Wondaland Arts Society about it. Former NYC mayor Bloomberg thought otherwise and shut the city down. Honestly, it’s like that hurricane created a gulf of time to separate Afropunk from who they were at the start to who they became now. I still wish I could have gone to 2011 in hopes it would have been like 2010.

In 2010, there was a kids table and the anti-smoking campaign Truth Truck (I still have pics of Cerebral Ballzy performing atop it, freeeeeeaking out the Truth Truck folks. We all told them “you’re at a punk show, chill!”). In 2012, it seemed like Afropunk was trying to outdo Coachella and Woodstock single-handedly. Some White teen even nearly od’d on some coke. Speaking of the White kids…I literally remember standing under the 2012 AP banner and had to check it several times because I kept going, “Where the hell did all these White people come from?” Talk about super sayan gentrified! And now old Nazi punks showed up to the 2018 AP Fest? Bro, at a punk show of any flavor, when a Nazi shows up, you duff ’em out like it’s 1945, no matter the age. The person should not have been allowed in, regardless of whether or not they paid.

In 2010, AfroPunk was Black and weird. Just like it should be. It was filled to the gills with punks, lolitas, weirdos the Black mainstream long rejected for bullsh*t reasons. There were tons of punk and metal bands. Black ones. Everyone was an outsider and that’s what brought us together. I still think my happiest moment with AP Fest 2010 is the fact I helped the drive to get P.O.S and K-oS to play the festival. There were no White people there. The EMTs were Black, the security was Black (one person even told me Nation of Islam helped with security. I still don’t know if it is true but they were stoic and tightly dressed enough for me to believe), the bands were Black, it was a Black festival! I still remember nearly getting ran over by pro BMX rider Nigel Sylvester. That was totally sick, man! I felt so happy! I made friends, I met co-columnists and everything. I still have the pictures. In 2012, it changed and drastically. I remember sitting with Alexis from Straight Line Stitch and she lamented, “We’re the only other metal band on the bill.” I didn’t believe her until she pointed everyone out on the line up and I was aghast. It was like Afropunk just stopped associating itself with the very people that built them. It was coming from a lot of my punk and metal friends. Dude, Afropunk even tag-teamed with BET. That’s like Trump and Obama tag-teaming, it’s just a heavy ‘f*ck no’.

Every AP Fest had police, welcome to holding a big event in NYC. But in 2010, they were super chill, even the White ones. They saw we were effectively policing ourselves and we were weird but chill. No drug problems, no violence problems, nothing major. Even the cops said they loved working AP Fest because “it’s like getting a vacation at work.”  In 2012, things got more hairy as things went south. The cops were aggressive and fearsome. I remember being a bit taken aback how they were super nice and you could talk to them for a while and when I expected the same in 2012, I got the direct opposite. On top of that, someone in the Afropunk camp even told me to guide the cops away from the drug use if they came backstage or near VIP – that was my final straw. I said I wouldn’t and that I wouldn’t stand for this. I remember nearly getting knocked over because some dosed up kid scaled the fence, got into backstage and nearly darted into Janelle Monae’s tent. I was with Wondaland at the time chatting and the kid shot right past us, as did a couple members of security. Jeez, that was terrifying. I still don’t know if she ever knew and ain’t gonna ask. I just remember we all nearly followed security to stop the kid. Security was over worked that weekend. Nothing like 2010.

In 2010, the crowd was unified because we were all roughly the same, Black and unusual. In 2012, I felt like an outsider in my own house because all the boho and normal Black folks that decided to crash since I guess having dibs on literally every Black festival ever wasn’t good enough. And then there was the seas of White people who just wanted to invade another space because, frankly, what else do they do with their time? I had paparazzi-feeling moments several times as I wore punk, kuro and gothic lolita. I definitely threatened to break a camera or two because they were not asking or complementing, just flickty-flick and dip. Not cool.

Then there’s the part where Afropunk had shut down the backstage area to everyone – staff, writers, other performers – because Solange swung by to visit. Everyone was pissed since our credentials were suddenly useless now that a member of the Knowles family swung by. Please note, this wasn’t ordered by Solange, she just wanted to pay Janelle Monae a visit, it was Afropunk higher ups. The rest of us eventually got in, after a lot of bickering and complaining with security.

