Huzzah, it is Ask Black Witch, where you ask me questions and I answer ‘em! Basic rule is “good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated”. Since I was gone for a super long time, that means a lot of questions piled up. I’m going to start with the most recent and work my way back. That way, I keep up with questions. These questions are mainly coming from Tumblr and the Ask Black Witch submission box.
Also, it’s the holidays, I really am probably gonna derp on a few questions.
Do you have any suggested reading material?
Recently and for the metaphysics? No. To be honest, I’ve been scoping out books and materials but in physical form, it’s really, really lacking. Either it’s basically the same info regurgitated over and over with a new shiny book cover or it’s some lame 101 book that’s clearly directed either toward White teens or their housewife moms. Or a combo. And usually with some cultural appropriation (chakras, smudging, voodoo) thrown in for good measure.
Honestly, it would be best to look at the more academic books about these subjects because Pagan writers simply are lacking. Although, academic writers are not perfect either, there’s a lot of biased information in academic writing due to the field and the publishing houses that function in it pretty much holding the same gatekeeping standards as the Ku Klux Klan – White gaze, Male gaze, Western standards always at the center somehow and everyone else goes under a microscope to be coldly examined into bits. This would take a lot of study to make sure you’re getting an objective learning that benefits you versus just learning a lot of academeized prejudices displayed as inarguable fact.
The issue is, because these fields have next to no diversity in voice and perspective (5 White, male writers on the subject of Native American smudging is not diversity & tokenization is not diversity, either) due to how they constructed themselves, there’s a lot of research that will be needed on your part. I know, I know, for a field that claims to be overflowing with smarties, eggheads and geniuses, they’re pretty freaking stupid about getting tripped up over basic and small things like race and gender. Make sure the books you read have diverse authors as well.
I already have books I have referenced a few times in the past in the Resources and Information category. They’re very decent, especially for spell work and the groundwork of such. Academic books are really sucky about that, obviously.
I’m a teen interested in Wicca, especially Dianic Wicca. What god or goddess do we worship and I’m afraid to tell my parents that I’m interested in Wicca since they’re Christians.
– Nicole M.
It would be best to gauge your parents’ reactions. I didn’t really tell my parents for a long time and, frankly, I got outed (after I moved out, but still, got outed). If they are severely “Anyone who doesn’t believe what I believe is going straight to Hell”, I wouldn’t expect they would have a sudden turnaround when their own child needs them to.
This means you may have to warm them up to the idea of the fact that different religions exist and are still just as valid as theirs. However, if you still live with them underneath their roof, you’re going to have to be very cautious because the last you need is to be kicked out and forced homeless as a result of your parents showing “Christian love and mercy”. Remember, religious privilege, like any privilege, is very good at making people bend logic and go Pompeii over little things. This means you can still test the waters but be safe about it such as talk about people with different faiths (not all the time or they’ll pick up) and hear how they feel. If they think Christianity is the only way or that Pagans are just crazy White people just being crazy, that means you may have to practice in secret until you move out.
If you don’t live with them, you can still warm it up to them with time. The upshot is that you don’t have to worry about homelessness, just people being potentially upset. Remind them that A) this is not a dig at your family history or heritage, you still appreciate it B) it’s not a phase no more than them being Christian is a phase C) This doesn’t mean you hate Christians now, the religion simply didn’t work for you because of your own individual feelings and beliefs and D) they can either have you or their bigotry, but they can’t have both, so choose. (And bigotry won’t take care of them when they’re old and decrepit. Nor send them family pictures. Nor help them carve the turkey during the holidays). Without the risks of your livelihood and safety being diminished, it’s up to you on how to warm up your folks to Dianic Wicca but don’t expect any overnight changes. I would suggest easing them into it with passive mentions to it (“I’m going to be doing something for Yule, I hope it doesn’t snow badly this year like last time”) and bringing them back to center calmly if they start to be dismissive of the religion.
Even if they want to put in work to get to know and understand your religious faith, still don’t expect any overnight changes. Learning takes time. They’re going to be super uncomfortable that so many changes are happening all at once, it may take a while that you changing religions is not a person diss against them as parents and that you’re not an evil person now that you left Christianity. Actually, if they do believe that non-Christian=evil, feel free to present a picture of Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan, Adolf Hitler, the US Congress and the Bush Administration as proof that you can be wicked in any religion.
I’m looking to start practicing again but I don’t know to any circles or covens around me. It been such a long time since I practiced, and so much has changed since then. I’m not sure where to start.
– Vivian K.
This can be a really hard thing to do because not only do you want a circle or coven that meets your spiritual needs but also your mundane needs as well, such as, “Will I get along with them?” I would best recommend to see via google or local Pagan groups on Facebook to see what is available and go from there. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to find circles and covens but thanks to the internet, it can sometimes be harder because people worry of being found.
You can look on WitchVox, that also would be a really good place to start.
Is it possible to be A Christian and A witch?
– Albert M.
Short answer: Yes.
Drawn out answer: Yes, there is “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” but actually, that’s not in the original writings of the Bible, which was “Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner” to live. The word “witch” as we all know and understand it in modern day context actually was not in existence then. The closest back then would have been “doctor” not “poisoner” given witches – also can be considered witch doctors – were giving out remedies and helping the community, not hurting it. The “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” bit mainly came to be around the King James Version and was moreso a result from the witch hunts and panics of the times.
Christian witches very much are a thing, they simply use the Holy Trinity as replacement for the god/dess figure that is prominent in Paganism, tend to study angel magick and mainly Christian or Abrahamic occultic works. Basically, Christianity is the focus of their practice and magick, that’s it. They still go to church, they still follow Christian doctrine, they’re still Christian, they just add metaphysical practice with their faith.
Hi! From what I’ve read, it seems like the practice of using graveyard dirt in spells, etc. originated exclusively from Hoodoo. Do you know if this is accurate, and if so, as a white witch should I avoid this practice?
Graveyard dirt is mainly a feature in Hoodoo (and Voodun, I believe?) The best writing I have seen on this side of the world wide web is Amethjera’s writing titled “Graveyard Dirt – History, Purchase and Uses”, which smartly broaches the topic and confirms that, yep, you’re right, graveyard dirt has origins in Hoodoo.
Now, if you mean “white witch” as in “person who practices ‘good’ magic”, I would say that Hoodoo is not inherently evil – neither is Voodoo – and that magick like electricity: neither inherently good or bad, it’s all in how you use it.
If you mean “white witch” as in, “white person who practices witchcraft”, then I would say just tread verrrrry carefully because it’s a short walk from just borrowing culture to outright stealing it. If anything, if you’re super interested in using it, I highly recommend doing some deep study on the history of Hoodoo, why it exists, why graveyard dirt is a thing and so on and so forth. Graveyard dirt can be really strong in magick and while no faith or cultural practice has a copyright on dirt sitting in a cemetery/burial ground, it is better to be aware and respectful of its background instead of going, “I have a jar a diiiiiirt and it’s miiiiine. I’m so original.”
Just don’t start using overtly Hoodoo things with the dirt such as prayers, deities and more, especially not without heavy and extensive research and understanding of the importance of Hoodoo and how it came about. That’s appropriating/stealing/being disrespectful. Using the dirt by itself – as just dirt that came from a burial ground, any burial ground -, that can be fine. Adding more cultural effects, then it starts to become an issue. But still, read up on the history before proceeding. That’s a must.
Right now I am at my lowest, I feel like there is something negative on me. being I am interested in becoming a witch. But I don’t know if I have to give up being a Christian.
– Sherri J.
This question came right at the very end of Aug so I don’t know if it still stands but ‘ey, I’ll give it a shot.
If you’re depressed, that does not mean that there is a fix on you, it could just mean you’re going through a lot of bad things right about now. If you think it is as a result of you starting to think about joining witchcraft, that’s merely confirmation bias and instilled Christian fear/guilt working as a tag team. Also, if you’re really depressed, make sure to talk to someone or keep a journal to get out your feelings.
Now, usually when people come to me and they say “I feel like crap, I’m part of [insert faith here] but it isn’t working out for me, maybe I should try [witchcraft/Paganism/Wicca/etc]”, I remind them that if the issue is belief-wise, maaaaaaaaaaaybe they should consider, but after a lot of introspection and research. But if it is life-wise (job is crappy, life is crappy because of life stuff, etc), then maybe they should be visiting their church/mosque/synagogue/ etc, more because this is where faith is tested the most. Not during the good times, during the bad times. I’m Pagan but I still have crappy days. I practice witchcraft, still have crappy days.
If you don’t want to give up on being Christian, don’t. Nothing says you have to. Only you know if being Christian is working out for you but know that there’s no religion you can go to, no spell that can be casted that is simply the silver bullet for all of life’s problems and woes. Faith isn’t easy, that’s certain.
Today I found a jar with urine and a picture inside of me, What can this mean? A love spell? it was an old picture of me inside and I’m sure it was 5 years or more back since the picture was old and it also had some type of things on the bottom of the jar. Is this any type of spell?
– Emily B.
(Today for this letter would be also the tail end of Aug.) I’m no pro on Hoodoo or Voodun (which is what this reminds me of but it can also be folk magick) buuuuuut one thing I do know is that any time body excrement such as feces or urine is used, it’s not for positive things usually. I simply cannot recall any love spell (not “non-controlling” ones, certainly) that involves what you describe.
If you found nails or anything at the bottom of the jar, this further would make me believe that this isn’t a love spell…it’s more like a fix, a jinx. I would think back to 4-5 years ago if you had any major hardships that seemed very hard to resolve and as if it came out the blue. I don’t believe I got another email describing what’s inside the jar but I can guess that this wasn’t a good thing to trip across. Empty, destroy and bury as soon as possible.
That’s all for today!