Category: Spells & Potions


I was featured earlier this week on a podcast called Alt-Black Podcast! I talked how music got me into my faith, why I think dabbling is annoying, my experience with Afro-Punk and more! Give it a listen! I like that they gave me Baltimore Club bumper music!

 

I was contacted by Hachette Books/Ilex about a new book they had coming out titled The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star.

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Upon first impression of getting it, it looks well made and not very kitschy. I could sort of see this book in a metaphysical shop, which is good. I could definitely see it being sold in The Discovery Store more, though.

First thing I looked for was a bibliography because usually good books on magick have those (otherwise a person could say almost anything). There isn’t one here but noticed this book is more of a spellbook for beginners than an intro to Paganism with some spells in it. That’s sort of okay but I prefer info. The first proper book I read on magick, Where to Park your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy, was crammed full of this so it is pretty much my baseline for any magick book.

The book is very colorful and artistry is well done. It doesn’t look like it was dropped out of Tumblr and sold. That’s always a good thing. At least this book isn’t trying to copy Sephora’s bad ideas. (That witch kit is atrocious for so many reasons).

As for content, the book is extremely European based and strongly Wicca based.  Granted,  so was Broomstick. I’m not Wiccan, though, so there is that. But as for the Eurocentric info, I think books on magick nowadays should be way more diverse. Otherwise, it looks like magick just started in Europe and the world followed. So note that the book is very Eurocentric in its practices and perspective, which could make PoC readers easily feel like a fish out of water. Actually, any reference to anything non-Euro is super cursory at best. Like, very bland and even less in-depth than what’s mentioned of the Greco-Roman deities, which already isn’t much. That’s not good.

The book is also fairly cis women-centric. I mean, so is practically every Western book on witchcraft out there every but it creates a ripple effect that somehow ends up in my inbox. Questions of “why can’t [insert gender here] practice? What should I call myself, I’m a [insert gender here]? Is ‘witch’ still accurate?” pop up. If you practice witchcraft, you’re a witch, plain and simple. It would be nice if books reflected this a little better. It is good to focus on women but witchcraft didn’t appear as a result of feminism, witchcraft was a moreso natural occurrence of working with and influencing the world around them. Wicca is goddess-centric, true, but it should be noted that Wicca does not hold the copyright to all of witchcraft. Wicca is just one faith out of literal thousands, even when whittled to just faiths that use magick.

I do like that this book doesn’t give a shopping list that could make a newbie go broke quick. I definitely like how this book tries to be sensible with its targeted audience. However, I don’t agree entirely with the idea of “you have to believe it for it to work”. My personal practices – and my inbox, primarily my inbox – hold a different story. I always explain it like this: I personally know Black folks who legit don’t believe that racism exists, annnnnnnd they still get harassed and/or beaten by officers and racists, if not called slurs. The fact they don’t believe in something so extremely real as the ground they stand on didn’t keep the reality of that concept from still impacting them. You don’t have to believe in something to make it happen, if the right cogs are there, it will happen. If the “you gotta believe” bit were the case, I would get far less, “I dicked around and tried to summon a demon because I thought nothing would happen and now my apartment is haunted. Gimme a spell to fix my problem” letters. Much less.

Actually, I still remember the time I accidentally summoned a Throne angel by simply singing a ye olde gospel over and over with gusto. Never gonna do that again. Angels are not fun and you definitely don’t want to summon one, especially on accident. They do not look like “people with wings”, try “Wow, the makers of Bayonetta really did their homework. And all of the extra credit.” 0/10, would not accidentally summon again. I did not intend to summon a Throne. The thought of believing that such a thing would happen was the furthest from my mind – I seriously thought the song was about wheels and the sun, that’s it!

Long story short, you don’t need to believe in something for it to happen. Just the cogs to make it happen. Belief gives it boost, that’s for sure, but it is not the core.

Again, about the gods and goddesses referenced in this book: they are Greek/Roman deities. And a passing reference to Egyptian deities. And a teeny tiny touch on East Asian dragons. And none of Africa (outside of Egypt, which is usually whitewashed to the moon and back). I really don’t like this part  because I rather see more diversity in description. However, since this book is primarily constructed in the Eurocentric gaze, this is pretty much garden-variety practice. Though, the section about them is a very underwhelming for me. There’s a lot more that can be talked about in regards to deities and magick work. Ditto in regards to who the different deities are, some of the descriptions in the book gloss over them with too little depth. And that’s just the Eurocentric ones, the rest of the world hardly gets noted.

And here’s one bit I saw that I think is a bad idea: mixing deities during spellwork. Don’t do that. Stick to one pantheon per ritual. They will not work well with each other and they’ll be much less eager to work with you. It shows a lack of care and faith, which deities are not big fans of.

