Category: Pagan Life


Editor’s Note: This was written before the Buffalo mass shooting, which was an anti-Black hate crime. Also, there is a guide from Berkley on how to self-remove bias & biased thinking.

Time for a comment post-mortem, because it needs one. This was posted under the previous posted, titled “Dump Paula Langley, UMBC – the Continuation of the Problems at UMBC Library”, written by a person named “Anon Witch”:

“If someone is being offensive, I’d like to know more of the details of the offensiveness. The dyslexic is just a rediculous example and part of cancel culture. I’m personally not offended when people have mindsets other than myself and I definitely don’t believe in cancel culture if someone doesnt share my beliefs, etc. I feel these days people are just offended by “everything”. I am a free speech advocate, however if someone is working for an establishment, they should also adhere to its rules. Being rude to customers is unacceptable.”

Before I get into why this is all sorts of derp, let me show my reply to this comment:

Read the articles linked, and you’ll see some of the worse stuff. You should have done that prior, free speech also includes reading, I would imagine.

Now, two things: 1) Cancel culture has been around for *centuries*, this is just the new name. Also, that’s covered under free speech. As a “free speech advocate”, that should dawn on you. When I worked in the Library of Congress, we would say “‘Freedom of Speech’ does not mean ‘Freedom from Consequences’.” I have noticed the part that people who are squeamish about “cancel culture” is exactly the “consequence” part. Yes, being judged by your behavior sucks but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

2) Just because something doesn’t personally hurt *your* feelings, that doesn’t mean it isn’t hurtful. Yes, it sucks to learn that the world does not personally revolve around you but it’s a fact. I’m not dyslexic either but that doesn’t change the fact that “be dyslexic” is still ableist, plain and simple.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what *you* personally feel. No one should be violating the rights of others or harassing them for simply existing. And the old world you’re thinking of isn’t much better – White people literally would freak out if a Black person used a “White Only” fountain and men freaked out when women said “we have rights, just like you”, and straight & cis people still get their panties in a bunch over the existence of queer and trans people. Now *that* was “easily offended”. Now people who historically had to put up with such behavior can instead make those folks face the actual consequence of their behaviors.

People are still free to do what they want, but there are consequences. Basic “cause meets effect”. Paula was free to use her speech, and now the people she affected, me included, are using our freedoms of speech to newspapers, the internet, UMBC HR and Civil Rights investigators. And, if Paula has the brains for it, she’s free to use her freedom of speech to get herself out of this mess.

The DoJ doesn’t visit because someone has hurt fee-fees, they’re visiting because Paula’s behaviors are Civil Rights violations. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean Freedom of Hate Speech nor Freedom to Violate Other People’s 1st Amendment Rights.

Also, libraries don’t have “customers” they have “patrons”, libraries are free to the public.

Now, to get into the daft nonsense that was Anon Witch’s comment.

Since I’ve already covered a lot in my original comment, let’s start with this fun comic from xkcd:

Click through to see the comic on xkcd’s site

Remember everyone, “freedom of speech” is not “freedom of consequences”. If you put your foot in your mouth, people have the right to say you put your foot in your mouth. Even at the consequence of losing a job, social respect, etc. If you don’t want people to get on your case for the screwed up things you say, then put all the screwed up things you want to say in a physical diary, not on the internet. Orrrrr just take accountability for the things you say, good or bad. Can’t please everyone, fact of life.

Let’s crack out the bingo board! Because it’s been a while before we have seen a bingo board.

Here’s what this comment hit and why:

You’re overly sensitive – It’s basically the entire comment, from the first word to the last. They don’t even personally know the people involved in the case but wants to cape for the bad guy because “I don’t like Cancel Culture … and I’m somehow a free speech advocate at the same time”. Ok, so Anon Witch wants to back a person that literally badgered a transwoman to suicide, has an establish record of being ableist – to the point of firing people – and has never gone a single year at UMBC without a civil rights investigation, be it university, state or federal. That’s fine for them to say and do, just like it’s fine for me to point this nonsense out as clearly as possible. It doesn’t bother them, a random person on the internet that literally went anon, therefore the DoJ and everyone else should totally back off. The case only has one dead person involved, Anon Witch’s personal number of deaths or level of harassment hasn’t been hit whatsoever (which they failed to say what that level or number of deaths is). As for “they should adhere to the rules”, maybe Anon Witch should route themself to read up on civil rights, free speech and discrimination. You can’t harass people or discriminate people at work, especially based on any historical marginalization they have. Nice half-baked save with the “however[,] if someone is working for an establishment, they should also adhere to its rules” but too bad it’s super flimsy due to the “if”. Apply the “if” part, then it begs the question of “why say all the nonsense above the ‘if’ statement?” The establishment is a university and the rules are broken severely, the end.

Your experience is not representative of everyone – “I’d like to know more of the details of the offensiveness.” “I’m personally not offended when people have mindsets other than myself” Ok, so Anon Witch is a mega fan of mirrors, it appears. Again, while it does suck to know this, I’ll say it again: The world doesn’t revolve around Anon Witch. Or anyone, for that matter. Me included. Something can be a very prejudicial act, even if the affected group is not there. It’s not a case of “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Yes, if someone told me something anti-Semitic, and there were zero Jewish people around – it’s still anti-Semitic. Even though I’m Pagan, not Jewish. Even though speaker is not. Still prejudiced. Now, if the speaker is Jewish, there’s always a case of internalized anti-Semitism … meaning what they say can still be anti-Semitic. If it can harm the group as a whole, not simply an individual, then yep, it can still be considered prejudiced.

Oh, and maybe if Anon Witch read the actual articles, they would have more details. The reason I’m not doing my usual treasure trove level exposure is because all those files are before the Dept of Justice investigators and reporters, who are the people who need to see it most. Not a random self-absorbed person on the internet.

 Can you prove your experience is widespread – “If someone is being offensive, I’d like to know more of the details of the offensiveness. The dyslexic is just a [ridiculous] example and part of cancel culture.” Read above for details.

You’re just looking for something to be offended by – “I’m personally not offended when people have mindsets other than myself and I definitely don’t believe in cancel culture if someone [doesn’t] share my beliefs, etc. I feel these days people are just offended by “everything”. I am a free speech advocate…” Too bad harassing and discriminating people in the workplace is not only offensive but also super illegal (and rights violating: Human rights, Civil rights and Constitutional Rights).

You’re seeing problems where none exist – “I’m personally not offended when people have mindsets other than myself and I definitely don’t believe in cancel culture if someone [doesn’t] share my beliefs, etc. I feel these days people are just offended by “everything”. I am a free speech advocate…” Yep, that statement hit multiple bingo blocks

I don’t find this offensive – “I’d like to know more of the details of the offensiveness. The dyslexic is just a [ridiculous] example and part of cancel culture. I’m personally not offended when people have mindsets other than myself and I definitely don’t believe in cancel culture if someone [doesn’t] share my beliefs, etc. I feel these days people are just offended by “everything”. I am a free speech advocate…” Like I said, multiple blocks.

I already talked about this above but in case anyone needs a revisit: While “Cancel Culture” is not fun to be on the business end of, it is part of free speech. Not the erosion of it. You’re free to say what’s on your mind and others are free to react to it. That includes screen-capping it and slapping it everywhere that there will be eyes and ears. To say, “I should be allowed to be a jerk but you can’t punish me for it [you’re free to praise and agree with me, though]” is a violation of free speech because why should one side get to say whatever they want, regardless who it hurts, and no one else can react to it? Especially if that reaction is negative.

Personally, I’m not really into obsessing about “Cancel Culture”. It’s simply a thing that exists. If someone says or does something prejudiced and it’s out for the world to see, then whatever happens happens. I only have concern if there are ulterior motives (such as railing on a Muslim person saying something homophobic … but the crowd is awful silent when a Christian person also says something homophobic – that shows Islamophobia at play) or something was genuinely fabricated – as in the person never said or did the act at all, not “I said I didn’t like Black people but that was taken out of context!” (Still an anti-Black statement, that’s why.)

I certainly don’t get how non-famous people, like Anon Witch, can get so hepped up on what’s known as “cancel culture”. If you’re not on the cover of any major publications and you have less than 1500 followers collectively across your social media (definitely if you can’t hit above 1000 on any of your social media accounts), the less you have to worry about. The less known you are, the less concerned you should be about “getting canceled” for yourself and definitely for others.

I have ran Black Witch for almost 12 years now and I haven’t had to worry about this. Cancel Culture is an unnecessary thing to fret over to me. Then again, I actually do try to not say or do screwed up things that harms other historically marginalized people, right down to who I feature for The Arts! on this blog. The easiest way to stay out of hot water is to never put yourself in it. And if you screw up, own up, and accept what happens. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean “people have to like or be quiet about what you say”. Learning takes time, as does unlearning, but you have to do the work. Good thing there are countless resources online that allows people to learn.

I’ve gotten hate websites shut down before, mind you. Hate speech is technically protected by the 1st amendment under “freedom of speech” (assuming it doesn’t turn into a hate crime (which includes hate speech, trolololo)) buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut! a lot of websites, if not nearly every website, has a Terms of Service (ToS) which says you’re not allowed to say discriminatory things nor provoke discriminatory things. That’s not the government shutting down the hate sites, it’s the website & online hosts (Twitch, Lycos, WordPress, Discord, GoDaddy, etc) because the people who created these sites are in no mood to being interviewed by the New York Times or answer questions from a congressional committee should a person go from just being all talk behind the keyboard to making those feelings very known in the physical world. (UPDATE: Twitch and Discord are now feeling this because of the Buffalo mass shooting, both are getting investigated and countless news articles bear their names. They’re not happy.)

Heck, I can personally choose what comments I allow on my blog. I don’t mind differing comments because I wouldn’t want to run a blog where it’s just a big echo chamber – but that doesn’t mean I have to let the folks run riot with their opinions, completely unopposed. I’m not always right, true facts, but neither are they. Plus, having an opinion, even an opposite opinion, doesn’t give anyone license to be a jerk or douche, either. I make it a point to respond to everyone the best I can – sometimes in a way they would wish I never saw what they wrote at all. Why? Because it’s my blog. Engaging comments made on my blog is not the same as me trawling the internet to bother other people on their spaces.

As for the “people are too easily offended nowadays” – uhhhhhhhh, no. Historically marginalized people are tired of getting insulted/harassed/harmed (UPDATE: Or brutally murdered on livestream) for literally existing as the historically marginalized. Now, the tables can be turned on folks who act like trash. “Oh noes! People want their human rights respected! Life was so much better when we could just treat the historically marginalized like horribly and they could hardly do anything about it! It sucks that I now can face real consequences for my behavior!” Life’s like that. Get over it.

It’s fine that Anon Witch can excuse ableism, and cape for a transphobic, prejudiced person. Anon Witch is all the way in California just typing away on their phone (I do ip location checks on comments like these since the Aussie Who Should’ve Kept Her Mouth Shut), so I guess they felt distant enough to pretend to be a “Free Speech Advocate” while musing that talking about someone’s bad behavior is, well, bad.

Maybe they should build a bridge and get over it. If someone doesn’t want to be in hot water, they should probably work to stay out of hot water. Land in it anyways? If you screw up, own up and then clean up. And don’t murder people for simply existing.

I mentioned in the last post that I was in a newspaper article about the abhorrent behaviors of Paula Langley, the deeply bigoted Circulation Manager at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Here is the new article. The article is titled “Past and current AOK Library employees reveal negative experiences with supervisor”. I wanted to point out a quote of mine for clarification.

In the article I said, “I think she hits on almost every single pin of bigotry except for race and gender”. I believe I said at the time of talking to the reporter (who did a great job with the article!) “race and sexism”, not “race and gender”. However, I asked them to check the record (I allowed to be recorded) so I could also see which version I said, but while we find that out, I usually say “Paula has hit on almost every pin but racism and sexism.”

Actually, after saying this to the reporter, I had then sat down a few days later with the Department of Justice Title IX investigators during their campus visit. (Title IX covers gender discrimination, for those who are not in the know.) The investigators were there because of Paula’s behavior (she’s really good at wracking up investigations, I don’t think there has been a single year where Paula didn’t get investigated for something she has done or said). I learned from the sit-down I had with the investigators that transphobia falls under sexism in the eyes of the DoJ (especially now since Trump is gone). Usually when I say “sexism”, I mean the more “classical” version of sexism, such as general misogyny (like making derogatory comments about women in general, sexual assault, etc). Basically, I meant, “I never heard Paula say or do anything negative about women in general, just transwomen.” Just like I have never heard Paula say or do anything negative about anyone as it pertained to race. That’s why I went “I have no idea how come she hasn’t hit Yahtzee”. Since Paula Langley sure despises people based on age (ageism), trans identity (transphobia), religion (religious bigotry), disability (ableism), orientation (queerphobia), it’s a surprise she doesn’t bother with the two more “popular” types of bigotry.

Oh, and this is the document that the article references, where Paula uses the term “Dyslexic” in a pejorative manner:

The little handwriting in the upper right corner is mine. The date says 2/5/18, in case someone has a hard time seeing it.

I have the problematic bit highlighted in pink. (For the investigators, I had the computer pathway mapped out for their convenience, hence why part of it is whited out for the internet.)

And yup, one of Paula’s reasons for not liking me is because I have disorders. And that I’m … chatty? And I admit that while I am talkative (this blog is 12 years old, should be obvious by now), if Paula kept her mouth shut from the start, she wouldn’t be staring at investigation after investigation on nearly every government & university level. I may be a chatty cathy but at least I don’t get endlessly investigated for spouting hate.

Also, I have heard some people say, “Oh, this is because Paula is Black and Vivien is White. You’re ganging up on a Black woman.”

I’m Black (it’s even part of this blog’s name, Black Witch). Many of the people Paula treated like trash actually are Black. Perry is Black. Dakota is Black. Joe is Asian. So, no it’s not a race issue. Paula doesn’t see race – because she’s too busy staring at everything else.

Actually, Paula is of Jamaican heritage. Fun fact: So am I. Paula isn’t just the same race as me, she even shares the same island heritage! So, nope, it’s not “ganging up on a defenseless Black woman”, she really is as bad as the article paints her to be. And she’s not that defenseless … the university seems to defend her quite a lot – to the point that the Department of Justice paid a physical visit. In other words, Paula is super okay with treating other Black people like literal trash so, nope it’s not a race thing or else I and a lot of other people would have been spared. Even if we were, her other behavior is still not okay.

Paula Langley has got to go.

I’m back. For how long, I’ve no clue because I really have had my fingers in a lot of pies. Yes, I’m still doing my June 9th, 12th anniversary livestream on my FB fan page and perhaps on my Insta, 12 PM EST. Now, on to the life updates:

– We’re still in a pandemic and I’m still considered a front-line worker because woo, being a librarian for national health library (I’ve talked about this in posts pasts)

– My cat, Madison, passed after 19/20 years of being with me. She was a stray kitten picked up off the street and lived through four presidencies. She passed of old age. She passed in late March at home, I’m glad I was there and was able to provide end-of-life care but I’m still intensely saddened about the passing of my cat.

– One of the pies I have had my finger in is my creative writing. As MultiMind (I explain there why I have different monikers (Spoiler alert: it’s to keep things organized on the back end. There’s Black Witch, MultiMind and Everything Else (i.e. regular life)). I recently came out with a dark fantasy/horror novella called Dreamer.

– Have you read the article in UMBC’s newspaper, The Retriever, about the super transphobic, queerphobic, ableist, ageist UMBC Library Circulation Manager Paula Langley? I don’t know why I somehow keep getting super prejudiced people who work in libraries that I have to air the dirty laundry of (check the Wayback Machine, 2016 for the first go around) but welp – people should know better. It’s 2022, educate yourselves. I talked about her here as well. By the way, there will be a suicide mention in the article and my post. Langley did bully a trans-person, my former supervisor, to literal death, after all. And the university knew the entire time, from when Paula started her behavior, to the death itself. They just decided to cover it up. Oh, and I was banned from the UMBC campus a day after. The Retriever came out on the Apr 27 and I also talked to the Dept of Justice, who was doing an on campus visit largely because of Paula Langley, on that same day. It was a permaban but it’s now down to only the end of the year after I appealed it. Reason? I slid a copy of the Retriever under Paula’s office door. It’s about her, I figured she’d want to see it. This is what the paper looked like, by the way

Hey, reading is fundamental, after all.

Nice to know the university really prefers to stand by Paula, even to the point of a DoJ revisit. Oh, and for UMBC, in case I’m told to “make the post go away”, it’s the internet. This post & blog will be long archived before you know it. Should’ve handled the problem better.

– There’s also the pressure I have been starting to put on Temple University library (yep, another university. For institutions that pride themselves on smarts – they pump out & protect a lot of dumb people) because of their treatment of another friend of mine who also was a librarian, Latanya Jenkins. She was battling cancer and the university didn’t really care too much about that, especially her manager. Wherever Latanya went, university-wise, to get care and accommodations for her job as a Reference librarian for Temple University, they made sure she wouldn’t want to use it – basically forcing her to choose between her cancer treatment or her job. Her manager tried to make Latanya look inept because of the illness, among other prejudiced reasons. HR only intervened lackadaisically and mainly on the side of the manager. I even talked with a library higher up and they told me that there’s some inaccuracies in Latanya’s tale … that they somehow do not want to share or correct (which means, as far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any inaccuracies at all). I’m still pressing the best I can on them but so are other librarians and publications.

– Mr. Black Witch, CTL17, is out. I want to talk about that a bit because I’ve had relationships go south (almost everyone has a relationship that simply fails) but this really took the cake. From fatphobia to anti-Blackness (A. News Flash: do not be surprised if you date a Black person and you find out that … they’re a Black person. B. I am literally one of the worst person on this planet if you have hang-ups in that department and I do personally see to it that I stay that way). He thought I was “too attached to my culture”. Though he apologized, after I basically ripped on him for saying that but still, that should have never been said in the first place, he’s a grown adult with a functional brain. There’s other doozies also. Yes, pobody’s nerfect but then there’s saying trash like that. I know he’s got an odd phobia about “Cancel Culture” (I personally don’t care much about Cancel Culture) but he sure would say a lot that could easily get him caught up in that.

I should have kinda guessed something was off when he thought Asian Americans were doing amazing in 2020/2021 simply because “they’re not being treated as bad as how it was in the 1800s”. (By the way, everyone, #StopAsianHate kicked off in 2021 because of the ramping up of anti-Asian sentiment from 2019 to … now. No, it’s not like the 1800s but there are a lot of things that still need to be done.) When it came to cultural issues (that didn’t support Whiteness), it just seemed like he adopted the Whitest approach he could think of, and if that failed (which it did, a lot) there went the “oh, it’s Asian culture stuff” route, which I guess he thought he could throw on and off like a coat when really convenient. Though I do try to be well read, I know I’m not a scholar on the Asian diasporic consciousness … but I do know accountability-ducking bullsh*t when I hear it. Going “oh, I was basically raised White – wait, now I’m Asian – wait, now I’m ‘raised White’…” when you’re told about your problematic behavior is not a great idea. Borrowed White Fragility is a bad idea, to say the least. When you screw up, own up and then clean up. Plain and simple.

I found him a therapist (he refused to do even that much himself even though he noted that he could use one himself. I noticed he really didn’t like doing any leg work, kind of like an adult child, if not an over-grown teenager). He and I both agreed therapy was beneficial to him, and it really was for the relationship for a little while, but he basically sawed things off when he learned that he had to respect my cultural identity and that my cultural identity is part of me. That somewhat started a while back when he didn’t understand why a game he’s a fan of, Genshin Impact, was accused of colorism. There were several things Genshin was thundered against but the colorism claim was dead-on correct … but he said he preferred not to see “colored characters” (yep, he said “colored”, as if it were the 1950s) because he would feel “pent up and worried”. Apparently, he kind of liked living in a dreamland where he didn’t know that colorism was real and no one would ever point it out to him – and Whiteness is the focus, I suppose? I mean, he already thought Asian Americans being set on fire and mass murdered (two things that happened in 2020/2021) is eons better than facing the Chinese Exclusion Act so I really should not have been surprised that he was that much ejected from living in the real world. I don’t expect everyone to be a scholar in these topics because they can get dense … but he could make Nella Larsen’s Passing sound like The Autobiography of Malcom X.

But what put the nail in the coffin for him was that he got upset that I wanted him to refrain from speaking AAVE. My reasons were because a) he spoke it poorly, it was basically Imagined Black English b) he’s not Black, nor was raised around Black people. To be honest, I dislike non-Black anyone speaking AAVE, especially if they’re middle class on up (where AAVE is spoken way less due to racial/class intersection reasons) because it usually is Imagined Black English (IBE), not actual African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

For example, my spoken Chinese isn’t the greatest but I didn’t have a meltdown when he told me to not speak it because he thought I was making fun of the culture – I started to bone up on my Chinese pronunciation on my own time instead … because I never wanted to come off as “making fun of your identity”. So, if my speaking is that level bad (knowing 5+ languages isn’t easy, especially when not immersed in those languages – my reading is usually best, then listening, then speaking) but I acquiesced instead of double down on my wrongness, I thought he would do the same. He didn’t. He instead melted down in a form of Borrow White Fragility and wanted to be personally slow walked about why being disrespectful of the Black identity is bad. Readers of this blog know that I’m not the slow walking type when it comes to racial issues. I guess he was also upset that I wasn’t a self-hating oreo, I suppose, to match his internalized racism. He seemed a little too happy to crack “grape flavor” jokes – which I immediately would shut him down about, because it’s not funny, it’s harmful. He would apologize and not do it again … but he should have known by now how those jokes are harmful, especially with his degree & age. And remember, everyone, I showed him this blog before we were official – I do that with every guy. Some people should come with a warning label, this blog is probably a warning booklet. Complete with a search engine and categories listed.

It wasn’t that “he didn’t have the knowledgeable resources” – he has a Ph.D in Philosophy … he knows how to think and research, in other words. Plus, he had access to my site, which he could have literally looked at and read in earnest. I’m not bell hooks … but I’m still cited by academic texts on race, gender, and connected social issues. When he didn’t have his head up his derriere about things he should have known before dating me, he was nice. He did say he was raised sheltered when we first met, he just should have added “I really wanted to stay that way”.  He even wanted me to make him a playlist – with perimeters! (Ex: “Can’t be visual, I should be able to only listen to it as I game”) – instead of just, I don’t know … look it up himself. Heck, he could have started with an audiobook of The Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Noble and went from there. I named the playlist “Spoon-food Express“. He did listen to it, which is nice … and would have been better if he did the procuring himself.

If anyone is going “but it seems he learns after you point out these problems”, here’s the thing: He’s 30+ with a Ph.D. I don’t have a Ph.D in anything and I knew this stuff far better. And when I don’t know? I look it up myself. He’s old enough and educated enough to learn this by himself years ago. At least to know that saying “colored” is super outdated, among a bunch of other things.

If he was better about the cultural issues (bare minimum: not have a White-adjacent meltdown, take it upon himself to learn things as well as unlearn harmful ideas) and was more mature (at least learn how to do for himself, not have others do it as if still a kid), he would have been a brilliant bf because he had redeeming traits … but he decided that he didn’t want to do that. Yeah, there’s the therapy he’s doing, and the therapist has been very helpful, but, to be frank, I don’t date anyone to fix them. I try to fix the relationship, even if that includes getting the partner help, sure, but I dislike the whole “women are men’s emotional rehab” thinking that’s really common, which is why I found him a therapist. He had other issues that were outside these antics, which will not be talked about here because it’s 1000% not appropriate and those issues are not what has me burnt. For me, those issues were really manageable but the prejudice stuff is not. It would have been better if he found the therapist himself but nope, that’s not what happened. And he should have known how to better navigate social issues like this instead of falling back on his deeply rooted internalized racism. That’s something anyone and everyone (including PoC) can do without the help of a therapist. If someone is above the age of 5, they can learn how to unlearn this stuff. I mean, I had to learn what prejudice was when I was far younger and through experience, not soft-hearted explanation, so anyone of practically any age can learn how to not do it. Especially a 30+ adult with a Ph.D.

Like I said, I have had relationships fail – because every relationship fails until one doesn’t – but this was a doozy of an experience. Any Asian diaspora readers here, please come collect your kin. And Happy Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! Everyone, please go read the longstanding blog Angry Asian Man. I came across it in college, been reading it since.

That’s basically it in the world of Black Witch. I have gotten questions and such so there will be an Ask Black Witch: While I Was Gone edition. I also will have stuff for The Arts because I came across neat art and such while I was gone.

Small Magick

As we still are in a pandemic, that means some are still stuck at home (many more should have been or the pandemic would be over sooner) so that means there are those who can’t go out and about and fellowship with their covens or other Pagan spaces of worship. Also, there are those who are still in the broom closet (not out as Pagan or a witch to close ones) and still live with the people they are not out to. 

Then there’s the fact that there shouldn’t be any sharing of the utensils, which can be difficult – but not impossible! – to prevent the spread of Covid. Small magick can be helpful in both cases because it is, well, small. Now, for those who are out and out, they live and practice at home as a comfortable solitary, they don’t have to really change much. If at all. But not everyone has that luxury.

Some people have homes that are basically no bigger than a three dimensional postage stamp so doing a big, flourishing ritual or spell simply is out of the question. Shouldn’t limit the practitioner. Even deities who are used to big and fancy (*cough*sun deities*cough*) can be understanding that you won’t have a field of candles or a raging bonfire to celebrate them. 

The name of the game here is intent. That is what drives spellwork. Energy is the vehicle, intent is the driver. Keep up with learning energy movement and manipulation, also. You can get a lot further in a car than you can on a broken down trike. Intent means more than flashy spellwork or fancy movements. Those things mean something but intent is the crux of it all. Even with a little, you can get by as long as there is big intent.

One practice that comes to mind are “Altoid Tin Altars” which are basically small kits that fit inside a Altoid Tin container. This means everything is stripped down and shrunk down – the salt, the matches, the element representatives, etc. Easy to hide and great for keeping everything compact, and to the absolute necessities. Everything is so small and bitsy that magick could be done on the bed (don’t use candles if so – fire hazard), at the table or in the bathroom. I definitely like the bathroom because I can fill the sink full of water and do candle work on the ledge – or in the water since floating candles are real – and if the flames get massive, even on a teeny candle, because I decided to bug a fire deity, I can shove everything into the waiting water as I freak out over why the birthday candle or menorah candle (they’re colorful, handy and my Jewish friends horked them onto me when they had extras) has a flame that grew five times bigger than what should be capable of a candle. 

With magick so small on the physical plane, that means the mental plane is going to need a boost. I strongly recommend meditation for this, it is the best way to strengthen your mind and keep it decent for the long run. Yes, meditation can appear very hard on the first try but that’s Skill Procurement 101 – it is going to be tough at the start. Try not to buy into falsehoods such as “you should be able to get meditation down quick and if you can’t, you’re worthless” or “try drugs!” – those two are big headaches in the Pagan community whenever someone new or very unpracticed comes along. Witchcraft involves building skill. Just put in the work. There are no shortcuts, sorry. If anyone tells you there are, they’re probably selling something. Plus an unfocused mind makes for pretty crappy magick because an unfocused mind means unfocused energy. The mental should be some degree of stronger before going to anything physical so always keep the mental primary. 

Meditation doesn’t have to replicate a zen garden or the woo-woo bs kits that are probably found at Five Below or wherever New Agey bunk is sold. It can be a simple as just learning how to focus deeply on simply counting to five, first forwards (breathing in) and backwards (breathing out). There is also this handy gif below!

 

Stilling your mind can be tough, we don’t live in a world where it’s easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are smartphones, invasive ads, social media. Everything is all about being busy and worrying. One, because anxiety makes it easier for pointless people to sell pointless things to you. Two, being busy is an easy way to be stressed and have pointless people sell pointless things to you. Living in a capitalist society sucks, frankly. 

It is ok to spend 2 to 5 minutes a day. Sometimes that can be frustrating for someone to hear because “those two to five minutes can be used elsewhere!” But in reality, it is 2 to 5 minutes. Go for 60 seconds if 2 to 5 minutes can be tough. Surely you have 60 seconds? 30 seconds? No, you’re not going to quiet your mind in 30 seconds, unless you’re very practiced, but it is still a start for trying to still your mind and focus it. Eventually, you can upgrade to energy manipulation after you learn to keep your mind quiet for long enough. 

This is where the bread and butter of magick work is. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it isn’t super duper easy. That’s what “work” is. 

While getting better at doing mental plane work, there is still small magick that can be done. More like “passive magick” but that’s that. It isn’t as strong or punchy as active magick but it’s something. That could be doing sympathetic magick, which is a form of passive magick, and working with the basic phases of the moon. Doing kitchen magick can be a form of somewhat passive magick, as long as things are kept light and simple. It can be simple as writing notes of intention and throwing them into a candle or plain burning them – be safe with that, by the way. Write on flash paper, which is paper meant to burn away in a flash, so you don’t have to worry about ashes and embers floating about. Do not burn bundles at the same time. One at a time, small at a time. 

Using birthday candles and sand is a popular combo for me. Small, simple, easy clean up. Mark whatever you want on the candles, light them, stick them in the sand and you’re done! You can also pair them with half size incense sticks if you want, I would use the sticks as wands. This way, it keeps everything small and capable. Just keep your pets away from them. Fire hazard. 

No fire? No problem, There is drawing, writing, sigils (with some real research, not just “things found on Instagram”), the list goes on and on. If there is literally no time and no room? Read and research whenever you can, it still propels you forward on your magick practicing journey. Just don’t read and research bunk, try going for accurate historical sources. 

The point of small magick is to keep practicing, even when you don’t always have the space for it. Not everyone has big, lush backyards. Not everyone has a ton of space to make a complete circle, filled to the brim with knicknacks. Not everyone has the finances to have a circle filled to the brim with big knicknacks. But that should not dissolve the practice. Sometimes things have to get a little smaller. 

Reminder everyone! Black Witch livestream will be on Samhain/Halloween at 3 PM EST on the FB fan page, there may be another showing shortly after on Instagram (@thisblackwitch).

Blackhaven

Blackhaven is an indie game available for free on Steam about history and preservation and censorship. The story follows young museum intern Kendra Turner as she works at Blackhaven museum, a fictional colonial historical landmark in Virginia, to earn her archeology trip to Greece. What she learns is that the museum has been trying to hide the landmark’s plantation past – and silence anyone who was a descendant of those forced to work on the plantation. Especially when that descendant has a right to the estate’s money.

Here’s the trailer!

I really, really liked this game. I even nicknamed it Library Simulator because I literally work in this field. And live in Maryland (they mention several Maryland places and Virginia is not far). And am Black. And female. And – are they sure they didn’t watch me work at several museums and libraries? If Kendra Turner tested the water fountains for coolness I would have have demanded a line in the small credits. (Weird thing I do, I keep a mental “Best of Best” list of water fountains from libraries & museums I work at. Library of Congress currently tops the list but only for one (1) location, a staff only spot in the Adams building. Well, two (2) – any Blue Core water fountain in Jefferson on the bottom floors.) What also makes me really attach to the game is how accurate the micro-aggressions are, from the “I’m watching you” email to the annoying phone calls. I sincerely should just show a let’s play to everyone who ever asks me “why do you have several lawyers?” You would think people surrounded by information would be, y’know, smart but I have met many who are the living embodiment of “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

You, the player, discover how the museum is hiding the fact the fictional founding father, James Blackhaven, was actually a terrible slave owner (oh, wait, I said “slave owner” twice – they were all terrible). How he made his money wasn’t from being shrewd with his finances and forward thinking, it was by enslaving innocent people and putting them through tortuous, horrific conditions to turn a buck. And his wife was definitely an Angel in the House – but only to White people.  On top of that, the Blackhaven estate also hides and silences anyone who is a descendant of the Black people they enslaved, telling them “no one in Blackhaven history has ever engaged with slavery. You should check your facts, we won’t let you explore our private collections”. Double so if that descendant is also an heir to Blackhaven itself and thus, the Blackhaven money.

That was so on point I was flabbergasted. Remember, I’m in Maryland and I literally work in this field, it is bananas how much these institutions will fall over themselves to hide the extremely true and glaring facts of how they came to be. If you want a real kicker, you only have to wait around for maybe fifteen minutes before the same people who will say “We are Good White People – Get lost before we call the cops” will then slander China for “oh they have censorship like mad over there – hey, some Black person wants to interview us about the slaves the founder had. Tell them that never happened and threaten them with a lawsuit if they keep pressing. Lies, I tell you. They always like making things up, from ‘Karens’ to ‘police brutality’.” Hoo, the cognitive dissonance is neck-breaking.

I appreciate how accurate they made the documents (most likely pulled from real resources, most of it), the storytelling, the feel, everything. Even the rinky dinky scanning station, the sly enabling of problematic employees, the purposeful “It’s not because you’re Black, it’s because … uh … work” exclusion, and over surveillance.

The visuals are factually accurate but there’s nothing torture-porn gory. In other words, they don’t go super White-Dev-Explores-Painful-Black-History about it. I don’t even remember if I saw the n-word. They’re being that sensitive and accurate and I am 10000000000000000000% here for it. I should know about how accurate the texts are, I literally transcribe 17th-19th century documents for a living. Wow, I wish other devs could be the same.

Blackhaven is also a bit of a taster game for the next game from Historiated: Cassius. Which explores more of Blackhaven’s history, during the thriving hey day of Blackhaven manor. Cassius is available in 2022.

Check them out:
Historiated Games

Q Planet/ Queer Archive/ Rainbow Foundation

I always love keeping up on history, even when it is in the making. Q Planet is a Korean youtube channel about LGBTQIA history, culture and identity in South Korea. I learned about it from following Eun Ha-Sun, a queer feminist who originally was on the Korean talk show “Candid Men and Women” (hard to find and translated versions don’t exist as far as I know but here is the series – have on at least two adblockers. The site is in English, the show is not). She’s now on Q-Planet (큐플래닛) with livestreams and such. From Q-Planet, I learned about the Rainbow Foundation and Queer Archive. Both are Korean sites but they have English versions.

Queer Archive is a treasure trove of Korean queer history, focused on the nation of South Korea. From books to cartoons to historical documents.

Let me gush about the font package, Gilbeot, developed by the Rainbow Foundation. It is provided free for anyone to spread queer cheer in the Latin and Korean alphabet.

Behold!

Look at all the pretty colors! Throw in the ace colors and it would be golden

As explained on the website:

Hangul wears the colours of pride.
The first complete full-colour Hangul typefaces
representing the pride of sexual minorities.

The Gilbeot Typeface project was born out of the idea
of creating a Korean Hangul version of the Gilbert Typeface
which was created to honour the memory of Gilbert Baker (1951-2017),
a gay human rights activist and creator of the LGBTQ Rainbow Flag.

The typeface name “Gilbeot” is a play on words with the name Gilbert,
but also signifies the word “journey” or “path” (gil) towards a society
that respects diversity that is shared with a “friend” or “companion” (beot).

By the way, installing fonts are not hard, just unzip, look for the font settings on your computer and drop them in the drop box. These are so colorful and wonderful. It is part of a visual arts project to promote queer visibility. Rainbow Foundation talks about it at length in English but there is also a video. It is currently untranslated so no English subtitles, sorry!

If you feel like giving them your money (and are in Korea), they have cute stuff. If you feel like giving them your money (and are not in Korea), they have a donate page.

TransLives.Net

TransLives is currently undergoing censorship (gotta love global queerphobia) so it is not currently active. The site reads (in Chinese): “Due to the Ministry of Public Security’s notification that the website contains illegal and harmful information, it has been temporarily closed and ordered to be rectified.” (“因公安部通报,网站存在违法有害信息,暂已关闭责令整改.”) It is a load of bull, obviously. Especially for a nation with a long and expansive queer history – there’s the ever astounding Emperor Ai (one of my favorite people in history, next to Jing Ke, Ida B. Wells, King Sejong, Benjamin Banneker – it’s a sort of long list but he’s there). Then there’s the fact that bisexuality was the norm in China (mainly before the White people showed up. Yay imperialism and their nonsense offshoots of queerphobia, severe racism/colorism, etc etc.) for a very, very very long time. Was it always Pride in China? More like “no one cared until sniffy people got sniffy” … orrrr “We don’t care who you sleep with – as long as it isn’t with the Emperor. And you’re not amassing power from it.” Things like “Queer Pride” wasn’t really needed because it wasn’t considered any shade of abnormal. And there were bigger fishes to fry – like war, famine, and trying to run a really, really, really big country.

There’s a lot of interesting history getting the king sharpie pen treatment, in other words. Before I continue, let’s point this one thing out – this mention of China censoring queer people & queer existence should not be taken as “Woo, America is better”. America is about as trash as China is when it comes to queer people being treated with any decency, and the decency super plummets when the queer person isn’t White. Is the US government currently censoring queer websites? Not currently to the level of China but whoo, is there a very not-great history of what it is to be Queer in America. For one, there’s the Pulse mass shooting. For two, literally pay attention to any PoC trans person ever for the quickest view. (Or watch Pose, which is a brilliant show filled with wonders – and painful accuracy) Or visit Texas. Or San Francisco, just don’t let the rainbow sidewalks fool you. In short, both countries are very trash when it comes to queer people being treated decent in general. China is getting fussed upon because TransLives.Net is a site for Chinese citizens in China to express and examine themselves and their identities. There are still some spots online, mainly in English, discussing queer existence in China. As well as pointing out the really not-awesome behavior of what is happening, which is striking mainly queer people and feminists in China.

Before the Beijing Ban Hammer dropped, this is what the site looked like, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. (Click to see full pic):

In Chinese

In English

It was a super informative site that, just like Queer Archive, was filled with info (that is thankfully still there due to the wayback machine) for people who are questioning their gender identity in China. The links can still be clicked on and the site traversed (with some lengthy maneuvering with the wayback machine) but it is currently censored, which is not great. However, I still think such a site should be noted! Hopefully it will be back up or the servers moved somewhere out of reach of political chicanery.

Busy Black Witch

Hoo, it’s been a minute since the last post, I know. Thankfully still have never caught The Plague – oh, by the way:

I’ve just been busy. The Black Witch Shoppe is still closed until the pandemic is over (I know – there is no “over”. Notice though how we aren’t still ravaged by the Spanish Flu from 1918. There is eventually an end, it’s just a long ways off) but that doesn’t mean I’ve haven’t made new things. I’m not reopening the store yet because there are a lot of supply interruptions – and still a deadly virus going about. I’m currently in a position where I can do this so do this I shall. Last I need is the additional stress of worrying about physical supplies for creation and the postal system. 

Instead what I have been working on is my other project/creation – MultiMind Publishing. That has been slurping up a lot of my time. I haven’t even had time for video games or exercise – well, video games that aren’t Tomodachi Life. I can squeeze that into my day and still feel social. MMP is simply my creative writing works. My novels, my novellas, my stories, you get the idea. Right now, only two works are really available – an audiostory (short audiobook?) that was published by Nightlight Podcast, a horror story podcast that features Black horror writers, and a small fantasy novelette that I had put out a year ago. The novelette has been reformatted (yay, me learning Affinity Publisher better) in both print & ebook and the audiobook version is pretty much done. I didn’t self-narrate because I frankly didn’t want to. Then there’s the next work that is coming out next year, a fantasy horror novella. I learned a lot (code for “I went through a lot of annoying bullsh*t”) from the novelette that I am definitely applying on the novella. I talk on the MMP blog why I am going indie (tl;dr – I didn’t have great experiences with traditional publishing as a Black speculative fiction author. Traditional publishing is still very, very White and I, as well as my stories, are very, very not. Also, bad contracts are still the norm there. Not interested.)  I post very scantly there  because that’s just for random thinks as they pertain to publishing. 

But I do want to show the covers here because the covers are pretty and designed by Edge, whose works I really love and admire. Check out more of Edge’s works here.

So pretteh.

Amika is available for purchase, Dreamer is coming out next year. 

So that is what I have been working on. I still will be doing my Samhain livestream on Samhain/Halloween itself. I still am not sure if I will be splitting my time between the BW fan page or instagram like I did for the anniversary livestream but I probably will. Either way, shenanigans begin at 3 PM EST on the BW fan page.

What I also have been working on, as mentioned by my twitter, is dealing with another library issue. (To learn about the first one, just slap this site into the Wayback Machine and pick any time in 2016). I’ll let this screenshot of the recently taken down petition sum things up – caution, suicide is mentioned and feel free to click the image if the text is too small (it’s pretty small):

The petition was taken down because the even the university union higher ups thought it was “too inflammatory” (and was notified by the university HR, who probably said “this does not make the university look good. Make something happen”). Apparently Paula’s behavior is “too inflammatory” to post & talk about in public but not inflammatory enough to warrant a pink slip. The university won’t even allow a vigil for Vivien. They never formally recognized Vivien’s passing (I was one of the last people to see Vivien alive and saw her suicide note when she posted it – and still have a copy of it). When the petition maker tried to make an on-campus vigil happen for the 12 of Oct, a few days ago, it gathered the attention and support of the clubs and groups on campus – and then the university lawyers threatened lawsuits on the clubs and group if the vigil were to happen. So not only will the university cape for Paula, they literally try to litigate even regular, non-disruptive things into quiet, like a vigil. And here’s a long comment left by a someone who still works there.

Click the image if the text is too small (it’s pretty small): 

Why are people like this in library science? I have zero idea. Very much the definition if the phrase “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Lawyers are working on it but it is still a very trash thing to happen. And this is just a droplet of Paula’s behavior. She regularly engages in ageism, queerphobia, ableism, etc.  And it looks like the university is super ok with that.

I always forget to write these kind of things down. Spellwork is something I definitely need to get better at writing down more because I sometimes have quite forgetful day and can’t remember what spell I casted or if the thing that happened to me had something to do with the spellwork or not. I’ve got a lot on my plate always (I mean, even my posting has reduced) so I can’t always have “what magick did I do” at the forefront of my mind.

I’m sure there are apps that can help keep track of spellwork, just like there are apps that keeps track of periods – because periods are also annoying to keep at the forefront of your mind. Yes, I don’t want to bleed through several layers of clothing but I also don’t feel like doing that much brain work – thanks technology (when not insanely sexist, which is a major problem). Back to spells, I have not looked through any spellwork apps so I have none to recommend but I definitely think that people who engage in spellwork should use something that can help remind them of their practices.

I’m relatively old school when it comes to keeping track of things (outside of periods, I rather reliable new tech – like an app – do the tracking for me) so I use calendars and only recently started using emoji as visual short hand of when I do something. I only started using emojis as visual short hand for when I would be visited during the start of the pandemic so that if I or someone else became infected, I had a handy-dandy reference guide in my phone to pinpoint exactly when I saw them so I could do as accurate a threat assessment as possible. Also, everyone should be getting vaccinated (if possible) and still wearing masks. Thanks to unvaxxed and half vaxxed people who like to play poker with their lives (and others), the Delta variant is really doing some damage. Then there’s the double mutation (when two variants (mutation) kame hame ha together to become one really bad variant – may possibly become variant Epsilon). Back to calendars and emojis, they’re useful. I need to do the same for my spellwork.

Since I don’t do much spellwork regularly (I’m very much the set-and-forget type), it probably wouldn’t be too hard to keep track of what work I have done and for what reason. Spellwork varies by culture, tradition and practitioner, so it is hard to say “Oh by an X amount of days, you will see Z result.” The universe doesn’t work like television shows, sadly. Some changes could be very hard to spot, others are bleedingly obvious. I prefer the bleedingly obvious but the universe prefers trolling. Plus signs can very much differ by culture, tradition and practitioner – oh, and what was casted. For example, I tend to do a lot of candle spells (like I said, I’m very Set-and-Forget) and prefer candles that already have spellwork/intentions casted upon them just so I can light them whenever needed, assuming they are a multi-day candle. That is because they are designed to continually apply themselves until it runs bare, which I then renew by lighting the candle again. It would be helpful to me and my practices if I just wrote down “lit XYZ candle” for whatever day I lit it on, the first day holding the general details of what it was for.

Writing down rituals and spellwork so that you can keep track of it, phenominal idea, I should probably do that more. At least maybe even at all, bare minimum.

Ah, yes, we are all still going through the Great Panini of Death. 17 months in and still no end in sight. There is some end in sight, but y’know, anti-vaxxers and misinformation and all that jazz. Despite there being a free vaccine here in the US (the worst affected nation in the world – as in, no one has more cases or deaths than we do), there are still many who do not wish to be fully vaccinated – or plain vaccinated at all. Due to this, that means that now there are stronger variants floating about. Wear a mask, even if you are vaccinated. Primarily wear masks indoor if you are vaccinated but there is more and more research coming out that you can still be a carrier for the virus, and thus get someone else sick. Covid is still pretty asymptomatic (even more so with each passing variant/mutation), Covid is still deadly (even more so with each passing variant/mutation), Covid is still around (even more so now that people are acting as if the Plague is over).

States in the US are stupidly opening up – mainly for money reasons – and some are dropping sensible measures, such as mask requirements, social distancing requirements and vaccine mandates for events & gatherings. Then you have unvaccinated people taking advantage of the current Honor System we have going on about self reporting if one is vaccinated or not. Since there is no visual difference between a vaccinated person or not, it is hard to make a proper distinction between the two. This makes everyone almost of Schrodinger Vaccination status. Are they lying? Are they not? Either way, it’s better to wear masks and not frolic so much together until the Pandemic is finally done for good.

All this to bring up those who are not solitary practitioners of Paganism and/or witchcraft. There are many temples closed, many practicing places closed, etc. And there are some that are open, way open. And then you have the Special Flavor of Anti-Vaxxer: “Nature will heal us all, we do not need vaccines”.

The stupid, it burns.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I would like to remind everyone, Pagan, Witch, and none-of-the-above, that nature, though wonderous and awe-inspiring, is insanely deadly and has zero problems with killing us all. (Given all the polluting and habitat killing we do ourselves, it really wouldn’t be that bad an idea, if you think about it from nature’s perspective.) The same nature that gives us daisies and cinnamon is the exact same nature that gives us viruses and hurricanes. Same entity. The exact same. And we pray to that exact same entity for luck, mercy and hope. So yeah, the acknowledgement of “Nature can be kind but wowsers, can nature destroy you faster than you were made” is kinda built into Pagan faith and witchcraft practices. Getting a vaccine is not rebuking any part of Paganism, magick, nothing. Science can work hand-in hand with nature (except when Science is trying to kill nature or force nature to fit an artificial lens that is incredibly short sighted). Now, most Pagan I come across has this understood through and through, but then there are the fluffy bunnies, the New Age folks and others who pretty much float around us mainly out of effort to boost their own egos and feel big and powerful. And, of course, very dumb and short sighted Pagan and magick practitioners (note earlier I said “most”, not “all”).

Now, into the meat and potatoes of this post.

Good thing we are all still under the same sky and our practices are nature based. It is entirely possible to just simply coordinate a time and do the rituals apart but together. Yes there are those who prefer to feel the close-by energies of your fellow practitioners but try to focus via the sky, not via tech or anything else. Spirit and energy can work like wind and wind is quite global. This can be very useful, regardless the size of groups. I have even seen things done through virtual reality (there is something called The Illuminati Simulator, where there is the purported claim that [quote site] but it’s totally trash, don’t use) but a ) most people do not have a VR headset b ) I would not really rely on tech to not break mid-rituals. I am used to lights flickering and things of the sort during my spellwork, I am not going to run my risks with an expensive headset. Now, the only traditions I see this possibly running into problems are for ceremonial magick practitioners, because every little thing is poignant and important, even the directions and places that people are standing. That leads to the next part.

If you absolutely have to do the ritual together – and I mean, there is literally no other way, even including the abilities of magick – then try to practice safely. Again, some traditions, it is important to be together. But do it safely. Have one person handle one thing. Nix all communal stuff such as drinking from the same goblet, try pouring into individual cups. Yes, drinking from the same source carries deep meaning, different from it being poured into individual cups, but surely the entities shall understand. This isn’t an expression of a lack of faith that the deities and entities around you cannot keep you safe from a virus, but don’t forget, there are deities of plagues and viruses. Do you think they would not like to pass up a royal opportunity to show out? Not all deities are the Respect-The-Invite-List-Please type. Heck, and this is excluding trickster deities, who also like to mess of things, especially when there is a golden opportunity. Respect those deities and play it smart & safe.

Given how covens are usually small and so are practicing groups – I have yet to see a megachurch equivalent of a Pagan worshipping place – please do try to establish social distancing. For some groups, this will be quite easy because they have to stand at several distant points (usually in a square/equal cross, at five points to represent the pentagram, etc) so hooray, social distancing is built in. I have been in relatively big groups (30+ people in a circle) but they would also practice outside since doing ritual indoors would have been terribly cramped. It is important to space out so not to spread viruses but also in general so people can be comfy, everyone can express themselves, so on and so forth.

Masks are important. I understand deeply that for some, the idea of wearing a surgical mask (not a ritual/traditional mask) or a cloth mask can feel restrictive to the ritual/spellwork or as if speaking through a filter. Again, if you have to wear a ritual mask or traditional mask, you can easily slide a regular mask on underneath. If you absolutely must – as in, there is no alternative, not even magickal – then be at least 12 feet away from everyone on all sides and only outdoors. Rituals like these can get shouty and sometimes blustering when in the passion of the moment. Be smart and be safe and most importantly, be respectful to all entities, including the uninvited ones. Tradition is important and the more ceremonial the ritual, the more restrictive it is. Every little thing is important but there is still at least miniscule room for change. Yes, there is also the idea of “won’t this deity/entity we are performing the ritual for be Not Happy that we’re trying to make room for the pandemic and the related plague deities?” Some deities and entities are very Me Only but if that’s the case, throw in an extra “this is why we’re doing all these precautions” part of the ritual. And make sure to include a “if you don’t like it, please don’t blame us – take it up with the other deity/entity that is totally stealing some of your spotlight” snippet. But still, wear a mask if you can.

Things should already be washed thoroughly for ritual, pre-pandemic. Washing and cleansing are important parts of ritual and practice because of the real and symbolic preparations of getting ready to perform ritual. Please do not be yukkers, wash thoroughly everything that will be interacted with. Wash it with soap, sanitize it with rubbing alcohol, do not just use plain water and call it a day. For commonly touched surfaces, such as staves, shawls and wands, make sanitation part of the ritual. If you’re going to create a cleaning solution meant for rituals, make sure that the cleaning content, usually rubbing alcohol, is 60% or greater. Shoot for 70% as the minimum. Even if it is as dopey looking as dressing up a bottle of hand sanitizer and deeming one person as the Sanitizer Person – I feel like chaos magicians are going to have a field day with that – still, have something in place. Rituals and groups already should have a clean up crew but it is important for everyone to do their part.

The pandemic is probably going to be going on until 2022/2023 at the sheer latest. 2024 for things to look pretty regular again. That means planning for adjustments. Vaccine rollout is slowing down, misinformation is rampant and the virus is steadily making its way through the entire Greek alphabet at record pace. Remember, the UK variant was Variant Alpha, we’re now officially at Delta and most likely going to see Epsilon quite soon – all within the span of roughly a year and some change. (I think if things go to Omega, the last of the Greek Alphabet, that’s going to be quite a kicker. In all the bad ways.) It is important to acknowledge this, even in the midst of practicing magick and/or Paganism with others. I am a solitary practitioner so it’s business as usual for me but for others who are used to practicing with each other, I’m quite sure it has put a dent in their practices.

Last but not least, if there is a Social Gathering Prevention mandate going on, respect it. Do not try to hold a ritual of 70 people when you’re only suppose to have a max of 5. The deities and entities around us are long-lived, they have seen adjustments due to war, oppression and previous plagues. A few changes will be fine.

I received a comment on my post ABW Free Space: Every Day is Exactly the Same – Or “Last Year’s Protest is About the Same as Any” from Marymtf:

These long, boring, single idea posts make me itch for a red pen. Who gives a hoot what you think about white people. Certainly not Alexander Fleming, Shakespeare, or Alexander Graham Bell. Or me. I prefer to judge individuals by their actions not their colour. I don’t care for mobs. Last year’s rioters, thieves and vandals decided me that it was less about black lives mattering and more about the uncivilised trashing of cities, secure in the knowledge there would be no repercussions. Because of course there’s a push to defund the police. And who would go against a feral mob?

I wrote my reply, it’s a bit long but, hey, it’s my space so why not?

Ah, in the decade I have written Black Witch, I’ve always wondered when I would get a comment like this. Almost year eleven come June, better late than never, I suppose. First, a quick note: given my core targeted audience is Black & Pagan, I’m really not super inclined to make any modifications (outside of major errors) if those issues are not raised by my core target audience. And even then, I still am usually the one who decides. Keeps things simple. That way if a White person, a Christian person, a straight person, whatever have you, complains … I may listen because, hey, I have a comment section, but I can always shrug off what they say because “not core audience”. Unless it is major, that’s how I treat things. The internet is loaded with writers, go find them if this blog isn’t your cup of tea. I do it all the time. Besides, judging from your avatar, you are not in my core audience. There are plenty White Pagan blogs to read. Assuming you’re even Pagan.

Yes, I don’t write my online posts the same as I do my published essays … because it is the internet. However, given that you could understand what it says enough to write this comment, it is legible enough for you, however. Not to mention, this is my corner on the internet, I can post what I care to discuss. I take it you don’t just red-pen the internet, do you? That sounds like a forever job, but in quite a bad way. Especially because it would be a volunteer one.

I think I don’t give a hoot about three men who are currently quite dead so it is rather mutual. Actually, I believe it could also be that because they are dead that they may not care. You are very free to visit their graves to give us all the inside scoop, however. Granted, I think you will have to introduce yourself to them because they probably wouldn’t give much a toss about you, either. Especially if you are a woman, all three never had the greatest respect for them. And why stay stuck in the boys’ locker room? No White women of history to note? I am going to assume from your avatar and screen name you are indeed a White woman. Not even the Grimke sisters or Marie Curie. Plus, as for Shakespeare – I always preferred Ben Jonson. He simply was better, even the people during the time agreed. Surely you have read “The Alchemist”, yes? Far better than that “Exit Bear” drivel Shakespeare pumped out – and at least Jonson doesn’t have to contend with plagiarism claims, even well into the afterlife. Then again, that is what happens when you like skilled works over the Middle Ages version of “The Simpsons”.

Now, who cares about what I write or think about White privilege and such? Quite a lot, according to my numbers. Over a thousand, at minimum. Which is a lot of people. I have over three times that on the Facebook fan page, almost twice that on the Tumblr – oh! And over 5,600 on this site alone. Gee, that’s at least 10,000 people. Huh, that’s more people than I can fit in a bathroom – or even in your house. So, as for “who cares”, maybe not anyone currently decomposing, but an awful lot of breathing individuals. And an awful lot more than you and yourself. When you check someone’s writing, at least check on their numbers, too. That way you can give a more accurate snip than blithely run about with “who cares” when the numbers are very clear who does. Just say “this post hurts my feelings” instead. Sounds much more accurate.

You say “I don’t see color” – thanks for proving a point I wrote above about people who say that, by the by, it makes it super easy when people wind up proving me right when they are trying to prove me wrong – but here you go bringing up BLM and the riots that happened. At least try to prove your point better by bringing up the Nov 6th Insurrection, the Vancouver hockey riots and other countless times where it was another race causing destruction. Or the Revolutionary War. Or the Bastille. Or the other countless times in history where “protests should have be quiet and gentle”. Otherwise, it could look like your racism is showing. Also, you can get upset over Black issues and the destruction of architecture at the same time, if you believe it is an either/or issue, that is more a “you” problem than you think – even if you personally owned one of those buildings.

Uncivilised? Wait, is that an “s” I see? As in, you aren’t American? Oh my gods, I would say “I hope that isn’t a typo” but apparently you have never made a literary mistake in your life apparently. Well, as long as no one considers region or localization. Otherwise, that “s” would be marked with a red pen to a “z”. Given this fact, I ask you: why do *you* care? You aren’t American, as far as I am concerned. Go worry about *your* nation’s problems. I was about to say “you must not know how to research either because defunding police isn’t the same as removing the police – you don’t check numbers or facts, that’s two for two” but you aren’t even American! (You still don’t seem to check facts or numbers, though. Still two for two). Since you are so bothered by what I write, chalk it up to “oh, those Americans and their problems” and keep living your life. That is British spelling. America hasn’t had to concern themselves with the British since the 1700s. You don’t like violence, given how uncivilized you think it is, so I will assume you never heard about the Revolutionary War. It happened. Lots of violence and blood spilling and death and killing. Gory but hey, now we have our own nation. I do apologize, given this is usually White American-grade stupidity – the lack of research and ignorance of numbers on your part didn’t help either – I sincerely could not tell the difference until you made that error of putting an “s” down where there should have been a “z”.

I think you might be worrying over problems that do not concern you. And that can be quite a fatal error, even unnecessary stress is deadly. Maybe read some Women’s History instead. I really think Jane Elliot is interesting – oh, hey I just named another living White woman of history! It’s like there were bunches of them, living and dead!

Thank you for your input!

Let’s break down my response. First starting with an info bit about Marymtf.

I had noticed she wrote “uncivilized” with British spelling (an “s” instead of a “z”) and thus decided to look up where she was in the world via her ip address, which WordPress likes to hand me whenever people post comments. Victoria, Australia. As in, ding ding, I was right, she was not an American. Here’s the thing – if you are whinging over American race issues, especially when your nation has a boatload of its own, it is time to maybe go get some tea and mumble “not my problem” unless you’re going to bring something fruitful to the conversation. If you’re going to bring fluff concerns and say things like “who cares about what you think about White people”, just look into a mirror until something clicks. Aren’t there some bush fires to put out? Or race issues in Australia to better worry over? Also, it is a little odd a White Australian would think Black people are uncivilized when the history of modern Australia is basically “Britain’s Trash Can”. Sincerely interesting words for someone from If-Alcatraz-Was-A-Country. Miss Mary Oh Contrary, indeed.

By the by, she has her own site. A Wondering Minstrel, which is quite a name choice to have when coming to a Black blog and opine – especially since she could do that on her own blog. I don’t scour the internet for how people respond to my works so it would have been super safe there. On her “About Me” – where there is a typo: she has an open parenthesis on the first line – she pens about how she wants to be a writer. She goes on about how she wants to write stories and articles and how difficult it is to write books for toddlers – I understand that it can be difficult to make a tiny tot sit through a rewrite of The Canterbury Tales, I’m sure. She muses that it is difficult to get published and no one wants to read the collections of short stories from nobodies, which I do not disagree. I guess she just doesn’t stan Shakespeare and Fleming hard enough for such an overwhelmingly White industry as publishing to pay attention to her. Maybe she should grow a penis, apparently that really helps when you’re a nobody in literature with little to offer, especially if you are White. I mean, I usually get asked to write articles or assist with research so I sort of feel her plight. Sort of … not really. I tend to turn down such engagements though, the most recent was from the BBC. I have a personal standard: NPR, Al Jazeera, Pro Publica or better. Unless it is a book, I believe I am in at least three. And still, I turn down the crappier book offers. The only downside to my publications is that I always wanted to be published for my creative writings, not my usual articles. But! I’m also published on that end as well – one of my works was even turned into an audiobook (audiostory? It was a short story turned into audio form). And there’s even more to come from the creative writing end but that’s a little beyond the scope of this post. Amazing what work one can get done when not wasting time spouting White Opinions on the internet. However, she did say she is trying to fill her time due dealing with “post Empty Nest Syndrome”. I guess she has to find something else to do that isn’t creative writing since “being a mom” is checked off and apparently there’s literally nothing else for women to do in the world after pumping out kids, their only goal and reason for existence, amirite? Hey hey, WASP-out to your heart’s content – just keep it to yourself or at least to your web space. At least the publishing world lets her be to her lonesome.

The posts on the site aren’t my cup of tea so I won’t bother talking about them. I have already received my English literature degree so I don’t have to suffer through dry, contrite, self-conceited, myopic works of Whiteness (and stifling White femininity) if I personally do not want to. Even at the Library of Congress, where I formally worked, we would chuck them out because there’s so many and if you have seen one, you have pretty much seen them all.

And for everyone, if you want to read works from a much more important White female author and does not have her head shoved way up her derriere, please try Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She says quite interesting things, especially about the writing field. Her “Business Musings” posts are a must-read, especially for anyone who would like actually decent information about publishing, not simply the trials and tribulations of crafting Hemmingway for tots.

To sum up, this was basically Marymtf’s comment:

You never know, this could be one of her toddler books

 

Now, enough about Marymtf. Let’s go into why I replied the way I did. Paragraph breakdown, ahoy!

I feel like this is needed

Paragraph 1: It will be year 11 for Black Witch come June 9th. I will try to do a FB livestream but no promises. It is true, I rarely get fussy people like this on my blog. Also, she isn’t Pagan, either. Just a plain ol’ WASP type that simply decided to inject her opinions where it really isn’t needed. Again, she sincerely could have kept her opinions on her own blog. 

Paragraph 2: Just looking at her “About Me”, I found a typo in the first line. For a grammar nazi, she trips up in her goose-stepping when it is her own works, huh? Perhaps she should concern herself with her own writings first instead of try to edit the internet because some rando on the information highway said something she disagreed with. 

Paragraph 3: Ben Jonson is indeed better than Shakespeare. Also, I can tell she really holds on to the “went to school for writing” bit about her with a death grip because she couldn’t name any women writers. Not even White women. Internalized misogyny, I think the publishing market is already full of that, no wonder it can be tough for her to get a bite. She mentions Gloria Steinem on her blog, probably doesn’t even understand a single thing Steinem says that applies outside of super basic White Feminism.

Paragraph 4: I decided to check my numbers! They are, as of print:

  • WordPress/this blog: 5,607
  • Facebook Fan Page: 3,410
  • Tumblr: 1,539
  • Twitter: 774
  • Instagram: 164

That comes to a total of 11,494 people who seems to “give a hoot” about what I have to say about anything. And they’re just followers/subscribers, this excludes page visits. This also technically makes me what one would call a “micro influencer“. Which is explained by ImpactPlus as “individuals that have between 1,000 to 1,000,000 followers/audience members and are considered experts in their respective niche.”

Not bad for someone who “no one gives a hoot” about. I don’t generally get into pissing contests over numbers but it is nice to have the stats on hand when needed. And I’m not even super active on my social medias! Otherwise the numbers would be bigger. Twitter is least used, still almost has a thousand followers. Instagram is new and hardly talks about Paganism, still has over a hundred. Also, Marymtf seemed to care enough to post a comment so that is already at least one person who cares about what I say, otherwise, it would all be ignored as silly gibberish.

Paragraph 5: She basically provided a prime example of my statement in the original post:

And another thing that I’m super sick of hearing over this past year:

“I love all people of all races and backgrounds.”

Usually people who say this are usually caught with their hand in the Cookie Jar of Racism. I have rarely met individuals who have said this phrase and actually lived up to it.  What they usually mean is this:

“I have not personally murdered a non White person (Black, really) via lynching and I know how to not say slurs when the irritable affected are not around – only around people who look like me or the sycophants of that group that I keep around for anti-racism rep but I tell them it’s ‘friendship’/’relationship’. And I know one Whitewashed MLK phrase. Maybe two if I think really, really hard. I salt my learned hatred of you in heaps of sugar.”

Still racist all the same.

Gotta love when people prove you right when trying to prove you wrong. Here are also one bit that can even better truncate what I feel:

Won’t someone please think of the buildings?

 

There is also the fact that not everyone who was part of the violence from the BLM protests was Black. Like this guy, for example:

Maybe that’s one of her kids visiting America. She calls herself a “minstrel” and this is generally what they have looked like for the past 200 years or so and she did say she had sons.

Then there’s the fact that police and other instigators (White supremacists) wanted to paint BLM as bad so they would put out brick piles. Very neat brick piles. Ready for the chuckin’. 

Surely she’s hip to this, right? Being from a Land of Convicts, there’s got to be some innate knowledge of how to be violent and such? Most likely a descendant of British law breakers, causing undue mayhem has got to make natural sense to her, right?

There was a feral mob there but it wasn’t primarily the Black people. They looked a lot more like her. Surprise, surprise.

Paragraph 6: She talks about Black people being uncivilized … while a White Australian. As in, her family tree most likely started in the Land Down Under because one of her recent ancestors got pinched by Scotland Yard and it was egregious enough to get deported to the arid land of “What the hell are those animals and why are they like this?”  

 

Will never not be funny. At least a good chunk of the animals are cute. Unlike the people similar to Marymtf

Again, if you have a family tree that has a strong statistical probability of literally starting with murderers, thieves and rapists, maybe you shouldn’t be declaring who is civilized or not. That’s more of a British thing. And again, don’t worry about American issues. At least we’re not still under the Monarchy. She should worry about race issues in her own land, or worry about those books for toddlers since they’re posing such a hardy task. Can’t be that hard to mimic Dr. Seuss but, hey, everyone has their difficulties, especially in a country commonly slammed on by the British as “devoid of culture, etiquette, and decency”. When I saw the s/z difference, this was basically my reaction:

Paragraph 7 & 8: She sincerely should just go work on her books for tiny tots and not worry about problems she seriously does not get. I’m sure getting Mein Kampf and the works of Lovecraft written down to a Pre School level must be a real brain teaser so maybe she shouldn’t worry about problems that happen on the other side of the world, especially since she is at a pretty lofty age and still doesn’t understand. Again, thank you for your input but no one wanted it.

 

I know, I know, I usually don’t get comments on my posts. I usually appreciate comments but only if they’re not soaked in snooty prejudice. If she wants to whine, she has her own blog to do it at. Plus, my writing can’t be that long and boring if she was willing to sit through it and even comment. I mean, hers are none too whiz-bang either or she would have a couple decent publishing credits to her name by now. Perhaps it would have been best if she simply never left her echo chamber.

Oh, and Happy Nothing-Happened-Today Day

Third time on Burn Out Brighter podcast! I was invited back to discuss relationships and gaming. And there is an additional guest, my boyfriend, CTL17. He runs a Twitch where he plays violin and DDR at the same time.

My mic wasn’t the bestest – I grabbed a derp one (one day, I shall part with it), so I have minor cut outs but I’m still pretty understandable. Tune in and listen!

I mention my orchid and 3D printed planters on the podcast. Here’s the sharry baby orchid! On my Instagram are pictures of my roses and more of my orchids.

Not Pictured: My cat, who wants to eat the blossoms of this orchid

 

Also, check out my previous visits on Burn Out Brighter! 

 

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