Category: Spells & Potions


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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Last Ask Black Witch had a question from a person who said he was a witch of 17 years…and wanted a spell to bring back his cheating girlfriend. Part of my response was:

Regardless of whether you practice witchcraft or not, heartbreak is still possible. If someone’s going, “If you’re a witch, why can’t you make the person love you and never leave you?” Because that’s abuse and would you like someone to do that to you? Free will is still a thing. Practicing witchcraft doesn’t make you impervious to life’s problems.

Apparently, that wasn’t all! I got more from the dude after the post went up:

Breh.

Really?

Two things:

A) I seriously think this person has not spent even 17 months in Paganism, Witchcraft, nothing. Ethics gets covered in the first year, so there’s no excuses.

B) Even if the dude decided to forgo ethics over a broken heart this time, he still wouldn’t be begging someone else to handle his problem. He’d already know what to do.

Let’s talk love and ethics in magick because, holy crap, it’s a reoccurring topic. It’s amazing how folks think that because they’re not using guns and threats, it officially not abuse anymore so let’s start there.

What is Abuse?

There are various types of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, etc) but abuse is basically the act of impinging on someone else’s free will for destructive means. Mundane examples of abuse:

– Restricting contact with others

– Treating person as if property, not as an individual

Gaslighting

This guy here is hurt that his ex-girlfriend (let’s face it, she’s gone), cheated and left…and given his “she’s mine” approach, it makes me wonder if it was actually a cheating. She could have simply have broken up with him and found someone new. It’s not uncommon for abusive significant others to see a clear-cut break up and moving on as “cheating” because, in their head, the person never left or broke up, they’re just playing about – but now they’re being “unfaithful” since there’s a new person involved.

There’s also the thing that this type of behavior doesn’t magically pop up during immense stress, such as a big break up. Oh, certainly, emotions can drive someone to act in ways that are odd to their regular personality but there are such things as red flags. There’s a difference between sobbing “don’t leave me!” on the floor (and via text…and on social media), and declaring “leave me and I’ll kill you and the dog!” The latter behavior shows a more abusive streak that was most likely present throughout the entire relationship (and probably the reason why the person left). This dude is showing the latter.

What points this out is, first, the dude is initially asking about how to get his “cheating” girlfriend back, as if I have a history of just giving out spells and for any request – which I don’t. Then there’s the fact I already suggested moving on and therapy to get over the break up, the dude still asks about spellwork. Being dismissive of the initial answer is not a good look if you don’t want to look like a controlling ex-boyfriend. Listening is a crucial skill in relationships – and when interacting with other humans.

Finally, there’s the phrase of “I’ve been trying to do this without hurting the other guy”.

Usually, I would say, “it’s possible to blame the significant other for straying because they knew they were in a relationship, a fact they could have consciously withheld from the person they were cheating with”, but here? Why put care into not hurting the other guy, which means the ex-girlfriend is 100% fair game? I mean, it takes two to cheat, the significant other and the person they’re cheating with. It sounds like the dude just wants the girlfriend back to simply punish her. Not work things out, just mete out punishment. Which is shifty.

There’s feeling hurt and angry, those are legit feelings, but this is not the route to go down. At all. This is no different if the dude walked into a gun shop and was trying out glocks, saying to the shop owner, “I don’t want to hurt the other guy, I just want my cheating girlfriend back.”

If she’s a cheating piece of sh*t, then just ditch her. Be angry but let her go. Take time to heal and work on yourself.

In general, this is part of why I don’t do pay for pray (paid spellwork), bother with love spells or anything of that nature. Add in human ego and things can go south ridiculously fast.

Ethics is a very boring topic in magick, certainly. It can take the fun out of the whole “Ooooh, I’m a witch!” thing. But it’s important, because it’s better to set the lines clearly before you mistakenly cross them. Ethics is important especially in topics such as love and war because, that’s where they’re most needed.

People make rash decisions. There are pages and pages of history that proves this. People, regardless of gender, are emotive. Incredibly emotive. “Long wars have been fought over small differences” emotive. This can be really, really bad for so many reasons if left unchecked, thus why ethics exist. Ethics are the defined rules a person should follow, regardless what their emotions dictate. No matter how it feels at the time, emotions are not always right. Emotions may feel right, during that moment, but ethics help give a fairly defined “what is right/what is wrong, what is good/what is bad” line to decide with.

