Category: Pagan Life


I feel like talking about fire/candle magick. I had just gotten some resin from Dawtas of the Moon (I will be posting the various vendors I saw there in The Arts! next week) and it’s quite nifty. Generally, I don’t do magick with charcoal because I just never tried. I always kept my practice pretty simple so it’s never veered into view for me.

When it comes to magick, I like to use fire. It feels very absolute for me. That, and it is useful. Want to do quick magick? Birthday candles. Talk to someone who has passed on? Jot it down and chuck in flame, done. Make something come into being? Fire of creation. Make something leave being? Fire of destruction. Very versatile.

Also, before I continue, I always like to point out fire safety. For the love of all things, practice fire safety.

  • Have baking soda, soil or sand nearby, especially if you are working with oils
  • Give your flame a 3’x3′ box of room, even if it is a teeny candle. (Some deities and entities like to be flamboyant, they will flambe your home if you give them a chance. Heck, they’ll attempt to flambe your home even if you don’t)
  • Keep animals (especially fuzzy ones) away from flames. This is not television, they will not keep a respectful distance from the flame. Do not fry your pet in effort to imitate what you saw on tv
  • Use fire-safe materials and use them in the way they are supposed to be used. For example, want to put your candle on water? Get a floating candle. Do not stick random candle in water and hope for the best – fire can start on water
  • Using oil? Got a fire? DON’T use water to put it out! Review below gif on what that looks like.

You don’t want this

  • Got an oil fire? Slide (not clap down) a lid over the fire if in a container to cut off oxygen. On a flat surface, place lid over flame. On water? Get baking soda or sand to throw on conflagration

Alright, now we got that out the way.

Fire magick is very one-and-done for me. To use resin seems to be a good fit to expand that. Especially since there are so many kinds of resins. I personally like dragon’s blood (for both its smell and purpose) but never worked with the resin form. It is originally a resin but I always used the oil form. I guess I used to think that resins were difficult to work with because they didn’t look like anything I had ever seen before back when I was first introduced to them years ago.

Now that I have resin, this makes me want to get a hanging censer or something. I definitely see how putting together different resins could really be impacting and simple in spellwork. I always prefer simple. If I wanted complex, I could have became a ceremonial magician.

In short, I think resin my personal practice is a nifty little addition.

What is it about pointing out racist tea brand names that makes people get emotional?

It’s, of course, about Amy Blackthorn’s tea line “Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends”. Made by a lady who is not:

A) Black

B ) Practices Hoodoo

C ) Participate with Black culture or identity

I have written about this twice in the past, including Blackthorn blocking me because she doesn’t like when people point out problems. Also, full disclosure: I know Blackthorn. Met her before, have mutual friends and associates.

Sometimes, my writing bodes well. Read this letter I received a long while back from Dear Darkling Magazine’s editor-in-chief:

Hello,
My name is Alex MoeHagen, and I’m the editor-in-chief of Dear Darkling magazine. We were recently contacted by Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, and asked whether we’d like to sample their tea for review purposes. Knowing only that this brand was popular among the pagan community, we agreed.

However, as our writer was doing research for the piece, she grew increasingly uncomfortable with their usage of the term “Hoodoo.” She reached out to me, and I did my own research, which was when I found your blog post about the company.

Dear Darkling does not support or condone any sort of bigoted or racist behavior, including cultural appropriation. The more we learned about Blackthorn, the more we knew we would not feature their brand in our magazine. Not now, not ever.

I just want to thank you for being public about your experience with Blackthorn. Beyond their clear appropriation, their behavior during your interaction was inexcusable. I’m so sorry you had that experience, but I’m glad you wrote your post about it. It proved to us that Blackthorn was not a company we wanted anything to do with.

Also, I want to thank you for the list of POC tea companies. We aim to support and amplify POC voices whenever possible, and with it being tea season, we’re happy to have some new companies to drool over.

All the best,
Alex MoeHagen

Editor-In-Chief

Hooray, I was listened to! Notice how easy it was to simply pull up a rudimentary google search and go “Ehhhh, no”? Wow, it’s almost like there’s no excuse to be bigoted or pretend you’re not bigoted when you can literally fact check for free now!

Then you have people who knuckle down or get super defensive about this very fact. Enter metaphysical shop from Raleigh, North Carolina, The Holy Rose. I learned about this from an unwitting mutual. The Maryland Pagan circle is big in some ways, unbelievably small in others, what can I say?