And the corporate dudes! Afropunk used to tag with brands that resembled and worked with AfroPunk like BMX and Truth. Then Nike*, Coors and Red Bull came through. All of a sudden, it was corporate city backstage at a punk show. I I remember one of my friends and and I were there. Nike folks got pissed that we were sitting in their hallowed, glamp-looking seats. So we stole some of their towels. Still have mine, still soft as a cloud – the softest towel I still have ever touched.

And that was the festival, not the back happenings of the rest of year. My posts got staggered, the edits were annoying and eventually I was tossed off, it seemed. I remember being asked back because Afropunk was rebranding and asked if I wanted part. I said “No.” This was not the Afropunk I originally came for, this new Afropunk wasn’t even true to itself.

Afropunk just…they went so south, I’m tellin’ you. I know because I saw with my own eyes. And I said it to many people in my own circles. If anyone said they were going to AP Fest, I would strongly convince them out of it. I never really said anything out loud because I thought I was kinda by myself. Turns out, I wasn’t.

Any time Lou leaves, that is very much bad news bears for Afropunk; he was the old guard, one of the originals. I understood how Afropunk documentary creator and co-founder of AP, James Spooner, felt but now I really see how he feels. He built this, saw what a behemoth it turned into and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

I remember when Matthew would bemoan how expensive running a fest was on the boards, and it was totally justified – festivals are pricy (like, top-of-the line Telsas look super cheap pricy) and he was running it when it was free, which was forever running him into the red. I get that totally. I just wish AP stayed true to its roots all the while as he fixed that problem.

* Nike was at AP Fest 2010 as Nike SB but AP Fest 2012, it was a bigger, more corporate showing

It’s been awful quiet on this here blog, I know. I have been massively busy with my alternate project MultiMind for my creative works. 

For a long time, I have been writing short stories, novellas and novels. I’ve been omega busy editing them and submitting them for publication. One recently was bought, too! 

I do these in clumps or else, they’d never get done. It’s currently clump time. However, Ask Black Witch for this month will still happen and new posts will arrive in Sept! 

Black Voices and Copycats

Recently, it was discovered that Huffington Post’s Black Voices section doesn’t have any actual Black voices in them. Revealed by Lara Witt, here is the line-up:

Not a single Black person in sight. Apparently, there is just one Black editor but Huffington Post need to do a lot better than provide a token and call it such. Even Slate uses Black writers for The Root, a Black-centered publication. Read more about it on The King of Reads.

This is intensely problematic and a good representation of when I bring up that just a White person can be liberal, that doesn’t mean that they are not racist or prejudice. Their more conservative counterpart may stab you in the front but White liberal thinking is intended to stab you in the back and call it a back rub.

If it looks like a major jump of logic, let me break it down:

Huffington Post likes to present itself as forward thinking, and progressive liberal – they are the ally to the White ally. They are the New Republic’s less intense sibling, and Slate’s half-relative. Here’s the thing: they tend to spout  such rhetoric (and personally, I find anything “progressive liberal” hella suspect but that’s also because I lean Independent and find progressive liberals as wayward) but it all boils down the same: White is right, no matter what. Everyone else is just the extras and rail grease for the plot wheels of their personal life story, not people or individuals. They pass around and trade imagery of Black people being murdered, harmed, violated or just treated negatively like baseball cards and with a dehumanizing interest, like they’re watching a really long play of The Wire and Treme. They want to feel involved in such action – without getting seriously hurt and somehow maintaining the place of “narrative-setter”, of course – that it makes sense they would want to write the perspective and narratives of others that they don’t understand in a more human way. As far as they are concerned, it’s pretty easy: take a Black person – one that preferably can’t speak well and resembles as close to a possible Black caracture as possible (options are coon, zip coon (the educated coon), etc, etc) – add violence (preferably police violence or Trump/Nazi-related violence), add a clickbait title with a picture and there you have it, racism-induced yellow journalism at its finest. It’s the Huffington Post way. And the way of plenty other publications but Huffington Post is the one that got caught here.

Another problem is the fact that this white-washing of writers and writing means that worthwhile Black writers aren’t getting hired to write content. Not even about their own lived experiences, which means the info is always going to be secondary. Always. It doesn’t matter how many Africana Studies classes you take or even how many times you see Black Panther, that doesn’t make you any less racist or any more knowledgable of a Black person’s lived experience. And this is the thing that Huffington Post themselves would whinge on when others do it.

