Archive for June, 2011


The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

It’s the first Ask Black Witch of the second year of Black Witch. How delightful! I’m also happy because no more grinding for votes and donations to send me to L.A. for the Black Weblog Awards. No, sadly I didn’t make the goal of $500, close but not good enough. I’m currently in talks with BWA and Afro-Punk about all this to see what still can be done. Yes, I really would like to go but circumstances are circumstances.

But note: Soon I’ll probably be grinding for votes for the Black Web Awards (different from the Black Weblogs Awards). Geez, I feel like I’m running for president.

Why is divination so bad?
– Unknown

Now, I’ve never used something in the Top Searches of my website as an Ask Black Witch question but I felt this was appropriate because a lot of people still think this, that divination is evil and a contract with the devil or something crazy like that.

To break down the word “Divination”, the root word is “Divine” which, if you don’t have a dictionary around, is in reference to deity or of heavenly nature. Basically, it’s a positive word. Divination is just working with the deities or tapping into the collective unconscious of the universe, as some like to describe it, to draw the best case scenario of the upcoming future based on the present and past, including all things that are seen and unseen, known and unknown (to the inquirer). No use of devils or demons needed or wanted, even prayers aren’t necessary. If it were of demonic nature, it would not be called divination and the root word would definitely be something that refers to “bad; not good; why are you doing this?” There’s no summoning of the spirits or anything like that, just plain old you and the universe and whatever it knows.

Now, if divination isn’t that scary, why does it get such a bad rap? Rumor mills during the Christian expansion throughout Europe and the world. Christianity (and Islam and I’m not so sure about Judaism but I’m going to err on them agreeing too) doesn’t really like divination because technically, you’re not supposed to know your future (since all your faith is supposed to be in God so there’s no need to figure out what’s gonna happen next so long He is there beside you) and that diviners and anyone else who can predict the future and do mystical and interesting stuff simply had to make a deal with the Devil to be able to do the exact same thing a prophet can – I always found that a bit uncanny – and was not a true lover/fearer of God and His might. Spread that around for a few centuries and boom, you’ve got yourself a pariah within a community. Granted divination comes from the divine, it is considered a very Pagan and “backwater” tactic to communicate with the Gods and Goddesses of old, not something the Church wanted to see or hear.

Is divination bad? No. I think it’s good to be able to see a couple steps ahead but I do recommend that if your religion doesn’t feel the same way that I do, for the love of all that is cute and sparkly, don’t ask for a reading! Nothing irks me more than some faithful person prattling out a soliloquy that’s “supposed” to be directed at me because they’re uncomfortable breaking the obvious rules in their religion. It’s super annoying.  

Now this question is fairly paraphrased for conciseness, posed by Afro-Punk and Black Pagans group member Nandi. Her question is this basically:

How do you deal with parental units who do not agree with your path in Paganism/Wicca? My dad says I will regret it.

Ah, the parental units not agreeing with your faith. A very stressful task indeed. You can’t really make people see things the way you do, no matter how much you want to try to convince them. Especially when it comes to faith, it’s a tougher climb uphill because religion is what people solidify their lives, beliefs and foundations on, especially when you’re part of one of the Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). Nandi is from a Muslim family but the issues that she brings up I have heard pretty often, especially from Monolithic religions which often tout the “Only one true path” ideal and the one truth path they believe is the right one is usually theirs.

My suggestion depends on whether you live at home or not. Since the kitty’s already out of the bag, the only thing you can keep doing is keep doing you and showing your parent you’re not at all interested in killin’ rabbits and hamsters for Satan and you’re not going to become some crazy cutter or an evil child. If they have questions, answer them honestly and make sure they respect you for you and your faith. So long you aren’t doing anything reprehensible or wicked, you can make your point for the most part and hope for the best. Remember, don’t throw anything in the parent’s face, just be moderate about it all.

That’s Ask Black Witch for this month! Thank you everyone for dealing with the hectic-ness of the BWA voting and donating, it was very much an experience. Live ceremony on July 9th!

Raffle and donation run ends VERY soon (like, within a few hours soon, the last day is the 21st) so if you wanna get in on it, get in now.

The raffle prize is a grabbag of plenty Pagan goodies. Refer to this post for all the information that you’ll need. And remember, if the goal isn’t met, the money goes to Afro-Punk so not a dime goes to waste. Donations cover airfare and stay in LA for the BWAs.

Thank you!

Yep, it’s The Arts of June! I’m very happy. Hey, did you know that there’s a grab bag raffle going on right now and it ends on Tuesday? This post will tell you everything you need to know! And thank you everyone who has voted for me in the Black Weblog Awards, I hope I win! Didn’t vote yet? Voting ends at midnight, June 17th. I’m in the faith category.

Flipsyde
I forget how I came across the music of Flipsyde but I think it was through Pandora but their music stuck with me. I really like their song “Champion”

But the songs I like most? Political works. If you can make me think, chances are much better that I’ll listen to you. So long it’s poignant.

Their song “Happy Birthday” is a voice that isn’t often heard in the debate of a woman’s right to choose. Told from the male perspective but still keeping the woman well within the picture but also the child as well. It’s a great listen.

The song I like most from them? “U.S. History” a pretty accurate run through of American Imperialism and the history of the United States.

Website
Myspace

Postive Black Stories
Often in the news the stories often told about Blacks are very disparaging. Even today in modern society we’re stuck with the different faces of Black culture that are each very disheartening: mammy, thug, musician/entertainer, goon, magic negro. I personally don’t believe for one second that we live in a post-racial society because we don’t and never did, there’s too much left to do. With the constant media representation, it’s easy to see why Blacks are seen as fearsome beings that lack moral compass and closer to primitiveness than civilized beings or as odd speaking subhumans, always talkin’ that jive and swiveling their head when angry other nonsense such as that. While sites like Black Witch and Afro-Punk try to show the other face of Black culture, it is a hard swim upstream and a big reason why as stated in Yale article “Mass Media and Racism”, written by Stephen Balkaran in 1999 and still relevant over ten years later is this:

“Media have divided the working class and stereotyped young African-American males as gangsters or drug dealers. As a result of such treatment, the media have crushed youths’ prospects for future employment and advancement. The media have focused on the negative aspects of the black community (e.g. engaging in drug use, criminal activity, welfare abuse) while maintaining the cycle of poverty that the elite wants.

There are no universally accepted and recorded codes or rules, which apply to journalists in news selection and production. The media have devoted too much time and space to “enumerating the wounded” and too little time to describing the background problems of African-Americans. What is not a crisis is not usually reported and what is not or cannot be made visual is often not televised. The news media respond quickly and with keen interest to the conflicts and controversies of racial stories. For the most part, they disregard the problems that seep beneath the surface until they erupt in the hot steam that is the “live” news story.” The U.S. Media and Racism, Mass Media and Racism

“Clearly, the economic structure of the American news media and the local media make them subject to pressures from powerful interest groups. In 1967, the Kerner Report attacked the mass media for their inadequate handling of day-to-day coverage of racial events. The Report charged the media with failing to properly communicate about race to the majority of their audience. That is, white America needed to hear more about the actual conditions and feelings of African-Americans in the U.S. Only when events are associated with concern of the “white public” do they become newsworthy. Given the situation in America where the major news media have predominantly white reporters and serve a mainly white audience, it follows that the “public” which dictates newsworthy events is a white public. The day to day tensions of black existence and exploitation, which are crucial concerns of the black community, are not primary concerns of the white public. Only the symptoms of these conditions, such as freedom rides and social disturbances, impinge upon whites. Hence, it is only such “events” which become newsworthy in a white press.

One of the main reasons for the inadequate coverage of the underlying causes of racial stereotypes in the U.S. is that the condition of blacks itself is not a matter of high interest to the white majority. Their interest in black America is focused upon situations in which their imagined fear becomes a real problem. Events like boycotts, pickets, civil rights demonstrations, and particularly racial violence mark the point at which black activity impinges on white concerns. It is not surprising that the white-oriented media seek to satisfy the needs of their white audience and reflect this pattern of attention to these selected events.

Research has disclosed that most serious crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, and assault) in inner cities are committed by a very small proportion of African-American youth, some 8% by estimates. Yet the tendency to characterize all African-American males as criminals continues in our society. It is now common for law officers to stop young black males and to harass them as a result of this stereotype. The negative stereotype has continued to affect the black community, as well as their prospects for employment and advancement. All this has been destroyed and, as a end result, it has contributed to high unemployment within the African-American community.” The U.S. News, Media and Race, Mass Media Racism

With trends like these, it’s nice to see YouTube Channel Positive Black Stories to exist and show that we’re not all illiterate rappers only capable of barreling down a football field, eating chicken and raping women all between committing crimes.

A favorite story I have on there is about the teen hacker to computer security businessman

And another is about the music industry and how it really is. A must watch if you want to get into the music business

I really do appreciate finding stories like these because they don’t circulate the media enough since it is so hard to change the minds of thousands upon millions when they’re used to one train of thought for almost half a millennium and how that train changes track ever so slowly. The Black race is a really amazing race that’s done so much and can accomplish so much.

Positive Black Stories

Jayne Steiger
She really is a fantastic artist that has a very haunting style and is very diverse through multiple forms of media. Jayne is an aspiring illustrator/illustration student whose work is influenced by fairytales, dreams, and past eras. It is very clear the attention she pays to detail and how the works project emotion and even a story. Note, none of these works are done on computer. They’re all by hand.

Her craft work is very cute and interesting (Click to enlarge)

Dracula Hollow Book

Her work with color is phenomenal

Vice

Korpikaani

And look at her usage of black and white

Upside Down

Haunted House Sounds

To see more of her works:
Website
Deviant Art

And sorry that the column was late, I was distracted by watching vocaloid videos and this one I could help but find incredibly cute and funny titled “Carlito”:

That’s all The Arts for now! Ask Black Witch is next week, send questions (this site is full of ways to contact me). And participate in the raffle! Voting time may be done but donation time still has four more days left!

Alright, I have put on a small five day extension onto the ChipIn to do a raffle. I do hope that this raffle will chalk up some money more than my own best efforts so here it is:

This is the “BW to BWAs” Raffle, the prize is a fantastic grab bag for newbies to the experienced alike. What it consists of:

– A Tree of Life stone and silver wire pendant

This (In variation)

– A 25 pack of incense containing the scents Sandalwood, Dragon’s Blood, Cinnamon, Peach and Vanilla
– 5 stones of your choice, raw or tumbled (availability may vary)
– Sage smudging stick
– Your own divination item of choice (i.e., any tarot deck, pendulum, book on palmistry etc etc)

The price for tickets:

$2 – 1 ticket
$5 – 3 tickets
$10 – 7 tickets

Here’s how the drawing works, you donate either $2, $5 or $10 to the Black Witch ChipIn and that automatically registers you for the raffle. I will inform you via email the tickets you have bought and what numbers are they. For example, the first person buys a $5 ticket, they will get an email stating they are ticket 1,2 and 3. If the person after that gets a $10 ticket, they will get an email stating they are ticket 4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and so on and so forth. I will use a number generator via random.org to pick whatever number is in the batch and the winner will be announced on June 22.

As you can see, anyone with a greater batch has a better chance at winning but you can buy more tickets by donating either $2, $5 or $10 again for as long as the raffle is going.  The raffle is from June 16th to June 21st. May the best person win!

Black Witch ChipIn

Tomorrow is the very last day to give and send Black Witch to the Black Weblog Awards in L.A. and to represent the Black Pagan Community on a global scale. The funds cover airfare and stay.

It is already a great opportunity to be a part of the Black Weblog Awards but what would be better is to actually be there and help put a face on the Black Pagan faith, a faith that is often ignored in favor for the Abrahamic religions, Christianity in particular. The Faith category in the Black Weblog Awards is usually dominated by Christian blogs and occasionally Islam or even Atheist but never anything besides that. Already it is noteworthy that a Black Pagan blog has made it as a finalist but I think it would be even better to physically be in L.A. to accept the award. The Black Weblog Awards is one of the biggest Black blogger competitions worldwide so it would definitely be a recognized act, especially with the first live ceremony they will have this year.

If you are a Black Pagan and always wanted to see your own succeed, now is your chance to help through giving. If you just want to see a different faith accepting the award, now is your chance through giving (and voting). Success don’t come 100% by itself, sometimes help is needed and now I need your help, readers, in getting me to L.A. to represent the column and Black Paganism as a whole.

There’s $260 left and you can donate either $5, $10 or $20 at the Black Witch ChipIn. Please help out, it ends tommorow.

– Black Witch

[EDIT] I was given an idea by a friend of mine, Kevin, that to convince donations, I should give a raffle. I think this is a good idea so I’m throwing together a grab-bag now of raw stone pendants, incense, candles and more! Raffle tickets will start at $2 and the raffle itself most likely will extend to the 18th  (or 22nd, details are still up in the air). There may be an option between two different grab bags so stay tuned. Another post will be made around midnight with all the details.

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

Don’t Forget! There is only one week left to donate and vote Black Witch for the Black Weblog Awards! More information at the bottom. Also, take a look at the comment section, you can use your twitter or facebook account to comment and all the share buttons are visible at the bottom of each and every post!

Yep, yesterday was June 9th, the very first day that Black Witch had gotten started. So that means this blog/column has only just turned a year old. Oh, how exciting!

I know some readers are expecting the pre-orders for the conglomeration book Black Witch: Life from the Black Pagan Perspective today but there isn’t even a mock-up of the cover so that wouldn’t have fared well. The reason for the delay, to put lightly, is that I’ve had a bumpy May and April so there wasn’t any time to really work on the project. However, I’m only pushing it a month down onto July 9th because I feel that would hopefully give me time to get myself and the project together into a satisfactory state. Otherwise I shall be emo beyond compare.

Now, this is a very wonderful thing I do suppose. I didn’t even think I would have kept up with this blog and especially not as well as I did. I am very much the procrastinating and lazy type, if it seems like Black Witch ran nearly like clockwork, it’s because I am awesome at scheduling and remembering stuff and having a schedule worth caring about. Out of 60+ posts, I have only been late perhaps only 3 or 4 times. And this is with me temporarily losing a laptop cord, traveling overnight from cities, being terribly lazy or even swept up in a game – I have recently been playing American McGee’s Alice and can’t wait to get Alice: Madness Returns – that I have basically been on time, nearly every time for a whole year. That’s a feat for me, generally I get burnt out or go “Meh, who cares?” and find something new to bother with.

I like stats. Stats tell me how I’m doing. Well, on the WordPress side, I don’t know what my stats on Afro-Punk are and I haven’t pestered enough to learn. So here are some numbers:

Since the start of this column/blog:

WordPress views:5,120
Black Witch Fan Page likes:120
Twitter: 69 followers
Posts: 61 (I’m biweekly on Afro-Punk so it’s lower there)
Subscribers: 13

Pretty nifty for a first year, yeah? I’ve had my first interview regarding the column/blog and did fun stuff. Some of the cool things that happened:

Going to NYC lots – Since the last Afro-Punk Festival, I think I’ve been to NYC about a dozen or more times from basically one meager (and blistering cold) time back in 2008. I have been in Webster Hall watching DJ cut and scratch with vinyl while ducking an Afro-Punk Christmas Party for three hours (I should mention that I get into particular moods when around crowds and have penchant to disappear for hours at a time. If you have a crowd, chances are good I found a way to hide from it), gone to Tokyo Rebel to stare at pretty Lolita clothes, visited Chinatown tons (I’m glad I can speak Mandarin, albeit rusty) and found fun stuff without really setting foot in Times Square. Oh, the people from Haru Hana, the Korean restaurant I love so very very much with their okonomiyaki (it’s a J-Pub) now recognize me, my order and my weird manner of dress. I have also seen headphones decked out with gold chains. I should have followed that person till I got something out of it.

Notable readers – Now, I’m glad that Kellindo and Nastassia reads my column whenever they can (aren’t they nice?) and it great knowing I have readers in Wondaland Arts Society, Janelle Monae’s people but to have Lupe Fiasco tell me himself he was a reader, I was stunned. That was an interesting – and mildly disgusting – night. It was disgusting because right before I met (*koff*randown*koff*) Lupe Fiasco, I, within an hour, stepped on a dead rat and nearly walked into a bed bug laden mattress that was just laying on the freaking sidewalk. I’m surprised my OCD did not make me go into catatonic shock and I was still mildly coherent when I finally got to Lupe. Alors, ask me about it should you see me at the Afro-Punk Festival and I’ll retell it griot-style. For Lupe to know who I am via my column and even read my feature on his rock side project, Japanese Cartoon, on Afro-Punk, I was ever shocked – and still conducting myself pretty well for someone with rat guts on their pants and shoes and hoping Fiasco don’t notice. Because this is a super entertaining story in person and not in text, I’ll cut it short – I totally fan-girled after I had given Lupe my business card (he asked for it!) and he was wisked away by his management. I still get fan-girly about it and it happened back in February. Also who knows who else been reading? (I’ll be finding out at the Afro-Punk Festival, I’m sure).

Backstage! – One awesome thing about writing for Afro-Punk is the backstage ability. Because I’m around music, concerts and the industry a lot, I am used to getting backstage somehow but being there because you’re part of the contributing staff and such is awesome. Admittedly, I didn’t like being backstage at the Afro-Punk Christmas festival because some things I simply do not tolerate and I’ll disappear over but I do hope that the Afro-Punk Festival will be different. Especially with Janelle Monae and Cee-lo Green being there. I’ll be fan-girling, you bet. Either that or follow Kellindo around like a lost puppy because he’ll be one of the few who I already know personally and that’s the alternative to my disappearing act; I either follow someone familiar and talk their ear off or I stay to myself for hours at a time.

Reputability – My words carry validity! And perhaps a gentle breeze of sway but fear not, I have no minions (yet) and I don’t have enough power to single-handedly create change (yet – maybe). Either it’s luck, my writing is very good or people are scared I’ll jinx them but I’ve not gotten a single nasty letter yet. I’ve probably only gotten one “diss” about my column and I barely even consider it that considering how flat it fell in attempt to be offensive. The person who said it was fairly mental so I’m not too sure what they were going for but now I joke with my friends about how I was called an “illiterate nerd”. I’m sorry but that was just too funny in how oxymoronic that phrase is. Besides that, I’ve had pretty glowing reviews about my blog/column. I like that people ask me questions for Ask Black Witch, use the links on my site and basically listen to what I have to say. I don’t want to be a writer that talks out their butt all the time because that’s not helping anyone, especially when I am very aware that I have a lot of teen readers. Plus, I could say all sorts of crazy things and go completely off the wall but how would that separate me from other Pagan and Black bloggers that do the exact same thing. Shock value only goes but so far and with very short millage at that. It would be better to be honest and as factual as possible and have respect than to talk crazy and everyone treat me like a laughing stock.

And then there’s stuff I’ve learned:

If you aren’t punctual, fake it – Ah, the wonders of scheduling posts and writing up a bank of columns to use when you’re too tired/lazy/low on time/emo/don’t really care/out of ideas. That’s where scheduling comes in. Get it done on your own time and slap it up there to been seen two weeks later or one week later or whatever and be done with it. That way I don’t sit there and worry about not having a good column out and to not care about it the next time as well.

E-fame is e-fame, no big deal – It’s nice to have a noteworthy column and such but it’s not all my world. I have a life outside of Black Witch that doesn’t involve sitting in front of my computer (or Android) all day or else I wouldn’t have any life experiences to draw on. There’s a whole ‘nother world, even online that doesn’t involve Black Witch and I’m happy for that. I like people to like my work but offline? I’m just another oddly dressed person probably going down the street either with my headphones on or talking to myself (yep I do that, couldn’t care less). It’s only on the computer am I know as Black Witch on three, maybe four sites (Afro-Punk, BW wordpress, Twitter and part of FB) and I’m Kodachi or Kodachi148 everywhere else. It’s a pretty small sphere to trap myself in so I don’t.

Pedestals are high – I hate pedestals. Granted I like keeping a quasi-professional face when running as Black Witch but for real, I ain’t no different from no one else. I’m just another person with a computer and access to the internet and a blog. Herpa derp derp. It’s odd being looked at like, “Omg, you’re Black Witch and you’re talking to me.” It’s not that much of a social medal, believe me. I like honey mustard on my French fries, I’m the laziest thing you’ll meet, I talk way too much (no, seriously, I do. Ask anyone in Wondaland or any of my other friends, I’m a total motormouth) and I’m quite weird socially. That’s why I like conducting myself under my normal screennames or with my real name because I’m treated not like some super interesting thing or whatever. I’m not a person without problems or flaws, I just don’t flag ‘em much on the column. I talk to readers so not to get put on a pedestal, it’s not that amazing for me to acknowledge someone’s existence.

Talk to readers – I know when I comment on people’s works, part of it is to voice my opinion but also in hope I’ll get a response of some sort back. It would make me wonder if the writer even read my comment or it’s just there to be there. I know how it feels so I try to respond to as many readers as I can because no one likes feeling dejected.

Blogging is more work than I thought – It’s nearly a full time gig. Gotta write posts, make sure they make sense (for the most part) and the spelling isn’t jacked up, have to promote the blog, read readers’ responses, respond to readers’ responses, figure out good topics, what the posting schedule is and more. There’s a lot that goes into blogging that isn’t actually writing the content. I’ve fallen asleep at the laptop several times drilling out columns at 3 or 4 in the morning. I have an app on my phone that allows me to write and edit on the go called Documents To Go which is useful because I don’t always have my idea book with me to scribble in. There’s a lot of work that goes into this stuff to make sure Black Witch runs very well.

It’s hard dealing with people sometimes – When it comes to contacting people for The Arts, it’s a total crapshoot. Oftentimes I don’t get a response back from the features unless they’re fairly small and hence grateful. I feature anyway but it gets annoying sometimes because it feels like if I said I was Rolling Stones Magazine, these people would probably be my best friend right now but because I’m fairly no name, it’s a very different story. A very vexing story. Or maybe the person won’t have easy to find contact information which is like, “Dude, I like your work and I want you to know about it. How can I talk to you?” Ugh. Makes me wanna kick people in the shins sometimes. I also wanna kick people in the shins for calling me Black Wiccan and not Black Witch and saying I’m a Black Wiccan when I’m a Black Pagan. Literacy is not a bad thing, man. Read and then respond otherwise I’ll just sit there and go, “What are you talking about?” I barely say Wiccan in any of my columns, I say Pagan more because I’m Pagan, not Wiccan. I have drawn up a venn-diagram that can perhaps help. (Click for bigger picture)

I have got to make a proper column about this

Now print that out and take a pen or a dry erase marker if you seriously want to write on your screen (why?) and put an X in the “Witch” bubble. That’s where Black Witch is situated. Not in “Wiccan”, not in the join, definitely not in “Fluffy Bunnies” but “Witch”. It’s that simple.  

Getting responses can be tough sometimes – I know Ask Black Witch isn’t a constant on the Afro-Punk side of BW but even when it was sometimes, it would be hard to get questions. I would see that people click on the links I offer (such as the Ask Black Witch submission form) buuuuuuut very few questions. It’s a leeeettle aggravating, especially when people can’t even get my name right (I’m Black Witch, not Black Wiccan) or my religion correct (I’m Pagan, not Wiccan) so I much rather get a question than people thinking they’re probably alright. I understand people don’t want to ask stupid questions but a stupid question is “Do y’all fly on broomsticks and turn into cats?” not, “What’s the difference between a Pagan and a Wiccan and is Voodoo bad?” The question may be a little dimwitted but that’s primarily to me, the person who knows this stuff and will still try to answer because it’s still legit. There’s been a couple months I’ve had without a single question and I would wing them thankfully with something else just as important or a general question. Those are few but they do happen or nearly happen. I sometimes think people are scared to ask me questions because they think I’ll hex ‘em or something if I don’t like it. Nah, I’m just gonna show it to my friends and laugh about it instead. God knows I’ve sent poor Kellindo silly Top search results that people use to find my blog that has his name in them. I’m surprised with some of them he hasn’t developed a phobia of the internet or his fans yet. Long story short, send me questions.

Have a plan – Can’t wait for the world to happen, just gotta go out and do it yourself. It is weird because it means having changes you’re not accustomed to (I actually don’t like introducing myself as Black Witch because that’s not my name but ‘ey, gotta do it anyways. It’s just a weird moment each and every time ‘till I get used to it I guess) and to be a go-getter I suppose. I have to think about stuff such as what’s my stance on features for The Arts, do I acknowledge global tragedies and what will I, won’t I or should I say on my column? It’s not my personal blog so I just can’t go out there and say anything because there’s a theme to stick to. Besides, I have a personal blog already so mental barf is sustained, I just need intellectual mental barf here. That means learning how to multi-manage and multi-task with websites, fan pages, twitters and other stuff to definitely look into. It’s really not easy but possible.

So that’s the anniversary post, I’m very happy Black Witch has gotten this far and been so constant, I hope the next year will be even better.

Next week are the installments The Arts and Ask Black Witch. Here’s who’s being featured for The Arts:

– Flipsyde
– Positive Black Stories
– Jayne Steiger

After that is Ask Black Witch. Send questions! This blog is full of ways to contact me!

Voting and Donating to send Black Witch to L.A. for the Black Weblog Awards
Don’t forget to vote and donate to send Black Witch to the Black Weblog Awards in L.A. on July 9th! Only one week left to vote and donate!

It’s on the donate site but here’s the math broken down with donations:

The goal is now $500 and already $220 has been donated so if:

56 people give $5 -or-
28 people give $10 -or-
14 people give $20

That would be enough to pay off the remainder $280 each and every way with very little effort. The donations cover airfare and stay in L.A. for the first ever live Black Weblog Awards Ceremony! Please give!

And if you have not voted, click on this little nifty badge and it’ll take you straight to the ballot! One vote per computer and smartphone (QR Code underneath).

Use the QR Code to vote for Black Witch in the Faith Category

Thanks for your Support!

First and foremost, I’m still hockin for votes and donations (only $500 left to go!) for the Black Weblog Awards, more details at bottom.

So I’m sure everyone has heard of stuff like The Psychic Friends Network, Miss Cleo and other pseudo-psychics. They’re funny for me to look at because they’re so full of crap but I wonder (and worry a little) for the people who really buy into them and call asking about their love lives, careers, so on and so forth. I feel bad for those people because they’re being fleeced and lied to at the same time – kinda like paying taxes.

I was watching The Bernie Mac Show one night and the Psychic Friends Network commercial came on. It was some lady that looked like – or actually was – Vivica A. Fox and a bunch of bright-eyed nobodies that were overly enthused by their “personal psychic”. You can call, text or email them day or night, whenever you feel (at a hefty fee, of course) and get the skinny on your life and your future. And you’re even going to get “world famous” psychics too! Ooo! Aaaaah!

Get real. Firstly, this thing is just a load of crap, you can tell by how the commercial is being conducted to sound larger than life and your only once-in-a-lifetime chance to get a lead in your own future with your own “personal” psychic. It’s like being a queen or a king with a loyal and powerful druid at your side. C’mon now, I’m a real psychic and I think even I have said in my very first post that I would set down ground rules about being called around the clock over some simple nonsense that most certainly can wait until I wake up and at least brush my teeth, go to work/school, have something to eat and perhaps look at something entertaining first. There is no psychic that I personally know that would like to have a doctor’s on-call schedule. We never would get any sleep, especially with the “right here, right now” consumer culture that dominates the Western world.

Since the psychic is your “friend,” I wonder if they would get a day to vent. That for a 30% per half-hour discount, you can hear about the psychic’s day and worries whenever they need to talk. Just because we can see into the future don’t mean things are any better. Hmmm, I see…a bill…from AT&T…it’s-it’s my cell phone bill and …and it’s gonna be hefty as usual, can I call up my non-psychic friend and whine about that? They’re already whining to me about their problems, why can’t I do the same? Oh wait, I do. I have real friends, the people these folks are talking to are just doing a job. No true interest except to keep the lights on.

I’ve never paid for a reading a day in my life. As a matter of fact, I never bothered with divination of any sort until I got into myself.  I noticed the Ms. Cleo commercials when I was younger and man was that chick off. I could tell myself and I didn’t know anything about tarot cards then! The meanings were super vague; she guessed her way through readings and still sounded correct. Shame on Ms. Cleo for running game on a fool but shame on that fool for getting ran on so easily.

If you’re getting a reading, the reader should be on point about what’s going on, not talking like a Sphinx or over-generalizing like “You will experience a downfall after much greatness.” They should also be able to talk about things that don’t have anything to do with money, love or career and not sound wishy-washy. This is not what is supposed to be coming out of their mouths: “Oh! You have a mysterious lover! He’s handsome, rich and famous!” or “There is this beautiful woman. She’s charming, mysterious and will subject to your every whim.” That sounds like a jip already because they’re playing to your (faulty) wants. Be realistic. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

While it is a special pastime of mine to poke fun at phone psychics, parlor psychics and mall psychics, some of these guys are real psychics who just want to pay the bills somehow while the others are just conning hard to get you to pay more. Then there are those who are good at what they do but simply became greedy.

One of my friends, Ro we’ll call him, got bit pretty bad by the economy. He was fired from his previous job at a nice metaphysical shop because the boss became jealous and petty, his fiancée was working at a job that didn’t pay enough to foot the bills and both were fresh college graduates. When Ro told me he decided to be a phone psychic, I laughed because I thought he was joking. They’re the very people we make fun of because they make real diviners look bad, he’s got to be kidding. Apparently he wasn’t, gotta pay the bills somehow and happy thoughts don’t count for currency. He didn’t like the job either because it was a bit sketchy, even in pay, but money’s gotta come from somewhere and it’s not coming from the sky anytime soon. That part I understood so while I didn’t get any nicer about phone psychics as a whole, I did respect and understand Ro’s choice to do what he could to make ends meet. He’s a great psychic; I relied on him when I needed some insight I couldn’t give myself so I knew he’d do fine. Ro came to me about the job because he needed references, just like any other job and he figured that I would be a good pick because I’m honest. I simply told him that this is fine, just keep it temporary and until he can find better work.

It wasn’t long before drama was happening with the new boss. Ro was a serious diviner and casted stones as his main way of divination, geomancy. My friend is always on point and this paid off well in the calls he got but pay was a little weird. There was competition and he wanted out because the people who would call him were pretty annoying. Thankfully this lasted about a half year to a year before he found something better, a stable paying and normal job to help himself and his fiancée with the bills and a better place to live. He too thought the phone psychic business was a scam but it also was the only paying thing so he went with it till something better came along.

I have to say, if you want to get a reading so bad, hang out at a metaphysics shop, form a friendship with a diviner and get a reading from a friend you trust. Oooooor you can teach yourself this stuff. I did and I’ve been doing pretty well. When looking at parlors and mall psychics, avoid anything that seems too overdone and stereotypically “magical”. Drapes with moons and stars on them, crystal balls (I still haven’t a single clue how to scry, especially in those things) and older women who got the aura of a desperate car salesman. Next time I’ll post my “Faker Faker: How to Spot a Con” that I wrote for my university’s Pagan Student Union. For me, I don’t mind doing spreads for friends, artistic favorites/people I admire or anyone who asks nicely (i.e., gives me an okonomiyaki) because it’s better than having them go to some con like a poor friend of mine did. I like helping people whenever I can and this is one way how I do it.

I used to run on FortMinor.com a dream thread that’s now gone (And I should have saved! *sob*). That was my interpretation thread. You post your dream in and I would interpret it for you. You could have me PM you if possible because you’re afraid of having stuff put out there but  that’s what I did for about a year. It was really nice the people that I helped over that time and they appreciated having a diviner around that knew what they were doing. In addition, I would also answer questions about how the brain worked during sleep, the function of dreams and other non-dream interpretation related things. I was often asked of the “devil sitting on your chest”, which is just sleep paralysis usually because your brain shuts down a sector that controls movement so you don’t go running about in your sleep and you pretty much woke up before your body does, thus the paralysis. And I would often get the “I never dream, so there” people. They really are foolish because you have a couple hundred dreams a night, you only can remember the last three or four because of the stage of sleep your brain was in. There is a science behind sleeping, y’know. I like studying psychology and biology so it works out for me in helping people and not sounding like an utter quack. What people often didn’t know was that I sometimes needed various dream dictionaries because different backgrounds interpret the same thing differently. There’s a dream dictionary for girls, Jews, Blacks, an all-around dream dictionary, there’s many different ones. I would tell the folks in my thread the books I use so they could use it too and even bother me less.

I think what gets people to call these phone psychics and visit overdone psychic parlors or mall psychics is the mysticism that they perceive diviners have. That we have powers from the “other side” and we live in a world completely separate (but parallel) to that of normal people. I’ve had people look at me sideways when I would read for them because they wondered why I wasn’t in special clothes like a cloak or anything. As much as I would like to look like I jacked Captain EO’s cape and sputter complete and total nonsense, I don’t think it would benefit either of us. It would be a disservice to the person I’m reading for and a complete waste of my time, I can act like a fool later. When I’m home, I’m doing divination in my pajamas and over a soda on my bed, not in some special place. Not even my cat is doing anything but being a nuisance by deciding to kick some of the cards out of order and then sleep on them. I write out the interpretations while watching “Everybody Hates Chris” and type them up on my laptop as I peruse YouTube, any lolita fashion site, and my livejournal blog. Not very mysterious now is it? It generally ain’t. My divination book, the “book” itself is just a green, three-pronged folder with paper in it (and Saul Williams’ autograph on the back pages! It was all I had at the time and wanted him to sign something because he’s completely awesome. Now my divy book is awesomer than before!) It seems like the less fancier the diviner, the better the reading because at least it will be honest.

A good diviner is not trying to trick you into anything. They’re not trying to rob you blind or scare you witless (in effort to rob you blind) but simply give advice. That’s all it is, advice given based on your current situation, what the past has brought and what the future might bring. A good diviner helps people because it is right but also makes sure to the best of their abilities that you don’t have to keep coming back again and again. If you have to come back to me about five times for the same issue, there must be a bigger problem at hand or you’re thaaaaat dense. You, the person getting the reading, should feel confident that the diviner isn’t a sham by fishing for information so they can look legit or trying to string you along. The diviner should be able to explain their readings clearly and answer any question that you may have to the best of their abilities. It’s your reading so you should be clear on what’s going on since it’s your life that’s being affected. The diviner shouldn’t be trying to rack you up a nice and hefty bill to pay, that’s scamming, and they shouldn’t be trying to scare you into giving over your goods, that’s racketeering. Basically, the diviner should act like a level headed person, not one of the greatest wonders of the world or a total schizoid.

If you find a good diviner, stick with them and don’t forget to treat them like a person. I personally like being bribed with snacks to do natal charts, help people interpret their dreams over bubble tea and I prefer to know a person beyond what I’m reading them for unless it’s strictly business, such as me divining for an event. If you plan on going back to the same diviners again and again, I would recommend making friends with them. It would really ease the bond and they could help further. Plus it won’t seem so much like work for them rather than helping out a friend – if they don’t mind turning a business relationship into a friendship, that is.

Welp, that’s the column for this week! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has voted and to please spread the word about Black Witch so I can take home the Black Weblog Award in Faith. This BW post has all the details about voting and donating and there will be a new post about it all in the near future. Only $500 dollars is left needed to complete the goal to send me to L.A. for the first ever Black Weblog Awards Ceremony. Any donations is kind, whether big or small it doesn’t matter.

If you don’t feel like looking at the BW post or already know what to do, go on and vote or donate.

Next week is the first year anniversary for Black Witch. I will be making a post to celebrate that, it’ll be fun. I wanted to do giveaways and vcasts about it but I’m not sure if those will be possible given I have had such a lack in time and opportunity. That also means the pre-orders for Black Witch’s first book Black Witch: Life From the Black Pagan Perspective, vol. 1 will be delayed to July 9th so I can get everything together better.

After that are the installment posts, The Arts and Ask Black Witch. You know how to submit to ABW:

Submit, vote, donate and be happy.

Oh, and if you already voted on computer but have a smartphone or tablet, use your QR Reader (Here’s a list of them if you don’t, I use Neoreader) and vote there.

Use the QR Code to vote for Black Witch in the Faith Category

 Is there any issues with the code or voting on your phone? Lemme know in the comments.

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