Archive for November, 2013

Click to hear.

How did you find out you were a witch or pagan (sorry if i got it wrong)?
– NeNe


My name is Yanna. I would love to get on with more things about myself, but before anything else, can I start with a story?

I have had three dreams, one of these dreams escapes me now, but I remember the other two.

The first dream I had was of my mother. In this dream, she was pulling out snacks from a huge bin and passing them out to the neighborhood kids. This bin was so full of snacks of all kinds. I’m talking Rice Crispy Treats, chocolate granola bars, Welch Gummies, name it and it was all in there. I can still remember that dream so clearly today, would you like to know why? Well, a year or two later (after having that dream) my mother went out to Sams Club and bought boxes, upon boxes, upon boxes of snacks and she placed them in a bin. A large bin. And she kept this ‘snack’ bin in the kitchen always. You see my mother is very friendly (on the outside), and I’m saying this because maybe that had something to do with her always giving these snacks that she bought to the neighborhood kids. But anyways, yeah, my mom gave these snack to the neighborhood kids allllll the time. And it finally hit me one day, “YOOOOO I HAD A DREAM ABOUT THIS LIKE A YEAR AGO OMG.” and that’s when I started paying a little bit more attention to things like this.

The second dream was of a classmate. This was about 2 summers ago. In this dream, my class and I were in Language Arts. And everything was fine. and eerily silent since my class is never silent. My teachers is teaching and my classmates are listening until my classmate is pulled out of class. I watched her get up from her desk and walk outside into the hallway. I couldn’t hear and single thing that was being said, but I knew someone had died. I watched my classmate put her hands over her mouth before I woke up. Later on that day, I gave my classmates a call.

I said: “Hey, Nada, did anyone in your family die recently?”.

She responds: “Uhhhh, yeah, why you askin’?”.

I respond: “Oh no particular reason, I just had a dream last night that someone died in your family. I have a question.”

“What’s up?” she says.

“Was that person female?”


“Was she middle aged or older…?”

“Yeah…omg girl are you physic?”

“I just had a dream…” I respond.

Fast foreword to a month ago, I began doing research on… guessed it! Witchcraft! And in my studies I was led to two people, a Spiritual Nymph and you! A witch! With two things in common, both of you are in Baltimore (To be honest I’m not exactly sure where you live I’m just going based on your P.O. box) and black. Which is a win, win for me since I’m black and I live in Baltimore too. But I think we should get on to the actual reasoning of this email.

I kind of feel a bit guilty, because I am currently studying Spiritwork. And in order to study Spiritwork, I must trust my Spirits. But I have only known my Spirits for a month or so. Thus, leads me to your inbox!

Could my dreams have been something coincidental or something else…?

Do you have any good starting Wicca sources?

But anyway, uh, thanks for listening!
– Yanna S.

Seeking a black magic mentor

Dear Black Witch, Thank you for the cartomancy reading! I really appreciate it.

Before now I didn’t know that people could do cartomancy or tarot without being physically close to the person being read. Would you explain how you connect to people from so far away on your blog or in email? This divination was more detailed than I thought possible from accross the country!
– Kara

Alright, that’s Ask Black Witch for this month! I really enjoyed changing it up a bit, very cool indeed. Good Gods, though! I sound seriously Southern! I mean, I am from Maryland and that is a Southern state after all but geez.

Here’s The Arts for this month! W00t! And, readers, I’m going to be doing something special for this month’s Ask Black Witch: I’m going to answer the questions via voice! More details below. Let’s get to it!

“Jimmy Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’”
This documentary was on PBS American Masters. I was really surprised how well they did a good job on the documentary because PBS has been slipping over the past few years, race and culture wise. This was a remarkable documentary about a notable guitarist, his life and his career. Here’s more info from the site (also has the documentary in case the embed code doesn’t work)

“Paris Is Burning”
This outstanding documentary lets you peer into the world of ball culture, which is mostly dominated by Black and Latin gay cultures. It is extravagant, intellectual and simply fantastic. It features greats such as Willi Ninja and discusses the dances, the culture and the lives from the mouths of those who live and breathe this culture as well as how it helps them define their LGBTQ identities.

This is the trailer for the vid but the full documentary is here. (Couldn’t embed it)

“Century of the Self”
This is a great (and long – 4+hours) documentary about advertising and psychology. It’s really useful albeit it has its short comings with being overly White-centered and hetero-centered. It doesn’t really go into the lives of anyone who isn’t White and how it affects them and the section they did on racism was really scant and poorly done (it makes it seem like Black anger and frustration with racism is a delusion they have, not an actual experience (which it is)). It has some good information but bear those shortcomings in mind.

Alright. Movie day is over! Next week is Ask Black Witch. Submit questions via twitter, tumblr, email or even using the submission box on the side. I’ll be answering questions by voice and it will be fun! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

Let’s talk relationships. Well, first, let’s briefly mention how I won’t be at Pantheacon after all and the details are at the bottom of the post. Now, let’s talk relationships. Mainly ones that have flat lined and there’s no chance of revival. At all. Ever. Not even if the survival of humanity depended on it.

See, being a Witch, this means I get all sorts of people in my inbox. This also includes the “I Want Cha Back” crowd. These folks, you might as well play the iconic Jackson 5 song, they nearly recite the lyrics word for word without knowing it. These folks tend to contact me in hopes that somehow, despite the fact I have said several times on my site I disagree with manipulative love spells and don’t do Pay for Pray, that I’ll do it for them to bring back that just-recently-reconsidered-special someone in their life. And usually it’s supposed to be done without the recently departed significant other’s knowledge. And usually it involves the fact that the ex is the one who broke things off (and with good reason).

Yeah, no.

When it comes to magick, I always tell people to imagine the mundane version of the magick to get an idea of what they’re doing. For this, it’s no different than stalking and harassing your ex and yelling “I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU!” at them as they walk down the street. Very rapidly. Away from you. Far. Away.

Here’s the deal, people: you can’t make people fall in love with you. (Well, you can but they’re not really going to be in love with you. I’ll get to that in a sec.) Love is a natural – and sometimes, a pretty frustrating – process, you can’t really force it. If it were that easy, Ok Cupid and other craptacular sites would never exist … or, at least, not to the extent it does today. If you screw up in a relationship and the other person breaks it off because of that reason or if that other person thinks it would be better to be single for a while, that’s up to them. Not you. It hurts to go through a break up but you can’t force someone’s hand. That’s not natural. And it’s controlling, which is not love. That’s abuse.

Now, note I said that you can make someone fall in love with you but they’re not going to be in love with you. It’s kinda like the mundane world version of blackmailing, harassing and guilt tripping a guy or girl to love you. They may be showing the displays of what is outwardly considered affection but it’s not coming from a place of affection but more of a place of “Will this person stop bothering me?/I don’t feel like I have a choice.” They don’t really love you, they’re just faking it until they see the first opening to dash out into the wilderness like a spooked rabbit.  It’s not right to just control someone’s heart and go, “Newp. You love me now. I may be a screw up and will mess up to the point you’re fully justified to break things off or maybe you need some time to yourself but newp, not letting you go because it hurts me too much.” That’s pretty selfish. Which also isn’t love. Affectionate love isn’t that self-serving and never should be.

Break ups happen for a multitude of reasons. It seems as of recent I’ve been getting the “I messed up/the former bf/gf thinks I messed up but I totally don’t get it” letters. They’re not what I like to see because, welp, I’m gonna probably side with the person who left you because you didn’t get it together as appropriate for the relationship. And I mean when there’s an actual problem in the relationship, such as you being a poor communicator, relying on tired gender tropes and trying to shove your now-ex into said trope boxes, and/or just having too many issues and not dedicating enough time to unpack them in a healthy way. It’s important for people to know that when they’re in a relationship, they’re taking on the role of the significant other, not the replacement-parent/authority figure.

For the former, the “I messed up”, these folks are aware they screwed up – too bad they figured it out faaaaaaar too late. These folks have got to know that there is such thing as the Point of No Return and said point has such a name for a reason. If the now-ex person was a good or even average communicator, chances are they already said their piece and made it known that there was some problematic behavior they weren’t gelling with. Life isn’t like tv, it’s not always that the now-former significant other just up and leave without letting you know beforehand. It’s nice that the person coming to me finally came to their senses about their behavior but guess what? If you have to come to a witch to repair things, it means you still blew it big time, and I mean nuclear. It implies that the ex doesn’t want anything to do with you, doesn’t care whether or not you learned your lesson, and doesn’t want to come back to you. And who am I to force them? I wouldn’t want it done to me, why would I want to do it to others so they can be dragged back into a relationship that made them so unhappy? And this is running on the assumption that the person coming to me not only knows about how bad their flaws were but actually changed them and plan to keep it that way. Usually folks slide far too easily back into their old ways when they feel like there’s nothing to lose from doing it if that desire to change isn’t intrinsic (meaning: coming from the inside). If you messed up, learn how to remedy that and move on.

For the latter “I have no idea how I screwed up but the bf/gf still left me because they think I’m [insert what could actually be the problem], I want them back”, that person is just myopic. Sometimes erratic breakups happen but these folks tend to have a very evident problematic trait that they have no plan on working on any time soon nor want to work on because they themselves don’t see it as problematic. Those folks are unbelievable because wow, talk about dragging someone back to hell. This means they’re not going to work on their problems (because remember, it’s not a problem in their eyes) and they don’t understand that people don’t have to put up with their nonsense if it’s not reaping any super justifiable benefit. People are allowed to be flawed because everyone is but no one should be expecting anyone to deal with their issues as if that’s all that should matter in the relationship. Relationships can’t survive in a one-sided fashion.

It’s important to note that both folks are pretty self-preserving. Instead of letting the ex go (which is a painful and extensive process, let’s not negate that), they’re trying to force someone who’s already made up their mind to leave back into a place they, the ex, already expressed they didn’t want to remain. There’s no thinking about why the ex did it and what good did it do for that ex to leave a problematic person behind or what traits need to be worked on as a whole to prevent this all from happening again. Instead it’s about what unhappiness comes from a break-up and how to somehow turn back the hands of time to revive a dead relationship. Which then becomes a zombie relationship because there’s no love, there’s no feeling. It’s just an undead lingering feeling that will just wrack up more problems and less love because again, you can’t force anyone to love you just like you can’t force a dead person to be alive like they were previously. This is controlling behavior, which is not based in love. At all.

Controlling anyone, removing anyone of their freedom to choose, that isn’t love. Not at all. It hurts having someone leave you but forcing them to come back won’t make anything better. The love is gone, dude. Casting a spell on a person (which is a long and grueling work because chances are it’s going to have to be refreshed again and again and again depending on how long the client wants the spell going) is a terrible way of showing someone that you “care”. It’s no different than sticking a gun in their face and saying “So, we’re gonna be exactly like we were before. You never left me. We never had problems. I’m the guy/girl for you and we’re going to be happy, happy, happy. You just don’t understand it yet but you’ll see. We’re meant for each other.” That’s crazy talk. You need a visit from a therapist, not your ex if you truly feel that way.

Oh. And then there’s the obvious, “No one really likes it when you cast a spell on them to like you” part. I think it needed its own paragraph. Seriously, think about it: “I had a spell casted on you so we could be together, I just really didn’t want you to leave me,” is not going to get you greeted with admiration.

So, if you’re dealing with break-up pangs, don’t contact me about Pay for Pray. I don’t do it and I definitely don’t do it for something as unethical as that. Just let that person go. If they wanna get back with you, you better have your ears open and get ready to do some longstanding work. If they never want to get back with you again, respect that decision. I didn’t say “don’t cry about it”, “don’t get emo about it”, “don’t post ranty blog posts about it”, “don’t express unhappiness about it”. I never said, “Just accept it with a smile and move on as if nothing happened”, I said “if they never want to get back with you again, respect that decision.” You’re free to be as upset as you like. You just aren’t free to take someone else’s freedom of choice just because it doesn’t work with yours.

Now, about Pantheacon. I won’t be able to go due to travel issues (*cough*TSAandPTSDdon’tmix*cough*) and I am going to instead try to do a livestream of my feature instead on the day and time I was supposed to be doing it in Cali, which is Feb 16, 11 AM PST. More updates on that later.

Next week on The Arts!….DOCUMENTARIES (fun/interesting ones, I swear)

– Jimi Hendrix
– Paris is Burning
– Century of the Self


Love and Light-Headedness

In all the decade plus I’ve been practicing magick, I have got to say, I never really was much for the “love and light” thinking.

For those out of the know, “love and light” is a mantra that reflects a thinking that is supposed to be all loving, all welcoming and very much positive and happy. No jinxes. If anyone slights you, you just feed them positive energy to bring them back into balance. You’re strictly good and that’s that. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being happy. Happiness is great! Problem is, not everything is all happy and perfect all the time. That’s not how life works. Life is sometimes really scary, frightening and angering. I feel that the “love and light” mantra neglects the more negative aspects of life.

Growing up, I had never seen it wise to look at the world through rose-colored glasses because it’s not the positive things in life that cause the most chaos, it’s the negative things. One could focus on the good as if the bad don’t exist but I think that leaves them open to be blindsided by negative events they could have prepared for. Or they may try to ignore the more sudden unhappy events and pretend everything is alright as it all gets worse. I rather focus on the problem and get it out the way and then focus on the good. That way, I can enjoy the good in peace. I may not like facing my problems (I strongly dislike confrontation) but I think it’s the best way to keep a problem from becoming a major hassle.

I do agree that the “love and light” thinking tries to keep people erring on the side of good, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. Anything to convince someone into doing the right thing and to prevent more negativity making it into the fold, I get that. The problem is that the thinking just isn’t realistic for those with harsher realities. For some folks, there isn’t always a good side to a bad situation. The bad guy isn’t always caught – sometimes he’s lauded and it’s the victim who is demonized. It’s just issues are far more complicated than good v. bad. In every story, just about everyone thinks they’re right or the hero, even the villain.

I think a good example that comes to mind is a scene I saw in the documentary “Century of the Self”. New school psychologists during the 1950s and ’60s thought that if people had a chance to vent and say their piece and be heard, this would be a better world. They tried applying this to racism, bringing in the Black Panthers and other Black individuals as well as White folks who wanted to participate. The psychologists already had managed to calm down the White revolutionaries with making them feel like it’s okay to ignore injustices as long as they were right with themselves (and had stuff to buy), and erroneously thought they could do the same thing here. It went horribly. During the meeting of the minds, a Black man was rightfully pissed and explaining how White-centered the world was but the White guy he was talking to kept being dismissive, saying the Black man wasn’t enslaved anymore, that he himself has not owned slaves (if the excuses sound familiar, that’s because they are oft touted, even today) and that if the world was so bad and mean, how come he, a White man, couldn’t see it? Thing is, the White revolutionaries the psychologists reformed could ignore injustices because it didn’t personally affect them. They’re White, they don’t have to worry about racism so they have room to be very “I’m all good vibes, man. Good vibes.” For the Black individuals, racism is a very real part of life that can be a real buzzkill – or, as seen recently, a real killer.

Actually, come to think of it, I think the “love and light” thinking came borne from that era. It definitely does not show up anywhere else in any other witchy or metaphysical writings because I imagine it would be too unrealistic. You just can’t have the good without the bad, that’s wildly imbalanced. If anything, the more general feel I get from other eras is “Try to do right for yourself and your loved ones and your community but don’t be afraid to defend yourself and your loved ones.” That’s more realistic. It doesn’t ignore that bad happens in the world, it just goes along the lines of “Hey, try not to be a douche.”

This doesn’t mean that people can’t strive for niceness and kindness towards others. I think it’s great that people do still want to be good and to do good by others but it is important to note that reality is not always as pleasant. It’s fantastic to be good, you shouldn’t strive to be a terrible person, but it is important to remember that just like there’s room for good, there is room for bad and that neither are 100% pure of themselves. It’s important not to harm others but that doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself. However, this is implying that we all know who is exactly in the wrong and who is exactly in the right, which also can be complex.

Instead, just try to be a good person that’s fair to others. You don’t have to be a self-delusional bubblehead to be happy and peaceful, happiness and peace can be many things. You don’t have to lose grasp with reality to experience it. Instead of trying to be “love and light”, just try to be nice and fair.


Missed the Ustream on Samhain? Check it out here.

Earlier this week, I was going through my twitter and come to find out the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, which was created by @Karnythia to take a pointed jab at how feminism in general is not really for all women but mainly framed for White women and their problems, thus thoroughly ignoring the intersection of race and gender and the issues those intersections create. Of course, when the hashtag had hit mainstream media, mainly White women were asked to talk about the hashtag and to talk for minority women, as if they had any clue. And not once was Karnythia ever asked to attend these major media events. If anything, she’s consistently silenced. The most recent (and definitely not surprising) offender is Feministing.

This is wildly problematic.

I remarked on Twitter about this but I’ll say it again: Whitewashing is a very common problem in activist communities and parades under the notion of being colorblind. Maintaining Whiteness and equality activism does not mix. At all.

Let’s start with the whole “But I’m colorblind!” bit since that’s what this form of erasure moves under most commonly.

Calling yourself colorblind is a bad idea because it is usually used to cover up or diminish the extensive and longstanding pain of historically marginalized groups (I like this term a lot better than “people of color”) because the default person in Western culture is White. To say you’re colorblind means you don’t see me nor my history and to you, it doesn’t really matter. One should not claim to be colorblind as a way to say “I don’t judge based on race” because to be honest, if you’re White, you most likely do, even without even knowing it, because that’s just how our culture is structured. To be colorblind is to fall back on the default of Whiteness because the notion of Whiteness isn’t being challenged at all and it’s a terrible attempt to run away from all the generational horrors the notion of Whiteness has caused. Besides, who said I didn’t want you to see my Blackness? My Black identity is very important to me (it’s half this blog’s name for a reason), the problem is when you think my Blackness is a reason to treat me poorly or to think that my opinions are invalid somehow.

Whitewashing is a form of colorblindness. It’s the Janelle Monae Covergirl ads that will praise Monae for being a brilliant, Black woman….but will lighten her skin, not showcase a shade for brown women and forever use White models around her to pimp their wares. Note below:

Notice where Covergirl could have casted two Black dancers behind Monae, they pulled a “colorblind classic” and got two White girls instead. Y’know, to offset the one Black girl that’s front and center. Because it isn’t diversity unless you squeeze random White people in there somewhere, huh? Some White feminist could say “This is feminism!” but it really it isn’t because you’re still marginalizing the impact Janelle Monae could have on others via tokenizing her. Namely, the others being Black girls, who are consistently forgotten or disregarded in makeup advertisement. Even Covergirl, despite saying they have a diverse pick of women to represent them, seem to really just want to continually push the image of White or White-passing girls. They may say their color blind but it’s clear they show that they’re moreso snowblind because it’s not a mistake that they keep lightening their browner models in advertisements, do not make extensive products for darker women, do not keep darker girls ads running as long as their lighter counterparts and do not continually pick darker minorities to put at the forefront. Almost as if they’re still trying to maintain the status quo of Whiteness but try to throw out a bone to everyone else now and again.

This is just one example of many. How about the meme’s that even White Feminists had tout: “I’m a strong, independent Black woman that don’t need no man!” Or how about the movie The Help, which pretty much was White Savorism just in the gender of girl. Or the fact that White feminists were okay with someone holding up a quote from wife beater singer John Lennon saying “Woman is the n****r of the world” at a Slutwalk a couple years ago. They were not only okay with it, some went as far as to defend it, completely forgetting that Black folks can be women too.

Instead of pretending a terrible history did not happen at the hands of forcing the ideal of Whiteness, try to acknowledge and offset it. That means being aware of the fact that minorities are forever running into institutionalized racism and bigotry, which is what the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is about. The hashtag was to highlight how minority women, even in the throes of Feminism, are constantly forgotten, erased or told to pipe down. Back when White women were trying to prove that they could handle having a job and that they weren’t dainty princesses needing to be coddled and protected, Black women were forced as day workers, mammies, to have jobs taking care of White women because being stuck at home was not an option. Especially since Black women weren’t even seen as human on the same level as White women…which still occurs today. Think this is all recent chatter? Nah, Sojourner Truth talked about this, here’s a clickable excerpt below:

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

This is from the 1851, everyone. It’s currently 2013, going onto 2014. Talk about outdated and overdue.

I just do not feel that anyone who is an activist can do so while trying to uphold Whiteness because the both can’t coexist. You can’t fight for equality between genders but then display a passive form of racism through erasure to those that are supposed to be in your own ranks. Or a more active form of racism and crash into someone else’s space to claim as your own, which is what happened to the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen. It’s important for minority women to have their own spaces to talk about their issues, injecting White opinions won’t help anyone because nothing gets fixed and the idea of Whiteness is still left unchecked. This shows that we’re not even allowed even the smallest, most minute-appearing spaces (such as a Twitter tag) because, just like the appearance of Janelle Monae’s visage in a commercial for a brand that notoriously does not pitch to minority women fairly, it is somehow perceived as a threat to Whiteness and in an act of maintaining “colorblindedness”, is to be watered down as much as possible until it’s practically all White with a slight hint of “other”.

To say “Let’s be colorblind” can seem like saying “let’s forget alllllllllll about all the things oppression has done and let’s start fresh. Let’s keep it all White, but throw in a couple tokens. Worked for SNL.” It’s not taking a look at history, it’s not dismantling anything, it’s just saying, “Let’s move on because it makes me, the privileged party, feel uncomfortable.”

But hey, I guess one can still be an activist and still maintain Whiteness. I mean, the Tea Party and the Ku Klux Klan showcase that pretty effectively. No one is going to see you as progressive but hey, you’ll be fighting for something. Just not equality.

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