Archive for August, 2019


I’m pushing these two questions together because they pretty much on the same track

Hello! I would like to start getting into and educating myself on African religions, spirituality, and witchcraft but I don’t know where to start. Every book or article I come across is just giving me the whitewashed versions of what I’m looking for. Honestly, idk what I’m looking for. I live in New Orleans so I have the resources that I need I just don’t know what’s the real thing and where I could get it from. Can you help me out? Thanks in advance!

– Jessica R.

So I recently decided to make the jump and start practicing Paganism, but I have absolutely no idea about how or where to start. I feel as though this (Paganism) is the path I need to take to finally come into my own. I would honestly love it if I could find some kind of person with a first hand experience with the craft to give me a better understanding of what all of this entails. Any recommendations?

– C’ara B.

Firstly, for the person who lives in New Orleans:

  1. Walk into any Black owned/Black staffed metaphysical shop.
  2. Skim the books available
  3. Bug anyone who looks like you with questions
  4. Wash, rinse, repeat

For the second one: I have quite a few books littered throughout this site, I recommend poking about.

Onwards with the rest of the answer:

Now, it comes as no surprise to pretty much anyone that Western Paganism bears a very, very White face. Even on cultures that are extremely non-White or exist as a result of the horrors of European-based colonialism (examples: Voodun and Hoodoo, Santeria and Buddhism). It’s a major problem and one that is deftly ignored or responded to with pandering, patronizing lip service – if not met with declarations that, for some stupid reason, acknowledging that division exists and is quite pervasive “is divisive”. White Pagans like to steal from other cultures for the “Otherness” and to Whitewash them as if it was always theirs. That’s going to create conflict, whether they like to note it or not , given that most people don’t like being robbed from.

Paganism encompasses “nature-based belief systems” because it is Latin for Paganus, which means “country-dweller” because of the strong connotation that the person who lives in the country participate in folk/indigenous beliefs. This includes all indigenous faiths, folk religions, etc. These faiths didn’t start out in Europe and then spread everywhere else. They are from all over the world and should reflect that. Especially since Whitewashed versions of these faiths are simply not as legitimate. For example, I would not practice with a White person claiming to be a Voodun priest/ess, a loa, unless they had sincere and extreme in-depth knowledge about Blackness as a culture and an identity, pan-African history, the fact that it was their ancestors who caused the grief and turmoil that created some of these faiths (and not regard it as a good thing), etc etc. Oh, and was deeply involved in the Black community, even to their own detriment (meaning, giving up or rejecting their White privilege at every twist and turn). White folks like that are so few and far between, it’s probably easier to say they probably don’t exist except for nanoseconds at a time. Because it is a mindset, and very self-aware one. While the faith can have room for all, you have to acknowledge invaders and colonizers*. I’ve yet to meet a White person that practices with Voodun deities who knew more than five Black people. The face of indigenous and nature-based faiths should reflect that. But it doesn’t.

I have written about the White-washed Yemaya statue, for example. And my experiences at Pagan events.

This incessant racism also dribbles down to the books, you’re hard pressed to find diversity among the diversity of subjects. Especially Llewellyn, which, I should remind, legit sent me their book about the creator of Llewellyn and somehow deliriously thought it would get any glimmer of a good review from me. Apparently the dude was supposed to be a Champion of Justice just because he had one (1) Black friend and held some Uncle Tom/White Man Burden sector of the NAACP (who has not had a glowing repertoire when it comes to dealing with “well meaning Whiteness” (read: Rachel Dolezal) nor always being for Black folks (read: dismissiveness of Black Lives Matter)). For all the wonders this Random White Guy did(n’t) do, somehow, that glory for racial equality never made it into his publishing house in how he hired or who he published. Making whatever nonsense acts he did maintaining one Negro associate and shelling out money to a Black advocacy group with a checkered scorecard pretty much phony – just like him.

The problem is also that means there are few, decent researched books about Paganism. I always recommended Lauren Manoy’s Where to Park your Broomstick because it’s a good beginner book in general and she acknowledges that prejudice exists. She a White writer but at least she’s not a stupid one, hence why I always recommend her. Can’t say the same for most of the others I come across. New Agey books are really a disservice to those who actually want to learn and gain info. Not feel like they’re doing something because they burnt a stick of sage, wear Killstar or procured a drug habit. Paganism is a lot more than acting out The Craft or American Horror Story.

But in terms of books of culture-centered practices, it’s even harder to come by. For example, because of the pop “bruja/witch” phase, it’s going to be very hard finding reputable sources in Santeria because so many are going to be whitewashed and probably by people who have only know three words of Spanish, if even that. Add in the fact a lot of these cultures are not always in English and tend to be oral traditions, that multiplies difficulties.

I’ve made do with simply researching from an academic stance and mainly, if not only, selecting non-White (and preferably female) researchers. That has probably been the best way I have learned. They have bibliographies, they are fact checked, etc. These books exist in academic libraries and even normal libraries. As far as websites go, I would very much strongly suggest to make sure you’re not getting online screed peddled as actual fact. That means knowing the difference between a fact and an opinion, when you’re getting biased information and more. This is a multi-disciplinary skill but a useful one so you don’t accidentally turn into a Hotep.

Though, have you seen the Hertep skit from The Black Lady Sketch Show? It is comedic and a buoyant display of what not to listen to:

 

* For the whiners who claim “then Black people who practice Euro-centric gods shouldn’t be there, either.” Uhhhh, Black people were forced to literally follow Euro-centric beliefs. Like, actual death held over their heads. That and it isn’t the same because of that glaring fact. No one is forcing White people to practice Hoodoo or else be brutally murdered in the worst way.

I have been following artist Prinnay on Tumblr for the longest time because of her wonderful and creative art style. It’s a jovial mix of traditional and digital art. I always hoped she would make a webcomic – and here it is! HoverGirls!

HoverGirls is a webcomic about two cousins, Jalissa and Kim, who have just moved to Los Aquaceros from Podunkville. Kim is a bubbly girl who spearheaded the move so she could become a fashion maven. Jalissa is reserved, sporty and much rather keep up on her soap operas. Part of what made her move that one of her favorite shows, All My Gambinos, is filmed there.

One day, little sprites struck them and suddenly Los Aquaceros became under attack by a floating fish. From there, they became HoverGirls.

 

[1st three pages]

 

I really love the art style of the comic and it is wonderfully refreshing to see a new take to the Magical Girl storyline. I’m always a sucker for fun fantasy.

Some days, content writes itself.

I got an email from Reisen Sheldon and it was the standard fare of “bad questions”

Can you please turn me into bloody Mary 

Also, because there are so many emails in this exchange, I’m just going to blockquote them all.

When I first saw this, I thought of two things: the childrens’ horror tale of Bloody Mary (basically, stare into mirror, say “bloody Mary” three times, attract a homicidal ghost – you get the gist) and the alcoholic drink that involves tomato juice and a stick of celery. (I have never drank in my life so I still have no idea the point of the celery. I assume for flavoring.)

Either this person was asking me to turn them into a jilted first English queen or an alcoholic beverage – and it doesn’t help that I’m currently reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (by the way, Mos Def was brilliant in the movie) so both look like actual requests. Too bad I’m not too hot on my chaos magick to turn people into drinks on a whim?

Either way, I stay true to my goal to reply to each and every BW email I get:

A) This is dumb
B ) I’m not a genie
C) Dump blood on yourself and call yourself “Mary”, much quicker

As a quick reminder to everyone: I’m only this acidic to dumb questions – hence why I always say “good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated”.

Regal Numbnut of the Fiftieth Court decides to keep talking:

Can you please posses me

Wow, even in the world of magick this sounds disgusting. Also, possession takes time and why the heck would I do such a thing?

Why the hell would I want to do that? Again, this sounds dumb.

The Regal Numbnut replies:

What do you mean?  Your a witch

Okay, everyone. I have zero idea what Disney or American Horror Story or whatever has told anyone in regards to this part but witches don’t just “do stuff” to other people simply because they are told. We’re not fruit machines. This is remarkably flippant. That’s like me going up to an officer and going, “Hit that random guy right there. What? You’re a cop. That’s what cops do. Now go bink that random fella with the orange face, terrible hair and badly tailored suit.”

Uhhhhhhh, that doesn’t mean I’m just going to do what random fools on the internet tell me to. That would be a genie. It’s *your* problem, *you* handle it, not me.

If something sounds like a you problem, I’m not going to fix it. That’s your plate of rotten potatoes, deal. I’m no one’s personal wizard.

I’ll sell you my soul. 

Ya read that right. Someone legit offered me their soul. Though some may disagree (mainly bigots who I got fired/investigated by FBI/etc), I’m not the devil. I don’t even practice the Left Hand Path! Here’s the thing, I’m no soul accountant but I’m sure the soul of a pathetic person probably weighs way less than the lightest diamond and has far less value.

Also, I’m not in the market of buying and owning souls. Sounds like upkeep and I’m not all for that.

That’s worthless. Don’t want it.

The dude doesn’t let up.

Is my soul what you want 

Hell no. Sounds like dead weight.

Or I’ll let you possess me 

That would be disgusting, why would I want to have anything to do with such a pathetic, hapless person. That’s like playing the worst VR game ever. 

It truly would be. It would be like The Sims 2 (and a half): We Stopped Trying, EA Stiffed Us, I’m sure. Or some version of The Sims 1 if no one cared about making even a quasi-decent game.

And if you think that was the kicker:

Are you really evil 

While it depends on who you ask (again, I do leave hapless bigots in my wake and even my lawyers sometimes tell me to tone things down a little), the average consensus seems to hover at about 68% Good 17% Virtuous 9.4836% Wicked/Evil, 5.5% Undecided. So, technically, no. I am not evil.

Why would I be evil? I’m merely annoyed to get such a dumb request from such a whiny person.

But, wait! There’s more!

I’m a witch in training or what you guys call it a warlock

A witch in training is called “a witch”. That’s it. I already wrote about warlocks but here’s a basic go-over from that post:

Okies, let’s start with the lingo. Warlocks are usually shorthand for “bad (usually male) witches”. The word is middle English, warloghe, from before year 900. In ye olde English, it stems from “waerloga”, which mean “oathbreaker” because “waer” means “covenant” and “loga” means “betrayer” (and that word comes from “leogan”: to lie). Yay, dictionaries!

Note that there is nothing about gender in there. Just “liar, deceiver”. Outside of D&D and World of Warcraft, no one I have ever come across has ever called themselves a “warlock”. Male witches are just “witches”. Because they are practicing witchcraft.

And there you go.

Yeaaaaaah, doubt it. Stop watching so many “witch” movies, pick something else to watch. 

However, if you look past the major gender and race issues of Descendants 3, it is quite a delightful film. Ditto with 1 and 2. At least the fashion and dancing are both impeccable.

I need you to help me

The kid needs help all right, but not from me.

Too bad I don’t care

Sounds cold as ice, I know but have you read the entire convo up to this point?

With a evil spell

Nix Descendants 3. This kid is just going to pick up more stupidity somehow.

Now this just sounds beyond stupid. How much tv do you watch? Because this sounds tv-villain level. Get a therapist or something.

So far, we have had: soul-selling, possession-requesting, insinuations of being a “warlock” and we’re not even close to done yet!

What? Your not a real witch im a witch hunter 
This would sound like trolling but I’ve gotten enough of these to know when someone is clutching for straws to appear tough and overwhelming. This isn’t to say witch hunters don’t exist, they do in certain cultures all across the planet. But I have a really strong hunch I am not talking to the protege of Van Hellsing or Hellboy. At all.
That sounds dumb, bro
 Their reply:
So what kind of witch are you 
A regular, plain witch
Not really too jaw-dropping but there you go.
Your supposed to be evil
Wtf? As determined by who?
Says who? That’s ridiculous.
It really is!
So what could you possibly do to well please can you turn me into a girl 
Man, this guy is an idiot. Anyone who even glanced at my site knows that I am not at all favorable to anyone asking to be turned into a girl, body-switching, none of it.
Also, notice the dude didn’t answer my “who?” question.
Um, stop begging. I’m not a genie. Why do you think begging helps? Stupidity has never moved me to do anything for anyone
Or turn me into  [redacted name]
Have I already said that guys are creepy? Because I have been running this blog for literal years and have yet to think of a single time women asked me to be turned into specific guys!
I don’t know who that is nor do I care. That’s pretty sad you want to be other people XD
Seriously. There’s “self-esteem issues” and then there’s this.
Well what can you do to me can you turn me into any thing or are you scared 
Folks, daring me to do things doesn’t really work that well on me. It’s terrible reverse psychology. And it’s usually guys who pull this ego trick. Probably because stuff like that works on them like a charm.
Right now, I’m turning you into fodder for my website, this whole conversation is gonna be posted XD
It isn’t fear I have, it’s bemusement to be bugged by such a pointless person.
And here we are at the end, folks! Remember: If you send it to me, you could see it on this website!

This person was beyond ridiculous. The incessant pandering is out of this world! Throughout the conversation, this was me:

Yeah, I really rather get actual, good questions. None of this nonsense.

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