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Since I only just came back, I received no questions. Not even stupid ones, which is nice. Instead, I’m going to post a vid from Osmosis that talks about Coronavirus (covid-19) from a science-y, animated perspective. Basically, how it started (with bats, just like SARS – because it is related to SARS), how it spreads (droplets from the mouth), why we have the social distancing we do (droplets can go 3-6 feet, so everyone should stand 6 ft apart), and other really useful detail in easy-to-understand language.

 

And inb4 “A witch is talking about modern medicine? Lol”: Modern medicine started in potions and herbal work. And a virus is not a metaphysical entity, it is a physical entity. Also, just because I said medicine started in herbal work, please do not assume that the random internet herbalist who stock pile sage like mad but still have lay-man’s knowledge of general health (a dedicated and decent herbalist should have a background in: botany, biology, chemistry, bio-chemistry – and that’s the short list) is just as good as going to an actual doctor.

Yes, modern medicine has a horrific track record when it comes to race and medicine that more than effectively persuades people, especially in the Black community, to not want to come near a doctor or a hospital because you’re not sure if you’re getting someone with functioning capacity of empathy for random humans, even ones that do not come in shades of White, or a person who seems related to Jigsaw from the Saw movies, ethics-wise. And, chances are, you’re more likely to get Saw than kind-person. This alone can keep people out of the hands of doctors, but still, it is better at least try to find a facility – not necessarily a hospital, but even a drive-thru testing place (if one is available, the US is not Korea, after all) – than to put your health in the hands of someone who possibly doesn’t even know how viruses exist.

So stay home, try to get tested and wash your hands.

(I always think of “My Sharona” when I hear about the coronavirus)

So, you’re probably home right now, going stir crazy or catching up on your video games/movies/books/etc. I’m stuck home as well.

Yaaaaaay, three months into the new decade and we already have a literal plague. At the start of the last decade, it was a major terrorist attack (in the US). It seems the current millennium is very bad at starting decades on a good foot.

Since you most likely have nothing better to do, let’s talk about the coronavirus. Because, fun fact: I work at NIH, which stands for the National Institutes of Health. I’m not a doctor or health professional, just a preservationist technician that likes to skulk about them for their candy. (I did the same when I worked at the Library of Congress and NIST, smarties tend to have bountiful snacks). If you think you’re getting bombarded with coronavirus (also called COVID-19) updates, imagine what my NIH inbox looks like since they are one of the many health institutions at the epicenter of all this. I mainly trust what I see from NIH over the news because, well, NIH is supposed to be one of the sources the news are supposed to be getting their info from.

Let’s get started with a funny video by Wavetro that is the basic run-down of what you should and shouldn’t do. Caution, there is swearing.

 

Okies! The basic gist:

  • Please wash your hands – hand sanitizer is not as effective as you think against viruses (they are generally pitched as anti-bacterial, not anti-viral, yes, there is a difference) – and wash them thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your face the best you can, germs can easily be transmitted through the mouth, nose and eyes. The average adult touches their face 30 times in an hour
  • STOP HOARDING TOILET PAPER AND MASKS – it’s not dysentery and the masks keeps germs in not out. Wear them if you are sick, not as a replacement for washing your hands. Plus, if you are not used to wearing a mask, it will make you touch your face more. Health professionals and patients need them most!
  • Social distancing is to avoid transmission spikes, the less people spend time with each other, the better it is. 6 feet or more is optimal. Staying home is even better, especially since asymptomatic people seem to be spreading it more because they have zero idea they have it.
  • Do not panic-purchase and if you are a seller, do not price gouge (seriously! That’s super unethical and very against the law)
  • Wash your freaking hands
  • Sneeze/cough into your sleeve, not your hands

I always think of the scene from The Bernie Mac Show when it comes to germs transmission. It’s from the episode titled “Now you got it”, starts at 3:26:

 

 

It’s a great episode, I recommend watching it. Also, this is why everyone at NIH, the CDC and everywhere else sounds like this:

Complete with the shrill voice

 

So please, stay yourself in the house. Let’s stifle the spread of the virus and it’s not hordes of toilet paper you need, just wash your hands and sneeze or cough into your sleeve. Here is an actual poster I took a picture of at NIH:

No The Arts! because I have been busy fixing my 3D printer. Received one question but it was trash. This means another Black Witch free space.

I shall grace you with “Parole de Chat”, hilarious French cat videos

I love watching these.

I also grace you with a strutting fashion kitty.