It’s not surprising that Huffington Post hires a crap ton of White-writers. They’re the exact same people thought this picture from Executive Editor Liz Heron and said “Notice anything about this HuffingtonPost editors meeting?” was an example of “diversity”:

I notice it looks like a Women of the Klan meeting, plus a couple tokens because “model minority”.

Granted someone will say “Hey! There are some Asian people in that room. You have to look a bit to find them but they are there.” That’s because White liberal thinking loves the “model minority” myth of Asianess (quiet, demure, won’t cause a fuss) so it really makes sense that there would be some in there, especially as human deflectors of “This room is not diverse! This place is not diverse!” It’s a popular go-to.

Actually, some people in HuffPo have noted this:

“[The Huffington Post] has taken a strong editorial stance in favor of diversity, but this diversity is not reflected among the staff.”

The Movement has a good article about this. It’s good that someone noticed but it doesn’t change the fact that no one further up the food chain listened. The quote and article are from 2016, it’s 2018 and nothing has changed. That and for some place so progressive, they have to fuss and gather just to get a union.* Huffington Post just can’t walk their talk and appear to have zero desire to do so. How can a place have a strong editorial stance in favor of diversity but not where it counts, in the hiring? That’s not a very strong editorial stance if the editor can’t look around their room and go, “Something is amiss…why does everyone here look just like me?” That is a willful blindness. And one that is getting them into problems more than once and over the same thing – Huffington Post’s non-commitment to diversity.

Omake!

This post posted early while still in WIP mode (sorry! I didn’t know). However, a comment by Ashlesha J was made:

Yea I noticed that about two years ago and spec following them. They were posting a lot of content about white women and bm ww interracial relationships, then attacking the commenters. It was obviously not a black person behind the account.

The poster alleged to be biracial but if that was their political stance, then idk…Seems like they were just white

Nothing surprising here, frankly. Actually, this version of “virtual Blackface” is pretty common more and more because everyone is more anon online buuuuuuuuuut there are usually dead giveaways that someone is not part of a particular social/racial group. The dead giveaway: they don’t actually know how real Black people think and talk, just whatever idea they picked up from media (which rarely, if ever, caters to anything outside the White gaze).  I’m not surprised that it happened. It’s almost like they want to shoehorn in their ideas while looking like they are presenting something else. 

*I had to get that dig in there, it’s just progressives are not that progressive. They’re just foolish and forget that the world is not Woodstock and Cochella combined.(I’m not a fan of progressive types, I am going to super self-disclose that. They just are not a reasonable lot.)

It’s ask black witch! This month, I’ve gotten a lot of “Help Me, Help Me” type questions. Remember everyone, I don’t do spell requests, paid spellwork, pay for pray or anything even remotely in that thinking. If you’re a dabbler, I’m not going to fix or make you a spell to do. Let’s get into it.

I apologize for the lack of information. Its a very sensitive matter and not sure how much information you needed. If never posted on sites. Would I be okay if I explain “in more detail” via email? Then I can explain the story behind the jar and the itchy palm

– Ceychelle R.

She sent me further detail but the long story extremely short is sort of a classic when it comes to dabblers in magick: middle of divorce/love they are with is falling out and fast, they ask universe to send them someone else, they meet someone who sweeps them off their feet – and married to someone else, get promised a million times for a million miles “I’mma divorce them and be all yours!” (The super classic for “how to maintain a sidepiece”), the eventually dejected person starts toying with negative magick because it seems the married person is doing one thing but saying another. And they think a side effect is an itchy palm, hence come to me.

Welp, this story is probably not gonna have a happy ending, frankly. The itchy palm might not reflect anything, it sounds like cogniative bias. And that cognative bias sounds borne from a guilty conscious (like, Lady Macbeth levels). This is why I tell people not to dabble. Besides the fact they run to anyone else to play clean-up crew, it is not always fruitful. Heartbreak sucks, it’s a real killer. But it happens. And dating someone who is married is always a bad idea. Even with magick involved – especially with magick involved. Acting on negative will to harm others because you aren’t getting what you want (and in the case of a married person, what you want isn’t even yours to start with) is just going to lead to other bad things. It would be one thing if it was an open relationship, but it isn’t. It’s cheating, you kinda reaped what you sowwed. It’s not you should never date again, you should just try avoiding non-single people extensively (including to the point you dump them point-blank when you discover their non-single status.) That may work out a bit better.

1st time talking no to a witch! I’ll keep it short. I talk to about 3 psychics and they all say the same thing. I wanted to see if you see the problem too. I supposedly have a negative block on me. Not cursed but they say by someone I guess a spell. I’ve worked with 3 spell casters and they tell me it didn’t work. Now I’m pissed for getting too obsessed about it. But there are too many things that have proven all the misfortune it’s just killing me. Your the expert, I’m tired of hearing about it and hearing from 3 spell casters telling me they’re sorry and referring me some where Elise. I cannot keep living this ay. I want it gone or confirmation from an expert if it’s real and how we gonna kill it. Sorry for taking so much time. My dob [redacted] if that matters. Looking forward to hearing from you
Thanks
Casey

First, let’s note the chicanery:

1st time talking no to a witch!

I’ve worked with 3 spell casters

It isn’t the first time. It’s time number four and as I, a Chinese speaker, note this as the fourth time, it’s time to kill this issue off so he won’t bother others.*

This is what I can best describe as being a “psychic hypochondriac”. There is some block on the person somewhere and it’s creating a 583674 car pile-up in their life. Unless they can find someone to remove it.

Chances are stupidly good nothing is too out of place with this person’s life. Unless they are going through serious storms in life (that can’t be ruled out by other life circumstances) it can very well be nothing. It also can be fixed possibly by guided meditation, they work well with removing blockages (assuming one exists). Doesn’t run folks broke but works just as well.

I’am a male but have always felt I was the wrong sex. Is it possible to become possessed by a female spirit? I would want her to have full control and would welcome her gladly. This is very serious for me and I do seek and desire this. Can you please help me to gain this. I fully would submit to this possession. Thank You so much for your help.


-Roy R.

Why do I get questions like these? This person needs to see a doctor about being trans, not bother a stranger over the internet for services they say over and over that they don’t do. (Don’t bother me about spell requests, ever)

And why be posessed? That hardly turns out well, especially when done for superficial reasons. (Being trans is important, yes, but not to the spirit that you are pretty much planning to keep in attempted bondage because somehow buying binders and finding support groups is much harder.) Just see a doctor.

In Chinese, the phonetic word for “four” is also “death”.

There seems to be a mini movement in pop magick – called such because it is very surface and fluffy bunny – where brujeria is getting the same treatment that voodoo, hoodoo and smoke cleansing/smudging gets: everyone wants to do it, no one gets actually what it is.

Let’s start with the facts: Brujeria is “witchcraft” in Spanish. That’s it. There are so many different forms of actual brujeria such as Dominican Hoodoo, Santeria, etc etc etc. There is more than one kind. And involves a wholly hell of a lot more than sage sticks and very threadbare, culturally appropriated flavors of feminism.

I want to call it “orientalism” because that’s what it sounds like but I’m certain there is probably a version of the word for Latin culture getting the same treatment.

Orientalism, for those that don’t know, is the “well-meaning” racist practice of treating a culture (usually the far east) as if it is window dressing to Western existence. It’s Buddha heads, “mystical” practices of feng shui or tai chi, saying one believes in the yin-yang but a) pronounce it wrong and b) doesn’t really get that it’s far more than “there’s good and bad to everything”…things like that.

Now, it’s Latin America’s turn and with people who honestly have no idea what they are doing.

I first was asked about it by Everyday Feminism. I was genuinely confused as I never mention brujeria at all on my blog (because I don’t generally practice it – I’m Afro-Caribbean American, not Afro-Latin American) but I’m being asked pretty in-depth questions about it as if I have. The article never got posted as far as I know. I think the person asking was hoping I’d be more “grrrrrrrrrrrrrl powwa! Sage away Nazis! Rawr!” than I have ever portrayed myself in the history of my blog but I gave the usual “here’s some info” that I portray more. It weirded me out because I saw inklings around Tumblr but I just thought people were…y’know, not taking it seriously. Or letting Latinx folks having their space. Newp.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind cultural practice, it’s bullsh*t that concerns me more. If it smells pop, it probably is. I’ve now seen more people (non-Latin, not-Hispanic, nada espanol anything) toting it about, even other minorities/PoC who never touched anything remotely Latin outside of a midnight run for Taco Bell. It’s odd to go from one end to, now, all of a sudden wanting to work with Spanish magick…or just magick with a Spanish name because it sounds different – even if the practices they use are about as White or non-Latin as all get out. That’s a problem because Latin magick and witchcraft is an authentic and varied practice with a lot of backgrounds (*cough*and deities*cough*) but it’s getting condensed into stuff that is more fitting on American Horror Story when they had the witchy season (I have never seen the show but I always see it floating about, or at least its aesthetics when stuff like this gets mentioned). That’s not good.

