Archive for September, 2014

Ask Black Witch: Off Day

No questions! I got no questions! That means I get free space to do whatever I want.

First of all, I want to direct your attention to this picture in regards to the Black Witch Fan Page on Facebook:

keep up with BW on FB

Enable to stay up to date with all things Black Witch via Facebook, you have to select the “Get Notifications” bar. I know, it’s stupid but that’s Facebook for you.

I’ve really got nothing to say. I usually am prepared for ABW: Off Days but not today. Eh, I’m going to the Baltimore Book Festival this upcoming weekend. It’s going to be at the Inner Harbor instead of in Mt. Vernon. The Aquarium will have a tent…I want to pet a puffin. I will harass them for the puffin. The puffin is my goal.

Alright. Movie time! Yaaaaay!

Here’s some Edd’s World! I loved this series when I was younger and I still go back to watch it from time to time.

Yay! And starting October 1st, I will be starting Samhain Pickers. Stick around for more information.

I remember a reader telling me that they couldn’t get stream of my regular posts ported to FB (meaning that even this post will go unseen unless I pay Facebook to promote it major – which I won’t because that’s ridiculous). It’s difficult because this is an issue with Facebook wanting money so only the ones who pay the most get seen the most in your timelines and feeds. I find that immensely unfair because given someone has clicked the “Like” button, they already are expressing that “Yes, I want to see more of this, I want to follow this person and what they do.” Not cool.

I learned from a different fan page that you, the fan, have to actively click the “Get Notifications” selection when you click the drop-down for the “Liked/Like” button.

keep up with BW on FB

Make sure to do this to keep up on new Black Witch happenings. Especially since October is coming up so that means there’s the Samhain Pickers Giveaway and the Samhain/Halloween Ustream. I’ll try to keep reminding people throughout the month of October.

And yes, you can message me through Facebook and since Ask Black Witch is on Friday, now would be a good time to do so.

So here is The Arts!, let’s get right to it.

Find an Event (Pagan Pride Project)
Want to find a Pagan event in your area? Discovered via the African American Wiccan Society group on Facebook, this site, the Pagan Pride Project, can help you. These seemed to be primarily focused on Pagan Pride events but it is just as useful to know about those events as well.

The site works easily, you just put in your zipcode and there you have it. Look at what is in my area when I put in my info.

Pagan Pride Project

What convenience!

Tropes vs. Women
This is one of my favorite online series. Anita Sarkeesian, who is the creator of Feminist Frequency, created this series which deconstructs video games through the lens of feminist theory. From this deconstruction comes the identification of tropes that are so strongly prevalent in so many games, especially popular titles such as Mario, God of War, Pac-Man/Ms.PacMan, Hitman and Grand Theft Auto.

Here is the first episode, which breaks down the concept of a trope and starts with deconstructing the idea of the Damsel in Distress.

The latest episode, which I will admit, gets a bit grisly so if you can’t bear seeing images of violence and brutality, skip to 23:30. This episode is Part 2 of using women as background decoration (Part 1). Remember, if you can’t stand bloody brutality, skip ahead to 23:30, where Sarkeesian sums it all up.

And, yes, the series does get a lot of hate and crap flung at it by wildly misogynist and anti-feminist gamers. Here is a write up on Dr. Nerdlove about the whole debacle here annnnnnd here.

Actually, she talks about it here at TEDxWomen about cyber harassment and online mobs, which she has to routinely – even to today – put up with. Since I’ve told guys I’ve worked with at the Library of Congress how bad gender harassment can get online – as well as how it can eventually trickle offline – just to write a well-formed opinion about games and they were completely floored in disbelief, lemme slap this video up here.

And of telling dudes at the LoC about gender and gaming, I really remember the one dude who was from the Performing Arts Division collecting Prima guides in my area and I saw he picked up one for Remember Me. I recommended it strongly since I’ve played it and it had a Black girl as the lead. That started a conversation of gender and video games and he mentioned he had a 9 year old son and wanted me to recommend women-starring games (that were age appropriate) because he literally said “I don’t want my son to grow up and he’s hitting women on an elevator”.* This dude actually cared that his son wouldn’t become some future harasser/rapist-in-training/douchebag and knew part of how was by playing games that would let the kiddo see that women are people, not simply things to be acted upon and in brutish fashion at that. So I recommended a series of games that were appropriate for his kid to play now at 9 and when he gets older as well as what to look for in games that star women so his kid can have tons of fun (because games should be fun) and continue to develop healthy ideas about women.

And remember, next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

*This is in reference to what Ray Rice did. It was awful.

Metaphysics and Reality

When being a witch – or psionic, or high magician, or anyone else being involved in metaphysics and the esoteric – it can sometimes be difficult dealing with having your experience and/or beliefs dismissed. Being told that “spells don’t work”, “your gods aren’t real”, “no one can predict the future”, can be so annoying and aggravating.

Now, a lot of people go by personal experience and media they’ve experienced. Granted, if someone hasn’t knowingly seen ghosts or only know about pop metaphysics learned via reality shows and tv dramas, it kind of makes sense that they would be dismissive of occultic happenings. However, it is important to note here that there is a difference between make believe and reality. What happens during Supernatural and Sleepy Hallow is make believe (I love Sleepy Hallow like I love my cat but they still over dramatized sin eaters and Supernatural has a too much of a race casting issue to be anywhere near accurate). There is not nearly as much glamour and sparkliness and bright lights in actual magick, those are just creative choices by the director and producers to best convey that something magical is happening or else the viewer would be so lost given that tv is an audio-visual medium so it has to express the other senses somehow. Reality is much more boring, the metaphysics doesn’t add a pop of spice to one’s life. Confusion, oh sure. Spice, not as much. Since what people experience isn’t what the tv and movies promise them, it’s easy for people to say “Oh, that’s not real,” or “If people could really do that, it would be all over the news/social media/etc”. And trying to explain metaphysics in layman terms to regular people can be so easily confusing, it’s almost easy to just not bother to explain. It just becomes such a bother to the practitioner when hearing such dismissive things about the esoteric are so constant.

Then you have folks who are strongly in the “Science know all” camp. Just looking at science’s track record with simply race (eugenics, anyone?), gender (science “discovered” the clitoris three different times, that’s depressing) and mental illness (the hard sciences still sees psychology as hokey) shows that science isn’t perfect. While science is definitely important to determine physical ideas and theories, it doesn’t know the answer to everything because science is ever evolving. What science knew 100 years ago is radically different from today and what science will know 100 years from now is most likely going to be radically different from the world of now. Besides, metaphysics literally means “transcendence beyond the physical”, of course science isn’t going to have the answers for the esoterics – at least, not readily. That and it seems when someone does do actual sound studies on parapsychology, science tends to go “Ehhhh, we’ll ignore that.”

Then there’s the fact that science in the West is not really that inclusive of various cultures and beliefs. I know, science is supposed to be all logic and if it can’t be proven, it’s not worth noting but when scientists feel compelled to use science to justify stereotypes and bigoted beliefs of race and gender, maybe science could stand to be a bit more diverse in its perspectives, it would probably arrive at some answers baffling science in general faster.

All in all, it can be tough keeping up the faith, so to speak. I guess the best way to deal with this is to try to find like-minded people and spaces wherever you can but to not get overboard. You want to keep your metaphysics/psionics learning up so you don’t give into subtle discouragement (and, trust, that is hard because it is everywhere in Western society) but you don’t want to become a ditzy hippie thinking that having a wide array of crystals alone will heal cancer and death. I always like to remember that nothing is impossible. Possibly improbable, but not impossible. If there’s one standing idea in all metaphysics, it is exactly that. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.

For The Arts!:

Find an Event – Pagan Pride
Tropes vs. Women

Alright, time for more Witchier writings! Gotta bring some balance back to the site or it will be all gender and race issues. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing but that’s not 100% what this site is about (About 50%, 60+% when I super feel like it). Besides, if I posted more regularly on race and gender, it would only be a matter of time before White allies would just thieve my work to boost their own visibility. Can’t be having that. And also can’t be having folks forget that I practice witchcraft and my site’s name isn’t an attempt at being edgy.

So today, let’s talk about the wrong reasons to get into spellwork.

Now, of course, there are the basics of why not to get into spellwork so here they are:

– Revenge
– To look/be different
– To control others
– To pass the time

Let’s break these down further:

Revenge: Hexes seem really convenient when you don’t know anything about them, I’m sure. Now, I’m not entirely anti-hex (I’m more for “grey magick”) but if the only reason you see usefulness in practicing magick is to jinx people left and right for wronging you, that’s not good. You’re not defending yourself (which is different), you’re just going at people who you feel wronged you, even though it could actually be you who is in the wrong. And that’s part of the whole point, being vengeful when really, it could be you who is the bad guy. It’s important to try to be objective whenever possible and use mundane ways to react to people who crossed you or at the very least, do grey magick such as karma spells so if that person is in the wrong, they’ll get their just desserts and if it is actually you who is wrong, then the yoke will be on you instead. Otherwise, don’t do it.

To Look/Be Different: How hipster. And annoying. You’re not showing any respect towards metaphysics and let’s be honest, you don’t care much either way. The part that is problematic is that these folks tend to be major psuedo-intellectuals on the subject and oh man do they spew such nonsense, one could ride a surfboard on it. Here’s the thing about spellworking: it requires a lot of heavy reading and none of that is Harry Potter or Twilight. Yes, imitating what you saw in The Craft is great fashion-wise but that’s pretty much it. Trying to impress random people by saying “Oooooh, I do spells, I’m so spoooooooky!” is pretty annoying.

To Control Others: This is bad, even if you were doing it in a mundane way. Remember, if it is wrong for mundane ways, it’s wrong in magick. Want to get a date? There’s a spell for that. Want to force someone to love you? There’s a spell for that. Only one of them are morally acceptable and it isn’t the forcing one. Gotta have free will, kiddo. It’s important. Being controling isn’t good at all. Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

To pass the time: It’s one thing when you’re a practiced witch and you’re doing magick because you’re bored out of your skull and thinking, “Hey, some random pope used to summon entities and spirits for teh lolz, I should try that,”* it’s another thing altogether to try magick just because you’re bored. That’s called “dabbling”. Don’t do it. Ever. Spellwork is a practice, not a simple hobby.

Spellworking can be pretty intense (especially when things go wrong and then things go really wrong.) It would be wise to simply get into it due to a natural, intrinsic pull in opposed to trying to look different or because your current life feels boring and thing that knowing spells would liven things up.** There’s a lot of work that goes into spellcasting, it’s important to respect that and to be earnest about getting into spellworking as you grow your information about it and start doing it more and more. And for the love of the gods, don’t do spellwork just because Halloween/Samhain is coming around. That is so not cool. And unbelievably corny. Even I don’t do magick around Halloween/Samhain.

*I can neither confirm or deny that I have done this. However, I am glad I have a Nintendo 3DS now.
** It doesn’t, my life is still boring.

BW Busy Day

Seems like I’ve been nothing but busy. Suxxors.

So here’s two kitties boppin their heads in tune

And an episode of one of my favorite Korean shows, Running Man. I found this one on SBS FunE (I think they have Running Man on pretty much all day, every-freakin-day. I have rarely seen a different show on that channel short of entertainment news shows but a complete marathon of Running Man*). It has English subtitles but as this show is on Korean television, it’s in all Korean.



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