Category: Pagan Life


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

Here’s a disclaimer before I go into this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Black Witch

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

Hi there!

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

Best,

[Redacted]

Sure, what are your questions?

– Black Witch

Hi!

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

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

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

Best,

[Redacted]

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

– Black Witch

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Black Witch

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

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

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

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

– Black Witch

Um okay Thank you for your time.

Okiee dokie do, time for a post mortem!

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

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

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

Loaded Question, as explained by Effectiviology

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

Leading Question, as explained by FormPlus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some tips:

Reading is Fundamental

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

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

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

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

Good Questions Can Lead to Great Answers

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

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

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

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

Let’s get into it!

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

Khadija Mbowe

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

Watch more on her channel

Tee Noir

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

Watch more on her channel

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

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

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

 

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

Back to magick and skating. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, it is Black History Month. The wonderful time of year where White people pretend they don’t participate, facilitate or have anything to do with racism of any sort because they posted a black square back in the summer and an MLK Jr quote recently for the selfish sake of virtue signaling/moral grandstanding. It’s less about actually amplifying Black voices, it’s more about amplifying themselves while they use Black folks as a pedestal to stand on (so, business as usual, basically). It’s pretty obvious because by the end of the month, they’re no less prejudiced than when the month started. And they go back to drowning out Black voices unless it’s Black pain, misery or trauma – then they try to put a price tag on it or chat about it to chalk up some awards. Basically, the ye olde White Man’s Burden concept, but the 2020/2021 Edition. I usually like Black History Month – for me. Instead, it gets hijacked by “well-meaning” (read: self-serving) White people. Which makes me dislike looking at anything to do with Black History Month more and more. I just want to engage in Black history in peace.

What many look like right now

Here is one very good example – Google:

Google likes to pretend they care about Black voices and Black people. For example, the bottom of Chrome would have little tickers that makes them look like they want you to learn about Black people, history, culture and more. Even the Youtube logo is something in reference to Black folks everyday. Then there’s the lip service note they posted back during the summer [link] from Google’s current CEO Sundar Pichai (inb4 “He’s not White!” You’re right, he’s is a South East Asian man – funny though that Non-Black PoC love being anti-Black or ignoring anti-Black issues … even when talking about Black issues). There’s other things Google has done since the summer that is basically lip service touring meant to make Google look good, not improve the Terrible Plight of the Modern Negro, as they no doubt see it:

“Google to launch internal anti-racism training programs by early 2021” (HR Drive)

“Black Googler Creates Anti-Racism Resource Guide for All” (Colorlines)

“You can’t be anti-poverty without being anti-racist” (Google Fiber)

Google says it will hire more black workers at senior levels (Fortune)

There are more and other examples but we would be here all day if I were to list all of Google’s racist shortcomings. I remember when I was younger and Google showed a video of what is it like to work at Google when I was in school (back when Google was just starting to become important) and everyone was White – except for the security team, which was all Black. (By the by, that’s usually a pretty good sign a company or place of work is pretty prejudiced, when Black folks are always in security and janitorial (and usually contractual) positions – no matter how many “anti-racism” efforts they say they have. Ditto with Brown folks being put in these positions as well.) So Google’s bias is pretty deep seated. For a super quick overview, just watch Watch Dogs 2 version “Noogle”. The basic by-line of Google for Black workers is “Just because you’re finally in the door doesn’t mean we won’t look for endless ways to shove you back out of it”.

Here is Google being more honest than they think:

Google ouster of top AI researcher Timnit Gebru draws sharp new scrutiny of how it treats Black employees  (USA Today)

#SiliconValleySoWhite: Black Facebook and Google employees speak out on big tech racism (USA Today)

Second top Black female Google employee says she was recently ousted (NBC News)

Diversity, HBCU Recruiter Allegedly Fired At Google Over Her Baltimore Accent (HBCU Buzz)

That last one is pretty important to me: I’m a Black Baltimorean with an extensive background in tech (I even previously worked at NIST Library and my mask is self modded with fans and a voice amplifier). I always knew this was how Google was so I’m not surprised that they would go as far as say an accent was a disability. These issues also sprang up since the summer but have been forever long standing. Nice to know that I could rebuild a Hadron Colider in my basement and I still wouldn’t be allowed in simply because I have a regional accent. I wonder what Pichai’s accent is to get to the CEO position – super aggravating Valley accent? The kind that makes you sound like an extra from Clueless? Nice to know Google are worried about accents, because that’s somehow super important to technology, where most of it is text based. I hope they can one day explain how spoken regional accents affects the act of sitting down and writing code and how dialect is a disability. And wait, Google doesn’t like hiring or keeping people with actual disabilities? Do job interviews at Google include speech tests to see how you pronounce “Arduino”? Funny, despite my accent, the robots and inventions I build still run and my 3D printer works fine. And I have actual disabilities, none of which are the dialect I was born in.

Google likes to present itself as a forward-thinking company but they’re just as bad as all the others. They just dress it up as “oh, it’s just no big deal”. That’s why it is always weird when they support young Black projects – it’s not like they would hire any of those kids later or want to keep them.

