Archive for November, 2015


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?

– MartianKid

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.

First thing first, it wouldn’t be “we”, it would be “they” because I’m neither Dianic or Wiccan. The Dianic Wiccans pray to, well, Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon, childbirth and the hunt.

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?

– Alice

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!

It’s been a while! What we’re gonna focus on is a site that help you learn how to solder and code! That would be Adafruit. I was going to do SparkFun but then I had found AdaFruit, which is woman-owned and positioned in NYC (which is closer to me, who is on the Eastern coast).

What I like from Adafruit was the use of wearable technology that can be made, such as gloves that reacts to taps or whatever you want. They even have thin conductive thread that you can sew into clothes to make reactive. Same for rubber cords and LED sequins. There’s even an LED sewing kit for beginners. This is great for cosplayers, of course, but also, I just like the greater selection of items on their site than on SparkFun.

Interacting with Adafruit circuitboards, I really like how easy it is to program and code. Now, I already have a coding background (that is rusty but is still there), but the site has a fantastic “Learn”  section which includes cool projects such as wearable NFC, like unlocking your phone with a manicure via an NFC tag ring and a door detector where you get an email, tweet and/or text every time the door is opened! There’s so much to do and work with, it’s a lot of fun! And most importantly, once you get coding and circuit building, the ideas are endless. You can even make an audio player that is super teeny[link].

What I also like about Adafruit is how it has a wide range of projects, including projects that could easily be gendered “feminine” such as a UV manicure lamp. This is really great because it doesn’t make robotics and coding feel like it is only a “guy thing”, which is annoying and can easily kill interest because when you only have ideas for one end of a spectrum and neglect the rest, there’s not really a lot of ideas. Girls, just like guys, have lives and that means there are eventually going to be gadgets that reflect that. Why, I just featured an app not too long ago called Period Tracker, which basically uses technology to help women keep track of their periods. Works fantastically, is a great display of technology merging with life, makes life easier – which is why technology exists. This appeals very well to girls and women alike without ever having to use a revolting shade of pink: actually being inclusive with products, projects and tech that helps the inner lives of women, from super important (Period Tracker) to the frivolous (UV manicure lamp). This is really nice about Adafruit, it’s a comfortable site to have.

If you’re new to coding and soldering, I recommend finding cheaper soldering kits on Amazon or Ebay (like, $10 cheap) because you don’t want to be dismayed by the pricing on Adafruit (and SparkFun) over the basics. Thanks to the internet, you can do pretty much anything so go for it! Tech work is really cool to do.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Usually I say “send in questions” but I’ve gotten quite a bit since I was gone so I’ll answer those instead. You can still send questions (remember: good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated) but it’s no promise I’ll get to it.

Firstly, sorry the blog was stagnant for two weeks, had to deal with real life stuff that also involves preparing to move. Annnnd the ads should be gone by now, usually I have a “no-ads” feature. Moving on with the rest of the column.

Recently, I was contacted by a person for a death spell. Basically, they wanted me to kill someone out the blue for literally no apparent reason. First of all: I don’t do spells for others. Second of all: I’m not a hitman, get a gun and do it yourself like practically everyone else does. Third of all: Please remember I have friends in the police, up to lieutenant rank. Fourth of all: Please just do your research so I don’t have to make fun of you and initially dismiss the severity of your situation.

After several emails of half information, basically what had happened was I got contacted by a teenager who decided to send nudes to a random person over Kik because person B said “here are poses/games to prove that you are bi” (which is a bs request, just saying) and now the teen is regretting this very decision a bit too late now that person B, also possibly a teen, is extorting for more explicit acts and so on and so forth. The thing here as well is that the teen is over around the Middle East/Fertile Crescent and Person B is in Illinois. This teen was really hard to help because, wow, they really wanted to be spoon-fed info (look, there’s “What’s the number to 911?” panicking and, “What will/does [FBI/Interpol/etc] do?” after being linked to info pages) so, here it is for everyone because I’m a firm believer in “Don’t put yourself in a situation you aren’t capable of getting out of” and “information is everything” (or I wouldn’t have a career in libraries and a high IQ).

Firstly: If you are a teenager, DO NOT send explicit pictures of yourself. If you are considered a minor in the eyes of the law (usually hovering around 18-ish, depending on national laws), it counts as child pornography automatically. The law is like your parents, they don’t care if you think you are an adult, you’re still a kid, comparatively. This is for your protection. Here’s a site with a fantastic rundown of sexting laws and punishments (for both sender and receiver) by state in the United States. For example, the person in Illinois, if they’re honest about being a teenager and receiving this stuff, they’ll get hit with being arrested and tried in juvie court where, if convicted, they have to do counselling, community service and be supervised by the court. If they lied and turns out they’re an adult they’re pretty much screwed because they will be prosecuted under the state pornography laws and, if convicted, required to register as a sex offender, as well as whatever else the court can happily pile on, which is 2 to 15 years, depending on the severity and how the judge feels. If the teen that contacted me was also in Illinois, they would have been punished as well for producing child pornography with the penalty of counselling, supervision and community service. Take a look at the site yourself, if isn’t worth it. Already, you can’t control what someone does with your picture (or if their phone gets hacked), risking the very serious penalties of producing child pornography as well as other charges because the courts haven’t fully caught up to the digital age? That small .02 second pic is seriously going to cost you. As in, it’ll be on your record for colleges and jobs to see and if you think trying to get work and get into school is hard enough, try having that mark on your record. Find other ways to bond with people that isn’t so risky.

Secondly: If someone is pressuring you to do it, they actually don’t care about you or love you or else they wouldn’t risk your safety and well-being. Period. Sending a nude is not a testament of how in control you are or how much you love them, and they actually know that – even when they’re saying otherwise. Don’t do it. And if they’re a stranger on the internet, just assume they have nefarious reasons to ask a young person they practically just met to send pornographic material of themselves. Good people don’t do that, only pedo, ephebophiles (pedos but targeting teens), and other very destructive, abusive people do that. I would say “hey, here is how to report” buuuuut honestly, most – if not all – social media sites mainly do lip service but nothing constructive to thwart this from happening and to resolve occurrences that actually have happened. Actually, I researched all the ways to report to FBI, Interpol*, and Kik but then looked a little deeper and saw that, for the people perpetrated against, they really aren’t anything but painted plywood fronts of security theatre unless the victim screencaps everything, is quick to alert authorities and the social sites and basically speak up for themselves.

Thirdly: If this already happened, tell your parents and the feds. Yeah, they’re going to freak out on you because they care and they’re perfectly in their right to go Pompeii about it at the start. The teen that talked to me said her dad didn’t care, just to ignore it. This means either she didn’t actually tell him because, wow, talk about tone deaf, or he seriously doesn’t care about his daughter at all. Most parents would be hitting the roof if they found out that a) their child has been sending nude pictures of themselves to strangers on the internet and b) the stranger they sent it to is extorting them for more.

Basically, practice safe texting, the repercussions aren’t worth it.

*How are things on the West coast? – I had to do it, I’m sorry 😄

Man, this site has been non active for a while. Not on purpose, simply because here’s the run down of what happened:

– Got triggered waaaay too much due to douchebag neighbor

– Due to douchebag landlord, my mother got thrown out of her home of 17 years

– Same douchebag landlord tried to get rid of me, so I had to break the lease and move (just so I can move again 6 months from now)

– Started new gig, one of the benefits is having access to lawyers – very good lawyers – so I’m dealing with douchebag landlady and douchebag neighbor via the courts (yay, I’m only 28 and I already have to sue someone! Seriously?)

Basically this is what happened, it wasn’t on purpose that BW haven’t posted for a while. I have been keeping up with the BW emails and tumblr so there’s that. That means I still had the same old stupid questions, some good questions and moronic White folks who think that I want to write for their publications because I’m Black and from Baltimore. I said it once, I’ll say it again: not interested in giving an “inside view” simply because they see what’s happening in my old neighborhood of Sandtown and think it’s another season of The Wire since, somehow in their eyes, HBO spelled backwards is PBS. Not interested in helping yuppies get clicks and awards for doing absolutely, positively nothing but being invasive, rude, drama-seeking, White saviorist, pillaging and thieving.

It sucks that the month I was basically out on was October, which means no Samhain Pickers for this year. I can remedy the vchat but it still won’t be the same, now would it? I still want to do something different because, hey, I’ve been gone for a while. I may propose to do a Watch Together or something since I wanted to do that for a while. If so, we’re going with National Treasure because I worked at the Library of Congress. However, I have been making new writings, I just haven’t been posting them until now.

Meh. Either way, I’m going to be back. Also, as a reminder, you can always put funds in the Black Witch till to prevent posting hiatuses like these. Huzzah.

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