Archive for January, 2011

Hello there, Black Witch, I have 2 questions to ask of you. 1. Do I have to believe in Gods & Goddesses in order to become a Wiccan/Witch?  Not too long ago, I dreamt about a letter K and a yellow pentacle and I’ve been trying to figure out what it means. 2. Do you have any suggestions where I can find this out?

For question 1: Do you have to believe in God & Goddesses to be a Wiccan or Witch? Yes and no. To be Wiccan (because Wiccan and Witch are two different things), a religion, you do have to honor a God and Goddess. You can called them Lord and Lady if you like but while it’s the norm to work with the Gods and Goddesses, you don’t have to set them as number one exactly for you can work strictly with elementals, stones and nature itself. You may hit some rough spots as a Wiccan – for example the monthly esbats (full moon salutations) which honours the goddess. You can still honour the moon as it is indeed part of nature but just know you might have to get a pantheon if you plan to be Wiccan. Since Witchcraft is a craft and not a religion, you’re freer to choose whether you want to work with Gods and Goddesses or not but still, know you may run into spells or rituals that require you to use a deity of some shape or form. Even if you don’t want to believe in Gods and Goddesses, you still have to believe in something for Witchcraft and Wicca, regardless which path you choose.

For question 2: You dreamt of the letter K and a yellow pentacle and want to know what it means. That’s easy. I always use books for my dream interpreting needs. The best books I can refer to you are:

1,001 Dreams by Jack Altman
The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams by Theresa Chang

Also on this one website I stumbled across, there was this awesome supplemental dictionary online that’s now gone – but I copied and pasted everything! Here it is, provided by Rapidshare!  I hope you figure out that dream!

General Question: What is Ophiuchus and am I still my original sign?

This isn’t entirely a specific question but about three weeks back, there was all this chatter on Twitter about the so-called “13th zodiac” and how it’s totally changed the face of astrology forever because apparently we’re using points in the sky that hasn’t been accurate since pretty much Christ was alive. Cue twitter-dom schizz outs and the mysterious Ophiuchus becoming a worldwide trending topic. My timeline and mentions remained pretty calm but apparently it was War of the Worlds for others. I didn’t know about any of this really until a reader on my timeline mentioned it and linked to this, detailing what was going on and she was about to ask me.

Ophiuchus is pretty familiar to me because I remember hearing about it on MysticWicks, a pagan forum I was part of, back in…uhhhh…2006. Getting into astrology and its many forms, I have heard of this zodiac and the star shift itself but because I was younger and totally not into Vedic (Sidereal) astrology, I stuffed Ophiuchus into the back of my mind. So imagine my surprise when I see that little guy trending in 2011 and people screeching over it.

Since I didn’t remember much of Ophiuchus (and didn’t study basically any of it when I was aware of it), I did what a person in my position could do: seek out folks and info that did know what they were talking about and that meant marching back to MysticWicks (why’d I left it? Dunno) where I reliably found those old conversations and I think a couple new ones. Read up on them:

“Born in April, But I’m Actually a Pisces”
“Precision in Astrology”
“Sidereal Astrologers – None Here?”
“Glossary for the Astrologically Impaired” (I think this is awesome.)

Informative, no? Here’s more recent ones about the whole situation from wordpress blog Practicing Astrologer:

“Oh No, It’s Ophiuchus Again!”
“What Astronomers Don’t Get About Astrology”

I usually love hearing or seeing people get into astrology or any other form of esotericism because that’s basically how everyone starts but I get concerned when it draws into a fever pitch because I get the strong feeling a lot of people are probably missing the point somewhere. I still identify as Cancer because I’m a tropical astrologer, I use the Western astrology system, not sidereal so I can still blissfully ignore Ophiuchus happily and the world not turn to flames.

