Archive for February, 2013


Black Witch Ustream Chat in 30 min!

I’m pretty darn bored so let’s chat! I take questions and conversation via twitter and Ustream

Ustream Chat here! And the twitter is @thisblackwitch

Ask Black Witch: Off Day

Hm, second straight month with no questions. I guess I need to do a better job in promoting the submission methods. Ah well, that leaves me a free space yet again where I’m free to do whatever I want. Maybe I’ll focus on derp question. These questions are poorly asked, fairly stupid and just overall bad questions. I know some folks said that I should accept anon and that would get me more questions – and they’re not wrong exactly – but here’s the funny thing about anon: It just gives people a mask to be mean and nasty moreso than ask relevant questions. Since I’m a race and religion blog, that intersection can bring all sorts of bigots out of the woodwork. I rather those folks identify themselves as much as possible and huzzah, the fact they have to keeps them at bay, which is exactly what I want.

Before I continue on, I would like to talk about the BW series that I’ll be doing next month. I was really crossed between talking about mental illness or sex and sexuality. I think both are very important issues, equally important, because they are among the most stigmatized. However, I have chosen to go with sex and sexuality where we will be breaking down:

  • how sex and sexuality is perceived, exemplified and used in culture, entertainment and media
  • breaking away myths on sex, sexuality and gender
  • talking about how religion and society gets involved
  • intersection of racism and sex, rape, rape culture and slut shaming – and how sexism is bad for both men and women
  • the effects of internalized bigotry (racism, sexism, etc) and how that affects sex and sexuality
  • and much much more!

I felt this was an important topic to cover because, let’s face it, there is so much misinformation out there it is insane. If you’ve heard of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” or simply noticed that Steve Harvey and Tyrese have been allowed to talk on such subjects that they should stay the furthest from, you know that there’s a lot of misconceptions about sex and sexuality, especially in the Western world because of imperialism and centrist views, which then gets a layer of racism and other bigoted beliefs piled on top. A lot of people don’t know what counts as healthy relationship behavior, healthy sexual behavior or healthy attitudes towards both and, man, do they showcase that to the point of ultra-creepiness. If there are any folks who would like to ask questions about anything in regards to this subject, they can but we’re still going with my basic format of good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated so if you don’t like being made fun of, please ask a good question.

We’re also going to be doing a lot of intersection because how rape and general cultural disrespect affects White women is NOT how it effects everybody else so if anyone whines about how I’m not over obsessing over Gloria Steinem and Susan B. Anthony, note that I am more about Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells – and that this is not Feministing.

Alright if you want to submit for the next Ask Black Witch:

Submission Form
Tumblr Ask
FB Fan Page, you can message me on that
Twitter, questions can be tweeted

And I shall skip asking derp questions since this filled up enough space and I wanna get to my new Deadpool and Miles Morales Spiderman comics.

Here is The Arts! that I should have made last month but was too sick to do.

Merlin’s Realm/Red Oak Wands

I have been looking for this wand for years. I first saw it at Mystickal Voyage, a now gone metaphysical shop and it was such a lovely looking wand I had ever seen, and I’m not even really the type that does wand magick. I usually prefer hand magick but these were so stunning, I thought about getting one. Seriously, look at it!
red oak wand

I love its streamline shape from pure wood that still reflects the natural knobbliness of wood but isn’t some usual “rock tied to a stick and sold for a fortune” that is usually spotted practically everywhere wands are sold. And the copper wiring holds down the stone so beautifully. It’s not over done, it helps streamline the energy and the stones picked are fantastically displayed.

I managed to snatch up one of of the few Ironwood wands left (I think there’s only two Ironwood wands left) and the package it is sent in is fantastic. You get a guide on how to take care of the wand, it is shipped very securely and it is simply worth the price, which is quite minimal. If any witch or magick practitioner wants a wand, I highly recommend these guys. Plus, as of this writing, they’re having a sale too on all their wands, including their Ironwoods. Also they have other things besides red oak wands such as staffs, pendants, various styled wands and more!

Website

Smooth E

This comedian has kept me laughing for years with his parody comedies and stand ups. Usually I don’t watch parody music videos because they seem to be nothing but potshots at the original performers and since a lot of pop artists are Black, there are stereotype potshots usually being made, too. What I like about Smooth E is that he puts himself in the parody and avoid the potshot to the original performers. Even when the performers are the subject of his parody (such as “Milli Vanilli”, as posted below), he keeps it clean. That, everyone, is how you perform a good parody. A good comedian should make everyone laugh, not just a select group of people at the expense of another.

One of my favorites is, actually, Milli Vanilli. Again, note how although Milli Vanilli is the main subject of this parody, there are no wicked remarks and low blows and o hai, he managed to seamlessly parody Lil Wayne without touching a can of brown paint. We could still tell it was Lil Wayne through his gait, iconic looks and even voice and it was a mock on only Lil Wayne and the rapper alone, not the fact that he’s Black or anything else that would be making fun of what he is and not who. And the result? A hilarious parody.

I also like his song “Psycho” because it’s so hilarious. A day or so late for Valentine’s but ‘eh, no1curr.

One of his more recent works is with LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”, renamed to “Baldilocks Anthem”. It’s really well done and funny!

And to finish it off because I have got to show it, “I Can’t Afford It”, it’s hilarious!

Youtube channel
Website
Twitter
Facebook fanpage

Nikki Lynette
I came across her music on Afro-Punk years ago, which does come to show that despite sometimes AP can grate my nerves just a tad, they are very useful in showing a part of Black culture that even Black media wouldn’t touch itself.

The video that struck me most was “The Beautiful People”, which her rendition from Marylin Manson’s song of the same name (which I love).

Now, watching her music vids, though as dynamic as they were, didn’t really pull me in as much as her vids about herself, which were funny, well made and made you learn more about the artist as a person than simply something that talks into mics and such. She actually lets herself become a pictured as a person instead of a product, which is great because it give her the appearance of being hard working and down to earth rather than the usual, “Yo, I’m an artist. All I do is grind. Make ‘dat paper, get that flow, y’know?” which is boring and still constructs the artist as just a product (poorly) instead as the multidimensional person they actually are. Which can enhance the product by allowing such a personal insight.

The series is called “The Other Nikki” and here’s ep. 1

It is incredibly humorous, I recommend watching them all. You’ll probably want to anyways.

Nikki Lynette came from Chicago and, just like me, saw a lot of very problematic things in her life which effected her. I can really connect with that and pretty much convinced me to welp, be in touch with her because huzzah, someone who understands. (Which is how me and my wack social self works: Me hear music → Me like music → Me find out musician is amiable and relateable → Me talk to musician, turns out they’re not a douche and still amiable and relatable → Me goes into “Zomgz, cn we b frandz?!” mode. Yep.) A really good vid she did was “Live and Let Die”

If you would like to listen to her music, go to her website where there are mixtapes, more videos and also she is coming out with a new album titled “Respect My Disrespect”. Plus she writes neat articles for RedEye, which are really cool. I really like the piece she recently wrote about her experience going to the Grammys for the first time and how they really work from voting to the live show.

Website
Twitter: @nikkilynette
FB fan page
Youtube

What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Metal

I’m late, I know, but I still want to post this neato book up for those who don’t know about it. What Are You Doing Here? is a book written by Laina Dawes about Black women in Metal.

This is the cover, which is really neat and I think that’s Alexis from Straight Line Stitch.

what are you doing here

Ms. Dawes expresses what the book is about perfectly:

“I wanted to find other black women like me: metal, hardcore, and punk fans and musicians that were rabid about the music and culture and adamant about asserting their rightful place as black women within those scenes. I wanted to find other women who put aside the cultural baggage that dictates that we must listen to certain musical styles, and simply enjoy the music that influenced us, not just as black women, but as individuals who grew up in an era when, thanks to technology, a large variety of music is accessible and available to everyone. I found many black women and have shared their stories, but I also realize there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The foreword is penned by Skin of Skunk Anansie and I highly recommend everyone get themselves a copy. Buy from Bazillion Points and you’ll get a signed copy with a neat little button to come with your book.

Website/Store
Twitter: @lainad

And that’s all for The Arts! for this month and next week is Ask Black Witch. Please send me your questions now! Remember: good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

Also, March is the start of a new Black Witch month long series. It was a tie between the subject of mental illness, creativity and society and sex and sexuality but I feel its best the mental illness subject will be next year. More on this next week, just send in your questions!

Storytime! So one day I was at my local metaphysical shop and I saw a goddess statue for sale among many on the wall behind the register and mentioned, “Hey, that’s a nice Brigid you have.” It had a white dress on, pale skin, flowing hair, I figured it was a Celtic goddess. Then the shop assistant, who I have known for years, snorted a laughter and said, “That’s Yemaya.”

What?

I immediately responded, “You lyin’, she’s White,” and as solid proof, she took down the figurine and there it was beneath the pale feet was “Yemaya” stamped on the name plate.

Lemme throw up a picture here so y’all can see what I saw, sans the nameplate:

Yep, apparently she's the only African Goddess with consistent sunburn

Yep, apparently she’s the only African Goddess with consistent sunburn

The shop assistant was just as baffled as me, “I don’t know why we have it, Yemaya is not White, she looks like she was dropped in bleach.” I told her, “Yemaya is whitewashed, why is she so light? Y’all should just chip out the ‘Yemaya’, chisel in a ‘Ceres’ or something and leave it there. Does anyone buy this? Has anyone noticed?”

“Nope, our supplier sent it to us and no one has noticed because her name plate is so small at a distance. I don’t know why we have her, the boss thought it would be fine, we do have Latin customers,” the shop assistant tried to reason through muffled laughter because the boss was in the back and the boss has had some testy problems with the community over race. In our hands was one of them.

“Nah, she could make Beyonce look like Wesley Snipes, y’all may have some Latin customers but apparently none with identity issues so strong this figurine is gonna make it off the wall. Would Yemaya even come if someone summoned her using this? If I were Her, I would stare at the statue and the witch asking for me and go, ‘Newp, whatever your problem is, it’s not as big as mine with that powder light statue. You’re on your own, laters,’” I couldn’t help but to joke.

Many laughs were had because of how ridiculously light this statue was. It reminded me of when I was at a now-defunct metaphysical shop out in the boonies and they had an Isis with a ski-slope nose and light enough to pass – nah, she was lighter than light enough to never be tested in the first place. I knew it was a White owned metaphysical shop with a clearly White consumer base there because I was the only one geeking on the racefail. All the Isis statues I have ever seen for the most part were Black. Black and very beautiful. A White Isis? Uh no. D’accord, this had made some folks at the meta shop uneasy because they knew I was right bringing up the inaccuracy but c’mon, if you’re gonna have deities from Africa, let them be from Africa, not Europe. Isis didn’t need a nose job and some skin lightener.

See, that’s things I don’t like, especially in Paganism. Do not whitewash anything, do not perform cultural swagger jacking of any type. It’s disrespectful beyond belief and if called out on it, do not cover it up. That’s like me stealing someone’s watch and when asked, “Is that my watch?” I respond, “Nah, man, I’ve always had this. Gift from my best friend, dude,” even when it’s clear the watch has a “Love, from mom and dad” inscribed on the side. Thieving is wrong, no matter what.

The part that kills me, though? Is when people try to make up for it with a million and ten excuses. This did not happen at my local meta shop clearly but definitely did at the now-defunct one. The main bullsh*t excuse? “Isis comes in all forms. Even Jesus has been portrayed as Black.” That makes me wanna strike with the fury of the Furies. Wanna know why Jesus was portrayed Black (even tho that’s not entirely accurate either because Middle Eastern setting)? Because Jesus definitely was not vanilla White with L’Oreal straight, flowing hair and a perfect goatee. And Jesus only looks that way thanks to an Italian painter that didn’t want to do his research.

Look, Paganism is really, really diverse. Diverse background, faiths, myths, the whole kit and kaboodle. I don’t want that diversity to become All White Everything and anybody who tries to justify that makes me wanna turn their eyes All Black Everything.

It isn’t rocket science to keep things as they are, and if the Pagan doesn’t want to come out as racist, welp, they might as well. Racism can affect anyone but when it comes to White Pagans, they have an affliction which has dated back centuries, even before the existence of Paganism as we know it now. Don’t try to cover it up, just say, “I just want to rob your culture. I like it but I don’t like you, the end.” It would move things along a lot quicker. I learned a variety of culture growing up and also in Paganism and I never tried to turn everything I touched Black because that would be inaccurate of culture. Though, I’m sure if I did, White Pagans would crap a brick because they may be okay with heavy applications of White-Out, they’re pissed to see anything colored in. It’s not hard to include minorities for anything, I can ensure you. Y’know, as long as you’re not racist or do racist things, be it overt or micro-aggressive.

Thing is, Paganism isn’t all White. It’s not the White Pride club, that would be the Klan, Tea Party and GOP you’re thinking of. Africa is the home of the first human, China is the home of the longest standing civilization, how on earth does everyone wind up looking like they came from Milian? Even Gardiner, who created Wicca, took things from his (orientalized) Egyptian learning and from the Hindus as well (don’t that 3x thing sound a lot like karma? And how about reincarnation?) It may have a lot of European parts in it but check closer, there are few “Product of India/China/Egypt/native America” stickers on there. Paganism, again for the slow ones in the back, is not and never was White. Anyone who thinks that is a bigoted idiot, simple as that. It doesn’t matter how ones dresses it, they are exactly that. They are bigoted because they refuse to acknowledge that the world is not White. If anything, the world is mostly other than White so it is rude to ignore that. They are an idiot because clearly they do not know about Paganism from the Paleolithic era to now and very understudied in all the cultures of the world which are part of Paganism and a much bigger part at that. Again, for the really slow ones anywhere, Paganism is not a White Pride club, join the Klan for that or whatever White supremacy hate group is in your area.

If anything, I’m for accuracy and if we’re gonna be inaccurate, let’s color everything in. I want to be reflected and I will. Otherwise, there is hell to pay. I actually remembered some random dude made a dvd about “realistic Pagans” from “diverse backgrounds” and tried to tell me about so I could promote it here on BW. Ha, no. Unless he was talking hair color, there was no diversity, it was a bunch of White kids convening in the woods. I told the dude exactly that and plus some. When he has an 80-100% minority cast, then we can talk. Until then, go bother someone else or go back to the drawing board. I don’t prefer to support any Pagan ventures that won’t reflect me at all. If they feel folks that look like me should be absent from their works, then they should be absent from mine too. And it has to be an honest effort, not a “We have a token! Happy now?” Shivian of Oh My Gods! did that, thoroughly was not appreciated because the character was a clear afterthought. I liked the comics but he should have spent more brain cells on that choice.

What to leave with this? That there’s a world out there and it doesn’t look like how folks depict it on the tv, the movies or even the news. Please acknowledge it or find a new religion. Or just be Atheist and keep the whitewashing out of religion as a whole.

Now, that’s done. The BWshoppe has been really poppin! The marimos are my biggest sellers, I can barely keep them in stock with all the demands. W00t! I was going to introduce a new marimo, a lux marimo but I’mma have to save that for later for I have hit some snags. Nothing bad but definitely don’t want to jump the gun on anything.

Next week on The Arts! is what was what it should have been last month before I fell sick:

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

So Cold

Cold Readings are something every diviner should have done at least a good dozen time before saying they’re certain divination works. Although occasionally nerve wracking, they’re necessary. What cold readings are is exactly that, reading a person on practically zero information, forcing the reading to work on its own merits instead of analyzing the person somehow and using whatever gathered as an aid.

I did them when I first started out in divination through Mystick Wicks and even the message board Fort Minor. On Mystick Wicks, there’s a subforum where you could read for others (as long as it was a free service) and on Fort Minor, I had a dream interpretation thread. Being this is the internet, it made for plenty thoroughly cold readings because all I had was a screen name to really go off of and even that can be misleading so I basically did my readings pretty blind and let the divination speak for itself. It was great because it shut out possible distractions and I had a super high success rate. Very rarely I was wrong and usually it was when I was second guessing myself or trying to scratch for clues that weren’t there.

Cold readings in person were something different because there, there are some clues and they can be super distracting. A lot can be said about a person based on their dress, mannerisms, colloquialisms, accents, race, gender and age. With a little psychology and sociology and a couple readers on intersectionality, you can pretty much guess someone’s life views and the decisions they’ll make in individual situations. Thing is, not everyone is their supposed science and culture stats and that can be a total throw off. To be honest, this is how readings are supposed to be done. Granted, it isn’t easy because everyone carries biases and those can definitely get in the way.

When I do use what info I gather, it’s to gauge how frank I’ll be. Young yuppie? Outstandingly brutally honest. Elderly and blue collar? Much nicer and don’t sugarcoat but be polite. Those are my own biases because I personally don’t care to be sensitive to overly sheltered and privileged folks but for those who had a hard but earnest life, I take it easy on them. However, this is only if nothing else gets in the way.

I remember doing a cold reading on one person at my university’s Pagan Student Union event when we paired up with House of Ruth and with this one person, I couldn’t help but get a psychic ping on a rape. This person was young and kinda scared but if I didn’t get that ping, I would have just brushed it off as another person who thinks divination is scary or condemning. The cards were definitely referring to a troubling incident that was trying to be covered up and thus filled with a lot of distracting opinions from those with ulterior motives. I do remember I did not just come out with “So, apparently you were raped real recently,” because I have more tact and kindness than that, especially for something so harrowing an ordeal. Besides we had our event out in the open where there was tons of people milling about, not the best place to talk about something so private. Instead I just read the cards as is and added that she should seek out a counselor and even a place that could give her legal and other help as well. She left and I talked to one of my friends who was already running the event, Jess, and brought up my ping. Jess told me that I was right and very glad that I handled it with kid gloves because she was apparently a little shaken since it really was recent and it was even her first time learning about the House of Ruth. I didn’t know that the person was a victim but I picked up on it though she said nothing about it – I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still at the denial/self-blaming stage, which is a tough one to get through – and despite it being a partnership event with House of Ruth, I didn’t get a ping on anything that big any other time of the day.

Not all cold readings hit the mark. Oh no, I’ve misinterpreted my divination before – everyone who has done divination long enough has. That’s what makes cold readings risky: if you’re good, you’ll be right most of the time but when you’re wrong, it really hits you. And depending on the person you’re reading for and how averse they are to divination, you could be risking your rep. Divination is not to be done simply to prove to someone it exists, it isn’t a party trick, but when you’re wrong and the person on the other side of the screen or table already sees it as one, it can be hard to deal with the response afterward because they’re full on, “I knew it was fake! Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake! Faker.” And, boom, you look no different or no better than Miss Cleo and her fake accent. Wrong cold readings can be from a variety of reasons from being simply too tired or hungry (I actually really do not like to do divination if I haven’t eaten first for this reason. Plus, I’m really cranky when hungry) or being stressed or simply, this reading was read wrong or wrong all along. It happens.

Here, I was on Mystick Wicks doing divination for people and I remember for one reading, I used the Celtic Cross for the very first time instead of my usual spreads. I heard that it was a massively easy spread and make for simpler readings so ‘ey, why not? Welp, it was hard for me to connect with the spread because it was so different from anything that I ever used and thus I picked up absolutely nothing from it. I still had the cards in front of me so I still tried to amble together something through the cards and present them to the inquirer. I got a PM back in about a couple days later – maybe less than that – from them and man, they were not happy with what they got. There was not a single thing I was right about at all. It’s Mystick Wicks so the person isn’t a douche about it but they didn’t mask their displeasure either, which did jab me a little but did teach me that I sucked at Celtic Cross and to not ever test a new spread blind on a reading for someone else.

Cold readings, as mentioned before, can be frustrating. The first part to learning how to do them well is to unlearn looking for clues and identifying biases but the second and hardest part is learning to trust yourself and your intuition. Occasionally, some are gonna get screwed up and be flat out, wrong. That’s totally okay, no need to worry about having a perfect batting average. Instead, just focus on honing your intuition that will be needed for the readings.

Now that’s done for this week. Time to hock mah wares!

The BWshoppe has added a new marimo phone charm! This one has one of my favorite stones, rutilated quartz. For those who don’t know what a marimo is, click here. For those who would like to buy a marimo phone charm with either amethyst or rutilated quartz at the bottom, click here.

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