Archive for May, 2017


Blank journals have been added to the Black Witch Shoppe. All hand stitched and made to be durable.

These journals range between 80-120 pgs and are all unlined. Lined journals and music journals will be coming next in the upcoming weeks!

The journals I’m very excited to sell are the open spine journals!

These hardcover journals have exposed stitching on the spine, thus will have different designs and varieties. In addition, I am able to take bookbinding commissions for anyone who wants a specialized book journal designed and created.

To celebrate this, a coupon: BWJournal20 (Coupon expires on May 31, 2017)

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I’m taking this space to talk about the new Discord server I just set up last week. And the bookbinding livestream I did recently, too. Huzzah!

Discord is a chat server originally started for gamers but you can create a server to chat on. I already am part of a couple.

The link is open to the first 50 users. This is to keep things manageable and because it’s a new server.

The rules, because there’s always some rules:

  • You have to join Discord and be on the server for 5 minutes. This is simply to make sure I don’t have the server overrun with trolls (it’s a chat forum primarily for gamers, let’s not kid ourselves here).
  • As you could guess from the previous rule, any hate speech is gonna be instabanned. Period. Discussion is okay, hate speech is not. Even if you go “but I’m [area of lacked privilege]”, still instabanned.
  • Keep chatter to PG-13. I want young people who use the server to not feel squicked out. This isn’t the Grand Theft Auto servers.

That’s pretty much it. There isn’t really a space for Black Pagans to interact with one another, Discord is easy to join and it’s both a computer app and a phone app so very versatile. Check it out!

Bookbinding streaming

Last week, I did some work streaming of doing bookbinding on the Black Witch Facebook fan page. Really, all I did was make the covers for open spine books. It took three hours but it was a relatively nice experience. I played two or three episodes of podcast Kurly in Kansai.

I don’t have a set schedule of when I’ll be doing bookbinding stuff but any stream done will be on the Black Witch FB fan page live stream. All books done on stream will be sold in the Black Witch Shoppe (which looks fairly bare right now, I’ll admit). Granted, sometimes I wind up with paper that is too tough for bookbinding and the covers have small breaks in the end. So I won’t have a pile of those books, I may still put them on the BW Shoppe but for a lesser price since the book is still functional. Or deco them.

Huzzah!

 

This is going to be about suicide because I feel like talking about it and both the Black and Pagan community suck at discussing it. Simple as that.

Firstly, I’m not going to suggest National Suicide Prevention Hotline because they absolutely suck. I think I have called it only twice in my life and both times were pretty useless. The most recent time, a counselor started to be slightly combative saying “Oh, you can’t disturb the peace in myself. I am at peace with myself.” That’s nice, you’re a happy camper no matter who calls. If only I cared, the person who is not at a whole lot of peace with themselves. Unfortunately, Google and Facebook plasters them everywhere if you have “suicide” in your search term. (Unless you search for specific methods and avoid the word “suicide”, then you don’t see it at all). Thus I want to get this declaration out of the way. National Suicide Prevention Hotline does nothing to help those actually suffering from suicide. If anything, it’s just a fairly fleshed out dummy number for people who have never experienced suicidal ideation, feelings or attempts to rattle off to feel better about themselves. It’s also usually coupled with a “If you don’t want to talk to them, you can always talk to me” (which is usually a load of bs by itself, unfortunately).

Before we go further, also want to get out of the way the fact pro-suicide sites exist.

About pro-suicide sites: I’m not going to link them because while pro-suicide sites don’t bother me and, in my opinion, are better at being frank about suicide than anti-suicide sites (so frank that they have convinced people away from killing themselves), they are pro-suicide. They refer to folks who are anti-suicide as “happy shinies” (because they’re delusional in their thinking that “everything will be okie dokie if you just smile, do yoga and be happy!”) and I certainly can’t disagree with that because, hey, most people are scared of knowing someone who is suicidal so they think a pointless pep talk can make someone put the razor down. However, I am not going to just link to them because this is gonna be “do as I say, not as I do” moment. I dislike these moments and try to keep them as rare as possible but it’s happening today.

Alright then, moving along.

There’s no one reason why people attempt to kill themselves or successfully accomplish it. There’s heartbreak, bullying, general depression, financial strain, social isolation or combination. It’s really unfortunate but happens all the time. And some problems can simply not be fixed, no matter how empty or rehearsed the pep talk to a suicidal person gets.

Everyone has heard “try to pull through, it’ll get better” but that’s intensely hollow because it doesn’t provide even the slightest glimmer of a solution right now. The future looks far away and full of hurting so what’s the point of dragging yourself through all that…especially when there’s the chance that this feeling may be around for months or even years? And may never go away? Most people don’t know what to say to someone in emotional pain or crisis so they go for surface things like, “be happy” or “go pray” because getting into the murkier waters can be scary and are very, very not easy to fix at all. Someone wanting to kill themselves because they feel like an incessant failure is not going to magically perk up because you reminded them that a god existed. Actually, while we’re on the point of religion…

Never bring up religion to a suicidal person. If the suicidal person is very stressed and convinced of their method, they’re very much in a headspace where religion can’t reach them. No idea of an eye in the sky or an invisible friend is going to turn them around at that instance. You may hear the common, snarky rebuttal to “Oh, go talk to god”, which is: “I’ll be able to talk to god in person soon, if you’ll just go away.” In all the times that I’ve talked to someone who was genuinely depressed and considering suicide, I never would bring up religion, even if we were in the same religion. It’s because I know how it feels and if anything, it could stoke some latent anger (“If god/the gods is/are so all knowing, why do I have to go through what I’m going through? Why are they putting me through this? I’m not perfect but I try to be a good person”). That anger is not what the person in need needs. They’re just going to feel more abandoned and it’ll just plummet themselves down further. That and what if the thing weighing on them is a bad break up or, worse, money issues such as an eviction notice with only 5 days to remedy? Reference to religion just starts to sound deflecting from going at the real problem, as if the person talking to the troubled person reaaaaaally don’t want to acknowledge that some problems in the world are incredibly complex and need practical, real world solutions.

Actually, let’s talk about that for a bit: people who mean well but sincerely do not want anything to do with the existence of suicide, suicidal people and suicidal thought. Best explained in this article from Care For Your Mind and this article from Red Eye, even though people may spread numbers and links to suicide awareness hotlines (usually National Suicide, which, again, I would like to remind is not that good), it’s a very hollow act that serves the person spreading the link more than the person who should see it. A one sided feel-good act. If anything, this is a pretty detaching act to do, especially if the person feels alone or isolated. Because instead of the friend actually talking to the suicidal person about what is troubling them, all the suicidal person gets is a cold “here, call this number, I can’t be bothered with your issues” message. Even if the friend is just passing the number along because they honestly don’t know what to say but, truly, they know more of what to say than a random, poorly trained and burnt out volunteer on the phone. For starters, the friend actually knows the suicidal person, and therefore can pull from a bigger bank of information, which means better questions, avoiding emotional landmines, and getting trust and cooperation. A random from the Suicide Hotline can’t do that. What the friend could say would have more gravity to the suicidal person than a random person who may or may not really care. Basically, if you’re the type to say “talk to me if you’re suicidal”, back it up with some actual talk. No, it won’t be easy, glamorous or lovely. Hey, you may even have to spend the night with the person to make sure they won’t kill themselves. But it’s better than a cold shoulder after originally offering comfort and help.

It also does much better to help the suicidal person if they’re not called “selfish”. Actually, it’s usually others that drive people to that point, hardly narcissistic. Also, isn’t it even more selfish to want someone to live despite all their pain and suffering (that you’re not going through, especially not on their behalf). To just drag through what is senselessly hurting them and causing incredible pain because it might give you a sad. Oh, woe. Don’t just bother to help, just tell the person “Why don’t you think about me? Me and my feelings?” Look, once you pull yourself from the mirror, you should remember that there’s a person in need of help, not your selfish nonsense. Same with complaining, “Don’t take the coward’s way out.” Plenty people going through hardship killed themselves and they were pretty tough people, they just got tired of handling the weight of their issue by themselves. Anyone can carry a 3lb rock, but people eventually break if you saddle them with a 250lb boulder, regardless of their strength level. Even faster if you tell them, “It’s a three pound rock! Stop saying ‘it’s heavy!'”

For most people trying to kill themselves, just simply giving a sh*t is generally good enough. Most suicidal people think they’re a burden to others, that they’re not worth anyone’s time (part of why just haphazardly tossing a number to a suicide hotline that barely works can be a bad idea), that they’re a problem that needs to go away. They feel alone in their issues or like all they do is bother everyone, even when they try to do well and make all the right moves. Someone who actually knows them and actively tries to help them (not suggest religion, not suggest yoga, not suggest hobbies, actually sit on derriere and tries to help). It tends to do a lot more work than tossing a random phone number about.

However, some people who are suicidal are very invisible and isolated, they don’t have a network of people to talk to or even if they did, they feel that probably no one in that network would listen or even take their grave feelings seriously. Perhaps they’re getting tired of the “prayer” line. Maybe they’re part of a culture that internalizes prejudiced ideas about them and tries to pass it off as a positive. For example, if you’re Black and suicidal, you’re going to hear that Black folks are very strong and pretty much impervious to emotional pain…which stems from internalizing the centuries-old dehumanizing “animal/subhuman” stereotypes. That and you can go to church and pray away the pain and leave it all at the Cross. It all boils down to “Black people don’t commit suicide”. Which can be true, if you exclude Don Cornelius, Kayrn Washington, Lee Thompson Young, Phyllis Hyman, Jay Bowdy and countless, countless others. Actually, here’s a Think Progress article about the fact that suicide among Black youth is booming. Here’s another article from The Body is not an Apology. I guess Jesus and pretending nothing hurts aren’t really that effective. Feeling like it’s a must to suffer in silence or to just not even be noticed at all, it can be a terrible pressure that can lead to someone trying to kill themselves because no one who commits suicide really wants to die – they just really want to escape what’s hurting them and make things better somehow. For those who really just want to talk to someone that is actually going to chat with them and not judge them, there is the Crisis Text Line. It isn’t a physical person sitting there with you, but it is someone. It’s also free and quick to use. (It’s also faaaaaar better than National Suicide).

Now, some find comfort in their suicidal ideation, that they have a “way out” if everything really goes very south and with no avail. I think it’s a bit silly to think society can prevent suicide because the reasons of suicide is complex. If suicide were an easy subject, people wouldn’t wait for someone famous to kill themselves to talk about it for a few weeks before going back to ignoring its existence and shunning anyone who’s ever tried it. Some problems are simply too hard to fix or with very short time restrictions. Some people just have nagging thoughts that pester them that life isn’t worth living, regardless of achievements. It’s all very complex. Suicide is complex. And it’s never going away, but it can be alleviated in those who feel this way. But not always, which is just how life is.

Small Magick

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Magick is usually depicted as grand gestures and actions. Sitting in a circle, in front of a loaded spread of all sorts of magickal tools and accessories. Taking up space and having major clean up. Sometimes simple is best. Small and simple is better.

I like to keep things to one container. A tupperware full of sand for me to position stones and small, birthday candles. I can stick incense in the sand and the ash mixes with the sand when I’m done. The sand absorbs the wax, I have something I can reuse over and over.

Also, there are big jar candles that can store small stones, dried herb and other accessories like small seashells and dried honey combs. This is great for one-off spells and spells that need multiple days to perform, such as 7 day spells. These candles can be bought for cheap at any general store or market, in any color and with a variety of scents. Three wick candles are really nice.

It’s important to use small stones, the kind that would be stringed on a necklace (these can be bought by the string on Ebay, usually). The reason is because they would be hard to clean and reuse afterwards, especially with non-smooth stones. Also, small stones can be moved about and let space for other items in the candle jar.

Be mindful! Use flash paper, not regular paper, if you plan to burn anything written in these candles. Regular paper will absorb the wax and practically double as a second wick, which will eventually heat the wax and turn into a big conflagration. If not put out in time, it will break and shatter the glass, especially if you blow on it or put water on it. If the flame does start to be out of control, use baking soda. An alternative is a metal cooking lid or pan to cover and suffocate the flames. Do not use water.

Not a smart idea, use baking soda instead.

Do not overload the candle jar. The flame does need space and wax to burn. It’s fine to cover the wax thinly but not to stuff the mouth of the candle jar full. That means no stuffing in regular sized pine cones, big sticks, etc. This could also create a big fire. If you want to burn notebook paper, crumple it up first and tightly. Light it on the flame of the candle and hold it with a small pinch until it is burned away enough over the jar and place the rest of it in the jar and watch it intensely. If you don’t want to do that, transfer everything to flash paper. If you’re using a metal candle jar, you don’t have to worry about the jar breaking from heat but you should place it on a surface that can handle intense heat, like stone.

Once the candle goes out, what you do with the remaining container is up to you. You can throw it away, you can put soil in it and grow flowers, whatever works best for the spell. Do not throw it away in a natural place like in the woods or in a river. While it is quaint and idyllic, it is also pollution. The sun can shine through the glass onto dry grass and cause a wildfire. The glass could shatter somehow and an animal could cut their foot or body on it.

This method of magick is cheap, small and very useful. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, nor a lot of work. It may not be a full layout of a circle but it does what is needed.

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