Because I am a curious lolita (check the links of interest if you don’t know what a lolita is), I decided to get my Vedic (sidereal) chart casted. This is what came out:

My Vedic Natal Chart

Now, this is what I’m accustomed to seeing (click to view a clearer picture):

My Tropical Natal Chart

Don’t look the same, do they? They shouldn’t either because they’re not the same system, just like Chinese and Western astrology are different systems but they still can be applied to the same person. In Vedic astrology, I’m a sun in Gemini, moon in Leo, ascendant in Virgo. In tropical (Western) astrology, I’m sun in Cancer, moon in Virgo, ascendant in Virgo. In Chinese astrology, I’m a Fire Hare. I’m still me, just with different perspectives applied and each of those perspectives have their own rules of interpretation as well as their own faults, no one is more “right” than the other. And there’s plenty of other astrology systems that I didn’t even mention (but will once people start freaking out at them).

In other words: If you thought your whole life you were an Aries, you still are, no need to panic. Western astrology – as far as I know – still hasn’t changed.

The first The Arts of 2011 – how fantastic! Off to a great start, which would be a better start if I just cut the chit chat (and some not-so-subliminal advertising: send in Ask Black Witch questions) and just start with the features.

Fried Chicken and Sushi
I was suggested to this webcomic by my friend Kalen as she knew I wanted to teach in Japan and really want to see webcomics that are by and showcase Blacks that aren’t monolithic but not detached from their Blackness either. So when she brought up Fried Chicken and Sushi, I thought it was a wonderful webcomic!

Fried Chicken and Sushi is a webcomic loosely based on the creator Khalid Birdsong experiences teaching overseas in Japan. It runs very much like a story so the best place to actually start is the beginning (or read the latest and work your way back like I sometimes do) but here are some strips:

The very first strip

Karl's inital Japanese experience in full color!

Karl often chats with his friend, J, back in hometown Atlanta

Karl even wound up getting spirit statue haunting him!

Interested? Fried Chicken and Sushi updates every Tuesday and Thursday.

Sweatshop Union
Oh my, I really don’t keep track of how much music I feature on this column but this hip hop group from Canada is completely outstanding! I tripped over their music on Pandora (which I haven’t listened to as of lately) and really liked it. Now I’m usually one for socially conscious music and I personally believe that’s what hip hop is at its core, the poor man’s newspaper and a venue to sound off on contemporary happenings – not the minstrel show charades that dominates the airwaves today. Sweatshop Union resembles that. Also, Sweatshop Union exemplifies the diversity that hip hop truly has, it’s not all Black, it’s a myriad of voices cobbled together to make one unit.

Here’s Kyprios of Sweatshop Union giving a very good analogy of the music industry and how hard it is to actually make it:

“Hit the Wall”

A very favorite video of mine! Why? Watch.

“High Grade”

Ok, this is also another favorite of mine.


Remember, I like Sweatshop Union for its wonderful political insight:

“Human Race”

And living life and dealing with it just like everyone else

“Oh My”

I recommend Sweatshop Union, they’re really ace! Here’s their websites:
Myspace (great place to check out their music)
Sweatshop Union’s Blog (I think something is up with their site)

Angry Asian Man
Race is always a popular topic of mine. I feel that A) we are not living in a post-racial society and B) if we’re going to figure out anything about race, we have to talk about it and explore it, not view it “safely” from the watered-down, it-wasn’t-that-bad White perspective. I love seeing how races develop their own culture, sustain (or lose) them as well as interact with other races. The Asian-American perspective is one that isn’t often expressed and pretty misunderstood. Blacks have gone quite a ways (and slipped back quite a ways too) but often deemed “the model minority” and other nonsense labels. That’s why I’m glad I have Angry Asian Man to read and serve as a great gateway portal to many other happenings  in the Asian American community.

I had happened upon Angry Asian Man back in late ’09 when I was doing research for a university course about Chinese literature and my subject was on the classic book, Journey to the West (I highly recommend it! It’s amazing) and they had a short film of the same name a modified theme.

I still visit the site to this very day and always find good stuff from important to funny, such as this Chinese 7-Up commercial

Since I like great writing and upbeat and figured I could learn a thing or two, I stuck on the site and learned about what’s going on in the Asian American community as well as learned about other sites in regards to the Asian American community such as Disgrasian and Secret Asian Man

Because his insights are very prevalent about race issues and I never believed that the race issue was ever White and Black, he’s in the Links of Interest because I think it’s interesting to learn about a different variation of the same American existence than the ones often heard.

