Archive for August, 2011


Alright, there’s no ABW’s for me to answer and currently I am packing up to head to New York City for the Afro-Punk Festival. It’s my second year and if you follow this blog, you already know some of the people I am very excited to see – okay, the one person we all know I am super stoked to see: Janelle Monae. Love her to death, she’s more than a refreshing breath of air to Black music. Plus, I get to see my wonderful mate, Kellindo, always a plus.

Now, since I have free space to talk about whatever, I would like to ponder and wonder why I get people coming to my blog, Black Witch, about Janelle Monae. It ain’t about her music either and I think I’m a leeeeettle outside the color spectrum to be mistaken for the Wondaland wordpress. It’s people wondering if Janelle Monae is a Witch.

A Witch.

Really? I know the music industry sucks super hard rocks right now and so does mainstream Black music (sorry, Lil’ Wayne is no one’s prayers and if you know Black music history – and Western media history in regards to race – you’ll clearly see why. Or just Google “Nicholas Brothers” and then look at a modern day Black music video for a quick overview) but Witchcraft? Are you seriously that stupid or the type to believe Jay-Z is a Satanist and the music industry is ran by the Illuminati?… Wait, wait, both the former and the latter are pretty much one and the same, I guess I should find a how-to for tin-foil hats so these people can get something worthwhile out of this blog. A Witch? Janelle Monae, a what? Witch? Wait, what? Why? Because she does the Tightrope and wear suits? Then what the hell does that make me?

Okay, readers. For the record, I’m a Witch. I cast spells. I make potions. I do divination. I’m Pagan. Janelle Monae does not cast spells. Janelle Monae does not make potions. Janelle Monae does not do divination. Janelle Monae is Christian. And most of all, she is definitely not a Witch. I’ve been around Wondaland, Janelle Monae’s people – I’m friends with the guitarist, remember? – and I’ve had to worry about them, Monae included, not accepting me and my witchcraftin’ self. Man, I still do and it’s been over a year. I still remember one of Janelle Monae dancers hopping behind Kellindo when I brought up Black Witch – a reaction that does not come from people who already know Witches but the exact opposite, trust me.

The reason why this all bugs me so? The short answer is “Because people are stupid and that bugs me.” The defined answer is because it’s ridiculous that a person – no, a Black woman, is actually doing right for herself, her gender and her race by actually relying on her talents and not her tits to sell her music – I’m thinkin of one who stumbled through lolita and made aplenty Black lolitas rue, her wigs are colorful though – and because she’s not desiring to become another stereotype but is still being successful, someone has to think magick is behind it. Not talent. Not the fact we are in the middle of a talent drought in all forms of the fine arts. Not the fact that 2010 is her breakout year but she’s been at it since ’04/05. Not the fact that she’s got friends in pretty high or important places such as Big Boi of Outkast or even Puff Daddy/P. Diddy. Magick, is what people think. Hello, I’m a Witch and I can say short of selling your soul to Satan, no one simply rockets to the top fresh out the oven. And even that may not ensure anything besides feeling empty from the fame. How do I know? I’ve been around the music industry, it’s no cupcakes and rainbows. Well, maybe it is, if the cupcakes were poisonous and the rainbows rained poo and every pot of gold found was more like a shiny, distracting rock. (‘Tis purdy, though!) Janelle Monae is a hard worker, that’s the reason of her success. Not witchery. Work. Her energy is amazing but that doesn’t promise she’s a Witch. I know lots of people with strong energy, and very few of them are Witches. Still amazing and enchanting at what they do though.

I think another reason it bugs me is, well, I’m a Cancer in three planets (Sun, Mars, Mercury (Rx)) so when I care, I care deep. When I support, I support, especially when it means something more to me than just doling out another cd. Janelle Monae and her music means a lot to me as an alt-culture Black girl raised in the hood in Baltimore. My only regret is that her music couldn’t come sooner to make me feel less alone when I was growing up. Plus, it’s that whole “friend of a friend” thing that can also prod me. Kellindo is my friend and I extend my kindness to anyone he cares for too. That’s just me. Oh, and I’m a Witch, I love setting the record straight whenever I can whenever it comes to my area of expertise. For example, I still think Michelle Bachmann* Christine O’Donnell is a batty and racist moron as well as a sign the Republicans really can find someone who’s worse than Sarah Palin, who was worse than Bush.

