Category: Pagan Life


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

It’s May! That means it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, which in turns means there’s going to be “well meaning” people coming out of the rafters in fake support of mental health issues and disparities – preferably without letting those with mental disorders talk or only picking ones that are super general (depression) or “sounds a little worse but still marketable/not too scary” (bipolar). Then there is the “omg, self care!” crowd. I’m sure it started as something real but it’s a bunch of meaningless capitalistic bullsh*t at this point, aimed at people who have little wrong with them.

Let’s start with Self Care:

Dealing with mental illness is difficult. Many people across the globe struggle and experience it everyday, me included. However, instead of actual, viable solutions such as better access to authentic mental health care, more genuine diversity in psychology/therapy fields, things of that nature – we get “self care”. Which is a paltry, hyper-capitalist idea that basically boils down to “Treat Yourself!”

An article written by Shayla Love “The Dark Truths Behind Our Obesession with Self-Care” talks about this in depth:

From the ashes of these increasing mental health burdens has risen a trendy, Instagrammable solution: self-care. We young people, suffering in unprecedented numbers, have been forced to take on the responsibility of caring for ourselves, and have fallen under the spell of this hashtaggable term to do so.

Self-care is a nebulous name for a group of behaviors that should have a simple definition: taking care of yourself. But it’s no longer just meditation and journaling; everything can now be #selfcare. Eating healthfully or indulgently; spending time alone or seeing friends; working out or taking a rest day; getting a manicure or forgoing beauty routines.

These activities and products are not sinister in and of themselves. I would hope that a life includes leisure, time with loved ones, and exercise. But self-care has been appropriated by companies and turned into #selfcare; a kind of tease about the healthcare that we are lacking and are desperate for. As Baba realized, you can’t actually treat an anxiety disorder with a bubble bath or a meditation app, and the supposition that you can is a dangerous one.

The article is a very good read (even despite being a Vice work, which is pretty rare for me to say) and strikes on how the captialized version of self-care, not necessarily the concept itself, is not a decent replacement for mental healthcare.

I have ran into people preaching self-care over and over again, especially when I bring the fact I have mental disorders, particularly trauma disorders.

“Do exercise!” I have practiced martial arts for over 10 years. And I roller skate. And I go biking. And I’m usually told this by folks who are less healthy than me.

“Do yoga!” Been there, done that. Doesn’t do anything for suicidal thoughts. Or stop attempts.

“Get a hobby!” I already knit, crochet, build robots, code, do martial arts, cook, write long length stories, make books and journals, create CADs, 3D print, roller skate, draw, sketch, bike, fix cars, fix bikes, speak several languages and more … and yet I still have several disorders. Huh, it’s almost like the two aren’t related. Like I can be really good at something, and still my brain will malfunct. Y’know, like how you can be really, really good at deep breathing but that’s not going to stop you from having lung cancer – or cure it.

“Have a gratitude journal.” Sounds like bullsh*t and I’m both a writer and a bookbinder. Gratitude journals are worthless because while being grateful for things is nice – it doesn’t fix problems. It’s just pointless distraction better aimed at those who have little wrong with them.

While doing these things are not bad in and of themselves, they are a shabby and crap replacement for actual mental health care. Happy thoughts and “positive vibes” can’t heal cancer nor mend a broken leg, why would it do the same for a messed up mind? It is important for people to have access to real resources for proper care. While having green tea every morning is nice, it doesn’t cure depression (if that were the case, Korea and Japan wouldn’t be fiercely competing neck and neck for who has the most suicides and China would save massive yuans on anti-suicide nets they put on buildings). Real conditions should be met with real solutions.

Then there is the money part – a lot of these “self-care” things cost money. Luxurious amounts. Here is the thing: if a poor person can’t participate, it is not a legitimate practice. I always use that as a litmus test because if something is supposed to authentically help but ices out those who need it most, then it is probably a fad for the rich and self-indulgent. I mean, who truly believes that wearing a temporary tattoo that says “you got this” actually fixes PTSD? Either you’re nursing a drug habit or plain stupid to believe this.

The Self-Care movement seems borne from the fact that, honestly, it is far too hard for the average person to get psychological help if they need it. On its face, Self-Care sounds very individualistic, pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstraps … which conveniently ignores the fact you have to wait long months for a professional you can’t afford. As if being besieged by a disorder is a choice and can be greeted with simple solutions, like buying expensive tea or buying fuzzy pillows.