Angry Asian Man
AAM Twitter

That’s all The Arts for now! – Wait, no, no it’s not. I found this adorable video on my friend’s Angelica tumblr (I featured her on The Arts! in November). It’s cuteness sliding about!

Now we’re done! Next week is Ask Black Witch! Send in your questions, send ‘em in! Ask Black Witch is when you get to talk back and I respond! Email, tweet, use the submission form or comment (here or on the fan page), and it’ll be up here!

The Establishment (AfroPunk) Version

Just about every Witch and Wiccan I know has a Book of Shadows (BOS) – or grimoire as they’re sometimes called. It’s a collection of spells, personal experiences and metaphysical learnings every practitioner is supposed to have and refer to. Since Paganism celebrates life and personal growth, the BOS is considered very important as it is meant for recording and reflecting experiences.  There’s also an electronic version called the Disk of Shadows (DOS) where it is a folder on your computer or actual disk (or floppy if you’re that old school).

How did the Book of Shadows get its name? Good question. Been a long time since I was a noob* in the craft so I dug through my old books and looked for whatever I could find. Always good to refresh the basics, it’s very easy to get stuck into the motion of things when you’ve been doing them for so long. The book that had the most information (available to me at 2 AM when I was writing this column) was Solitary Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (yes, she can drive shivers down a practiced Witch’s spine but she’s not the worst of Pagan writers). The history of the BOS goes back pretty far, touching the Egyptians, Middle East and Europe.  The existence books of magick can stretch back to as far as five thousand years ago and they were used and created for roughly the same purposes as now, to retain wisdom of rituals, hymns, information of magickal studies, notes. Often held in secrecy due to religious persecution, the Book of Shadows kind of earned its name as well as the reputation/tradition that a BOS should always be black. The term grimoire is French, meaning “a magician’s manual.” The BOS as modern Wiccans and Pagans see it as can be traced back to Gerald Gardner, the creator of the Wiccan religion: “Doreen Valiente, a member of his group…believed that the idea of the Book of Shadows first came into being in 1949, when Gardner thought of calling a Witch’s book of rituals and magickal information a Book of Shadows….” The term came from an article published in The Occult Observer in 1949 discussing an old Sanskrit manual called the Book of Shadows that could teach how to tell a person’s destiny from the length of their shadow. (Ravenwolf, pg. 129-132) The history of the BOS is rather mixed but the purpose has remained fairly the same, to record knowledge.

A BOS doesn’t really look anything like the big, chunky and dusty book on Charmed which always self-updates itself (how lovely would that be?) but a…fairly normal book. I have two BOS, a travel BOS that I take with me just about everywhere I go and an ultimate BOS which stores all the entries I have ever made in my travel BOS and transferred over enable to add more pages. As you could possibly guess, both are binders, the travel BOS is about an inch wide and the ultimate BOS has one of the widest binder spines I could purchase when I was a teen. I have been writing in it solidly since 2004 (I had a first attempt in 2003 but lost the book) and in this book are dreams, scrying and dowsing information, card spreads, spells, musings, poetry, rants and journal entries.

 My BOS is color coded where the non-spell entries are on white pages and spell entries are on blue pages in the back (honestly those blue pages are starting to get old and rickety, I should change them soon). I color coded my BOS as an idea taken from Gwinevere Rain, a popular Witch author, in her book Confessions of a Teenage Witch because I had the same problem she did – it would take me eons to find a simple spell I wrote down amongst all my entries! Oh, that was so frustrating! Most of the BOS is filled with white normal notebook paper and the blue entries are some funky paper I got years ago at Hot Topic but never used. The blue paper forever remains in my travel BOS because there’s always space to write down more spells or refine the ones that I scribbled down on the white pages. I don’t often type my spells because I don’t often get struck with ideas for them while at my computer. Even if so, it would be the result of an IM conversation or email where I had to think of a spell for a witchy friend right then and there, as few and far those experiences are.