The Lull of the Trickster

I have noticed something recently. Perhaps it’s my curated online experience, but I noticed that trickster entities have gotten a bit of a boost in pop culture popularity over the last few years. For example, Loki (due to Marvel), Anansi (due to American Gods*), and in general culture (I guess in pop witchy culture) there is a charm to having “trickster vibes”.

This is all really sweet and cute. It’s nice that different entities are having their fun in the sun. Including ones to literally invented the concept of giving others the shaft – or, if they’re bored, make you give it to yourself.

Trickster entities can be useful. In some ways, they are startlingly honest and to the letter. The problem tends to be that you don’t always know where the honesty lives and which letter they are sticking to until the very end – usually after the trick is over. Trickster deities are clever, that’s their thing, but they are not for newbies. The biggest fumble I seem to be informed is that people summon and get surprised they don’t get what they expect.

What I mean is they summon Anansi, expect to see Orlando Jones. Who is an actor. A great actor. But still, not a trickster deity. Also, the allure of a trickster entity is fun looking, because who doesn’t love a good prank? Watching one play out, I mean. Most don’t like to be on the receiving end of one.

It’s too easy to rattle my cane and go “stay away from those tricksters, you whippersnapper!” Sounds haughty and such. There are people who work, pray and practice with trickster entities – “entities” because not all of them are deities, they could be spirits, sprites or other beings as well. Because these entities are part of life, not something to throw away or ignore. However, working with them is not easy. They will teach you lessons, important ones, but it can really sting. And if my inbox shows me one thing, the average person hates when the cosmos goes “lolz” at their expense.

If anything, it would probably be better to say to have some experience under your belt before working with these types of entities. At least enough so you know when it’s time to say “enough”. And to know that you can’t just outwit a trickster. I get those in my inbox as well. Letters along the lines of “Wanted something, asked a trickster to do a thing for me, tried to cheat the trickster because I never intended to pay/think this would work/assume there would be backfire, trickster cheated me instead – how could they?!”. Usually sent by newbies.

Trickster entities are important, they teach you lessons – usually hard lessons and with very little padding. It doesn’t matter how thick skinned you are, how unruffled you believe you can be – they can find a slip in the armor and make it seem like a planet could fit through. However, they’re also remarkably tricky. It really is astonishing how many people forget this exact fact. “I made them promise to keep their word” never works, but I have heard this one. At least twice.

So, I think its nice that more entities and deities besides the usual roster are being picked and worked with but a good tip: If you learned about them from comics or fiction, maybe do some research first. Because what you see is not going to be what you get.

 

 

 

*Yes, I’m aware of the recent issue about American Gods and how they unfairly booted Orlando Jones. I loved him on MadTv and Everybody Hates Chris

I got sucky questions so I am doing a Free Space.

I don’t have a lot for free space, to be honest. I have been up for a while so my brain is still running on half-speed.

I also have been playing a lot of video games since I got the new computer. What I have been playing so far:

  • Let it Die
  • Felix the Reaper
  • The Sims 4 (with a major bevy of mods)
  • Dead By Daylight

I plan to get Tekken 7, especially because they have the character, Leroy Smith. What I find charming/funny about this character is:

a) they are a Wing Chun fighter, I have been doing Wing Chun for over a decade now (thirteen years, I think?) and it is rare to find Wing Chun fighters in video games. I only know two games with Wing Chun, Tekken and an indie game called Shaolin vs WuTang vs The WorldShaolin is a really good game, I recommend it. Insanely technical and true to each style featured.

b ) Leroy Smith is Black, I think the only people I have ever known personally who practiced Wing Chun were Black. All my teachers (who are also on the Wing Chun family tree under Grandmaster William Cheung), the vast majority of my classmates, just about everyone. If they weren’t Black, they were Asian. I remember only meeting three to four people who didn’t fit this profile in the ten plus years.

c) I am totally tickled that Leroy Smith is practically one of my teachers (sifu). My original sifu is a Black man with dreads (not white – though, the years are indeed passing so there are teeny slips of gray) who has a pitbull. I will never not find this uncanny accuracy hilarious.

d) The Wing Chun is accurate. Tekken 7 level accurate (meaning, they have to throw in some flair) but accurate all the same in performance and function.

I always like playing fighting games that reflect styles I have practiced but the added representation is a brilliant bonus.

On the subject, I’ve been training others (honestly, one or two people) in super basic Wing Chun for free – it’s so I can have some exercise and I have a lot of LGBTQIA friends so it’s a win-win. They learn how to unhinge some harassing transphobe or homophobe’s jaw in the most painful way possible, I get to shed some calories while keeping pizza in my diet. Plus, I will never miss an opportunity to trash-talk women self defense courses. Because they are total trash. Teaches you nooooooooothing except how to be a better victim. Almost wholly inapplicable in actual altercations and if the woman paid for it, a complete and total rip off.

I know this because:

a) I’m a woman, I have been in several of these classes for this very reason alone. Even after I tell people “I can break someone’s arm in three places, I’m good.” At this point, I just collect the free whistle and try to not play on my phone. There was the one time I did drift into a karate self defense class taught by a karate teacher at an anime convention but that was because I saw a couple cute guys go in so my goal was “Procure phone numbers” – mission unsuccessful because all the karate kids boppled around me the second they figured out I knew Wing Chun.

b ) I always ask folks I teach if they took a self defense class and if so, follow up with a request to see if they can break out of a basic wrist grab. They are always astonished I grip tight (just like what would happen in real life) because the classes don’t teach that and only a small fraction actually know what to do.

c) Most of the classes are taught by men so it’s just over complicated movements coupled with victim-blaming flavored “don’t get raped” tips. The one class I ever saw taught by a woman, I got chucked out because she said I was “showing off”. I saw a girl literally spin herself into a chokehold with her own arm in effort to get out of a wrist grab, it was a feat to behold. I had to help so I showed a super simple movement. That’s declared as “showing off”. What I remembered, the teacher had a watery voice the entire class that sounded like she was on the verge of crying and whenever there were men in the room, she was really subservient. Ineffective teachers, basically.

I could go on forever but that is a smidge of my soapbox.

Back to video games, I really like how things are different. Games have a very, very long way to go when it comes to gender and race. And at least a solid 60% of the time, it looks like they don’t try, which leads to weak or repeated storylines as well as super predictable outcomes.  I stick with a game when I can make characters that look like me, which is what I really like about Let it Die. They have Black men and women as characters. With realistic hairstyles.

The games I have been playing recently are all games that are centered around death engaging and fun. I love the concept behind Felix the Reaper, his dances are wonderful and the soundtrack is great. Let It Die has a great soundtrack as well. Dead By Daylight is fun when I’m not sitting in the lobby forever. At least when I see racist names, I know who I’m murdering first and several times. Plus hook camping them, because I deserve to see the character suffer as they squirm to their eventual sacrificial death. As for The Sims, mods help Maxis be what they struggle to become themselves: great. How a Black child from two Black parents can come out with a slender nose and straight, blonde hair is beyond me but, hey, Maxis will make it happen.

 

The Arts!: The Holidays

It’s the holidays! Winter Solstice/Yule is tomorrow. I shall spend it playing The Sims and be harassed by my cat for food (as she does everyday).

This means TRA-DITION! (Especially since it doesn’t snow on the blog anymore. I liked the snow)

The KRS-One x Lupe Fiasco Christmas Battle! As always, it’s adorable seeing Lupe and KRS battling as Blitzen and Santa.

 

From Wong Fu Productions: “The End of Wong-Fu: A Christmas Story”. I just like the charm of the tale and video.

 

I love My Chemical Romance cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. ‘Tis amazin’!

 

And Payable On Death (P.O.D.) song, titled “Christmas in Cali”. I remember when my local rock radio station would play rock holiday songs all day, maybe I’ll procure the list somehow.

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice!

 

 

Black Witch: Year in Review

I hardly do a lot of these but I have been doing a million things so yay, easy content.

This year was pretty standard to my other years. Next year will be 10 years of Black Witch. Goodness.

I did a keynote speech at a convention for Black witches, Dawtas of the Moon. I still need to remind myself to get the footage of my speech.

The interview for Nerdist was really nifty, it’s nice to have a good interview experience when you are answering good questions and not fluff.

As always, I really would like to get better questions for my blog. It may look like I cherry pick the bad ones but to be honest, it is about all I get. Either that or creepy, fetish-y people who I usually point out to their jobs and families because, bro, being gross to random strangers is not cool.

I took a remarkably cute picture of my cat, Madison.

She’s only cute when sleeping because she screaming and crying for food and snackies all the other times.

I got a new computer so, yay, I can write a single post without my computer going haywire. And play Let it Die. And Dead by Daylight.

My online store has been doing remarkably well, 3D prints have been selling like hot cakes, especially for bookbinding. I also still need to teach StopBot on my BW discord to not think “paperback” is a dirty word. StopBot is a touch overaggressive but hey, it’s great.

I got a hate site kicked off the internet. Never thought I would ever contact Lycos (who used to be Google-level big when I (and the internet) was younger, now they’re smaller than a struggling start-up) but hey, it happened. And at least since the site keeps popping back up, it gives me something to do from time to time. It was cute how Lycos tried to defend the site, despite it baldly going against their Terms of Service (ToS), then a mass shooting happened – because someone was radicalized by the crap they read online. All of a sudden, Lycos went “this isn’t harmful” to “ohhhh, we ‘forgot’ this is how mass calamities happen.” Yeah, the story of Lycos is probably what Spotify and Google reads when they want a scary Halloween story of cautionary tales.

I pointed out the bullsh*ttery that is Tennesee shop, The Holy Rose. Turns out I was right about their fake kindness and dismissive “this is your opinion” when pointed out about racism. They blocked me from their page between our last exchange and when the post went live. I hope nobody who reads this blog still shops there, it’s beyond obvious they don’t care about minorities/PoC, just their money. Spend it on these Black women stores instead: I did a feature on the vendors of Dawtas of the Moon. At least the money stays in the community and out the pockets of “well-meaning” racists.

I’m certain there’s more that happened this year but I have been so swamped with my other work, MultiMind, that I honestly can’t think of it right now.

Instead, here’s a cute gif.

Taking away protection from another.

This is an ethical gray area – okay, not that gray, we’re slipping a little into the dark here.

There are (rare, very rare) times when this is okay – such as dealing with a very pesky and nagging issue/person who seems to be impervious to it all. So, it’s time to chip away or take away whatever makes them teflon or turn their teflon into kryptonite because they need to fall and preferably fall away from you.

The other (read: most) times, it’s generally frowned upon and for good reason: everyone thinks they are the hero in their own story, even the villain. Sometimes, you don’t know that it’s you who are the villain in the story, not them. And given the kind of emails I generally get from people who want to dabble simply for revenge – a good chunk seems not to care if they are good or bad, someone slighted them and that someone has to pay. Again, this is why it is frowned upon in general. A lot of people, in my experience, don’t have the proper emotional management that it takes to decide if this is a viable route to go down. All they know is that they are mad and someone made them like that.

No matter what, it is always important to note that life is not always straight forward, good guys lose, bad guys die; good guys become villains, bad guys turn new pages. The roles shift in everyone back and forth. In magick, things are even less straightforward, “occult” means “hidden” for a reason. People want to protect themselves but some think “protection” means “everyone is diminished but me”. Others can believe that someone is harmful to them and really, it’s all in their head but now someone innocent is an unwitting target a la “Tell Tale Heart”. Simply because of underlying ego/self-righteousness and the fact everyone has a personal blindspot of themselves, stuff like this can go south pretty fast.

It is difficult to determine when it is time to do such spellwork. It certainly should not be considered overnight and if you’re new to magick (under two to three years at minimum), it should not even be done at all. Not even considered. I think for practiced witches, it should be in the “Last Ditch Effort” category because, again, there could be a good reason why someone is so difficult to take down. However, then there is sometimes the idea that the person simply is an actual, difficult foe that has way too much armor for the awful that they cause. Improbable but not impossible.

Though difficult to tell, it is not impossible to differentiate whether it is time to act. For one, if the wrong doing is objectively wrong and for good reasons. Not simply, “I don’t like this because it makes me personally feel bad.” Yes, you have some who prefer to play devil’s advocate but there are some clear-cut ideas of wrong doing. Such as murdering someone simply because the skin they were born in, no other reason. Even if you can back that rationale with “well, they might have done something” or “everyone tells me that these people do actually commit wrong”, “One person in this group has indeed committed wrong at one point in history. Everyone else in the world is perfect, me included” or “I have never seen a grand, positive display of this group in anything ever, therefore, I can not believe that this particular one in front of me won’t cause wrong doing”, it still is a biased perspective, not an objective perspective. To know the difference takes time and experience. And even with those two, many still make bad calls.

Either way, it’s a choice never to be taken lightly. If you want to do it, please have at least half a decade of magick under your belt and have some streak of looking at issues in a rational, not emotional, way. Make sure it is the last option of all things, mundane and magickal. Especially mundane. If you want to ask someone else to do it because you don’t have the skill – don’t. Find a different solution and don’t drag others into your problems.

 

I had gone to Dawtas of the Moon last month, it was a good experience. These are the vendors I saw. They are all Black Women-owned brands.

Kaleidadope

Created for Black diviners, these are tarot decks that have a very new and fresh feel for them. I have written in the long past that there are little to no decks made for Black practitioners and the one that stands out to me is Lo Scarabeo’s African-American Tarot deck, which sucks beyond comprehension. It’s full name should be “African American Tarot … as envisioned through the White gaze”. What garbage. It’s nice that now, there are decks for Black diviners made by Black diviners. This means decks that are culturally comprehensive and lovely to look at.

Their site shows all their wares, I really like the cd deck the most, it is extremely imaginative. They also sell candles and oils

 

PeaceCrownD

PeaceCrownD sells satin caps designed for big, natural hair and pretty pillows. Check out this Africa-shaped one!

The caps are designed with banded, rugged elastic not to slip off during sleep. The creator also does customs for those with bigger/longer hair, like dreads. They also do custom pillows!

 

 

Elementals/ Oceans and Rivers

Elementals are flower essence infusions meant for personal practice. It is similar to oil practice but also, some can be taken internally so read carefully and check with professionals on what you can and can’t do if you go the internal route.

There is more on the Oceans and Rivers site than there was at Dawtas, including programs to promote proper emotional and mental wellness in Black girls and women.

 

BrujaTarot

BrujaTarot is a diviner that does paid divination (before you go, read the ethics page: it is very fair and justified) and sells bath pours. They come in the variety of Cleansing, Prosperity, Protection and “Road Opener”. Check them out!

Also, her kitty graces the bottle.

I am a sucker for cats, what can I say?

 

Simplymade x Sope

SimplymadexSope sells infused waters for practice, such as rose water, Florida water, lavender water, etc. I really like her Florida water, it is wonderful and smells magnificent! They also carry oil blends, Simply Loved Oil and Simply Happy Oil.

Check out their line, I really recommend it.

 

9Energy Power

I got the resin I talked about in my previous post from her. She carries quite the selection in her store.

Not only but she also sells wooden wall art, which I find very awe-striking and ornate. I like the Oshun one most, the honeycomb effect is stunning.

In addition to resins and wall art, she sells bath pours and specialty candles that function well for spellwork.

I feel like talking about fire/candle magick. I had just gotten some resin from Dawtas of the Moon (I will be posting the various vendors I saw there in The Arts! next week) and it’s quite nifty. Generally, I don’t do magick with charcoal because I just never tried. I always kept my practice pretty simple so it’s never veered into view for me.

When it comes to magick, I like to use fire. It feels very absolute for me. That, and it is useful. Want to do quick magick? Birthday candles. Talk to someone who has passed on? Jot it down and chuck in flame, done. Make something come into being? Fire of creation. Make something leave being? Fire of destruction. Very versatile.

Also, before I continue, I always like to point out fire safety. For the love of all things, practice fire safety.

  • Have baking soda, soil or sand nearby, especially if you are working with oils
  • Give your flame a 3’x3′ box of room, even if it is a teeny candle. (Some deities and entities like to be flamboyant, they will flambe your home if you give them a chance. Heck, they’ll attempt to flambe your home even if you don’t)
  • Keep animals (especially fuzzy ones) away from flames. This is not television, they will not keep a respectful distance from the flame. Do not fry your pet in effort to imitate what you saw on tv
  • Use fire-safe materials and use them in the way they are supposed to be used. For example, want to put your candle on water? Get a floating candle. Do not stick random candle in water and hope for the best – fire can start on water
  • Using oil? Got a fire? DON’T use water to put it out! Review below gif on what that looks like.

You don’t want this

  • Got an oil fire? Slide (not clap down) a lid over the fire if in a container to cut off oxygen. On a flat surface, place lid over flame. On water? Get baking soda or sand to throw on conflagration

Alright, now we got that out the way.

Fire magick is very one-and-done for me. To use resin seems to be a good fit to expand that. Especially since there are so many kinds of resins. I personally like dragon’s blood (for both its smell and purpose) but never worked with the resin form. It is originally a resin but I always used the oil form. I guess I used to think that resins were difficult to work with because they didn’t look like anything I had ever seen before back when I was first introduced to them years ago.

Now that I have resin, this makes me want to get a hanging censer or something. I definitely see how putting together different resins could really be impacting and simple in spellwork. I always prefer simple. If I wanted complex, I could have became a ceremonial magician.

In short, I think resin my personal practice is a nifty little addition.

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