It’s this month’s Ask Black Witch! Where readers ask me questions and I answer them! Huzzah! And, remember, it’s real easy to submit questions but beware: Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Let’s hop to it!

I want to become a pagan, but I don’t know how to tell my family. They are serious Christians. But even worse, my mother used to be catholic. How do I go about this? Not only this, but I would like to know more before I completely consider becoming pagan.

What if I want to become a pagan, but I’m naturally violent, hurt, and angry? Like, I’m literally unable to let go. What happens then? Am I suddenly a “Dark Witch”? Will everything I do turn against me or go horribly wrong?

– SweetFire

Folks, this is what a really good question look like. Send more like these.

Sweetfire, I would say pick your battles wisely. Even I haven’t told every member in my family that I’m Pagan and I’m pretty open about my faith to the average person and been practicing for the past ten years. Some folks are really stuck in their ways and it’s up to you to decide to disturb that or not. I’ve learned that some people, even serious Christians, still have room to be open minded but you have to prod carefully around that.

This part depends solely on whether or not you live with them or not: If you do then just learn to be very cautious, you don’t want to risk food and home because someone couldn’t see past their own bigotry. If you don’t, it’s up to you on when and how you want to tell them. If you’re outed, you may have to put your foot down and give them the choice that either they can have their religious bigotry or have you but they can’t have both. As much as I would like to promise all will be happy, it wouldn’t be realistic. So get ready for tense moments, having to stand up for your beliefs (whatever they may be) and deal with a lot of broken record preaching as well as Olympic grade guilt tripping and some strained family ties. The only way you can be ready for that is to be studied up on your faith and explore various faiths as well to know truth from falsehood.

To be read up on this stuff, check out the Resources and Information tag here on Black Witch, especially the The Arts!: Samhain Editions because they list books and sites for you to read and visit and that should really help because right now you sound like you’re on the fence so just keep everything under your hat for now until things have solidified a little more.

If you’ve got a poor temper that you’ve a hard time to let go, I would recommend meditation and counseling. Doing meditation and more religious practice will help you through your personal problems and keep you from flying off the handle and counseling (I recommend doing a google search or going to Psychology Today to look for affordable therapists) to deal with your problems. I understand how a bad temper can rip through practice but your faith, regardless of whatever faith, is supposed to help reel that in. This is given that you are consistent in practice of whatever faith you choose to practice. Some of the books recommended – and I’ll always recommend Where To Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy because that’s where I got my start and is a fantastic book – will have meditation techniques in there for you to use readily. You could even google search basic meditation techniques and use those. You won’t become some dark witch or anything, especially when you have your first dealings with karmic repercussions. It’s one thing if you’re evil by nature but it another to just have a temper like any other human being. As you keep practicing, you’ll probably find yourself calming down more as time goes on and your opinions/perspectives change so again, I recommend meditation and counseling. If you don’t truly want to be the ever-hexing witch (and you won’t, it’ll be too much trouble and energy) you fear, then you won’t be.

Me and my friends want to swap bodies, and I also want to swap bodies with this girl. However I know she won’t agree but I like her and want to learn about her so I can impress her. So do you have a voluntarily body swap spell for my friends and a non-voluntarily spell for the girl
– Mike

Oh geez, when I first saw this I first thought “Another body swap spell?” and then I saw the girl part. Dude, no. If you want to learn about someone, you get to know them the normal way: talking to them, chatting with them online, things like that, just like how you got to know your friend. Don’t worry about impressing her – besides, if she saw this, she probably would be super creeped out. If she doesn’t want you to get to know her, deal with it. Maybe you should learn communication skills instead of asking for spells – something I don’t give out on Black Witch. Besides, body swap or possession anything takes a great deal of learning in witchcraft as well as skill, something I can probably bet you don’t have at all. Magick is too advanced for you, especially what you’re asking for, stick with learning communication and stuff that doesn’t involve coercing people, no one wants to get to know or be impressed by potential creepers/psychos.

I have been reading for the past 10+ years on and off books like the power of the psalms, candle magick. I live in southern California and I have always looked for other black witches in the area with no luck in finding any. And my questions I have two, 1. I had a reading about 8 years ago and I was told I was a white witch under Christ rule is this possible? 2. I have lost, I will say power when I moved back to Callie. How can I get that back again? I come from a family that believes but won’t tell you anything and now days I am over 3000 miles away and I am the baby of the family and I do not won’t to lose the art is there any kind of way you can help me and point me in the direction of someone who want a student?
Blessed Be
– Gwenaveir

Eh, it sounds like you’re a Christian Witch – or at least a Christianity-influenced Witch – judging from the fact that you read and reference books like Power of the Psalms so I don’t see how it could really concern you on being a “white witch under Christ rule” since it sounds like you already are (this is ignoring the fact that there’s no real thing as a white or black magick – outside of colloquial description I would suppose – since magick is colored by intent and nothing is really pure on either side). I mean, it is completely possible to be a Christian Witch and if the Christian path/theology is right for you, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to spread your net to something less Abrahamic influenced if it bothers you that much.

I don’t think you lost power, just settling down after a move and hence still getting back into the swing of things. Just calm down, do what you did in the past to gather energy and it should come back, you and yourself is still settling from being one place to another, it’s going to take time.

The last part confused me somewhat, does your family practice magick but keeps it secret or something? What your family does, short of putting a fix on you or traumatizing you somehow, shouldn’t really have much bearing on your metaphysical practice. But you also mentioned that you’re the baby of the family so I guess you’re homesick and when amongst familiarity you thrive (which makes total sense because the mind is at ease) but all in all, it seems that you don’t really need to be a student of anyone because these are kinda issues you can still solve yourself through time and practice. I recommend you do that for a little bit, at least a few weeks, before throwing up an ad for student practice on WitchVox – but you can socialize with people on Mystic Wicks, which is just as good, if not better.

I am having very serious difficult times right now, as many are. Serious financial difficulties, a house in foreclosure, and a neighbour who has coveted my property for years, harassed me, and may now finally succeed in getting his hands on it. I have tried to meditate and perform an out of body experience, as I have always felt that might awaken the powers I believe that lie dormant within me, and give me some insight into what I can do to help myself, but I can’t seem to concentrate like I should be able to.

Can you give me some insight into how I can help myself?

Y’know, it sounds like you should stay in your body for a second and do some actual doing. Walking outside your body isn’t going to do much in helping you A)Keep your home and B) Making sure your neighbor doesn’t get it (granted, if they are) unless you plan on haunting said neighbor. I would work with some people who specialize in foreclosure to make sure that you’re losing your home fair and square, not as a result of banks being their usual evil selves. Then, if it’s true that you can’t keep your house, then prep for that because you’re going to have bigger problems in the near future than your neighbor trying to nab your home. And just because they wanted your property does not necessarily mean they will get it.

TL;DR: The powers you need to awaken are that of a lawyer. Do that.

That usually would be it for this month (I only answer up to three questions per ABW) but I looked at my Formstack account and noticed I missed a couple due to either my email filtering them out or something like that so let me get to a couple.

I want to know if werewolves are real
– Jaszmin

Usually I joke and such but upon thought, I think it can be considered a good question. I looked up the definition of a werewolf in my trusty book o’ knowledge The Watkins Dictionary of Magic and here’s what it said about werewolves:

Werewolf: In occult and folk belief, a person who can transform into the form of a wolf and eat human flesh. In other cultures, individuals are similarly believed to become other fierce animals, such as a jaguar or a tiger. Compare Vampire and see also Lycanthropy.

Alrighty, Lycanthropy it is!

Lycanthropy: From the Greek lukos, “wolf”, and anthropos, “man”, the belief among practitioners of witchcraft and sorcery that a human being may transform into a wolf. In Europe the wolf was traditionally regarded as the most ferocious animal, and in this regard the sorcerer capable of such transformation personified bestial power and terror – hence the many legends of the werewolf. The term is also used generally to describe the magical act of changing into any wild animal, for example a hyena or tiger, and there are examples of “leopard men” in Africa and “jackal men” in the Congo. Some legends relating to lycanthropy may have their origin in the psychedelicexperience, since it is now considered that hallucinatory witchcraft potions are responsible for the legend of witches travelling through the air to the witches’ Sabbath, riding on their broomsticks. Many shamans – some of whom use psychedelic sacraments – similarly believe themselves capable of self-transformation, and assume the form of a power animal.

Oh wait, there’s more. I looked up the history of lycanthropy on the internet and came across a couple good finds.

In “Lycanthropy – A History of the Werewolf”, written by Geffyb, explains that the werewolf was especially feared during the Middle Ages when wolves commonly attacked men unprovoked and thus thought of as evil men doing the work of the devil. There were various takes on the story of the werewolf and how one becomes such a thing. There’s mental illness, a punishment of God, or through satanic rituals. The method we all know and hear of so commonly comes from Italy, Germany and France and expresses that a man could become a werewolf if he slept outside on a particular Wednesday or Friday on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on his face.

In “Lycanthropy: Myth and Medical”, written by Jennifer Cruver-Plaza, she brings up the earliest mention of lycanthropy being in Metamorphoses, written by Ovid (43 BCE – 17 CE). Then there’s the medical condition Werewolf syndrome, congenital hypertrichosis, which has several various strains. Though the condition is rare, it has been documented in the sixth and seventh centuries through four generations within the Gonzales family where, Petrus Gonzales, his kids and their grandchild were called the Family of Ambras. The condition makes them dog faced. Then there’s a psychological disorder where patients act or believe that they are indeed animals and does not exactly remember what they did but believe they were possessed by something. And there’s being poisoned by a fungus called ergot of rye, called ergotism, which was particularly nasty.

And there you have it. So technically, they can be real but not exactly as media such as Twilight would like to picture it.

I’d answer the other missed ones but they’re lol-worthy so I’ll save them for a future Ask Black Witch: Off Day. Don’t let the fact I missed a couple discourage everyone else from using the Ask Black Witch Submission Form. Remember there are other ways to contact me, go to the Contact Me page to learn how!

I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival all this weekend so try and spot me! Plus, I will be at Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor 2 signing today at around 7 PM. Signing is from 6-8PM at Soundgarden in Baltimore, MD.