My ultimate BOS is one big, black binder of a book but my travel BOS looks incredibly harmless. I run through travel binders yearly or bi-annually because of heavy wear and tear but my current binder is white with greenish-yellow flowers decorated all over it and a Fort Minor logo sticker on the front. Not very … ominous looking, don’t you think?

Ooh, teh spookeh

Plenty have seen my travel BOS and me using it but no one jumps at the sight of it because it doesn’t look like some scary book that’s written in only with the blood of some defenseless creature. It just looks like a regular girly binder with a sticker on the front (probably because that’s exactly what it is). Where did I get the binders? From Office Depot, an office supply store. The paper is normal notebook paper, college ruled. I write in it with normal pens, I put it in a normal asymmetrical bag and it acts like a normal book. Ghouls and freakish spirits do not jump out my BOS when I open it, there’s no sound of the devil’s laughter anywhere (or I wouldn’t have purchased it), the sky does not rain blood or anything like that. It’s a regular book with a special purpose. Think of it as a diary for Pagans and Witches because that’s pretty much what it is.

I believe that a BOS (or DOS, whichever you prefer) is a very important book for any Pagan, it is priceless in use. As you learn about life, it’s always good to record experiences, especially when walking down the metaphysical and esoteric path, who knows what you may come across. To have a physical copy of the past, so to speak, is always useful. It enables you to see what you were like in the past, why you might have been like that and where are you currently going. A Book of Shadows provides direction, especially if you’re new to the path, are young or both. If you don’t learn from history, you’re bound to repeat it – best have it written down for future reference.

Besides writing down reflections, experiences and spells, there’s no particular right or wrong way to create a BOS – wait, there’s a wrong way: when your book is written completely in blood and has started to take on a personality of its own. That’s when it’s going very wrong and while I don’t usually recommend violence, perhaps asphyxiating it with a sage/dragon’s blood mix and shooting it or at least lighting it on fire in a middle of a salt circle casted counter clockwise (widdershins) may at least alleviate your circumstances long enough to promptly call up wherever you got this devilish book and demand your money back or threaten to ship the snippy book to them. If this does happen, welllllll…chalk it up to bad business practices and really bad luck because I was joking about the living book bit. (Still, writing in blood means you’re doing it wrong.)

Okies, despite the gloomy past, a modern BOS is should reflect the writer. It’s not a book that’s going to be published (or if you plan to publish your BOS, please clean it up some so it won’t look ghastly in the eyes of others instead of a responsible tome of information) so the writer should feel free how to do up their book. Jot down impressions, write poetry expressing your utmost feelings, store pictures and information about plants or stones, collect weblinks to useful websites, it’s your book as well as your choice whether or not to pass the book down the family line. My BOS I keep simple because I like simple. Simple is practical and I like practical – except in fashion choice where I find it perfectly acceptable to wear three petticoats, a corset, wooden platform shoes with the heel significantly cut out (rocking horse shoes) and possibly hairfalls that make me look like I’ve been attacked by a craft bin and enough charms on my cell phone to look like I robbed Toys R Us – but others may want to dress their BOS up a bit. I’ve seen a lot of binder BOS’s but I’ve also heard of multi-book BOS’s that consisted entirely of compass or spiral notebooks. Some BOS’s are made out of sketchbooks since some Pagans are artists and feel paint pens and a blank book is the best way to express and explain their experiences. It can also be a private blog. I wouldn’t be surprised with the help of technology that some Witch out there has made a multi-media BOS/DOS (if an e-book or tablet is used, does that make it a EBOS or a TOS? Hm, names), it’s completely up to whoever is going to have the input how the BOS shall result.

Now, this whole time I was talking about the uses of a Book of Shadows for one person, not a group. A group BOS is a little different from a solitary practitioner’s BOS in that it’s going to serve group purpose and that means there might be some rules in regards to what does and does not get written in it. In covens (group of Witches), the BOS is shared and updated with group rituals, membership, rules and information useful towards the whole group.

