Ethics are very important in divination and witchery. Every new Pagan is going to have their run ins with ethics but they are necessary. Every Pagan is different and all Pagans are going to think differently as well as could perceive the same situation differently. As for ethics and divination, I have a strict set of rules to go by. Always have ever since I started at 17. These rules are to keep everyone involved safe and are only broken under the most severe situations.

Never make people pay ~ I don’t charge at all for divination. As a diviner, my job is to give you advice on what to do next, that’s it. I’m not drawing up haunting ghouls and ghosts to do my bidding, it’s purely me and what I can gather from the universe. I often tell people I don’t charge because they’re going to find out in about three months what their future is going to be anyways. I know some of my divination friends differ in opinion because they believe a service is given but for me personally, I never would pay for a reading and never have, why would I enforce something different? Plus, not everyone has the money to dole out but could use the help all the same. Besides, what would I do with the money? Nothing noble most likely, just squander it on food and lolita, not donate it somewhere or be useful with it. I am a very fortunate person and I am extremely aware of this. I feel that what I have is a gift to share and help people with, not take money from. I also feel that money can corrupt even the best of diviners because it’s very easy to get greedy and to take advantage of people in need. I will take snacks (I love me some red bean mochi and if you can spot me some good okonomiyaki joints in Maryland/DC, you can have any reading you want, as many as you like!) in exchange for readings if the person offered but no money whatsoever. Besides, I already have a job. I work at my university’s library so it’s not like I’m suffering. I feel best when I’m being selfless and helping someone because they need it, not because I want something in exchange. The only time I ever broke that was for the Divination Days held by my school’s Pagan Student Union and it was to raise money for our group, not a dime went into my pocket. We didn’t charge more than $3 (I controlled the prices) and I made sure all the diviners knew that their primary goal besides raising money is to help people. While I am perfectly fine with fleecing the rich kids, I don’t want anyone undeserving getting mixed up in it. Besides, I’ve gotten so much back in good fortune from helping people and I rather have that than money any day. In addition, nothing reeks “Potential phony” like a $15 price tag for a quick palm reading.

Keep it confidential ~ That’s right, I don’t say a word about another person’s reading because it’s no one’s business but their own. To be loose lipped can bite me in the derriere in ways I don’t think I need to explain. Often time I am sought out in confidante by people who are embarrassed or frustrated by their problems, concerned that they are breaking from their religious beliefs or worried that someone else may find out what’s going on. I understand keeping a secret if a secret has to be kept. I don’t break that unless the person exudes suicidal tendencies or may harm themselves in another way. Then I gotta start talking, usually to someone who cares deeply for them or refer them to a trusted professional. I know when people are feeling suicidal or want to indulge in self-injury, they don’t want to tell someone who they think is going to snitch but guess what, I have to. There’s no special oath a diviner takes before dealing with other people’s problems but we do have a conscience to contend with. I would much rather keep Jiminy Cricket quiet rather than grieving me all day about how I should have said something when there was a chance. I too have wanted to kill myself (and I’m not afraid to say that I still gripe with that a little now, I have issues just like everyone else*) and I know about self-injury from personal experience* so it’s not like the person is talking to some apathetic psychologist who knows only what the textbook tells them. However, I have to bring it to light that the person I’m reading for is in dire need of attention.

I’ve had the awesome luck to read for one of my favorite bands evar! My goodness gracious, I was doing natal charts (astrology) for two of the members. They happened to be the most popular members so of course people wanted to know what I found on them. I never said anything once that would discuss their personal lives or cause them harm from a crazy fan. Granted, I found out stuff about my favorites that, to be honest, I could have gone my whole life and about three more others not knowing about. *shudders* Talk about the saying about meeting your heroes. I wrote nearly twenty pages for each member (something else I’m not doing again unless I am working super close with the person, the fact checking and the checking-fact-checking was tedious!) so there was some pretty sensitive information but they were for those band members eyes only. I still feel wacktacular that I gave them such a rushed copy and never had the chance to share the refreshed and worked-through copy of their natal charts. I never got their responses back (it was a quick meet) and it still gives me chills sometimes wondering what they are.

Don’t read everyone ~ Every diviner, whether they make you pay or not, has the right to refuse a reading. I know I’ve done it before. It’s an added perk in not making people pay because it’s easier to refuse readings, yay for me! Just like I have the right to refuse readings, people have the automatic right in not being read. I can read hands/palms, faces, handwriting and auras but just because I can doesn’t mean that I should. It’s simply wrong. I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me, I’m not going to do it to someone else. While I can easily sneak a glance at someone’s hand to figure out some of their more basic life story, I don’t with everyone. I don’t do it to my parents, I don’t do it to those I look up to or appreciate. I see it like this, if my parents wanted me to know about a part of their life so much, they would tell me. I’m not going to pry about and wind up getting my feelings hurt because I decided to be snoopy. It may not be time for me to know or some things are simply better not knowing.

 As for those I appreciate [caution: fangirling ahead], it goes back to the “meeting your heroes” saying, you never know what you’re going to get and you really don’t know if you’re going to like what you find. In the entertainment industry, often there is a stage persona that is shown to the crowd and the presses, keeping the real person a secret. They go by other names, gimmicks and/or amiable personalities. We think we know everything about our idols and their lives but there are still some things that they (rightfully) keep under wraps for the sake of privacy. Everyone needs their privacy. For example, I love Janelle Monae. I could talk about her for hours on end; she’s such an awesome person in my eyes. I appreciate her style and she really means a lot to me as a Black girl growing up very different from the crowds. I would be devastated completely if anything were to happen to her. Though I find her to be an adorable little ball of energy, cute and with vibrant imagination, I love The ArchAndroid and bought The Chase Suite twice (a digital and physical copy), I’m not going to scan her hand in her photo ops. Firstly, that’s creepy. Secondly, I rather let her tell me her story rather than me find out for myself. How can I say that I care (in the way that a fan cares about a performer) about her well-being by being sneaky? I am confident she’ll speak for herself on whatever topic she has to. She’s a performer and I’m just a fan, nothing more. Plus, what if I find something I may not like that could bust my perception of her wide open? Ignorance can be bliss and I’m stickin to it.

Simply put, I don’t read others unless they would like me to, regardless of person. Unless it’s dream interpretation. That’s so fun and usually people want to understand the dreams they have so rarely does anyone mind me giving some input. It’s so fun to me! I used to have a dream thread back at but that’s gone now (and I’m still grieving over it, 50+ pages gone, dang).

Can’t save everyone ~ This is the one that gets diviners with big hearts such as myself. Some people simply can’t be saved. No matter how many reading you give or how much advice you offer, some folks are too far gone. Not everyone takes advice when given and some people have terrible misfortune. All a diviner can do is to do the best that they can do and not guilt themselves when things still go wrong. I know I have moments where I still wonder if I did the right thing or made the right choice in helping someone but I can’t dwell in the past and I can’t save everyone. Not everyone wants to be saved and there are times where you have to save yourself. They’re very scary times but they do happen. All a diviner can do really is just guide best they can. At the end of the day, the person I’m reading for has to figure out what to do with their life, not me.

Don’t rope a person into doing witchcraft ~ You won’t believe how often I hear people who have met shady diviners and had to do some form of magick to make the bad thing go away. If it is against your beliefs to do magick, it’s against your beliefs to do magick. Be firm in your ideals. If the person says that you have to do it, know that you don’t. More often than not, a person is not jinxed* but with a case of bad luck (or a negative perception on life). Often these people are roped into doing dangerous things that doesn’t make sense like laying in a bath of lye for a month or foolish things like buying a $400 pair of leather shoes from Nordstrom (why Nordstrom, I dunno but that’s usually what I hear) to spit at or whatever have you. I never would tell a person to do witchcraft to solve their problems, often times that’s not what’s needed. If they needed magickal assistance, I would explain everything piece by piece so they fully understand everything and it’s usually small. Like smudging (cleansing) a house with sage if they think they really need it or anointing a dollar with bayberry oil for money (and a copy of the employment section with a red sharpie. Where d’you think the money’s coming from?). If a person is happening on bad times, I usually tell that person to solve the problem the way their religion sees fit. If that means they are to pray to their god for an answer, that’s what they’re supposed to do. I’m not going to drag someone waaaaaay out of their comfort zone and possibly get them hurt or mistakenly kill them. 

It’s up to the Pagan to decide what their ethics are, just know that it is important to have them and they’ll carve themselves out sooner or later. Books and teachings can only go so far, it’s up to the Pagan to live, learn and make mistakes. What’s the point of being Pagan if you’re living inside the velvet ropes of life anyway? Make mistakes but don’t be reckless, though. And don’t be afraid to learn from the mistakes of others.

That’s the BW column for this week! Next week is The Arts! Who’s being featured:

– Racist Political Ads
– Disoccupy
– Sh*t Girls Say (for Black girls)

And the week after that is Ask Black Witch! Get it goin’ and send in your questions!

And don’t forget to read my interview from Black Pagan

Also, please help this little kitty from the Charm City Animal Shelter named Little Mouserat. He was born with no eyelids and needs surgery. Without surgery, his fur will constantly rub against his corneas until his eyed are damaged to the point that they need removed (vet says 2-3 years). His eyes gets very dry from not being able to blink, too! Any donation will help, this poor kitty has already been through enough. Click here to donate and learn more. Thank you!