And this is just Self-Care. There is also the fact the bulk of mental health assistance really is just, “pills are the new strait jacket, everything useful is expensive, White people only – preferably women. Everyone else can go to jail. Or die.”

This isn’t to say that proper medication does not help conditions but A) not every mental disorder can be solved with a pill (or a litany of them) B ) Pills do not replace talk therapy, at all. US mental health care honestly feels that if someone winds up in a psych ward, they just need to be drugged up, no need for cohesive one-on-one therapy. And if they are not White, even their cultural experiences and perspectives are going to be labeled as a disorder, usually one of the psychotic ones. By the way, that is a historical problem because, long story short, White people always thought Black folks were legitimately crazy for believing racism exists. Give those same White folks a clipboard and hospital badges, and you get a lot of misdiagnosed people who never get helped – or get swept into a system that just rather dose them into silence or compliance. I actually had to argue with doctors over my diagnosis because they wanted to diagnose me with – guess what? Schizophrenia! Or bipolar. Because it was easier to ignore the fact I had a trauma-filled childhood that gave me memory problems that heavily hinted I had major dissociation. Y’know, a dissocative trauma disorder? Since I believed, “cops harm Black folks on the level of serial killers, the drug trade literally poisons and rot communities, and racism exists”, I was considered “militant and bananas”* – oh, and they weren’t too interested in shoving me in front of a therapist but they were pretty quick about “what pills should she be on?” That’s a problem. A big one. And pretty oft ignored.

And if you get tossed in-patient? Problems just compound. Remember, you will just about never see a therapist if you’re general admissions (which is most people: the suicidal, the psychotic, the addicted, everyone in between. They all wind up here) so if you want to talk out your problems, you have to settle for your fellow patients during down time – which is not what they are there for, by the way – or group therapy, where if you are not really cool with telling swaths of strangers your problems, you really don’t have options. And there is really little to do so if you want to stay outside your head, that’s probably not going to happen.

Should you spend too much time in your head and fall into an episode, the options are restraints, being tersely spoken to, solitary, or getting the Spike (sometimes three needles, sometimes one, always a knock-out serum). Restraints are no fun, you feel like you’re in The Exorcist. Solitary is exactly that, just you and your thoughts in a teeny room. Some places have teeny 6×6 rooms with four walls, a mattress and a camera staring riiiiiiight at you embedded in the corner of the room. You get a sheet and pillow but nothing more than that. Other places, it’s just a cleared out room – most hospitals have done away with padded walls, those are a thing of the past (and bad movies). The burnt out nurses have no idea how to talk to you so they opt for “as if speaking to a bad child”. The ones who do use training were trained by people who read from guides crafted by idealists and edited by paranoid lawyers – useless. And most do not seem to know how to reference the DSM, the handbook of mental health and disorders, when they meet a patient whose disorder they do not understand. Despite the fact I am diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (old name: multiple personality disorder, hasn’t been used since 1994), nurses would go directly down the “schizophrenia” route in treatment and mannerisms towards me. If not outright ignore me because, eh, what is there to do? I’ve seen others get the Spike, it’s fast acting and you either wake up in restraints, in solitary or in your room. In some places, you’re surrounded by a small crowd of people when you come to, in others, you just wake up on your own but someone is definitely checking on you.

Psych wards pretty much are like holding cells for the mentally bereft. You’re not allowed outside, you get three squares a day, the nurses act like wardens, and your time is dictated with little variation. Not to mention, it’s a holding cell you get a massive bill for. And I am talking “You could buy a fancy Tesla with all the trimmings” massive. I thought I amassed student debt fast, I managed to outpace what I accumulated in four years from college in less than three weeks at a mental hospital for my trauma disorder.

Speaking of which – yes, there are mental health programs. For example, there are a few for trauma disorders – emphasis on few because there are about twenty hospitals maybe on the planet that can treat DID. I’ve gone to one of them twice. However, mental health programs are hard to get into and prohibitively expensive. Just one night there is about $1,500 USD. For my disorder, I need about at least six weeks for treatments to actually work. Some have stayed over a year. Yes, you get one-on-one therapy and structured plans but still cultural barriers exist (yay, being labeled “aggressive” even when you’re not and not being allowed to discuss institutional prejudice or racism). And if you opt out on meds, things get a little worse because it concerns the doctors. And the insurance companies think a mental disorder is like a cold – you do a couple things and the person is all better again.

For example, my insurance, United Healthcare, did not want to pay. They actually had me booted out a day after being taken off suicide watch, saying I was all better. Refused to talk to the doctor, just said “she’s good.” Oh, and they do this a lot. United Healthcare’s reason? As expressed in the linked article:

United had a structural conflict of interest in applying its own restrictive coverage rules because it felt pressure to keep benefit expenses down so it could offer competitive rates to employers.

… A major issue in the case was the adequacy of United’s coverage of behavioral and substance use disorders as chronic rather than acute conditions. The plaintiffs said United’s guidelines inappropriately limited coverage once patients’ symptoms subsided, rather than covering the range of services needed to maintain patient’s stable health conditions over a longer term.

And they were doing this for yeeeeeeears. That is a lot of people under-served because of one insurance company’s belief of “crazy people are crazy expensive”.

In Baltimore, my hometown and where I live, hospitals practice “patient dumping”. Still out of your mind and nowhere to go? Not their problem, out you go. I remember asking nurses when they would prepare discharge to people without stable homes, “Where do they go now? Like, they still seem not well.” The nurses would shrug and reply, “We give them a three day supply of meds and turn them loose. We can’t keep y’all here that long, state laws.” Because in Maryland, you’re out in a matter of days, it doesn’t matter if you’re really well or not. There is no infinity of beds and, again, “crazy people are crazy expensive” so that’s just how it is. They do try to point you to shelters and homes, they even try to give you bus vouchers and cab fares sometimes but if you’re not mentally fit when it’s time to go, you’re not going to understand any of that. Doesn’t matter though, out you go.

And as for the hospital that did the January patient dumping, University of Maryland Medical Center (better known locally as “UMMC” and used to be Maryland General Hospital), I am not surprised they did this because this hospital in particular is pretty nefarious about how they treat the mentally ill. When my doctor was seeking out hospitals for me, first thing she said was “Not UMMC” because of how poorly they treat patients. Other patients who have been to UMMC have described over-bearing security guards, non-caring staff and higher ups who pretty much don’t care as long as there isn’t a nagging lawyer staring over their shoulder. I bring this up because these are the same exact places that present themselves as forward-thinking and probably has countless “Mental Health Awareness Month” events that look wonderful but, let’s face it: they don’t actually care. Might as well say on a banner, “It’s nice to be nice to crazy people, but don’t ever become one.”

I personally don’t always believe in social awareness months. Black history month? Sure, be great if it was naturally embedded into everything already, though. Asian American Heritage month? Sure, be great if it was naturally embedded into everything already, though. Domestic Violence awareness month? Sounds like a checkbox excuse, a way to pretend to care about gender violence issues without actually doing anything. Same for Mental Health Awareness month. It’s a checkbox issue to pretend to care without actually doing anything. Outside of the occasional depression screening events, I honestly do not really see anything actively useful for people who have disorders. Maybe those who get a case of the blues or fret about a test but nothing more than that. Again, handing out bath bombs do not cure disorders. It would be poignant if it was a year-round thing and not something to do for a month because it looks good in the eyes of the unaffected.

For all the awareness month does, it really doesn’t do much. People still think mentally ill people are dangerous and vicious. You could get fired for having a disorder, and don’t bother with EEOC – they’re too overburdened to care or do anything about it. You could get placed into a hospital where you don’t get any sufficient care, just pills and apathy. You could find someone to treat you but it will put you in the poorhouse by hour 3. You might not be able to find anyone who can treat you at all. An awareness month on the issues of mental health is absolutely pointless if it’s does not cause any action and no one is better informed or impacted by these efforts. It simply feels like a way for neurotypical people (people who do not have disorders) feel like they’re good people, great allies – without lifting a single finger.

Actually, that’s probably the point.

 

* I still think it is ridiculous I was declared “militant” since I have friends who could make Spike Lee sound like Ben Carson. That and their solution for “militant” is not therapy but pills. Talk therapy isn’t lunacy but appears to the doctors I’ve ran into, it is.

 

Parade of Apologies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most recent one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

I decided to pass on posting The Arts! today for this teeny saga. Let’s start from the top:

A person on Tumblr, Child-Priestess (now changed to “Boy-Priest” since our convo) asked me to look at a site called “Blacks for Satan” – despite the fact that:

A) I’m not a Satanist

B ) The vast majority of Satanists I have ever met, I never liked. I have only met one (1) that was agreeable. That dude is the walking definition of “outlier” and “anomaly”.

C) Again, I’m not Satanist, I’m Pagan. They’re not the same. One is related to Christianity and the other existed way before Christianity (that would be Paganism who existed before Christianity, for the stupid ones who can’t follow.)

The site looked pretty terrible and full of hatred. Like, for a site that is “supposed” to be for Black people, it sounds penned by a White person from all the vitrol spat at Jewish folks. This isn’t to say that Black and Jewish communities don’t have rifts but it’s not “Holocaust denying” levels. Black people tend to not side with Nazis since they murdered us as well in the Holocaust. All a Nazi is to the eyes of a Black American is just a German-flavored Klanner. Same M.O., different place and language.

Originally, I wrote in the first draft, “Here are some screenshots, because I’m not linking this site. If anything, it needs to be taken down because it feeds into hateful beliefs which, in turn, inspire people like Dylan Roof or Rodger Elliot to commit mass murder.”

I got the sites taken down, three of them. More on that later. But here are the screenshots taken because I need to really go into why this site is super abhorrent. (And why site server, Lycos, shouldn’t have dragged their feet to take action.)

Wait, before I do, let’s look at this site called the “Dangerous Speech Project“. It explains how vitriolic words eventually become vitriolic actions.

Be sure to watch the vid, references to it will show up later and throughout.

But let’s begin with the hate sites and why they are perceived as such.

Let’s Start!

The website seems to not really talk about “What is Satanism” or anything, just “These are the people we hate.” Though Anton LaVey is a total joke to me, the site should have mentioned him at some point since he kicked off Satanism.

“Foundation”, eh?

This is a diamond point if you ever have to wonder if you’re running a hate site: if you have to pen “is [site] racist?” to defend yourself from the start, you probably are. By the way, the “Joy” site they are mentioning is pretty much the same as you see here, eye-bleeding layout and all.

There is a lot of misinformation on this site, especially in this blurb

The stupid, it burns

I think just about every Satanist I have ever met always had a nasty bone to pick with Christianity but couldn’t think outside of the rigors of it. This site is no different, but it can’t tell the difference between Satanism and Paganism because, if you go by (very incorrect) Christian rhetoric, there is no difference. This is due to the Christian gaze, where every religion that is not Christianity is demonic, therefore Satanic. This erroneous belief tends to come from the same people who think that Catholicism is a separate religion from Christianity when really it is an incredibly obvious denomination of Christianity.

Satan was never a deity, not even in Christian rhetoric. Angel, yes, deity, no. Angels tend to blindly obey God, angels that didn’t were considered “fallen”. Lucifer happened to be one of them. Still not a god, though.

Pagan deities were never demons, every one of them. Yes, there were deities for good and bad but that’s because nature has both good and bad and neither side is absolute. Then you have the fact there are thousands of these varied deities from countless cultures, it is both erroneous and insulting to just call them daemons/demons. Which is a really Christian thing to do. For one, it puts the Pagan deities at a lower status because godhood is not recognized. For two, the gods are there to do their own thing, not guide humankind – there are countless mythologies out there where the story basically boils down to “a deity got bored/annoyed/whatever and decided to play kickball with mortal lives for the lolz.” Entities are more inclined to work with humans but even then, it’s not in a servitude way. You gotta do something to get the help and the second you rip them off, things get pretty crappy. And somehow the backblown attempted scammer finds their way into my inbox, demanding spellwork like I’m a candy machine.

This version of “Satan is god” thing sounds very LaVey on the surface, but really, it’s a blurb that preys on the weak and vulnerable-minded, those who feel pushed around and want power but don’t know how to obtain it. That’s a problem. Fear is a very strong motivator because fear creates want from insecurity. Insecure want creates a hole that craves to be filled and if the person doesn’t care how it’s done, that can walk them down a pretty destructive path. That seems to be what this whole site is pitching.

The parts that are really troublesome are the links. Here’s a snapshot:

Yikes – Exhibit A

Yikes – Exhibit B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much Yikes. All the Yikes

And there’s more I didn’t screen grab: “The Lie of Christianity and Islam”, “The One True Enemy” and most alarmingly “Blacks and the Jews” (wait a minute – anti-Black content on a site supposedly for Black people to brew anti-semitism? How unsurprising). Anything that “exposes lies” about some random religion – especially religions that commonly are misconstrued, such as Islam and Judaism – it’s a dog-whistle approach to scapegoat.

Now, I mentioned Dangerous Speech a bit, as a snippet/reminder, here is “what is Dangerous Speech”, pulled from the site:

Any form of expression (e.g. speech, text, or images) that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or commit violence against members of another group.

Importantly, the definition refers to increasing the risk of violence, not causing it.

In the Dangerous Speech Project guide, it outlines how dangerous ideas such as hatred towards historically marginalized people can go from web space to actual spaces.

They outline the five ways this works, all cited in brief from Dangerous Speech Project:

Dehumanization: By describing other groups of people as something other than human, or less than human, speakers can persuade their audiences to deny other people some of the moral consideration they give to those who are “fully” human (Leader Maynard and Benesch, 2016, pp. 80-81). Dehumanizing targets prepares audiences to condone or commit violence, by making their targets’ death and suffering seem less significant, or even by making it seem useful or necessary

Accusation in a Mirror: The term comes from an anonymous manual for propaganda and recruitment found in Butare, Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. The document advises attributing to one’s enemies the very acts of violence the speaker hopes to commit against them. “In this way,” the author writes, “the party which is using terror will accuse the enemy of using terror” …. To believe that you, your family, your group, or even your culture faces an existential threat from another group makes violence to fend off that threat seem not only acceptable (as dehumanization does), but necessary. …. In Nazi Germany, for example, anti-Semitic propaganda repeatedly and relentlessly accused Jewish people of hatching a Mordplot (murderous plan) to eliminate all non-Jews (Streicher, 1934, p. 1). This assertion was especially preposterous since the Jews had no military or guerrilla force at all, yet it was apparently convincing.

Threat to Group Integrity or Purity: By portraying members of the target group as a threat to the audience group, this type of message reinforces fear. Moreover, these messages indirectly (and sometimes directly) instruct people to rid their group of the supposed contaminant, to preserve the health of their own group.

Assertion of Attack Against Women and Girls: Related to the previous hallmark is the suggestion that women or girls of the in-group have been or will be threatened, harassed, or defiled by members of an out-group. In many cases, the purity of women symbolizes the purity, identity, or way of life of the group itself…[I]t is difficult to ignore a warning of violence against members of a group who are traditionally viewed as vulnerable and needing protection. For most societies, this includes children (especially girls) and women; almost universally, men are instructed to protect women and children at all costs, up to and including killing an attacker.

(BW Note: Good ol’ racist strawman “feminism”, about as authentic as the concerns bigots actually have about women and girls – not at all)

Questioning In-Group Loyalty: Though Dangerous Speech usually describes members of the out-group or target group, some of it never mentions them, instead characterizing members of the in-group as insufficiently loyal, or even traitorous, for being sympathetic to the out-group.

Under all the links I mentioned, they all put sole blame on Jewish people. If it isn’t Jewish people, it’s Muslim people. Also, a thought struck me – a lot of Black folks are Muslim and Islam has benefited Black culture and identity several times in our history from politics to music. It’s deep-rooted, why did the webmaster think the average Black person is going to just super willingly walk that away? But they’re not looking for the average, they want the unhappy and downtrodden.

And here is this doozy:

My reaction:

Not gonna lie, I legit blue-screened when I saw that

That’s a problem. A major problem. Like, “Nazi Detected” problem. There is so much falsehood here I almost don’t know where to begin. Let’s try from the top and work our way down.

Christianity and Islam are not “evil” and “horrific” and they certainly are not “programs”. Yes, bad things happen in the name of these religions but it’s usually because some guy wants power and will twist the words of a holy text a la Man-behind-the-Curtain/Wizard of Oz style to get it. The same religion that gave the world Hitler also gave us Dr. Martin Luther King. The same religion that gave the world Osama bin Ladin also gave us Malcolm X. It’s not the religion that is the problem, it’s how it is used by people with power. To destroy or to help. And they’re religions, not “programs”. To call them “programs” implies that these religions are not real, it’s all a clever ruse. Here’s the thing: if they are “programs”, so is this site’s Satanism. Satanism is connected to Christianity so if Christianity is a fabricated program, then Satanism is a fabricated program, too. Otherwise, the logic would fall apart. I may have negative feelings about Satanism but I’m not going to start calling it fake. However, this site low-key did in a roundabout way. Religions aren’t programs, everyone.

Jewish people are the enemies of no one. They don’t hurt others. As a lot, they’re relatively decent. This whole, “Jewish people are eeeeeevil” is really getting old, it’s wrong to paint with a really wide brush like that. Are there bad Jewish people? Yes, because being a bad person is a pretty general trait. There are good ones as well – because it is a general human trait. You’re going to find bad and good people in every religion, that’s a fact of life, whether you like it or not. And how it is obvious this is Christian-based anti-semitism? They use the same tired lines of “they wanna take the world’s money, they wanna take over the world, etc etc”. Jewish people are not trying to become God, heck, they censor the name of God for the same reason Muslims do not portray the face of Allah: because they consider themselves under the purview of God, not on the same level. It is an act of showing respect to their divine creator and to not upset said divine creator. Duh.

The rest of that site is complete bull – and gone – so let’s jump to the next part.

Remember when I said in the beginning that I was pitched this site by Child-Priestess/Boy-Priest on Tumblr?

I tried to talk with the person and that went over pretty poorly. I’m not going to showcase the whole convo but there are some very glaring parts that I would like to talk about.

Blurred out the link, but I also notified the website’s abuse team about it. That’s ongoing.

Yeaaaaaaaah, this is considered minimizing, as if A) What they preach does not induce deadly real world actions and B ) as if it is just … venting? Here’s the thing: content like this is how you get mass murderers like Dylan Roof (hated Black people thanks to bunk he read on the internet) and Elliot Rodgers (hated women and minorities (including himself, who is biracial) thanks to bunk he read on the internet). Then there is the synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh, PA that happened in October 2018, six months ago. That left eleven dead and many more wounded. This guy was posting Anti-Jewish dribble on the internet and then went, “Gonna do the thing.” And if he was posting it, you bet he was definitely reading it. Oh, and let’s add the recent New Zealand mosque mass shooting. How did he get radicalized? Reading bunk like this on the internet. The dude even referenced American hate politics in his manifesto, he’s Australian.

How this type of speech works is that they just about never explicitly say “kill/murder this group of people” but they heavily imply it from saying things that carry the emphasis of “wouldn’t be nicer if [this group] wasn’t around?” That’s a problem.

There is an article online titled “The Online Radicalization We’re Not Talking About” where it discusses the ongoing instances of extremist radicalization in the Western world of White supremacist beliefs. The article hits on some very good points but my disagreement:

It’s been talked about for decades. White Supremacist extremism has long been a topic … in PoC/non-White spaces. From Nazis to the Klan to beyond and prior, it’s been a discussion topic. Just because you willingly had your head in the sand, doesn’t mean everyone else did. If anything, it’s like purchasing a bomb because it had pretty colors and everyone said “it’s a bomb!” but you waved it off with “Oh, everyone is so sensitive. It’s called decor,” and became awestruck when it exploded. Because you bought a bomb.

That aside, again, the article hits on some salient points, even though it is a bit clonky at times – the article referenced “NEET”, which is a Japanese concept. Japan doesn’t have mass shootings from NEETs, these mass shootings are a Western issue. Either way, it does point out how this stuff is pervasive:

These disillusioned men are perfect targets for radicalization, and it’s a surprisingly short leap from rejecting political correctness to blaming women, immigrants, or Muslims for their problems.

It appears here that Boy-Priest is under radicalization and thus spreading stuff that they think is true. They feel disenfranchised so this is what they think is apt.

They’re not White, they say they are biracial and that somehow, Nazis were/are cool with that. That history is way off kilter, but guess what? It is all learned from these sites and displayed as truth. Despite the fact that it’s not true or incredibly slanted, this kid (and many others) ate it up anyways. If anyone thinks Nazis were okay with people of different backgrounds if it was under the same cause, here’s some real history: Japanese soldiers were also sent to the camps if caught behind German war lines, tattooed with numbers and all – by the way, Japan was one of the nations tag-teaming with Germany during World War II. It’s really saying something when you yink your own allies because you’re that dedicated to nationalism. I’m no military strategist but you probably shouldn’t kill off your allies, at the bare minimum.

So, when I took down the first site “Blacks for Satan”, that took a phone call to the server host. I still remember telling the dude the web site name and how he remarked, “Welp, sounds like we’re off to a bad start.” He looked it over while I was on the phone and said, “Let’s get this trash off the internet.” And lo, it was done.

*cackles*

And I told Boy-Priest so:

Boy-Priest was not too happy about this and even told me that the webmaster was a Black woman – which I don’t care about. If you’re preaching the same hateful stuff I hear from White folks, we’re not on the same team. Not all my skinfolk is my kinfolk and that definitely applies in this situation. Besides, I piss off bigots pretty regularly, what’s one more to add to the pile?

Boy-Priest then started giving me all these links as a show of “ha, we’re still around.” Everyone, that was a bad idea, because it saved me so much time for curating. Like, I didn’t even know about the “Blacks for Satan” site until they showed me and then I got it shut down because of what I saw. Thanks for the assist?

Like, I said, I’m not posting the whole convo (the kid didn’t piss me off that bad, they’re just brainwashed) but here is how it ended before they blocked me and changed their name from “Child-Priestess” to “Boy-Priest”

Yah, not surprised

Exit Boy-Priest, Enter Lycos, because they actually tried to defend this drivel.

A little backstory about Lycos: they are a former internet giant, older than Google, I think. I remember when they first started and they were where you went to for lyrics, web searching, and music. Their logo is a black dog, a reference to the RCA dog, I believe. Their downfall is probably what Google and Facebook listens to when they want to hear a scary story. Now, Lycos is down to a teeny staff and owned by Korean company Daum/Kakao (which surprised me – I use Kakao, they have great games.) Though small again, this still is no excuse for their behavior.

It took me three weeks just about to shut down all three sites, the Lycos/Angelfire sites being hardest. I sent an email to Lycos Support and Lycos Abuse on Feb 24. I think they never check the Abuse inbox because no one got back to me, despite the fact the auto email said I would hear from someone in “24 to 48 hours”. Never happened. I sent another email to Support stating that I’m being ignored on March 5. In less than a day, I got this response from Lycos:

O rly?

My reply:

 

And I proceeded doing exactly that, including citing their ToS, which says:

Plainly says so on their site. Also, nothing in the ToS states the rules don’t apply if you’re a paid member. Their lawyers should probably check that.

It was about several pages of quotes and links I pulled from the sites, as well as remarks of my own. I ended it with:

This is just a smattering. If I get another “Eh, this doesn’t break the rules”, I’m just going to send even more of this to you guys…. Also, if this doesn’t count as “hate content”, what does? I’d like to know (heck, you can have one of the lawyers explain it to me) so I can point it out on these sites exactly.

And I got ignored by Lycos, again. I contacted on Twitter, nothing. Contacted on Facebook, nothing.

Then the New Zealand mass shooting happened. I saw the news and then I sent the same lengthy email again – this time emailing every single department Lycos had, from Abuse to Legal to Media to Permissions. I even included departments who have no part whatsoever in website content. If you worked at Lycos, you were getting this email.

On March 18, I got this email:

Sick Backpedal, Lycos!

Either way, the sites are down thanks to Lycos unbelievably shabby and obstinate team:

Isn’t there a saying about houses without foundations can’t stand?

Oh, and it didn’t take “A moment”, it took several days and several tries for Lycos to actually apply their Terms of Service as appropriate.

It blows my mind genuinely when companies, businesses, universities and jobs side with very problematic people. No one is perfect, sure, but there is a difference between someone who makes mistakes and someone who is just awful. Just like there is a difference between “We genuinely didn’t know” and “We genuinely didn’t care”. The latter of both cause more headaches, lawsuits and problems than fixes. Because enabling doesn’t make problematic people less harmful, it gives them a pass. Many websites wouldn’t have to go “Is the news gonna mention us?” every mass shooting if they handled the problem like a problem. These sites radicalize folks (usually White, usually male folk – which is partly why the problem is not effectively addressed) into committing grand atrocities. These sites infect minds with blatant hate as salves for their personal problems. It turns harmless individuals into living threats.

And that’s a problem.

Grave Foundations

I’m in a PoC writer group and in the group, a person, who shall be named “Bops”, posted that they were writing and heard a knock on their bedroom door.  No one is home but them.

One of the mods commented that either a family member is home, Bops’ imagination or a ghost. Bops mentioned a) she is truly home alone and b ) the knock sounded real. The mod suggested that maybe Bops had a wooden home, they do settle and make noises.

Bops has a cement house…and this isn’t the first time it happened; lights turn on by themselves in the middle of the night, and a water bottle once flung itself across the room. Oh, and when her parents bought the house, her dad thought dirt from the cemetery would be awesome to coat the house grounds with – because free dirt. Hey, the dead got six feet of it and aren’t using it, why not?

Everyone, cue the music!

The mod suggested sage because that what she hears get suggested everywhere (thanks to the “witch/’brujeria'” fad), I suggested she clean her floors with lemon water and cinnamon oil. But since it is house grounds, the “easiest” option is scoop up the offending dirt and put it back – most people don’t like their final resting place to be treated like Home Depot so that’s most likely why the spirit(s) is(are) mad.  Since that is most likely not doable, I suggested a bevy of other things for in and outside the house.

I generally get “omgz, mah house iz haunteeeeeed” letters in my inbox that sound less like hauntings and more like they may just have mice or bad pipes. This sounds like an actual haunting, clear cause (yinked graveyard dirt) and everything.

Moral of the story: If you want free dirt, get a compost bin and leave the dead alone.

I have talked a fair amount about having Dissociative Identity Disorder in the past. Several times. It is still a pretty commonly stigmatized disorder – how many times have you heard of “multiple personalities” in online jokes and media (the most recent one being “Split”/”Glass”)? Though I want to say “Despite aplenty resources on the disorder…” there is a lot of distracting bunk out there that still calls DID “Multiple Personality Disorder” (at term that got retired in 1994 because it is not a personality disorder, it is a trauma disorder (the different identities are dissociated identities from trauma, hence, “dissociative identity disorder”)) and even the bunk that doesn’t call it MPD still have nonsense in their writings.

I have seen everything from “magical beings” to “new race of human evolution”.  To the former, I think that’s ridiculous even for an occult practitioner such as myself. To the latter, nice to know to “evolve” a person, just add R. Kelly/ Michael Jackson/your local serial child abuser – like a horrific pokémon evolution stone. I don’t think that’s how evolution or magick works, everyone.

Then, overlapping that big problem is the fact that DID also has the same problem the depiction of mental illness has: it’s seen as very exclusively White. Outside of a Korean/Chinese drama with the exact same plot (Korean: “Kill Me, Heal Me”/ “킬미힐미”, Chinese: “Seven of Me”/ “柒个我”) annnnd the Nigerian penned book Freshwater, DID is usually seen as something only White people have. Only recently have there been another non-White DID character in media, Crazy Jane in Doom Patrol. After that, it’s a bounty of snow all across the screens and pages. Also, in regards to Doom Patrol, the creators of the show as well as the actress, Diane Guerrero, really did their research and both the show and the character portrays the mechanics of how DID works very well.

Not only does these issues make getting a proper diagnosis harder because racial barriers and deep cultural ignorance in Western psychology but it also makes it difficult for a non-White person with DID to find material and people to relate to. This also causes rifts in the DID community because it appears no one really wants to “talk” about racism because it’s a trigger (it isn’t in this sense ) but are fine with engaging in it – which renders the “racism is my trigger” argument moot. That and neurotypical (individuals without disorders or mental disabilities) White people have the exact same problem – the slightest discussion of racism makes them fall to pieces but doing it is perfectly fine.

There are unique traumas and issues for people of color/minorities who have dissociative disorders (DID, D-PTSD, OSDD, etc) such as structural racism, racism in general, police violence, being forced to be raised in violent, neglected communities, the list goes on and on. If DID centers itself on Whiteness, that ignores a lot of traumas that can also create dissociative trauma disorders like DID. That means there are a lot of people walking around with the disorder, don’t know that they have it, don’t know how to deal with it and no idea where to begin because “Well, I’m not White”.

I recently made a facebook group called “PoC w/ DID” for this very reason. It is currently small but it is there.

Looks like this

 

When I announced the group in a DID FB group I’m in (Not Alternation, I got booted out of that group and its respective Discord server for the exact subject of this post. So now I’m in a different DID group) it went about poorly as could be expected. I got some new members but here came the bevy of “you’re being divisive”, “this is [somehow] racism”, “Why can’t I join?” and other pretty frail and agitating reasons. Y’know, all the reasons why the group exists.

As for the PoC w/ DID group, it’s pretty simple to join: just be a person of color who has a dissociative trauma disorder.

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