The care of a BOS can be as simple or extensive as the practitioner would like it to be. I’ve never blessed my BOS, simply loaded new notebook paper in it and start writing. Some Pagans want to integrate and fully dedicate their new book into their Pagan world via blessing the empty book with a prayer or sage stick. It all depends on the practitioner and what they feel is comfortable enough to feel the journal is part of their practices. Some Pagans may want to categorize their BOS with dividers and folders, some may just turn it into a collage of ideas and some may just want something incredibly simple as something to just record stuff in.

A Book of Shadows is not nearly as creepy as people would like to make it seem. It’s just a book of experience, much akin to a diary or journal. They can be made out of anything, consist of anything, look like anything. All they are to be used for is to jot down whatever can help and inform the Pagan that’s writing in it. No two BOS’s are the same I’m sure and the BOS for a Pagan that works with stones and nature would look different from the Pagan that specializes in divination and elements. What happens to it after the Pagan passes is up to that particular Pagan. It might get passed down, it may be destroyed via fire, who knows but it most certainly isn’t some creepy book of evil. It’s just a book to record Pagan experiences

Alright, next week are the installment posts!  Featuring for The Arts:

– Fried Chicken and Sushi webcomic
– Sweatshop Union
– Angry Asian Man

And don’t forget to send in questions for Ask Black Witch! Email, Tweet, Submission Form, or comment, just get ’em in!

* – Noob = newbie = newcomer (internet speak broken down)


The Establishment (AfroPunk) Version

When I tell my Christian friends some of the social problems of being Pagan or show them my column, I am met with various reactions but the reactions that stand out to me the most sometimes are that of NALT Christians. Term borrowed from sex columnist Dan Savage, NALT Christians are the ones that says, “Oh, we’re not all like that” and suggest I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. Of course a Christian wouldn’t act foul towards me, that’s against the tenets of the religion and my Christian friends themselves have never seen this kind of treatment.

Of course not, they’re Christian. They’re part of the accepted norm; no one is going to tell them they’re going to burn in Hell for not accepting Jesus Christ and run from them just because they have a Bible. What Christian is going to threaten their life for being Christian? Who is going to tell them flat out to their face, “Your God does not exist” or “He can’t hear your prayers”? Just about no one. The perspective is different when you’re in the majority versus the minority.

NALT Christians are right though, not all Christians are like that. But a good amount of them are or else whole posts in this column would not exist (Coming out of the Broom Closet, Mental Mentality, etc) and I wouldn’t receive so much mail and comments from readers talking about their grievances with Black Christianity (and Christianity as a whole). We know not all Christians are wicked little things or else we would all have a naturally nasty disposition to every Christians we meet instead of incredibly cautious. Some Christians actually do honor the Bible and are wonderful practitioners but on average, often Christians, Black or otherwise, can be pretty hypocritical and vicious in the name of their peaceful Lord. They give Christianity a bad name because they forget the prime scripture “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, KJV) Hmmmm, stop. Think about it. Bad Christians (or at least the average Christian), let that marinate for a second…

Unless Christians have some major religion-wide self-hate issue going on, in theory all Christians should be good, rational, loving people. Good, rational, loving Christians should not be in the minority, that is a problem. Big problem. A problem like that makes Pagans (and other non-Christians) like me completely jaded about Christians. I also read the rest of the scripture as well: “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12: 28-29, KJV) I think it’s a lovely scripture that remarks upon a good foundation of the religion, that Christians are to believe that there is only one God and one Lord, which is totally fair. See, that’s where we differ: Christians believe in one god and Pagans believe in a multitude of gods, goddesses and spirits. In short, Christianity stays over there, Paganism stays over here and there isn’t much fuss. When Christianity wants to spread over to Paganism and other religions because it is “the wrong religion” (I guess Christianity isn’t very aware that many religions say the same thing, that they’re the one true way) and becomes violently persistent about it, emphasis on the violent, that’s where the problems begin. Tell me about your religion, it’s really pretty. Christianity has done some really nice things such as influencing leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to do what is right and has been such a cornerstone in Black leadership, that is irrefutable. Gospel music is amazing down to its core and the strength and love the religion lends to its followers is simply a sight to behold. But then you have the jerk Christians that stumble throughout the Bible and metaphorically puke all over what makes Christianity such a lovely religion for Christians and non-Christians alike until it is a sickly mess of hatred, war, troubled and tortured sexuality, blatant hypocrisy and wicked ulterior motives. That’s when I don’t want you to tell me about your religion, it’s getting ugly and very untrue.

