Category: Spells & Potions


Woo, a post about magick strictly.

Using a bathtub to do water magick is an idea I have not seen much outside of “take herbal baths”, which is a good idea – when done correctly, not everything in nature works well against skin – but I think more can be expanded upon it for other forms of spellwork.

An example I am thinking of is using a bathtub as its own body of water and sitting in it for spellwork, using floating dishes, including floating candles. This is great for those who do not live near accessible bodies of water but still want to do water magick. Plus, not all accessible bodies of water are safe due to the effects of pollution (please reduce, reuse, recycle & treat water ways as important. Also, corporations are the majority reason for water problems) and that can be a problem for those who wants to work within water but cannot.

Working magick in bodies of water is definitely an experience on its own. Plain water is fine, it does not need to be jazzed up somehow with oils and herbal blends. Not to mention, that could be potentially irritating to the skin or, worse, possibly start an oil fire on water. You do not want that. Please do not turn your bathroom into the Boston harbor.

Working among/within water does not require a big bathtub, just a single bathtub. As with any form of magick, please practice appropriate safety. If you want to stand up and do movement in the bathtub, make sure you have grips so you don’t fall. Things will drift, try to keep an eye on them, especially if they are floating candles. And make sure you have absorbent materials so there won’t be a major mess.

More on floating candles. Not only are they pretty but they can be useful to combine different elements. Earthen items such as salt, oils, etc, placed in the candle. Air from the air or incense – or breath! Or steam. There are plenty possibilities to use enable to expand magick work.

Clean up should hopefully be a breeze. Assuming nothing went awry, all materials used in the spell should have stayed in select plates and in their general places. All that should be needed is to remove items first (to prevent unnecessary spills), then yourself, and then drain the tub. What is efficient is that it keeps the spell neat and organized. Water can be chaotic but your spellwork does not have to be.

Using a bathtub is one of several different ways a person can modify their practice to be better suiting for their environment. Not everyone has a bathtub, true, but this can be useful for those who do. Not all magick practice has to be the usual “stand in a circle, say stuff, do stuff, be done”. It can be as varied as the practitioner themselves.

Techno Witch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking away protection from another.

This is an ethical gray area – okay, not that gray, we’re slipping a little into the dark here.

There are (rare, very rare) times when this is okay – such as dealing with a very pesky and nagging issue/person who seems to be impervious to it all. So, it’s time to chip away or take away whatever makes them teflon or turn their teflon into kryptonite because they need to fall and preferably fall away from you.

The other (read: most) times, it’s generally frowned upon and for good reason: everyone thinks they are the hero in their own story, even the villain. Sometimes, you don’t know that it’s you who are the villain in the story, not them. And given the kind of emails I generally get from people who want to dabble simply for revenge – a good chunk seems not to care if they are good or bad, someone slighted them and that someone has to pay. Again, this is why it is frowned upon in general. A lot of people, in my experience, don’t have the proper emotional management that it takes to decide if this is a viable route to go down. All they know is that they are mad and someone made them like that.

No matter what, it is always important to note that life is not always straight forward, good guys lose, bad guys die; good guys become villains, bad guys turn new pages. The roles shift in everyone back and forth. In magick, things are even less straightforward, “occult” means “hidden” for a reason. People want to protect themselves but some think “protection” means “everyone is diminished but me”. Others can believe that someone is harmful to them and really, it’s all in their head but now someone innocent is an unwitting target a la “Tell Tale Heart”. Simply because of underlying ego/self-righteousness and the fact everyone has a personal blindspot of themselves, stuff like this can go south pretty fast.

It is difficult to determine when it is time to do such spellwork. It certainly should not be considered overnight and if you’re new to magick (under two to three years at minimum), it should not even be done at all. Not even considered. I think for practiced witches, it should be in the “Last Ditch Effort” category because, again, there could be a good reason why someone is so difficult to take down. However, then there is sometimes the idea that the person simply is an actual, difficult foe that has way too much armor for the awful that they cause. Improbable but not impossible.

Though difficult to tell, it is not impossible to differentiate whether it is time to act. For one, if the wrong doing is objectively wrong and for good reasons. Not simply, “I don’t like this because it makes me personally feel bad.” Yes, you have some who prefer to play devil’s advocate but there are some clear-cut ideas of wrong doing. Such as murdering someone simply because the skin they were born in, no other reason. Even if you can back that rationale with “well, they might have done something” or “everyone tells me that these people do actually commit wrong”, “One person in this group has indeed committed wrong at one point in history. Everyone else in the world is perfect, me included” or “I have never seen a grand, positive display of this group in anything ever, therefore, I can not believe that this particular one in front of me won’t cause wrong doing”, it still is a biased perspective, not an objective perspective. To know the difference takes time and experience. And even with those two, many still make bad calls.

Either way, it’s a choice never to be taken lightly. If you want to do it, please have at least half a decade of magick under your belt and have some streak of looking at issues in a rational, not emotional, way. Make sure it is the last option of all things, mundane and magickal. Especially mundane. If you want to ask someone else to do it because you don’t have the skill – don’t. Find a different solution and don’t drag others into your problems.

 

I had gone to Dawtas of the Moon last month, it was a good experience. These are the vendors I saw. They are all Black Women-owned brands.

Kaleidadope

Created for Black diviners, these are tarot decks that have a very new and fresh feel for them. I have written in the long past that there are little to no decks made for Black practitioners and the one that stands out to me is Lo Scarabeo’s African-American Tarot deck, which sucks beyond comprehension. It’s full name should be “African American Tarot … as envisioned through the White gaze”. What garbage. It’s nice that now, there are decks for Black diviners made by Black diviners. This means decks that are culturally comprehensive and lovely to look at.

Their site shows all their wares, I really like the cd deck the most, it is extremely imaginative. They also sell candles and oils

 

PeaceCrownD

PeaceCrownD sells satin caps designed for big, natural hair and pretty pillows. Check out this Africa-shaped one!

The caps are designed with banded, rugged elastic not to slip off during sleep. The creator also does customs for those with bigger/longer hair, like dreads. They also do custom pillows!

 

 

Elementals/ Oceans and Rivers

Elementals are flower essence infusions meant for personal practice. It is similar to oil practice but also, some can be taken internally so read carefully and check with professionals on what you can and can’t do if you go the internal route.

There is more on the Oceans and Rivers site than there was at Dawtas, including programs to promote proper emotional and mental wellness in Black girls and women.

 

BrujaTarot

BrujaTarot is a diviner that does paid divination (before you go, read the ethics page: it is very fair and justified) and sells bath pours. They come in the variety of Cleansing, Prosperity, Protection and “Road Opener”. Check them out!

Also, her kitty graces the bottle.

I am a sucker for cats, what can I say?

 

Simplymade x Sope

SimplymadexSope sells infused waters for practice, such as rose water, Florida water, lavender water, etc. I really like her Florida water, it is wonderful and smells magnificent! They also carry oil blends, Simply Loved Oil and Simply Happy Oil.

Check out their line, I really recommend it.

 

9Energy Power

I got the resin I talked about in my previous post from her. She carries quite the selection in her store.

Not only but she also sells wooden wall art, which I find very awe-striking and ornate. I like the Oshun one most, the honeycomb effect is stunning.

In addition to resins and wall art, she sells bath pours and specialty candles that function well for spellwork.

I feel like talking about fire/candle magick. I had just gotten some resin from Dawtas of the Moon (I will be posting the various vendors I saw there in The Arts! next week) and it’s quite nifty. Generally, I don’t do magick with charcoal because I just never tried. I always kept my practice pretty simple so it’s never veered into view for me.

When it comes to magick, I like to use fire. It feels very absolute for me. That, and it is useful. Want to do quick magick? Birthday candles. Talk to someone who has passed on? Jot it down and chuck in flame, done. Make something come into being? Fire of creation. Make something leave being? Fire of destruction. Very versatile.

Also, before I continue, I always like to point out fire safety. For the love of all things, practice fire safety.

  • Have baking soda, soil or sand nearby, especially if you are working with oils
  • Give your flame a 3’x3′ box of room, even if it is a teeny candle. (Some deities and entities like to be flamboyant, they will flambe your home if you give them a chance. Heck, they’ll attempt to flambe your home even if you don’t)
  • Keep animals (especially fuzzy ones) away from flames. This is not television, they will not keep a respectful distance from the flame. Do not fry your pet in effort to imitate what you saw on tv
  • Use fire-safe materials and use them in the way they are supposed to be used. For example, want to put your candle on water? Get a floating candle. Do not stick random candle in water and hope for the best – fire can start on water
  • Using oil? Got a fire? DON’T use water to put it out! Review below gif on what that looks like.

You don’t want this

  • Got an oil fire? Slide (not clap down) a lid over the fire if in a container to cut off oxygen. On a flat surface, place lid over flame. On water? Get baking soda or sand to throw on conflagration

Alright, now we got that out the way.

Fire magick is very one-and-done for me. To use resin seems to be a good fit to expand that. Especially since there are so many kinds of resins. I personally like dragon’s blood (for both its smell and purpose) but never worked with the resin form. It is originally a resin but I always used the oil form. I guess I used to think that resins were difficult to work with because they didn’t look like anything I had ever seen before back when I was first introduced to them years ago.

Now that I have resin, this makes me want to get a hanging censer or something. I definitely see how putting together different resins could really be impacting and simple in spellwork. I always prefer simple. If I wanted complex, I could have became a ceremonial magician.

In short, I think resin my personal practice is a nifty little addition.

Here is another installation of Ask Black Witch. As I generally say, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Let’s start!

Hello,
Hope you are doing well today!

I am in need of a love spell to be cast. I can explain you my current situation. It would be really nice of you, if you can help me out in my situation by suggestion, the best suitable solution.
Actually, I have a very good friend of mine. His name is [Person]. He sees me and care for me as a good friend. But recently I deeply fell in love with him. His marriage is recently fixed, on [Date] (that’s very short span of time)
I just want to know, if we both can be together in nearby future, does he have feelings for me, or can I make him love me and propose to me at the earliest. It would really helpful, if he postpones his marriage for few months at least and thinks about his feelings for me and proposes me instead.

Any kind of guidance/ suggestion from you will be very helpful.
It will be really nice of you, If you can do an initial reading to check if my friend can fall in love with me/ does he love me, it will be really helpful.

– Sumitra K

Here’s the thing when I skim my emails: the second I see “I need a ___ spell cast”, I am immediately tossed into a bad mood. Especially if the _____ is a love spell.

Because I have said on this site time and time again my stance on casting for others (I don’t), love spells (don’t bother with them) and when people ask me to pretty much interrupt the free will of others (controlling is a form of abuse, you don’t love this person, it’s more about you than your relationship). And I’m not a Magic 8 ball so when people ask me divination questions, I bristle at that, too.

So you think you got friend-zoned (which isn’t really a real place but for brevity, let’s use the term) because, I take it, you didn’t say anything about your actual feelings back when you could have thrown your pitch. You’re free to tell the guy you have feelings for them, just to get it off your chest, but here’s the thing though:

A) the dude is about to get married (yes, there is the issue of arranged marriages but that’s not what we’re talking about at the moment)

B ) The dude sees you as a friend, not someone to date. Yay, friendship. Take that as something good and move on because he is very, very soon to be off the market – actually, he’s off the market now. Because he’s about to get married

C) Don’t hold your breath, you can easily wind up in a situation where you find out the dude never shared the same feelings as you. Don’t try to sabotage the marriage, get in the way of the marriage or anything that is meddling. Even if the marriage starts to turn sour, that’s not your moment to go in for the kill. Be there as a friend but don’t be there as a friend with ulterior motives. Because that’s not being a friend, that’s being a conniving person. Does it hurt? Yes. But it is what it is.

D ) Even if he did fall in love with you – how can we forget the actual wife-to-be? Cheating is a douchebag thing to do, divorces are tricky. Nothing has an easy route out. The dude is planted, and there are other people (innocent people, the wife-to-be didn’t ask for any of this, either) connected so this issue is pretty much done for unless the dude gets a divorce and is, therefore, back on the market.

Also, there’s the “recently fell in love” part, meaning this isn’t exactly a slow burn thing but could be one-sided love. All in all, it sounds pretty selfish to want to uproot someone else’s life because it doesn’t fall in line with what you want. Love doesn’t work that way.

Not easy to hear but just date other guys.

 

Is it possible to bring my friend back to life? If so can you do it for me or tell me how to do it? If not thank you for your time.

– Kim S.

Again, a spell request. In the world of magick, it is a good saying “It may be improbable, but not impossible.” But bringing someone back is a big and really, really, really, really, really advanced task. Not for noobs. Those difficulties aside, there’s also the ethics which are blithely ignored. The person won’t be back to their same old selves, they would be changed.

Death is sad but it’s better to find a better way to cope.

Howdy ma’am my name is Glenn nice to meet you. Let me start by saying that I am not a writer, but I have been having an undeniable urge to write. I am a strong believer in nature and evolution. I do believe in spirits, I believe all life is connected. My question to you is more like a request. The book I feel I need to write is fictional, but I don’t want it to be unrealistic. My problem is I don’t know enough about witchcraft to know if I go out of bounds. Would you please educate and guide me? Thank you and nice to meet you ma’am. SEMPER FI

– Glenn B

Yay, military speak, because that always makes me, a strongly anti-war person, happy. No shade on the Marines but that could have been left off.

I mention books all over my website, this question could have literally answered itself with a skim of the search bar I have up top. I am also a writer of fiction but even I get a little odd when I see “I need to write this book” as if there is some divine force leading them. Probably because I worked in one of the Incoming divisions at the Library of Congress, where I saw many, many crappy books by people “compelled” to write that I can’t help but to go “oh, great, another one.”

And I have rarely seen good works that focus on witchcraft, especially by folks who know jack all about it. I’ve come across stuff that just sounds over-technical, hard science re-imagined as magick, dull or chock full of gender tropes. Besides, fantasy is supposed to be whatever the writer wants, anyways.

Long story short, this question could have answered itself with a search bar.

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.

IMG_20181101_124640.jpg

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.

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