Moving on, there is an informative page on moon-work and candles to prep the reader on the spells in the book. This means the book will be using a lot of candle magick. That’s good for beginners. Also, because this is candle magick, I would like to remind folks to be careful and always have soil or baking soda around to throw on the flame if it turns into a conflagration. Or do what I did when I was younger and do all your magick work on the lip of a filled-up sink (unless you’re working with oils also, then throw in the baking soda, too).

The spells are broken up into sections, starting with love and sex spells. Each spell section has little “Did You Know” boxes in some of the spells. I like those because it embeds useful information right where the reader can see it and for that particular spell. Things like “how long do spells actually take” or “what are the best days for casting and why”. Helps keep things realistic and practical.

For the love and sex spell section, I like that there is the “don’t be dense about this” warning at the start that is very simple: Don’t play around, don’t control others and know what you want (as well as what you don’t).

The spells constructed seem very simple and straight-forward. Like I said prior, there isn’t a huge shopping list and the vast majority of the materials asked for are already in your home or can be purchased at the dollar store. However, they use British English (“sweets” instead of “candy”, “leather thong” instead of “strip of leather”) so be mindful if you’re not accustomed to it.

The section on love and sex seems very decent, I haven’t spotted anything that I have qualms with so far.

The next section is the friends & enemies section. The intro to section is very simple, especially about how you shouldn’t do magick when until emotional turbulence and that impinging on free will is wrong. The spells are nice, such as how to get better at making friends (note: not “get popular”, simply “make friends”), making gossip cease and getting rid of a bully.

In the “Friends and Enemies” section, they have a page on gemstone magick. It is quite cursory and simple. Too simple for my tastes because there’s so much that can be covered. For a beginner, it is important to keep things simple but not too simple.

The third section are spells for work and employment. It’s a bit of a first for me to see but useful all the same. Employment is a part of life and, thus, should be included. The intro keeps things simple: this is to help you, not do the leg work for you. Also, it will not make you rich in a week.

The spells are for interview success, procuring a job, dealing with unemployment, things like that. There are also spells for exams here, it seems to cover a lot of bases. Again, the spells seem useful. Also, for any spell that involves drawing money, I always look to see how much the spell makes you do, in terms of getting materials to do the spell. I dislike ones that assume you have a payload to work with. I noticed these spells ask for things you already have (like black pepper) or are very cheap and easy to get. One thing I also noticed is that the book neglects to mention that white candles can be all-purpose in case you can’t get your hands on a particular color.

The next section has “Home and Family” spells. This section shows that this book is not directed simply at teenagers but young adults and regular adults as well. There are spells for how to get an apartment, clearing out the energy from the last person, etc. And what I like most: NO SAGE. Sweet buttery Jesus, there’s no sage use in any of these spells, that is fantastic. I am thrilled to see that. Because there is more than sage out there.

For that reason alone, I think this is a great section.

The final section is “Destiny and Fortune Spells”. Though it sounds immense, they’re spells that generally help with luck and to maintain overall happiness. The spells are simple in this section, nothing too grandiose or difficult.

All in all, the book isn’t too bad, it fairly regular and plain jane. I really would like to see a magick book that wasn’t so Eurocentric, though. The Witchcraft Handbook is moreso a simple spellbook for beginners but that’s it. For a handbook, there wasn’t a whole lot of information that could make it a suitable reference guide. There’s little tidbits here and there so you have an idea of what you’re doing but nothing more than that. It’s just a plain book o’ spells and that’s that. No real background, no really vast information, nothing super deep.

As far as bookstore spellbooks go, it’s not too bad. It isn’t 5000 Spells but it can be useful. The spells are simple and easy, not intended to break the bank nor make you feel like you’re doing Ceremonial Magick 301. What stands out to me are how simple the spells are. They are reasonable and that is a venerable trait.

The Witchcraft Handbook is less of an actual handbook and more of a regular spellbook for newbies who are interested in the craft but just want to get to the “fun” parts. I wouldn’t generally recommend introduction books that are not information dense so while this book is good, I don’t think I would have featured it on The Arts! because of the lack of crucial information. The thing is, if you don’t have deep, crucial info, that’s how you get more dabblers and less actual practitioners. Dabblers don’t care about the background info, they want fast-food magick: just do something and it is done. To thwart that, having background and in-depth information helps.

Would I recommend this book to someone new to magick and Paganism? Nope. Not enough in-depth info. I’d point them to Broomstick instead. Would I recommend this book to someone who’s spent time in magick? It’s a strong maybe. The title is misleading so I would warn the person it really isn’t a handbook but a plain spellbook that has basic spells. Good for if you’re low on ideas or want something very simple but that’s about it.

 

Hello,
My question has to do with control and irresistible candle spells. What is the amount of time that one must wait to see results and how long will the spell or spells work??
It was also suggested that I use a particular soap and cologne, what are the reasons for this?
I appreciate your attention and assistance in this matter.
Thank you very much.

Lamont M.

 

This question has so many reasons why it is stupid. So many. Let me count the ways:

A) I don’t help dabblers and fluffy bunnies – because it’s an absolute waste of my time … any practitioner’s time, to be honest

B) The subject of the email sent to me was “Voodoo Candle Spells”, that pretty much means either I’m going to be heckling you or it’s weird spam.

C) I don’t help with spells that talk about controlling others. I talk about this at length time and time again. Get a therapist, instead.

This is just a terrible question all around.

Do you believe in negative energy that stays in a home after someone moves out or passes? My hubby and I moved into an apartment (hospital housing) 6 years ago and have felt nothing but a rollercoaster of emotions (mostly out of nowhere). Any recommendations on cleansing homes? I’ve read about sage, but not sure how reliable some of these websites are.

-Rea M.
  

If you found the spell online, it is probably bs. You can say anything and it won’t be contested, just posted. Plus, regular spells aren’t always needed. Cleaning the home with lemon (juice or extract) tends to help, just add it to your usual floor cleaner. Lemon is noted to banish negative energy so it works just fine. 

However, before the rest of the world runs out for lemons, it always is best to look at how life is going (honestly) and see if there is a regular, mundane source. Usually, there is. This question is partially cut because they’re an old school friend so there’s a bit more to the story that I did not post but lemon is their best bet. 

There seems to be a mini movement in pop magick – called such because it is very surface and fluffy bunny – where brujeria is getting the same treatment that voodoo, hoodoo and smoke cleansing/smudging gets: everyone wants to do it, no one gets actually what it is.

Let’s start with the facts: Brujeria is “witchcraft” in Spanish. That’s it. There are so many different forms of actual brujeria such as Dominican Hoodoo, Santeria, etc etc etc. There is more than one kind. And involves a wholly hell of a lot more than sage sticks and very threadbare, culturally appropriated flavors of feminism.

I want to call it “orientalism” because that’s what it sounds like but I’m certain there is probably a version of the word for Latin culture getting the same treatment.

Orientalism, for those that don’t know, is the “well-meaning” racist practice of treating a culture (usually the far east) as if it is window dressing to Western existence. It’s Buddha heads, “mystical” practices of feng shui or tai chi, saying one believes in the yin-yang but a) pronounce it wrong and b) doesn’t really get that it’s far more than “there’s good and bad to everything”…things like that.

Now, it’s Latin America’s turn and with people who honestly have no idea what they are doing.

I first was asked about it by Everyday Feminism. I was genuinely confused as I never mention brujeria at all on my blog (because I don’t generally practice it – I’m Afro-Caribbean American, not Afro-Latin American) but I’m being asked pretty in-depth questions about it as if I have. The article never got posted as far as I know. I think the person asking was hoping I’d be more “grrrrrrrrrrrrrl powwa! Sage away Nazis! Rawr!” than I have ever portrayed myself in the history of my blog but I gave the usual “here’s some info” that I portray more. It weirded me out because I saw inklings around Tumblr but I just thought people were…y’know, not taking it seriously. Or letting Latinx folks having their space. Newp.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind cultural practice, it’s bullsh*t that concerns me more. If it smells pop, it probably is. I’ve now seen more people (non-Latin, not-Hispanic, nada espanol anything) toting it about, even other minorities/PoC who never touched anything remotely Latin outside of a midnight run for Taco Bell. It’s odd to go from one end to, now, all of a sudden wanting to work with Spanish magick…or just magick with a Spanish name because it sounds different – even if the practices they use are about as White or non-Latin as all get out. That’s a problem because Latin magick and witchcraft is an authentic and varied practice with a lot of backgrounds (*cough*and deities*cough*) but it’s getting condensed into stuff that is more fitting on American Horror Story when they had the witchy season (I have never seen the show but I always see it floating about, or at least its aesthetics when stuff like this gets mentioned). That’s not good.

I am not a fan of snatching someone else’s culture and parading it as your own because it sounds different. Brujeria is very general, and it sounds supportive of minorities but not really. It’s just a thin sheet of “we don’t know what you are because we don’t and we still want to take from you so here”. This is what happens all the time when folks lump indigenous practices together (“These stem from the native americans” – which one? Lumbee? Blackfoot? Sioux? There’s a lot of various tribes. We haven’t even gotten to Latin indigenous tribes like the Aztecs and Mayans) and act as if that is being inclusive when really it’s not. Spanish culture is already super different and diverse, so would be the magickal practices. Someone who is Chicano will have a different history from someone who is Puerto Rican, who will have a different history from someone who is Dominican, who is…you get the point.

Long story short, it sounds magnificent on the surface but you don’t have to get that far past the surface to see that it is something that it very much isn’t. It’s better to do your research than plow head first into being a foolish person that just wants to dabble and feel cool.

It’s no surprise that I get a lot of dabbling questions. We should revisit this and why it’s not a good thing.

Dabbling is the act of having a cursory interest in magick, witchcraft and the occult. And it staying cursory: you just want to cast a spell or raise a spirit just to see if it will work.

Now, while nothing is wrong with curiosity, dabbling is more “let’s see if this parlour trick works” versus “I have questions and I wonder…”. That and people seemed to want to work with dangerous magick, difficult magick or entities that even I would not work with. I have no idea why people want to raise Beelzebub for kicks but they do. Then they wind up in my inbox expecting a one-step solution to making such an entity go away. (There isn’t one.) This gets annoying. Fast.

Dabblers are a little different from fluffy bunnies but with omega overlap. The overlap is both are fairly gullible and know nothing. Dabblers don’t care they know nothing. Fluffy bunnies think they know plenty while knowing nothing. A lot of Pagans and Witches started as fluffy bunnies. Some fluffy bunnies slide back into Dabbler territory. Some fluffy bunnies actually go on to becoming real practitioners. Then you got your select few that are always in the middle: The know enough to not count as a fluffy bunny but they don’t care enough or have the patience or brains enough to be a real practitioner.

Here’s the thing: I’m not of the “if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen” crowd. I’m more of the “you mess about enough, something bad will happen out of your aimlessness”. Whether you believe or not I don’t think needs to be too much of a factor but what you put together does. However, I have gotten letters from people who just bought a Baphomet shirt to be edgy and after something inane happens, they write to me thinking they mistakenly summoned the devil. It’s a mix. Either way, I tend to get letters from people who are very much the “let’s see if this works” and find out that, oh wow, it does.

It’s better for people to do one of several things:

a) don’t dabble (seriously, don’t)
b) do at least some research before dabbling. Outside of watching The Craft and Harry Potter
c) if you summon something, get rid of it yourself. Don’t bug other people. Can’t get rid of them? Congrats, you have a roommate until you can figure it out.
d) if you’re going to dabble, don’t call yourself a witch – you’re a dabbler

Pretty simple, no?

Another issue with Dabblers is that they spread their misinformation everywhere. They don’t know what they’re doing but they talk about it as if they do and it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. They cite spell recipes that make honestly no sense, they slap at least three different cultures together, no care or concern to as what happens. And some make their way to my inbox because somehow, the search bar on my website magically doesn’t work or appear to them (I’m being snarky here, dabblers, use the search bar). Watching a television show and burning a stick of sage (dabblers don’t even know the history behind that! Or the different variations!) doesn’t make you an expert on anything. Not even close. It’s just absolute nonsense.

Frankly, I would suggest to not dabble. Do your homework. Know that burning sage over everything is pointless and borderline cultural appropriation (*koff*hint: indigenous people*koff*). Be smart and don’t bother others pointlessly. And most of all, do some off-line research.

Ah not long since I posted my Ask Black Witch, which featured a tidbit about love and magick, I got this doozy:

How to get the maximum results from use of female voodoo doll regarding nothing negative. The use of doll is on my wife. Her attitude and disposition toward me has been very negative!! I appreciate your assistance. Thank you very much

– Lamont M.

Breh. Why do people send messages like this to me? Why? Whhhhhhhhhhhy?

Why did this dude first say “regarding nothing negative” but turn right around and say “The use of the doll is on my wife. Her attitude and disposition toward me has been very negative[.]” That’s regarding something negative. If she has a terrible attitude, don’t do Voodoo – TALK TO HER.

Everyone, relationships are hard. This is for everyone. You have two very imperfect people trying to make companionship work. If you have a problem with the person you are dating (or, in this case, marriage) try talking to them. For real, regardless of whether you are:

– Dude dating a woman
– Dude dating a dude
– Woman dating a woman
– Cis dating trans
– Trans dating trans
– Cis dating cis
– Gendered person dating genderless person
– Genderless person dating genderless person

If you’re having problems, talk to the person! If talking can’t fix it, then consider giving it the chop. Seriously. To control the other is a bad sign. Like, it points to abuse. Always. If you need to control someone to get them off your case, then consider divorcing or breaking up with them. It may suck but it’s not abuse, which is always worse. Be more civil working it out or just leave the relationship if it is that irreparable.

Writing to me with an “I want to control my woman because I don’t like her attitude, will you help” message is never a bright idea. I’m very predictably going to say this is an act of abuse, to not do it and call the person a moron for trying – I very predictably don’t like abusiveness. When have I ever said or done anything otherwise in the near ten years that I have been penning this blog? (Holy Oya, it’s almost been ten years. Oh my gods.) This dude needs to put the voodoo dolls down and instead talk to his wife about why she’s giving him grief. Silencing her on a problem doesn’t make the problem go away.

Not a Genie

I’m starting to adopt a new phrase:

“I’m a Witch, not a genie”

What this means:

I don’t cast spells for others. Ever.

Y’see, every time I have gotten a spell request from a new dimwit that doesn’t even do cursory research, it pretty much sounds like what they would ask a genie, in the sense that:

a) They want it done, no legwork or intense thinking on their part, no different than going to a fast food place instead of cooking their own meals

b) Usually for free (which is a super never-going-to-do. Spells can easily cost hundreds or thousands, no trial offers.)

c) About anything they personally want changed in their life, no different than what someone would ask a genie

It’s pretty obvious for me that they’re not dedicated practitioners of metaphysics, Paganism, witchcraft or anything remotely occult. Just whiny morons that seriously need to stop passing the legwork of their life lessons to another person in hope of avoiding any of them. Or fetish-y weirdos that would benefit more from attending like-minded groups instead of bothering me. Either way, there’s a reason I restate this callous remark…because frankly, I’ve never been a fan of people like these.

Life is hard. This is why therapists exist. This is how liquor and drug companies as well as drug dealers sucker people out of their money and lives in exchange for escapism and self-feigned avoidance from problems that are always going to be waiting for them as soon as they sober up. Always. However, people who don’t actually practice any part of witchcraft or occultism should stick with normal, mundane methods to solving problems like everyone else.

Looking for anyone to play genie is pointless. Especially because these types of people never go away if you actually help them via magick. They pretty much start to dump allllll of their life problems on your lap like you are their personal druid. All of their problems. I’ve seen it happen a good number of times in my life from others. These beggars go one of two ways: 1) They keep coming back again and again because they don’t learn (especially if the spell casting is fairly inexpensive or free) 2) They start to complain about the spell caster because life isn’t turning out exactly the way the beggar wants to, frame for frame (especially if the spell casting is fairly expensive or the caster already said no but went with it anyway because the beggar wouldn’t go away (the “not going away” part is super common)). Either way, your life gets caught up with theirs and they want to be no.1 in your life – always fixing the situation, always monitoring the situation, basically being their lookout and shield.

There’s also doozies where people go to other witches and psychics/intutives because they got scammed by some fake witch online as if there is a Witches & Wizards Better Business Bureau. (The link is nifty, read it!) Even I got one, someone complaining about being schemed by another faceless “witch” online. I think I simply deleted it.

This, by the way, opens this person up to being scammed some more because there are a lot of really not-nice people floating about on the internet willing to pretend to be anything as long as it parts you from your money faster. Then again, beggar types are very much not too bright. Folks have honestly gotten upset I don’t do paid spellwork and then accused me of attempting to scam them because the fact I’m refusing money is a telltale sign that I am very much a nefarious scammer that pretends to be a witch…hence why I refuse possibly paid requests? These folks don’t make any sense. Because they don’t think.

I saw how annoying it was for others, regardless of the pay (if there was any at all) that, frankly, it seemed better for me to just not engage with any of that at all. I do spellwork for me and me alone, because that’s how my practice is. Never for others and especially never for strangers, particularly demanding and irritating ones who act as if I should drop everything I do to help them.

Getting continual requests are very irritating for me. This is why I’m always frank and quite cutting when I get them because of how constant they are. It would be nice if more research would be done before engaging with asking me questions.

Negligence in Potion Making

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Potions seem super spooky in media. They’re bubbling, odd colors and always made in a cauldron. Except that doesn’t really happen. Most are just some version of a tea. And not usually radioactive neon colors. Or fogging over the container holding it.

There also goes the practice of learning herbalism, biology and biochemistry. These things are pretty important, especially if you want to drink the potion. This also is the part most people who learn about magick on the internet seem to neglect. A lot.

Here’s the thing about nature: not every plant out there is meant to make a human happy and content. Nature doesn’t exist for humankind, firstly. Secondly, there are a lot of plants out there that do not want to be eaten or bothered, hence why they may have poisons, thorns or a combination. The poison ivy interacts with a person, person discovers it’s not a fun experience, the ivy gets steered clear of (unless the person has access to protective gear to get rid of it or the genetics to not be affected). Eucalyptus actually seeps poisons into the ground to kill other plants around it so they can grow and flourish. Nature is not some happy Disneyland that humans can frolic and take from, this definitely goes into teas and potion making.

There is a science in potion making, several of them, actually. Otherwise, you could risk killing someone or making them super sick. Measurements, historical background, parts of plants, chemical reactions, biochemical reactions, all these things are important.

Metaphysical properties of various plants and herbs are very important in spellwork but when it comes to eating, drinking or placing herbs on your skin, there is more to consider. Some herbs may seem great but could prove harmful, or illegal. In my experience, I’ve noticed the average potionworker is not very well learned and sort of have a “if it is natural, it’s good for you” motto. And then wonder why they are even sicker than they started – or worse, misread the sickness as a sign of proof the potion is working – or still have the ailment they started with. Or are now nursing an addiction problem they’re in constant denial about and still stuck with their illness – a super common one, now.

If interested in potion work, I always suggest to learn as much about health and medicine as an actual practicing doctor and layer on top the botany and mesh it cleanly. Meaning reading tomes and tomes of medical books, biology books, etc, and with years and years of study. Take classes in health, health history and herbalism, don’t rely on the internet to tell you what to do, things like that. Taking a “everything in nature is good for you” stance is a dangerous and possibly deadly stance. For example, mugwort can help with depression but too much of that can actually kill you. There are some species of aloe vera that can harm pets if eaten. Cramps bark refer to two different species of plants. The stem of one plant could be effective but the roots of that same plant are very poisonous or there is a particular stage of germination to use the plant.

Now, not all potions consist of plants, some have additional ingredients. Simply, be ethical about it. No murdering animals (there are very effective alternatives). No murdering people (again, very effective alternatives). Don’t feed other potions that have hazardous substances such as excrement or blood. Don’t feed it to yourself, ether – there are very effective alternatives. You can still be a potion maker without acting like you’re mimicking the life stages of a serial killer.

Mainly, research a lot. Take a long time researching. Don’t just hop on some website that most likely made up some concoction with no rhyme or reason, actually learn what you’re doing. Take some classes if possible. And most importantly – don’t think everything in nature is automatically good for you.

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Sorry for the late post but here is the Ask Black Witch for August! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Lets get started.

I got a couple question from people who don’t seem to really like reading or researching my pretty general stance on spell help, doing spells for others and love spells, especially unethical ones. Here’s a quick rundown:

Spell help: Unless you know what you’re doing, I’m not gonna help. I have a “No assisting dabblers” rule. And the two generally stand out: the practiced person generally knows what they’re doing, they just need someone to bounce ideas off of. The dabbler wants to be spoon-fed and babied and waste another person’s time. Or just have someone else do it for them. Preferably that.

Doing spells for others: I don’t do pay-for-pray (paid spellwork). Never have, never will. If I don’t do paid spellwork for others, I certainly don’t do free spellwork for others either. If a screw-up occurs, it’s because you did it. I tend to make people do their own legwork. It keeps my workload light and way, way less people bother me about fixing their – not mine – problems. Which I like. I may suggest simple stuff like “Maybe you should get bay leaves” but if you don’t know how to use them, that’s your issue, unfortunately. This is why I prefer to field questions from practiced practitioners and am harsh to dabblers. I prefer people to research for themselves, especially since occult and metaphysics is 93% reading, reading and more reading – actual info, not new-agey nonsense. Now if only I got questions from practiced practitioners and not dabblers.

Love Spells: I don’t do them, not even the general “hey, universe, I would like a date” because they’re not really my thing. Those spells are fine and dandy, still in the world of “good ethics”. They don’t control a particular person, they’re super open-ended. The universe might give you a guy, they might give you a bike (because the universe likes to troll people). But it’s open ended. However, I still don’t do them.

Unethical love spells: I don’t support abusive acts or tactics so, yeah, I’m going to make fun of you for trying to control someone else and you wind up dejected. Because I’m talking to an abusive person, which is in the top 5 of my list of “people who justify my belief and support of the Death Penalty”. Love hurts and love sucks. For everyone. If you have to control someone, you don’t love them. At all. It’s not about love, it’s about controlling someone who you believe is weaker than you or is easy to control for whatever reason. Regardless how you do it: magickally, financially, physically, emotionally – it’s wrong and you deserve whatever happens to you, simple as that.

Hello my name is Yesenia, I had someone I know cast a love spell for me but nothing work actually things just got worse for me. This person send me a picture of the candles she turn on for me and I would like to know the real meaning to the color candles she used.

– Yesenia M.

My original response:

Was it to influence someone else or general “find a date”? I mean love spells come with chance of risk. That’s why they’re suggested against so much.

Their response:

I found out that my boyfriend or should I say ex boyfriend is in prison and I found out he was writing and talking to some other female. 

Oh joy, internalized misogyny. So on top of being a control freak in relationships, they have serious internalized misogyny. If not a scientist talking strictly about biological lifeforms, avoid using “female”. It’s “woman”.

This is also why I don’t do paid spellwork. Note the “I had someone…cast a love spell for me but nothing work[ed].” Like, I’m basically being used as IT Support for another person’s handiwork. Which is not why this blog exists. And why I don’t work with dabblers. They put themselves in a bind and they want someone else to get them out of it. No way.

Here are some additional information that looks into the motivation:

I just want her to fix my relationship with him and keep away the other female he was talking to.

We have two kids together that’s not what I wanted but whatever I guess he found love even if it’s not with me

These are the motivations. The top one is not very good, the bottom one means she really, really needed to focus less on the dude she was losing and more on the kids she has.

Here’s the kit and kaboodle about the top one: if the person found out her dude is talking to another woman, instead of running to a spellworker to make it stop, she should have told the dude that a) he’s been found out and b) what are the options she will give him: be faithful or be gone. If this dude has a tendency to romp about, then he’s not worth keeping nor doing any spellwork for. This seems less of a relationship of love and mutual understanding and more of two folks who sort of earned each other. You have the philanderous guy stuck in the clink and the girlfriend who doesn’t seem to understand that forcing a relationship to work doesn’t make relationships work.

The second bit: This is why I’m so pro-choice and pro-“note all red flags, even the pink ones”. Kids are involved. They need two parents, not one. Two kids are a handful. And most importantly, they need a mom who has their head screwed on straight. Here it sounds like a lady who is desperately trying to keep a family together but in all the wrong ways. If a relationship has to go south, it’s better things like that happen before kids get thrown in the mix because then it’s not a tale of two possible fools, it’s kids that are going to get mixed up and possibly messed up. Yes, life is messy but it seems this dude might have been trouble from start (I have a feeling he’s not in jail for snatching a confederate flag or socking a neo-nazi).

The new game plan for this chick is to work on being a mom instead. Once she works out that “likes to control others” thing, maybe she’ll find someone new and can be a suitable boyfriend-to-husband and father to her kids. Until that happens, she needs to focus on the kids and stop trying to control everything.

Hi, I would like to ask something about a black candle. Because I’ve searched about it and it signifies negativities in life, is it right?

I wanna if, it is okay to use black candle for love spell? Cause I asked an old woman (who does witchcraft) to put a love spell to the one I love (my ex bf), after she does it by tuesday, he came back to me. We came back to being sweet and having a strong relationship. But the old woman uses black candle, is it okay?

And one last thing. I’m just afraid because, it’s not true love.. Or is it? 

Thanks in advance.
– Rose B.

Again, being the IT Support for someone else’s handiwork because a dabbler didn’t want to fix their problem themselves.

Anybody who has been in spellwork for at least three months would get down the very basics of candle magick and color magick. Black is a simple one, depending on how it is used. It can make things go away. It can make things happen, it depends on how it is used…and that can vary with practitioner.

About true love: not only is it oneism (a word yinked from Dr. Nerdlove), where you think that there is only one, singular person for you – it is definitely not here. True love stays on its own, you don’t need spellwork to tack your true love down and make them stay.

If the ex-boyfriend (I kind of am seeing why he left) is gone, he’s probably not true love. Yes, he could come back but it would be more of an expression of true love if he came back on his own. To force him back via spellwork is no different than if you went to his house with a gun and said “We’re gonna be together – forever. I promise you.” It’s not true love, it’s scary. And would you want someone to do either of those things to you?

I remember responding to this and saying the relationship is going to eventually crash and burn, like it did for the first asker. I still stand by that. It may be great and amazing now but that trip is going to end pretty soon, especially when the usual bumps and scrapes of relationships (having disagreements, tiffs) happen. Restrict free will and you’re going to get problems. They always happen. Especially if the guy finds out that you don’t really love him, you’re just putting a fix on him simply because you don’t like being lonely. Because that’s seems to be the actual motivation, – not because he’s a genuine, amazing person. It beats spending Friday nights by yourself, which is lame.

Oils and Magick

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I’m getting into more oil-based spellwork and candle work recently. I don’t really know why, I just am gravitating more to using oils in my practice extensively. Mainly in the form of using oil burners, which I’m currently in the market to look for. And I rather buy them from Pagan business since this is for Pagan work. I don’t want to use incense much anymore because while incense makes for wonderful makeshift wands that are hyper-specialized for spell work, regardless of what the spell is for, I just am sizzled out with them. That and there’s the smoke and ash issue, where I just am simply not a fan of it. Especially if I get incense that are a less purer quality than I thought I purchased. I still don’t mind having small sticks around if I need to quickly awash something in smoke but that’s pretty much it. And I rarely do that, at that.

I’ve been looking for proper oil burners, primarily from Pagan stores before going to more general purpose locations. I generally look in places such as Gryphon Moon, and search for other shops like Eclectic Artisans before going for general shops because I want to buy from Pagan business for the simple fact that I’m Pagan and the purpose of the item I’m getting is for a Pagan practice. It’s not that I think the burner will be more infused with more magickal energies than if I got it from some faceless entity on Amazon, it’s simply an economic choice. It’s no different from the reason why I buy only Black-owned hair products.

So far, I just been doing the rudimentary method of simply drawing the oil on the side of the pillar candle, two lines going towards the center for invoking, two lines going away from the center for evoking. Very basic, simple to do. I simply would like to combine whatever oils I have, or purchase oil combinations from trusted Pagan sellers, such as dragon’s blood oil and rose oil, throw it in the oil bowl, stick a candle underneath and call it a day. I always like to keep my rituals super, super simple and quick to do. This also means I can create whatever combinations I want and store them for whatever future use. Not to mention, I also like to easily put them out of the way when I’m done the ritual (unless I am doing one with a meditative bit in it, where I meditate until the oil/candle/incense runs out – which I need to get back into doing). I don’t mind drawing over the candle with oil but I also have to clean the candle holder out when the oil runs or worry the sigil/design is going to bleed together. I don’t mind making a special oil concoction, take some flash paper, write whatever I need to on it, infuse with a dip in the oil and put it on the candle with tweezers. This is very simplistic for me and I like simplistic.

Also, since we’re on the subject of oils, here are some must-knows:

Tweezers are awesome, not fingers: Please use tweezers, flash paper (especially oil soaked flash paper) will go up quickly. Do not use your fingers! It may break the “ooh, oh so magickal” feel of the ritual but it’s a lot better than getting 1st/2nd degree burns or trying to drop the flash paper accurately into the flame. The deities will not protect you from your own stupidity.

Burn only pure essential oil, nothing with carrier oils: You will quickly regret this if you burn oils that have carrier oils in them (jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc). The point of a carrier oil is that they are supposed to dilute the oil to make it safer to wear on the body. They smell absolutely awful if you burn them. If the oil is not pure essential oil, you’re going to be able to see it, smell it and it won’t smell very good. A great book to have is The Idiot’s Guide to Spells and Potions and, of course, Lauren Manoy’s Where to Park Your Broomstick, she has a fantastic section on burning oils.

Fire safety is good: Working with heating oil is great for spell work but oil has a flash point where it goes from liquid oil to raging inferno (ditto with candles that have too much stuff in its wax pool). Please have sand or baking soda – NOT Water – to extinguish the flame safely. Water and oil does not mix, water will make the oil (and the flame that exists on the oil) spread. Same thing if you blow on the conflagration. It will become a bigger mess because of basic fire chemistry. If you are the freak-out type, have a bag of sand or box of baking soda beside you so you can quickly dumpy the mass on the flame while you’re having a “Fire! Fire!” flailing session. If you’re the cool, calm, collected type (also known as the “firebug with experience” type), still have the sand or baking soda with you. Pour on flame and you’re done. You can also smother the flame using big enough cookware but sand/baking soda is very small and compact to carry with you.

Do not apply pure essential oil to body, always dilute: Essential oils can irritate the skin if applied by themselves. Some essential oils can’t ever be applied to skin. Always check if it is ok. Do not believe the extremely harmful myth of “everything in nature is good for you” because that’s not true – Hurricanes exist, hemlock exist, volcano exists. Nature is chaotic, some parts are good, some parts are not. Some oils are dangerous to wear, don’t do it and risk poisoning yourself. Wear an oil diffuser locket instead.

Do not drink essential oils: If essential oils can cause problems on the external parts of your body, they definitely will wreak havoc on your innards. Learn to get better with teas if you want to drink your concoctions.

Don’t have animals around or have them secured: Yes, there are familiars but this is not Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, your cat/dog/ferret/hamster/gecko/chinchilla will not calmly and idly sit by your side as you do spellwork. They will run around, knock things over, get into stuff and create a great fire risk. If you do not want to flambe your pet accidentally, keep them out of the room. You can hold them but keep a good hand on them and extinguish the flame if you’re about to let them go so, again, you don’t accidentally flambe your pet.

Store oils in dark bottles and at room temperature: Amber bottles, cobalt bottles, these are great for storing oils and preventing them from going rancid. Keep oils at room temperature, do not keep them in very hot or cold places.

If you burn yourself: Get an actual burn ointment, do not put butter on burns. That soothes nothing and can cause infection. You are a person, not a biscuit. At least have vaseline or pure aloe handy (if you have both, make a mixture!) but get a small packet of burn ointment.

Ok, moving on.

Oil work in magick is really great for me, I never really done it a lot because oil upkeep can suck when you have a crowded apartment or worse, you still live with your family that didn’t know you were Pagan and, thus, have to be stealth about it. If a bottle breaks or leaks, that’s most likely all your amount for whatever scent oil it was. Also, pure oil can be pricey because of the process that exist to make such oils. There’s so many reasons why having oils about can be annoying and a bit high maintenance. However, if there’s a spot to hold the oils and keep them contained properly, without risk of breaking or being in sunlight, it’s really a nice thing to have.

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