Category: Divination


Divination-Lite

I don’t do divination as much as I used to. I still have the tools and the books but I haven’t pulled out my playing cards or L-rods in a while. Not much need to because I don’t need to know what the future is going to look like every three days. And there certainly are situations and times where I don’t want to know.

However, because I have been doing divination for such a long time, it’s built into how I do things. Which isn’t bad, keeps me from getting totally rusty.

A good example is palmistry. While I don’t spend hours staring at the lines of my hands (besides, it takes about six months to spot any difference), I do note if a small white dot pops up on my nail. My diet is quite stable and regulated (and there’s also the fact every woman in my family with exception to a small handful is in medicine, I grew up around doctors pretty much) so I know the difference between “Maybe I could put more iron in my diet” and “Yep, I did have a big life event occur that really threw me off guard about three months ago.” When I catch them, they help me look at the situation and all the issues surrounding it because every finger represents something different. Basic palmistry 101 stuff.

Thing is, divination is good for looking in the future and the past but it’s not for reading every five days. The palmistry is good for me because a) I’m good at it, I still remember a person I read for banging on the door of one of my college classes during a final because they wanted me to read their hand again and b ) it’s quick and easy, no need for cards, pendulums or anything. It’s only when it catches my eye do I take notice.

I think this type of “divination-lite” is good for those who have pretty intermediate or advanced experience in divination because by that point, the diviner can separate the wheat from the chaff – as in, they can tell the difference between a sign they should focus on and a regular happening. I wouldn’t be trying to divine the cards dealt to me if I’m playing cards with my friends or doing solitaire. That would be nonsense. I would take note if I saw a deck and drew a card with the intent of getting clued into my future. Or do a simple yes/no card reading where I look for one of two different cards and it looks like I’m just straightening up the deck by dealing the cards out one by one. However, I just do those very few and far in between.

The thing about divination is that, while it is nice and if you do it right, you’ll rarely be wrong – BUT! Too much meddling in your own future can cause random left turns that could leave you in a worse situation than predicted.

Here’s the thing about humans and bad circumstances – they will try to change the hands of fate if so much as a blemish of a bad time blips up. I have done spreads for others where the future splinters off into two routes: the future if things stay the same, the future if there are changes. I have told people I read for, “Yah, this looks pretty bad but it appears you have to go through it because it looks like a life lesson you have been ducking for who knows how long. The smoother route is here but it’s really just a calm-looking fake out before things really hit the fan worse than they are right now.” Guess which part they hyper focus on? The “smoother route is here” part and that’s it. How do I know? They’re the folks finding me a month or two later pretty much going “I legit ignored everything you said that was useful, focused on changing the circumstance so I wouldn’t have to experience it at all and things went very Chernobyl with a dash of Three Mile Island. Halp meh.”

There is a reason why I have a “I do not unscrew your screwed pooch” rule. And why I don’t divine much for people outside of Samhain Pickers (which I haven’t done in a while) and that’s it.

But to keep from being rusty, I keep the light divination for myself. Works out better that way.

 

 

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.

One of the hardest times to be clairvoyant* is when you’re going through stress. The bigger the stress (lost job, hostile work environment, disruptions at home or in family), the more it dulls the psionic senses. It can even feel like you’re losing your touch, readings are off or simply there’s nothing blipping up at all. You may usually read for yourself but you’re not interested in what the cards or tea leaves have to say anymore out of fear of getting more “Bad news coming” results because you simply are well past your eyebrows in problems and don’t want to know if more is boppling down the pipe. You feel stuck and out of sorts if not out of control.

There’s no point to say “Stress impacts the mind” because there’s countless documents backing that up, as well as lived experiences. Good stress, bad stress, too much of it and you’re ready to pull your hair out. Besides giving you a millimeter fuse of a temper and a more vulnerable immune system, being part of psionics or simply energy manipulation means signs of stress will show up there as well. Despite what branch you practice, it shows up roughly the same way: Way off predictions, no signal at all, even headaches or a cloudy-minded feeling during even small attempts. Being psionic is a mental workout so it should come at no surprise that when under stress, that workout gets more dogged and wearing.

When going through mass amounts of stress, try not to worry about not being as good at divination or prediction as usual because that can create a negative feedback loop that will just add to the stress, not alleviate it. It’s just dulled right now because your brain is more fixated on the current problem at hand, even when you think it is situated in the back of your mind. Instead, just try to alleviate the stress the best you can by making effective changes towards diet and lifestyle. Granted, it is not that easy because stress from towering bills and a shrinking paycheck will not magically go away completely because you decided to drink more water instead of coffee but it will help your brain process information better and not feel so wound up and fretful. That’s a step in the right direction, at the very least. Try to be more firm with boundaries, even if you’re not the type to say “No” because with boundaries, you can better dictate your load, especially if something bigger comes along unexpectedly. Even if they’re little things, they can still help towards and ultimate goal of successfully managing the stress in a healthy way to get back to normal.