I informed the shop of the problematic brand and the response was less than awesome. Granted, I literally did enter the convo with “I would not be too surprised to find disagreement” but still, they got defensive down the line. Which I will show later.

I will be honest, whenever I hear “Thank you for your opinion” in this framework, I always think of it as dismissive, as lip service. And we’re dealing with a fairly White Pagan ran store on the subject of racism. Boilerplate replies scratch me a little odd here.

And here come the excuses. Time to crack out …. The Derailment Bingo Board!

Here is a blank copy so you can play at home!

 

Hold on to this because we’re going to compare boards later! But first, before we continue, I want to bring up this fun fact: A thing doesn’t stop being racist simply because you surround yourself with tokens. Being “multi-racial” is not the same as being “Black”. It just can be code for “I’m all White with a teeny dash of native/latin/whatever”. Heck, I know Black folks who sincerely believe racism does not exist – didn’t protect them from being harassed unfairly by cops or passed over for deserved promotions. Racism is racism, whether you want to believe it or not.

Plus, how much you wanna bet they’re not going to read the post I linked? Given their dismissiveness, you could probably bet the bank. Especially if they read it only after being informed of this post.

Alright, moving on!

Apparently, The Holy Rose does not know the difference between “opinion” and “fact”. Opinions are derived by emotions, facts are proven displays of information. However, you can have an opinion based on fact.

As explained by website Key Differences:

Facts and opinions are often uttered in the same breath; the terms have a huge difference in their meanings. Whether a statement is a fact or an opinion depends on the validity of the statement. While a fact refers to the something true or real, which is backed by evidence, documentation, etc. On the other hand, opinion is what a person believes or thinks about something.

The site even provides a handy-dandy chart.

Saying “Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends is racist” can appear like an opinion but the difference is the fact that I provide proof and description in my past posts of why I reached that conclusion. I am not blindly assuming the brand is racist, I explain the issue of the racism. Over and over. It’s not an opinion when there are two whole posts (now, three, if you include this one) about this singular issue.

Also, The Holy Rose thinks I am trying to debate. I’m not. That’s being defensive. Saying I’m putting words in their mouth and “you don’t know me” is super childish at best – and defensive. Acting as if I am simply going to others because I personally don’t get along with Blackthorn instead of reading what is provided, is being dismissive. Based on the facts displayed from The Holy Rose, it gives me the opinion that they are as thin-skinned as Blackthorn herself.

They don’t draw conclusions based on someone’s opinion … because reading fact-displaying posts is hard? It’s not going off the opinion of others when they point you to a post you refuse to read. And it seems from jump they already drew a conclusion from their own opinion from the instant dismissiveness of first reply. And then followed up with their second when faced with a link. Like they tried to shut down the conversation before one could even start.

 

They constantly wish me well. I wish they’d listen.

 

Open minded doesn’t mean putting up a blank, dismissive attitude when someone brings a problem to your doorstep nor jumping to conclusions because the word “racism” was uttered and now you have to protect your feelings and your ego. That’s being close-minded.

Now, time for the Derailment Bingo board! This is what I marked out:

Holy cannoli, that’s a lot of picks! I half wanted to pick “I’m not being defensive!” as free space

Time to break down what I picked and why I picked it, starting from top left

You’re arguing with opinions, not facts

How many times did The Holy Rose say that I was spouting “opinion”? A lot for someone who goes by their own. Reminder: there is such thing as fact-based opinions, firstly, and, secondly, if you choose not to read something literally provided to you out of ego, that does not mean the person who provided it is spouting baseless claims – it means you wistfully ignore information avenues. It’s one thing if you call someone’s bluff and they reply with no receipts. It’s another when they provide receipts before a bluff can even be called.

Being dismissive of facts without reviewing them, to call them “opinions” means that you think the facts are “fake/baseless”, no matter what.

Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the store saw this post and then said “She twisted our words to make us look bad!” – despite posting the whole conversation from start to finish.

Your experience is not representative of everyone/I know another person from your group who disagrees/ But you’re not like others in your group

Remember, this person is “multi-racial” and “70% of my clientele are people of color”. This sounds like they’re trying to debunk the seriousness of my claim that Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends has a racist name. Because I feel like they don’t stand in the shop with a census in hand collecting ethnographic data day in and day out.

Also, “People of color” is not “Black”. Includes Blackness but is not synonymous with “Black”. And Anti-Blackness is very, very rife around Non-Black People of Color (NBPoC) so not exactly the statement I would run to as a blind defense.

Actually, if the shop is any strong percent of not-White, then shouldn’t the fact a racist brand getting in be a concern? I mean, don’t you want to keep your 70% of whoever is strolling into your store?

Besides, it doesn’t matter if their home customers do or don’t complain, it is still a problem. Let me share a teeny story from my life. I used to work in a martial arts weapon store. There were flags you could buy, including the Japanese imperialism flag (the version of the Japanese flag with the rays coming off it). We had Civil War stuff, both Union and Confederate. We had WWII stuff – wait, no … we had German WWII stuff so little chains that had a teeny tiny SS helmet on there and such. The person who owned the store is from Egypt so not tooooo versed with Western issues and flags. If it sold, it sold. They are goods. He was a soldier, not a scholar, before he became a shop-owner. I pointed out all the issues with the items. He, at first, went “No one complained” and I replied, “Do you really want to wait for a pissed off a Krav Maga teacher to express why this is a bad idea? We sell to fighters. This is bad!” And when I talked in depth about the terrible histories of what each item symbolized and how affected people (especially those with abilities to break bone) react, he quickly decided that something should be done. So I did some re-arranging and established a policy or two so there wouldn’t be too much discord. At minimum, divided the Japan/Korea flags so the imperialism Japanese flag wouldn’t sit all over the Korean flags. At maximum, kept the more troublesome stuff out of plain view and did a 50 Questions with anyone who selected it anyways.

It kept the peace and I had little to no crisis to worry about. Little things like that can prevent a lot. Part of running a business is problem prevention – trying to foresee an issue and stop or stutter it wherever possible. Sometimes problems happen anyways but at least you will only have five issues, in opposed to fifteen.

You’re seeing problems where they don’t exist

The Holy Rose dissolved my concern from being a pithy opinion to acting as if I am operating on a personal vendetta against Blackthorn to scorn her. At this point, I think Blackthorn is dull-minded, selfish and a total racist douche but I don’t exist simply to lay her low. She’s not the only dull-minded, selfish, racist douche I have ever met. Nor do I have time for all the dull-minded, selfish, racist douches that I have met, I’ve a lot on my plate. That’s why there’s only three posts on Blackthorn in the near decade of my blog.

Oh, and as a reminder, The Holy Rose person said this without reading anything in my provided link. So they think it’s a personal tiff when it actually isn’t.

I don’t find this offensive

See above where I mention The Holy Rose person says they are “multi-racial”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t find it offensive. It is offensive, plain and simple, for objective reasons.

 

Man, Derailment Bingo has been so useful for years.

Look, I get that The Holy Rose wants to be emo because actual accountability is difficult. The smart thing they should have done would be to be more receptive instead of offer a bland “thank you for your opinion”. That’s where they screwed up. Blackthorn likes making money off of the idea of Black experiences as a White person in Paganism, that’s her thing. As a shop, you can easily tell a product line you carry “Hey, I got some unsavory news about you. We’re not sure if we can still carry you because the name could cause fall out and we’re not Amazon or Walmart, maybe we could work this out?” This is a Pagan marketplace, finding tea sellers and makers is not that hard.

As per usual, here are a couple Black-Owned Tea Makers:

WyStone Teas

Ivy’s Tea Company

Refused Rebuke

Of my teeny weeny list of hate mail*, I have another to add. Angry Christian decided to send me a passive-aggressive (?) prayer.

This is the Light of God.
I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.

 

Let’s break down the bullsh*t, folks!

Here’s the thing: I understand Christians are told to proselytize and spread the word of their religion, to convert people as if they are playing some very, very weird game of Pokemon Go: Religion Edition. However, they should sincerely stop. Christianity isn’t a dying relic by any stretch of the imagination (there would probably be a lot less wars, abused kids, and dead people all along the LGBT spectrum if so), there really is no need to act like it. It really would not kill anyone to just let others be in their own faith. Literally. Like, Christian history is loaded with going to random places and going “Bible or Massacre, you pick” – even to this very day. The smartest thing to do in this instance is to clean that up and STFU until their own house is in some semblance of order. Every religion has screwed up people and groups but Western Christianity need to learn to put the bullhorn down and focus on their problems – not cover it up. **

 

Alright, now the actual text:

I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God

Man, am I glad I can decipher Christian prayers, otherwise I would just toss this in the “mumbo jumbo” mental (and digital) bin.

I searched my entire email history (very easy to do with a couple clicks!) and this person, Lotus Flower, does not come up at all. New person. Either this person lives in a detailed saga in their head or … they live in a detailed saga in their head. With exception to very few cases (as in, less than three), have I ever done any variation of doing a jinx/hex/curse/hot-foot on anyone. Everyone else, I rather get my lawyers and/or federal agents.

 

Lawyers: It’s like summoning demons but you sincerely can’t tell the difference

Here’s the thing about me – I don’t tend to attack others. Point out issues and fallacies, sure, but not seek others out for the sole point of bullying and/or derision. I don’t cruise Christian sites and go “You guys stole Yule!” or “Why does Trump exist? Why did you let Trump happen? And Hitler? And … man, we’re gonna be here all day.” Because that’s silly and juvenile. And I’m busy. Sincerely busy – I even miss posting times because of all the stuff I have to do! Why the heck would I go after a no-name nobody for some wild reason?

by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ … that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure.

Truncated for brevity, but basically, “You are bothering me, when shall you leave?” Given I’m not actively doing anything to this person, let’s go with “Nothing ever happened to leave from”? This rebuke would be heavy – if it was useful. Oh! and rebukes don’t really work if you email them to other people for roughly the same reason you can’t spend a twenty you just xeroxed – it isn’t legitimate, just a simple copy.

I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter

Nah.

I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness

Is it just me or anyone else getting creepy The Preacher/Son of Sam/amoral Puritan pastor vibes? Like, every person I have heard this from usually are thirty seconds to launch in the “religious frenzy” way. It evokes the imagery from the preacher, Mr. Dimmesdale whipping themselves in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

This person probably shouldn’t be a minister if they’re holding this messed up a brain. Everyone has issues, including and especially community leaders, but when you’re reaching Hawthorne-level, that’s a problem.

nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.

Again, not doing anything to this person or anyone else in terms of magick. Because, again, why would I? Even somebodies I don’t maliciously bother so why would I go after a nobody? I feel like I’m on the weird end of every “I have a witch that is bothering me” letter that I get. Because witches have regular lives as well. Jinxing and fixing takes valuable time, effort and energy. Most people are not worth that.

The person who sent it went by the name Lotus Flower. That’s more Eastern, not Western, based faith. If you’re going to be a douche about people practicing different faiths, don’t hijack others.

This is hardly a concern for me, heck, even breaking it down, it’s not even standard hate mail (yay, something else for my friends and I to vote on). It’s just some person on the internet that emailed me a rebuke as if those work through digital transmission instead of performed. Yes, “they could have performed it” person – true but it’s like a random person getting a restraining order against Idris Elba, not really going to do anything because there was no problem to start with. Therefore, redundant and useless unless you parade it in his very baffled face.

If anything, the person may have been serious but this just comes off as ridiculous and random.

*Seriously, I’ve been running for almost ten years and only got maybe 3-4 pieces of actual hate mail. One was voted as “hate mail” because the English was so garbled and jank, I passed the letter around to my friends who studied everything from linguistics to psychology and even STEM. They majority voted “hate mail” but with a narrow margin. Democracy in action, everyone!

** The concept of “church hurt” exists and I’ve been asked if I’ve experienced it far more than I have ever heard of any concrete ideas to combat it. Dude, I am rarely in churches because I’m not Christian, no, I don’t have “Church Hurt”. But maybe instead of making excuses for it and giving it a name, do something about it for those who have. Not waste breath on me.

 

It has been a while since I have done any proper divination. No palms, no cards, no natal charts, no rods, nothing big. I still skim and such, out of habit, but nothing in depth.

I think part of this has something to do with how things are going. Since everything is up and down like a boat on choppy waters, I kind of don’t want to know the future because A) Something crappy lies there and/or B ) don’t want to incite the nasty habit of trying to avoid crappy thing and make it bigger or make it worse.

Divination is very helpful and the longer you have been at it, the better you are at quick reading omens and the hints around you. However, I don’t feel a need, outside of doing a birthday cartomancy spread or dream interpretation, to do more than that.  Unless I am seriously in a bad bind with absolutely zero solutions and sitting on a crowd of failed ideas, I don’t turn to divination as much. I don’t need to pull a card to decide if my month will be going smoothly or not.

Divination, to me, is like spell casting: I don’t have to do it every single day to be legit. It’s a skill, a practiced, long-wrought skill. I still know more than enough to jeer shows that present a Death card and go “Yer gunna die” because it’s the Death card, not the Death Note (which doesn’t exist (If you are a chaos practitioner – this is not a “for science!” challenge. Do not attempt)). I still know more than enough to note that if tornadoes pop up in my dreams, I should most likely take mental stock of what’s been going on lately.

It’s just, not everything in life, including some of the bad stuff,  does not need a “Warning Ahead” label. Divination is there for guidance, not to be used as a step-by-step “How to Exist” guide. Because, though literally no one likes it, even bad things can be useful (Note the “can”. “Can be” is not synonymous with “absolutely always”).  And even cards, mirrors, pennies and palms can sometimes just go “Yer F*cked. Big Time. That Is All.” Or go “Hey, found the problem: You. No viable solution available because, hey, you’ll royally blow that, too, so why bother?” It’s better to not develop an over-reliance on divination. It’s a great forecast but it’s no proper replacement for an umbrella or snow boots because you eventually will still get rained on or snowed in, despite your best efforts.

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.

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.

Somehow can’t read

I have gotten two or three questions recently that basically boiled down to the same thing: “wanna do magick, plz tell me everything that you know”. I just say “I have a search bar and suggested books on my site, try that” because, frankly, I’m not going to repeat a near decade of info since someone is too lazy or incompetent to look for themselves.

Here’s the thing, I do expect people to exercise some basic form of thinking when traversing this site for info. Maybe it is because witchcraft doesn’t have any “oooOOoOOOOooo spooky!” glossy-gleam for me but it really is not that hard to find anything – at least not basic stuff. Though this site talks about occultism, I hide extremely little – because A ) it’s not really worth hiding and B ) if people are this stupid, hiding is pointless. I guess there’s the idea of going to a witch to ask for a personal how-to but, c’mon, it’s best to just search the site first and then bother me with questions. At least there is a chance the question will be one worth answering.

When it comes to magick of any tradition, you’re going to have to do some heavy reading, substantial research and critical thinking. Individual critical thinking. This means you have to think for yourself and make choices yourself for the most part. Given the amount of people that pop up in my inbox, a lot just want to be told what to do – and then somehow feel empowered because of it. That’s just being a lemming with a misplaced ego. Not a good fit for magick. That’s how you get cults.

Magick can be hard. Depending on what you want to do, very hard. Takes practice, takes diligence. If you don’t want to do the very basics by yourself, if you have to be personally spoon-fed information, magick is not for you. Trust, it isn’t. There are different traditions in magick, countless traditions, I won’t know every single last one of them. But a library might. Though scant, Google might. If it isn’t worth looking up and doing the basics, then it is best not to do it at all.

Granted, some people don’t know how to research, either as a result of being a sucky student or being stuck in a paltry education system. However, it still does not mean I have to spoon feed someone because they seem to be daft at using the search bar on my website. Or they think I practice the Left Hand Path because they can’t read: I never talk about LHP stuff (because I don’t practice it) and I have a lot of posts about being a Black person, including a “race” category. That should make it glaringly obvious why I call myself “Black Witch”. If you can’t figure out something as plain-stated as that, then magick is seriously not for you. There’s already enough racist dumb people in Paganism, we don’t need more. It just appears to me that folks think there’s a “101 EZ Witchcraft 4 U” guide I provide. I don’t.

Long story short: If you can’t use the search bar, the various categories or anything that requires independent thought, then just stick to the Harry Potter, Charmed, and D&D. It’s a better choice than asking me information I already provided time and time again on an accessible site.

Here is another installation of Ask Black Witch. As I generally say, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Let’s start!

Hello,
Hope you are doing well today!

I am in need of a love spell to be cast. I can explain you my current situation. It would be really nice of you, if you can help me out in my situation by suggestion, the best suitable solution.
Actually, I have a very good friend of mine. His name is [Person]. He sees me and care for me as a good friend. But recently I deeply fell in love with him. His marriage is recently fixed, on [Date] (that’s very short span of time)
I just want to know, if we both can be together in nearby future, does he have feelings for me, or can I make him love me and propose to me at the earliest. It would really helpful, if he postpones his marriage for few months at least and thinks about his feelings for me and proposes me instead.

Any kind of guidance/ suggestion from you will be very helpful.
It will be really nice of you, If you can do an initial reading to check if my friend can fall in love with me/ does he love me, it will be really helpful.

– Sumitra K

Here’s the thing when I skim my emails: the second I see “I need a ___ spell cast”, I am immediately tossed into a bad mood. Especially if the _____ is a love spell.

Because I have said on this site time and time again my stance on casting for others (I don’t), love spells (don’t bother with them) and when people ask me to pretty much interrupt the free will of others (controlling is a form of abuse, you don’t love this person, it’s more about you than your relationship). And I’m not a Magic 8 ball so when people ask me divination questions, I bristle at that, too.

So you think you got friend-zoned (which isn’t really a real place but for brevity, let’s use the term) because, I take it, you didn’t say anything about your actual feelings back when you could have thrown your pitch. You’re free to tell the guy you have feelings for them, just to get it off your chest, but here’s the thing though:

A) the dude is about to get married (yes, there is the issue of arranged marriages but that’s not what we’re talking about at the moment)

B ) The dude sees you as a friend, not someone to date. Yay, friendship. Take that as something good and move on because he is very, very soon to be off the market – actually, he’s off the market now. Because he’s about to get married

C) Don’t hold your breath, you can easily wind up in a situation where you find out the dude never shared the same feelings as you. Don’t try to sabotage the marriage, get in the way of the marriage or anything that is meddling. Even if the marriage starts to turn sour, that’s not your moment to go in for the kill. Be there as a friend but don’t be there as a friend with ulterior motives. Because that’s not being a friend, that’s being a conniving person. Does it hurt? Yes. But it is what it is.

D ) Even if he did fall in love with you – how can we forget the actual wife-to-be? Cheating is a douchebag thing to do, divorces are tricky. Nothing has an easy route out. The dude is planted, and there are other people (innocent people, the wife-to-be didn’t ask for any of this, either) connected so this issue is pretty much done for unless the dude gets a divorce and is, therefore, back on the market.

Also, there’s the “recently fell in love” part, meaning this isn’t exactly a slow burn thing but could be one-sided love. All in all, it sounds pretty selfish to want to uproot someone else’s life because it doesn’t fall in line with what you want. Love doesn’t work that way.

Not easy to hear but just date other guys.

 

Is it possible to bring my friend back to life? If so can you do it for me or tell me how to do it? If not thank you for your time.

– Kim S.

Again, a spell request. In the world of magick, it is a good saying “It may be improbable, but not impossible.” But bringing someone back is a big and really, really, really, really, really advanced task. Not for noobs. Those difficulties aside, there’s also the ethics which are blithely ignored. The person won’t be back to their same old selves, they would be changed.

Death is sad but it’s better to find a better way to cope.

Howdy ma’am my name is Glenn nice to meet you. Let me start by saying that I am not a writer, but I have been having an undeniable urge to write. I am a strong believer in nature and evolution. I do believe in spirits, I believe all life is connected. My question to you is more like a request. The book I feel I need to write is fictional, but I don’t want it to be unrealistic. My problem is I don’t know enough about witchcraft to know if I go out of bounds. Would you please educate and guide me? Thank you and nice to meet you ma’am. SEMPER FI

– Glenn B

Yay, military speak, because that always makes me, a strongly anti-war person, happy. No shade on the Marines but that could have been left off.

I mention books all over my website, this question could have literally answered itself with a skim of the search bar I have up top. I am also a writer of fiction but even I get a little odd when I see “I need to write this book” as if there is some divine force leading them. Probably because I worked in one of the Incoming divisions at the Library of Congress, where I saw many, many crappy books by people “compelled” to write that I can’t help but to go “oh, great, another one.”

And I have rarely seen good works that focus on witchcraft, especially by folks who know jack all about it. I’ve come across stuff that just sounds over-technical, hard science re-imagined as magick, dull or chock full of gender tropes. Besides, fantasy is supposed to be whatever the writer wants, anyways.

Long story short, this question could have answered itself with a search bar.

Divination-Lite

I don’t do divination as much as I used to. I still have the tools and the books but I haven’t pulled out my playing cards or L-rods in a while. Not much need to because I don’t need to know what the future is going to look like every three days. And there certainly are situations and times where I don’t want to know.

However, because I have been doing divination for such a long time, it’s built into how I do things. Which isn’t bad, keeps me from getting totally rusty.

A good example is palmistry. While I don’t spend hours staring at the lines of my hands (besides, it takes about six months to spot any difference), I do note if a small white dot pops up on my nail. My diet is quite stable and regulated (and there’s also the fact every woman in my family with exception to a small handful is in medicine, I grew up around doctors pretty much) so I know the difference between “Maybe I could put more iron in my diet” and “Yep, I did have a big life event occur that really threw me off guard about three months ago.” When I catch them, they help me look at the situation and all the issues surrounding it because every finger represents something different. Basic palmistry 101 stuff.

Thing is, divination is good for looking in the future and the past but it’s not for reading every five days. The palmistry is good for me because a) I’m good at it, I still remember a person I read for banging on the door of one of my college classes during a final because they wanted me to read their hand again and b ) it’s quick and easy, no need for cards, pendulums or anything. It’s only when it catches my eye do I take notice.

I think this type of “divination-lite” is good for those who have pretty intermediate or advanced experience in divination because by that point, the diviner can separate the wheat from the chaff – as in, they can tell the difference between a sign they should focus on and a regular happening. I wouldn’t be trying to divine the cards dealt to me if I’m playing cards with my friends or doing solitaire. That would be nonsense. I would take note if I saw a deck and drew a card with the intent of getting clued into my future. Or do a simple yes/no card reading where I look for one of two different cards and it looks like I’m just straightening up the deck by dealing the cards out one by one. However, I just do those very few and far in between.

The thing about divination is that, while it is nice and if you do it right, you’ll rarely be wrong – BUT! Too much meddling in your own future can cause random left turns that could leave you in a worse situation than predicted.

Here’s the thing about humans and bad circumstances – they will try to change the hands of fate if so much as a blemish of a bad time blips up. I have done spreads for others where the future splinters off into two routes: the future if things stay the same, the future if there are changes. I have told people I read for, “Yah, this looks pretty bad but it appears you have to go through it because it looks like a life lesson you have been ducking for who knows how long. The smoother route is here but it’s really just a calm-looking fake out before things really hit the fan worse than they are right now.” Guess which part they hyper focus on? The “smoother route is here” part and that’s it. How do I know? They’re the folks finding me a month or two later pretty much going “I legit ignored everything you said that was useful, focused on changing the circumstance so I wouldn’t have to experience it at all and things went very Chernobyl with a dash of Three Mile Island. Halp meh.”

There is a reason why I have a “I do not unscrew your screwed pooch” rule. And why I don’t divine much for people outside of Samhain Pickers (which I haven’t done in a while) and that’s it.

But to keep from being rusty, I keep the light divination for myself. Works out better that way.

 

 

I had stumbled upon a couple posts that reminded me how fad-ridden Modern Paganism is thanks to New Age, the ridiculousness of Pop Brujeria* (not to be confused with actual brujeria – which literally means “Witchcraft” in Spanish and thus can consist of an astounding variety of history, ideas, beliefs and more), and the usual stupidity of the general public when it comes to things of the fantastical, metaphysical, etc.

There is the discussion that “healing crystals” are unethically mined. It always concerns me when I hear “healing crystals” and other keywords that make me think “ohhhh, I think this is bunk” because it usually is an item stripped of allllll of its culture and importance. This mean whatever stone used for whatever purpose most likely had some legitmacy but due to mainstream dilution, it’s pretty much pointless in use.

To explain better – let’s take the rose quartz and the jade. Rose quartz is peddled everywhere as a stone of “self love” and “gentle healing”. As if, if you pick up this random rock, all your issues will float away like a willow in the wisp. You will love yourself, you will be abated of all emotional problems. You will be amazing. I see it alllllllllllll the time as beginner stones to magick or just to peddle woo-woo New Age/Pop Brujeria. As if you just carry it and all will be better. Or “carry this and congrats, you’re a witch”. Neither are true.

Then there is jade. Such a pretty stone that can be anywhere from red to green, and used for luck, good fortune, etc. A lot of my East Asian friends have them; strung in simple neckalaces using red string, hanging on their rearview mirror, bracelets, etc. Guess what? They’re not carrying them around because some random website or celebrity went “Ohhhhhhhh, this has luck and good fortune! Wear it any watch your bounty grow!” Nah, it was gifted from their loved ones as bonafide cultural well-wishes, for actual protection, good fortune and luck. Many of my friends didn’t obsess over their jade pieces but they weren’t that careless to lose them or think they were stupid, pointless rocks their parents made them wear. There is cultural significance – something very divorced from the usual person buying crystals because something online or in a store told them to do it.

I have a bevy of stones, they’re all stored in a small satchel. They were expertly identified and categorized by one of my friends who is a Christian occultist and can rival any geologist ever. Known him since college and when we both were running the Pagan Student Union during our separate tenures. He wrote down every rock I had (even correcting info I thought was correct because I missed minute details), their properties, which are poisonous and how, so on and so forth. Some of the rocks in there were discovered because I was walking with said friend and he would point at the ground and go, “That’s raw hematite. Yes, that rust looking one there. No, they are not shiny when discovered, that’s tumbled.” Do I carry them all with me like I’m in need of a slingshot? No. They’re part of my practice, yes, but they are not stuff I just carry about. I mean, no Christian I know totes around a censor and I’m certain most don’t tote around vials of holy water.

My favorite stones are the rutilated quartz and the tourmalated quartz. They’re magnificently beautiful, the threads and bars are immaculate. My pendulum is a rutilated quartz, which I use for divination. Not for “Will the Ravens go to the Superbowl” type questions but for deeper issues and guidance because uummm, why would I bother the universe and the deities I practice with dumb, inane questions like that? I have a tourmalated quartz necklace I no longer wear because I’m pretty certain it wants to leave me – doesn’t matter what chain it is on, that chain breaks Every. Time. Gold, silver, hand braided with tough thread, it doesn’t care. It wants to not explore the world and I am super okay with that. Actually, it’s probably a stone of sobering honesty for me because every time I found it, I always learned something new about the folks I was around or the places I was in – and none of it was of the warm-and-fuzzy variety. So it stays home because hunting for a lost stone all the time and learning unhappy things can lose its glean quick.

Would I recommend these stones to a Johnny-Come-Lately? Absolutely not. These stones react to me the way they do because they’re part of my practice, not because I am derping around. I don’t use crystals to replace mental health work, I actually have a therapist. I don’t carry around rocks aimlessly because of a teeny placard at an overpriced metaphysical shop. That’s ridiculous for anyone to do. It’s one thing to collect stones because “pretty rock collection”, it’s another to assume it’s going to do something. Unless you have the Hope Diamond or you have an actual background in earth-type magick or cultural belief, chances are stupidly good that you just doled out money for a rock. One that comes out the ground. For free.

I would like to be omega clear that stones by themselves can not heal or fix anything. It doesn’t work like that, not even in magick. It’s not like a cell phone or a math equation, plug one thing in and if it’s correct, everything is fixed and working. Nah. Not even close. You can carry more rocks on you than a person buried in a landslide but it means nothing when there is nothing. No culture, no genuine practice, no nothing – just “I carry this rock because it’s somehow is better than working on my problems.” That is total absurdity. It also reminds me of people who wind up in my inbox thinking I pretty much exist to solve their life problems as if I’m a personal druid or something. Using crystals as a means of “healing” seems to be usually used by those who kinda don’t want to fix themselves, just feel like they’re doing something or pass off the work.

Actually, I remember when I used to hang around a local metaphysical store all day and I would regularly see people filter in looking for rocks to solve their problems. No lie. They would walk in, stare at the selection and the cards they had, pick a litany of them to be displayed on velvet and start talking about allllll their life problems. The store owner, Ms. Donna, always would try to talk sense to them, tell them that the rock doesn’t fix their problems by itself, that the legwork still on them. Some listened, a sizeable chunk didn’t. And guess who would come back weeks later bemoaning that the rocks are crap, they don’t work, and their lives still sucked?

Crystals are used as an assistive tool in appropriate actions. I mean, you don’t speak into a regular ink pen to write something down, do you? Even though you are communicating with the tool to dictate your words, that’s not the correct way to use a pen. Does that mean pens don’t work because they can’t turn ideas into words that way? No. But they work quite fine if you know how to write and have some semblance of a vocabulary. Otherwise, you may as well say it’s a pointless stick filled with stubborn, colored water. The crystals are the same way. Plopping a crystal in your pocket and saying it’s going to cure your cancer/heartbreak/life problems/etc. is not a correct way to use it. And it’s disingenuous, at that.

 

 

* If the only Spanish you know are half-fumbled lyrics from “Despacito” and the closest you have been to Latin culture is Taco Bell, you’re not an actual bruja – just a fluffy bunny dabbling in the “otherness” of someone else’s culture

%d bloggers like this: