Archive for June, 2013

Ask Black Witch

Huzzah, it’s Ask Black Witch! Where you send me questions and I answer ‘em (or in the case of stupid questions – tear them apart). Here are the questions for this month:

Hey there great blog! Does running a blog like this take a lot of work? I’ve very little understanding of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, should you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic however I simply needed to ask. Thanks!

– Coleman

I always like getting blogger questions!

A blog like BW does take some work and since it’s just one person running it, I can’t easily expand BW where I want it to go. Sometimes I’m late with a column! But that’s up to the blogger how much stuff they want going on with their blog.

You don’t need a whole lot of computer programming skills to run your own blog but some basic coding wouldn’t hurt and would even make transferring posts a little easier from a word processor to a blogging platform.

I would recommend you plan things out before getting started. Like, figuring out what you really want to write about, if there’s a whole lot of material in it and how frequently do you want to post, things like that. Once you plan them out, the rest should be smooth running.



My birthday is Tues so I’m pretty glad this ABW was fairly light (not gonna answer the dumber questions, that’s for later), here’s a kitty stealing a dollar!

And a short film of the daughters of Black Lightning, Thunder and Lightning, that is ridiculously cute and awesome:

Alright, some of you probably have learned that the unemployment rate for Blacks is 13% (the national percentage is about 7.5%) and we also are aware that it is so difficult to find a good job nowadays. Simply finding a job isn’t enough, it has to be with substantial pay. So here are some sites I have come across that are really helpful!

Before we begin, we’re going to use an example career so you can see everything through and through so we’ll use my career: Library Science.

Now, when looking for jobs, everything is online nowadays. I don’t have an MLS or an MLA (Master degree) currently so I have to look for Library Technician/Assistant/Associate jobs and I have been working in libraries, both academic and public since I was in my mid-teens. That means I’ll put in Google: “Library Technician jobs – Maryland”. Find out the job name of what you want to get a job in, add your state or city name and click “Search”. Indeed and Simply Hired are good places to look but don’t be afraid to look in other spots but be cautious with Craigslist, the postings could be false.

Here are some other sites that are very useful:

SquawkFox: Resume and Cover Letter series
It is important to have a fantastic resume and cover letter. I was taught how to write one in high school but learned as I got older that not everyone got that built into their curriculum. SquawkFox is fantastic in explaining resumes and cover letter and how to write an effective one.

Here is her Resume Series

Here is her Cover Letter Series

I really like her action words list and her tips about it.

They’re really good, I highly recommend them. If you’re still stumped in writing resumes and cover letters, don’t worry this next site will help.

This is a great site to help guide you to create your cover letter and resume by making you fill out a short questionnaire to see what you want to write for (Changing careers? Have gaps in your employment?) and even what career you’re tailoring your resume for (you wouldn’t apply for a library job with a resume you’d use to apply to an architecture position) and they let you pick out from a range of templates with easy-to-understand fill in guides so you are getting help in writing your resume and cover letters but you’re still reflected in your writing. It lets you tweak the writing in and mix and match until it is perfect and represents you in the best light for the position.

And you’ll be grateful for the free account you make there, you can save past resumes and cover letters, download them so you can put them in Microsoft Word or whatever you like. And here’s a quick tip – don’t send .doc to prospective job applications. Send .pdf instead because A) it looks more professional B) formatting can get screwy because people have different word processors C) it can’t be altered. And you can export word into .pdf easily, check on Google if you don’t know how.

O*Net is great to find out job descriptions and the skills, tools and the educational requirements those positions need.

This is one for a Library Technician position

You can see the skills needed for the job, the tools, the knowledge that I would need and more. It also gives a bit of a look at the prospect projection for the job in the next few years (and, huzzah, it’s a growing field) and even the basic salary. If you really want to check the salary of a position, this next site will help you.
This site is really good if you want to find out the scope of how much a position is supposed to pay and the best part, it is localized to your area.

Here’s what it is for a Library Technician (here as “Technical Librarian I)

Lib tech Salary

And also you can look at another sheet that breaks down job statistics

This is great for you to research if you are underpaid or interviewing for a job where you negotiate your salary because remember, they may try to pay you less because of race and gender, make sure they stay fair.

Glassdoor is great to find out if a company is as sterling as they present themselves to be. There’s salary information, interview information and reviews on office culture there. Of course, people with negative experiences are more likely to speak out than those with positive but when you see a business with too many complaining reviews, consider that a red flag.

About: Interviewing Questions
This is great to ready yourself for interview questions and also, there’s another page where there are specialized questions for jobs. This is really great for those who have jitters about interviewing because you never know what they’re going to ask.

And that’s The Arts! for this month. Next week is Ask Black Witch so send in questions! Submit using the submission forms on the right, email, comment, so many options. And remember: good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

The Diviner and the Patron

This is gonna be a light column, I’ve been so tired as of recent.

So, during my usual perusal at the Black Witch Tumblr, I saw a post called “Don’t Piss Off Your Tarot Reader” and reading it, I thought it was fantastic because, man, it reminded me of all the times people were really annoying when it came to getting their readings, hence why I don’t really do them as freely anymore.

Some of the most noteworthy parts I really could connect to:

Respect our time: I think people believe diviners live in some alternate universe until they, the person, wants a reading. Not how real life works. I remember once I was taking a final in one of my classes and someone slapped their hand against the door because they were so stunned of my palmistry reading and wanted another reading. Didn’t appreciate that.

Don’t believe in tarot?  Don’t come: I like to mess with people who act stupid. You’re clearly attempting to waste my time so why respect you or be nice? You’re not the first person to challenge divination so don’t think you’re anything special, please. I have been known to really go for insecurities, secrets and inner turmoil and bring that out in the open and not exercise any grace doing so. I have made people cry (occasionally the tearful or frightened response is what I am aiming for, depending on my mood and how nice the person is) and hide from me on a number of occasions. Embarrassment and humiliation will occur so if you don’t believe in divination, bother me later when I’m not doing divination and we can have a normal conversation about it. Just remember to not to froth at the mouth, okay?

Don’t tell us that you “don’t want to tell us too much”: Don’t care, I’ma tell it anyways.

If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask.: This was one of my policies. If you don’t wanna know, don’t ask. Learn something you didn’t want to? Not concerned, should have said something or kept walking. I really am not here for you to have your internal dialogue with, that is with you and yourself, keep it that way. I only waive this rule for special reasons but those reasons are very few.

And one they forgot to add:

Don’t try to convert me/religion guilt me: Being Pagan, I have dealt with so many folks – usually out of the Abrahamic faiths but others too – who will sit there and yammer, yammer, yammer about how divination is evil and it is demonic and how those who do it will have their souls condemned and other stuff that is supposed to be scary…and still ask for a reading. That is really irritating and just going to make me troll you because oh hey, I’m well studied in a variety of faiths so I probably already know your religion’s stance on divination but leaving that issue up to you and your deity to worry about. And I already have a religion, stop trying to convert me because it won’t work. It’ll just annoy me and probably make me want to pick apart yours. And trust, you don’t want that. You really, really don’t.

Thing is, I understand divination looks so weird and amazing because folks are supposed to believe that somehow telling the future is impossible without a computer despite that not really being true since time doesn’t move in a linear fashion. However, it is a bit much because, remember, life is not a movie (which is a good thing because most movies are crappily made, limited and Whitewashed (hence, “crappily made”)) and the diviner is not a walking stereotype. If they are, they’re probably trying to con you and you would be the sucker for believing it. I rather a calm patron that treats the reading about as normal as anything than the patron that’s freaking out over every little thing. I’m just going to start to think you have really bad nerves.

So, if you get a reading, read this post prior so you don’t wind up being the patron that is acting a complete idiot. Divination is nothing new, it’s not a parlor trick and there’s no reason to be annoying. Divination is great for if you need a little steering in your life

And that’s all for Black Witch! Next week is The Arts! and this time, we’re gonna focus on work and employment:

– LiveCareer
– Squawk Fox
– Glassdoor
– O*net

Today is the day! Ustream chat at 6 PM, be there! Interact through Ustream itself or by tweeting me on twitter @thisblackwitch. Ask questions, chat, whatever.

Alright, Black Witch is three years old, starting on its fourth year. This is niiiiiice. Very spiffy. I’m very happy. It can be occasionally tough running BW because it’s just one person doing everything and of course, life can get in the way.

Coverage on BW has be mildly quiet but I think that’s kinda a good thing. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this but the most notable instance I remember for this year was when VH1 contacted me for their “documentary” series and I quickly turned that down because I don’t like the themes that VH1 portray annnnnnnnnnd link Black Witch with VH1? No way, they’ve never created a positive anything that had anything to do with intellect and especially regarding people of alternative faiths. And did I mention the series was based on “weird love”? Oh, I should. Apparently dating a Pagan (the person spelled it “Pagen”, can’t even spell my religion right but want to do business, sure) is weird so being that I could hear the phoniness of the potential show ringing out from the lines of the email, I couldn’t reject fast enough. If it were PBS, I would give it some thought since although PBS suffers from Whitewash mania, they are comparatively (although not always objectively, refer back to Whitewash mania) better at promoting intellectual discourses. I rather pair Black Witch with media that is actually smart and useful. I don’t need shine from others that bad that I’m willing to pair up with people who clearly drop the ball on that. The only part that surprised me: It wasn’t BET. I thought they would be the first major channel/anything of crap caliber that would contact me, not VH1.

Plus life has been hectic so I couldn’t really do much any ol’ ways. I’m not really gonna get into much detail with that. However, it is nice to learn and grow and to have BW be such a source of diverse info for readers. From stuff about gender issues, Black issues to Pagan issues. This is really good but also because it seems there aren’t a whole lot of Black Pagan blogs out there.  It really does seem like there were more Black Pagan blogs when I originally started and now it’s dwindled down to less than what you can count on one hand. I find that mildly problematic. Representation matters.

I think this was the first year I’ve gotten any piece of serious hate mail. Like some random dude was upset from a recent Ask Black Witch where some dude was asking about getting a demon to control his dick (yep, that happened. Five bucks, if I were a dude, I would have never gotten that question) and thus decided to abandon all literacy skills and logic in haste to write me a letter I pretty much skimmed, lol’ed about to friends and then deleted. It was pretty long so I take it the dude was hammering away at the keyboard for a while but eh, I’m pretty sure there was nothing of value, intellect or worth in there. It was some butthurt rando writing to me, not Cornel West. Trolololo.

I think I really like the most about BW is the BW Tumblr. It is very interesting the culture of Tumblr and being exposed to new things, new ideas and most importantly, art that actually reflects me as a person and the discussions people have. It’s really nice! Tumblr isn’t perfect but it is nice to have and great to make friends and have creative discourse with and in between cat .gifs, cyber punk pics and lolita dresses.

My goals for BW in the future are still to get a book of some form out, I still get pissed at myself that the first go did not go as well as I planned. I don’t like failure. I’ll be having discussions with a couple publishers about this because I simply can’t do it myself.

I also may want to do more public, real world stuff. Speaking gigs, basically. I would like to do speaking gigs on race discourse, gender discourse, class discourse (preferably the intersections of them) and Pagan discourse. I don’t want to be a talking head, oh no, but I would like to talk to audiences, preferably small audiences for now, and mainly relegated for the Baltimore-DC area (yay, the limitations of lacking a car) unless someone can afford to ship me further, ha! I would like (but won’t limit myself to) small audiences because I don’t always really like that lecture setting, there’s too much of a visual power imbalance where I talk at people and not with people. I want to expand BW into the real world. If folks been thinking about inviting me to talk to folks, now would be the opportune time to get at me via email, in the comments, on Twitter, through Tumblr, whatever.

So this is how I feel about the third anniversary of Black Witch and I’ll see you in three hours on Ustream!

First, before I start, are you aware of the Ustream chat that will be on June 9th at 6 PM EST celebrating Black Witch turning three? If you weren’t, now you are. See you there!

So, I have been working on some magick and me being my impatient self, I didn’t want to wait for the appropriate day to cast it. I prefer using planetary associations to help improve my magick workings but since each day represents a different planet and I’m not up for being patient, I felt a bit frustrated. And then a thought struck me, I had forgotten that I could use planetary hours since each hour also has a ruler as well.

Onward to le Google machine of happiness! From that, I have learned of this nifty nifty website provided by where they pinpoint whatever particular hour you need and a chart outlining the day’s lineup. It looks like this:

Planetary hours

This is entirely useful because it can add another level of energy to working. Say you want to prolong your career, you could cast on Saturday because that’s the planet of time and longevity and careers (in opposed to having a job) but you want it to be successful and lucky in the long run financially as well so you could cast in the hour of Jupiter, the planet of money, wealth and luck. You just put in your selected day of practice, the current hour it is and look at the chart. Since it uses military time, you can try to put in that time to make sure that you have the right hour. There are even little descriptions for each planet to help you understand which planet is good for what workings.

Now, it is important to note that you can just use the hour as a replacement for the day. That’s kind of what I did because, like I said, I’m really impatient. But also it’s important to not go overboard. It’s okay to point out the best hour and day for magick working using planetary hours and zodiacs but don’t fasten your whole life to them.

It is incredibly annoying to hear someone go, “Mars is in retrograde, don’t sign that contract!” or go “The Moon is in Scorpio and void of course, you should not start a relationship right now, try when it is in Cancer and aspecting Venus in a Trine.” That’s terribly ridiculous. Life is very random and you can’t really determine the future of someone or something based off of one thing only. That’s why it’s really ridiculous when someone tries to think they have a person figured out because they know their one and only sun sign. These planets and zodiacs definitely provide influence but in such a complex way that the average person would not be able to understand it. The best one can do is use the bit of influence they know of somehow in their favor through magick and/or action. So it’s fine to do a spell to promote action on the day of Mars (Tuesday) during the hour of Mars to really amplify the original intent but to wait around for Mars to be in Aries and in the first house all the while?  No way. Perhaps for ceremonial magick/high magick but those guys practically need a stage manager to get a simple spell out so they’re a whole ‘nother ball game. Just use the little bit that you’re aware of to curry favor but don’t fasten your life to it because unless you can keep mindful of all planets, asteroids and zodiacs like a walking expanded ephemeris and fully, deeply understand every possible complexity that those interactions can create, it’s best to simply live life and use what you can to edge it into your favor when you need to.

I am glad I found the planetary hours but will I apply it to every notion in my life? Good gods, no. That’s too much thinking to micromanage every nanosecond based on a range of planets. And it ignores the fact that there are things that happen out of my control. Life is not a television show (which is probably a good thing given that most tv shows in the West are Whitewashed, poorly written using tired tropes based on 19th century sexist and racist ideals and made mainly by White, older guys who have very slanted ideas about how the world works period) and it would be ridiculous to assume it as such. Life isn’t some perfect thing that just has some little, cute quirks in it, nope. It really is quite random and filled with gratuitous forms of nonsense that does not always make sense.

So, I highly recommend the Planetary hours to use for ritual and practice but remember, there is more to life than finding out you didn’t take an important phone call at Mercury o’clock but at half past Saturn instead.

See you Sunday!

Black Witch is turning 3 on June 9th! To celebrate, I’ll be broadcasting an Ustream chat at 6 PM EST! Come by and we can chat! You can interact with me through Ustream or through twitter (@thisblackwitch). Let’s celebrate!

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