Archive for December, 2012


Ask Black Witch

It’s the last Ask Black Witch of 2012! Let’s hope in the next year, I’ll get even more questions! Let’s start!

Dear Black Witch, Is there any kind of sorcery that is good for combating depression or for good emotional health?
– Nigel P.

I had followed up with this email because it should be known that you don’t have to do magick or anything else of the occult to solve mental problems. Hey, even I have a therapist. The reader responded that he will be seeing a therapist soon and is reading Carlos Castaneda.

Now, I’m glad that he’s getting some therapy for his depression and to maintain his emotional and mental health but I rather him be more cautious on using any metaphysics to solve mental or emotional problems and this is for anyone. When dealing with mental issues, metaphysics should be dialed back some because it’s an easily frustrating and stressful field that can tax the mind. Depending on the severity of the mental issue, that should be the main focus because once that is at a stable level or done with, the metaphysics practice won’t complicate things. Practicing metaphysics is fine but when you have mental health problems, it’s important to treat it like a physical health problem. If you had a cold or a broken leg, you take time out to care for it, ditto with issues of the mind. It sucks but necessary.

While there is that, it is also important to have a good therapist that is actually going to help instead of being a money pit. A good therapist should accent your life and help you deal with your troubles in a way that benefits you. So if you don’t want medication to treat your problems, for example, your therapist should respect that. Your therapist should listen to you and if they show any bias that could conflict (such as you being Black and the therapist is White and simply showing it), move on to the next. There are therapists for every pay scale and regardless of whether or not you have insurance. I checked through Google by simply typing “therapist”, clicked “Maps” and went from there. I also looked on Psychology Today, Pagan Therapy and a couple other links Google provided. I’m on a sliding scale so I pay next to nothing for the therapy I receive and actually need. Don’t settle for one that doesn’t work with you or refuses to listen to you. And if their personal opinions seem to color how they treat you, leave.

What are your thoughts on offerings or lack thereof in rituals and spellwork?
– Terri B.

Hm, it doesn’t really bug me. I don’t, actually. When I got started into Paganism, I was a teen still under my parents’ roof so no physical offerings happening there and thus it stuck. I try to offer time and talent so that is kinda like an offering but no physical ones.

Are they unimportant? No, they can be very important and for some spirits and deities. And definitely read up on the various deities and if they absolutely need offerings or not to build a relationship. I choose not to, and it’s a possibility I could change in the future, but it doesn’t mean that others should go without if they actually want to. There are different ways to celebrate and communicate with a deity.

And that’s ABW for this month and this year! Yaaaaay! And don’t forget to shop at the Black Witch Gift Shoppe! And use the end of year 35% coupon: DoneWithTheHolidays

It’s the holidays! Huzzah, happy Yule! Buy stuff from the BW Gift Shoppe (Use the 25% coupon: ThankYou25)!  Let’s get into it!

Christmas Battle: KRS-One x Lupe Fiasco

Too cute! Found this on Mike Shinoda’s blog and now played it since BW has begun!

W00t!

And here’s some omake: DMX singing “Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer”. I was waiting for one of these.

Rolling Jubilee

Being in debt sucks. Occupy has adopted a new strategy about this: buy up the debt and abolish it! Right now they have scratched off medical debts, credit card debts (I wonder when they’ll get to student debt) and decided to make many seasons bright for countless Americans. Please support them in their endeavors as they wipe countless slates clean.

Rolling Jubilee

Strike Debt

EddsWorld

I have watched Eddworld for years, it’s a fantastic series! It’s truly a shame that the show’s creator, Edd Gould, has passed away due to leukemia. The last short he made was Space Case but he couldn’t complete part 2 fully due to his passing but his friends pulled it through

I have many personal favorites. I really liked “Matt Sucks”

They also make film shorts. The one I like most is “Ambulance”

Subcribe to EddsWorld, fill your world with teh happy.

And that’s Black Witch for this week. Next week is Ask Black Witch so send in your questions! Tweet them, email them, use the submission form, ask on Tumblr, just get them in! And remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Get em in!

Medicine and Potions

What I have noticed as a constant in the Black Pagan community is a strong favor towards homeopathy over modern medicine such as vaccines. Always they would talk about their illnesses and ask what herbs or stones to get, what deities to pray to and such. It’s really troubling when they want to use this for their children’s primary care as well. I find that to be intensely problematic.

To have absolute distrust of vaccines is like raising a fuss over the water having fluoride in it, it’s very alarmist. It does more harm than good to opt out of “childhood vaccines” (e.g. Mumps, measles, polio, etc). Now, I personally have my reservations with shots such as flu and tetanus for my own reasons but it is not a bad idea overall to get the childhood vaccines because they prevent extremely fatal and preventable illnesses such as the whooping cough. It is okay to use potions and other forms homeopathy  but to rely on them totally while having incredible distrust of its more modern form, medicine, can still cause major health problems. I make potions myself to help when I get sick but I still go to a doctor when things get bad.

While it is a little foolish to be super skeptic of all vaccines, it is perfectly fine to be concerned about institutionalized racism in medicine because there is a long, very steady streak in that reaches into modern times such as now. Given that the face of medicine and science in the West is White, that can definitely cause suspicions to any minority that is concerned about their health because any minority that is aware of their history knows, usually when it comes to something vital, racism can really cause quite a body count through stereotyping, misinformation and forcing destructive privilege. When racism clearly will stop otherwise intelligent doctors and scientists from accepting perfectly good doctors and scientists from even entering medical schools or to simply help people thanks to their extremely illogical, unbelievably shortsighted and incredibly irrational ideas of those who can’t pass the paper bag test, it makes perfect sense to distrust that same system when it asks you to give them your arm so they can inject something into it.

History is riiiiiiiiiiife with medicine not boding well if you’re not White. Tuskegee, anyone? How about Eugenics? Even Bayer tested on victims of the Holocaust (and before someone screeches, “They were White! Racism affects us too!” there were more than Whites being detained. There were Blacks and Asians too, please get your facts straight).  There are countless, countless documents about racism in medicine and immunization – sadly science won’t fit in the scope of this post but, man, is there a lot of bigotry there too – that warps how minorities look at medicine and the system that provides it. Granted, in some of the writings I link to, the bigotry is pretty well outlined: “At least three patient factors affect ethnic and racial disparities in immunization rates: patient preferences, distrust of ‘the system,’ and lack of knowledge. For example, certain racial or ethnic groups may be more likely to call on religious or lay healers or to seek informal help through social networks rather than seeking care from physicians. Further, members of racial/ethnic minority groups often express a preference for providers from their own background, and such providers may not be available. Only 9%of physicians and 12.3% of nurses are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.” (p. 657, Larson) It already reeks a little of “They’re so irrational to be trusting these non-sciencey people we never vetted because of some silly conspiracy theory of ‘the system’ like we’re planning this.” How rude. At least the lay healers and social networks are less racist than the folks wearing lab coats on average. Unless you’re White, not sharing the same opinions as George Zimmerman is kinda a big deal because that creates the difference between being a sick person and a dead person. And, remember, this is a document that is actually talking about racism in medicine, thus recognizing it, and they’re still applying prejudice on the sly. That’s how pervasive that problematic (and potentially deadly) thinking is.

‘Ey, before I get any deeper, maybe we should familiarize ourselves with how vaccines are made and how they work. So here’s How Are Vaccines Made and there’s even a fun, interactive game called History of Vaccine which will take you through the times about health, sickness and preventative care from the 1600s to now.

Vaccines, in and of themselves, are not bad. To be honest, it’s better to be vaccinated overall because it reduces the chances of infection and fatal illnesses that are very preventable. There’s a reason why Americans do not have severe outbreaks of measles or polio. Right now, there is work on the HIV/AIDS virus and last I checked there has been amazing strides towards the cure and vaccine. Yes, there is the argument of mandatory vaccines and autism but even that has been proven not to be connected. In their purest form, vaccines are to be just that, a serum to prevent illness.

When it comes to medicine, potions are the starting point of it all. Whether science likes it or not, it has a lot of starts in witchcraft and medicine is included. What used to be regarded as folk herbs and folk medicine has been studied, bottled up and distributed in the form of pills, shots and syrups. There are various types of potions such as teas, tinctures, poultices and wraps. Some that I use are to help my throat when it’s sore, when my muscles are achy/inflamed/swollen, cramps, etc etc. I use potion work with modern medicine so I reduce visits to the doctor and stay healthy. I’m a little lucky that I have so many doctors and health professionals in my family (pretty much all my aunts and both of my grandmothers) so medicine knowledge trickles down but it’s information anyone who pretty much stayed awake in biology or biochem should know since medicine is merely knowing how the body works and how different substances interact with the body.

Anyone who is thinking of getting into herbalism and potion work should pick up a few books on how the body works, botany and things of that nature because without proper knowledge, potion work can become very, very harmful. Do not relax on the idea that because it came from nature, it’s harmless. There are plenty of plants, creatures and occurrences that come from nature and the earth and are plenty dangerous. To assume Mother Nature is some kind and benevolent being clearly is not a very realistic person. Possibly a fluffy bunny that should stay very far away from potions so they don’t mistakenly kill someone.

Aside from the natural function of the body’s immune system and things that can be used to strengthen them, I don’t believe there is a potion version of the vaccine besides vaccines themselves since they use actual parts of germs and viruses and, welp, there was nothing like that back in the heyday of potion making. Potions were taking things from nature and using those to make remedies for illnesses. This doesn’t mean that making teas and tinctures are phony and useless, it means that everyone has a territory for their own. Potion work isn’t perfect and neither is modern medicine but combined, they can create a pretty healthy person.

So! Get at least your childhood vaccinations? Yes. Be aware that the instruction of medicine can be super prejudiced to the point it could kill you if you’re a minority? Yep. Are potions worthwhile to do? Sure are, just know what you’re doing. Is it smart to distrust vaccines and go with homeopathy instead? Nah, not really, get at least the basic shots and know how vaccines are made. Don’t slough off potions for modern medicine? Sure, modern medicine had to start somewhere. Don’t slough off modern medicine for potions? Please don’t, modern medicine isn’t a total cock up, just some of the people who study it and all of the institution that administers it. Is fluoride bad for you? Newp, it strengthens your teeth with the amount that is in drinking water.

Stay healthy!

Next week is The Arts! Who is being featured:

– Lupe Fiasco x KRS-One Christmas Battle
– Rolling Jubilee
– EddsWorld

After that is Ask Black Witch, the last of 2012! Send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

I always abhorred how the BW shop would be ever so bare! Now it isn’t! Check out the various things I’ve made! Like any? Click the pic and get taken straight to the store!

Stone bracelets
I’m making stone bracelets in various styles (starting with wrapped bead bracelets because I think they’re nifty) and made a ton of amazonite bracelets. I also have sodalite but those will be added later. I really think that these are neat and fantastic.

Wrapped Cord Amazonite Bracelet

Wrapped Cord Bracelet - Blue

Amazonite wrapped bead bracelet

Watches
Here’s the thing about me and watches, I don’t like strapped down watches. It irks me and my skin so these are all drop down/charm watches. You already saw one above, the amazonite one (and trust, there will be more stone beaded watches) and here’s another below that uses a charm from one of the new mini lines, Wintry Mix.

Wintry Mix Watch Wintry Mix Watch, alt angle

The little charm on the end is a blue macaroon charm with a blue Swarovski crystal on its shell. It was fun making the macaroon.

Cupcake Necklaces
If you’ve seen pictures of me, you’ll notice I really love cupcake charms. Cupcake rings (which are coming soon), cupcake necklaces, they’re fantastic. These two are from the new mini lines, Wintry Mix and Wonder Witch

Wintry Mix Cupcake Necklace

I really love the marbling effect of the base! It was an accidental discovery but one I’m glad to make. I’m really hyped on the little ice cream scoop and how well it came out, the tinier they are, the more likely they are to turn out not so cool. With exception to the cupcake base, no molds are used so everything else is made with my hands and tools nearby. And look! Sprinkles! Trust me, they will stay in place.

Wonder Witch Cupcake Necklace

See, I made a deco cane because I’ve simply been trying to make deco canes because just my luck, there aren’t any with lightning bolts (BW logo) or any other design that I like. Which sucks because deco canes from scratch aren’t always easy. Getting frustrated with the bolt forever being misshapen and only a couple decent ones, I made other designs and that’s how Wonder Witch came about. There’s a marble effect on the base as well in black and white, a drip down effect, a peppermint swirl and cute little twists on the back.

Herbal Vial Necklaces
There’s only one now but expect more! The one currently in stock is a lavender filled vial necklace.

The vial is super durable and the cork is sealed very well so don’t worry about it falling apart on you when you’re running around.

Glowing things!
I have made glowing charms as part of the Glow Night mini line (There’s four of them: Wintry Mix, Wonder Witch, Sweet Fall and Glow Night) the one currently up for sale is the dollop bracelet.

This is so cool, look at what it does after being subjected to light

Glow Night Bracelet Glow

Rad, right?

These are some of the things that are in the shop. If you liked any of what you saw, click on the picture or section titles, it’ll take you straight to the proper page.

Now a word about the stone and herbal products: None of them are charmed or enchanted in any way, shape or form. I don’t want anyone to get the idea that since a Witch made them, they must be magickal somehow. Newp, they’re just things I made. If you would like to enchant them, feel free to purchase and do whatever you like when you get them.

Now go! Buy and be happy! And don’t forget to use the 25% coupon code ThankYou25. That’s going to last until after Dec 22. Use it!

There are those who have relationships that are on life support or total corpses and these folks wanna use stones, herbs and/or candles to bring the relationship back to life. Boy, are these folks the depressive sort.

The thing about relationships and magick is that, although magick is boundless and there is no such thing as impossible, it shouldn’t be used to provide a dying relationship CPR. If mundane actions such as communicating or interacting with each other in an equal manner couldn’t save the relationship, I highly doubt rocks and candles would.

Think about it, magick is to provide help with life, not live it for you. If a person has to rely on stones that help fidelity, candles that increase passion or herbs that creates irresistibility to keep a relationship alive or going, it’s time to consider pulling the plug. A relationship should be of two people who actually care and enjoy each other’s friendship to the point they feel romantic emotions. The love should be from deep down inside, not based on anything superficial. To be looking towards magick does say that one person at least wants the relationship to go well but also telling that there are some deep cracks in the relationship that’s probably going to ultimately kill it if not actually identified. Instead of working on clearing up the symptoms, work on the illness. And this is to say nothing of the fact that these metaphysical works do have to be recharged to keep going, they’re not permanent.

In my experience, when asking the inquirers about their relationships and why they are looking for whatever it is that they are, it really does seems like there are deeper problems that no bell, book or candle could solve on its own. If there’s no solving the problem that is starting all the issues, there’s no point. Assuming there is an issue and not a bad case of paranoia.

There are folks who are simply not cut out for relationships because they have so many issues with themselves that bleed into their interactions. They don’t trust others, they believe every negative stereotype about the gender they date, haven’t truly healed from past hurts, there’s a variety of reasons why these folks should take a break from relationships but they don’t. Instead they rather buy all these things that won’t help the relationship because it can’t help the person having the messed up ideas. If a person is forever suspicious of their significant other cheating despite the significant other not doing anything suspicious nor has a background in being unfaithful, there’s no magick in the world that could help the relationship and keep it afloat because the problem is not the relationship but one of the people in the relationship. It may seem easier to buy a candle and ask it to provide emotional security in the relationship but, trust, it’s a lot better to talk to the significant other and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Then there’s the fact that some do not understand – or want to understand – that the problem could be with them or the type of people they prefer to date. If a person consistently dates the cheating type, the problem isn’t necessarily the person they date (although, anyone who is a cheating type is certainly problematic), it’s them themselves because it’s their choice to get involved with such a person. This person, instead of looking within themselves and going “Hm, why do I keep going for these types?” would rather be stalking around a metaphysical shop trying to find black salt, various stones, candles, whatever to thwart any possible sneaking about their lover could be doing. And it’s a real doozy if they finally found one who actually is faithful because this person will have it so deep in their head that all wo/men cheat and thus that significant other will be treated the same. This person (and note I never called them a “witch” or anything that signifies dedicated metaphysical practice because usually it’s not a Witch but a dabbler) will probably never get it through their head that magick will not solve the problem. If anything, it may even exacerbate the drama and ultimate death of it.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have had the experience of talking to these folks as they stood there sifting through whatever 7 day candle looks most ominous and as I tried to be the voice of reason. If it’s for suspicions of cheating, I would ask, “Are you sure?”, “If you’re sure that this is a constant problem, why stay?”, “Have you guys had a sit-down discussion, do you really think magick is needed?” If it’s for lack of communication, I would ask “Does s/he know how you feel about this?”, “Have you guys actually talked? As in, you both are being totally honest, being blunt and all?”, “You are aware that this is a bag of rocks and not an automatic truth serum you’re buying, right?” When it’s dealing with a person who has a money drain lover, it’s “Okay, have you thought about separate accounts so they can drain themselves and you don’t bail them out? They can’t play Wall St. forever”, “If this person is bad with money, have you told them?”, “These money spells you wanna cast won’t work if there’s a hole in the cup of fortune and it’s going to take more than magick to make someone decent with finances. Have you thought of dragging them to a finance seminar? The library has free programs.” No matter what, they are pretty much never deterred. They believe that magick is the silver bullet to their relationship when it really isn’t. Instead, these are problems where the person should think if it’s worth keeping their significant other around or not.

Now, all this is different from mutual rituals that are declarations and confirmations of love. Those can also involve herbs, stones and candles that symbolizes strengthened love, increased passion and things of that nature but they’re used as a supplement instead of as the defibrillator. There’s nothing wrong to have stones, herbs or candles that symbolize happiness and good fortune on the relationship, that’s what marriages are essentially, but the issue here is that these materials are not often used in this fashion.

The most outstanding problem of all this, once everything else is stripped away, is that it impinges on controlling others through magick, always a bad idea. These folks are not trying to really help the relationship through magick but fix it to their liking. It should be simple, if you don’t like the person you’re dating or they’re doing a deal-breaker, the relationship should come to a halt. No one is perfect, that’s fact, but no one should put up with dating people they don’t like either. Of course, it’s never that easy in every relationship but things shouldn’t get so bad that magick is sought out to help the problem. This is a spot where magick should not be needed because it’s a mundane issue. Everyone has relationship hiccups and no one has to practice the occult to remedy them, anyone who thinks that clearly should stay away from dating (and the occult) as a whole.

It’s important to use as little magick (to none at all) in the basic runnings of a relationship. A relationship should have intrinsic value, it should mean something sincere to the people in it. That can’t be faked through magick and if magick was used to make love happen where there isn’t, it could definitely produce a lot of problems from creating an obsessive love to a forever tumultuous relationship that’s hard to leave. It’s just too easy to complicate things with magick, especially a relationship.

Besides, if the significant other is this much of a problem, don’t use magick to change them, just dump the fool already.

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