Note when I said “tell me about your religion,” I never said “please force it down my throat.” There’s a difference between sharing your loving experiences with the Lord and forcing me to listen to your loving experiences with the Lord. I always love hearing people share their religious experiences because it shows me what they really find true in their beliefs. I like hearing Bible stories, they’re really interesting. I also like listening about the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold path of Buddhism as well as the stories of various pantheons. I just really dig mythology, it’s totally awesome. I don’t want any of it forced down my throat, however. I like listening to these stories because they’re interesting, not because I’m interested in changing religions. I’m happy with my religion, I just want to hear the stories and experiences of other people. That means, while evangelism is nice (and thoroughly irritating), it’s not entirely necessary. Non-Christians generally know who Christ is, are aware of his background story (okay, mostly the beginning and the end), and that he is the Christian saviour, it’s real spiffy. We’re aware of his existence but do not follow it for a variety of reasons or simply do not feel a sincere and impacting love for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice of life on the Cross that would be a completely useful feeling to have when practicing Christianity – to truly believe, mind and soul, that Christ loves you and you love him. I like Christ, he seems like a nice guy but I don’t gel with the religion enough to want to become a devoted follower to Him. I imagine that if I didn’t feel that devotion deep within me, big troubles could be abound because there would be inner conflict that could lead me successfully down the path of temptation and away from my precious Lord. Yep, don’t want that. It could pervert my mind and in turn my interpretation and practice of Christianity. Nobody needs a screw up like that, especially evangelizing to others and potentially give them a super slanted view of Christianity without warning. The newbies may come into the religion in a lopsided manner themselves, only to conflict within themselves and towards others and even possibly start a nasty trend further and further away from the truth and teachings of Jesus Christ. Soooooo, I’ll stay snug as a bug in a rug inside the religion I am happiest and gel the best with, m’kay?

As I have said before, this is not to say the NALT Christians perspective isn’t valid, of course it is because they’re right, not all Christians are harsh people. Although their perspective is sound and true, so is mine. While not all Christians are terrible people that misuse their own holy book, there are quite a few who are and some of them in pretty high places such as government and mainstream media. To ignore these people would be to ignore the fact they don’t want me around and have the power to convince others that they don’t want me around either. Pretty hard to ignore.

I don’t need to be told that not all Christians are like that but I feel the Christians that are very much out of line do. They should be informed that hate is not a Christian value. Prejudice is not acceptance. Preaching God’s word and Christ’s teaching doesn’t mean harming someone else’s way of life. There’s a lot more to being Christian than going to church and attending Bible study after partying hard Saturday night. There are ethics and values and picking and choosing convenient morals isn’t one of them. If you like to party hard the night before church, party hard the night before church, just don’t say a word to me about how my soul is in danger of condemnation simply because I switched religions. These people, “fake Christians”* they are often called, should be spoken to about the uniformity or lack thereof of Christendom. Tell the wayward lambs that until they learn better, they ought to keep their mouths in the same style as their minds: closed.

I understand why my NALT Christian friends feel the way they do. With modern Christianity, it is an uphill battle between the good and wicked for them. Every religion, Paganism included, has a small pie slice of spiritual practitioners, and the majority are literalists. I believe the problem simply expands the more widespread the religion so Christianity is going to have a bigger problem with staunch literalists than Pagans. Spiritualists embrace the word of their religion, literalists just take it at face value and can have a tendency to push it into everyone else’s faces. The result of that, among many, is the NALT Christian picking up the slack and doing whatever damage control possible for something that is truly not their fault but the fault of the “fake Christians” for not fully understanding their own belief system and lacking stability in their own faith.

Are all NALT Christians definitively “true Christians” as opposed to the “fake Christians” that I so often run into? Maybe, maybe not, it depends on the Christian. What makes a Christian true in my eyes is how they embrace others and are so comfortable in their own skin. They don’t mention Christ every five minutes and pray over everything like they’re really sucking up to God. NALT Christians merely are Christians who debate that not all Christians are mean, not all Christians are like that. They are just defending their religion and the rightful those in it they feel I’m taking relentless potshots at as if I didn’t know the difference myself.

NALT Christians, we’re aware that not all Christians are like that. Don’t tell us, tell them.

Happy 2011! I hope everyone had a nice new year’s!  I was interviewed by the African American Wiccan Society for New Year’s, listen to the podcast now!

Alrighty folks, it is the first column post of the year, I am very stoked. Black Witch has had a very successful 2010 (okay, 7 months of 2010) and I hope to have a very successful 2011 full of spiffy stuff! This year I will be introducing series, something I have been meaning to get to earlier but Black Witch is still in its first year so all is good. I want to do a series a year every March but because I have been meaning to get these first three series out, it will be between two Marches that I will roll out these series. After that, it’ll be more steady. Plus I will be getting a P.O. Box so for those that would like to write letters or simply are scared to email Ask Black Witch questions (everyone has their reasons), you can use that option there. Please, no creepy stuff. These are some of the things I have planned for BW this year as the first year of BW draws to a close and I have a set motion for the next oncoming years.

* – I use quotes because it is how they are often described and it isn’t fair to disown someone simply because they won’t play by the rules or throw said rules haplessly out of a window. If Pagans can’t catch a break, neither can Christians.

One of my readers Crystal B. has been calling for submissions of the minority Pagan experience to create an anthology! Here are the details!

Call for Writers – Shades of Faith; minority voices within Paganism. Email for inquiries and submissions:

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions for an anthology on people of color working in magical communities.  This anthology will be an opportunity to get the voices and experiences of minorities within the Pagan community out to the world and address some of the challenges, stereotyping, frustrations and the beauty of being different within the racial construct of typical Pagan or Wiccan groups. These communities include (but are not limited to) groups and individuals working in Wicca, Voodoo, Umbanda, Shaman, and other Pagan paths.

Many of the roots of Paganism have come from the lands of people of color yet the mainstreaming of Wicca has elevated images of worship and deity that connect with Celtic, Greek or Roman cultures.  This can have an exclusive effect on those who’s culture or ancestry fall outside of those categories.  Interestingly enough people of color within Paganism are often walking between the worlds of their birth ancestry and culture and that of their spiritual culture.  This anthology is an opportunity to share your stories and experiences with others around being a minority in our spiritual community.

Here are some suggested topics to give you an idea of the focus of this anthology.

  • Your experience of integration into the Pagan community
  • Magical work
  • Ancestor work
  • Integrating your birth culture with your spiritual workings
  • Personal experiences and thoughts around how being of color within the Pagan community was significant.
    What magical work are you doing now? How do you describe it? Do you work alone, in a group, or in several settings?
  • Your birth culture and spiritual workings
  • Stereotypes and prejudice
    Being the only person of color in a coven, group or community
  • Sharing your culture and history with other Pagans
  • Cultural history
  • Sub-culture of African Americans, Hispanics or other minority groups within Wicca or Paganism.
  • Is there a sense of acceptance within the magical community you work in? Do you encounter resistance in your magical community or acceptance?
  • What do you feel is needed to be more inclusive of racial diversity in Pagan communities

These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editor. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.

Essay requirements:
• Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
• Bibliography of works cited
• Prefer APA format

Do write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely talks in the first person about your own experience, please include this also. There is a wide range of voices, and we are interested in being as inclusive of style as possible.

Accepted contributors will receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.

The anthology will be edited by Crystal Blanton. She is the author of an upcoming pagan/occult nonfiction book called Bridging the Gap; Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society. She may be found online at and her email address for this anthology is .

Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at

I was interviewed by the African American Wiccan Society! Listen to it here! (If you can’t find me, scroll down, I’m New Year’s). See you Friday!

%d bloggers like this: