Category: Pagan Life


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Let’s start with Self Care:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actually, that’s probably the point.

 

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

 

Parade of Apologies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most recent one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

A) I’m not a Satanist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Start!

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

“Foundation”, eh?

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

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

The stupid, it burns

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

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

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

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

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

Yikes – Exhibit A

Yikes – Exhibit B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much Yikes. All the Yikes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is this doozy:

My reaction:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*cackles*

And I told Boy-Priest so:

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

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

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

Yah, not surprised

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

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

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

O rly?

My reply:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

On March 18, I got this email:

Sick Backpedal, Lycos!

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

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

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

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

And that’s a problem.

Grave Foundations

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

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

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

Everyone, cue the music!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looks like this

 

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

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

Unhappy Answers

It appears I am running into a lot of people who don’t seem to get that there is a difference between getting “no answer” and getting “answer they don’t like”. Recently, it’s been about race (who would be surprised, White folks use the “huh? This is rocket science” – sometimes by actual STEM people – defense a lot) but it reminds me of when I would do palmistry and other forms of divination (which is part of why I tend not to do it as much) because it’s really astounding how people turn their brains off when they’re emotionally rapt within a situation.

Before we go further, let’s look at the difference. “No answer” means exactly that. In divination, this is a near impossible to me because you always get output but “no answer” is exactly that: there is zero answer. When discussing issues of race, it’s someone not replying and Google coming up with zero results. “Answer you don’t like” means you got an answer but it isn’t one that gives you fuzzy feelings. In divination, this was pretty common. I seriously don’t know how many times I’ve made folk go from “this is faaaaaaaaaaake, I’mma get my hand read and she’ll be wrong” to shouting at me because I zeroed in on a major issue or secret with disturbing accuracy or straight up crying. Then they want their reading done again because they didn’t like the answer they got, there must be another way. It’s why I adopted the adage, “if you didn’t want to know, don’t ask.” I still remember one person actually disturbed my class while I was taking a final because they wanted their palm read again. My college professor was none too happy. In race discussion, it’s basically the form of a White person going, “why does this situation make me the bad guy? I do not want to understand, please make this not make me sound bad. I am White, I am not supposed to be the bad guy.” They don’t like that reality isn’t not so pretty and want to ignore it. It’s not that they didn’t get an answer, they just got one they didn’t like.

Here’s the thing, if you get an answer, even one you don’t like, you got an answer. No need to badger the person or pretend to play “devil’s advocate” or “what if” scenarios. If you gotta do the two latters, do it by yourself. You asked, they answered, end of story.

I find it both annoying and stupid when I have to do merry-go-round discussions. I get why they happen, folks don’t like the fact that life is not a fun festival of joy and abundance. However, it is agitating when you have to be on the informing end of this. It’s actually to the point that when I get asked the same question again, I tell them I already answered it. If they go “wait, this thing you said? I don’t like that answer,” I just say that it’s an answer.

Everyone, doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different is not the definition of insanity, far from it. It’s the definition of stupidity.

Late as heck but ABW is here, yay!

Hi my name is Jonte and I am reaching out to you on a very serious situation I have been dealing with for the last 3 years straight.  I am getting harassed by spirits 24/7 and I can actually feel them attaching to me.  They enter my ear and through my feet and I can actually feel something on my lower back by the tailbone area.  I also get pin pricks all over my body and if feels like they are watching me all the time.  When they latch onto me (which is often) they make noises wherever I am at and cause all types of disturbances.  I now have company staying with me and they make the noises around him also.  I really want to put a end to this and I have been searching for help so long I am getting harassed by physical people and by spirits..  It’s a phenomenon going on that some people call gang-stalking but I call it demonic harassment.  I know that witch craft is involved and I was wondering if you could maybe help me understand what might be going on?  Thanks.

– Jonte

With little info, I can’t tell if this is a simple medical/body problem or not. Given my experience, though, I have noticed things are usually less mystical than they originally appear. I always hear from people who say “I know witchcraft was involved” but usually it boils into nothing serious. Does it mean that folks don’t wind up haunted? No. Is it common, though? Absolutely not. And this is the second or so person I have heard use the term “gang-stalking”. “Gang Stalking” is considered a concerted effort from a group of people to ruin the target individual completely and totally – and sometimes considered an offshoot paranoia delusion by the psychological field. I could always say “this is a poltergeist just being annoying” but poltergeists don’t tend to bring real, physical people into the mix.

Another thing that tells me this is not a psychic/psionic thing because of the specifics – which make not a lot of sense: “they enter my ear and through my feet and I can actually feel something on my lower back by the tailbone area”. Reminds me of people who say they can hear the CIA through the microwaves and fillings in their teeth. Possessions and things of that nature are usually not so pointed, from what I know.

All in all, I don’t think this is a “magick” thing, and will little info, I can’t call it much else.

 

Hi there,
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We really think you’ll enjoy Paperless Post and can’t wait to hear what you think. Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and I’ll show you how to get started!

Best,
Helen

I feel like being a douche because I abhor these emails. Money-grubbers were never my favorite kind of people. Ever. Never heard of them or Paperless Post but since both websites are not diverse enough (I’m not into tokenization, guys. Be diverse or be honest, pick one) I officially think they suck, greatly. The letter is so bland, they name people I don’t care about and it’s so pathetic, right down to the tepid compliment.

So what I think? These folks should peddle their annoying bullsh*t elsewhere. Come back when you’re Black owned or something remotely interesting.

 

Is it possible to become a immortal vempire? I will do whatever it takes.

– Unknown 2.0

Why do I get annoying questions like these? Stop reading Twilight.

 

I have a friend, I am trying to help him. his parents are very controlling and manipulative towards him. He has a disability and his parents try to control his life because his disability. he cant have friends come over to his house and he cant leave the house to see anyone unless his parents approve of it. I recently found out he went to a lawyer with parents to supposedly help him get a disability check from the government. when he showed me the website for the lawyer, it said they dont give disability rights but they give arrangements for people to get money after the person dies and went on to say they help prove incompetency. I am really scared for my friend and really worried about him. please help me find a spell on can on his parents that will help break the control and manipulation and stop the madness that goes on inside his house hold, HELP please i need a spell to help him stop his parents

-Trista N

As always, I DON’T do spell help/paid spellwork or ANYTHING of that matter. This sounds like disability abuse, they should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline under their Disability Abuse section.

 

Hello,

My name is Corie. I’ve been interested in wicca and paganism for awhile now. I feel overwhelmed with the conflicting information and practices. Can you suggest a good book for a general foundation?

– Corie

Where to Park your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy annnnnnnd all the other books I have ever mentioned on my site. And the Resources & Information tag.

 

My name is Abigail Rabi and I work for the content team in a legal firm in California, HoganInjury. We came across your article about mental health at https://thisblackwitch.com/category/pagan-life/mental-healthmental-illness/

I wanted to ask if you might be interested in sharing with your audience an article of ours that is related with the topic mentioned above.

[Link redacted]

We hope that our article can provide value and a unique perspective for your readers. You can syndicate this article or use it as an additional resource for your content. In return, my team and I will be happy to promote your content on Twitter.

Let me know if you are able to share our article and if there’s anything we can do for you on our end.

Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Kind regards,
Abigail Rabi

Another pandering email. Again, I abhor these. And I doubt the ambulance chasers didn’t even read anything in the Mental Health category, just blindly copied and pasted it because fake bonding. They linked the category not a particular article/post. Proof of not reading anything to me.

The article is not valuable or unique, if you have read fear-mongering articles penned by old people scared of the internet for your local news station to regurgitate, then you already read what these folks have supplied, but sans anything mean about Millennials. It’s actually an ad for the firm that looks like an article because fake Lionel Hutz up there probably is running out of poor people to rinse and fleece in California – by the way, I live in Maryland. (Also known as “On the other side of the United States of America”.)  So they bother folks like me to hopefully and blindly peddle their bullsh*t.

My own lawyer, who I would be much more inclined to recommend, thankfully isn’t this much of an attention whore.

Here’s the thing, you’re a lawyer who wants to do stuff with mentally ill folks? Here’s some tips if you don’t want a nasty email from me:

  • MUST be pro-bono work only – not interested in folks who just wanna fleece the feeble and defenseless because they want the newest Zonda or Bugatti. You actually do have to help the people. I know, the horror.
  • Doesn’t talk to me like a corporate shill -I can’t stand people like that because they don’t care about the people they serve, they just want money
  • Actually builds rapport – See prev. point
  • Don’t be White – I’m a Black blog, guess which types of lawyers I’d rather hear from? The fact you wanted old dumb coot Bernie Sanders in office isn’t good enough (if you wanted that guy, seriously never talk to me)
  • Again, MUST be pro-bono or go rinse someone else.

I wouldn’t want to be tied to these people at all. They seem terrible trash to me. Why do folks think I’m Buzzfeed or something?

What they can do for me is to screw off and stop pestering anyone else.

 

I am from india…i am in love with a boy..but my parents are forcing me to marry some one else…can u help to stop this marriage??

– Lovestruck and Silly

Forced marriage is still a major problem in India, hence why I used a fake name for the person. However, in our really long back-and-forth, it seems they seriously didn’t really want any of the sites I dug up to help them, just more “Genie, grant my wishes” nonsense. She even tried to say “Your website said you give free readings” and when I asked where did I state that, she clammed up. So for anyone who is in such a dire situation, here’s some info for you:

National Human Rights Commission, India

National Commission for Women, India

Love Commandos

All three websites are in both English and Hindi. Please use these sites. I do NOT offer magick anything so this is the best you got if there is nothing else.

Snow Trails

Recently, I have noticed an influx of White … readers? I have no idea if they are, but what I do know are the stats my FB fan page gives me and that’s one thing I have notice. And that’s a touch concerning for me.

I do have some longtime readers who aren’t Black. They’ve been pretty nice and supportive. They’re not problems and that is nifty. It’s the recent influx that has me more concerned. I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that good people trickle in, they don’t arrive in droves. However, problematic people come in swarms and when it comes to issues like race, it gets potentially agitating.

Here’s the thing: this blog’s primary audience is Black Pagans. I wouldn’t be surprised if it skewed more female than male but Black Pagans are who this blog is for. The thing about getting White attention is the problems that it brings. For one, there is stronger likelihood of content theft. It’s a pretty prominent problem where Black creatives make something and it gets whitewashed for profitability purposes. (See: Fortnite dances and HuffPost “Black Voices”, those are two glowing examples of something Black centered but Whitewashed as soon as there was money to be made). I’m not at all a fan of the idea that I post something, some White kid sees it, rips it and doesn’t really credit at all. It may sound absurd, especially since I don’t think I pen super ground-breaking material… but it does happen to others and I don’t think of myself so special that it wouldn’t happen to me.

Then there’s the annoying questions because reading is not as fundamental as I thought. I get questions from people thinking I do hexes and curses because they didn’t bother to read that this blog is called “Black Witch” because I’m a Black person. As in, from the African diaspora. And the fact I just about never mention jinxes or hexes doesn’t deter the stupidity that winds up in my inbox. At all. And I have a search bar on the top of the site, it is not a case of “how was I supposed to know?”

Thing is, I have learned from my experience with the White Pagan community is that, in many ways, it pretty much resembles Klannish ideals, just with a lot more sage and dream catchers involved. They still think Paganism should be as White as possible, even if the practices the use aren’t. They still think PoC/minorities in Paganism are better off as tokens and not equals – and tokens that can be put to use, either to deflect accusations of racism or to mine more spiritual practices to crudely hijack. And that’s White folks in Paganism. In general, same thing, just remove the sage and dream catchers.

Annoying race questions or comments, I don’t get them as much as other Black blogs (yay for that) but they still happen. Here’s the thing: this blog isn’t intended for really anyone outside the primary audience. That’s why I don’t waste a whole lot of time explaining slang/aave I use (I’m about to bring up the AAVE I get in a sec), cultural ideals or anything like that because I assume the person reading should already have enough knowledge to know what I am saying or referring to. If they can’t translate it, then it probably isn’t for them.

I don’t get a lot of mushmouth-pretend AAVE (also known as “How White people think Black people – even ones with degrees – talk…because they still go with 1880 vaudeville ideas”) but I have gotten enough to know that it is a pretty quick way to make me get pretty caustic in my responses because while the person saying it may not think so, a neon “Racist” sign is blinking over their head. If you’re not a Black kid from the hood, I expect you not to talk like a terrible mimic of one. I already get enough nonsense in my inbox, I would prefer to not have to deal with someone who sounds like they watched too much Family Guy or as if they were Donald Trump’s liberal nephew or niece, complete with a Bernie Sanders’ shirt.

So far, I haven’t gotten too many problems – outside of the dude who tried to give me a death threat (despite being half the US away from me, blue collar beyond belief and – if his HR took my complaint seriously – jobless). There’s also the smarmy lawyer in California who thought I would post a trash article they penned on their site. It’s supposed to look like it’s a concerning article about social media and mental health, it’s just an ad for the lawyer. But it always makes me cock an eyebrow anytime I get an influx. Because it means annoyances and issues are soon to come, normally in the form of some White “ally” commenting how they personally aren’t racist and should totes get a pat on the head for it. Or some person who confuses me for a genie or their personal druid simply because I have an email address and FB messenger.

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