So yeah, any future “Janelle Monae, Witchcraft” search terms to my blog gets the same old treatment as always: made fun of on my Twitter, around friends and to my potential pool of 8,000+* readers. To those going, “Black Witch, be nice! It could be genuine inquiry, leave room for that.” You’re right, and to that I say the inquirer should have had some sense to listen to her discography before asking such a stupid question. That’s like someone asking me if I’m really a Witch after reading this blog. Besides, the inquirer will use their context clue skills, I’m all for intellectual advancement! And those who assume that an artist is using occult means to get ahead seriously do not know how the music industry works. The industry can be quite evil, I’ll admit, but no need to play it up like Voldemort own Atlantic Records and everyone signed to it has the Dark Mark hidden on them somewhere.

So, no. Janelle Monae is not a Witch. She’s a musician. There you have it. Deal.

Now I got that out my system, I’m off to NYC, da Big Apple! I will be pestering Cee-lo Green, meet a couple readers, maybe sign something, chill with Kellindo proper, fangirl around Janelle Monae, say hi to Santigold and listen to the Bad Rabbits. Say hi if you see me! Bring a print out of your favorite post, I’ll totally sign it!

Also, next month is a Black Witch series titled “Black Diamonds and Pearls”, which looks at Black girls in the Lolita fashion. Normal Pagan-related postings will resume in October. And check out my interview with Daughters of Eve on Patheos.com!

Editors Note: It’s Christine O’Donnell, not Michelle Bachmann, who claimed she did Witchcraft when she was a teen. I still find Michelle Bachmann both bigoted and batty, though.

*Was 8,000 but Afro-Punk has gotten over 10,000 at this point. Remember, this site is just the external version.

Just a mini update before I send off to NYC for the Afro-Punk Festival, check out the interview I had with Patheos.com’s Black Pagans group Daughters of Eve. It’s really cool!

Check it out! It will be added to the “Press and Other Works” page as well.

And remember, September is a series month so there will be no Pagan-related Black Witch posts. The series explores Black girls in lolita fashion and is titled “Black Diamonds and Pearls”. Normal Black Witch postings resume in October. See you at the Festival!

I love short films. It’s practically the only reason why I go to yearly summer arts festival Artscape each and every year. They’re so amazing, actually have content and are very creative and inventive. I’m tellin’ you, the silver screen and the small screen are missin’ out wasting their time with stereotypes and worn out minds focused on the next sequel. Short films showcase what films should be: touching, funny, thoughtful, interesting and most of all, diverse. Even when short films visit time old subjects of love, happiness, friendship, hardship, personal reflection, etc etc etc, it’s seen through a fresh perspective.

Here are some notables before going to the features

“Now At Last (Made In China)”

I spotted this above vid on Angry Asian Man, I found it to be very cute and touching. Plus Angry Asian Man had it right, “The simple story of this little mechanical guy has a million times more heart than a single second of all three Transformers movies combined.” I agree ever so much.

It should be known that I like graffiti. A lot. It’s part of any city’s character and a venue of voice from those who are marginalized. I don’t think that art should be sitting in a boring building to be stared at and talked about as if it’s the holy grail of mankind by people who are practically coughing dust and had every sense of art beaten out of them by the time they’ve made it to curator status. Art should blend and be expressive, not how well someone can draw according to some school of logic. Graffiti is very genuine in art. Just because it doesn’t have a frame around it or have some rich White guy doting over its minute details or some dopey middle class White kid pretending they understand it doesn’t make it any less than a creation. Graffiti is not an eyesore and it’s not vandalism. That would be the advertisements bombarding you from each and every way before you can step out your door. Now that’s an eyesore and vandalism altogether.

“Muto: A Wall Painted Animation by Blu”

Never one to pass up on politicals. This next notable talks about the history of evil as man perceives it and is quite stunning – and pretty accurate.

“A History of Evil”

Now that we’re done with the notables, onward to the features!

Sijia Luo “Kidnapped”
I saw this at the recent Artscape that happened last month. It was so amazing and adorable it must be shared. It’s about a little chick and why it was late.

Vancouver Film School
The VFS I have found while passing through Youtube looking for short films, actually. It can sometimes be hard to get a hand on some short films because they have a limited run and are for select markets (i.e. the audiences of SXSW, Maryland Film Festival, Sundance, etc). VFS I don’t know much background on but their films are very outstanding and an amazing reflection of diverse talent they have at that school. Here are a few:

“The Room”

“Heavy Lifting”
[youtbe=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzpRghBmmgU]

“Common Senses”

“The Moon”

Amazing, huh?

Wong Fu Productions
A constant feature on Angry Asian Man, I love their short films and the fact that they make films directed at the Asian-American audience as well as reflect the Asian-American culture which, just like Black culture, is not monolithic and filled to the brim with stereotypes but with people. An idea that mainstream media fails to get almost each and every time like friggin’ clockwork.

This video I discovered by one of my friends, Tim and I thought it was hilarious! Watch:

“Kung Fooled”

A vid I discovered again through Angry Asian Man also by Wong Fu Productions:

“Too Fast”

There are many short films out there to be watched and they are very stunning indeed. It does show that not all media is becoming dull, you just need someone different behind the camera once in a while.

Next week is Ask Black Witch, so if you got questions, send ‘em! Use the Ask Black Witch submission form on the right, tweet @thisblackwitch and/or use the hashtag #askblackwitch or use other methods as listed on my About Me/Contact Me page and they’ll be up here on Black Witch next week!

Also, as a heads up, A) The Black Witch book has been delayed to December 9th. I mentioned it on Afro-Punk but forgot to mention it here. I’ll be changing the pre-order badge for that soon, I’ve been mad busy. B) September is the start of another Black Witch series. This one is titled “Black Diamonds and Pearls” and talks about Blacks in the Lolita street fashion (check out my “Links of Interest” to learn about the fashion). I will be featuring a variety of Black lolitas and their take on the fashion, race, alternative culture and how it affects or reflects them. Normal Black Witch postings will resume in October.

If you’re going to the Afro-Punk Festival in NYC next Saturday and Sunday, I’ll see you there!

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

NB: I will be short on time to do the Ask Black Witch for this month due to the Afro-Punk Festival so if you have a question to submit, please send it now! Check the About Me/Contact Me page to learn how.

What’s a fairly common question I get when doing divination? Death. “Am I gonna die?”, “When am I gonna die?”, “Can you see when my death is?” Seriously wanna make you speed up the process while doing Darwinism a favor.

First and foremost: Yes, you’re going to die. Everyone is. It’s a terrible fact of life that is not easy to come to grips with but everyone you know and love, including yourself, is going to kick the bucket hardcore one day. It’s not a fun fact but a true fact. Unless someone’s got some immortality secret, everyone is bound to meet their Maker one day. The main question is whether it will be sooner or later.

I don’t do death divinations in that, no I don’t care to predict when or how you are going to die and frankly, I couldn’t care less. I know it’s a common thing in movies and television for some normal individual get a palm reading and the fortune teller says with a knitted brow that their end is very near, possibly at the hands of some very misfortunate events or a psycho-killer. Or maybe the normal person will get their tarot cards read and dun dun duuuuun – the Death card shows up.  Then the victim dies or escapes death or helps someone mistakenly die or escape death somewhere down the line in the script. Cut and scene.

What’s up with all this dying nonsense? Diviners aren’t death clocks. Unless reeeeaaaaaallllly close and possibly related to something very imminent such as health taking a turn for the worse or something like that, death isn’t that easy to spot and certainly something diviners shouldn’t be looking for. Besides, divination isn’t even that scary, not even the Death card.