This is why I mentioned “what about ethics?” because that should be a go-to. It’s why ethics exist. If you wind up dismissing the ethics, that can be a super downhill slide.

Small Magick

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Magick is usually depicted as grand gestures and actions. Sitting in a circle, in front of a loaded spread of all sorts of magickal tools and accessories. Taking up space and having major clean up. Sometimes simple is best. Small and simple is better.

I like to keep things to one container. A tupperware full of sand for me to position stones and small, birthday candles. I can stick incense in the sand and the ash mixes with the sand when I’m done. The sand absorbs the wax, I have something I can reuse over and over.

Also, there are big jar candles that can store small stones, dried herb and other accessories like small seashells and dried honey combs. This is great for one-off spells and spells that need multiple days to perform, such as 7 day spells. These candles can be bought for cheap at any general store or market, in any color and with a variety of scents. Three wick candles are really nice.

It’s important to use small stones, the kind that would be stringed on a necklace (these can be bought by the string on Ebay, usually). The reason is because they would be hard to clean and reuse afterwards, especially with non-smooth stones. Also, small stones can be moved about and let space for other items in the candle jar.

Be mindful! Use flash paper, not regular paper, if you plan to burn anything written in these candles. Regular paper will absorb the wax and practically double as a second wick, which will eventually heat the wax and turn into a big conflagration. If not put out in time, it will break and shatter the glass, especially if you blow on it or put water on it. If the flame does start to be out of control, use baking soda. An alternative is a metal cooking lid or pan to cover and suffocate the flames. Do not use water.

Not a smart idea, use baking soda instead.

Do not overload the candle jar. The flame does need space and wax to burn. It’s fine to cover the wax thinly but not to stuff the mouth of the candle jar full. That means no stuffing in regular sized pine cones, big sticks, etc. This could also create a big fire. If you want to burn notebook paper, crumple it up first and tightly. Light it on the flame of the candle and hold it with a small pinch until it is burned away enough over the jar and place the rest of it in the jar and watch it intensely. If you don’t want to do that, transfer everything to flash paper. If you’re using a metal candle jar, you don’t have to worry about the jar breaking from heat but you should place it on a surface that can handle intense heat, like stone.

Once the candle goes out, what you do with the remaining container is up to you. You can throw it away, you can put soil in it and grow flowers, whatever works best for the spell. Do not throw it away in a natural place like in the woods or in a river. While it is quaint and idyllic, it is also pollution. The sun can shine through the glass onto dry grass and cause a wildfire. The glass could shatter somehow and an animal could cut their foot or body on it.

This method of magick is cheap, small and very useful. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, nor a lot of work. It may not be a full layout of a circle but it does what is needed.

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It’s Ask Black Witch! Let’s get into it!

Hey. I’m black and new to Wicca and I am a bit scared. I read some stuff about it being good and just recognizing that everything we need is already provided for us. I’ve also read some not so good stuff that said it’s the devil trying to lure you away from Jesus and how they went back to Christ after bad experiences. I set up an altar but I don’t know what to do with it. Who am I praying to? You know? I was wondering if you can help me? …I guess I’m scared of like opening doors for things that aren’t good. Like I said… who am I praying to exactly in Wicca? I’m def not praying to a horned God… I get a bad feeling about that.

– Alie B.

Oi, you practically sound like me when I was a teenager getting started into Paganism. (It’s not Wicca but Wicca falls under Paganism the same way Catholicism and Baptist fall under Christianity). Growing up Christian, you get that thinking of if you step one toe outside of the Bible, God and Christ will both hate you and come down from the Heavens to strike you down.

“How dare you be nice to gay and trans people! Jesus didn’t die for you not to have guns and never vote Republican!”

Yay dealing with religious social doctrine and the fear it can induce. I remember when I would go through the “Am I saved? Does God hate me? Maybe I should be saved” go-about. I still remember reading a small Christian tract via the light under my door when I was a young teenager, fearful that I wasn’t somehow saved…despite doing it several times prior. I remember being scared to even touch books about witchcraft and divination because it was supposed to be demonic and so on and so forth.

I’ve heard the “Wicca/[other religion] is just the devil tempting you away from Jesus” shtick soooooo many times. So many times. That it will cause life issues, that your life will fall apart, you’ll never have material wealth, your credit will be bad, your pet hamster will set the house on fire with pipe bombs and attempt to assassinate the mayor, everything terrible will happen.