It’s ok, even if you’re a diviner, to not be interested in readings or forecasts because you’re worried of what the future is going to hold. Also, it’s ok to not want to listen to yourself because you can’t tell the real future from what you’re worried (or hoping) is going to happen. Fear can cloud anything and easily look like reality. When stressed, it’s not hard at all to be stress about how things are this month, how it will bleed over to next month, and next month … and the month after that…and the month after that, until you’re stressed about things in December and it isn’t even halfway through July. Stress can trigger the brain into fight or flight or freeze mode, it’s not going to function like usual when all the red alerts are going off inside your head. It truly is ok to not want to predict the future because the present already looks unpredictable enough.

That, and you might not believe what is actually about to happen. If you’re so deeply convinced that things won’t get better but you suddenly get a reading or a psychic ping of some good news, you’re likely to go “Naaaaah. Can’t be real. That’s what I would like to happen but I know it’s not gonna. Just no way, because [insert reasons here]”. All the same if you get some bad news, you may go, “That can’t be. I did everything I was supposed to. Maybe I’m just dwelling on my current state right now because [insert reasons here].” When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see any clarity. Or to simply understand it.

As you deal with stress, the best way to handle it is to be as proactive as possible. It’s not easy to manage stress, it takes more than just doing pilates and having green smoothies. It takes a full effort to find where the stress is coming from and trying to alleviate it, even if it means making hard changes. But while being stressed, it’s okay if you can’t tell what’s going to happen next, just try to work on what is happening now and eventually, you’ll find out.

Next week is The Arts!, here’s what’s getting featured:

  • Kitty Underground Railroad
  • Helping Homeless Felines

*Clairsentient, clairaudient, there’s different types

How does one go about reading their own future or getting their future read for real free?
– Austin

Learning to do divination is just a means of research for what type of divination you want to do. There are so many of forms of divination from tarot to reading flames to scrutinizing how the wind blows. That’s up to you to decide how you want to go about which form you want to pursue and then research about it (especially if it is lesser known) to see how it works. Divination is just a tool, like a tv remote. You  can easily get up and turn on a tv, change channels, manage the volume and settings, but a remote aids you to do the  same with but without having to move. In some respects, divination makes things easier because there’s something for your intuition to process what it is trying to say through. And notice I never said once about how “you have to believe in it,” because that’s crap. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. 

A free reading done here on Black Witch only happens during Samhain/Halloween and only through the sweepstakes “Samhain Pickers” where a reader has to submit a ticket (email) and they have to be one of the three winners picked. Otherwise, all readings are paid readings and those are only when I feel like doing mass divination (which isn’t often (mainly when I’m encountering financial strife (not as common as prior, thankfully) or someone makes a 20″ tall statue of Storm.) I suppose you can bump around on Tumblr but you may not find as many free readings (and make sure they’re free, if they ask for money during any point of the process, it isn’t free) as paid ones.

And that’s all the Ask Black Witch for today! This was posted from the WordPress app so it shows up odd, that’s why and make sure to inform me so I correct it later.

Alright, everyone! Don’t forget! Black Witch 4th anniversary Ustream vcast on June 9th at 10:00 PM EST! Be there! I’ll be taking questions via Ustream and twitter (@thisblackwitch).

Hello, my name’s Evangeline. I have thousands questions, but my two main concerns at the moment is how to connect with the Goddesses. I’ve been on the Pagan/Wicca path for about a year now. I haven’t truly dedicated myself yet. I’m leaning more to Diantic Wicca. I’ve put together a notebook and I’ve decided to choose 10 or so Goddesses that appeal to me and working with them each for a month. I’ve meditated on a few and I intend to continue doing so, but is this a good way to approach it and what do I need to know about them? What do I need to research? Also, I’ve been fascinated by Divination. I’ve dabbled in Tarot (Rider Waite deck), Runes, scrying, and I use a pendulum occasionally. My question is can I work with multiple Divination tools together?

– Evangeline

I recommend research. Reading is probably the best you can do to understand the deities you like and the cultures they come from, which is crucial in understanding and relating to how your selected deities work and their place in the universe. You can start by using Mythology Dictionary (which is in the Links of Interest) and going from there by researching their cultures and backgrounds.

Stay off of New Age-y sites, they’re full of nonsense written by people who possibly slept all the way through high school science and culture classes and possibly think fluoride is a toxin that’s put in our water. They’re not researchers, just really people who are more opinionated than they are educated. Stick with sites that actually go into the cultures of the deities you want to work with and make sure it’s not framed on the spectrum of Whiteness, that people from the culture are actually talking for themselves. And if the site describes the cultures as “barbaric”, “savage” or anything that basically translates to, “aren’t you happy you’re here and not there?”, it is not a good learning material because it is super biased. Even if it is a wiki page from Harvard, get off the site.

Also, read actual books. Internet doesn’t have everything. Go to actual libraries and read actual books. You’ll get a lot more information that way because you’ll see multiple viewpoints on the same thing, which is necessary. Research your deities there and their cultures and see what you come up with. Again, same stuff stands: Stay away from New Agey books (they’re possibly going to be incorrect), stay away from “spectrum of White” books (they’re inaccurate), books that treat the cultures like Western modern culture is the best culture ever and everyone else sucks (also wildly inaccurate).

You can use varying forms of divination together. You’ll be tired a lot, especially if you’re new to it, but you can do it.

Running Black Witch, I’m certain that I would get odd questions now and again. However, as of recent I’ve gotten a rash of “tell me if this girl like me” questions. This has been coming from nothing but guys, only guys have been sending me questions – or demands because manners are lost on them – to do divination or whatever voodoo that I do to figure out something that should not need divine questioning for. I always give my copy and paste answer of “Have you tried asking her?”

I find these questions annoying for two reasons:

1) If they did a little more than the most basic skimming of my site’s name, they would know that I don’t do divination readings on here until Samhain Pickers close to Halloween and even with that, you have to win the reading via random drawing

2) Why ask a random stranger on the internet if someone you actually knows likes you? Just ask!

The reason why I always respond “Have you tried asking her?” to their “Does she like me?” question is because that’s really just it. The best way to find out if someone likes you is if you actually suck it up and ask “Do you like me? Y’know, more than a friend?” I’m not saying it’s not nerve wracking to ask someone you have a crush on if they feel the same way you do about them but it is a better step than simply bothering me. Even my personal friends don’t come to me asking this question.

I do find it interesting that I’ve gotten absolutely nothing but guys asking me this. And they don’t go into detail, just basically go, “There’s this girl. Does she like me?” Dude, just ask her. I don’t think I can say that enough. One even decided to play stupid and thought that because I wasn’t psychically confirming whether or not the girl he was too scared to approach in honesty liked him, that it would be best to basically call me a fraud. Not smart. No need to get moody at me for not having the courage to ask for yourself.

These questions are so unnecessary and annoying because, to be frank, if the guy is too scared to make the first step on their own (or if anyone is afraid to make the first step on their own, regardless of gender) then what will they do when things get harder? The sucky part about love is that there’s not really any arbitrary checking scale. Not to mention, if I did do a reading for these guys (who bothered to ask with absolutely zero manners), that means they most likely would bother me every time they had an issue with girls in opposed to actually using logic and social skills to work it out for themselves. Yeah, no.

I really don’t like questions like these because they’re not questions you should be asking me, a random person on the internet. This is beyond dancing around the mulberry bush, this is avoiding the whole block that one bush sits on. It’s one thing if it were someone I knew asking and even then I wouldn’t pull out the cards initially but just ask the basic questions of “How do you know?” and “So, when are you going to talk to them about it?” Being direct, even when it is scary, is the best way to go about it all. You get your answer, everyone is on the same page, it’s a lot better than simply asking me. As long as the guys don’t take on creepy ways to confess to the girls or to ask them simply, they should be fine. Just be sincere and direct.

Of course, there a good reason the guys are asking me instead of the girls first: fear of rejection.

Getting rejected sucks but it happens. These guys gotta understand that. They also have to understand that talking (rudely and abruptly) to a diviner is not going to save them from rejection either. I’ve been rejected, my friends have been rejected, everyone’s been rejected before. It’s not fun but it’s part of life. It could go along well with the girl, it might not. It all depends on a) if the girl actually does like the guy back, b) the guy does not approach the girl in a creepy/domineering manner and c) the guy doesn’t respond to the potential rejection in a scary way. I hope the guys understand that no one owes them a date or a relationship and that if the person doesn’t reciprocate, they don’t reciprocate.

You know what else I’m thinking? It’s possible the guy doesn’t really like the girl in question but wants to know if she still likes him in a romantic fashion. If that be the case, how derpy, ha! Given my interaction with guys, it could be a case of the girl is genuinely nice and the dude misread that as romantic interest just because she acknowledged his existence in a positive or neutral way. If it is that, let it be known that just because a girl is nice to you or is comfortable around you, it doesn’t mean she sees you as a potential boyfriend. Girls create friendships because they’re people and people in general like making friends with those they find amiable. Either way, just ask. And get better understanding of social cues, not everyone who treats you nice wants to date you.

Basically:

  • Don’t ask me if someone likes you, ask that person instead. You’ll get the answer a whole lot faster
  •  Worried of rejection? It’s part of life. Not fun but it happens. As long as you don’t approach like a douche and the girl is not a jerk, you’ll get let down easy
  • Don’t like the girl but think the girl like you? Hopefully it isn’t because she’s nice to you because that doesn’t mean she sees you in a romantic light but possibly just as a friend. And if you do find out she likes you only as a friend, don’t complain you’re being “friend-zoned” because you grossly misread her interactions

Just talk to the girl, already. Skip talking to me – especially if you’re going to be so rude and abrupt – and just talk to her.

The Diviner and the Patron

This is gonna be a light column, I’ve been so tired as of recent.

So, during my usual perusal at the Black Witch Tumblr, I saw a post called “Don’t Piss Off Your Tarot Reader” and reading it, I thought it was fantastic because, man, it reminded me of all the times people were really annoying when it came to getting their readings, hence why I don’t really do them as freely anymore.

Some of the most noteworthy parts I really could connect to:

Respect our time: I think people believe diviners live in some alternate universe until they, the person, wants a reading. Not how real life works. I remember once I was taking a final in one of my classes and someone slapped their hand against the door because they were so stunned of my palmistry reading and wanted another reading. Didn’t appreciate that.

Don’t believe in tarot?  Don’t come: I like to mess with people who act stupid. You’re clearly attempting to waste my time so why respect you or be nice? You’re not the first person to challenge divination so don’t think you’re anything special, please. I have been known to really go for insecurities, secrets and inner turmoil and bring that out in the open and not exercise any grace doing so. I have made people cry (occasionally the tearful or frightened response is what I am aiming for, depending on my mood and how nice the person is) and hide from me on a number of occasions. Embarrassment and humiliation will occur so if you don’t believe in divination, bother me later when I’m not doing divination and we can have a normal conversation about it. Just remember to not to froth at the mouth, okay?

Don’t tell us that you “don’t want to tell us too much”: Don’t care, I’ma tell it anyways.

If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask.: This was one of my policies. If you don’t wanna know, don’t ask. Learn something you didn’t want to? Not concerned, should have said something or kept walking. I really am not here for you to have your internal dialogue with, that is with you and yourself, keep it that way. I only waive this rule for special reasons but those reasons are very few.

And one they forgot to add:

Don’t try to convert me/religion guilt me: Being Pagan, I have dealt with so many folks – usually out of the Abrahamic faiths but others too – who will sit there and yammer, yammer, yammer about how divination is evil and it is demonic and how those who do it will have their souls condemned and other stuff that is supposed to be scary…and still ask for a reading. That is really irritating and just going to make me troll you because oh hey, I’m well studied in a variety of faiths so I probably already know your religion’s stance on divination but leaving that issue up to you and your deity to worry about. And I already have a religion, stop trying to convert me because it won’t work. It’ll just annoy me and probably make me want to pick apart yours. And trust, you don’t want that. You really, really don’t.

Thing is, I understand divination looks so weird and amazing because folks are supposed to believe that somehow telling the future is impossible without a computer despite that not really being true since time doesn’t move in a linear fashion. However, it is a bit much because, remember, life is not a movie (which is a good thing because most movies are crappily made, limited and Whitewashed (hence, “crappily made”)) and the diviner is not a walking stereotype. If they are, they’re probably trying to con you and you would be the sucker for believing it. I rather a calm patron that treats the reading about as normal as anything than the patron that’s freaking out over every little thing. I’m just going to start to think you have really bad nerves.

So, if you get a reading, read this post prior so you don’t wind up being the patron that is acting a complete idiot. Divination is nothing new, it’s not a parlor trick and there’s no reason to be annoying. Divination is great for if you need a little steering in your life

And that’s all for Black Witch! Next week is The Arts! and this time, we’re gonna focus on work and employment:

– LiveCareer
– Squawk Fox
– Salary.com
– Glassdoor
– O*net

So Cold

Cold Readings are something every diviner should have done at least a good dozen time before saying they’re certain divination works. Although occasionally nerve wracking, they’re necessary. What cold readings are is exactly that, reading a person on practically zero information, forcing the reading to work on its own merits instead of analyzing the person somehow and using whatever gathered as an aid.

I did them when I first started out in divination through Mystick Wicks and even the message board Fort Minor. On Mystick Wicks, there’s a subforum where you could read for others (as long as it was a free service) and on Fort Minor, I had a dream interpretation thread. Being this is the internet, it made for plenty thoroughly cold readings because all I had was a screen name to really go off of and even that can be misleading so I basically did my readings pretty blind and let the divination speak for itself. It was great because it shut out possible distractions and I had a super high success rate. Very rarely I was wrong and usually it was when I was second guessing myself or trying to scratch for clues that weren’t there.

Cold readings in person were something different because there, there are some clues and they can be super distracting. A lot can be said about a person based on their dress, mannerisms, colloquialisms, accents, race, gender and age. With a little psychology and sociology and a couple readers on intersectionality, you can pretty much guess someone’s life views and the decisions they’ll make in individual situations. Thing is, not everyone is their supposed science and culture stats and that can be a total throw off. To be honest, this is how readings are supposed to be done. Granted, it isn’t easy because everyone carries biases and those can definitely get in the way.

