Archive for March, 2021


Woo, late but still here! I have been recently getting a bit of an uptick of people writing me for my personal input into their papers. It’s a little unusual for me since usually the kind of people in academia that contact me for my input are usually writing books. Granted, I don’t usually mind either except … I basically kind of get the same kind of rabbit food questions for the papers and sometimes it can appear really, well, lazy.

Here’s a disclaimer before I go into this:

A) I’m hard on students because, oh look, I work in research as a librarian as a trade so I tend to expect a certain degree of academic consistency. I’m old, I know, but *cracks out cane* back in my day, there were way less resources – especially free ones – available to people and still you could get decent research out of them. I’m a research librarian that has worked at the Library of Congress, not Twitter personified so, for future folks, please be warned that I’m going to act and react like a research librarian that has worked in the Library of Congress. I know I derp around quite a lot on these here internets but I do expect any informative inquiries to be that – well thought out and informative.

B ) Read A until you understand. In other words: I’m the person your teachers warn you about :3

I’m just going to smatter these inquiries together (including my responses) because they’re basically all the same. Then I’m going to do my usual breakdown because if I get more of these, I’m might as well slow-walk future academic askers how to actually ask in one post. By the way, these are all college students, I’m a little easier on high schoolers and a lot easier on middle schoolers (because they’re still learning the skill. It should be near iron by the time you hit college).

The names of the askers are redacted because this is such a common issue. It’s not “boooooo, this person in particular sucks!” It’s “boooooo, this method in particular sucks!” So let’s get to it:

Hi Black Witch, 
I found your page through the article you did for Afropunk back in 2012 and have since been going over your blog and reading lots of your posts. It’s so fascinating! I’m a senior at UCLA and am taking a Gender Studies class about race and space. For my thesis paper I want to investigate how the online Wicca community is racially coded and, perhaps, inequitable. As a White woman, I definitely fit into the Etsy-mom-selflove image we often see of witches, but I think it’s so much more important in and outside of this paper to prioritize the voices of black and brown folx in the community. I would love to interview if you have the time or would appreciate any insight you can give me.
Thank you,
[redacted]

Thank you for reaching out. Firstly, I’m Pagan, not Wiccan. I appreciate that you read my posts but it appears you didn’t pay attention to that obvious detail. Wicca falls under Paganism the same way Catholics, Baptists, etc. falls under Christianity but not the other way around.
I’m going to decline interview but you are free to cite my writing since I have talked about this topic at length throughout my blog. Please cite well and thank you :3

– Black Witch

I get a lot of people confusing me for Wiccan – despite the fact I literally never pass up an opportunity to bring up that I’m not Wiccan. I’m Pagan, there is a difference. Whenever I am approached by anyone who says “Wiccan” instead of Pagan it shows me they didn’t read. This is why I had the reply I did. Remember, I prefer academics who research to ask me questions. Figuring out whether I’m Wiccan or Pagan is not a very difficult discovery at all, it’s laziness otherwise. And again, it’s rabbit food questions, hence why I told her to use what I already wrote as a primary source – because I have already talked about this exact topic ad nauseam. Shouldn’t have to be said but here it goes: please do your homework before requesting an interview from anyone, especially for cultural pieces. They may have already answered the question 8098754657877655768908765 times already.

Hi there!

My name is [redacted] and I’m a student at New York University.  I’m an anthropology major and I was wondering if you would be interested in helping me with my final paper? I wanted to write about the witchcraft community and the types of people who practice.  I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject as you seem like someone who is very knowledgeable.  As well as I think it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the community as a POC.  I would just need you to answer some of my questions over email.  Nothing would be published everything would simply be between my professor and I and I can also keep you anonymous if you prefer.  Thank you so much for your consideration and I hope you can help me out.  I totally understand if you are not comfortable or able to and I appreciate it regardless.  Thank you again!

Best,

[Redacted]

Sure, what are your questions?

– Black Witch

Hi!

Thank you so much for your response! If you are uncomfortable with any of the questions please let me know and don’t feel obligated to answer them.  Traditionally this is done in an interview so forgive me if my train of thought seems to jump all over the place or if I am rude.  You may feel that some of these questions are subjective but please answer them according to your views.

First and foremost I would like to know how you got into witchcraft in the first place and what type of witchcraft you practice or what deities you follow? How many types of witchcraft are there? Are there any that are better than others? Which types are most common and why? Could you explain to me how your practices have changed, if at all, since you’ve started practicing and how long you’ve been practicing? Could you give me an example of what some types of, excuse me I hope this is the right terminology, spells or rituals you perform and why and or what their purpose is? Do you believe that anyone can be a witch or is there some type of pre-requisite that you need to fulfill? Are there things that can prevent you from being a witch? What are the characteristics of a real witch/ what makes a real witch? Can you tell when people are actually practicing witches or if they are simply pretending? Are there any stereotypes that bother you about witches or witchcraft? Are there any that are true? What are your thoughts on the types of people who practice? Is there a hierarchy within the community whether it be by how long you’ve been practicing or how devoted you are to the lifestyle or anything else?  What are your thoughts on the community as a whole? Do you find them to be gatekeepers? Do you think that being a POC has changed how others within the community treat you or how you are perceived within the community? Do you think the community has changed with the presence of social media? Please feel free to add any anecdotes you think might be interesting, as well as anything else you think it might be important for me to know so I can write about the community in the most respectful and comprehensive way possible including the proper terminology and things of that nature. And please correct me if I’ve said or asked anything incorrect, inappropriate, or rude.

Thank you again for answering all of my questions, I know there is a lot.  Would you prefer to be kept anonymous or is okay if I quote you directly? (Again I want to remind you that no one except for my professor and myself will be seeing this paper but you are under no obligation to let me use your real name.)   And what are your preferred pronouns? If I have more is it alright to reach out to you again? If not I completely understand and regardless I am grateful for your help with this assignment.

Best,

[Redacted]

I reviewed the questions. Given the sheer amount, I would best suggest to use my posts to answer as many of the questions down there (pretty much any question on race and bias I have answered several times over since I am asked everywhere) and whatever questions are not answered or sufficiently answered, I can answer personally. 

– Black Witch

I don’t mind being asked to help on a paper or be asked for input. However, the sheer multitude of questions is towering, usually they’re about 3-5 questions, definitely less than ten. Plus some of the questions are really easy to research, no need to ask anyone anything. I think about at least 60% of the questions asked could be answered with some general research and reading. By the time you get to wanting to interview a person for any academic purpose, the questions should be very sharp and thought provoking. It isn’t the student’s intention, I know, but it all just eventually started to smack of “can you do the work for me?” given how simplistic and many the questions are. And while I appreciate the person going “please let me know if I am being rude or inappropriate”, thorough research should make it so such a statement doesn’t even have to be said since they should theoretically know by the time they are asking a person the general right and wrong things to ask based off of their research. There are always going to be flubs, even in the best of times, but be more confident in your research and the concern that they’ll pop up will reduce dramatically.

Good-evening! My name is [Redacted] and I am a journalism student in the Communication department at Southeastern Louisiana University.I was emailing you regarding Hoodoo and voodoo. I’m writing a feature article on those topics for my Comm class.I had some questions & a quote (s)you would love to use as well if you would like to answer.I would love to do an interview. It would be a Interview over email or message(whatever you prefer). Please let me know if it would be possible to set this up by March 25,2021. I will send you the questions. If you know anybody else who knows information that’s willing to give me info.  Please let me know!

Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.

Questions:
Why is hoodoo/voodoo not black magic?
What does voodoo and hoodoo mean?
What do people consider to be more practice, hoodoo or voodoo?
Why do people consider hoodoo and voodoo “the religions no one talks about”?
Are they consider witchcraft or spirituality?
Why should more African Americans know more about Hoodoo?
Who is Madame Marie Laveau?
Why use Tarot cards?
Tell me anything I should know that’s interesting

Before I post my reply, everyone, I just want to bring up that the date I received this inquiry was actually March 25, 2021. In the late afternoon of March 25, 2021, at that. So I didn’t even get a day or two to mull over whether or not I want to participate or figure out if I can squeeze this in my schedule, I get simply mere hours. Even the Huffington Post, a site that I strongly dislike because they have pulled egregious things with me in the past – including super short turn arounds without even asking if I wanted to participate while asking super fluffy, filler questions about race and Paganism – has given me at most 24-48 hours. Given my experience of knowing that students are given days, usually at least a week, for papers and articles (I have taken a journalism course, too. Quite a few of them – I was an English major), this shows very poor planning and an indirect insult to the person requested. Yes, news can have a short turn-around time, I know this deeply, but back then, good news places still expressed respect for the time of the person that they were asking. Nothing is wrong with a bit of pre-planning for time and asking “I’m [such and such] from [so and so] university writing a news article about [hopefully worthwhile topic], may I ask you a few questions?” Note I didn’t throw in a deadline. In the words of my Journalism teacher: “Your timeline doesn’t matter to them. If it is important to them, they will reply. If it isn’t, they won’t and you write ‘No Comment’.” (paraphrasing here, by the way, I had a few Journalism teachers.) Moral of the story: give people enough lead time and don’t assume they’re going to be as up and thrilled as you are for your story to just be shot a bunch of questions from a random person (That’s you. You are the random person). Ok, back to the thread at hand!