I know from experience how scary it sounds because you don’t want to make the wrong life choices and piss off a jealous god. Thing is, there’s really no right or wrong answer and there’s definitely no right or only religion. I mean, think about it like this: there are tons of religions that existed waaaaaaaay before Christianity and a good chunk of them said the same thing: “Hey, we’re the one true way, anyone else is wrong!” It’s a great way to keep believers but it’s a pretty crappy way to keep everyone else in the religion.

Even if you stayed Christian, you’re going to have crappy life experiences. Everyone, regardless if they practice any faith or not, is going to have life experiences that are horrid. Your life is not going to take a turn for the worse by itself because you switched faiths.

Granted, while the world does not care what religion you practice, the people around you might. I learned that when I became Pagan, the life issues I had were mainly people-related because, well, they didn’t like the fact I still converted away from Christianity despite their fear-mongering…so they decided to try to make my life very hard. Just so they could artificially prove their point that if I left Christianity, my life would get harder. The game plan was that I would go “geez, you’re right” and go back to Christianity. Instead I went, “wow, you’re doing all the terrible things. That’s not an act of God, it’s an act of discrimination. Glad I’m not part of that religion anymore.”

Now, you don’t have to pray to anyone in particular. That includes the Horned God as well. (I had the same squicked out response you did when I started. I still don’t pray to the Horned God and I’ve been Pagan for practically half my life.) You don’t have to pray to any particular god or goddess, frankly. You can just be general about your prayers to nature or the universe itself, especially if you’re new. You can pray to a general God and Goddess/Lord and Lady, not to a specific deity. Or to a goddess in general, instead of a god. These methods are probably a good place to start until you learn more about various deities as time goes on, anyways. That way, you don’t scrunch yourself into a corner.

The altar you have can be decorated with whatever you want. There is no must for set up. Do you like the sea a lot and really relate to the water element? Seashells, sands and more seashells! Have a little enhydro agate (a rock that naturally has water inside) in the middle of the altar. There you go. Prefer air? Feathers and wind chimes are the direction you should go in. Don’t care for any of that stuff? Stay super general and put some nifty rocks and candles in that space. There’s no rule that says you have to have an alter, either. I actually don’t. I never did because I was hiding my faith when living with my parents but now, it stuck. One less surface to clean and tidy up.

In Wicca, there a lot you can do. Partially because it is a religion that was created in 1957 so it doesn’t have a lot of mileage like other faiths do. Doesn’t make it less valid, it just means you shouldn’t put yourself under a bunch of pressure.

As long as you’re not trying to summon spirits or leap straight into astral projection, you’re fine. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Just read a lot of books (stay away from Raven Silverwolf, good gods, she sucks) and take it easy.

(For everyone reading, if rape is a trigger for you, this is the end of the column. See you next week!)

Hi…. The  great witch i am aashu i am 26 i  always wants a succubus for me many of times i tried retuals and everything but  didn’t get one many of times i written letter to the great Lilith but didnt get responce i was trying  in last one year can you help me to summon succubus as my partner and my lover i love succubus can you help me 

-Aashu T

Firstly, my initial response to this email:

This is an incredibly stupid question for many reasons. Why do you think I do spellwork for others? Succubi are not fun romps nor do they love, they rape, which is not fun (ask any rape victim. Any. Guy, gal, doesn’t matter). Lilith isn’t a succubus, idiot, she’s supposed to be the first wife of Adam that is cast away because “she’s too independent” (which is stupid on it’s own). 
Maybe you should just buy a fleshlight and stay out of magick. I’d suggest dating but you probably shouldn’t interact with other humans since thinking of some sort  is a quality most look for. At least I’ll have a question to mince on ABW. This is definitely a stupid question.
Okay, let me break down why this is a really, really, really stupid question. 
Firstly, let’s break down rape itself because the Succubus part is going to be super simple after that. Then the gender part because, holy crap, that’s super evident.
Rape, in short, is non-consensual sexual acts. It does not matter if the non-consent takes form of fighting back, arguing, being frozen as a statue, looking terrified, attempting to leave, being asleep or unconscious, resisting (even super slightly), being drunk or simply any other act that does not scream “consent/yes”. If it isn’t consent, it’s rape. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if the person didn’t scream “no” and starting beating the rapist head in with a brick because that rapist happened to be someone the person knew (which is roughly around 75-80% of rapes in total). Here’s how the FBI defines rape:
Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Attempts or assaults to commit rape are also included.
I want to focus on the “without the consent of the victim” part, because that’s what instantly turns any sex act on earth into rape. Instantly. Consent is a big deal because of how many people bypass it due to bullsh*t social constructs that usually hinges on toxic masculinity worldwide. (Think of the alpha/beta and red pill/blue pill arguments that are frequent on Reddit and 4chan. And why the 14th/15th century term “cuckholding” is getting a resurgence centuries later.) While there are widely circulated ideas that a “real man” takes sex (rapes) instead of waiting for it to be offered (waiting for consent), it makes for a lot of terrible experiences for the person it happens to. Traumatic experiences. Much, much more traumatic than the childish worry of “I can’t get laid”. So traumatic that you have to warn people of the topic ahead of time so they can prepare themselves in case they get flashbacks from their own person experience with it.
Oh, and it’s illegal. FBI changed the definition back in 2013 because they wanted better accuracy because better accuracy means longer prison sentencing, which I strongly support.
Now, remember the “no consent = rape” bit, it’s going to be important now that we’re about to talk about the succubus part.
A succubus, as defined by Mythology Dictionary:
A demon in the form of a female which attacks sleeping men and has intercourse with them. [BW note: A male version is called an “incubus”]
Now, if a guy thinks that this sounds fantastic, a woman – well a demon – always down to have sex kinda forgets that the words “attack” and “sleeping” are used. It’s rape. If guys thought that rape was awesome, they wouldn’t use rape jokes and rape threats so much or get intensely emo when accused of it. It’s also part of why summoning a succubus is difficult because…if it’s consent, it’s not rape. They rape, which implies non-consent. If there’s consent, it’s a sex act. If there’s no consent, it’s rape. It’s like saying, “I want people to rob me so I just started giving my stuff away to random people on the street.” That’s not getting robbed (the act of having your things taken away from you without consent), that’s donation (willfully giving your stuff away).
In a nutshell, if you’re willing, they’re not showing up. And if they did, it would not be while you’re willing. And it would definitely not be the stuff of dreams but the fuel of nightmares. Example: if you’re a dude not into pegging or stressed limbs, the succubus would make the whole experience 100% pegging and stressed limbs. Because it would be rape due to the absence of consent and crossing of established boundary. Because succubus only rape.
Alright, now onto Lilith, who is not a succubus. Granted, I may have screwed up my Liliths. I was thinking of the first wife of Adam. There’s a different one, as defined by Mythology Dictionary:
A Babylonian goddess. She is envisaged as a winged demon woman attacking sleeping men. Also called Lilith.
Actually, reading what the God Checker link and Mythology Dictionary has, this goddess has most likely seen some historical retrofitting. Either way, this is probably more of what the guy thought he was summoning. Still not a succubus. That would be a regular demon. This is a goddess which is almost more facepalming. If demons are hard to control, deities are absolutely worse. And all to get laid? Oh geez, here’s Oh Joy, Sex Toy’s review on various fleshlights. They’re all in easy-to-read comic form and have discount codes.
This guy wanted Lilith, a goddess that has also been depicted being a vampire and eating babies and raping men, for a partner. As if she would be entertained in a worthless human guy when she already had options of otherworldly demons. It’s a little funny because if this dude thought he could control Lilith, which other deities were having issues doing, it really shows this guy has room temperature IQ, Celsius.
Alright, we got the Lilith bit out of the way. Let’s focus on the gender stuff.
I don’t think I have heard of women wanting an incubus. Wait, no. I remember literally one time a woman said that to me and what stood out to me was how other women stared at her. No high-fives. No jovial agreement, just plain “what the fu-” stares. Y’see, rape is already a horrible and very real threat held over women heads constantly all around the world so it doesn’t sound like a fun sex romp but like the terrible action it is.
Note, this is different from force-laden BDSM acts, which are discussed prior in a non-sexually charged and sober setting to iron out the details. This is a form of consent because all participants are comfortably planning in advance what is ok, what is not ok, where the boundaries are, how to do aftercare, safewords, etc. This is consent in action.
Frankly, this question is the kind of question I definitely want to see less of. There’s being lonely but read Dr. Nerdlove to sort that out.
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