Revelations Tarot

Let’s talk about the Death card, one of the most popular divination depictions in entertainment, especially when a plot twist or foreshadowing is needed to keep the story (and viewer’s attention) going. It’s card number 13 (XIII) in the major arcana in your average, run-of-the-mill tarot deck. Usually defined with a symbol of death almost regardless the deck so it could be a scythe, the grim reaper, a skeleton, etc. It’s always refers to death somehow. In the deck I use, The Revelations Tarot, the death card is symbolized by the Hindu death goddess Kali dancing while balanced on a scythe and a skull lingering in the background. Now, I’ve had this card show up in my readings for myself tons of times and haven’t freaked out once over it. It’s just the death card symbolizes more often than not a symbolic death instead of a physical death. It’s the end of something, a job, a relationship, education, etc etc. It could be downsizing at work, a break up or a graduation, something that’s going to bring the current or future situation to a stop. Nothing vicious there, everything has to end someday, especially for something new to come along. The Death card is more about transformation than someone simply croaking. The only way I would ever concern myself with the Death card and actual death is if the Three of Swords were right beside it because that’s usually symbolized with a heart that has three swords in it and that’s a little piece of lore that I was taught. Even then I wouldn’t say, “Zomgz! You’re gonna die! …Can I have your watch and tv?” but more along the lines of, “I think there might be a health warning in this spread, have you seen your doctor lately?”

If it’s not tarot, it’s palmistry I get the “Am I gonna die?” questions. I seriously don’t know why but I’m a-guessin’ it’s got something to do with stuff that’s either on the big screen or small screen. That and lore which floats around and tells you that you can be told of your death on the palm of your hand. Either that or people who probably have no lives that are desperately trying to come off as funny or cool but succeed only as coming off annoying and stupid sounding.

It is possible to find out when you’re going to croak through palmistry because unlike tarot, it’s a more expansive form of divination that looks at more the forest than the trees. If you can work the timing on your hands very well (a pretty tricky talent to hone), it is possible to learn of your death but I doubt those who are suicidal or have abrupt deaths all have short life lines on their palms, there’s more that goes into situations like that which would spell it out. Things such as proneness to bouts of depression and a complex that makes a person refuse help or deny acknowledgement of the notion that they need help in the first place (can lend itself to suicide), to have a run of bad luck or terrible coincidences, etc etc etc (could lend itself to accident).  Palmistry uses timing using either two things, the mercury mound under the pinkie finger, the venus mound resting as the padding of the thumb which measures the life line. However, I just about never do death timings because as I have stated before, I have no interest in them. Besides, you’re going to find out one day.

Even with the availability of being able to discover timing of death, it’s not all a sure thing. Just about nothing in divination is written in stone and hence has the potential to be avoided. Keep a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, etc etc, things of that nature which naturally extends life. Granted, there are some things that just can’t be stopped in life for some reason or another. Sometimes, something is bound to happen one way or another but hey, that’s life. Either way, yes, you’re going to die. Everyone you know is going to die. People come and go on this earth always, you and those that you know are no different.

It’s just a matter of when, where and why and that, you’re going to have to find out on your own.

Next Week on The Arts!: Short Films!!!!!!!!!!!

– Sijia Luo
– Vancouver Film School
– Wong Fu Productions

The Establishment (Afro-Punk) Version

Lord, I saw this on my twitterfeed a few weeks back, someone had a dream about Janelle Monae and they thought it was yet another one of their “layered, complex, and seemingly random” dreams (I seriously quoted that, copy and paste, no edit). Monae was a Marvel comic-styled superhero. Not something mega far-fetched, mate.

Y’see, I don’t mean to single this one person out but he resembles a people that I all too commonly come across as a dream interpreter, the my-dreams-are-soooooooooooo-deep-Freud-would-have-to-name-a-new-theory-after-me-just-to-only-partly-understand-it type. Or in other words, the “speshul snowflaek” type.

Ah, special snowflakes, they think they’re so unique. The term stems from the childhood chatter from adults that everyone is as unique and special as a snowflake because no two flakes are alike (although I am pretty determined to prove that wrong, I have been known to staaaare at snowflakes for hours on my black gloves, mentally cataloguing whatever I see until I get a match. No luck yet.) and hence are comparable to people, who have “unique” experiences and lives. Now, I’m all for making people feel special and happy. The problem is, is that this creates a sense of over-inflated self-esteem for those doing absolutely nothing but existing, hence the term “speshul snowflaek”, which is written in such a fashion that reflects the moronic qualities these people generally hold about themselves. Nothing is wrong with being unique but not when it’s for something not very unique. For example, this blog is unique in subject matter (albeit that is starting to dwindle in itself expectedly because other Black Pagan blogs are coming about) but not in the fact that it is a blog. There are millions of blogs on the ‘net. A special snowflake is a person who makes something so common or trivial seems grandiose, kinda like wanting applause for getting open a difficult jar of pickles. They are an annoyance to dream interpreters everywhere.

The mind is a very intricate place, granted. It is woven together from genes, experiences and personal revelations or lack thereof. If the mind were a simple box to tinker in, psychology would not be the expansive and perplexing field that it is today and mental problems would very rarely, if ever, reach to the point of debilitating without the aid of any pill or expensive session with a therapist. Mental institutions would be unheard of and most movies that talk about insanity would look like the very pieces of utter nonsense that most of them actually are. Dreams are the free (if you don’t count lucid dreaming) expressions of that mind and has its many symbols and deeper web of meanings so yes it’s going to be pretty baffling at first, uneducated glance. The reality is though, thanks to many centuries dedicated to understanding the mind inside and out, the mind is still a perplexing state but not nearly as much as it was 200+ years ago. Dreams are indeed layered and complex and seemingly random but seriously, you just described practically everyone, excluding those who may have a strong case of alexithymia, a disorder which gives those affected logical, rational dreams (as in a dream about a bowl of cereal is just a dream about a bowl of cereal) due to lack of imagination. I can tell you with honesty and experience from doing dream interpretations for others: no one has the weirdest or quirkiest dreams to rule them all. All dreams can be off the wall in their own respects, there is nary a dream that stands out to me with any “whoa” factor and I’ve handled hundreds. Not. One.

But still that does not stop a horde of people who claim so hard that they are indeed that speshul snowflaek, that one person with a mind so deep and amazing that they are indeed an enigma. An enigma like none other. That all who experience the intricate labyrinth that is their mind, they will marvel in response at the amazement of what their expansive brain can drum up during their mortal slumber…even if it is Janelle Monae in a cape drawn Marvel comics style – which I think can be spotted online somewhere, check fyeahjanellemonae tumblrs first.

There’s nothing wrong with taking fascination into dreams and the mind, I wouldn’t be doing any of this stuff otherwise, but please don’t think that you’re the uniquest of them all to walk the earth. If you have been raised in a culture that is acknowledged by someone in the psych field or psych-savvy over the course of history, I can probably explain away your dream with the help of a good dream dictionary and some background in both psychology and sociology. The mind is a puzzle but every puzzle, no matter how unsolvable, has pieces to them. Even if they don’t fit together perfectly or something is missing, they have something to put it all together with. That’s minds and dreams for you.

Got crazy dreams? So do I. So does Janelle Monae.  So does your best friend. Obama too. We all sleep. We all dream. We all have dreams that make us sit up and go, “Wait, what?” They’re going to vary among us because of who we are and our backgrounds and some of the symbols are going to be personal to us because they affect us differently. Think about it: if Obama, Monae and I dream about the White House, a concert stage or a forest we’re gonna say something different each because of our separate statures in life – but they can be explained somehow or related to something. It just depends on how far one’s mind can reach to understand the links.

Don’t be a speshul snowflaek. Just be you. You dream. They’re weird. It happens. You’re a person with a functional mind so definitely feel free to mention your dreams and write them down and stuff because it’s very helpful in you getting a better understanding of yourself. But please, know that you’re not the only one who dreams of their favorite vocalist as a superhero. It happens all the time, trust me.

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