Archive for April, 2019


Parade of Apologies

I’ve gotten a few apologies over the last spate of months. They’re all from folks who acted badly when we were better friends years ago. Two came out of the blue, one I got after poking them about their bad/racist behavior on social media. Two apologized for being racist and boneheaded about their actions. Years and years and years down the line.

To be honest, while the apologies are nice, I sincerely can’t feel them. The two who went “sorry I was racist and didn’t care, even when you pointed it out” (this includes the one I poked on their social media), it was nice they gave their apologies but I think this is a great demonstration of how being prejudice can follow you. And that just because you didn’t care about being bigoted, that doesn’t mean no one did.

The one I talked to on social media actually started the convo with, “Why are you bringing up something I said ten years ago, I did a toxic purge, I’m a different person now.” While the distancing is something I expect, especially since they were really gleeful to say the n-word several times, especially after I said, “Not cool” and used a defense of “I’m Jewish! It’s not prejudiced! Heck, the Holocaust doesn’t even bother me!” … because logic and a touch of internalized anti-semitism. Eventually, they apologized twice, and it was a short conversation after that because I really wanted to nail home why what they said was bad.

Every time I’ve gotten an “I’m sorry, I was racist and shouldn’t have been”, I don’t think I’ve ever sugarcoated my words. You feel bad – because you should feel bad, since you did a bad thing. I’m going to not simply hold you to it, I’m stapling you to it. And making sure it doesn’t become a Shakespearean “Woe is me, for I am the rogue that caused distress” conversation because there’s no need to elicit sorrow from me – I have none.  Especially if it took eons of time to say it/own up to it.

Some may say, “Be happy you got an apology, some don’t get even that.” Here’s the thing: they could have avoided the bad behavior altogether and no apology would have had to be said. They were all old enough to understand what they did. I even told them directly what they were doing wrong. And still they kept at it as if it was my problem and not theirs. They screwed up, they don’t get to evade consequences by being emo about it about a decade later. Oh, and we weren’t strangers on the internet. We were friends – that’s not how you treat friends, that’s how you treat someone you don’t like.

Look, I’m not a walking life lesson. It is also part of why I was agitated with the apologies. Hearing “You tried to tell me, but I just couldn’t listen. O woe!” makes it sound like I’m just an anti-racism AI out to help direct White people down the path of Righteousness.

Though I am a Black person who practices magick, I am galaxies away from being the “Magical Negro” stereotype. Many light-years away.

Nobody should have to go through such behavior. It is so common for me to hear in predominately White spaces this “I’m so awaaaaare now” thinking. Discard the people you went through to get this way and just champion yourself on the current end point of your behavior. Nah. You’re not noble, just faking.

That’s not how you treat the people you meet and if you think this is more acceptable to treat your friends, then maybe you shouldn’t have any because this is a pretty selfish mindset that leaves little to no room for them.

Everyone screws up, everyone learns but it’s how you do it that matters, too. Wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and having a “Resist” bumper sticker on your car means nothing (besides garden-variety virtue signaling – and usually to other White people). Saying “I did a toxic purge” is just another way to say, “I don’t want to be held accountable”. Dealing with historically marginalized people should not seem like playing Watch Dogs 2: DLC in VR, no one is here on this planet solely to help a privileged person acknowledge their privilege. At all. Because that would be a waste of time, energy and space. I have watched paint dry and that was a better use of my time and entertainment.

Because we’re not walking simulations to learn from and put through misery. We’re individuals. That shouldn’t take almost a decade to figure out.

I want to discuss mental health and magick because in the really recent weeks, I’ve gotten letters from people who believe they are experiencing fantastical and occultic things but actually aren’t.

The most recent one:

I was turned into a spider on a few occasions, and now I’m being eaten by them and other parasites. What can I do? One of the spiders says it was trained to be my Satanist. I can hear them, but I can’t see them. However, I do feel their presence and can hear them quite well. I’d like to know how I can protect myself too. If you have any advice.

I suggested this person talk to a psychologist because this isn’t an occurrence of magick, it’s a sign of actual possible psychosis*. Let’s break down why first and go from there.

Unless the person was a regular practitioner of very advanced magick, it’s not normal to say “I was turned into a spider on a few occasions”. And even for very advanced magick, that’s pushing it.

The whole sentence of “I was turned into a spider on a few occasions, and now I’m being eaten by them and other parasites” sound really similar to what people that experience symptoms of psychosis in terms of sensory issues. In short, it sounds like a sensory delusion. Magick doesn’t create what the person is describing in this sentence.

The sentence “One of the spiders says it was trained to be my Satanist,” sounds like a textbook definition of a “word salad”. Nothing in that entire sentence made sense, especially the latter part.

Though auditory hallucinations (not to be confused with clairaudience**) are the most common types of hallucinations a person can experience and are not promised hallmarks of psychosis, the next sentence unfortunately sounds like it: “I can hear them, but I can’t see them. However, I do feel their presence and can hear them quite well.”

In magick, there are myriads of experiences, sensory and extra sensory, but this whole letter is not it. There is nothing to protect from because I’m pretty certain nothing is actually there. The best advice is for the person to see a therapist or psychologist because it is nothing from the realm of magick, just mental illness.

Here’s the thing to remember, also: we’re currently looking from the outside in, where it is pretty clear. When standing in the eye of the storm, things get a little more blurry. I should know, when I was younger, I thought the fact that I had a split mind was just part of “being a witch” and doing magick – despite the fact pretty much everyone in the magick/Pagan community went “naaaaaaah, that don’t sound right.” This definitely included the psychologists and therapists in that community. I didn’t believe them then but turns out they were right: I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, a childhood trauma disorder. Does this render all my other experiences moot? Not at all. The Pagan community just narrowed down that and went, “That particular thing right there, that doesn’t sound right. That exact thing you just described.” Everything else I’ve shared with the community is more garden-variety “Yup, you’re dealing with witchcraft and magick, all right.” So, there is a difference. Sometimes the difference is blurry, but there is one.

Whenever I get letters that are glaringly “this sounds less like magick and more like mental illness”, I regularly suggest getting help and diagnosis if they don’t have one. Yes, mental health care is terrible all around the world, I can’t think of one place where it is awesome (the United States certainly weighs close to the bottom of the list for me), and it gets even worse when race is applied*** but it is important to get on top of it somehow so the disorder does not atrophy. This can even mean doing your own research, like I did. I already knew I had depression, OCD and PTSD so I knew what to rule out in my experiences (for example, I knew that nightmares and quickness of breath were not instances of metaphysical occurrences, just my anxiety and PTSD acting up). I didn’t know about the DID, though, so that was inaccurately attributed. Now that I do, it helps me rule out what is and what isn’t. It is also why I tell everyone to research as much as they can about their practices as well because if you know what sounds like a metaphysical occurrence, that also means you know what doesn’t and that can be a pretty ample clue.

I’m not irritated that I get these letters but it is concerning that it’s growing a little in volume so I think it’s a good topic to pen.

 

 

*Note I’m calling it “possible psychosis” and not outright “schizophrenia”.  A) I’m not a psych doctor, I just research a lot B ) The person is not physically here to make such a call C) Psychosis can be a range of disorders, which can include Schizophrenia but it could also be something else under the same umbrella.

** “Clairaudience” is the hearing version of “Clairvoyance”. Remember, this is a blog about magick and even psionics, for any confused new-comers.

*** I’ve met many not-smart doctors who couldn’t see past their own biases and try to misdiagnose me because they didn’t understand A) what Paganism is B ) how Black people work and C) the DSM-5 has more than five disorders in there for a reason – so I nearly was slated as some version of schizophrenic or bipolar until I argued them into the ground about why they wanted to ignore the glaring fact I have memory problems related to trauma and that my “delusions” have grounds of reality – such as “cops are homicidal and unchecked, racism literally harms my life”. I’m a Black person, that’s not a delusion. This is a major result of the psych field being waaaaaaay too White and myopic – and none too interested in fixing that beyond lip service.

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