They’re not the only company that acts like this – there’s Facebook, Twitter, Electronic Arts (especially as it pertains to The Sims series), Twitch, etc etc. They all have long, marked histories of being very anti-Black, even when they say they are standing beside Black folks. Nah, not really, they’re just grandstanding to make themselves look better and make money. It’s also part of why they rush to donate to Black places when Black focused tragedies occur, I mean, it worked for Harvey Weinstein when he donated to feminist and pro-women projects to cover up that he’s a serial rapist.  Didn’t change the fact that he’s a serial rapist, he just kept donating and harming women. These companies posting squares and donating doesn’t change the fact they participate in harming and undermining Black people, whether individually or as a group. For example, Facebook likes reprimanding Black users who speak out about anti-Black issues or simply vent that dealing with racism sucks. It’s been a long standing problem.

For those going “That’s Instagram, not Facebook” – guess who owns Instagram?

And these are large companies, not individuals – which is what companies, big and small, are made of. If non-Black people want to participate in Black History Month, do it quietly. No point in pretending there isn’t a prejudiced bone in their body by basically showing the “nice” version of it everywhere they can. Besides, they’re already showing it by waiting for a single month in a year to get out all their performative allyship. You can tout Black people you want to tout any time of the year, even when we’re not being brutally murdered in 4k definition or in a special designated month.

The Stupid – It Burns

First of all, check out my second guest feature on Burn Out Brighter podcast! I talk about dating using virtual reality. Check it out, give it a listen!

 

For the first time, I have had to ban someone from the Black Witch discord. (Yes, there is a discord).

 

Usually I don’t have to do that but let’s review because I feel like this is a very important thing to note because what got them kicked is a culmination of issues.

This person is new to occultism and witchery, that part is quite obvious. I don’t mind new-ness but I they kept posting stuff that basically boiled down to “New Agey bullsh*t” and/or conspiracy theories.

This is Example 1. It was posted in the “Mental Health” channel of the BW server – the “Mental Health” channel is for actual mental health discussion, not bs internet methods that do literally nothing to abate genuine mental illnesses but work wonders in making your wallet skinnier.

 

 

Detox baths recipes provided by the internet do not solve actual mental health illnesses directly. They’re nice ways to spend a Saturday night but they don’t get rid of actual depression disorders, anxiety disorders or more severe mental health disorders the same way internet-instructed detox baths do not solve diseases by themselves. I sincerely despise these methods because they keep people with genuine disorders from getting help like a lavender bath is going to cure anxiety, no leg-work, no effort.

Also, instead of her providing a direct link from the Medium (which can be a sus source by itself from time to time because anyone can write for Medium), it’s a google link, the kind provided when you copy the link from the search page and not the page itself.

The “Mental Health” channel has interactions from her because when she was banned from the server, it took everything she said in the General section – but upon reviewing the “Mental Health” channel, it turns out that she herself would like to delete her less-than-savory messages, which would leave a look of “I’m just asking questions” instead of “I’m just asking questions – and getting mad when I don’t get answers I want. Which is a lot.” I still have my replies to them, though.

What it also showed in the Mental Health channel is the frequency of her posting questions she can literally research herself.

The short list –

~Is there a metaphysical basis to mental illness? (Dec 24, 2020)
~Whats zeldism (Dec 29, 2020)
~Is there suggestions for learning to express yourself more. (Jan 5, 2021)
~Any basis for yoni pearls? (Jan 5, 2021)
~Anything to do with what happened today? (Jan 6, 2021)
~Serious question guys, is there a connection between conspiracy theories concerning spiritually and current events? For instance, those in the entertainment industry becoming luciferian to become successful? (Jan 8, 2021)
~Is there a metaphysical foundation for transgenderism? Are they really born in the wrong body? (Jan 8, 2021)
~Whats Palo mayombe (Jan 8, 2021)

 

Notice the back-to-back nature of her questions in a little over 10 days. And the fact that each of these questions can be solved with a search bar and perhaps a Tumblr account. She thought yoni pearls worked (they don’t, anyone telling you otherwise is both an idiot and/or attempting to separate you from your money. The vagina is self-cleaning and self-sufficient, learn actual women’s health, not the “internalized misogyny” edition). There’s also the doozy about “transgenderism”, which is just … all…

 

 

Here is the convo in question:

 

 

I spent a good chunk of time staring at my screen like this:

This is why I do not “slow-walk” everyone about everything.

I don’t mind new people being new or asking derp questions but it would appear her issue with me is that I was picking apart these posts and turning down a lot of her questions and requests. Here are a couple good examples:

([“that can be offered”*]) The original question of hers was that she wanted to know if anyone could give her a protection spell. She since deleted the original question a while after having this exchange with me

 

I never provide spell support and I don’t allow it on my channel, either. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re most likely dabbling or in need of more practice. I never do it on my blog, not gonna do it on my server. Plus, if I have to slow-walk people through stuff that can be easily searched such as the experiences of a trans person, do you know how much pain-staking bullsh*t I would have to go through to explain how to do a spell? If you don’t know what you’re doing, abstain or learn more. If you are allergic to doing leg work and your own research, modern Christianity is for you. You just sit there, regurgitate on people who do not want or share your perspective and fuss out anyone who disagrees. Actually, any version of any faith that espouses not thinking for yourself would be a perfect fit for her.

Another example is this:

 

I am not a fan of social media posts like these. If it is a bunch of emotion, I tend not to listen. Folks can post whatever they like on their social media, it is their page (assuming it is not problematic), but if you’re going to repost this stuff in my channel, I’m going to treat it as I see fit. It is trivial to me. Now, it looks like that she’s agreeing with me by the end. That’s because she happily snipped out all the other parts she had said that definitely expressed she was not. To old school folks on the internet, this is called a “dirty delete”. Especially since she would accuse me of “narrative making” and gaslighting later on (and guess what? That’s gone, too). It is really easy to accuse people of stuff like this when you literally frame the things you say to make it look like you said it from the start. That, everyone, is actual narrative making and gas-lighting. If you don’t like what you say or think it will frame you in a bad light in a conversation, don’t simply delete everything you say and then accuse everyone of misconstruing your words and intentions.

Here is another example, which shows two things: A ) An example of a “dirty delete” and B ) An example of her literally thinking I know everything (I know a lot, yeah, but not everything – plus, I can always be wrong, this is why it is never good to only have one source of info) – that is going to be relevant later:

 

Note the fact I said “Pic is part lopped off” – and there is no pic above. If I never said anything, it would have looked like a straight and clean conversation.

 

It should surprise literally no one but I don’t change how I am on the blog when I am on the Discord. If something looks like bunk, I’m going to point it out. When in metaphysics and occultism, asking questions is good – heavily suggested, even. Or else you wind up dusting smoldering sage on everything, obsessing over Mercury retrogrades and calling it witchcraft. If you want a faith or practice where you are spoon fed all the time and critical thinking is discouraged, again try modern Christianity. It may sound like I am railing on them a lot but these have been my and the experiences of others. Closed-mindedness, rampant prejudice and the occasional decent person (that is generally disregarded or considered abnormal). Paganism is no different from any other faith but if you’re going into witchcraft or Paganism, thinking for yourself and exercising logic is key. Does spoon-feeding happen in the craft and in Paganism? Yep but it’s not pressured upon in the same way.

Things started taking a left turn because, welp, she got tired of me always shooting down everything she says. This is in the General channel, thus all gone but I still have my replies and such. Basically, she wondered why I wouldn’t let any of her presented ideas “marinate” – despite the fact that her presented ideas are bad, conspiracy ridden or really should not be given a whit of thought.  In come the accusations that I am a “know it all”, a “pseudo intellectual”, “pseudo elitist”, etc. Despite the fact I have asked on different occasions some variation of “I don’t know, what does your research say?”

This quip was snipped by another member of the server:

 

Now, it is true, I do have trauma disorders so triggers are a real thing for me but being exposed to bullsh*t isn’t a trigger, at all. She’s been pretty emotional throughout it all (even going as far as doing dirty deletes to mask her bigger outbursts) and I usually ask pretty plain questions or say pretty plain things. She would accuse everyone else of projecting but that’s basically all she does. She would accuse everyone else of manipulation, but that’s basically all she does. She accuses others of being emotional and she can barely keep a lid on good and proper.

The funny part is that also, she would say the server is empty and no one is there because of my “meanness” but out came another person on the server to respond to the snip made above. Yeah, she was not a fan of that and went straight into “everyone is ganging up on me!” Oh great, first she says no one is in the server and the second someone rears their head, it’s unfairness all around because no one is taking her side.

Because a cornered rat will jump, she did exactly that by trying to play the “okay, what is your opinion to me?” card to the other member and I. Really bad idea, everyone. I literally do not like this level of cattiness from anyone of any gender. If you don’t care what someone’s opinion is, then leave quietly. I am probably being Old Lady Black Witch but I have encountered this a lot with younger folks, usually girls more than boys but encountered it all the same. Maybe they’re new to the world of “you’re not always right and this is not Twitter”, where the loudest idiot reigns superior, but I can’t stress enough how moronic this is. All she has done since jump is literally nag for my opinion, submit one dumb question after another after another for days on end – and she wonders what my or other members’ opinions mean to her? Quite a lot, given all the questions she would endlessly ask. Young folks, this is what stupid looks like. Try not to be stupid. This is what childish looks like, do not be childish. If you don’t know something, that’s fine. If you want to act tough while knowing nothing, good gods, please consult the picture below:

 

Look! Bunnies!

 

It’s not cool or defiant, it’s embarrassing for you. Just take the L quietly. No one likes dealing with whiny kids, my dear whippersnappers. Learn to control your emotions, at least.

She tried to say that she wasn’t unhappy in the server, just irritated. She asked “point out where I say I’m unhappy”. Ooooh, cool trick, given she likes to delete unsavory stuff behind herself to spin a different image. I still compiled things she said in complete copypasta style:

 

 

There would be replies from her between those remarks of mine but they’re all gone. Partly because she’s been booted from the server. But you can see from the quotes I pulled that all she is top at is bursting into fireworks because no one has been agreeing with her. And she got wrong the fact of “If i want a discussion or post a meme I’ll do that … Because none of you in this server are in no position to do so”. She already posted that she’s gonna do whatever she wants whenever she wants in my server because “it’s my party and I can cry if I want to” logic.

I already wrote about that to her earlier:

Thought I never would quote Mr. Grace in “Are You Being Served” but hey, I totally did!

 

It’s true folks. My server, my rules. It’s a pretty stupid question to ask the owner of the server why their perspective matter when that should already be heavily implied given they run the server. Plus, she seemed to really care about my perspective for days on end when it came to posting those memes and questions. Why switch up now?

 

 

Usually in my server I allow for pretty free discussion – as long as it is not prejudiced or problematic. As you can see, I do allow some wiggle room for stupid because you never know where someone’s knowledge level is at but definitely do not pair stupidity with defiance – that is a bad combo. How do you know it’s a bad combo? Because may I remind everyone yet again what happened to her:

 

 

She got the boot. I guess she really couldn’t do whatever she wanted in a server she literally did not run or own. Oh, how surprising.

Here’s the thing, I like when ppl ask questions but here’s the other thing: I’m not going to do all the leg work for you. You can’t fall to pieces when people aren’t slow-walking you through your own thoughts.

For folks who think I was being to rough or tough, here is a triangle of debate that could help determine things:

 

 

I even could fill out my favorite Derailment Bingo board the longer she talked: I almost got bingo:

 

 

And that’s all, folks!

 

Conspiracy theories have really taken hold in the mainstream nowadays. The one that seems the most pernicious is that of QAnon. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, QAnon is “the umbrella term for a sprawling spiderweb of right-wing internet conspiracy theories with antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ elements” that also includes wide and unfounded allegations of child abuse within the “deep state”, and somehow Trump is a good guy in the middle of all this.

Firstly, it is remarkably easy to say that anything that depicts Trump as a good person automatically appears suspect. He’s a lot of things, “good” isn’t on the list.

The reason I’m bringing it up is because I’m noticing QAnon mess is starting to float my way. I guess it’s the whole “Black socialist who practices witchcraft, worked in government libraries and participated with the music industry” part.

Oh, joy.

It is understandable that the world is a weird place and really complicated at times but I think it is also a lot bigger than a bunch of notables preying on kids for naughty jollies. Anyone who believes this is ridiculous.

I have touched on this in my “Okay, Mr. Illuminati” posts (1, 2, 3).

One person, for example, assumed I was aware of pedophile rings and some “Order of the Light” that they defeated. I wasn’t. If anything, it sounded more like word salad than anything. I do know people in various occult orders (not that many, though – perhaps two or three) but none that sound like they came straight from Charmed. As for pedo rings, absolutely not or I would be letting the FBI know, because that’s their wheelhouse (no one remembers the old internet joke “on the internet, men are men, women are men and the children are the FBI”?). There isn’t some Witch News Tonite ticker feed filled with horrible things. Doesn’t happen. At all. Most witches I come across are pretty plain people, not horror story depictions. Problems happen in the Pagan/Witchy spheres but they’re problems that pops up in a lot of communities: prejudice, different traditions clashing, etc. Nothing that matches anything QAnon claims.

Another person, for example, claimed that I wasn’t me but I was a puppet account from one of my friends in music, Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. – inb4 “Sonny is friends with a practicing Pagan witch?! I thought he was a Man of God!” yah, surprised him, too. He’s a nice dude and I’m a longtime fan of P.O.D., what can I say? He’s still strong in his Christian convictions … he’s just also capable of making friends with people who are not carbon copies of himself. Alrightie, back to the original subject, me being accused of being a puppet account for Sonny to “test people” since he’s, according to conspiracies (all of which I consider as an academic, “whackadoodle”), a CIA insider that had info on 9/11 he never told people about and also knows about the End of Times and other Revelations type stuff. In other words, sounds like a weird sequel of The Omega Code. There’s also a conspiracy that they’re satanists or something that sounds like a really weird version of the movie Little Nicky. None of which makes any sense. Sonny is a really normal guy, no one in P.O.D. is any of these outlandish depictions at all.

It is really important for people to be cognizant of the hearsay that comes across their screens on the internet. It can be really easy to believe super upside down facts if they look convincing enough. It is always best to look at any media with a critical eye, especially media that is meant to be emotionally provoking and broad (“[random super famous person] does [super morally heinous thing] and everyone is in on it! But you. Can anyone – will anyone put a stop to this?”) Of the stuff I have seen, QAnon stuff mainly is about emotion and not so much about genuine logic. I mean, they seem to want to prevent more Epsteins, buuuuuuuuuut hail Trump as this good person, who knew Jeffery Epstein – actually, some of Trump’s young sexual assault victims were brought to him by Epstein. That’s a pretty hard glaring fact to ignore. The survivor of the incident has spoken about it and everything – as had other who were Trump’s sexual assault victims. He had lots. With hard facts like that, it’s hard to see him as a good person that can do no wrong. Especially when “doing wrong” is pretty much all that he’s good at. Separating families at borders, blatant abuses of power for nepotistic and/or selfish purposes, the list drones on and on. It’s one thing if the facts are heavy hidden but here, they’re available for everyone to see.

I find it odd in a way to have to deal with these things because of how out there they sound. I know others could cock an eyebrow at me because of the witchcraft, polytheism, psionics, metaphysics and other parts of my religious faith and personal practices, but when you’re saying a serial rapist is a good person sent by the Christian god to “obliterate the deep state”, something just plain isn’t right.

I was going to talk about the Great Conjunction that happened on Christmas/Yule, buuuuuuuuuut the Capitol got attacked.

Now is a good time to lay out some points, especially since the Inauguration is really fast upon us here in the US (Wed, Jan 20th):

  • Claims from National Security about not being able to foresee the attack is a phony call. It was remarkably obvious that an attack of some sort was going to happen on the 6th. The 6th is a significant day for the electoral votes to be counted officially, what a great time to have a “last hurrah” – next to the Inauguration itself. Angry White folks are very good at being violent, especially en masse – check any history book from the Tulsa Massacre to general policing in America, to anti-abolitionist movements, anti-civil rights movements (or just read how Dr. King was murdered, or Medgar Evans, or general lynchings). Non-angry White folks are also very good at enabling the angry ones – check any history book of White abolitionists, suffragettes, participants of the civil rights movement (or just look at the White folks who bought Twisted Tea as “allyship” but never used it on their MAGA relatives because “they’re not that bad” – (why buy if not use? Otherwise, it’s pointless virtue signaling)).
  • The core & target readers of this blog are Black so here’s a word: stay home, stay out the way. This is not about race, let the White folks happily punch each other because their favorite racist didn’t win. If White: Stay home. Seriously. The National Guard and Capitol Police aren’t going to play around like they did prior, I think a good chunk of them are not applying the “White is Right” rhetoric they usually do – and got them caught with their pants down on the 6th.
  • Stay home, bears saying twice. Stay home. I remember the Baltimore riots of 2015, the National Guard does not play around. If they have a shoot-to-kill order, even White privilege isn’t going to nullify that like it usually does. And no one ever knows if the insurrectionists are going to try to pre-game by attacking Black folks or other PoC that they find around them. That’s how it usually is, since forever.

Now, does the Capitol deserve to have its jewels ran? Yes, but not in favor of White supremacy. The Capitol already is rife with that. Now, my only concern for the attack was for the people in the Library of Congress because the LoC is across the street from the Capitol and violent people are violent. I worked at the LoC, so I personally know people there. The only people who should be most upset that the Capitol was busted up are the Architect of the Capitol, just about no one else. The Capitol is a building, it can be revamped and rebuilt. Windows break on a regular day, doors fall on a regular day, that is a 200+ old building for you. Given how much I hear White tears over buildings in the face of riots or protests, unless you are an architect or the owner of said building, there is zero need to be upset. Even the World Trade Center in NYC was rebuilt. The 3,000+ people who died in the attack still very much dead, though.

Speaking of things that are commonly mentioned in conspiracies, I still do not get QAnon. It just sounds like a turducken of every flimsy conspiracy theory slapped together with the usual glues of racism, misogyny, anti-semitism and Christian fervor. Is the media biased? Yes, but usually for prejudiced reasons (race and journalism historically makes for a poor mix, especially when a lot of outlets still steer along “White is Right” rhetoric, ditto with gender). Do slimy things happen in the entertainment industry? All the time, usually for greed and prejudiced reasons. The idea that there is an illuminati trying to control people using Katy Perry and Beyonce is ridiculous at best. I have already written about this, several times. I have spent years around the music industry, it’s a plain industry. Does pedophilia/ephebophilia happen? Surely does, including among non-rich people. Most abuses happen in families and with friends of the family (from siblings to literal friends of the parents). Also, the abuses tend to go on for long periods of time because, welp, no one likes to listen to kids thanks to adult ego (also known as “if your kid doesn’t want to hug someone, stop forcing them  – you’re teaching the kid that a) their boundaries don’t matter and b ) you probably wouldn’t care or believe if they did tell you”). The feelings of another adult tend to hold a lot more weight than the feelings of a child and children do not have the mental or verbal capability to just out and say “that person molested me. Yes, they are your best friend but that’s who they are”. Then there’s the issue of believing the child or believing the accused adult – by the way, the accused adult has a bevvy of abilities to make any accusation from any kid look phony. And, guess what? They work pretty darn well. There are countless writings online from adults who are CSA survivors (Child Sexual Abuse) that have definitely talked about it. Or, you can just read the accounts of rape and sexual assault victims of any age. Also, throw in race and gender, it gets a lot worse. And these are with normal, regular people who are not under 24/7 scrutiny from media, fans, handlers, etc and TMZ always sniffing at their door. It is amazing to hear the force behind accusing celebrities but when it comes to the plain people around them, it’s more “ehhhh, kid’s probably lyin'” or “kids are wild nowadays”. At least apply the same gusto to regular people … wait, wait, the concept of “ehhhhh, [the victim]’s probably lyin” shows up even in celebrity rape/sexual assault cases, just look at R. Kelly’s case, and Weinstein’s case – and there was overwhelming evidence in both. QAnon didn’t pop the lid off those cases, it took countless years from the victims’ side, complete with documentaries and news articles, to get anything to happen. While QAnon mentions things that could potentially sound bad – it all falls on its face when given longer than a cursory glance. There are reasonable explanations for everything they suggest, granted the explanations are less nefarious sounding and world-rocking but they are there.

Back to the inauguration and security.

Remember, stay home.

The FBI is worried of an insider attack, even removed two people in the National Guard who have connections to White extremist groups (but were not involved in any plots, they were just members). That’s great … except, it’s pretty pointless. The FBI, secret service and the US military have literally no ability to see their own blindspots. They have ghostskins by the payload. “White is Right” is basically how they hire in general, trying to find a racist is like wading through a cranberry bog, not a needle in a haystack. They can only pin-point ones that have actively gone through the motions of joining far-right groups. Speaking as a Black person, I can very much assure you I have met maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany hateful White people and I would say a solid 99% were:

A) not part of any far-right groups

B ) would shun the existence of far-right groups

C) still hateful, they just aren’t card carrying members to “Random Hate Group & Co”

D) didn’t mind curbing their hatred because:

D1) they’re pretty enabled by society, which already has pro-White racism cooked in – to the point that the person of color affected is blamed and ignored

D2) they use other methods that is not outwardly violent, such as micro-aggressions, law-making, dog-whistling, and (kind) appeals to dehumanization

D3) when they did get violent, the Person of Color is usually told what they should have done to avoid the aggression. And they feel pretty privileged to be aggressive to anyone about anything, even other White folks

D4) love to virtue signal to other White people (such as posting a black square or buying Twisted Tea) because they genuinely believe they are not racist because they don’t know how to tie a noose or never owned a slave or dragged a Black person behind a car – basically, the good ol’ “because people worse than me exist, that must mean I am Very Good”

Looking for card carrying members of hate groups means most are going to be missed or ignored – kinda like the Trump supporters who planned out in the open to raid the Capitol … and succeeded. Apparently, White people toting guns, bombs and homemade napalm while waving racist symbols are “less threatening” than, ohhhhhhh, Black people carrying signs about civil rights. Even when BLM protests dissolved into riots, they were already met with over-passionate, militaristic force – even buzzed by helicopters winds. In Trump’s crowd, there were actual members of the military and police stretching across the USA. Gotta admit, though, for a very “Blue Lives Matter” crowd, they were really okay with killing and beating police officers. How … unsurprising.

If the FBI & military was sincere in their searching, the inauguration protection force would probably dwindle down to twenty five people and a Capitol Hill squirrel.

While I would usually say it takes one to know one, I don’t think the FBI & military are good at spotting racists in an effective way. That would take unhinging the deep seated concept of “White is Right, Everything else is Suspect”, and they have been working on that since, what, the 1960s? 1970s? It’s 2021 (or as I like to call it “2020, Pt 2: The Reckoning”).

Just stay home. If something wild happens during the Inauguration, it’s going to happen.

We are in our tenth month here in the US of Covid 19 lockdown and it has officially been a whole single year that the Coronavirus has been on this planet.

Can’t say that I’m thrilled.

The US is the worst stricken nation on the planet for Covid-19. (China is also quite possibly nasty-struck based on their ratchet human-rights & human welfare track record buuuuuut they cook the books too much to make that solid determination. Bad enough one can’t even search about the coronavirus online without heavy censorship over there). America is doing poorly for the same reason China didn’t kick off to an amazing start: Terrible government leadership, misinformed populace, and more terrible government failures that were and are due to being image-conscious instead of pandemic-conscious. No one cares about your reputation if everyone is dead all around you, including you. That and both nations seriously should not kid themselves over image: Both America and modern China have a solid reputation of being awful, from rampant human rights violations (from police black sites in America to concentration/death (read: organ harvesting) camps in China of Falun Gong and Uyghur (Xinjiang) people) to invasive technology (Project Prism, Homeland Security & the NSA in the USA and literally the entire Chinese tech infrastructure). Maybe it would be better to worry about reality and not fantasy.

Off that little soap box, there is an old phrase: “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”. Meaning: it is better to do a little to prevent a problem than need to do a lot to fix it once it strikes. I always prefer preventative measures over reactive measures for any and everything, simply because it is usually easier to prevent problems than it is to fix them. In this situation, it is much, much easier to prevent getting the coronavirus than actually dealing with it. At least the prevention measures won’t kill you. Covid can. 

Here is an overview from Osmosis about the current treatments of Covid-19:

These treatments are also, by the way, very potentially costly. Plus, you sincerely have no idea if you are getting “bed rest” covid or “death bed” covid. That is one wheel of fortune you do not want to spin. 

Also, even though I am a Pagan/witch blog, I’m not going to recommend any herbs, oils or spells – because absolutely none are necessary. Anyone who says different is trying to make you spend money and there are definitely a lot of nefarious opportunists who only care about “collecting their coin” and taking advantage of a scary situation. Those folks deserve to catch the coronavirus, no one needs greedy people in a pandemic and it isn’t like they deserve the air they breathe. If you contract the Coronavirus, you need actual doctors, not snake oil charlatans out trying to make a buck. 

Oh, and full disclaimer: I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the library. Woo, information.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Wear a Mask
  • Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Social Distance (6ft/2m, no closer)
  • Stay at Home, when/if possible

 

It is remarkably stupid that the idea of mask wearing in the US is “political” but hey, Americans tend to be stupid, why battle that stereotype now?

Wear a Mask – a cloth mask, a disposable mask (put in a trash can, not on the ground). Anything made of cotton weave or better. The reason masks were touted as “not necessary by the general public” at the start was because not a whole lot was known about Covid-19 in the beginning and our data was coming from a national government that literally edits out whole history-changing massacres that happened on live television if it doesn’t make them happy – even to the point of banning the candle emoji when the anniversary rolls around. So, that means a good chunk of the data was quite a bit misleading. That and the US was (and still is) quite unprepared for the virus, as it pertains to masks and proper equipment for actual doctors and nurses so public health officials wanted to prevent a bank run on masks that would leave medical professionals super S.O.L. – now medical professionals are just plain really S.O.L., which is not much better. Wear a mask, plain and simple. It won’t kill you but the coronavirus certainly can. Also, handle your masks by the loops, not the front. The front has what is called a “viral load”, meaning if you were exposed to the virus, it is on the mask and not in you. That is also why it is important to wash your masks regularly, so you don’t risk transferring the virus to yourself while handling your mask. 

Keep Your Hands Clean – Wash your hands with soap and water. Soap pops the lipid (fatty) defense layer of the coronavirus, killing it on contact. Thoroughly wash your hands, front and back and frequently. If you are somewhere where you genuinely can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or above. I personally never go under 70-75%, frankly. But wash your hands, first and foremost.

Stay at Home – Some can’t do this because they work essential jobs such as in grocery stores (who should be receiving hazard pay) or are at risk of losing their homes because of terrible American social care infrastructure that shouldn’t exist but if you can stay home – stay home. It is insidiously moronic to tell one another “stay safe” but not “stay home”. If people aren’t being social butterflies, Covid-19 can’t take flight in the communities. Do not booze up and especially stay away from drugs – you don’t need anything marring your judgement and chemically suppressing your immune system. Putting yourself at better risk of catching the Coronavirus isn’t going to help your situation much. If you live with others, try to wear a mask around them. 

Social Distance – Keep 6ft away from each other. This is to prevent the spread of droplets that come from your nose and mouth, especially if you are not wearing a mask (you should) or if your mask is not as protective as you thought it was. The Coronavirus spreads through the air, mainly through the nose and mouth. Stay away from each other. If you can’t (you should), at minimum wear a mask. But seriously, stay away from each other. If you have to go somewhere, use this handy dandy site to figure out what your risk is, Safer Covid – My Risk. And make sure you fill it all the way out. It covers everything from pumping gas to going to events. There is even a “custom” section for places and events not covered. 

 

Always a convenient reminder

And let’s crack out the Social Distance Bingo Board!

 

What I have gotten on mine:

 

 

Woo, fun for everyone. 

Dealing with the Coronavirus is tough but mainly because not everyone is doing their part. If people simply wore masks more, cases would drop almost overnight instead of spike to the moon. These measures certainly are not a violation of any human rights, civil rights or constitutional rights. Being told to stay home and wear a mask is lightyears away from being at Masanjia, Auschwitz or Manzanar. It is a major concern, public health-wise, that as many people should participate as much as possible. It is going to be a remarkable long time before a safe vaccine comes out and there is enough public trust to use it. There is already concerns of a “Trust Gap” from Black Americans, Latin Americans and other groups of Americans that were inhumanely treated like guinea pigs for the past two to four centuries by the American medical system and still face prejudice in medical care to this very day. Huh, it’s almost like treating whole groups of people like Jigsaw from the Saw series for several generations has a weird knock-on effect during times where trust is most crucial. Odd. 

Wear a mask and don’t simply “stay safe”, practice social distancing and clean your hands.

 

Wow, I have been gone for quite a while! Since August! It was completely unexpected, I was snowed with endless responsibilities and also had to move (which is harrowing in normal circumstances, multiplied further in a pandemic – which we are still very much in, by the way). I have been a bit active on the other branches of Black Witch, such as Tumblr and Instagram.

My Insta probably looks drastically different from what I usually talk about here because I use it to show my more tech-laden stuff since I am mainly self-taught in making technology and suches from scratch. It’s mostly my 3D printings and pictures of my cat. Or both.

The Black Witch Shoppe has been closed since the start of the pandemic and will still remain closed until the pandemic is over. Which is probably going to be for a much longer time further but I rather not put my health or the health of others at risk just to mail things out. That says nothing about how shabby shipping is nowadays because we’re in a pandemic. Global plagues can do that to global shipping infrastructures. Besides, I have mostly been spending my days 3D printing masks because I can – and because I still can not easily get Takuya Angel’s masks. I have been pining after his masks since 2011. Even a pandemic will not lower the price. But it will make shipping harder.

One day, super-expensive vis-kei face mask. One Day.

I have recently made an electrified mask. It is “electrified” because there are operating fans, on/off switches, and it powered by rechargeable cell phone batteries. It also has huge P100 3M filters because Covid is not the only thing I don’t want to expose myself to.

That is prototype #1, the next is going to have more mods. Probably a filtered exhaust valve and definitely putting back in a voice amplifier. I originally planned to have it on the first prototype but I derped so much, I decided on dual fans. Plus, I thought I could be heard just fine. I can – in quieter places. Others will still try to draw themselves close so time for an offensively loud voice amp! The kind that will deafen anyone within six feet of me.

I basically have spent time basically living in a pandemic, which is its own type of stress. I have learned that making 3D printed masks for others is tough because you have to shake people down for their measurements. So many people think of 3D Printing as what they see in Watch Dogs 2 and forget that, no, I still need their input. Custom fitting is a little harder in 3D printing than with cloth masks because it is supposed to be super exact to your face (unless you print in flexible filament, then it just has to be plain exact). So there is that. And these are the usual 3D printed masks, not my electrified one. That is, so far, going to be just a one of kind.

Also, I have recently guested on the Burn Out Brighter podcast, where we talk race, gender and video games. I derp aplenty.

Burn Out Brighter, ep. 66 – “Chatting with Black Witch”
Also, check out Burn Out Brighter other episodes

Some of my audio is mottled (my mic and wi-fi, I’m sure) and some audio did get dropped due to tech mishap but it was a good show altogether. Lemme clarify some parts that did get tech-dropped that I can remember:

  • Shinoda, I don’t remember talking about the Linkin Park Beat Saber pack but Joe Hahn has posted a brief vid on his instagram of his wife playing a song on the newest Oculus. (Also, I know Lupe but I have only met Mike Shinoda)
  • I played Street Fighter 4 with Lupe Fiasco when he was on tour in Pennsylvania. I won one round and the entire experience was a good experience. The “I shall shade in private” is mainly about gaming, because we both like gaming.
  • The podcast is hosted out of South Korea, that is why I occasionally say Korean words (and usually the English word afterwards). When in Rome, everyone.
  • A good chunk of the silences are my connection dropping out on my side
  • Lupe didn’t go to the Baltimore Book Festival (I did try to get him to go but his record company chunked up his day), I just picked up a bunch o’ stuff for him from there and hung out with him at one of his Baltimore events (it was an album signing for Food and Liquor 2 at Soundgarden, a record store)
  • A good chunk of the News part did get lost, it was mostly about the pandemic. Mainly the differences of responses between different nations (US, Korea & China) and I shared my experiences from one of my friends who is born and raised in Wuhan and how they saw the pandemic back when it was simply “hey, there’s a new bug going ’round. I hope I don’t get sick, I have so much to do”, basically the usual chatter that happens when the weather gets colder. That and “Don’t believe everything that you breathe, especially when it comes from the CCP”, which is about how the Chinese government did a super disservice to their own population by trying to hide that there was a terrible virus going around and locked up one their own doctors, Dr. Li Wenliang (who eventually died of covid himself). And how Korea has been doing a marvelous job
  • “You didn’t make him [Marcus from Watch Dogs 2] half-Black” bit was partly was cut out. Usually video games would make a PoC character usually be “half White/half-other”, especially Black characters. It is only really recently that now games let characters not be forced into Whiteness somehow enable to be considered “more human/relatable”. That is where the “White Man’s Burden” quip comes from, that to be “human”, the character needs to be at least half-White. Which is remarkably awful but that’s what game makers thought for the longest time (and still try to shoe horn).
  • P.O.D. has yet to put out something for VR music games but there is at least a glimmer of interest there. (I’m workin’ on the guys, give me time. Lol) but Linkin Park has (for at least two VR games, Beat Saber being one of them)

I hope that I’ll be invited back for another show, I had a lot of fun!

 

Woo, a post about magick strictly.

Using a bathtub to do water magick is an idea I have not seen much outside of “take herbal baths”, which is a good idea – when done correctly, not everything in nature works well against skin – but I think more can be expanded upon it for other forms of spellwork.

An example I am thinking of is using a bathtub as its own body of water and sitting in it for spellwork, using floating dishes, including floating candles. This is great for those who do not live near accessible bodies of water but still want to do water magick. Plus, not all accessible bodies of water are safe due to the effects of pollution (please reduce, reuse, recycle & treat water ways as important. Also, corporations are the majority reason for water problems) and that can be a problem for those who wants to work within water but cannot.

Working magick in bodies of water is definitely an experience on its own. Plain water is fine, it does not need to be jazzed up somehow with oils and herbal blends. Not to mention, that could be potentially irritating to the skin or, worse, possibly start an oil fire on water. You do not want that. Please do not turn your bathroom into the Boston harbor.

Working among/within water does not require a big bathtub, just a single bathtub. As with any form of magick, please practice appropriate safety. If you want to stand up and do movement in the bathtub, make sure you have grips so you don’t fall. Things will drift, try to keep an eye on them, especially if they are floating candles. And make sure you have absorbent materials so there won’t be a major mess.

More on floating candles. Not only are they pretty but they can be useful to combine different elements. Earthen items such as salt, oils, etc, placed in the candle. Air from the air or incense – or breath! Or steam. There are plenty possibilities to use enable to expand magick work.

Clean up should hopefully be a breeze. Assuming nothing went awry, all materials used in the spell should have stayed in select plates and in their general places. All that should be needed is to remove items first (to prevent unnecessary spills), then yourself, and then drain the tub. What is efficient is that it keeps the spell neat and organized. Water can be chaotic but your spellwork does not have to be.

Using a bathtub is one of several different ways a person can modify their practice to be better suiting for their environment. Not everyone has a bathtub, true, but this can be useful for those who do. Not all magick practice has to be the usual “stand in a circle, say stuff, do stuff, be done”. It can be as varied as the practitioner themselves.

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