When I do use what info I gather, it’s to gauge how frank I’ll be. Young yuppie? Outstandingly brutally honest. Elderly and blue collar? Much nicer and don’t sugarcoat but be polite. Those are my own biases because I personally don’t care to be sensitive to overly sheltered and privileged folks but for those who had a hard but earnest life, I take it easy on them. However, this is only if nothing else gets in the way.

I remember doing a cold reading on one person at my university’s Pagan Student Union event when we paired up with House of Ruth and with this one person, I couldn’t help but get a psychic ping on a rape. This person was young and kinda scared but if I didn’t get that ping, I would have just brushed it off as another person who thinks divination is scary or condemning. The cards were definitely referring to a troubling incident that was trying to be covered up and thus filled with a lot of distracting opinions from those with ulterior motives. I do remember I did not just come out with “So, apparently you were raped real recently,” because I have more tact and kindness than that, especially for something so harrowing an ordeal. Besides we had our event out in the open where there was tons of people milling about, not the best place to talk about something so private. Instead I just read the cards as is and added that she should seek out a counselor and even a place that could give her legal and other help as well. She left and I talked to one of my friends who was already running the event, Jess, and brought up my ping. Jess told me that I was right and very glad that I handled it with kid gloves because she was apparently a little shaken since it really was recent and it was even her first time learning about the House of Ruth. I didn’t know that the person was a victim but I picked up on it though she said nothing about it – I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still at the denial/self-blaming stage, which is a tough one to get through – and despite it being a partnership event with House of Ruth, I didn’t get a ping on anything that big any other time of the day.

Not all cold readings hit the mark. Oh no, I’ve misinterpreted my divination before – everyone who has done divination long enough has. That’s what makes cold readings risky: if you’re good, you’ll be right most of the time but when you’re wrong, it really hits you. And depending on the person you’re reading for and how averse they are to divination, you could be risking your rep. Divination is not to be done simply to prove to someone it exists, it isn’t a party trick, but when you’re wrong and the person on the other side of the screen or table already sees it as one, it can be hard to deal with the response afterward because they’re full on, “I knew it was fake! Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake! Faker.” And, boom, you look no different or no better than Miss Cleo and her fake accent. Wrong cold readings can be from a variety of reasons from being simply too tired or hungry (I actually really do not like to do divination if I haven’t eaten first for this reason. Plus, I’m really cranky when hungry) or being stressed or simply, this reading was read wrong or wrong all along. It happens.

Here, I was on Mystick Wicks doing divination for people and I remember for one reading, I used the Celtic Cross for the very first time instead of my usual spreads. I heard that it was a massively easy spread and make for simpler readings so ‘ey, why not? Welp, it was hard for me to connect with the spread because it was so different from anything that I ever used and thus I picked up absolutely nothing from it. I still had the cards in front of me so I still tried to amble together something through the cards and present them to the inquirer. I got a PM back in about a couple days later – maybe less than that – from them and man, they were not happy with what they got. There was not a single thing I was right about at all. It’s Mystick Wicks so the person isn’t a douche about it but they didn’t mask their displeasure either, which did jab me a little but did teach me that I sucked at Celtic Cross and to not ever test a new spread blind on a reading for someone else.

Cold readings, as mentioned before, can be frustrating. The first part to learning how to do them well is to unlearn looking for clues and identifying biases but the second and hardest part is learning to trust yourself and your intuition. Occasionally, some are gonna get screwed up and be flat out, wrong. That’s totally okay, no need to worry about having a perfect batting average. Instead, just focus on honing your intuition that will be needed for the readings.

Now that’s done for this week. Time to hock mah wares!

The BWshoppe has added a new marimo phone charm! This one has one of my favorite stones, rutilated quartz. For those who don’t know what a marimo is, click here. For those who would like to buy a marimo phone charm with either amethyst or rutilated quartz at the bottom, click here.

Ethics are very important in divination and witchery. Every new Pagan is going to have their run ins with ethics but they are necessary. Every Pagan is different and all Pagans are going to think differently as well as could perceive the same situation differently. As for ethics and divination, I have a strict set of rules to go by. Always have ever since I started at 17. These rules are to keep everyone involved safe and are only broken under the most severe situations.

Never make people pay ~ I don’t charge at all for divination. As a diviner, my job is to give you advice on what to do next, that’s it. I’m not drawing up haunting ghouls and ghosts to do my bidding, it’s purely me and what I can gather from the universe. I often tell people I don’t charge because they’re going to find out in about three months what their future is going to be anyways. I know some of my divination friends differ in opinion because they believe a service is given but for me personally, I never would pay for a reading and never have, why would I enforce something different? Plus, not everyone has the money to dole out but could use the help all the same. Besides, what would I do with the money? Nothing noble most likely, just squander it on food and lolita, not donate it somewhere or be useful with it. I am a very fortunate person and I am extremely aware of this. I feel that what I have is a gift to share and help people with, not take money from. I also feel that money can corrupt even the best of diviners because it’s very easy to get greedy and to take advantage of people in need. I will take snacks (I love me some red bean mochi and if you can spot me some good okonomiyaki joints in Maryland/DC, you can have any reading you want, as many as you like!) in exchange for readings if the person offered but no money whatsoever. Besides, I already have a job. I work at my university’s library so it’s not like I’m suffering. I feel best when I’m being selfless and helping someone because they need it, not because I want something in exchange. The only time I ever broke that was for the Divination Days held by my school’s Pagan Student Union and it was to raise money for our group, not a dime went into my pocket. We didn’t charge more than $3 (I controlled the prices) and I made sure all the diviners knew that their primary goal besides raising money is to help people. While I am perfectly fine with fleecing the rich kids, I don’t want anyone undeserving getting mixed up in it. Besides, I’ve gotten so much back in good fortune from helping people and I rather have that than money any day. In addition, nothing reeks “Potential phony” like a $15 price tag for a quick palm reading.

Keep it confidential ~ That’s right, I don’t say a word about another person’s reading because it’s no one’s business but their own. To be loose lipped can bite me in the derriere in ways I don’t think I need to explain. Often time I am sought out in confidante by people who are embarrassed or frustrated by their problems, concerned that they are breaking from their religious beliefs or worried that someone else may find out what’s going on. I understand keeping a secret if a secret has to be kept. I don’t break that unless the person exudes suicidal tendencies or may harm themselves in another way. Then I gotta start talking, usually to someone who cares deeply for them or refer them to a trusted professional. I know when people are feeling suicidal or want to indulge in self-injury, they don’t want to tell someone who they think is going to snitch but guess what, I have to. There’s no special oath a diviner takes before dealing with other people’s problems but we do have a conscience to contend with. I would much rather keep Jiminy Cricket quiet rather than grieving me all day about how I should have said something when there was a chance. I too have wanted to kill myself (and I’m not afraid to say that I still gripe with that a little now, I have issues just like everyone else*) and I know about self-injury from personal experience* so it’s not like the person is talking to some apathetic psychologist who knows only what the textbook tells them. However, I have to bring it to light that the person I’m reading for is in dire need of attention.

I’ve had the awesome luck to read for one of my favorite bands evar! My goodness gracious, I was doing natal charts (astrology) for two of the members. They happened to be the most popular members so of course people wanted to know what I found on them. I never said anything once that would discuss their personal lives or cause them harm from a crazy fan. Granted, I found out stuff about my favorites that, to be honest, I could have gone my whole life and about three more others not knowing about. *shudders* Talk about the saying about meeting your heroes. I wrote nearly twenty pages for each member (something else I’m not doing again unless I am working super close with the person, the fact checking and the checking-fact-checking was tedious!) so there was some pretty sensitive information but they were for those band members eyes only. I still feel wacktacular that I gave them such a rushed copy and never had the chance to share the refreshed and worked-through copy of their natal charts. I never got their responses back (it was a quick meet) and it still gives me chills sometimes wondering what they are.

Don’t read everyone ~ Every diviner, whether they make you pay or not, has the right to refuse a reading. I know I’ve done it before. It’s an added perk in not making people pay because it’s easier to refuse readings, yay for me! Just like I have the right to refuse readings, people have the automatic right in not being read. I can read hands/palms, faces, handwriting and auras but just because I can doesn’t mean that I should. It’s simply wrong. I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me, I’m not going to do it to someone else. While I can easily sneak a glance at someone’s hand to figure out some of their more basic life story, I don’t with everyone. I don’t do it to my parents, I don’t do it to those I look up to or appreciate. I see it like this, if my parents wanted me to know about a part of their life so much, they would tell me. I’m not going to pry about and wind up getting my feelings hurt because I decided to be snoopy. It may not be time for me to know or some things are simply better not knowing.

 As for those I appreciate [caution: fangirling ahead], it goes back to the “meeting your heroes” saying, you never know what you’re going to get and you really don’t know if you’re going to like what you find. In the entertainment industry, often there is a stage persona that is shown to the crowd and the presses, keeping the real person a secret. They go by other names, gimmicks and/or amiable personalities. We think we know everything about our idols and their lives but there are still some things that they (rightfully) keep under wraps for the sake of privacy. Everyone needs their privacy. For example, I love Janelle Monae. I could talk about her for hours on end; she’s such an awesome person in my eyes. I appreciate her style and she really means a lot to me as a Black girl growing up very different from the crowds. I would be devastated completely if anything were to happen to her. Though I find her to be an adorable little ball of energy, cute and with vibrant imagination, I love The ArchAndroid and bought The Chase Suite twice (a digital and physical copy), I’m not going to scan her hand in her photo ops. Firstly, that’s creepy. Secondly, I rather let her tell me her story rather than me find out for myself. How can I say that I care (in the way that a fan cares about a performer) about her well-being by being sneaky? I am confident she’ll speak for herself on whatever topic she has to. She’s a performer and I’m just a fan, nothing more. Plus, what if I find something I may not like that could bust my perception of her wide open? Ignorance can be bliss and I’m stickin to it.

Simply put, I don’t read others unless they would like me to, regardless of person. Unless it’s dream interpretation. That’s so fun and usually people want to understand the dreams they have so rarely does anyone mind me giving some input. It’s so fun to me! I used to have a dream thread back at Fortminor.com but that’s gone now (and I’m still grieving over it, 50+ pages gone, dang).

Can’t save everyone ~ This is the one that gets diviners with big hearts such as myself. Some people simply can’t be saved. No matter how many reading you give or how much advice you offer, some folks are too far gone. Not everyone takes advice when given and some people have terrible misfortune. All a diviner can do is to do the best that they can do and not guilt themselves when things still go wrong. I know I have moments where I still wonder if I did the right thing or made the right choice in helping someone but I can’t dwell in the past and I can’t save everyone. Not everyone wants to be saved and there are times where you have to save yourself. They’re very scary times but they do happen. All a diviner can do really is just guide best they can. At the end of the day, the person I’m reading for has to figure out what to do with their life, not me.

Don’t rope a person into doing witchcraft ~ You won’t believe how often I hear people who have met shady diviners and had to do some form of magick to make the bad thing go away. If it is against your beliefs to do magick, it’s against your beliefs to do magick. Be firm in your ideals. If the person says that you have to do it, know that you don’t. More often than not, a person is not jinxed* but with a case of bad luck (or a negative perception on life). Often these people are roped into doing dangerous things that doesn’t make sense like laying in a bath of lye for a month or foolish things like buying a $400 pair of leather shoes from Nordstrom (why Nordstrom, I dunno but that’s usually what I hear) to spit at or whatever have you. I never would tell a person to do witchcraft to solve their problems, often times that’s not what’s needed. If they needed magickal assistance, I would explain everything piece by piece so they fully understand everything and it’s usually small. Like smudging (cleansing) a house with sage if they think they really need it or anointing a dollar with bayberry oil for money (and a copy of the employment section with a red sharpie. Where d’you think the money’s coming from?). If a person is happening on bad times, I usually tell that person to solve the problem the way their religion sees fit. If that means they are to pray to their god for an answer, that’s what they’re supposed to do. I’m not going to drag someone waaaaaay out of their comfort zone and possibly get them hurt or mistakenly kill them. 

It’s up to the Pagan to decide what their ethics are, just know that it is important to have them and they’ll carve themselves out sooner or later. Books and teachings can only go so far, it’s up to the Pagan to live, learn and make mistakes. What’s the point of being Pagan if you’re living inside the velvet ropes of life anyway? Make mistakes but don’t be reckless, though. And don’t be afraid to learn from the mistakes of others.

That’s the BW column for this week! Next week is The Arts! Who’s being featured:

– Racist Political Ads
– Disoccupy
– Sh*t Girls Say (for Black girls)

And the week after that is Ask Black Witch! Get it goin’ and send in your questions!

And don’t forget to read my interview from Black Pagan

Also, please help this little kitty from the Charm City Animal Shelter named Little Mouserat. He was born with no eyelids and needs surgery. Without surgery, his fur will constantly rub against his corneas until his eyed are damaged to the point that they need removed (vet says 2-3 years). His eyes gets very dry from not being able to blink, too! Any donation will help, this poor kitty has already been through enough. Click here to donate and learn more. Thank you!

Be Honest, Why Don’t You?

So, in the world of being a diviner seems mystical, right? Some lady in a turban that talks with an accent and is never wrong, correct? Her glass ball is the mirror to the future and simple to trust. But what is forgotten often in that picture is how a diviner is a person and hence apt to make mistakes and bad calls.

Diviners, no surprise, don’t like to make bad calls. One outstanding reason is because it helps fuels the “Diviners are frauds and cons” stereotype but another is because a life just became affected and it sucks knowing you’re the person they went to and trusted and you let them down. It’s broken faith. But it happens for a variety of reasons: tiredness, second-guessing, knowing too much about the person which can color the reading, etc etc etc.

In university, a friend of mine was introduced to me via another friend and he had a vat of problems ranging from girl problems to illness and having some drama of his own between being Muslim and managing Jewish student groups in effort to bridge the interfaith gap. So, consistently he asked for a reading and since he was a friend, I didn’t mind obliging. I think there were only few times where I suggested otherwise when he asked for readings from other friends. Despite reminding me that divinations are considered sinful in Islam but he asked for a few readings for reassurance.

I gave fairly uplifting fortunes. That things would be okay for the most part, but not to assume that things are going to be – poof – all and well. It just didn’t match what I felt intuitively. What I felt intuitively was that good days were going to be a way’s off but I worried that maybe I’m just leaning too heavy on the doom and gloom and perhaps it’s not that bad. That and I couldn’t predict the global economic collapse which screwed a lot of people up, including my friend. I would see the signs but I’m not an economist so I wouldn’t have pointed to that but to personal circumstance. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Hell, I didn’t even know I was in a forest, I just saw trees, grass and sky.

We fell out of touch and I always would worry about those readings with him particularly, worry about their validity and if they were true myself. As far as I knew, he had an illness treating him poorly and was easily triggered by stress. Had difficulty with energy, sometimes couldn’t hold down food, already was wracked with stress, I guess I subconsciously (and consciously) didn’t want to add to that. I wanted things to be better, so that’s pretty much what came out of my mouth. I also thought that I was teetering too much to doom and gloom and didn’t want to do that, figuring it was just me being weird. I think I should have listened and opened my mouth.

Thanks to Facebook, we managed to reconnect and talk for a bit and he told me how things turned south for him but with one piece of good news – he’s not sick anymore. Apparently he never was, it was a misdiagnosis thankfully. So he’s fit now but still dealing with the problems affecting most Americans now and wishes he had gotten a more proper warning. Now he’s sworn off readings, saying that they’re sinful in the eyes of Allah anyways. I think that’s a good call.

The part that bugs me most is that I wonder what would have been the response should I have said that something really bad was coming and with no currently foreseeable end. Most people don’t respond well at all to that, especially if they’re going through bad things already. It’s like “What if I’m wrong and I just stressed out a sick person for no reason?” Plus, back then I wasn’t so on the pulse of the economic climate of the world like I am now (still not (and don’t want to be) economist grade but am learning quickly) so even if I could feel something was amiss, I couldn’t tell what it was. I may have dreams about hurricanes before they come but I don’t dream about bankers the same – and even if I did, I just would probably have written it off as A) I should watch my spending or B) something weird about prosperity and the draining of it…I’ll watch my spending. Even my ex-boyfriend was struck with pretty much the full hilt of the housing market collapse and jobs being difficult, pretty much the poster boy of the victims of the economy but I still didn’t get it until way after the problems swallowed my relationship whole, among other issues ticking away at it. Still pissed about that one.

My friend is very hopeful of the future, and hope is good. But still it doesn’t shake how bad it makes me feel because geez, I would always think “Man, what if I said this?”, “Man, I totally missed that, should I say something?” I thought I would see him one day in the halls but that didn’t happen so I would always stay thinking. It sucks to second guess and worse not be able to help. Divination does open up the mind to the unconscious universe for an answer but with nothing for the diviner to connect to for themselves, bad calls are made.

It sucks to make wrong guesses but it important to express that the circumstances can sway even the best diviners. I think that it’s because diviners don’t live in a vacuum. We have good days, bad days, quirks, biases, moods and personality. We live in the same environment as everyone else, etc etc. A diviner should be as objective as possible so not to get the reading mixed up with emotions or personal thinking but still trip ups occurs.

Usually with mistakes, the most you can do is learn and deal but some mistakes are harder to just pick up and move on from. They’re the kind of mistakes that make you wonder if this whole metaphysics thing is simply parlor tricks like some people say or is the fault just theirs for being incorrect. It kind of reminds me of a volume of a favorite manga of mine The Tarot Café where Pamela, the main character, once read for a blind person and instead of saying what was really on the cards (whether you know tarot or not, some cards simply convey bad things are coming just judging from the art, 10 of swords or The Tower is a great example) she made up a happier tale that was completely inaccurate. Granted, the main character knew that crap was about hit the fan Mach 5 so she wasn’t second guessing and opted for the safer route like I did but I did understand that she lied only so the blind person could feel peace for once by simply being told what he wanted to hear: It’s going to get better. I guess I wanted the same and went for the “spared feelings” route.

Is it good to be honest? Oh sure, always shoot for honesty and go with your gut but know that you’re going to have to make a tough call sooner or later and you’re also going to slip up sooner or later. Not always but occasionally it’s better to go with the happier story that could give the person the boost they need to see through the hard times they’re already going through. Okay, not better. I think it is more accurate to say it’s human, not better. It’s more human to understand that someone is going through something terrible and is constantly stacking up and to want to ease things a little. Even doctors have done it, telling terminal and critical patients or their families that things will be fine simply out of human sympathy. Is it right? Depends on the person you ask but it’s completely understandable why it happens. It’s difficult to be cold and unfeeling, especially when using an ability that requires feeling something. This does mean you may have a reading you’re not so sure of nagging you for a few years only to find out that it didn’t pan out like you hoped it would and you’re going to feel crappy about it but at the very least, learn while you kick yourself. And keep those blind choices to a minimum – reserved only for the hard times.

Or better yet, you could just put down the deck and say, “I don’t feel confident in reading for you because I sense something that I’m not sure is accurate and I certainly can’t describe.” That’s probably what I should have done.

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