Category: Pagan Life


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.

Techno Witch

I work with technology a lot, including virtual reality, and it made me wonder what or how it could pose as some good use for magick and witchcraft.

At the start of being Pagan, many things I did were very offline. I read physical books, went to physical locations such as the library and metaphysical shop, wrote in my physical B.O.S., things like that. If anything, I preferred it that way, things were very much in reach and given the history of magick is very much more so on paper than in bytes, it made better sense to me.

But eventually, technology got better and easier. More and more resources were online, and reliable resources at that. Granted, there is still a lot of bunk and dribble on the internet. Why people like to pick up spells from random corners of the internet is beyond me. If they are easy to get and plain out there for the world to see and, even worse, come with a price tag, it is probably fake. Some witches do indeed do paid spellwork/pay for pray but not to the excessive number that exists on the internet. More on that later, but basically, tech made witchy info collecting easier. It has probably been a while since I have penned in my B.O.S. but, if anything, I have more of a Disk of Shadows (D.O.S.) now. I have particular tumblrs and tags that I follow or curate on my own that are informative and helpful to my works and endeavors. They’re sometimes really hard to find, and sometimes they are not (if you know what to look for). There are more digital groups for Black Pagans and other minorities/poc now than when I started over a decade ago. Due to the internet, there is better access to much better information about non-European cultures that is not filtered through the perspective of a random White academic slathering on a layer of their own personal bias to the details and calling it “correct, accurate and objective information”. People can do their own research and not be blocked by institutions or paywalls.

But there’s still a lot of bunk on the internet. Due to the pop culture sensation of “witchiness” (basically think of anything American Horror Story, The Craft and the Sabrina reboot has pumped out, add some culture-vulturing via “I am a bruerja” and you got it), it makes decent info still rather hard to find. Since books and old texts that may or may not be translated well or correctly are not that popular, it is easier to find people who, frankly, don’t really know much of what they are doing, they just really like sage, cultural appropriation, gothic clothing and perhaps nursing a drug habit. They’re all over Instagram with their filter-laden pictures, offering to cast spells and do divination (usually tarot, because, what else are they going to learn? Cartomancy? Numerology? I Ching? Elective Astrology? Not as popular) but don’t seem to really know much about ethics and the other boring stuff of learning actual, proper witchcraft. It’s easy to blame just about everything on Mercury retrogrades but if that person has never heard of an ephemera before, they probably are also dead wrong about anything retrograde as well. Spells are cool and mysterious (not really), reading and research is … well, how many pop culture witch characters have you seen buzzing around countless books going “I thiiiiiiiiink this is definitely super old school Congolese – liiiiike, way, way, before colonialization. And of course, it’s a half-page passage in an out-of-print book and features a next-to-dead language. So we should either pick a different spell, or start bothering really old people who may or may not remember such a language – assuming the invading White folks did not torch or steal their cultural history – oh wait, it’s sitting in the British museum, with an incorrect placard and everything. Great, now may we have to talk to stuck up, myopic, well-dressed thieves that think they’re not stuck up, narcissistically stupid, or sticky fingered because ‘I have a degree and institutional prejudice is on my side’. You know what? Killmonger had some good ideas. Someone grab some coffee, that is probably the easier option”? Outside of Hermione Granger, not really anyone in witchy pop culture is very “research is good, research is great, research keeps random entities you summoned and can’t get rid of out of your home and life.” So it can make good info hard to break through the ether. Nothing is wrong with liking pop culture depictions of magic – I get a kick out of Doom Patrol’s magnificent depiction of chaos magick – but it is a bit of a problem when people try to base their practice on movie magic. Yes, psionics is real, yes, magic is real but no, it doesn’t look exactly like the tv and movies. If anything, they can be a lot more stressful and annoying.

I think being a technology-based witch, for me, is simply involving technology in your practice. I have thought of the idea of making a virtual space for spellwork and personal practice but then I think about my track record with magick, energy movement and electrical items. VR systems are pricy and I have made electrical items go ka-put. And, again, VR systems are pricy. But others could benefit, especially those who may not have the space or safety to comfortably practice in the real world. You can make whatever you want in the virtual world and it can be your own spot. A digital altar, a digital casting circle, the list goes on and on.

At first, I wasn’t too sure of these things because, well, they are new. No one was using computers for such practices – or any practices – centuries ago. But all technology, no matter how rudimentary, was considered new at one point. All creations were considered new at one point. From the typewriter, to the wheel, to fire itself. Certainly the deities can be understanding of some of these changes. As long as the changes are relatively seamless, especially for some deities. For example, some sun gods probably would not be too keen on the use of cell phone flashlights vs. actual natural light sources, like a flame made from the sun’s rays. I imagine working with water deities would be stress-inducing unless you are very confident in the IP rating of your technology and trickster deities + internet is probably literal trouble if you do not know what you are doing.

Has all my practices gone digital? I don’t think so but I do think a vast majority of it has. It has been the easier option for me but I always bear in mind that it is good to at least have back ups and that not everything worthwhile is on a computer. There is still always going to be a need for physical things. Links die, computers break and sometime technology can over-complicate simple processes. That and not everything is on the internet, not everything has been digitized and some things are simply harder to find digitally because the metadata is not up to snuff or it is plain incorrect. Thus it is good to find a decent balance, even if that balance is majority tech with analog supports.

I really wish I got better questions. The most recent batch is just trash asks from annoying people.

This one was absurd. Came from an email with the subject header “hello Goddess Witch:)” because if you want to talk to me, talking like this is a dating site is always a good idea (it isn’t, I’m snippy to guys on dating sites who greet like this. Try having a normal conversation with a normal greeting, they actually do work).

I despise this kind of behavior because they never bode good things about the person saying them. Ever. To me, anyone who tries to charm and butter you up is always up to something, otherwise they would have a normal approach.

“YES i would absolutely date, and adore a witch:)..know of any single ones? LOL…trust me, i’ve been looking

(oh, i’m white, male, and 45 , handsome:)”

A) Black Witch is not a dating site. At all. He’s not the first idiot to try this. Black Witch is a regular blog. As I always say, if you wouldn’t do this to a guy, don’t to this to women. Because it is insulting.

B ) I literally do not care of his dating preferences. And dating a witch really is not that different from dating literally anyone else who does not practice magick. At all.

C) His humor is stupid and reeks of “old bachelor”. I like comedy but not bad comedy.

D) I don’t date White (Though demi/ace, I stick to men of color. They are already a headache enough, no need to tack on the 400+ years of historical problems to that. Actually, the existence of straight men in general should be proof enough that no sexual orientation is a “choice” because have you seen how straight guys act? Add a STEM, Finance/Business or Medical degree and they get worse)

E ) I don’t date old guys. Dude is almost 15 years my senior, I stick to guys within 2-3 years senior of my actual age and rarely date anyone even a year my junior


My reply:

You sound disgusting. Please off yourself. You are literally everything I DON’T want in a guy.



Inb4 “you told him to commit suicide!”: I have learned from existing on this planet as a girl that plain “no” literally. Does. Not. Work.

Guy: Can I walk you home?
Me: Nah, I’m good.
Guy: It’s ok, it’s not too much trouble for me. I’ll walk you to your house

They blow past a very plain “no” as if it never happened. Upgrade it to awful insults and they tend to get the picture.

Guy: Can I walk you home?
Me: Nah, I’m good.
Guy: It’s ok, it’s not too much trouble for me. I’ll walk you to your house
Me: Bro, get lost. I’m good. Go to your house, away from me. No one wants you, ever. I can protect myself, no need to drag along Sir Dead-Weight if trouble does occur.
Guy: How does anyone even like you? *storms off*

Yeah, it’s not nice but I wanted the guy to leave since the start so Mission Accomplished? It would be nice if guys took the original and plain “no”, I don’t enjoy ripping into people but hey, it is usually the not-nice version that tends to work the most with the least amount of back-and-forth.

So, yeah, maybe guys should use better listening skills, might spare their emotions more.


The reply:

what the flying FUCK is your problem?? I paid you a DEAR compliment,and you come back with your angry hate filled remarks for NO REASON??  if you ever, ever tell me to “ofF” Myself again, you will be sorry..i can promise that much.
 
 
And we are off to the races, folks.

Pretty much what happened



And we are off to the races, folks. Complete with flying anger, a threat (which is very FBI-notifying- worthy*) and pretty much all the behavior of a violent wife-beater without a target. No surprises to as why he’s still single at 45 and so lonely he bothers random women on the internet. Note he calls me “angry” but he’s the one cursing, screaming and threatening. That sounds pretty angry.

Oh and he sends another email right after this one:


ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh..iS it because i’m WHITE??? RACIST AT ALL?? fucking hypnocrite…

Note that I literally never mention race in my first reply. This dude jumped to the conclusion in a single bound. Though I don’t date White for reasons stated above, that’s my own privacy and I easily could have rebuffed him for his age and super off-color approach. I have ripped on countless Men of Color for the “off-color” stuff most. Seriously, straight guys suck at communicating. Like toxic masculinity shuts off the logic parts of the brain or something. Also, that atrocious spelling. Hypno … crite?

Also, me not really wanting to date White is not exactly racist. Though it is a personal and personally recognized bias that I apply only to my dating life and not others, isn’t racist. Here is how: the structures of racism doesn’t do me, a Black woman, any favors (actually, it can get pretty deadly for me) and it super extends to dating. I have to worry about being dehumanized, hyper-sexualized, stereotyped and demeaned simply for my skin, nothing else. These structures came from White supremacist thinking of “what is ‘good’ feminity” (which is, you guessed it, a White woman. Preferably a blonde one) and that if you don’t count as ‘good’, you can be treated like trash. White men show this behavior excessively in the dating realms. Basically, I avoid White guys as possible dates because they tend to be walking racist problems, ranging from fetishizing Black women to being haplessly clueless that racism exists and expecting the Black girlfriend to slow-walk through it to parading the Black girlfriend around as an example of how “not racist” he is – even when he is being very blatantly racist. Do decent ones exist? Of course, but in remarkable short supply and vastly out-numbered by the rest. But it is pretty racist and sexist to assume that because he is White, he has to be a viable dating partner to anyone he talks to, no matter what.

Yeah, no. That’s a lot of headache for me. Like I said prior, already Men of Color are headache enough. They come with their own batches of problems. I have yet to come across a White person who refuses to date (as in “have a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship with”) Black people or anyone else not White with the same reasons I stated above. I mean, White folks are not being oppressed, fetishized or dehumanized like everyone else, especially not in the dating world. I’ve never come across a story from White folks I know who have said “He dated me because he wanted me to explain how White people exist. Like, why our hair doesn’t curl like tight springs and if all of us are homicidal mass killers.” If anything, I’m usually helping my White (actually, all my non-Black) female friends steer clear of trash Black men who hover around them because internalized racism and simply “Black women are already wise to my bullsh*t. Hopefully, you are not.” Mainly, they, like me, want to date someone decent, not someone they’d soon regret, regardless of race. 
 
Oh, and in case anyone is going “How dare she not want to date White because she doesn’t want to!” – I also don’t date Christian or Atheist guys … of any race. Though they have different beliefs, the guys in these faiths morph into a special version of batty when they encounter the fact that A) I’m Pagan and/or B) I’m simply not of the same belief system (or lack thereof) as them and I’m not interested in changing. Plus, both seem to think “let’s poke fun at her ‘weird’ religion in a way we would literally fly into a rage about if we got the same treatment” is a great idea of courtship. It isn’t. There are literally thousands of other faiths I’d rather be with that handles the concept of Paganism better. 

My reply to both statements (both emails compiled together):

My blog is not a dating page. Do you contact the New York Times this way? I don’t think it’s a compliment for anyone to approach me in such a sleezeball way. And you should go for women your age – actually, given how you (predictably) exploded, try a therapist.
 
Yep, you need a therapist. It’s because of literally EVERYTHING. Please disappear or get some freaking help instead of pester random women on the internet, old guy.
 
Threw in a touch of “it’s probably your age, my dude” just to throw dust in the water a bit and see what he does with it or will he fasten himself to “it’s cuz I’m White, right?”

His reply:

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME, combined with ANTI WHITE hatred, makes you a very angry woman…LOL….you really need to seek help for your mental illness…..


I have no words. This was my reply

You are exploding like fireworks. I haven’t resorted to using all caps, that’s you. I haven’t even cursed, you’re already screaming and swearing. I didn’t bring up race, you did. I’m not the angry one here, you are.
 
No wonder you bother random women on the internet, no one would want you via the normal routes. And nothing is wrong with being mentally ill, as long as you work on the problem. I seriously envy all who has never met you, lol. You shouldn’t be trying to date anyone, get your anger issues out the way. Calm down and go away.


And that was the whole convo. I did some research on this guy. His name is Jason Taylor (huh, shares a name with one of my lawyers. Won’t Lawyer Jason find that hilarious?) and he’s situated in Lane South, South Carolina and has an aol email of “jayyce004” So if you meet this guy, you already know he’s a furious wackjob.

Now, let’s break out the bingo boards because they are the only efficient things I have to break down bs like this. Let’s get started.





The words are probably a little hard to read



This is what I managed to fill out.

 
I just noticed the highlighter I used might be a bit light for some to see so let’s point them out. 
 
Bingo Board 1
 
– I’m a nice guy
– Is way older than you
– Has never met you in person
– Attempted negging
– Casual sexism & racism
 
 
Bingo Board 2
– Little to no social skills
– Racist, sexist and/or homophobic to an extent
– Thinks sexual harassment is a complement
– When rejected, always blames his weight, face or another body characteristic that was never brought up
 
Let’s break this down, starting with Bingo Board 1:
 
I’m a nice guy
Here’s the thing about “nice guys” … they’re never nice. The “sweeter” they try to be, the more vicious they are underneath. They’re not actually nice, they just want something. And if they can’t get it, they explode. This guy did exactly that. Plus, I already said I find “hyper-sweet”/super-overt flirting behavior insulting. Because, to me, it is. Talk to me like everyone else or don’t talk to me at all. 
 
Is way older than you
Like I said before, this dude is literally almost 15 years older than me. A decade and a half. I have zero interest in guys that old. Because they are, in terms of dating, very old. You are half way to your 50s, a half century. Ew. A man that is 45 should stick to women who are in their 40s, minimum. 
 
Has never met you in person
Never. I think I would remember such a nutjob if so. This person is deep down in South Carolina, so yeah, never met. Nor would I want to.
 
Attempted negging
Negging” is emotional manipulation, created by pickup artists, intended to make the “negged” target feel bad and thus try to vie for the manipulator’s approval. Basically the “Oh, is it because I’m White?” (as well as other parts but let’s stick with this one). Because I never brought up race and oh geez, I would not want this random person on the internet to think that *gasp* I am not interested in them because they are White. Because we all know White people get it the worst in the world because of their race. Lack of opportunities, institutionalized and structured lack of access to resources in health, wealth & education and in dating, hyper sexualized and dehumanized, even to the point of being compared to animals and food – oh, wait. That’s Black people. Yeah, this flare-up doesn’t work on me. At all. Since I’m pretty sardonic about dating, it gives me a better range of view to spot guys who try to go at emotion and not logic. 
 
Casual sexism & racism
Pretty much everything that came out this dude’s mouth. Started off insulting, finished off super crazy. Good thing no one is dating them because I bet he’s the type to fly into a rage at the drop of a hat and break things, even over the slightest problems. No one needs to date anyone like that. Ever. They need therapy, not relationships. 
 
 
 
On to Bingo Board 2!
 
Little to no social skills
Guys (hi, straight men), this dude’s approach is not smart. Firstly, don’t approach random women through their official channels of communication looking for a date. She is most likely not going to be thrilled. Just like how I wasn’t. Dating websites and apps do exist. Try finding a date using a dating site or app. And should you approach, try to go for “cordial”, not “sleezeball”. Yes, I probably am saying all that is opposite of what usual guy websites have for “how to chat to girls” but I thiiiiiink I would know how I like to be approached a lot more than someone who is probably a closet incel. If the girl turns you down, it happens. Rejection happens. Women get rejected, too. Also, please don’t go on a killing spree. Seriously. Get help instead. And don’t threaten the girl for turning you down. You’ll just go from “Not my type” to “homicidal maniac” in a snap. Get help instead.
 
Racist, sexist and/or homophobic to an extent
Read above for “Casual Sexism & Racism”. No homophobia occurred but I seriously would not be surprised if this person harbored homophobic sentiments. I’ve never met a bigot with emotional problems that magically was pro-LGBTQIA. Not even in actual LGBTQIA circles (the amount of racist White folks in queer circles is baffling. Can they not somehow apply that racism is bad the same way homophobia is bad instead of trying to use their queerness as a flimsy shield to be racist?)
  
Thinks sexual harassment is a complement
It isn’t. Unwanted attention such as this is indeed sexual harassment. It isn’t a complement. At all. It is harassment, plain and simple. That’s why I didn’t reply with hearts and joy but with sharp vitrol instead.
 
When rejected, always blames his weight, face or another body characteristic that was never brought up
He flew straight for “It’s because I’m White, right?” even when I never brought it up. It is no different than when Harvey Weinstein would try to guilt-trip his victims with “it’s because I’m fat and ugly” when they would reject his attempts of sexual assault. (Guys, if you want to discuss movie/book/music deal details, try to keep your clothes on. You’ll be respected more and called a “potential rapist” less). Does it matter what type of men the scores of women he assaulted would personally pick? No. They may like big guys, skinny guys, tall guys, short guys, etc etc. But none of them like rapey guys, which is exactly what Weinstein is. It wasn’t his weight or looks – which he brought up, not the women – it was his behavior. It’s not your physical form, many different women like many different guys, it is your behavior. Even handsome guys get rejected for acting like douchebags. There’s a reason women in my circles tend to say “He was really cute … then he started talking.” 
 
 
This dude’s behavior was way off the wall. I don’t like being chatted up through my blog, ever. It used to happen at the start of Black Witch from various guys, including Men of Color. I ripped on them the exact same way as I did this guy because I don’t appreciate that kind of behavior. Ever. Heck, I don’t even like being approached, I rather do the approaching myself. And even if I do approach, I still rather interact with a guy who has his head screwed on straight versus one who thinks “She’s talking to me! That means she wants to date me! Literally no other reason whatsoever. Even though she just told me I am on fire. She did that because she wants me, not because I’m turning into a candle stick out in public. Absolutely no other reason.” 
 
What should have this guy done? Google “local therapy clinics near me” and never bother anyone for anything remotely related to dating until he has his head sorted out. And never talk to me unless he has more normal subjects to talk about. Or anyone else. 
 

*Though the FBI literally lets countless Angry White Men slip through their fingers (The Majory-Stoneman Douglas mass shooting is a perfect display of that) because they’re so busy keeping tabs on Black and Muslim Americans activists. Because the greatest harm to America is not a mass shooting or another Timothy McVeigh, it’s people marching for their rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Oh well, at least I have lawyers as back up.

I’m a little late on The Arts! but I had to beat the rest of Rhythm Heaven and then Contagion finally released on Steam (I am considering a feature on them, as well, it’s a really good game).

“Ro-Na”

An Outkast “Hey Ya” parody about the current viral plague. It is humorous as it is very accurate.

Wear a mask, stay home, maintain social distance if you have to go outside.

“How Cop Orientations Must Be Like”

I thought this was humorous but what I liked most was how straightforward it was

– How concepts of being okay with brutality and oppression is passed down from seasoned officers to newer officers, pretty much indoctrinating hatred instead of actual law enforcement

– How when newer officers try to do the right thing (and basically their jobs and proper training), it is “corrected” by more seasoned officers because “this is how things are done” and if any make a fuss or correction, shamed and off the force they go. Guess what happens when you fire good cops for being good and keep (as well as laud/promote) bad cops for being bad? Not a decent police force, that’s for sure. And a lot of dead minorities. Oh, and ensuing protests and even a police department that gets torched like a Guy Fawkes wet dream. By the way, did you know you can make a s’more nacho dish? Just take some graham crackers, marshmallows, candies or chocolate, arrange nachos style, place on heat and done. Hard to eat with a mask on but quite delightful. Also available at Target. lol.

– The difference between how non-Black & belligerent individuals are treated (waved off and let go) and Black & reasonable individuals are treated (with great risk of being pretty dead)

Gotta love the Rhythm Heaven reference.

In the past few weeks, I have received a handful of interactions from White pagans or White people in general about the current events. None of them are talks that are what one could call “fruitful” because I certainly got zero out of the conversation (actually, probably less than zero – I really could have done without those interactions) but it’s the usual suspect: White folks who want to be slow-walked through “how racism works” or plain rather pretend to be your friend, even though you have never met them before. Basically the “Kind douchebag/douchebag with a smile” type.

Look, as far as readership goes, I have two relatively consistent White readers who I reasonably like because they are reasonable people, Mark and Calysta. Everyone else White and interacting are usually a major bother and those people are quite agitating because this is a Black blog, meant for Black Pagans, such as myself. There are countless Pagan blogs and media made by White Pagans but no, got to be over here, bothering spaces that they are not welcomed in because they are unwelcoming, themselves.

One interaction was on Twitter, when I posted about “Eyes on the Prize”. Read below:

Here is why I, and probably others, find this annoying:

I have many academic friends, one of them talks pretty regularly about the Holocaust. It’s is their diamond topic, they know it forwards and backwards. They like to talk about media and the Holocaust – mainly how the Holocaust is depicted, who is focused on, etc. Now, they don’t mind having talks about the subject, it is what they do. They have an insightful tangent on the movie Schindler’s List that is really interesting to hear. However, they still would not want to deal with someone who just walks up and go “Schindler’s List, I know about that movie. I love that movie,” and that’s it. Yeah, the movie has great cinematography, buuuuuuuuuuuut in a somber discussion about the Holocaust and how media makes people perceive it, that is not the appropriate time to bring it up. Long story short, if you don’t have anything useful to say then:

Same thing here. The dude could have kept his trap shut and all would be fine. Instead of interjecting pointless bullsh*t that mainly is for self-pandering reasons (“Look at what a good person I am! I’m a good White person!”). I have never been a fan of virtue signaling. Ever.

And why are White folks “thanking” Black people now for “opening their eyes”? I have gotten that quite a bit lately and I’m not the only one. Soooooooooooooooooooo … they still think we’re NPCs in their lives, huh? Walking life lessons and not humans, huh? How unsurprising. They kill us, we bring up killing us is wrong and we get thanked (no actual change, just phony, flimsy words) for … pointing out they are killing us. But should something happen to them, like a suburban mass shooting, they want the whole world to stop & care. It is already appalling that they lack so much empathy that it takes several murders, accompanied with HD photos and film, complete with sound, to figure out that there might be a problem and that racism might still be around. Now they treat those very same people who simply are talking about their lived life experiences (usually to people who share those same experiences) like that person’s traumas exists to educate White folks of how to be “better people”.

I’m cis and hetero-romantic (ace/demi but still het-romantic). I have heard queer and trans friends talk about their lives, good and bad. It did not take me the Pulse mass shooting to figure out that my friends are actual people and that murdering them for who they are is inherently wrong. I came to that conclusion without scores of people dying in very brutal ways. When they vent to me about the difficulties of dating, existing or, heck, how the mass shooting still alarms them to this very day, I don’t reply with “I never thought of that, thank you for sharing!”

‘Thank you for sharing?’ That’s pretty tone deaf and it would be beyond reasonable that they would probably not want to be my friend anymore because they’re talking about their lives and concerns and the best they got in reply is a “Thank you for your input, I will find this data most valuable to me”-type reply. They don’t feel heard, they feel used. I don’t think I have ever thanked any of them for talking about their lives as human beings because they were not offering me anything, they were simply talking about their day or their date. Nobody likes to feel like a science project when they’re just being themselves. It is completely one-sided. Doesn’t matter if they are a friend, doesn’t matter if they are a stranger.

But a lot of that is definitely going on. Have my queer & trans friends taught me new perspectives and ideas? Yeah, but so have my friends who are not very different from me. Friends teach you things, that’s part of friendship. Strangers teach you things, that’s part of living on a planet with other people. However, thanking someone for teaching you how to change a tire the right way is different from thanking someone for teaching you why you should not murder them or that they are, indeed, a human being. The former is reasonable and the latter is a sign that there is a sociopath in the room.

Racial murders of Black people are not new, they have been around for literal centuries. So has anti-Black racism. So have been people who have been talking about it at length. Trying to pretend to be a friend is not helpful, it is agitating. It’s borne from trying to look good, not from actual desire to learn and/or self-improve. This “pretend friend” thing is coming from people who are late to the party but still want it to be about them. If anything, instead of feigning allyship, it is simply better to zip it. If you have nothing of value to add – then do what the game says and close your yap. You don’t even have to press a single button.

 

Good afternoon. I am meeting with my spiritual family tomorrow to discuss racism among the pagan community and how we can make Wicca more inclusive for POC. Therefore, if I wanted to start making Wicca more inclusive for POC today, what could I do? The only ideas I can come up with seem like they would veer dangerously close to cultural appropriation, such as incorporating deities of other ethnic groups into worship in order to avoid the over emphasis on Greek and Celtic deities. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Blessed be.

-Jamie

This is literally no different than the guy from last month who asked “Is this racist? I’m making a character for my personal project”. It’s bad enough this person thinks I’m Wiccan when really I’m non-denominational Pagan/general Pagan.

As much as White culture likes to assume Black people are illiterate and lazy and like to rip on us about it – even if we have degrees in literature and we work endlessly (we’ve built nations, including the United States of America, while suffering terror and torture) – they sure dislike doing actual reading when it pertains to being less racist. Doesn’t matter how easy or accessible the info. They must be personally slow-walked by a random Black person, because that’s what they think Black folks exist for, as their assistants. I have 10 years of writings and a freaking Race category. How can a group of people be so stupid it’s almost groundbreaking? You’re on the internet, none of this is hard to figure out on your own, especially on my site.

White Pagans already are iron-dedicated to keeping Paganism, which is remarkably diverse, as White as possible. If they want to make things better for people that don’t look like them, they need to stop being lazy layabouts and do the leg work themselves.

Advice? Stop being so lazy and do the f*cking work – yourselves. If you can figure out occultism, which involves dead languages, missing documents and wide chasms of historical and cultural gaps due to time and war, anti-racism should be levels easier.

 

Is there such thing as body swap spell?

– Richard Lowe

Wow, that there is living proof the coronavirus is not killing the right people. I have said countless times how much I dislike body-swap spell askers. (inb4 “he was just asking!” – it usually starts there and then they show their trash selves afterwards) They’re just disgusting fetishists, usually. I already tracked one down and reported him to police because he mentioned a real person he wanted to “swap” with. This person is no different.

Hi there!

This is Melika and I am a qualified photographer.

I was puzzled, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without my permission, you must be aware that you could be sued by the copyright holder.

It’s against law to use stolen images and it’s so filthy!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at thisblackwitch.com and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my legal copyrights.

Download it right now and check this out for yourself:

[redacted link]

If you don’t remove the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

– Mel

This is spam meant to spread a computer virus. Let’s go into this.

I do not regularly post photos on the blog, and usually they are reaction type pictures I found scattered across the world wide web or related to The Arts! features. I tend to veer from personal-looking photos because they’re not what I like to use. I never have gotten a “take this down” request before so of course, this caught my eye. If I get a request, I take them seriously. But it’s a fake one, in the end.

This person doesn’t know copyright law well

Here’s the thing: you can only be successfully sued by copyright holder for a picture if a) the person used the image without credit and for financial/personal gain – aka, passed the photo off for their own and used it to make money/obtain something and b) you can prove the photo is yours, preferably with a legit copyright certificate from the Copyright Office, and there was no standing contract or anything else a person could use as an excuse to slip out of responsibility.

Otherwise, it’s an empty threat. And note I said “successfully”. Copyright lawsuits happen all the time. Not all are successful. Visual artists contend with their works being stolen all the time, it is a frustrating experience.

I’m a little lucky that I formerly worked in the Library of Congress (which houses the Copyright Office) and that one of my friends works in the Copyright Office. That and, as a creative, I have read up on copyright law the best I can.

You can do letters to a hosting provider but they do not make it super easy and again, it cannot be done blindly. WordPress runs over 20-30% of the internet. If you have no proof, you have no case.

The emo in this writing

Here’s the thing: This is a very emotion-rife letter. It’s mean to cause alarm and “this is how upset I am!!11!!!!!!1!!1”. Folks like these lean on emotion because they don’t want you to use logic. They want me to click the link, not actively debate – which is what I did anyways, because if you don’t show me the image, I will ask about it. A lot.

I could get why this could scare a newbie blogger or someone who is not so secure, lawyer-wise. I get it very easily, no one wants their site taken down because of a simple skirmish. Unfortunately, I have three different lawyers (story of my life: prejudiced people never clean up their act until feds and lawyers get involved – and even then, they are remarkably slow learners. But quick criers). So a “I’ll sue you!” is not too scary to me.

The point is to click the link

It was a google Drive link, which is also reportable for nefarious use, such as trying to spread a virus. If it is a legit take-down request, I should not have to download anything. They should have had the time, date, etc of the photo (which, at this point, is safe to say doesn’t exist) in question in the text of their email. It is not in the text, it looks sketchy.

 

Oh! And I never got a reply ever when I asked for clarification. If this person was serious, I would have gotten a quick reply.

I have gotten a lot of stupid White folks writing in because White guilt always creates lack of intelligence. You can probably guess how:

“Can you eeeeeeeeeeducate me? I can most likely recite Shakespeare and Asimov but Dr. King is too commmplicaaaaaated.”

White folks regularly like to paint themselves at super smart, better than anyone even remotely darker (and if they do think another group is smarter – they gotta be weird, odd robots (Hi, Asian America)). They have the books, the colleges, all the smarties – White folks love cementing the idea “White = Smart. No exceptions. We will literally mod and edit history books to uphold this and viciously dismiss/murder all who disagree, no exceptions.” The picture of a genius is a White person, according to them.

Except when it comes to race. All of a sudden, it is next to impossible to understand and they need someone affected to literally slow-walk them through what they need to do and the very concept that a human is still a human, even if that human does not look like them. Because they’re too dumb to get it. Countless books, blogs, movies, documentaries, etc etc, on the subject but still Does Not Compute.

It’s not “Listening to Black people”, it’s the usual, stereotypical “I’m White and I don’t want to do any work, I’ll make someone else do it and benefit/take all the credit” bs that is at an all fever pitch right around now, but with a heavy sprinkle of White Guilt, chased with a gulp of White Saviorism.

For example, there is a 14 hour docuseries called “Eyes on the Prize”. Free to stream in all its entirety. I grew up with this series, it’s really well made. I remember it would play regularly on PBS – but, oh wow, technology! You can now see it whenever you want, as many times you want and for free, been that way for years. It follows the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s to the 1980s. It came out in 1987, the year I was born, so doesn’t cover the Rodney King Beating/LA riots back in 1992 (There is a Sublime song about that, “April 29 1992”), or the Texan hate crime murder of James Byrd Jr in 1998, who was snatched and dragged three miles behind a pick up truck by three White guys (all Klans members). It was considered “Lynching by Dragging”. Or the discovery of Black people hanging from trees in the past month (Robert Fuller. Malcolm Harsch), and the fact that’s been on a visible uptick in the past three years or so.

There is also this forum talk (wear headphones, it’s pretty quiet) where the makers talk about things that has happened between 1987 to 2016, when this forum happened.

 

All these facts, all this very accessible data. Not hard to find.

Before I go into this post proper, I would like to remind everyone (read: Americans) that we are still in a viral plague. Especially America. Here is a funny and lighthearted joke video about it called “Gas Gas Gas”:

Wear masks and maintain social distancing. Not that hard. Unless you are an essential worker, do not be out and about. If you are an essential worker (grocery store, food runner, warehouse worker), please try to stay safe – and learn your worker rights. Doctors and nurses are paid a lot but not the person stuck doing warehouse work at FedEx with zero hazard pay.

Alrightie then, on to the current fare.

There is a lot of attemptive co-opting and gentrifying of Black Lives Matter by, you guessed it, White folks. Basically, it’s the current go-to to hopefully look less like a horrible person because the mere fact it took the graphic and brutal death of some random guy they most likely did not know played in 4k by a racist officer to go “Wait, Black people … are, like, people? Like, human?” doesn’t make anyone look like a literal ice cold, sociopath already. Especially since I’m pretty sure they have ran into Black people in their personal lives, worked beside them, lived next/near them, so on and so forth and none of those lived experiences most likely shared by said Black people moved the needle in their brain. I’m not a psychologist, but I’m sure that if anyone needs a metric load of graphic deaths of particular groups of people to just to feel baseline human empathy towards them, that is a big problem. Especially when people like that want to “help”. And here, it is with the usual “White Man’s Burden/White Saviorism” zest. Because it is never actual help. Ever.

I call all that I see now, the posting of black squares on social media, the manicured “we stand with BLM” statements from companies and individuals alike, attending the marches, signing up to Black Witch *cough, cough, I definitely see this*: “Pulling a Weinstein”.

Named after big-name movie giant and serial rapist Harvey Weinstein, because this is one of his many go-to tactics: Show ’em that you care! He has donated to countless charities and causes focused on gender issues such as Planned Parenthood, supported feminist notables such as Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. He even tried to donate a scholarship fund to University of Southern California for female filmmakers but that was rejected because USC didn’t want to be in the headlines for that – otherwise they would have taken the money easily, academia isn’t that big on progress, just image.

This method is to serve as a counter-argument to every time someone called Weinstein a rapist. Which happened – a lot. It was no hidden secret that this was how Weinstein was and everyone around him pretty much okay’d it because the choice was either moral standards or paycheck and, well, electric companies and landlords don’t accept “moral standards” as a method of payment. Just make the actress he attacked feel confused and more like the perp than the victim, tell everyone she’s “difficult to work with”, donate to some big organization for women and call it a day. Remember, no guy ever had to wonder if Weinstein was going to ask him for a blow job in exchange for a role. Every time someone called Weinstein a rapist, out came the “He’s donated to xyz, he vociferously supports women, and all those girls are liars. Would a rapist donate to things that uplift women?”

If it kept him out of the legal hotseat – which it did for decades – then, yup. He would.

It’s a smart move, in a way: Look like a wonderful guy in the public eye, everyone gives you a pass to be a monster in private. Lawyers love this move, especially because donating to such venerable causes shows “character”. Even if it is about as phony as a styrofoam boat pretending to be a cruise liner. Everybody loves virtue signaling.

Annnnnnnd here we see it again. I expect years from now, I’m going to hear, “I marched with Black Lives Matters” when White people will be called out on their racism and prejudice. Their parents and grandparents already have worn out their version: “I marched with Dr. King”. Being there doesn’t give anyone non-Black a pass for being a horrible person. But, wow, will it be used that way.

Because all these acts now, they’re just “Weinstein Acts” – these acts look really nice and heart warming and sweet (they painted streets yellow! Awwwwww!) But it means literally nothing in all honesty (Instead of yellow lettered streets, how about work on red lining, liquor lining, block busting and gerrymandering?). The donations, the yellow letter streets, the black squares, the mass joining of Black influencers and creators on the internet, it’s all cute – but empty, pointless and absurd in the long run. Just White people in general, from individuals to corporations, pulling a Weinstein. Hey, it worked for Harvey Weinstein for literal decades, why not? Yeah, he fell and fell far but even the take-down was near herculean. And look at how many women who’s careers he affected and even killed during that very, very long time. It’s not like they’re all going to immediately bounce back like a spring. Some damage is simply irreversible. Time lost, opportunities lost, livelihoods lost. Weinstein donated loads of money and time to feminist causes. He didn’t do it because it was the right thing to do, he did it because he needed someone to tote out as a human credibility shield should people pick up on his heinous deeds. No different than what is happening now.

Here are four blocks of allyship, I found them floating about on social media. Made by Seerutkchawla:

Right now, I see a hefty amount of “Performative Allyship”. A loooooooooooot of it. This is why I say, “They don’t care, this is all for show.” Following Black influencers and creators (I got a payload of new subscribers for this blog, a staggering amount of them White – despite the glaring fact that this is a Black blog, for a Black Pagan readership), painting streets, so on and so forth, it’s for show. It’s to show off to other White people (“I’m better than you, nyah nyah”) and to be a credibility shield when called out by literally everyone else (“I’m not racist, I marched with BLM/read a single Black blog/follow Black people on social media.”). Even right now, on the personal level, Black folks are getting inundated by random White friends and acquaintances “checking in.” Because no other time mattered, whatsoever, including “Out of total friendship/genuine caring”. I know I can suck at keeping up with my friends but at least I don’t have to be prompted by a random brutal murder driven by prejudice to do it.

I have seen very, very little of “Authentic Allyship”. Because it is hard, there are no laurels to get and the only pedestal you’re probably going to be hoisted on is so people can throw rocks at you. You don’t get on the cover of any news brief or magazine, there’s zero limelight – if any at all (how many people know about John Brown or Jane Elliot?), it is a lot of private work and longstanding private work at that. It’s difficult and hard, but at least its the right thing. And its for anything in regards to working with groups that have suffered historical oppression. For example, how many times have I touted “LOVE GAY AND TRANS PEOPLE AND LGBT IS FOR ME. HATE DOESN’T LIVE HERE!!! I LOVE GAY AND TRANS PPL!!1!1!!11111!!!!!!” on this blog or any of my social media? I’m not gay or trans (I’m actually ace/demi but still, cis and not gay all the same). I definitely have gay and trans friends, as well as friends all across the LGBTQIA spectrum, but when Pulse happened, I didn’t flap them around for credibility, I didn’t become hyper-focused on LGBT issues during the time as if I was trying to replace OutLoud, and I certainly did not pester my LGBTQIA friends who were nowhere near Pulse when the mass shooting happened. I read their social media vent posts and listened when I could … but that’s what I generally do, literally to the point of annoyance, mass murder or no mass murder. Black Witch regularly features LGBT content to the point it’s regularly littered about on the blog, especially in The Arts! features. It’s not glitzy but Authentic Allyship is not supposed to be.

It is remarkably important for real change to occur because it is quite necessary. Weinstein donated a lot of money to good causes, but only because he was also the cause of the problems they’re fighting against. It was completely performative, he never cared to start with. He just wanted a cover so he could keep up his bad behavior, virtually unchecked. And it worked, for a very long time. It’s no different here. Performative is nice but only for the person doing the performance. For everyone else, it usually causes trouble down the line. But the performative ally generally does not care at all, because they hardly ever do. It’s all about them and, to them, that’s all that matters.

Black Witch is 10 years old today.

This blog has lasted a lot longer than I thought. I managed to keep up with this blog at some regular-ish interval.

Astonishingly, I don’t have a whole lot to say, really.  I’m sure I will before the month is out, I think part of it is that it doesn’t feel like it hit 10 years, it just feels like yet another year at BW.

Either way, I rescheduled my FB Live on my fan page to today at 6PM EST

 

 

Due to recent events, I have been getting people – usually White folks – coming out the rafters with all these questions about race, prejudice and other things that exists in reading, audio-visual form on the internet for free and easy to find. PBS exists, documentaries exists (free ones), online museums exists (especially now, in the middle of a pandemic), Spike Lee exists, Ava DuVernay exists, countless pieces of media and creators.

Here’s a letter I got:

Hi, I hope you’re well with all the horrible stuff going on. I have a question as a white author trying to write a ‘black’ character. The character starts out as white, gets blessed by the fire goddess, and her skin turns black with orange crackles like lava, her hair like ash, her eyes orange. Shes the main character, conquers the world and kills dragons, has a happy love story, and her arc is all about coming to terms with your inner strength. She is a bit shunned after her transformation, but as a whole she becomes very positively seen. My question is, is it offensive to have her change skin color? Is it reminiscent of people who die their skin to try and pretend to be black? I’ve tried speaking to fellow authors, but I’d really appreciate your input as well. Thank you very much.

 

I replied with a pretty scathing response but let’s go into detail about why I went the caustic route instead of the “Hey, I am sooooooooooooooo glad you literally want to make sure you’re not being racist in your works, Random White Person” that this person probably was expecting.

Read the Air

I’m a creative writer myself and some of my works require a bit of digging. For example, I have a VR game about the Berlin Blitz (1943 Berlin Blitz), a regular video game about WWII Czechoslovakia that uses first hand accounts from the actual survivors (Attentat 1942), links to the US Holocaust museum and regular Jewish history that does not circulate around them being very, very dead or under severe threat of being very, very dead. And this is not the bulk of my research work, just a narrow pie slice because I have a very broad spread of research – another example, Japanese-Korean history. Which stretches centuries, from when they started as nations to now. And it is not a pretty history. But I know it! And I didn’t bother a single Japanese or Korean person about it.

Notice I never said, “I badger my Jewish and Korean friends about how they feel about the Holocaust and Japanese-Korean relations” or “I bother random Jewish people or Czech people about the Holocaust or random Japanese and Korean people about Japanese-Korean relations because I am interested in this, I ran out of silly shows on Netflix and my Instagram feed is dull – oh, I mean, because I lack deeeeeeeepth.” Because those are pretty painful points of history. I would imagine the random people would not be too nice because, dude, wtf? And the friends of mine would probably correct me to say “No, no, she means ‘former friends’ because, dude, wtf?” No one has that at the forefront of their mind, either. Not even scholars. Because it is depressing.

When it comes to painful parts of history, I can ensure you, dollars to donuts, that someone very well informed and eloquent has written about it, painted about it, made a movie about it, so on and so forth. No need to bother random strangers and go “Hey, you’re really bothered by the fact people who look like me still like killing people like you for sport, can you tell me if I’m being racist in a personal passion project of mine? It’s really important to me I get this right.” If you can’t somehow even remotely google “Blackface” (even on my site I have a search bar, I have talked about Blackface before. Try using it) and you’re not sure you’re “Doing it wrong”, then pick up another subject to write about. Everyone likes cats, go make literary art about that. Every time I came across a pretty rough portent of history, I researched it for myself. Watched documentaries, read articles, viewed interactive exhibits – y’know, work. I didn’t seek out the affected individuals and bother them because I neeeeeeed to know. If I need to know that badly, I will research it.

Learn to know when is the right time and wrong time to badger a random person on the internet about painful histories of their background. Don’t ask a queer person about if they agree or disagree with random people killing them after a horrendous death of a trans person hits the news. Don’t ask a Black person if something is racist or not when they’re busy dealing with strings of murders tied to racist people killing them simply for existing. If it is too hard to figure it out without a one-on-one 1st person account, just chalk up that you might be too stupid for the subject and pick something else to focus on. Like knitting.

Try Search Engines

When I was younger, back in the 90s and very late 80s, if you wanted to know something, you had to go to a physical encyclopedia. Hopefully it was up to date (you needed a new set yearly and they were expensive), a full collection (a set of encyclopedia could range the entire length of a classroom. Some sets, several times over), and written well (White academics really really suck at writing anything that had nothing to do with, well, White-focused history (Europe and the White part of America). And I mean, who-did-you-blow-to-get-your-degree awful. Fun fact: they still really, really suck at it). There were many ways information could slip through the cracks. Crappy libraries, racism-fueled poor research, closed down libraries, shoddy schools, bad and/or racist teachers and/or administrators – the possibilities of abysmal education are endless.

And then the internet happened. And then, of all the search engines to start out, Google climbed out on top.

I do have my snips about Google – oh, so many snips – but, for all intents and purposes, it works well for information procurement … assuming the person is not looking for biased info, because that’s confirmation bias and that’s exactly how you get people like Dylan Roof and the end result of nine innocent people very, very dead (Search it). All you need is the ability to have critical thinking skills. And the ability to take a wonderful, long and thoughtful sip from the Shut the F*ck cUp. That way, you can have all the feels you want to feel, good and bad, and you didn’t have to ruin someone else’s day about it. I have done this countless times, when learning about countless places and countless events in history. It is an arduous method but a very useful one.

No, Really Try Researching

There are blogs, twitter accounts, tumblrs, documentaries, encyclopedia entries, online museums, books. So many details and so many facts exist now. I bet if I dig hard enough, I will probably find a virtual reality game where I can sit and ask a hologram of Dr. King a bunch of questions in the middle of Alabama. They already have that for Holocaust survivors, where they sat in a seat, became digitized and answered literal hours of questions so to become a full, fleshed out hologram that can be asked the same questions again and again from scholars to regular curious people. Now, you don’t have to track down someone’s poor grandparent and badger them about why they have a weird arm tattoo and “was it as bad as they say? Because some random guy online that I follow said it didn’t even happen. I just want to be accurate.”

Again, all you need are critical thinking skills. And an ability to zip it.

If doing basic research is too hard, then maybe try a different hobby. Like paddleball. Simple and no intelligence required.

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