I am not a fan of snatching someone else’s culture and parading it as your own because it sounds different. Brujeria is very general, and it sounds supportive of minorities but not really. It’s just a thin sheet of “we don’t know what you are because we don’t and we still want to take from you so here”. This is what happens all the time when folks lump indigenous practices together (“These stem from the native americans” – which one? Lumbee? Blackfoot? Sioux? There’s a lot of various tribes. We haven’t even gotten to Latin indigenous tribes like the Aztecs and Mayans) and act as if that is being inclusive when really it’s not. Spanish culture is already super different and diverse, so would be the magickal practices. Someone who is Chicano will have a different history from someone who is Puerto Rican, who will have a different history from someone who is Dominican, who is…you get the point.

Long story short, it sounds magnificent on the surface but you don’t have to get that far past the surface to see that it is something that it very much isn’t. It’s better to do your research than plow head first into being a foolish person that just wants to dabble and feel cool.

Race-Blinders

Ah, a group I was in had kittens over a complaint I had about lack of diversity. They simply booted me out without known warning. I didn’t think the response would be that bad but then, again, this is what happens pretty common in White dominated spaces, especially the ones that try to present themselves as “forward-thinking”.

They go “we don’t tolerate prejudice. We don’t like racism, sexism, etc etc” It’s usually a hint to what they will accept if it can be subtle. And not even super subtle, just simply omit the usual words that make it brash and they’re fine. In White dominated spaces, this is super true about racism. Saying the “n-word” is (sorta) not okay (I say “sorta” because it doesn’t stop them from trying) but using AAVE/ebonics and doing verbal Blackface is consider fine despite them being forms of racism. White dominated groups think they’re fine if they just avoid the usual slurs and that the Black person noting that it is not is a “troublemaker”.

When I brought up the whole “hey, this place has a diversity problem”, one person brought up that the subject of racism is a trigger for them (it’s a space for people with trauma disorders so the term “trigger” is appropriately used here) but here’s the thing, well, two things: a) the talk of racism is a trigger but acting it out is not? b) I’m usually okay with people having odd triggers because the traumatized brain works very, very odd (I explained this in a previous post) but a White person saying racism is their trigger is like Warren Buffett saying investing and money is his trigger. In a way, it is a bit odd because how could a White person be more troubled about racism than a Black person to the point it’s a psychological trauma trigger? They’re not killed as a result of it, they have far better opportunities in life from the existence of it, it really helps them out immensely. Not to mention, if anyone should have a trigger about racism, it should probably be the Black person. They’re the one that has to worry if the police officer on their street will turn into a cold-blooded murderer. They have to worry if a White person won’t try to mow a group of their peers down in a car or air out their business, place of worship or school because they feel entitled to do so. They have to watch videos and pictures of ice-cold murders or acts of prejudice of people who look exactly like them be circulated on the internet like trading cards. That is traumatizing. That could easily create a trigger for a Black person because it is a repeated enough trauma to very much count. To say that simply the subject of it is triggering but to engage in it all the same? That sounds less like an actual trigger and more like a “this makes me uncomfy as a White person”, especially since I hear this from other White people who also engage in racism and don’t have trauma disorders. They just don’t call it “triggers”, they just say something equally stupid like, “this causes bad vibes” or “ we don’t tolerate racism, you’re just blowing it out of proportion”. I know this because this is what I commonly run in to in White-dominated groups.

Here’s the kit and kaboodle, the trauma disorder group I was in usually has people in the chat all day long just going “I’m so gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay/traaaaaaaaaaaaans/queeeeeeeeeeeeer/etc.” Being happy in who you are in the face of adversary is fine but then there is this overdoing it to the point it practically seems like they’re not and they’re joking like cis straight people. That and given their uncomfiness with racism, I think if someone came in there and said “I have so much melanin! My skin is loooooovely. I’m so Blaaaaaaaaaaack,” it would probably make people act shifty. Like, the White folks in the group can chat about their family history heritage but it’s not as accepted to joke about how family history for a Black person is way more murky (I think I only know who’s who in my family up to my great grandparents and relatives on my mom’s side. Up to my grandparents on my dad’s side). It makes White people “uncomfortable” the realities of historical racism and institutionalized racism. Here’s the thing: it happened and it’s not that lava hot a subject unless it’s made to be. Not every time a Black person talks about their lived experience is a construct to induce White Guilt (which is a pathetic and selfish concept in and of itself). We don’t exist as walking life lessons to a White person. We are people also.

It’s really annoying that I can’t participate in the groups I want because if I bring up that there are any issues, it gets iced out as “she’s causing problems for our happy group!” but they also want to say “we don’t have problems and prejudice here and if we do, we root them out”. They don’t, they just root out the person that says, “hey, here is a problem.”

And this is usually a big problem in White dominated spaces. Even official ones. I remember being in a hospital for my disorders and was told that the idea of being afraid of police is an act of paranoia because police officers are here to help and be trusted. If you’re White, this is absolutely true, you get Officer Friendly, here to protect and serve. If you’re Black, you get Officer Jigsaw, here to maim and sever. It’s not irrational for a Black person to see a cop come near them and think, “Great, I’m about to die.” Then there’s the fact that you can’t talk about racism as a trauma because the doctors (who are usually White) get really, really defensive about that, especially if you note that they don’t have diverse doctors at all. Like, if you try, they say you’re getting aggressive, even if you’re calm about it. And if they think you’re aggressive, congrats, you risk getting snowed with pills (unless you’re good at knowing your patient rights) all because you brought up that prejudice does indeed exist and can indeed cause psychological damage to a person.

Having blinders on is acutely annoying, to say the least. Especially since a White person in the group made an all call saying, “Hey, we should have more diverse youtubers about trauma disorders” and it’s accepted politely but I mention, “Hey, we need more diverse voices because hearing White people use AAVE is annoying”, I am booted. Granted a person could say, “your version was harsh” but I don’t think there really is a nice way to say it. And the way said is already “nice” enough. It’s a problem, not a compliment, the basis of the statement isn’t “nice” in and of itself.

Frankly, what is it with White people and they wanting to appear forward-thinking and good but really don’t want to put in any effort to do so? Especially when it comes on the ground of racism? They want a trophy and ceremony for being non-prejudiced buuuuuuut when it is brought to their attention, they have a conniption about it at the person who said it is an issue, especially if they themselves are not White. If this is how groups keep their spaces “drama-free” or “problem-free”, it just builds an echo chamber that deludes itself in thinking that it is forward-thinking because they got rid of all dissenters instead of tackling the problem.

Firstly, before we get started! Sorry that there wasn’t a The Arts! for last week. I still am working on a separate project and sometimes the project goes into overtime!

Also, I just joined Instagram (despite the fact that I hate it). It will mainly show the 3D printing that I do, shill for my store, the BW Shoppe and bookbinding stuff. I prefer FB live over Insta so don’t expect live videos on Instagram. I’m @thisblackwitch on Instagram

And some cute art: Meowtallica! (It counts, someone had to be creative to cobble this up)

Moving on to the questions!

I know this is a question with a varying response depending on who you ask, which is why I’m curious to hear your opinions on the matter – what would you say are the limits of magickal practise?

After reading through your posts, I understand you get asked many questions relating to Hollywood-esque tricks and abilities (body swapping comes to mind), and I wonder to what extent, if at all, you believe these abilities are even possible, even with years of training and effort. As such, imagining someone asked one of such questions about weird or strange abilities, but worded it in a non-beggar, eloquent way that implied they were willing to work for it, and somehow proved they had done some research into the subject, what would be your general response? I would presume you would urge them to reconsider under most circumstances (seeing that taking part in something like body swapping is unethical at best in most circumstances) but I’m curious to hear your insight on the hypothetical.

Liam L.

Honestly, there are very few limits of magickal practice. If any at all. However, nothing comes easy, which is what gets a lot of people. Many have applied the thinking “If I can’t do it and I don’t know anyone who has, it can’t not possibly be done.” It’s self-limiting.

If someone asked in a non-gimme-gimmie way, I would suggest that they hit the books and to expect to put a lot of effort. Here’s the thing: most people who ask me are nowhere near the level where it should cross their mind. It’s pretty difficult stuff to learn – and for things like body-switching, we haven’t even gotten into the “another person is involved” part. I still stand firm on the fact that this site doesn’t do spell requests or anything of that nature so all I’m going to do is direct people to books, dense books that are not light reading.

My son and I have recently had a conversation about his childhood and things he never told me but I wish he had. He told me that he would see things… dark figures that were shaped with human forms. Some disfigured, scary creatures as well.
The thing is, I have had many simular experiences as a child and as an adult. Many people who know this know it about me, but I have never been able to find a way to understand whats going on with me. My dreams my thoughts.
I know that my son An I have been gifted with something, however I dont know what. Can you help is figure this out or just tell us that we’re two weirdos?

 

– Krystal

A lot of kids see things when they are younger – doesn’t mean what they see don’t exist, I’m just pointing that fact out. When we get older, we kind of will these images we see away because they are “not normal” in our current culture. Doesn’t mean that your kid is from The Shining, it is more normal than you think.

The best way to go about it is keep a dream journal and stay faaaaaaaaaaaar away from sites that cite Indigo Children, Eastern Star, etc etc because they are going to be less helpful and more likely to make you feel a lot more fantastical than you actually are. They’re mostly fluff marginally held together with little not-so-sticky bits of truth tape. Avoid and avoid! You don’t want to scare yourself, either, these sites are good at that.

Also, please remember that not everything in the universe is cute and cuddly Casper the Ghost. I would say the vast majority leans towards Pan’s Labyrinth than anything. Also, there is such thing as the mind tricking itself when it gets too wound up – hence why I said stay away from the fluff sites.

Oh, and meditate. That can really help get your mind right and make sure you get a better grip on yourself. You don’t want to be one of the many “I am the Anti-Christ” people that are walking around.

It’s no surprise that I get a lot of dabbling questions. We should revisit this and why it’s not a good thing.

Dabbling is the act of having a cursory interest in magick, witchcraft and the occult. And it staying cursory: you just want to cast a spell or raise a spirit just to see if it will work.

Now, while nothing is wrong with curiosity, dabbling is more “let’s see if this parlour trick works” versus “I have questions and I wonder…”. That and people seemed to want to work with dangerous magick, difficult magick or entities that even I would not work with. I have no idea why people want to raise Beelzebub for kicks but they do. Then they wind up in my inbox expecting a one-step solution to making such an entity go away. (There isn’t one.) This gets annoying. Fast.

Dabblers are a little different from fluffy bunnies but with omega overlap. The overlap is both are fairly gullible and know nothing. Dabblers don’t care they know nothing. Fluffy bunnies think they know plenty while knowing nothing. A lot of Pagans and Witches started as fluffy bunnies. Some fluffy bunnies slide back into Dabbler territory. Some fluffy bunnies actually go on to becoming real practitioners. Then you got your select few that are always in the middle: The know enough to not count as a fluffy bunny but they don’t care enough or have the patience or brains enough to be a real practitioner.

Here’s the thing: I’m not of the “if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen” crowd. I’m more of the “you mess about enough, something bad will happen out of your aimlessness”. Whether you believe or not I don’t think needs to be too much of a factor but what you put together does. However, I have gotten letters from people who just bought a Baphomet shirt to be edgy and after something inane happens, they write to me thinking they mistakenly summoned the devil. It’s a mix. Either way, I tend to get letters from people who are very much the “let’s see if this works” and find out that, oh wow, it does.

It’s better for people to do one of several things:

a) don’t dabble (seriously, don’t)
b) do at least some research before dabbling. Outside of watching The Craft and Harry Potter
c) if you summon something, get rid of it yourself. Don’t bug other people. Can’t get rid of them? Congrats, you have a roommate until you can figure it out.
d) if you’re going to dabble, don’t call yourself a witch – you’re a dabbler

Pretty simple, no?

Another issue with Dabblers is that they spread their misinformation everywhere. They don’t know what they’re doing but they talk about it as if they do and it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. They cite spell recipes that make honestly no sense, they slap at least three different cultures together, no care or concern to as what happens. And some make their way to my inbox because somehow, the search bar on my website magically doesn’t work or appear to them (I’m being snarky here, dabblers, use the search bar). Watching a television show and burning a stick of sage (dabblers don’t even know the history behind that! Or the different variations!) doesn’t make you an expert on anything. Not even close. It’s just absolute nonsense.

Frankly, I would suggest to not dabble. Do your homework. Know that burning sage over everything is pointless and borderline cultural appropriation (*koff*hint: indigenous people*koff*). Be smart and don’t bother others pointlessly. And most of all, do some off-line research.

%d bloggers like this: