Archive for January, 2013


Ask Black Witch: Off Day

No questions this month so that leaves me open to talk about whatever. I’m feelin better, no more cold but I do have a lingering cough which is going away so yay!

Now, I have free space but I don’t feel like rambling about anything. I’ll answer some derp questions. Naaaaaaaaaaaaah. I had a good time at Janelle Monae’s Inauguration Party earlier this week so I’mma do some music!

Here is some Deep Cotton, “We’re Far Enough from Heaven, Now We Can Freak Out”

And here is a song that Janelle Monae’s guitarist and my good friend Kellindo collab’d on, “Uhuru”, produced by Lance Powlis.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! I’m not a party person but it was really fun!

BW Post: Sick Leave

So, throughout this weekend I have tried to sit down and bang out a column for The Arts! but I’mma have to do these features for next month because all I’ve been doing is spending time in bed hacking and coughing and occasionally doing a death rattle when not pilfering about on Tumblr. So no post for this weekend. I am feeling better but not good enough that I can write out a decent post within a sufficient amount of time.

Go check out the BWshoppe instead, I added new stuff before I fell really ill.

Next week I should definitely be better so send in questions for Ask Black Witch! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated

 

 

BW: Sick Day

So. I’m sick. Been sick with a head cold since Saturday. That means delayed posting so expect the new post between now and Sunday. To tide y’all over, watch this vid of my friend Gurpreet making to Hollywood on American Idol (yes, I have my opinions on singing show but right now A) too sick to care B) part of being a good friend is knowing when not to be a buzzkill)

Just in! Black Witch is officially available on the Kindle for $0.99! First 14 days are free so check it out!

I was around close to downtown and looked at some of the books in the local shops and stalls. Some of these books are the predictable Afriboo* types that talk about science and politics and social structures but I picked up this one because the cover was that comedic.

bs1

I mean, look at that cover, doesn’t it scream “All my facts are going to be more slanted than Fox News on President Obama”? You have the obvious Afriboo name, even with an actual Afrika as the last name. Then there’s the super poor, super grainy molecular structure picture. This is already the first red flag – not necessarily the poor quality picture but the joke structure they got up there. Looking at the University of Virginia’s chemistry page, it explains that the exact structure of melanin is quite elusive. And here’s a Wikipedia page that talks more in depth about melanin, even throwing out a few actual structures since there are different types of melanin.Yeah, you’ve probably noticed that the structure doesn’t look as complex and “scientific-y” as what this book has. I guess I should be pleased that the dude didn’t figure out how to craft this into an ankh somehow. Y’know, because the first Blacks are from Kenya/the African Equator Egypt. And those daring bulletpoints! You would think that this book would be the size of a tome if it were going to go into all of these intriguing facts instead of a basic bathroom reader. What, did the dude not want to intimidate the Black race with extended literacy and literature?

Then there’s the back of the book, which explains that it didn’t want to use Latin so that even the most basic simpleton could get it. But here’s the thing, Latin is well infused in English. Like the words “ridicule” (ridere), the terms patron and matron (pater/mater), frigid (frigere), fraternity/sorority (frater/soror) so on and so forth. If you wanna see more Latin injected into language, look at the Romantic** languages French, Italian and Spanish. I understand that some terms like Jaundice (which means “yellow”) can be really intimidating sounding because it’s more than just Latin terms but there’s Greek as well but they have English counterparts and can be explained because they have to since the average person is not a doctor. The book said that a lot of melanin chatter has a lot of Latin in it but that should not be the problem itself and trust and believe anyone can learn Latin. It’s the internet, just Google and learn. I learned it in high school, it’s not that difficult. This guy is just trying the lazy argument of “Oh man, they’re talkin’ a different language than us Blacks, that’s how they’re tryin’ to keep us down”. It would have been a great argument in the 1800s or so because it was a relevant argument but nowadays, there is the internet. And calling Latin an “awkward, primitive” language – don’t he sound an awful lot like White folks who say the same about Black slang and Black languages as a whole?

The table of contents, they smell of Afriboo goodness and material. Pseudo-scientific terminology? Check. African-esque font? Ka-chek. Lack of bibliography? Check. Mentioning “melanin” so many times you’d think the whole book would say “Melanin. Melanin melanin mel. Mel melanin melanin Black melanin. Melanin” and nothing else? Check. Possible nonsense use of metaphysical concepts such as chakras and zodiacs (Most likely tropical zodiac, which is pretty Western)? Check and mate. You can almost hear the internalized racism and backward spewing that’s about to happen humming. I could already bet five bucks this dude was gonna say something a)homophobic b) racist, even against Blacks and especially anything outside the Black/White spectrum c) sexist/misogynistic.

And then, there was the anatomy section.

The anatomy section what I randomly found myself on when I first flipped through the book and I was laughing. Like, mad rollin.

This section is so poorly done I really am shocked anyone takes it seriously. Here came some of the misogyny: The dude couldn’t name the proper parts of a woman’s genitalia. Like, everything was “vagina” something.

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Black Race, left; White Race, right

“Vagina Lips”? Really? 27 flippin years as a supposed “doctor” and you don’t even know the freaking basics? Someone did try to tell me that the dude wanted to keep it simple but this is keeping it ignorant and really not benefiting women – or anyone else – in the least. Firstly, there are two sets of lips in the genitalia (not everything is the vagina, folks. Trust me, I own a set) and that is the labia minora and the labia majora. Oh noes! LATIN. What does this secret Latin talk mean?! Easy, labia majora is “big lips” and labia minora is “little lips” and they refer to the outer and inner lips of the vulva, which is the female outer genital region. And let’s get into the comparison between White and Blacks (and, of course, ignore everyone else in the world because according to this book: eh, screw ‘em). Apparently Black women are supposed to be tighter (lololololo, virgin reference), have something like a lengthened flora lifespan. White chicks are supposed to be “smaller”, that’s it. Is. He. Serious? This is medicinal science? More like a travesty to it. I’ve read longer, better written pieces on the labia/vulva on Tumblr. Not all Black women are built the same down there. Yes, there are trends related to racial physical  structure but this surely isn’t it. And notice that the whole “tightness” thing doesn’t really have anything to do with women in and of themselves but what a woman’s body can do for a guy because why on earth would the average woman care if they have vacuum seal or not since it has nothing to do with the body besides intercourse? (And with a dude, of course, gay folks don’t exist!) This is stupid, misogynistic and very short sighted. And about the whole “flora” thing, that already has super wavy logic because I don’t think the Black woman labia naturally keeps microorganisms better because that sounds like illnesses such as yeast infection and such are bound to happen rampantly because the vagina apparently can’t flush itself out with natural discharge. Yeah. Stupid logic. Unless flora is a pseudonym for “semen”, lolz. With how wack this doc is, I wouldn’t put it past him. Not when he seems to lack understanding of the female human body when it is not in relation to a man.

“Vaginal shaft” is where a red flag parade should be in full stomp and speed right now. Wanna know the legit name for the vaginal shaft? Vagina. This is the vagina, folks. Really. Freakin. Basic. It is not a vaginal shaft, it is the vagina, in and of itself. No one has to be a doctor to know that fact, you should know that just from staying awake in Health or Biology in high school. And again with the whole “relation to a man thing”! The Black woman vagina is supposed to be longer and allow increased muscular activity? Seriously? Basically, “this only exists for the peen of the Black man and nuttin’ else!” Yeah, that’s not science, that nonsense. And it’s rude too because the vagina doesn’t exists strictly so a guy as something to stick his penis in (note that the vagina, uterus and the rest of the baby making parts don’t disappear in lesbians), if there is going to be scientific, medical discussion about genitalia, the talk has to be about that organ exclusively, not how it can serve others. This guy doesn’t see women as people, does he?

The “penis” part is funny because of some of the same reason as the previous two, it’s scientifically inaccurate and more sex-based than anything. Not every Black dude has a dong that could parallel the Sears Tower, it’s a racist factoid that was created by White culture waaaaaaaaaay back when some centuries ago to dehumanize Black folks (“Because if you make Blacks more animal-like, then slavery and racism doesn’t look that bad!” is how they saw it) and this was one of the ways, by exaggerating features. Thanks for continuing the work of White socio-cultural prejudice, doc! And the penis exists for more than just being a jizz launcher but I guess in the eyes of this doc, that doesn’t really matter much.

bs ss3

The stemoclavicular muscle? Firstly, that’s a joint. There’s a sternohyoid muscle and a stemoclavicular joint. They’re in the same regions (which is pretty apparent in their names) and hey, I thought this dude said that he was gonna stay away from big and difficult words? And dude, wtf? You compared Black people to monkeys. Let this marinate for a second, folks. He said “monkey”. Not in the evolution-man-came-from-monkeys, way but in the Black-people-are-like-monkeys way. He didn’t take the scientific route but the racist route. Monkeys. Are you kidding me? Dude. No.

I could spend all day on this section – seriously, check out the “sacral spot” and “breath” – but we gotta move on, this whole book’s crappy nature has to be exposed in all its Afriboo glory.

Here comes the fake psychology! Firstly, it’s sociological trends I think this dude is trying to note as psychology has more to do with the individual and sociology has more to do with the collective/crowd. Duh.

Throughout this whole thing, it seems the quack is trying to paint Whites as this unfeeling animal that is not capable of humanity or thought. Now, though there are many passages in the pages of history that could definitely loan itself to those ideas about the race (chattel slavery, institutionalized racism, colorism, atom bombing, church bombings, colonialism, lynchings, imperialism, Vietnam War, Laos, Iraq, South Africa/apartheid, stealing land from the indigenous and the treatment of the indigenous thereafter, Civil Rights movement, etc etc etc), science is still supposed to be objective. Racialized science is a bad idea, no matter whose side it’s defending. And the stuff for Blacks in this section is absolutely pathetic and completely erroneous and/or unscientific.

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Is this quack serious? Blacks are monotheistic? You’re joking, right? There are hundreds, if not thousands of tribes in Africa (because, remember, it’s a continent) and I can very much assure you that they were polytheistic as all get out. Polytheism stems from animism and animism was pretty much one of the first metaphysical concepts of human as they were trying to figure out this world that surrounds them through personification. And I’m pretty freakin sure that when this guy says “monotheistic”, it’s code for “Abrahamic”. As in, Blacks are supposed to be naturally Christian or Muslim (remember, there’s that weird anti-Semitic thing about Judaism Afriboos have so that’s not always counted). Which is, frankly, Grade-A, USDA approved, utter bullsh*t. It’s not a “European” concept to believe in many gods, especially since Europe as we all know it came later than Africa and Asia, which houses some of the very first civilizations. Did he buy his degree from the internet?

Then there’s the part that paints the Black race with the broadest brush evar: Maat. Everything is all about Maat, which participates in the usual hyper focus of Egypt and the culture of the land there. Kemet is nifty but it sure ain’t all there is to Africa, trust. And not all Blacks, since we don’t move in lockstep and there’s no All Black Everything convention to decide how to move in lockstep, are going to buy the whole Maat/Kemet thing for themselves. I don’t practice strictly African traditions and neither does everyone else who is Black and Pagan. We acknowledge it because it does deserve that and no one should attempt to scribble away its validity but not every Black person is going to adhere to it because not every Black person is exactly the same. And this so-called “doc” should stop trying to use Maat as an excuse for everything from civility to science to sex (especially sex, this guy really should never hop on that subject ever again). It doesn’t look cool when the Christians do it with Jesus, it doesn’t look any better with Maat.

Just like the anatomy section, the psych section is filled with failure. Like, all fail.

And ‘ey yo, look! We have our own sleep pattern!

bs ss5

I didn’t know our sleeping was so…so…cosmic. I thought I snooze the same way my non-Black friends do. I mean, yeah there’s things like lucid dreaming, dream walking and astral projection, those are totally legit and fine. But those happenings are not race exclusive, many cultures have some sort of manifestation for these events, these instances are human experiences, they’re worldwide. It’s not a Black Only event is what I’m trying to say and not every Negro has this amazing experience as described. We collect our z’s the same way as everyone else does.

Oh, hey, hijacking other cultures holistic methods! Discussing chakras and the zodiac? Those two didn’t start in Africa. That’s more Middle East/Western concepts. So much for staying Blacker than Black. And then, create all this misinformation that is full of crap and even goes as far as denigrating the races/culture these concepts came from. Totes rad, man. Totes rad.

This book, as you can see for yourself, is complete rubbish. It’s definitely a laugh but it’s also concerning when noticing that folks take this literary crap bucket seriously. It’s bigoted, misogynistic, filled with erroneous facts, actually racist against Blacks, just worthless as anything potentially intellectual. It’s an insult to those who actually studies and preserves African culture and Africana diaspora culture only to be compared against completely written up trash created by someone who calls himself a doctor but has the term “fraud” next to their name commonly in Google searches. Just skimming this book (like I’d actually read this from cover to cover, please) and picking out random sections, I can see where the accusations are coming from.

Folks, just stay away from Afriboo books, they’re bad for your intellect and we Blacks deserve way more than this waste of paper and binding. No wonder these folks are so easily laughed out of lauded institutions and circles, not even considered a slight threat.

Next week is The Arts! Let’s see who is gonna get featured

– Red Oak Wands/ Merlin’s Realm
– Smooth E
– Nikki Lynette
What Are You Doing Here? (Laina Dawes) Black Women in Heavy Metal

After that is Ask Black Witch so send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Pow!

*Afriboo: A term coined here on Black Witch to describe those who have a sharply biased infatuation with the continent Africa in the same manner weaboos do for Japan. Read the initial post here: Blacked Out Blind

** Romantic languages mean they stem from Latin, which was spoken in Roman culture, hence the term “Romantic languages”

Happy New Year! W00t!

So, I have been in the market for a wand for a while. I never really had an interest in them except for a couple years ago when I saw some fantastic crystal tipped, wire wrapped wands and thus I have an on and off desire to look for them. Since I don’t really know of any wand makers in Baltimore or Maryland and the ones I see in the metaphysical shops looks lame to me, onward to Etsy I go! It seems to have everything I want in one place, I would not trust Ebay at all and google searches are headache inducing.It’s best that the wand is handmade, anything manufactured would not really feel the same in usage since it wouldn’t really mean much. Besides, the average wand is made of wood, to have them mass produced just doesn’t seem right since wands are supposed to be as different as the people buying or picking them.

First thing I noticed when I searched for wands on Etsy is the “Harry Potter ZOMGZ” overload and by the 25th page, it was kinda getting a little freakin annoying. I like Harry Potter, the books were very well written and the wands in the movie were fantastic but, please, not everyone is buying a wand for a prop. Some of the wands in the book cannot be recreated so simply (like phoenix or unicorn cored wands) and for the love of the gods, we get it, it’s supposed to be all mystical and magical, calm down. The descriptions for wands should not be corny or misleading. I already noticed a couple that said they had powerful spells in the handle of the wand and were used in spell duels. Immediately, I closed the tab, they’re clearly shooting for the teenage Pottermore crowd, even though some of the price tags clearly don’t agree. Now this doesn’t mean that one should totally pass up the HP inspired wands or any other inspired wands. I have seen some with R2-D2 and Sailor Moon wands, they’re great for younger practitioners or the young at heart. Inspired is fine but it’s important that the seller doesn’t mistakenly insult their potential buyer with leaning too heavy on the books because it’ll make that wand look like a cosplay prop very fast.

When it comes to looking up wands, the person who made it should be able to tell you everything about the wand. What is it made of (wood, wire, stone), how long is it (8”, 23”) and any other important details (crystal tipped, cored, creation of handle) that is a must-know. I have seen a couple nice wands but the person didn’t include what kind of wood or stone and that put me off because I want to be sure I’m getting what I’m buying. The only downside to buying wands online is that you can’t hold them and get a feel for them. I’m mega picky with wands and various other Pagan products to the point that even if I like the look – and trust, there’s plenty that look stunning – but if I don’t like the energy it gives, I won’t want it. I’m not buying a wand simply because it’s pretty but also for witchy practice. You pretty much gotta stare at pictures and try to sense what would be best for you. There is one maker that does give out free wood samples though to see how it would resonate with you (it’s the last picture on the bottom) and I think that’s great.

As far as price is concerned, that’s up to the practitioners. All a wand is, is simply a stick with possibly some embellishments on them. I’ve seen wands that are in the range of $5-$10, I’ve seen wands that are straight in the hundreds. I want a wand that won’t break the bank and I’ll not regret once getting it. Last I want to do is go after opening the box and lamenting, “I just paid $80 for a branch. A branch off a tree. A dang stick. Which grows for free. I spent more on a stick that grows for free than I do my electric bill.” That wand has to be something interesting and worth the price. The wand I was hunting for was $25, not a bad price for what the wand is made of and the fact I’ve been searching it for nearly half a decade.

The average wand should be the size of your forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Now, unless someone is going to go for a custom made or limits themselves to wands that are that size, that isn’t always applied here. I have seen wands being sold that are about 8” and I have seen wands in person that were about 5” tall. It really varies for the practitioner. I would like a wand that is preferably reaching a foot. Apparently, in my wand search, there are several that say they come with certificates of authenticity. I can see how they are supposed to reassure the purchaser but the thing is they’re not backed by some council of wand makers or anything. It is assumed that the wand you’re depicting is yours (I know there are some wayward folks on Etsy but follow me) so to me the certificates seem pointless a little bit.

What I think are really cool are the cored wands. Wands with actual cores such as this one which is an ironwood with horse hair in the core. There’s also another that can be cored with bone or a particular wood. Part of this is indeed because I am a Harry Potter fan, ha! Another is because a cored wand could lend more to ritual working and spell working. I just think it’s amazing but it’s no promise and definitely no must that the wand I get will be cored, the one I have been searching for wasn’t and that didn’t bother me.

Looking at the wands, it’s clear that they come in such different types and styles. Not all wands are made of wood, there are plenty that have a glass or bone base or totally made of wrapped wire. Some are really whimsical looking such as this cute copper wand, and some that have some polymer clay on them. I would not prefer a wand made of polymer clay or resin because they’re not entirely natural but it is great for those who may prefer them. There’s even lavender wands, which I think look great! For the wooden wands, not all are simple, slender sticks. Some are forked, clearly modified driftwood, things of that nature. That’s pretty good for those who want the roughness of nature that a straight wand could not provide. Some have defined handles and others don’t. It may be expressed through leather wrapping or carved out. It doesn’t matter to me either way if it has a super defined handle or not but I still thought this was pretty nifty. I just love how diverse the wands are. Here’s a wand that has little skulls carved in it! And another that has a claw holding an amethyst. Like I said, there’s wands for just about every practitioner, you just have to look for them.

For me, I did finally find the wand I was looking for and it turned out to be the wands I saw all those years ago. After looking at over 105 pages of Etsy finds under the word “Wands” and 32 possible wand choices, I finally found wand I was looking for. It’s pretty tapered, just how I like them, and no definitive handle but a lovely copper wire-wrapped point with crystals at the tip set on red oak or ironwood. A lil’ bit of sleuthin has brought me to this site, Magic Wands of Wizardry. Check them out! They made the wands I fell for all those years ago. These wands are fantastic in person and it took me years to find so don’t be surprised if it winds up on the “Links of Interests”. It’s definitely getting featured in this month’s The Arts! without a doubt!

I hope this helped you out, it was quite a task for me to simply sit down and search. And for once, it actually got me the wand I actually wanted and have been looking for for years, a lovely ironwood  with a copper wrapped tip that holds a moss agate and clear quartz.

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