Thank you for writing but I feel a good chunk of the questions can be answered with regular book research (such as “Who is Marie Laveau?” and “what does voodoo and hoodoo means?”). I am not a Voudoun or hoodoo practitioner, just a general denomination Pagan with an in depth background on both subjects.
Basically, if you send me better questions, sure. Otherwise, I would recommend just searching my blog for my writings on the subjects. 

– Black Witch

Thank you! 
Okay 
How is hoodoo  cultural appropriation in witchcraft and keeping the African American slave folk magic alive?

In the era of slavery, questions of security  in African American experience were very large, so they turned to Hoodoo for help. How did Hoodoo help  the African American experience?

Most African Americans are not as open to talk bout Hoodoo facts or culture due to information that is greatly twisted. Why are African Americans not open to sharing certain information?
Why did you get into Hoodoo? What made you get involved with it?
Do you think  Hoodoo would help African Americans know their roots and their past ancestors?

I don’t practice hoodoo actually. I’m afraid these are not good enough questions. I recommend using my site to answer these questions as well as other books and critical resources to best help your papers.

– Black Witch

Um okay Thank you for your time.

Okiee dokie do, time for a post mortem!

Remember everyone, I’m pretty old school when it comes to education (unless it comes to the structural prejudices and inherent prejudices of Western education, then I’m just plain anarchist to a defining degree) but remember, it is important to respect the time of the person asked for the article. That means no “umm” (that’s unprofessional and unacademic), that means using proper punctuation (Where are the commas and periods and proper capitalizations? This came from someone at an accredited university, right?), that means reading the already provided material the person you are asking has already provided, if any, to justify and hone your questions and make the most of your time to ask them whatever it is that you want to ask them. It appeared more and more that the student thought I practiced Hoodoo and/or Voudon, despite the fact that, just like Wicca, I always express that I am not a practitioner of Afro-centric religions. I am Pagan, yep. I am a Black person, yep. Does not mean that I automatically practice culturally indigenous faiths? Nope. No more than a White person would automatically be practicing Nordic or Roman faiths over, say a particular Middle Eastern faith (*cough*Christianity*cough*). This is why it is important to read and research. Otherwise, the student could be potentially wasting their time barking up the wrong tree. That’s never fun.

The questions had potential but still was in the “why didn’t you research this yourself?” category. It is way better to ask fruitful questions and also, if pursuing journalism, do not ask leading or loaded questions. “Why do people consider hoodoo and voodoo ‘the religions no one talks about’?” is both leading and loaded, for example. Who are the “people” and who considers hoodoo and voodoo “‘the religions no one talks about'”? That shows a journalist usually does not want an honest answer but one that is kind of on an angle. Usually a sign that yellow journalism is afoot when left unchecked. At least this person isn’t a student and hopefully is not already in the field working for an actual news outlet.

For those who don’t know what a leading question is or a loaded question, quote time!

Loaded Question, as explained by Effectiviology

loaded question is a trick question, which presupposes at least one unverified assumption that the person being questioned is likely to disagree with. For example, the question “have you stopped mistreating your pet?” is a loaded question, because it presupposes that you have been mistreating your pet.

Leading Question, as explained by FormPlus

A leading question is a type of question that prompts a respondent towards providing an already-determined answer. This type of question is suggestive as it is framed in such a way that it implies or points to its answer(s). 

A leading question typically leans towards established biases and assumptions and it is made up of specific information which the individual or organization (interrogator) wishes to confirm.

Yeah, not a great thing to use when learning journalism. But! Hopefully their teacher is doing something about that. There are already enough sucky journalists in the world.

And that was all that I have received in the past month or so! Time for super Saiyan post mortem!

Now if a middle schooler asked me all these questions, I would answer them pretty easy peasy. I am not going to expect someone who is roughly in the 10-13 age range to just do the research themselves, they’re just getting introduced to the skill. Plus, I would expect these kinds of questions from a middle schooler, they’re just starting to learn complex subjects such as social studies/current events. A high schooler, I would still answer as is but include tips and tricks that would be helpful such as “here is how to make the questions better to get an even meatier answer/better interview” and more because, again, they are still honing the skill. They shouldn’t be brand new (that’s middle school) to it all but they are still a work in progress. It takes years to build the skills and there are way more resources now than ever to better acquire it. Free resources at that. No expensive, heavy encyclopedias. No restrictive paywalls. Lots of info, all at the ready.

But college? As I tend to say to students “it’s college, not kindergarten”. Unless the issues you are facing are institutional/systemic (such as racism, sexism, etc, from micro-aggressions to overt, blatant displays of prejudice) and/or underlying (dealing with learning disabilities and/or mental illnesses, known or not) issues, then there should be few excuses and problems as it pertains to developing a half-way decent research and academic skill set. I get that these skills are super boring in procurement, as are the classes, and the teachers, and the books and all the other things these students signed up for. Though obscenely boring, these skills are quite useful. They may not get you millions of followers and subscribers but they will help you not look like a single dolt.

Some tips:

Reading is Fundamental

The main reason I’m not really staggered into an astonished quiet by these questions is because I always wonder Did they actually read my blog or just skim? I have never been that big a fan of skimming. Since in skimming, you miss things. Important things. Things that can help you not embarrass yourself or make the reader wonder if you ever knew the subject at all. I am a Black person, yep. Because that is a point many fixate on, I get a lot of questions about race – to the point that I can basically take a post I made five years ago, apply it and the answer will still appear seamless. This means I am going to treat the student like they already made the search and did all the appropriate reading. At this point, I kind of dislike questions on race because I already answered them before and I have a functional search bar on my site. I guarantee you basic, rudimentary, rabbit food-type questions will just get pointed to my search bar. Since that’s where the student should have gone to first. Direct questions to the creator should be saved for things the blog can’t answer, things that require genuine input.

Note that several of the questions above were not simply “rabbit food” level, they were outright lazy. Asking “What is [???]” should be answered by the student, not the person they are interviewing unless it is part of a ream of useful interview questions (“What is Blackness/Paganism/Womanism/etc to you?”, not plain “What is Blackness?”). Questions like those basically smack of “I want an easy A but I don’t want to work for it, can you basically write my paper for me?”

For example, if you ask me “How do you feel about Black Lives Matter?”, the student should be able to make a fairly educated guess based on the posts I already have penned about race in general and BLM itself. It literally would not be hard and would thus be declared “rabbit food questions” because it takes zero brain cells for me to dredge up an answer – therefore annoying. If the question was “How do you feel Black Lives Matter parallels or contrasts with other Black social movements in the past such as the Civil Rights Movement or even the Abolitionism movement?” I would be happy to answer that question since it actually requires me to use more than three brain cells to muse and mull on a good answer. It is not a question that can easily be searched or gleaned from my writings and is thus not a certified waste of my time. Better question? “How do you feel about Modern’s paganism changes over the years, if any? How about media’s depiction of Paganism in general?” (Note the lack of race questions. I appreciate these, because it means my opinion matters in general on the subject, not simply as “The Negro’s Perspective, Now Back To The White People – I Mean ‘The General Topic’s Automatic Experts’.”). Sometimes, it’s ok to not automatically go with bias. Sometimes, it’s ok to work with logic. Try logic. Leave bias home. Abandon it at a bus station, preferably. Or out in the desert to die an excruciating death and picked away by buzzards and vultures.

Questions about Afrocentric religious practices are ok … as long as the student is fully aware that they are not asking someone who participates in those Afrocentric religious practices. I don’t practice Santeria (gotta love that song, though), Hoodoo, Voodoo, Ifa, etc. I have a deep understanding of them as a Black American Pagan person who sat down and sought to learn about these practices but I am not an actual practitioner. I mean, hey, I have a very in-depth understanding about Christianity and I haven’t needed that knowledge personally for roughly twenty years. Knowing a thing or two about your subject helps both people in the long run. Otherwise, it’s like asking an automotive mechanic how they feel about the changes in airplane mechanics over time. Yes, the person asked is a mechanic and yes, they are familiar with the existence of airplanes but no, a person that works on cars can not talk about their non-existent experience with fixing airplanes. Opine their life away, sure, but that still would not make them a decent person to ask at all.

Good Questions Can Lead to Great Answers

Basically part of what I was mentioning above but a well thought out questions can lead to some really great answers. Avoid leading and loaded questions like how one should theoretically avoid the plague (by the way, still wear a mask, wash hands and maintain social distancing, even if you have a vaccine. We’re still in a pandemic). My favorite interview is Good Company’s interview with rock band P.O.D.’s vocalist, Sonny Sandoval. There’s is some audio-visual mismatch but is still a good listen.

The great questions! The respectfulness! It almost sounds more like a conversation than an interview. It is obvious the asker, Scott Bowling, did his homework and thus, asked really good questions. He basically presented a question and let Sonny reply as is. No leading questions. No questions that have been asked five billion times prior (if you are a P.O.D. fan, you already know quite a few). Questions back by great research leads to awesome answers and an interview that benefits both people. It is always important to do genuine research, not just skim and ask a bunch of questions that implies you probably didn’t do your due diligence.

And that has been my recent experience with academic inquiries! I really would like for them to get better, honestly.

Double Feature today since The Arts! was supposed to be last week. So next up is Ask Black Witch in a few hours.

Let’s get into it!

These two creators have very good channels about academic and cultural discussions of race, gender and culture, especially the problematic parts. They go in to various topics, such as Cancel Culture (the history, why it exists, etc), the history of blackface and the current culture of digital blackface, even a discussing the major difference between African American Vernacular (AAVE for short, a cultural dialect) and Imagined Black English (to see quick examples of IBE, look up anything Lily Singh and Awkafina says. For an international flair, add RM from Korean idol group, BTS. Don’t feel like searching? Just go anywhere on the internet where White people are and you’ll see IBE and digital blackface in full spectrum).

Khadija Mbowe

She talks about various topics, including their researched histories, how they proliferate in modern society, why they can be helpful/harmful and more with a humorous flair.

Watch more on her channel

Tee Noir

She gives a very informative outlook from queer identity as a pansexual Black woman to how media treats Blackness, Queerness, Queer Blackness, and how Black Cultural media treats and perceives the Black identity and how limited the perception can be (also can be aptly name: You’re Black … Unless You’re Not Straight, Not Normal, Not Neurotypical, Not…). Sometimes she can bleep out words that I would suppose be bad for the algorhythm or trigger-prevention purposes and sometime that can make it hard to understand, especially if they are crucial words. I wish she wrote them on the screen or something so the viewer can play less “Fill in the Blanks” but you can still understand the entire point of what she is saying.

Watch more on her channel

I am a fan of not telling people “you have to believe in magick for magick to work”. No, you don’t. Otherwise, it could be just you trying to trick yourself into thinking something magickal has happened. That and I wouldn’t get so many people in my inbox who summon something nefarious (why nefarious, I will never know) just to see what will happen – this is also why I don’t slow walk people through their idiocies and instead, I just say “welp, next time don’t dabble, have fun with your new problem.” Basically, there is a difference between doing actual occultic work and simply placebo-effecting your way into a better existence, or into a more annoying existence for the actual occultists and practitioners around you.

Magick doesn’t need believing to work. It requires tools and knowledge but not exactly the power of believing it will work. Otherwise, you’ll start reading signs into every little thing and, again, become an annoyance to everyone around you. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a person walking by you wearing all blue is just a person walking by you wearing all blue. I kind of think of it the same way as a car. A car needs a starter of some sort to work – a key, a remote, a button, something. Otherwise, it’s just going to be a 2.5 ton sitting chunk of metal. Doesn’t mean the car doesn’t work (assuming it has all its components, no one or thing has stripped it of its tires, wires, etc). A car has a bunch of different moving parts to make it go, the average person does not know exactly how a car works (seriously, go to anyone of any gender and ask how an alternator works. Unless you’re around a bunch of half-decent mechanics, you will probably get a bevvy of flustered answers) but they still get in and use it. As long as the car is moving and not killing them, the car is functional. Now, a functional looking car can always be non-functional, anyone who has ever been in the market for a used car will know this forwards and backwards. Maybe the oil is bad, maybe the spark plugs don’t work, maybe the transmission was on its last mile before breaking. That means, no matter how much you want to believe the car will work, it won’t. Just because that one car won’t doesn’t mean that all cars don’t work and the automotive trade is fake and full of swishy liars out to separate you from your money and cars aren’t real. (Well, the selling/buying part is full of swishy liars out to separate you from your money – but cars are indeed real) Once it gets a new part or all the repairs it needs, the car will be up and running again. Magick is quite a lot like that, it just needs its tools and skills – and knowledge. Just like you also need to know how to drive a car, or it becomes a super death bullet. And know how to care for a car so it doesn’t become a super death bullet to life and/or finance. 

Believing in magick and psionics is fine and good but it can still work without all the “I wish, I wish”. It is just that magick works using the one thing most people hate: work, long work at that. It takes time (a lot of it) to get decent at energy manipulation (as in, months) and all the various forms of metaphysics, psionics and occultism. It takes listening and reading and working and trying and failing and more working and headaches and … you get the point. Some of this information is easy to access, some of it is lost due to either time or rampant imperialism and colonization, none of it is going to be found on some 16 year old’s instagram couched among pictures of sage and beads. Unfortunately, people want things to work right now. Day one, open a magic book. Day two, be Harry Potter in Book Seven. I see this all the time, actually. Before Covid, I would go roller skating. Surprisingly, people would like to see me skate and sometimes try to mimic my movements (which can sometimes be a bit dangerous, I like to do tricks). They’re new skaters and some of my movements look easy so it becomes a one-way ticket to getting a super quick lesson in biophysics and gravity for them. Thing is, I have been skating since I was seven, so a lot of my movements that look easy do so because I have been doing them for over twenty years. For example, I can walk plainly and hopscotch in skates, I would not recommend a newbie to mimic either of that. But they see someone doing it and go “I can do that, too!” and things get really bad really fast. I have the muscle memory, the learned balance, the learned precision and gained skill to do all sorts of silly things on four wheels. I also have a lot of experience in falling, because I had to lick pavement a lot to learn how to do well. Also, it is insanely easy to pop on skates, cling to the wall for dear life, wonder why humans would strap loose, moving wheels to the bottom of their feet, fall every five minutes and say “People can’t do this! They’re wheels! I can’t control them, let alone even stand up on them! It can’t be done! Those who can are mythical somehow, I can’t do that!” Double so for ice skating, which I also know how to do. Just exchange complaints of having moving wheels on their feet for blades (“Why would people want to strap knives to their feet? Won’t they slice off a finger?”). A beginner can believe they’re going to be Surya Bonaly all they want on day one of attempting any kind of skating but it’s going to take major time before you can get even a little decent, let alone land a single foot jump on ice (by the by, I remember seeing Bonaly on tv all the time. Loved her – and how made she made the racist judges mad and flustered because “No one can do a flip and land on a single foot, it simply is too dangerous and can’t be done!”

 

By the way, that is what “Trolololo” looks like in Black Excellence. Also known as “Just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means you might just suck at it. Lolz. Now sit down and let those who don’t suck do what they do best.”

Back to magick and skating. 

It takes time to build. Always. Magick is no different. You can believe you’ll get better at skating but that believing isn’t necessary, work is. You might not get to Bonaly’s level, most don’t. You might land on Kristi Yamaguchi‘s level if you simply put in the work. As long as you don’t wind up on Tonya Harding‘s level, you’ll be fine. Being on Harding’s level means you did next to no work at all. You tried your hand at it, found you might not be as top shop as you wanted to be and instead of putting in the work to get better, you’re just out here sabotaging and bothering other people just to make yourself feel better. Don’t be Tonya Harding. Either get better or get gone.

I grew up on skating and cars so I know my way around them, that’s why it doesn’t look so mysterious to me. Also, I put in work. I didn’t look at mechanics or skating, go “lol, regular people can’t do that” and call it a day. Improbable but not impossible. I didn’t sit there and go “I believe in me” either, I have too many self esteem issues for that. I tend to go by “if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” And I didn’t look at the first failure I came across and went “Not for me!” It also probably derives from the fact I’m Black – apparently a lot of things are impossible for Black people, so sayeth a very racist society. We don’t like the woods (I go urban spelunking, Black people have been doing that for centuries), we aren’t smart (5+ languages, self-trained in robotics, triple digit IQ – and no tutors or resources, I’m not the only Smart Black Person Ever Existed, either. For example: Benjamin Banneker, who is from my state), we’re not good at anything besides brute sports and being murdered by racists (still touted today everywhere, we can do other things besides get banged up for entertainment and die for sport). So doing occultism, psionics and such doesn’t seem “impossible” or “out there” to me simply because I was told so by the same group of people who are baffled when they meet someone who isn’t a walking stereotype. (Plus, why would I put stock in the same group of people who have those who stormed the Capitol because a plain and fair election didn’t turn out they way they wanted to? That does not sound like a very sensible group.) I just put in work and it works if it does or it doesn’t work if it doesn’t. 

That’s all magick needs, just like anything else. It needs work and knowledge more than “I believe”. People can believe in very foolish things. Like I mentioned above, there are people who believe really stupid ideas. No matter how dedicated they are to those beliefs, it doesn’t make it true. Makes them blind to reality, oh sure, without a doubt, but not true. Hey, I even know people who believe through and through that racism doesn’t exist – makes them a headache to deal with but their personal belief doesn’t make it true, even when they are among thousands or millions who believe the same. 

To ensure I don’t waste my time, I do something called a “sh*t test”, if it cannot take any and everything thrown at it, that means it is not worth my time to pay attention to. I usually apply this to theories regarding race, gender, identity, etc. For example, the idea that “only guys are good at cars”. That is a common and erroneous assumption that many believe, to the point of irritating stereotype. The “sh*t test” involves decentering and tearing the idea apart. For example, why would there be an idea that guys are good at cars? Is it related to the Y chromosome that can be proven over and over? What if the cis-male eventually identifies as non-binary? Does their knowledge about cars instantly disappear? When? When they start considering that they don’t want to adhere to the gender binary or when they have made the solid decision? What about trans men? Do they instantly get a ream of car knowledge like how a phone gets over-the-air updates? Can I go to another part of the world where there is, say, more bikes than cars – or neither! – and if the people in the area were shown a car, the cis-men would automatically know how to fix it or even have a noticeable interest in it, and all the cis-women and girls would immediately not be interested, even though no one in the entire group has ever encountered a car before or have shown any interest of any vibrancy prior? If the idea doesn’t hold water through objective thinking (“an interest in cars is related strictly to gender” -> an interest in cars can be held by anyone of any gender and the physical existence of a car is not needed for such interest). Plus a person can like cars and still have zero idea on how to work on them. I’ve seen that one a lot, especially when I work on my car. Because they believe “I’m a guy, therefore I like cars – therefore I know how to repair a car! At least better than this random lady who has two toolboxes and weird thing she calls ‘an electric impact wrench’. I should go help her even though she told me not to! Because my dick certifies me as a top rated mechanic. Just point me to the carburetor in this electric hybrid and I can fix her car! Because I am a guy and guys like cars, women don’t! That means she needs my help because she is a she and I am a he. No other possible logical explanation.” Remember, just because you believe something you never really tried your hand at, it won’t start to work all of a sudden. An idiot that likes cars but can’t fix cars still can’t fix cars if they never learned how to work on cars. No matter how much they link interest with cars with any given level of testosterone.

If it can’t pass the “sh*t test”, that means it’s sh*t. Granted this takes a bit of skill in learning how to think in a genuinely objective way but completely doable. Just takes work. It is what I also apply to my metaphysics to ensure I don’t waste my time accidentally falling into conspiracies or really hateful views about whole groups of people dressed up as “integral/occultic knowledge”. If you’re on the road to learning psychokinesis or witchcraft, you shouldn’t be ending up hating Jewish people or Black people or Muslim people or any combo of the groups. Or any other groups. Just put in work and keep focus on the work. If you’re going “Well these things aren’t real”, ask why. It’s not to burnish any belief that supports the ideas of psychokinesis or witchcraft or other forms of energy manipulation but simply ask why do you believe the opposite? Because that is a belief as well. And if it is “I simply have never see it before in my life”, how do you know? I have met many who didn’t believe anti-Black racism existed any more simply because MLK Jr existed at one point in history (fun fact: MLK Jr was murdered by a racist. Whoops.) Others because Obama existed (Read: literally anything to do with Donald Trump.) Oh, or simply because they never personally harmed a Black person before (micro-aggressions exist. Whoops, again). And that’s with race and racism, something that is remarkably plain as day to see with the greatest of ease, zero effort. So if people believe things that happen right before their very eyes does not happen, what about things that do not necessarily happen right before their very eyes – or how do they know it does or doesn’t happen right before their very eyes? Nothing is wrong with questioning things, that’s how you get better at something. Just put in genuine work, and test it. Results won’t be immediate – did you know how to perfectly drive a car the very first day you plopped into the driver seat? (For all who say “yes!”, ask the person who taught you, you might get a different, more horrified answer. For those that taught themselves, be honest – perfect and no “I’mma die and kill everyone around me” anxiety?) – but at least you gave it some effort.

This is how I came into pretty much every form of metaphysics I practice, with skepticism and a willingness to try. Not a willingness to believe, a willingness to try. Those are two very different things. It’s how I approached divination, spellwork, everything. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I read up on decent works, I put in countless hours of work, I looked at what failed and what didn’t, etc etc. Yes, harassing other practicing individuals for being “kooky” and “believing in things that aren’t real” is a lot easier but I tend to shut my trap instead of bothering others in their own practices simply because it doesn’t line up with mine. Hey, what can I say? I’m okay with the fact not everyone is a carbon copy of me and that occasionally or more than occasionally, I might meet someone who just maybe, possibly, be at least a little different from me. Doesn’t make them wrong, just different and different is fine. It’s like I live in a diverse society or community or something … wild, right? So my takes on metaphysics is going to sound a lot different from someone who never bother to give things an earnest look or consideration.

Also this does not mean you have to personally try everything you don’t understand. Just at minimum, don’t immediately dismiss it because your favorite talking heads said so. If it can pass the “sh*t test” (assuming you put in enough work to apply the “sh*t test” effectively instead of gunning for “confirmation bias, presented as the Sh*t Test” instead), then just leave it at that. Nothing is wrong with saying “This thing I don’t understand may or may not exist but I don’t know enough to say that it does or doesn’t so I won’t start foaming at the mouth when a person who practices such ideas says that it does.” Yeah, that person who practices the ideas could be wrong but hey, so can you. Unless you put in the genuine work, like the person who practices the ideas, you can’t say for sure. So either, put in the work or clam up.

Believing isn’t everything. Genuine work is. And if someone practices something different from you, mull on it before dismissing anything.

Sorry for a late ABW post, let’s get into it. New post tomorrow, though.

 

I was wandering how to invoke a god with my sisters could yuh please contact us and let us know here’s my number [redacted] please this is very urgent

– Demontavious H.

I replied:

Read just about any 101 book on witchcraft. I suggest plenty on my site.

Believe or not, folks, I have actually written content in the past 10 years I have been writing this blog. Not posted “mem mem – mememmem memem mem memem” every single post. Also, please do not send private information such as phone numbers. This is how people get super easily scammed. In addition, it is not at all urgent. At all. Most things that people write to me for, saying it is “urgent” is really isn’t. Either it’s their personal screw up and they want to avoid the life consequences stat (I’m not a fan of that; if you screw up, own up) or other issues that are 100% Not My Problem. (Remember, I’m a witch, not a genie.) This is also why I always say on countless media “I really wish I got good questions” because I would love to be filling up ABW with actual good questions, not the bad questions like this. I rarely get good questions, it’s agitating. As for deity invocation, that is taught with the usual witchcraft 101 book in terms of beginner practices as well as do and don’ts. Granted, they’re for super little things (like learning how to do a ritual to improve your luck or to decrease negativity in your home) but still there, nonetheless.

So can yuh suggest any websites to look at ? Like can yuh email them to meh ?

My reply:

I mainly suggest books because they are better in my experience for learning 101 craft practice and deity work.

On the internet, there’s way too much bunk. Also, I am not slow walking anyone through any occultism or magick. If you can’t do the legwork yourself, you probably (read: most likely) are a dabbler. I suggest a lot of different books and websites throughout the 10 years I have written posts here. There’s gotta be something somewhere.

Okaii where can I get them from? And the book of shadows ? Is it for dark uses only?

My reply:

I have several book suggestions on my site, best found using the search bar up top and they’re purchased from anywhere you buy books. They’re books about the basics of Paganism and magick in general, not the Left Hand Path.

News Flash, everyone: I don’t practice the Left Hand Path. I don’t. Black Witch is called Black Witch because I’m a Black person who practices witchcraft – pretty straight forward. It’s even on the About Me page. Duh.

Again, if you’re asking if the Book of Shadows is used for nefarious purposes, you are most likely a dabbler – and not a bright one at that. Again, I’m not slow-walking anyone through occultism. It’s occultism, it is designed to be very anti-Slow Walk, especially if you need extreme hand-holding. It’s one thing to ask for a book suggestion on getting started (though I also mention them throughout the blog several times over the years so that’s not too great a question, either) and another to literally ask for super basic steps in magick.

Okaii can yuh tell meh more about the left hand path?

My reply:

I have written about it on my blog and there are also plenty of books on the subject. I don’t practice it so I don’t have much to detail than someone who does.

 

Again, everyone: I don’t practice the Left Hand Path. Plain and simple. And if you’re not bright enough for super basic magick 101, I’m pretty certain it would be a lot smarter to stay away from demons and jinxes. I get a lot of people who want to practice Dark Arts and, to be honest, don’t really deserve to – and I’m saying that as an outsider. If you’re that malicious a person, then you probably need therapy to handle whatever got your nose bent out of shape. Not every person in the Left Hand Path are wicked folks but since a lot of people perspectives on magick in general is “oh, automatically evil. I’ll go to that when I want to get back at someone”, they come to me erroneously thinking that this is the path for them. Nah, instead of dabble and waste everyone’s time, get therapy or better personal conflict skills.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: