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I have gotten into composting! The occurrence came from the fact I now have more space to garden and I had a lot of food waste. Thus composting! I have propagated African violets from space (no, really), succulents, lavender, moonflowers, green onions, viburnum and morning glories. I’m eventually getting black dahlias, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and climbing roses. Given these plants are from different parts of the world (and galaxy), they have different needs. But when propagating them, nutrient rich soils are pretty useful. That and it’s nice to have healthy soil laying about for future use.

My composting system is pretty small because I did not want to deal with a huge compost pile, I don’t have a farm. I wanted to keep everything super simple…because it should be super simple. All compost is, is organic rot. It can be manure, spent food, dirt, whatever. If it’s biodegradable, it can be compost. Couldn’t be more simpler than that. Also, composting should not break the bank. I was not interested in buying a bunch of things for something that happens naturally in nature. All you need is a container that can be opened and closed (and seal scent in because it will smell a little bad). I use a small cat food bag I had recently emptied. I noticed that the bag had a seal to keep the food fresh and scent contained so that was good for me. I also got a kitchen trash bag to line it with so I can put in new refuse and not have to touch the pile. That and it double seals in the bad smell. It concerned me that when summer would come about, the stench would be at the worst because of the heat. The bag is in a shady spot but rot is odoriferous, nonetheless.

Once I got the kitchen bag – which is bigger than the kitty food bag so there’s a long neck outside the bag when in use – inside the cat food bag, I lined the bottom of the bag with planting soil a couple inches. Afterwards, I just cleaned out my fridge of any overdue food waste (soups, sandwich, etc) and dumped them in the bag. And that was it. I closed up the neck of the kitchen bag, squeezed out some of the air, piled it into the cat food bag and closed it up. That was the start of the compost bag.

As time went on, I would add general food waste, like egg shells, tea leaves and green onion waste. I usually would gather everything in a paper towel napkin, gather the napkin corners and put it in the bag like a secondary trashcan. When I would have spare soil from working with my propagated plants, I would throw the dirt into the compost bag. This makes the compost soil really rich. That and it helps make things not smell so bad when you first open the bag. After one particular rainy day, I noticed there were a ton of worms flooded out from the ground onto the concrete. I picked several up and put them in the bag. This is a good idea because worms help break down rot and enrich soil, especially when they have plenty to eat. I don’t plan on turning the compost so I think worms suit for a satisfactory alternative. Plus, they live in soil and in darkness they won’t be harmed being in the bag. Not to mention, if a couple worms are in the bit of compost used for my plants, it’s harmless to the plant. It’s not like having slugs or ants, which can harm the foliage. Like I said, I want to keep things as easy as possible.

It’s important to note that I’m only doing food waste and soil. I’m not putting manure or anything else in the bag because it’s not needed. There are plenty of nutrients in food and soil and I wanted to keep everything as clean and neat as possible. I know that some folks go as far as have compost toilets buuuuut that’s a bit much for me. I just didn’t want to throw away perfectly good soil and chuck out food when I can combine the two and save money on buying more planting soil. So far, I am not throwing away anything with bones in them and definitely nothing plastic or aluminum. Bones take a while to break down and my bag is pretty small so it’s going to be a while before I think about chucking out the leftover turkey carcass after Thanksgiving. Aluminum can break down because it does contain a natural element. However, it isn’t anything that really benefits plants like paper and food does. Think about it like a human: while it is useful to use aluminum, it wouldn’t be very useful or good to eat it. Ditto with plants. Plastic is a no-brainer, remove all plastic from the food item before putting it in the compost bag.

There really isn’t much to composting like this, the bag should stay in a spot it won’t be disturbed for a long period of time because once you’re done putting things in the bag, you just leave it alone. Check on it six months later. If you want to mix it around then, use a shovel to shift things about. If the bag feels like it is procuring heat, then definitely turn the pile. The decomposition is just causing a lot of heat from breaking down so much. To prevent melting the bag, turn the pile to make it cooler.

And that’s the basics of composting for newbs! It’s pretty simple and easy to do. Doesn’t take a lot of space (my bag hardly takes up a corner), nor does it take a lot of effort.

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There’s a lot of concepts and ideas floating about that, frankly, don’t add up. Thanks to the New Age movement, which started in the ’60s of pretty much acts of hyper Orientalism and Whitewashing by White yuppies who confused being active and incessant drug addicts for “transcendentalism” – basically the average concert goer at Coachella or White liberal kid living in gentrified areas now. Frankly, there’s a lot of bunk out there. And it usually floats its way to my shores because, hey, I’m Pagan, people must think that, therefore, I’m pro-bullsh*t.

Not really.

There are so many things out there that are either problematic, dead wrong or just plain Whitewashing and cultural jacking. For example:

Not too long ago, I got a comment on my BW Fan Page on Facebook and it was from someone talking about angels and masters, which confused me. For several reasons: I’m not a Christian Witch (used to buuuuut switched over to Paganism a long time ago) and it sounded a bit “hokey” for my tastes (humans controlling Angels? Especially archangels ones? Doesn’t sound right). It was a collision course of archangels and mermaids, which was interesting but outrageous all the same given these two entities have separate backgrounds and histories. I was then suggested to look up Doreen Virtue, which lead me to a site that just seemed like a Sylvia Browne mimic, but with more dodgy ideas for sale!

Throughout the site, it was absolutely absurd. It pretty much was a general mashup of all sorts of metaphysical concepts washed through the American Christian gaze, very little facts and all tied up neatly with a hefty price tag. For a small sum, you too, dear random person, can learn what angel or mermaid you are.

The problem here is not angelology or treating the existence of metaphysical entities as real. This is a Pagan blog, after all, it’s pretty well within the scope. The problem is not helping people finding balance and purpose in their life, even for a small fee. The issue pops up when someone takes cultural concepts and ideas that have centuries of history behind them, ignore all of it, slap it together and pitch it to susceptible others. This isn’t the only site like this, there are several.

There are so many ways this is dodgy – and a good way to understand when something is a bit off:

Very Westernized, even when East meets West
Skimming through the site, I could not imagine how someone on the other side of the planet could relate to any of this. Everything is very US Midwestern White and heavily Christian leaning. Obviously being Christian leaning and talking about angels is fine and goes hand in hand but mermaids? And White angels from a religion that started in the Middle East? That’s just plain ahistorical. Unicorns? This eventually sounds like Christianity through the lens of Lisa Frank. Everything is very White washed and hyper simplified because the point of the site is not actually helping people learn who helps them out when the going gets tough but to lull susceptible people into doling out tons of money just for some guidance. I would guess that the average person buying the products of this site is White, female, middle class, between the ages of 34-55 and believes all lives matter (except Black ones).

This site co-opts anything not Christian (such as mermaids, unicorns, leprechauns and deities from other religions). This site even brings up the concept of “Ascended Masters” – enlightened people in history. Thing is, this title paints with a brush broader than a paint roller. It is almost like people such as Aristotle and Buddha were of the same train of thought. Which was very much not true. It’s kind of no different when a yuppie would swear up and down they’re worldly and totally open minded …but have a severed Buddha head statue in their bathroom and butchers Dr. King quotes to support their racial micro-aggression to anyone that corrects them.

One site, Light Ascension, has an extensive list called “The Spiritual Hierarchy” that really sounds like it was thrown together to sound otherworldly. Notice that no matter who is mentioned, it all comes back to Christian line of thought, even when entities and people such as Qwan Yin and His Holiness the Dali Lama is mentioned. Honestly, in a way, it kind of affirms the “One True Way” concept that Christians commonly tout. Like the whole universe works toward helping Jesus, even if they’re deities in their own religions, predate Christianity, or doesn’t care about the existence of Christian belief. Which makes no sense.

When the going gets tough, make sh*t up
This is a good saying when folks are trying to sell you the moon and have nothing to offer. This is that moment. The sites are not about learning facts and deep info (even if they pay for it), it mainly plays on the average layperson’s knowledge of angels (hence why no talks about the different choirs of angels, the fact they blindly serve the Abrahamic god* and only that god, never humans, annnnnnnd they’re only depicted as “people with wings”) and pretty much how they, the average layperson, can somehow benefit from this. You could replace the angels on the site with pretty, knitted octopus and it would probably still stick. Just get a concept, make it seem more magical than magical, pitch that you can make that magic happen for others for a price and wait for the money to roll in.

If you think that no one would totally fall for this, I’d agree with you …then look at my email inbox continually filled with random people constantly asking me for spells, even offering money, despite the fact that I say pretty regularly on this site that A) I don’t do paid spellwork for others and B ) I don’t do paid spellwork for others (it’s a pretty important point so I thought it was worth mentioning twice).

Too complex? Just add water
The study of angels in culture and history is really cool and interesting. It also gets pretty scary at some points because angels are a lot more than sweet cherubs out to keep people from bring crappy to each other. However, that doesn’t really help people feel like they’re getting a grip on life. This means everything gets watered down to the point that nothing is really related but everything is centered on somehow improving the reader’s lot. That’s why you can find things about mermaids (which does not show up exclusively in any of the Abrahamic texts (Bible, Torah, Qu’ran)) and random stone associations with Archangels that can some how be roped into being your spiritual bff.

There’s a lot of product but no substance. The archangel profiles have absolutely no mental heavy lifting. No theory, no actual history, nothing. However, the joining thread between all the information is that it’s all here to help you…for a fee, of course.

One prime example of the mish-mash nature of this site and concept is best shown through the post “How a Protective Mother Goddess Helped Me to Overcome Anxiety“. It’s not troublesome to use spirituality to quell anxiety. It’s even healthy, as a matter of fact. Faith can really pull people through hard times. It’s the fact that in the tags on this heavily Christian site is “Xochiquetzal, Sweat Lodge, Native-American Ceremonies, Anxiety, Past-Life Regression”.

Xochiquetzal is, according to Mythology Dictionary, an Aztec fertility goddess that stems from Central America. She resembles childbirth, crafting and flowers. She also has her own origin stories that are no way related to Christian belief. She is an Aztec goddess, thus holds her own. But on Virtue’s site, here she is knocked down to “Goddess Angel”, which is nearly an oxymoron because deity control angels, not are part of the ranks of angels. And as an Aztec goddess, she’s going to be lumped in with the general label of “Native American”, which generally covers Indigenous people who lived in America en masse, folks like Blackfoot, Lumbee, Lakota and Sioux. This does not cover Indigenous folks who lived in other areas such as Central America. Which means Xochiquetzal is getting misappropriated because in the White gaze, all native indians are the same.

This experience that is being recounted is at a sweat lodge, which is explained as a “Native American-based ceremonies held within the confines of a small building or tent”. Talk about hyper generalization. It’s almost like all Indigenous tribes are exactly the same. The group (I’m going to bet this group probably had the diversity of a Klan meeting) started chanting “So-she-ket-zel” as additional water is poured on the rocks, which makes no sense because I doubt Aztecs sat in sweat houses in effort to reach their goddess. There’s just no relation for this particular deity.

The kicker was when Virtue described the Aztec goddess who was the queen of paradise for warriors killed in battle: “She was clearly Native American, with long silky black hair, a youthful 30-something-looking face, and a white animal-skin dress with fringe and red beads. She was beautiful, loving and compassionate….[I]t was her angelic energy that calmed me with its enveloping love.” Eventually, Virtue finds how who it was she “saw” and wrote “‘She is like an angel,’ I said. ‘Who is she?’ I learned that Xochiquetzal is an Aztec and Toltec goddess also known as “flower feather.” She’s an earth- and fire-element fertility goddess who inspires love and passion. She’s also a protective Mother goddess, which she certainly had been for me during the sweat-lodge ceremony.”

The reason this is the kicker for me is because it’s such a blatant disregard for the history of the Aztecs and their beliefs. I did some research and happened upon Mexicolore, an informative site about Central American Indigenous tribes such as Aztecs, Mayans and Tocuaro. Here, Xochiquetzal has her own info page, which described her much better than Virtue did:

Xochiquetzal, the goddess who seduced a priest and then turned him into a scorpion as a mark of her power, was no soft touch She incarnated youth, love and beauty and was amorously pursued by several Aztec gods. Emblemised [characterised] by flowers and colourful feathers, Xochiquetzal was patroness of lovers and prostitutes. Unlike other fertility goddesses, she encouraged love-making as a means of pleasure, not reproduction, yet she had the power to absolve humans of sins that weren’t necessarily of a sexual nature. Wife of the water god, Tlaloc, and consort to the creator deity, Tezcatlipoca, Xochiquetzal lived in the Aztec paradise of Tamoanchan. She was widely worshipped and many great rituals were made in her honour; from incredible acts of sacrifice to sombre confessions.

Hey, waitaminute. Xochiquetzal encouraged sex as a way to have fun? And she was the matron of lovers and sex workers. Ohhhhh, that doesn’t sound very Christian. Christian rhetoric believes that one is only to have sex just to procreate, that sex for fun is disgusting and sin-laden act. And that sex workers are lowly people because, ugh, women capitalizing off of sex, what is the world coming to? They’re untouchables, amirite? And she’s used to be widely worshipped, too. Like a god. Because she is one.

Funny Virtue left alllllllll this out. And got the image of the goddess way off. Such as how the goddess has a noseplug ornament in the shape of a half moon, usually dons many gold ornaments and wears a quechquémitl (a short woven poncho-like garment) and cuéiti of various colors. That she has a headdress that either is a Quetzal bird or a crown of flowers.

All this just sounds so radically different from what what described originally, the white animal-skin dress with fringe and red beads. If anything, it just sounds like what the White gaze would imagine a friendly, non-specific indian. Then again,Virtue thinks Jesus looks like a White guy with gently wavy brunette hair so there’s that. Mexicolore, on the other hand, has this interesting picture describing how Xochiquetzal looks, according to cultural depictions:

It’s also noteworthy that in the story, no one bothered to tell Virtue that the Xochiquetzal is not an angel but a goddess from her own religion. And a widely revered one, at that.

Now, this isn’t the only place on the world wide web that uses the allurement of new age ideas for personal betterment to make money.

In my inbox, I received an email asking about paid advertisement on Black Witch. I tend to keep Black Witch ad-free because I hate ads, especially since most aren’t worth watching or looking at. Plus, with the subject of my website, you’re going to see more “have your fortune told” and “spells to make you powerful” ads everywhere. That’s awful. However, I don’t mind promoting what I think is nifty or something that helps Black Witch (such as Ko-Fi!) Actually, those promotions are done for free, as in, I took it upon myself to post it and make reference to it. No fiscal plying required.

The paid advertisement request I got was for the Transmutation Club, which wanted to pay me to promote their business. Their business was, judging by their site, suckering people out of money in hopes they’ll learn how to use their sexual powers to do better in life and business. The huge red flag of the whole site? This:

Doesn’t it sound incredibly infomerical-y? “We have this great big secret that we’re dying to tell you but we can’t! Not for free, anyways.” And it’s a bit odd that women are reaching out to me but men are writing all the content. Which is concerning, especially since it’s the same exact method that sex traffickers use to get more girls because of the idea that seeing a woman will set off less alarm bells. I’d rather continue promoting Bedsider instead. Way less skeevy, much more informative.

Also, the Transmutation Club site has articles titled “Happiness Hack”…because the human brain is a computer that can be tricked and modified like a rooted android phone. Anything with “hack” in the name and is not talking about computer is automatically iffy at worst, lame at best.

I brought all of this up to the woman writing to me and she responded that one of the faculty members is the founder of WITCH magazine and her readership loves the course. She also tried to sweeten the load by saying that I would get a 30% commissions on any sales made from the their live webinar. Unfortunately, I don’t like commission jobs and I’d rather be an affiliate with those who aren’t shifty in what they’re pitching. If it were a Black-owned metaphysical shop having interesting and sensible workshops that offered me an affiliate commission, I would seriously think of taking that up because it really resonates with what I want to have on Black Witch and to show my readers. The key point is how useful it is for the participant, not how lucrative it is for the business.

As for WITCH magazine, I looked it up. I don’t read any Pagan magazines but I am familiar with a couple. Such as Witches & Pagans and Modern Witch. Truthfully, I think the only magazines I read consistently are Black Belt Magazine and GosuRori because I’m also a martial artist and part of lolita fashion.

WITCH magazine seems to be mainly about hype, not information. I mean, the web address is “badwitch.es”, kinda makes me think the site is loaded with snowblindingly White feminism. And it sort of is: there is some diversity but it appears tokenized, and the same guy who wrote nearly all the posts on Transmutation Club is also writing here. The columns read more like they borrow from Cosmopolitan and Seventeen and less like something with substance. I nearly half expected a column to say, “What wine goes best with moon in Gemini – Getting your groove back for the full moon.”

It’s super American centralist, too. One post about the new moon in Cancer says “The New Moon in Cancer will be born Monday morning on the 4th of July. As an expression of the sign of Cancer, this day will be sensitive, emotional and revelatory. To heighten the sense of significance, take note that this is the day that America’s Independence from Great Britain is celebrated, a moment in history for the whole world to reflect on.”

The whole world. As if America becoming a country was such a cataclysmic event that just took the world by storm. Like we’re the center of the world, center of the Universe, even.

Look, 4th of July is only important to Americans. Literally no one else cares. They have their own national holidays to pay attention to.

Both WITCH and Transmutation Club share a lot of the same trends that I don’t really care for but certainly find pretty problematic, especially if they’re going to ask me to promote their works and products. It’s not very diverse, it’s incredibly cis-het, it does not decentralize gender stereotypes and it glosses over actual information. This, I don’t see being useful for womanists, sex trauma survivors, or trans people trying to be comfortable in their bodies. It doesn’t even have the basics, such as safe sex methods (something Bedsider does). It’s just pretty images and baseless words, with a non-minuscule price tag.

The thing about these sites is that they clog up actual information streams. Y’see, the average person seeing these sites is not going to think “Hey, these sites are probably false and just out to get my money”. They’re going to see the scant, repeated info and think that this is accurate. Especially since these sites play on common held beliefs, insecurities and illusion of access. If you target the emotions, you generally don’t have to provide a bevy of facts, just keep poking at the person’s emotions. That’s where the problems begin, not to mention, reduces the legitimacy of those who actually practice metaphysics and occult and doesn’t shell out cheap gimmicks.

*Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths that basically share the same god.

This post is part of the Same Situations, Different Faces series. Normal posting resumes in April.

Alright, this is the last post of the Same Situations, Different Faces series. I thought of what would be a good or useful thing to talk about and it seems I’ve glossed over a topic that is pretty important: hospitalization. Your therapist can diagnose you with DID (or just being on the Dissociative spectrum (Dissociative Disorder, Dissocative Amnesia, Dissocative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue)) but being at an actual trauma/dissocative disorders program is where you can really start to get properly diagnosed and treated with a specialized treatment plan. However, hospitals that are top in treating this are few. In the US, there is Sheppard Pratt’s Trauma Disorders program (Which is why it’s very weird Korean drama Heal Me, Kill Me very much did not mention it, but Hopkins instead, which is more for physical ailments.) If you want better than Sheppard Pratt, you’re going to have to go to the United Kingdom to the Clinc for Dissociative Studies. The US has good trauma disorders programs but dissociative spectrum disorders need a lot more attention than chucking pills at the problem. Medication is useful but treatment has to be therapy-heavy for these disorders, especially since there is no medication that can directly manage dissociative spectrum disorders, just the symptoms such as depression and anxiety. The UK tends to use therapy as the primary stop of mental care before going to meds, the US does the exact opposite.

Going to a hospital actually isn’t that scary. Some parts will definitely make you feel like you’ve very much have lost your mind – I think just the realization of being in an actual mental institution kinda does that all on its own – but really, most of your stay will be unbelieveably quiet and boring. It is nothing like Arkham Asylum, there are no strait jackets and most hospitals have phased out their padded rooms (there’s getting the spike and the safety burrito, now. I’ll cover those two later). Mental hospitals and psych wards (the psychological conditions ward of a regular hospital) tend to resemble incredibly quiet hospital waiting rooms with halls that are lined with doors to bedrooms. The windows are stronger than police riot shields and very soundproof, you can barely hear a thunderstorm.

Getting into a trauma program is pretty tough because of the history of sane people being sent to mental hospitals for terrible reasons with relative ease. You can’t pick up a phone, say “I’m like the dude from Split, please come get me,” and there you go. That would skip the mountains of paperwork that needs to be collected!

Before you go, it’s paperwork city. The first day is also paperwork city. In addition, you’re explained your rights, sort of tested to make sure you can understand that you have rights (or are simply cognizant that you’re in a hospital) and more paperwork. Depending on hospital or state, you will also be told the gun laws in your state…because awareness. Your vitals are taken (blood pressure, temperature, etc). If you don’t like needles, you are gonna hate having your blood taken. And the nursing staff will try to take it every day, which will make you think you’re surrounded by vampires. Oh, and the taking of your vitals daily, this is to ensure you’re actually taking your meds if you have any. You will also have to fill out a bunch of tests as well to see if you just have PTSD, if you’re on the dissociative spectrum or simply misdiagnosed. Here is a sample of what a Dissociative test looks like and no, you can not fake the answers to look less dissocative. I’ve tried. Besides, even if you successfully fooled the test, you’re under 24/7 observation. Someone will notice something.

Speaking of dealing with the staff during intake, your stuff is examined with more thoroughness than TSA. This is to make sure you’re not sneaking anything in that could be dangerous, counterproductive to treatment or harmful. If you bring body wash, it must be transparent, both gel and bottle. Otherwise, it’s getting seized because you can sneak stuff in it. If you have cleanser for your face, it’s getting seized because there is alcohol content in the ingredients. If you have a loofah, not a regular sponge, it will be taken because you can unravel it and attempt to hang yourself with it. Unfortunately, people have come up with some super creative ways to hurt themselves or try to kill themselves and that’s what implements changes in the rules. If you have wireless headphones, you can bring in music, as long as you have a super short cord (3″ or less) to charge them with, in view of staff. If your electrical devices can access internet and/or have a camera on them, it’s getting seized. This obviously means no cell phones. The reason is to protect everyone’s privacy. That and there’s a metric crap ton of triggering content on the internet…as well as distractions that could impede your focus on treatment, which is why you’re there. Should you bring books, they can not be of the horror or murder variety. If you bring comics, anything worse than Archie comics will most likely get taken. The nurses do look through the content to see what is in it, unless the title is a dead giveaway, like “Deadpool”. E-readers can not be brought in either unless they are the 1st gen “no access to internet whatsoever” kind. You will be living mainly as a Luddite, basically. A bored one at that. Your clothes will be checked and if there are any drawstrings, they’re gone. Shoelaces, gone. Heavy shoes or thick soled shoes (such as platforms), also gone. If you have any shirts or pants with religious, violent or disturbing art, it’s a no-go. For example, you can bring a Linkin Park shirt and, as long as the checking nurse doesn’t know LP’s songs that well (I love ’em but the song “Given Up” is distinctly about wanting to kill yourself) you can bring their albums but you can’t bring in P.O.D. anything because A) Religious iconography B) P.O.D. stands for “Payable on Death”, which is a banking term but the staff only cares about the “Death” part. I’m sure bringing any The Prodigy is fine (They are responsible for the title of this piece, after all. P.O.D. for the series’ name). Everything taken is securely bagged up and kept in Security until it’s time to leave for home. If you don’t have any sufficient clothes to wear, you’re given either hospital clothes (which is like a cross between paper and cloth) or “safety sweats”, which is just sweatpants and sweatshirt that have no drawstrings. And grippy socks that may or may not have do not have heels.

If you have natural hair, it would be best to get your hair into yarn twists or any other low/no maintenance hair styles if you have any forewarning because, frankly, nearly every black hair care product will not pass the list. Most of them aren’t clear liquids or in clear bottles. Hair picks are automatic no-go, even plastic ones. Satin bonnets and night caps are not likely either. You can probably talk your way into having a satin pillowcase but that probably will be it.

After getting through paperwork city, having your stuff checked and taking your test to see how dissocative you are, that’s when an individualized treatment plan is really hammered out. The meds, the group therapy sessions, triggers (potential and known), things like that. And this is where the boredom begins. The trauma disorder ward is immensely boring. Between groups, there are wide blankets of time where there is nothing to do. You can’t always have the tv in the general living area on, that’s strictly regulated. There are few board games and card games to pick because “safety is important”. If you can possibly choke on it, throw it or attempt to kill yourself with it, it can’t be in the ward. This means you’re stuck with puzzles and coloring books. Tons of them. If you want something of more intellectual stimulation, you’re going to be out of luck. There are books in the trauma disorders ward, but just like every psych ward, the books are completely snowstormed – White writers, White-led story and content. No diversity, nada. If you have a 1950’s housewife’s taste in books, you’ll be well suited. If you’re basically everyone else, you’ll be screwed. Few people donate books and games to mental hospitals so you get little selection. Perhaps you could bring a word search book or a crossword puzzle book. At least two of them.

When you’re in a trauma disorders program, it’s voluntary. That means you can go after a 72 hour hold. This is given that you’re not kicking up a major fuss or showing that you’re very, very unstable. (Sometimes, kicking up a major fuss can get you to go home faster but don’t count on it as the rule, just the exception). Two doctors have to sign your paperwork that says you’re mentally fit enough to leave and not have to be returned via police escort that very night, based on your past 72 hours. The only common exception is when your insurance finally craps out and you have to leave practically on that very day, regardless if you’re well or not. In voluntary, you can refuse meds you don’t want to take (given you’re relatively self-stabilized) and treatments you may not want (like electro-convulsive therapy). Basically, you’re fairly involved in your treatment experience. If you’re in a psych ward involuntarily, it means that you can’t refuse meds or treatments you don’t want to take and you’re more at the mercy of the psych staff. You stay as long as they think you need to stay and you hardly have a say. Basically, you don’t want involuntary because it is the “we’re bringing you in kicking and screaming”. It’s not common to be in the Trauma disorders program as an involuntary, however.

The various groups are therapy groups to teach you and the other patients about your recently diagnosed (or confirmed) disorder, the meds you might be using and methods to help manage it such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Here is a game created by Nicky Case that shows an example about this particular method, titled “Neurotic Neurons“. If you’re not a fan of group therapy, you’re not going to enjoy this. They’re usually quiet, few people want to talk (understandably) and you will sometimes get the sense that the interns, doctors or nurses are taking stabs in the dark about some parts of the disorders. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re talking about but they do sometimes give you a “learned about swimming from reading aplenty but never been in a pool” feel. And by “sometimes”, it will be “almost regularly”. Bringing a journal is strongly suggested because in group, you’ll have activities to do.

Speaking of dealing with doctors and nurses who may not have first hand experience with dissocative spectrum disorders, you’re going to have to advocate for yourself or they will get something wrong. Mistakes happen and constantly. Misunderstandings are regular, especially if you are not with a lot of social privileges and the staff is not very diverse. Since I’m Pagan, I’ve had to explain a host of times that don’t have schizophrenic or psychosis disorders simply because I believe in occultism, magick and spirits. It’s part of my religion. I’ve had to do the same about being Black and creative as well. Chances are your program was subconsciously designed for middle class White people who are usually hailing from Christian-leaning backgrounds. For example, the ward will have a priest and maybe a rabbi but no imam.The less known or more stigmatized your religion is to the Western world, the more likely it will be read as a psychosis disorder by the average mental health professional handling your chart. Hooray.

Now, I previously said that mental institutions have done away with strait jackets and padded rooms for the most part. If anything, you have complete freedom to be visited, use the phone (they have one for open use during the ward when groups are not happening) and even get care packages. It’s not a prison, frankly. However, if you start acting out, such as pulling the fire alarm, acting over belligerently, cause harm to yourself or another person, there are repercussions. The nurses will try to talk you down as much as possible, offer you meds, etc. If you’re not calming down, the nurses will eventually call for security, which is “code green” (think “hulk”) – actually, there are several color codes – and things are going to be a lot more complicated. There will be several security guards and they will also try to talk you down. If you’re not cooperating still, more doctors will also be called because they have to administer what is kind of known as “the spike” as the security restrains you. “The spike” is usually three needles but you only feel the first one. This cocktail is to calm you down and make you super sleepy, thus easier to be placed in “solitary”. Solitary is either an empty room with a mattress and pillow or a bed with four point restraints (to restrain your wrists and ankles), depending on hospital. Most folks don’t remember being placed on the four point bed after getting the spike, they just wake up there and staring at a host of doctors, nurses and security crowded around their bed asking them if they’re going to be more cooperative. If you’re not incredibly aggressive enough to warrant the spike, there’s the safety burrito! The safety burrito is two thick blankets laid out for you to be placed upon and swaddled firmly into a burrito. You’re usually in either the Solitary room or in your room. It can be comforting or depressing, depending on how much you think about all the things you have accomplished in life and how now you’re holed up in a mental institution laying on the floor or on a bed wrapped up in heavy blankets like a infant. It’s definitely better than getting the spike buuuuut it’s not a million times better.

I mentioned that there are color codes these hospitals. The color codes are:

Code Green – Aggressive patient, need security
Code Green, All Male – Aggressive patient that is too violent for regular orderlies, need stronger people (yes, this is a pretty sexist name for a code that basically means “Please come if you’re really strong”)
Code Silver – Patient has a weapon (regardless of the weapon. The patient could be wielding blue, bamboo knitting needles, it’s still “code silver”)
Code Blue – Physcian needed, patient is going through severe physical ailment episode
Code Red – Fire

Now, hearing all this, again, I want to reiterate that mental hospitals are not like Arkham Asylum. It’s not very common for people to get to the point of getting the spike or get into a safety burrito. It definitely does happen, it certainly is not rare but it’s not a wild house where everything and anything happens. If it is like that, try to find the patient advocate and get out.

Lastly, being at a trauma ward will be expensive so if you weren’t a fan of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA, Obamacare) then, you will be when you find the bill for a three week stay is over $27,000. And the suggested stay time is six weeks. The ACA is how I actually have never seen the bill. Speaking of insurance, you should read the fine print of your insurance to see if it accepts milieu care/milieu therapy (basically, you’re housed in a supervised, dorm-like atmosphere) because that is what your experience will be. If you have medicare, it’s automatically covered. Otherwise, your healthcare provider will try to weasel out of paying that hefty bill or cut your stay really short. Or both. Because American healthcare.

In short, being hospitalized is definitely no vacation. It’s strictly for treatment and that’s what your experience will be geared towards. It isn’t a halloween terror ride, either. Trauma wards take great pains to make sure you don’t have additional trauma. It isn’t perfect but it’s certainly not 100% like the movies. It’s much more boring.

This finishes the Same Situtation, Different Faces series. This last piece was surprisingly tough to write and make sense of so if there is any need of clarification or just plain questions, please feel free to say something.

This post is written by The Aether System as part of the Same Situation, Different Faces series. Normal Black Witch posting resumes in April.

Although having Dissociative Identity Disorder is not nearly as scary as the media and recent movies make it look, it is still a very difficult disorder to live with. Facing troubles with a cynical view can make things much harder on yourself, so having a way to laugh despite the troubles you face can make a huge difference. Therefore, starting a meme page for those who have D.I.D., or want to learn about it seemed like it would be helpful to the mental health community. “DID I meme that?” is on most forms of social media, so it is accessible to almost everyone.

Ever since the movie Split came out, the amount of people interested in D.I.D. has spiked considerably. However, this can actually be a good thing, since it provides more opportunities to educate the public on what this disorder is and is not. This is another situation where the memes come in handy. Rather than seeing a bunch of people with mirrored selfies and fun filters in the tags associated with D.I.D. and Split, it seemed better for the viewers to see accurate, yet comedic representations of this disorder, created by people who actually have it . Not everyone as the time and willpower to read an article, but almost everyone has the time to scroll through a few memes.

Words can only go so far when it comes to describing feelings and experiences, so sometimes a picture is a more effective description than words. Pictures can also be easier for people to process, rather than paragraphs, particularly to those who have difficulty when it comes to reading.

A lot of the terms included in these memes use the vocabulary of the D.I.D. community, such as “Littles” (young alters), “Protectors” (alters whose job it is to protect the host), and much more. The creators of these memes use this vocabulary so the memes feel more genuine and personalized to the audience they are aimed towards. Another part of the meme creation process is deciding what captions to use. When it comes to D.I.D., it can be difficult to know what type of alters will be viewing the memes at any given time. That is why we aim to keep the language closer towards PG-13, in case there are any younger ones browsing the memes.

Although “DID I meme that?” is only a couple of months old, it has received a lot of response on many social media platforms, particularly Tumblr and Facebook. There have been questions of what living with this disorder is like, suggestions for memes, and many other people with D.I.D. who share the memes while tagging them as “relatable”. It can be very hard to find relatable mental health memes, particularly when it comes to the more rare disorders, so finding a page full of memes from real people with these disorders can be very refreshing. One of the comments received on the Instagram page expressed surprise when the user found out that the page was run by someone who actually had D.I.D., and they were glad to finally find memes that really expressed the experience of D.I.D. with accuracy.

This post is part of the month long series Same Situation, Different Faces. Normal posting resumes in April.

When doing research about DID in media and societal perception, I came across a number of sites with the misconception and romanticizing of DID as “spiritual possession”. As a Pagan site, I would like to mention this isn’t to say that possessions do not happen (they certainly aren’t frequent, of course) – just that Dissociative Identity Disorder is, frankly, not an expression of possession.

Dissociative Identity Disorder can be commonly romanticized by the belief that it is a supernatural function of the brain – just another way to show the bottomless depth of the human mind. Even in Split, the therapist of main character, Kevin, was trying to pitch DID as this amazing phenomena that can and should be unlocked…while clearly ignoring and sidestepping the continual toddler-hood/childhood abuse, neglect and horror that creates it. This is literally the logic of some corrupt university that reaaaally wants to create reputation-boosting “progress”, regardless of meddling nonsense such as “sensitivity”, “ethics” and “sanctity /protection of life”. This kind of thinking doesn’t acknowledge DID as a trauma disorder but as a “fascinating” mental construct that sounds straight out of movie.

This is pretty pervasive thinking. For example, in some places online, there are those who say they have endogenic systems, meaning they have a system of alters (alternate personalities) that are not borne from trauma but simply natural occurrence. This is fairly impossible because all disorders on the dissociative spectrum (Dissociative Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue) are basically mental defense mechanisms that go into overdrive, forcing the brain to rewire, forget or completely distance itself from the occurrence of trauma to survive the experience and resume whatever normalcy possible. All systems are traumagenic, derived from trauma. Either the person claiming “endogenic” either has zero recollection of their traumatic experience or crafted everything up from watching too much Red vs Blue and Steven’s Universe.

There are also those who believe in “system hopping”, the idea where an alter can go from one system to another like a ghost. This is intensely false. A dissociative system is unique to the person who has it, crafted by the trauma that made them. Various alters can not jump from one system to another. Simply can not happen. It’s like waking up with someone else’s hair growing out your head, excruciatingly not likely.

All these examples, they usually fall along the lines of what would be classified as the “supernatural”, the metaphysical, basically. It completely ignores the creation of trauma disorders – which is extended exposure to traumatic experience at a very young age, before 6-9 years old. Actually, it is a common trope in pop culture to show psychological problems as supernatural occurrences that either improves the human experience by creating super abilities or diminishes them by making the person an absolute monster. This is no different for DID. Actually, DID is used as a very common trope in media, regardless of whether it depicted as a super power or monstrous affliction.

As an aside, DID is also used commonly as an excuse in court by various people who want to duck their crime and the penalties it comes with via the Insanity plea. To say “It wasn’t me! It was my alter Susan!” Thing is, whenever someone says they’re too mental to stand trial, a psychologist verifies that – and usually finds the person very, very lucid. (Recent example: Dylan Roof. Said he snapped, got tested, found that he was very sane – just very, very racist and hateful – now facing the death penalty for consciously acting out a fantasy borne on Stormfront and 4chan in hopes to incite a “race war”) The thing about DID, you can be an Oscar-award winning actress/actor – there are a lot of other more little details that makes the disorder what it is because it is a disorder of hiding itself that the average person does not see. This is part of why the insanity plea works only 1% of the time and is a pain for lawyers when brought up.

Not to mention, depending by state, the Insanity plea does not promise the avoidance of prison or prison time. For some states, it could mean a person will be in a mental facility until sane enough to carry out their time. Altogether, being in a mental facility is not the same as being on vacation. Even if a person carried out the entirety of their sentence in a mental hospital, they are there involuntarily. So they will most likely have to take meds they disagree with, go through treatments they won’t like (such as electric-convulsive therapy) and have to stay there until a doctor deems them sane to leave…which can easily tack on days – just be annoyed from a normal circumstance, there you go, days added. If the person is not perky happy or completely zombified, they can wind up staying longer than anticipated, involuntarily taking meds and treatments. At least in prison, you can reason with the courts to get out early, not so for involuntary stays.

Back to the subject at hand, it is fine to believe oneself as a vessel for communicating with entities and spirits, there are several faiths and religions that includes this, generally described as shamanism. Dissociative Identity Disorder is not this at all. To engage in shamanism, while it varies by culture, tribe and their unique histories, it does not involve experiencing vast childhood trauma/abuse/neglect. It would be safe to say that no one would want to be a shaman if that were the case. Shamanism is an expression of ancestor reverence and interaction which is learned through practice, apprenticeship, study and in-depth cultural information. This is not inherently traumatic at all.

The disorder is not an act of possession, either. There is a concept in circles that have very cursory knowledge of things of possession and other acts of the occult that if the mind is under enough stress, it makes the person more susceptible to being possessed. This isn’t possession, this is a misunderstanding of the effects of trauma. Further more, the “demon” possessing the person usually seems pretty reoccurring to handle particular events, which is not exactly common in actual possession occurrences. However, if there is an utter lack of knowledge about the reality and validity of dissociative disorders and the effects of trauma, it makes sense the person with the disorder would feel “possessed” and others around them with a keen eye would assume it was also an act of possession, when, in reality, it is a psychologically induced response to intense ongoing trauma at a very young age.

A big reason why DID is seen with such “oh, this is the supernatural” perspective, is because of the lack of general understanding of how the disorder is even created. It looks supernatural at a glance because it certainly sounds unusual, the idea that one person could mentally become several. Then you have the fact that DID is still hotly debated in the psych community on whether it exists or not (it does, there is extensive data now). And because the disorder mainly tries to hide itself by making the person with it blend with the environments and societies they’re in, this means most people do not see DID in the regular world like they see it in film and media (no person with DID changes clothes multiple times a day and with the speed of a popstar on a world tour), so it sounds like a concoction of clever imagination and fantasy.

Then you have the name changes and the history of that alone. DID used to also be called Schizophrenia because Schizophrenia literally translates to “split mind”. However, Schizophrenia is different from Dissociative Identity Disorder, given one is a disorder of psychosis and the other is a disorder of dissociation. As time went on, DID went under a name change to classify its difference from Schizophrenia: Multiple Personality Disorder. In the 1980s, upon further research, Multiple Personality Disorder was renamed Dissocative Identity Disorder, to emphasize the dissociative basis of the disorder.

All in all, Dissociative Identity Disorder (as well as other disorders on the dissociative spectrum) is not an act of the supernatural, the mystical nor the metaphysical. It is not shamanism, it is not possession. It is a mental defense mechanism to help protect the brain from the realities of horrifying situations at a young age. It’s not an act of wonder, it an act of mental self-defense that is permanent and widely misunderstood.

This post was written by guest writer, Cypress, for the month long series about Dissociative Identity Disorder called “Same Situation, Different Faces”. Normal Black Witch posting resumes in April.

Contrary to what games like hide and seek show, hiding is not fun.

We really hate it. We wish things didn’t have to be this way, but it’s basically impossible. We have DID, but coming out has never gone well, and we’re still a minor, so then the parents would be notified again, and that would not be good. We planned to never tell them again after things went badly several years ago.

Our days are still fairly normal, though we’re multiple. We wake up and get ready for school. We try not to get too off task in class. We keep to ourselves during lunch. We do our schoolwork and chat a bit with our friends and acquaintances.

School itself and the subjects in it are fairly easy for us. We struggle with workload sometimes cPTSD (Complex-PTSD)1 symptoms, system drama, and bad thoughts aren’t conductive to school, but overall we get good grades. School isn’t the problem. It’s how people interact with us.

The most awkward part of our day has to be interacting with any other person in any way. The way we look at things and think about ourselves is different from the way people who aren’t multiple (singletons/singlets2) think about themselves. Which means there are certain things we can’t bring up or mention.

For starters: we can’t introduce ourselves as ourselves. We can’t say “Hey, the name’s Cypress, we’re a DID system and there’s 30 of us. We have a few child alters, teens, and adults, but Storm hosts the most. He’s our protector but he’s nice unless you mess with xem. We like Steven Universe and writing. What’s your name?”

We can’t bring up certain problems we have, especially with system or inner world3 troubles: “Dear gosh, Ann’s being a total butt to us. We had a bad weekend and Lilac had a panic attack. Hopefully your weekend went better than ours.”

To singletons, we might as well not exist, because we can’t come out to anyone. It’s hard having people mess up with our group—really moreso Storm’s— pronouns4, but it’s somehow a whole different ballgame when all the people you interact with and see every day don’t know you exist as multiple. We never get acknowledged as individuals and we hate the erasure.

We often get lost in the facade we put on. We tend to get very dissociated and in those moments, some days we look in the mirror, or think about ourselves, and all we can think about is this facade we put on of mimicking the old host5, which never stops and is very draining to us.

After school is difficult. Being with the parents is really frustrating and we have to self monitor our own internet activity a lot so we don’t get caught. It’s almost happened several times in the past. We have a bad memory (mostly about bad things, but also about mundane things), so keeping up with even good things or schoolwork is a struggle.

Our dysphoria is difficult. We look in the mirror and almost all of us look drastically different from the body. It’s odd looking in the mirror and seeing the body. It’s a struggle to disconnect that from your sense of self so you don’t get lost and see the body as yourself, which is just a vessel that contains us, a set of people.

Denial is a roller coaster too. We can get into a rut of thinking “we’re not real, no one thinks we’re real, we should make ourselves (mentally) go away” and be stuck in it until the feeling fades. At times we feel bad or like a freak and we can’t shake it off.

There are some fun moments as well, though. We joke around with each other sometimes and laugh about funny things some alter did or said. Storm jokes about how he can’t make dark jokes without someone possibly getting worried. We say maybe people will get worried if they see us talking to ourselves (a common way we communicate, since we are co-conscious all the time), and we look at memes online about dissociative disorders.

Sometimes, I wish we wouldn’t have DID, even though there are pros and cons as with anything. I don’t know what we’d do without us, but often knowing we have DID is agonizing enough. But this disorder is literally us. We don’t wish to integrate in the future, as we know it can be undone with stress. Maybe we should go to therapy, but we may not be able to for a few years, and we don’t wish to deal with unaccepting therapists. We have our good days and our bad. So we take things in stride, and we deal with it. We will still have to hide for a long time, so we might as well get used to it.

1) Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD/cPTSD) – Amplified version of PTSD for those who are still engaged in the traumatic environs that caused the disorder. Return

2) Singlet/Singleton – A person who does not have Dissociative Identity Disorder, they are a single person. Multiple – Person who has DID, because they consist of multiple people in a single body. Also the reason why those with DID instinctively refer to themselves in first person singular (“we”, “us”), especially in private life. Return

3) System/Innerspace – a group of individuals in a DID person is called a “system”. The “innerspace” is the mental thought-space/head-space created for open communications between alternate personalities (“alters”) inside the body. Alternatively, the “outerspace” is the world outside the physical body. Return

4)Different alters can have different genders from the host (original person), or no gender at all. Return

5) Different alters can be different genders, body types, etc – this can cause body dysphoria Return

Every year, I do a month long feature on any subject that I like. Any random subject. Last year, I couldn’t do it but now I can this year. Huzzah. It’s to break the monotony that can be discussing Pagan topics end over end and because I have a variety of subjects I like to talk about.

This year, I want to talk about a disorder I have touched on a little bit in the past: Dissociative Identity Disorder. What prompts this is the response I’ve seen in regards to the movie Split. Yes, it’s not a blockbuster (which is a good thing) but it still created a lot of chatter and jokes and, of course, plenty of misconceptions that are remarkably harmful, as usual.

Let’s talk about Multplicity (having DID) and the media.

I’m going to compare two recent films about DID that have appeared in media in recent years. Obviously and unfortunately, this includes Split (I viewed on backwater sites because lolz, I’m not fencing a dime to that movie, even for critical deconstructive reasons). The other movie, actually based on a real person and had actual research done, is Frankie and Alice, which stars Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry.

posters

The reason these two films exist, one fictional and the other reality-based, is because there’s misconceptions of DID aplenty. And with most media being negative, non-factual demonstrations of the disorder, there is plenty to parse through. That and hopefully a regular person reading can understand the problematic nature of Split in its demonizing of the disorder. Both films are not documentaries about Dissociative Identity Disorder but one actually researches the disorder and the other pretty much goes the lazy route.

I’m certain some folks are going to mention “’Split’ was based in the ‘Unbreakable’ world. It isn’t a thing about DID at all.” That would be nice if everyone was a hardcore M. Night Shyamalan fan…buuuuuut in the real world, that’s not what happened. The media campaign was strictly based on establishing that the main character, Kevin, had 24 different personalities, was a vicious person and needed to be stopped at all costs because of those different personalities. No reference to Unbreakable, no “this is not DID”, none of that. It’s the same as saying “Birth of a Nation/The Clansman is not about the negativity of Black people, the town is fictional and it’s just romanticist thinking of the South.” That fictional movie still got real Black people lynched in droves. It’s interesting what movies, even deeply fictional ones, can inspire people to do. Almost like movies can be influential and even accidental teaching tools, especially if the viewer is not an expert already in the subject. Even Sybil gets referenced many times in mainstream culture as short hand for “crazy and frightening”.

On the website Trauma and Dissociation, there is a criteria that the movies are compared to. In this same article, there is a section titled “Common Mistakes in Portraying Dissociative Identity Disorder”. I expect Split to cover every bit in this section.

To keep things orderly, we’ll do things bit by bit, category by category, of where Frankie and Alice got everything right and Split got everything wrong.

Let’s start with the Synopsis of both movies:, as described by IMDB:

Frankie & Alice: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.

This was pretty accurate. It wasn’t trying to scare the viewer, the synopsis is a pretty safe description of the movie without giving away important details. It uses the old name of DID and call the alters “inner ghosts” (I practice Paganism and metaphysics and even I think that is way off the mark). For the most part, it’s pretty accurate.

Split: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

This sounds to me: “Man, I hope no police officers watch this movie, they would think that people with DID are instinctively nefarious.” Like that one officer that literally thought the same about me and proceeded to threaten to send me to prison via fabricated evidence because he simply wanted to impress others, not get to the bottom of a case. And got in trouble with Internal Affairs over that. (Note to law enforcement: fictional movies are not training videos. Maybe you should watch Selma or something else that is fact based. Seriously.)

This description pretty much connects the concept of DID making people commit atrocities because …somehow that’s just what the disorder makes people do. This is utter bullsh*t, obviously. It’s meant to spook and frighten the viewer. I have DID and I don’t go around trying to kidnap a gaggle of Beckies.. Sure, I get fairly annoyed when they hijack and co-opt Inauguration Day protest marches but I’m not going to do any work to kidnap them.

Signs of Alters/Acknowledging Alters

A person with DID has difficulties with memories due to amnesias. Things aren’t where they were last seen, new items are gained with no recollection of buying them, differences of writing or talking habits, etc.

Frankie and Alice: Frankie says that she feels like she is watching herself from a distance (a sign of dissociation). When confronted about her rent check bouncing, she glances through her checkbook afterwards and discovers a big purchase she doesn’t remember making, a dress bought by one of her other alters, Alice. Despite having clear signs of DID, Frankie herself does not believe the diagnosis when she was hospitalized, which is common for those with DID to do due to the social stigma related to the disorder.

Split: There is honestly no realistic interaction between Kevin’s alters. No complaining of loss of time, it seems almost everyone is on the same page, nearly no dissociative states. As if he and every alter he has is evil and they all work together to connive and deceive so they can better harm others (ie, the gaggle of Beckies he acquired). While it is true that people with DID usually have to be told about the things they said or did, it’s not usually to such the extreme extent of a person outside the DID system to tell an alter all the conversations they overheard two other alters say in conversation. There is still some inner communication.

Memory gaps

People with DID have substantial issues with memories due to dissociative amnesia: a condition in dissociative disorders where the affected does not remember important details or events due to dissociating from the experience. This is not normal forgetting, such as misplacing your keys or trying to remember an account’s password. Amnesiac forgetting includes forgetting big events such as weddings, people you have worked with or been around for a long period of time.

Frankie and Alice: There are several times reflected during the movie where Frankie had no idea of her own actions, such as taking her mother’s necklace and going to a ritzy hotel for a wedding she had no idea she crashed.

Split: There appears to be no real memory gaps. While there are displays of dissociative amnesia (the alters don’t always know what the others are doing), it is inconsistent and plays out as more of a movie mechanic, only showing up to move the plot along. It seems the film creators did some cursory research in DID on Wikipedia, clapped their hands in determination and said, “We’re ready to make a movie!”

Experience/Remembrance of Trauma

DID is a trauma disorder, just like PTSD. You can’t get DID unless you experience extreme, continual trauma and no emotional support in the extreme early years (by age 6). Usually through experiencing war-like conditions (that’s my situation), severe abuse, neglect, child sexual abuse, things like that. The disassociative identities are moreso defense mechanisms to defend the affected and survive trauma as the mind literally splits itself up to protect itself. It’s why those with DID can not remember vast parts of their lives and have various identities.

Frankie and Alice: Frankie remembers different things than her alter Alice. However, when under therapy and with the therapist’s guided questions to a child alter, Genius, more of Frankie’s life experiences come to light. Without therapy, Frankie would have not remembered whole life events because her DID locks select memories and pains away.

Split: There is no obvious experience of trauma. When people have DID, the alters that come from it are usually centered around the trauma that borne it. For example, if a person was severely abused through religion, their alters would have a religion focus. If the person was severely abused or experienced war-like conditions, the alters would have a defensive, war-like focus. Kevin’s alters are all over the place.

Abuse is referred to in passing. Not as a substantial way to understand how DID works or affects people, but just to create a threadbare backstory for Kevin, who is supposed to be the antagonist in this story. Casey, the main girl Kevin kidnaps is, gets even more of a sympathetic backstory than Kevin does. This is so the viewer will sympathize with Casey more than they will with Kevin.

There are many ways the two movies are radically different, despite having the same subject matter. Frankie and Alice did not try to frighten the view about the existence of DID. The disorder was seen as a subject that could be understood by the viewer not as something monstrous but as something a person goes through when severely impacted by trauma. Did it make DID look like a pleasant, easy-to-live with disorder? Not at all. But it doesn’t depict a person with DID as a monster. Split does.

DID in Split is used as a fear mechanic. Its unpredictability, its “mystery”, everything to make Kevin’s alters appear frightening. There’s little understanding towards him, just terror. He’s just a psycho out to eat ;young girls and kill people. This is such a wild distortion of how the disorder makes people function. Every part of the movie plays this up extensively.

Unfortunately, there is a wide variety of movies that use the “DID = Scary” mechanic. And games. And stories. On website Trauma and Dissociation, I mentioned that there’s are common mistakes that Split gets wrong. I’m not going to go down the whole list but a few select ones, including a couple I’m sure the film makers thought they had correct.

Randomly violent alters that seem to have no purpose for the person are often portrayed in fictional accounts. They aren’t acting to defend or protect the person with Dissociative Identity Disorder, they are one-dimensional and can’t reasoned with

This is alllllllllllllllllllllllllll of Split. There is literally no reason whatsoever why the Beast exist, why the other alters, Patricia or Dennis were just going along with making room for Beast and giving him “impure” (I can unpack this at a later date, holy crap, the misogyny) girls to eat. This does not protect Kevin at all. This isn’t even inter-system squabbling. This is just alters being total lemmings for other alters, which doesn’t make much sense.

Beast can’t be reasoned with, he just shows up and becomes a monster. The child Hedwig seems pretty calm and chill about everything, children alters that are aware of more dangerous alters are usually, well, like kids who are around dangerous adults. They don’t happily go along with things, they’re usually confused and scared, just like any child would.

Kevin is the “host” of the system, the original person. The system generally revolves around the host, regardless if it is negative or positive. Beast doesn’t really care. Patricia doesn’t really care. Dennis doesn’t really care. Hedwig is fairly unaffected. The Beast is supposed to be so the world can be more accepting of the fact Kevin is a Multiple (a person with DID) buuuuuut DID is about hiding itself, not showing itself to the world. It’s literally a disorder of secrecy. Alters don’t go wild and try to make a grand show, even alters that believe themselves to be actors or performers. They try to blend. The disorder, if I wanted to compare to a living thing, is like being a chameleon or an octopus. You blend into the surrounding to make the abuse and trauma less severe. If you don’t blend, you don’t live.

octo-camo

In Frankie and Alice, the alters that mainly front (gain control of the body) are a Southern belle and the main host. They exist because of clearly established trauma and to navigate the world and go fairly undetected. To blend.

Alter personalities are created for a specific purpose, for example self-defense or trauma memories, or work, if the one in the plot has no clear essential purpose re-write the plot

There’s supposed to be 23 alters buuuuuuuut this movie explicitly showed only …four at best? Either the budget was crappy (possibly), the writers sucked (very likely), no one knew anything about DID but hackneyed ideas (extremely likely) or all of the above (most definitely). Where are the other 20 alters? No one is talking? No one cares? Everyone can’t possibly be on board, that’s simply not how DID works. Alters are like separate, different people. If you think it’s easy to get 24 different individuals to agree on something, try ordering a single pizza. This is really lazy writing on the creators of Split.

In Frankie and Alice, there was no promise of a bunch of alters during the promotion of the film but as the movie progresses, the viewer learns along with Frankie that there are more alters than she originally thought, all because of the traumas she endured throughout her life. Granted, the story doesn’t go into why Genius, the child alter, exists but it does a far stretch better than Split. Then again, Halle Berry did sincere study into her character: she talked with the person the character was based off of, Francine Murdoch. James McAvoy couldn’t find a single person with DID that wanted to sit with him. I guess the idea of being demonized on the big screen wasn’t a very savory pull.

A person talks about having lots of “blackouts” but shows none – has no memory loss or forgetfulness in the movie, they never forget who anyone is, where they live or anything important

There was that one rushed scene at the end of the movie where the audience meets, Kevin, who still thinks that it’s September 2014 and he last remembered being on a bus. There are DID systems where the “host” disappears into the system, they do not front or have any control in the body buuuuuut the therapist would try strongly to contact the host, through the alters. The therapist in this movie simply did not care. There are no real “blackouts” or severe memory lapses (every alter shown in the movie seemed pretty much on the same page of why the girls were there, no one was baffled or bothered that three random girls were now locked away in their home). Besides the rush job at the end of the movie to show rapid switching, everyone is pretty lucid and together. Very little amnesia, which is odd. Until the end of the movie, which is sucky.

In Frankie and Alice, all throughout the film, Frankie has constant memory problems. She had no idea why she was at a ritzy hotel. She had no idea what her other alters wanted or did. Her own memories were a mystery. This is more accurate of DID.

If you have seen Split, I would strongly recommend watching Frankie and Alice. If there are any questions, put them in the comments. Also, be sure to watch this amazing short film that truly shows what it is like inside the mind of a person with DID, “Inside”, directed by Trevor Sands. I really like the dead-on accuracy of having various types of alters (there’s about 30 types) in this short film.

Where I found this really cool short film is from this informal talk on Dissociative Identity Disorder by vlogger Jessica, who runs vlog Multiplicity and Me below:

Next week, there will be guest writer, Cypress, who will write about her personal experiences with living with DID. Given the subject of this topic, please feel free to use the comment section because this can be one very confusing disorder.

There are several months that I went without doing Ask Black Witch so I’m going through the lot of them today and answering! Some will be grouped together because they’re the same question, especially the dumb ones. As I always say when people send them in: “Good questions are appreciated, stupid questions are eviscerated”.

Let’s get into it:

A few years ago I found a strange object on my front doormat. It appeared to be a kind of wreath made from twigs and also some of the solar fairy lights from my garden. I dismissed it at the time but I’ve had a very bad run of luck since and only just remembered this incident. Could it be some kind of curse? If so is there a way to reverse it? Thanks for your time.

– J. Lee

This question was from months ago! I feel bad I didn’t get to it until now but here it goes.

A good way to know if it was a jinx versus “life sucks sometimes”: When you threw it away, did the misfortune stop after a while? There’s a bunch of other ways to check but that is the top one because no more wreath, no more issues! Otherwise, I think you’re just practicing confirmation bias because things have been crappy for a while and this is the only out-of-place thing your mind could come up with.

I get a few questions like these, the “something suspicious occurred and now bad stuff happens, am I cursed?” and the part that marvels me the most is that practically everyone who asks do not really know anyone who practices magick in any way, shape or form but I have a phone book full of magick practitioners and I don’t ever think the same “I’ve been hexxed” thought.

Unfortunately, life is pretty crappy, bad things will happen, even way out of the blue. I think this situation is a reference of confirmation bias. Bad things were simply happening, this is the only odd thing her mind pinged up and there you go, the thought connection of “Weird wreath + string of bad luck = weird wreath is causing the string of bad luck”. They could very well be a coincidence, not a correlation.

One reason why I say that is because, if I wanted to jinx anyone, I don’t think I would leave a jinxing item right where someone could find it easily. I mean, if you’re going to be a vengeful person, why not try to stretch it out as far as you can? If I were trying to leave it on someone doorstep, it seems more like a scare tactic than an actual jinx.

Now, maybe someone actually wanted to jinx you and this is really why they made this. If so, talk about poor skills! Chances are stupidly good they got sticks from nearby trees, regardless of kind of tree (the type of tree matters in magick), yinked your fairy lights because maybe they thought the “lighting” property of the lights (I can probably bet they were off/unplugged) would “activate” the spell since it is something of yours (but not something worn like clothing or hair). And left on doormat because…they wanted you to see it, I guess? Otherwise, it would have been hidden somewhere to cause latent mischief. It just seems so poorly cobbled together that I kind of doubt that this is a real jinx.

Basically, it’s possibly you practicing confirmation bias and pretty much reading into a weird prank.

Hello. I really need to talk to you. I have been following your page for about 3 years. I even bought the book where to park your broomstick which I do enjoy. I am a Christian but I have a real desire to learn about witch craft. I feel it in my heart. About 3 years ago I was interested in learning about African American people who practice their calling and I found you. I happen to be African American and I feel that you are important. Can I trust what I am hearing? I hear angels who led me here? What advice can you give about becoming a witch?

– Gina I.

I am glad she takes my suggestions, this is very nice. The book is super informative! Thankfully, there is Christian occultism and Christian witchcraft (just means that you still do regular Christian things but use it also in spell work, such as referring to the Holy Trinity instead of the Lord and Lady/God and Goddess, perhaps work in Angel Work, stuff like that) so you don’t have to worry about a major pull between Paganism and Christian practices. I actually wrote about this at length.

As for hearing angels, that’s fine but be cautious. I would recommend doing more research about angel work and keeping up with your meditations, if you’re doing any, to balance yourself. This also helps ward off any “am I possessed/haunted” paranoia that tends to come if you’re not keeping in touch with yourself. Y’know, continue practicing grounding, centering, things like that. I recommend using meditation apps like Intellicare’s Purple Chill if you have any difficulty.

Keep a journal, too. The best you can do is write down what you hear and your reflections so you can review them later down the line. This will help you note trends and patterns in your practice. I recommend being cautious because the thing about angels is that they’re not exactly “people with wings”. Interacting with angels can be pretty scary, especially when you get to Seraphims and Thrones. Angels, as a whole, basically just do God’s bidding and don’t really mess with humans much because, hey, it’s too big a universe to just mess with only one of God’s creatures because they’re so dumb they even attack one another based on how light or dark their skin is. Even giving guidance to a random pill bug skittering across an flower bed is probably a better use of time, at least it helps nature just a bit.

A good Angel Dictionary/Encyclopedia is The Encyclopedia of Angels, Second Edition by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. There is a .pdf version online but it’s a very good book so I strongly recommend buying it if you can, as you can see from the online read-through. This book has an index, bibliographic references, everything to serve as a great basis on reading up about angels according to Abrahamic lore.

Hello, I am somewhat new to the magical world. I am an Atheist and the question I have is regarding that. My question is, since I am an Atheist will things such as magick be weakened or non existent when I attempt to perform a spell?

– Reinhardt V.

Witchcraft is a lifestyle, not a religion. You’re thinking of Paganism, which Witchcraft has plenty of involvement with but Paganism, as a whole, does not hold the copyright on Witchcraft. Magick is fueled by intent and energy work, so you just have to practice on those and modify learned spells that have a focus on deities and entities for yourself.

However, you’re still going to have to do research in spellwork and most likely read up on deities anyways as you learn magick because modern Paganism pulls from a variety of cultures, which had deity work in them. This is so things will make sense or prepared to be incredibly confused.

I have what I believe is a hex with a property of “all hexes and curses stuck” on me. I don’t think the person who did this is still angry and she may have forgotten to remove it. How do I go about removing the hex and any other curses or hexes that are stuck on me because of it? Thank you for your time.

– Jacob

Spells are usually powered by intent so if the intent loses power (being pissed at you) then sometimes it dissipates. If it’s constructed to be “karmic only”, then it stops by itself after it deals out what you dealt out to her, (this is a hyper simplification of “karmic jinxes”). If it’s one of those follow-you-around jinxes, you can break those using dragon’s blood (comes in a body wash formula! Tis nifty!) and bay leaves but if you know the person who did it and the fact that water is under the bridge between the both of you…why don’t you bring it up to them?

Yes, it would be an awkward conversation, especially if the person doesn’t practice magick and this all could be a case of “confirmation bias” (meaning you’re reading into a situation to see a problem that possibly isn’t there) but if you’re certain, bring it up. Maybe you should talk to the person.

I am doing a lot of research about Body Switching spells. I am quite new into Wicca and Magick in general, and I’d like to know if you would have any resources or lectures about this subject in general.

Now, I would understand if you refused to tell me, seeing that a lot of people seem to be asking you to do spells out of fetishes. That’s not my case. My problem is that I believe that, even if the medical processes can appease a lot of dysphoria, I would rather switch body with a person that shares the same problem as me, except from the other biological sex. I have the consent of that person, so this is something we both agree on.

If you would have any information about these kind of spells ( if they actually exist, that is ) I would really really love if you could share to me any kind of knowledge you would have regarding Body Switching.

Thanks a lot for your response in advance.

Sincerely,
Melissa

This – THIS – is how you ask a question! It’s about body switching but notice the reference to obvious research and reading prior posts! The mention of body dysphoria, the acknowledgment that this is not my favorite question and why. This whole letter is why it’s not getting shoved in the “dumb question” section! It is do-able, everyone!

Now to the question because it actually sounds like a question that is transgender based. That’s an authentic question. And I’m gonna answer it right now!

Even for switching for transgendered purposes, it wouldn’t be a perfect solution because it’s not fixing a picture-perfect problem. Gender is fluid and gender identification can be tough. When a trans person is in pre-transistioning, they commonly feel like their body isn’t theirs, like it’s just a rental space they’re inhabiting. That makes sense to want body switching because it slides well with that kind of thinking and reasoning. They’re not switching because of fetish but because they want to feel like they’re in the “right” body of their true gender. That actually makes sense.

But here’s the thing about bodies: they’re unique. Even if body switching was done, there’s little bits and features everyone has that is specific to their body, from the allergies they have or the food they prefer. Even if you switched with your friend, who is also trans, chances are you would get on each other nerves with “You didn’t tell me your body does/n’t [xyz]!” I haven’t even brought up society yet because unless you two are coincidental twins, someone’s going to notice you’re not the same person they saw yesterday In any way, shape or form and the fallout won’t be fun.

In magick, things may be improbable but not impossible. However, this is also a “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” thing, also. If anything, it would be best for you and your friend to focus on transitioning the normal, mundane way because regardless how you transition, it’s going to be quite an experience that will need some time to get used to. I recommend joining groups and communities for Transgendered people (I’m sure youtuber Kat Blaque has suggestions) so you can help with the dysphoria and talk with trusted, pro-trans therapists to help sort out your feelings. I found this site called Trans-Health, the online magazine for transpeople. I also found MyTransHealth, so you and your friend can find doctors that best suit you! I just googled “Trans Health”, I recommend doing the same, there’s a lot of sites to look at.

Hello, I’ve been looking through your blog but I can’t seem to find anything on this matter except for the body swap strike, however that’s not what I’m looking for (I also have a problem trusting people who want to swap bodies with their “friends”).

I don’t want a spell, because I don’t think I can refine my energy well enough to conduct one yet, but if you could point me in the direction (if I’ve missed an article or if you know a website that I’ve yet to find) I would appreciate that so much.

I’m looking for some way to replace my female anatomy with male anatomy. I want my body, hence why I don’t want a body swap, but I want to get rid of the female anatomy I have. I don’t know if you believe in the Greek gods, but I talk to Hermes and I’ve asked for his help, but I’m still trying to tune into the godphone…

Any advice is appreciated and honestly if it’s too much of a bother then please don’t worry, honest there are no hard feelings you’re probably busy.

Thank you for you time,

Max

Another question that references body swapping but I’m not razzing it. What these two have in common: being transgendered. That’s literally the only reason I’m not ripping into them. Being trans is not a fetish, it is a state of being and what real people actually are so they don’t deserved to get ripped into.

For everyone, Hermes/Mercury is a deity that is commonly used by trans and other queer Pagans as a patron deity because of various mythos (so is Aphrodite and Dionysus, and a group of others – here’s a short list and another one ). A “godphone” is a term in Pagan community that pretty much means being personally and individually in tune with the deities and communicating with them person-to-deity, like talking on a phone, hence the term “godphone”.

I just answered a transgendered person’s question above so I don’t want to give a copy-and-paste answer. Just like her and her friend, I recommended going to sites such as Trans Health and My TransHealth.

Hermes is a good deity to talk to, he’s pretty understanding. I’m sure Dionysus, the Greek patron god of transgender folks would like to hear from you as well. As well as Hermes’ kid, Hermaphroditus. And a slew of other deities. This, as well as working with doctors and pro-trans therapists should be the best bet as you progress along. I also suggest keeping a journal and doing meditations to help focus your mind will definitely help keep the godphone in tune.

I’ve been into magic when I was I kid and in my dreams, sometimes I can fly and a spell caster casted a lot of spells for me but it’s taking forever to get my package, what does that mean?

– Kashawnda C.

It could mean a multitude of things without more details, frankly. Flying refers to freedom, generally. It’s a very common dream, actually. Spellwork in dreams generally refer to transformation or restriction (because spells change things or sayings like “It’s like you’re under a spell”). Since it is something someone is doing for you and not on you, it seems that it’s more of a transformation/transition kind of thing and you’re receiving help. Chances are, in real life, you’re making changes and moves, with the help of others, and they seem promising but you’re possibly getting tired of waiting for the show of these changes to finally appear.

Recently 3 of the witches in our coven have become connected. We each have a spirit (which have all been seen by us before we told one another) and familiar(completed on the past full moon the 3rd witch got hers.. well it came and forced its self onto her). I am not sure what each of our spirits are signifying. I believe mine is a nature nymph. We all feel a event is coming but I can pin point what it is. My birthday is the nearest and it is a new moon. I will be turning 21 and I’m going to a town known for the supernatural. This was planned before this connection. It may have nothing to do with it but I felt I should include it. Do you know what is happening? Is it an event? Good or bad?

-Talynn L.

Familiars are generally animals that are help the witch bond and connect with their spellwork, so I’m hoping that “forced itself onto her” isn’t in the regular “she-didn’t-have-a-choice-one-way-or-the-other-and-it-was-frightful” type of way. Which would be bad.

Meditations are best to help you see and understand your spirits/entities. That and research on magickal entities because then you’ll understand better what you are dealing with.

As for big events, it’s hard to call if you’re right or not because the only way big events are known that aren’t immediately local, is through news. But if no one reports on it, it’s almost like it never happened. It’s like the “if a tree falls in the forest…” argument.

Now, for you becoming 21 (which, isn’t really noteworthy, astrologically. No usual natal major planet returns I can think of – the closest I can think of is Jupiter and that’s around age 24), going to a town known for the supernatural (this could be Salem, this could be New Orleans, this could be somewhere else. Either way, do not hijack any graveyard dirt from those locations, it happens too much) and it being a new moon (it refers to new beginnings but it isn’t a huge reset button or start button)… I think nothing of great general importance with happen. It might be an important trip for you but thaaaaaat’s about it. The world will keep revolving as it always does.

Now, here are the stupid ones:

These questions are categorized as such because the person did next to no research, just decided to send me an email without really thinking. It doesn’t really matter that I answered the question before, or wrote a whole column on the subject, and it was a rule breaker somehow. Here are the rules (in brief):

  • No asking for spell requests/pay for pray
  • I’m a witch, not a genie, don’t bug me with wishes, especially things like body switching and jinxes
  • Speaking of jinxes, I’m “Black Witch” because I’m a Black person practicing Paganism and Witchcraft (oh wow, such crypticness! Who could have guess? I mean I only reference it on the About Me page and literally everywhere all over the site and the stark lack of “left hand path” material), if you assume I call myself “Black Witch” because you couldn’t perceive the obvious from even a skim of reading, expect no sympathy

The rules are more in-depth around the usual “Ask Black Witch” submission portals but this is the gist.

Let’s get started! By category!

Body Switching:

Do you know how I can become a shape-shifter and be able to turn into anything

– Alexander Wilkins

Why do people keep asking me things like this? Despite the fact I have written time and time again about it

Confused for a Genie/Asking for Spell work

I’ve come across a very sh[*]t and harmful woman. I thought I would never turn to black magic or anything dark but I can’t wait for karma to hit her again. she needs a lesson learned asap

– donovan rodriguez

Ahhh, the usual “Thinks Black Witch practices black magick” bit. I need to start charging people every time they send me a letter stating that.. This was a looooooooong email chain so I’m not showing that but pretty much, this person is intensely spiteful but for some odd reason, is going to a witch instead of buying a gun or something (it’s the 21st century, everyone. I’m not a metaphysical hitman. Do your own dirty work). Here are some choice responses this guy decided to send me:

Just thought I’d come to you first because I don’t want to pay a black witch to do the spell but if I have to I will I guess 

So, this guy thought I’d go against my fairly well stated/easily found policy of no paid spellwork/spellwork for others and on top of that thought I would do it for free. Free. Maaaaan, I don’t think this guy is jinxed or harmed, he’s just reaping what he sows, which is douchebaggery.

At this point I don’t care about being cursed. after what she’s done to my mental health. so no I won’t stay away from magic. black witches are not hard to find since more and more women have taken interest in it. I just rather look for a skilled one 

Uh, if witches who practice the left hand path are not hard to find, then how’d he land on my site? And why do people gender things that aren’t gendered? Seriously? This guy is profoundly an idiot by my standards. Men and women practice various paths, including left hand path (actually, I’ve personally seen either more guys or something close to an equal gender split when it comes to left hand stuff).

I suggested a therapist because if your mental health is harmed, thaaaaat’s who you need to talk to. Just like if someone stabbed you, I’m going to suggest you talk to a doctor. I don’t think it gets any simpler than this. Y’see, when people get into magick for these reasons, that’s a problem.

The  for all I know you’re a scammer too with no real information in magic. yes there are dudes too but I’ve come across more women than men who practice it.  

I should charge people every time I hear that. I may call it the “Baby rattle defense” because when these folks don’t get what they want, they call me a scammer and other wild things because it’s a temper tantrum. Reminds me of when babies go “Waaaaah!” and shake their rattles in infant fury.

If I’m a scammer, then why am I refusing money as policy? The goal of a scam is to sheist someone out of their cash. That’s why the character “Joanne the Scammer” is always going around pretending to be people she’s not and taking things from others via deception or sneakiness. Granted, this dude said he wasn’t going to pay a dime, scammers generally block folks who say things like that because why hang around a dry well? Time is money to a scammer.

I always have folks who don’t know anything about magick telling me I don’t know anything (despite being cited in at least a couple academic books and taught a workshop) because I’m not providing any useful information…outside of what I have written and posted at length on a publicly-accessed website I’ve ran for almost ten years, complete with a search bar and category list.

This go-around goes on for quite a while so I can spare you all from the rest. It ends with the guy saying he found someone who will do his bidding (either a lie or he found an actual scammer and is being fiscally frisked because, well, a sucker is born every minute) and that’s that.

hi im [H] i some tme ago was serching for help from wiccas for true love spells and one told me me and shannon moore prince of punk embodyment of dilligaf a pro wrestler were soulmates and under a curse keeping us apzart if thats true can u or someone brake the curse for free all the info i can give u is im [redacted] born [redacted] on a monday at [redacted], in [2424 no house, no door] and shannon [redacted] moore born in [redacted] in [redacted] in the usa is all the info i can give you.i have no pictures no noting but what i just gave you.can u please help me? i love shannon moore with all my heart.please help me please n thank you.

– [H] L.

My initial response: “Holy moly, why?! Good gods of the holy divine above and below, what the [redacted]?! Holy [redacted] nuggets, why do people send me these [redacted] things?! Are they out of their [redacted][redacted] minds? [Redacted]!!!”

Why do people send me literally all their personal info? Holy crap, I think I could have gotten her social security card and bank account if I was nefarious. This is the second or third time I got something like this that I can think of.

Goodness gracious, I worked with enough famous people to know that when you’re around your favorites or they’re the subject, the logic part of your brain pulls out a newspaper and goes, “I’M ON BREAAAAAK.” It’s a thing that happens. And before anyone goes, “Oh my god, this person is freaking crazy”, think about the times you freaked out over anything, famous or not, and come back to read the rest of this post. This person isn’t mental or anything, just incredibly infatuated with a wrestling persona, it happens.

Also, for the record, I’m not Wiccan. I’m Pagan. Yes, there is a difference. You don’t assume every Christian you meet is Catholic, right? Apply same logic here.

In addition, this is Exhibit A to Z to Aa to Zz of whhhhhhhy love spells, especially “true love” spells can cause more problems than they are worth. And why you shouldn’t listen to every dink you meet on the internet. This is “you were Cleopatra in a past life” crossed with “Twilight” level of things. And judging from the writing, I’d say this person was a teen. And judging from pro-wrestling standards, I’d say this Shannon Moore person was an adult. And judging from those two probable facts, I’d say that would be a major problem at the outset. Among a metric crap ton of other things.

This is merely just regular fan obsession that, most likely, the person will grows out of. I usually post at least the first name but because I know this is going to be insanely cringe worthy for her when she gets older, I tried to redact and modify everything. I remember being a teenager and I have worked with fans tremendously over the years, it will happen.

General Stupidity/Severe lack of research

Do u know how to make a wish potion

– Jalana G. 

Christ, really? This could fall under “confused for a genie” but it sounds like they want to make it themselves (I could be wrong but that’s what I’m reading into this) so it’s going under “severe lack of research” because practically every book in Paganism/Intro to Witchcraft gives basic how-tos on potion making and more.

It would be perceived differently if she said “I’m working on a wish potion but some ingredients are hard to get, like [specific kind of rose parts], what do I do?” At this point, the person is showing some knowledge of what they’re doing, just a little stuck. That’s fine. Sounds a lot better than sounding like they want to be spoon-fed info because they have zero interest outside of what they’re doing. Granted, this question could be asked by a dabbler but, hey, at least they’re doing a little bit of leg work.

  1. can you turn me into a werewolf very night please
  2. can you please turn me into were dragon please
  3. can i have a real tiger tail growing on my butt please as a friend
  4. or can you fix my computer from cookes and vireses please

– Sara McVicker

These four, separate, moronic questions were given to me between March and September by Sarah McVicker, a young person who, according to what I found, lives in Monroeville, PA that calls herself a professional artist, coupled with an empty portfolio DeviantArt. She likes watching Markiplier and JackSepticEye and has a loooooooooot of spare time that should be better used on her studies and not bothering random people on the internet.

Everyone, please remember I’m a person. With an extremely low threshold for bullsh*t. As in, you’d need an oil driller and radar to find it. And a background in research, including digital research. I understand it’s fun in theory to bother me but get too far with it, and I do get vicious. Heck, I still remember when I doxxed a Bible thumper that tried to be a hateful douche on here (also was from Pennsylvania, but a different part, I think). The reason I’m not dumping her schooling information, home address and more is because I haven’t heard from the kiddo in a while. On top of that, she’s a kid. Telling the internet is bad but I’m sure a personal phone call and conversation to the parents might be worse. However, if she decides to start right back up again, I’m sure her parents are gonna love to hear what their kid is up to when they don’t monitor her activity on the internet.

DO YOU KNOW HOW to call a vampire and if you do, can you tell me how LIKE WITH instructions?thanks!

– Merissa

These are the questions I get in my inbox. Why do these folks exist? Even with my usual snippy ways and saying “Lolz, American education in action, everyone” this is beyond that level of stupid. I don’t care if it is trolling, it’s just not bright. I like acting stupid sometimes but I don’t do it on other people’s spaces.

I can control the weather, and move stuff with my mind. And sometimes my dreams come true. What am I.

– Dylan S.

Don’t know. Don’t care. I’d treat the question better if it were framed better.

Hi i have a question im hoping you can answer ive ask this to others and either they dont never respond back or they just have no answer. Its about theses popular love hoodoo oils being sold ill like the recipe or just what exactly herbs oils and curios would go into them or what oils and herbs and curios to to use to receive the type of attention from the one you desire or admire from a distant. I like preparing and making my own oils better to buying from others to put all my intention placed in. My question is what are the recipes for these oils such as LICK ME ALL OVER OIL which incites Desires, Passion, Seduction, Control,LOTTERY WINNER OIL ,MAKE HIM MINE OIL – Control, Commanding, Passion,THINK OF ME Potion Ritual Oil Anointing Oil,Talk To Me Oil and the Man Trap Oil,.

– Ruby Gem

The actual question in this block o’ text: what are the recipes for these various hoodoo and voodoo oils because the person wants to replicate them instead of buying them.<

There’s probably a range of reason why this person doesn’t hear back from others, I haven’t much clue. However, I don’t really care much for those oils because they seem snake-oil-y to me. This doesn’t mean that concoctions in Voodun and Hoodoo aren’t legit, I’m just saying these commercialized versions are a bit odd to me. Part of it are the names (“Man trap oil”? That’s just…no) and the supposed intent (“control” popped up twice, that’s a problem). For all I know, these bottles are filled with Crisco, random sidewalk pebbles and Italian seasoning.

Here’s some Facebook messenger questions. I am very accessible on the Black Witch fan page. Heck, I have a 100% response time and take around nine minutes to reply. I’m trying to get that little green logo that shows I’m really quick and swift with responding, aw yiiiiiis.

hi how can i become a black magic practitioner

– Sanu Francis

My FB response: Read books? I don’t practice negative magick in particular so that’s my best suggestion

I’ve got nothing to expand on that. Frankly, I don’t practice the left hand path…at all. It’s not my fault if people don’t want to even do the slightest bit of research. Durr.

Hello, I don’t no if this is the ryt place but I am lookin into a black magic spell to get my ex back I want him back badly but he seems happy with his new girlfriend, but he made me so happy, I want him back

– Donna Chapman

This is incredibly awful for the most obvious reason: it’s abuse via controlling, plain and simple. This person doesn’t love her ex, she just wants to make him freaking miserable. She’s upset that he’s making his new flame happy, how she used to have that and now wants it back after the relationship already fell off a cliff for whatever reason. It has completely nothing to do with the ex personally, just that she felt good when he was her’s.

If the ex seems happy with the new gf…leave him alone. It may hurt to hear this but it’s over. You’re out, she’s in. Regardless of what the break up was for. And just from this small intro of a message, it seems like he made a good choice getting away and finding someone new and hopefully far less controlling.

The “ryt” place for her would be in front of a therapist to work out her feelings of controlling others and tendency to abuse and be dominating. This is no different when a guy contacted me on Facebook asking for the same thing.

My concern is my younger brother David. He’s a bane in my side, he gives me nothing but heartache and aggravation. I want to know if you could put a spell on him, so he can suffer as he makes me suffer?

– Rose G.

Why do people never do research? I usually state over and over that I don’t do spellwork for others, on others, about anything. Especially for negative reasons.

If he was abusing you, then I would have simply suggested mundane/non-magickal things like how to separate yourself, etc etc. If he’s just being a pain in your side, then you’re going to have to grow a spine and confront him or deal with it instead of bothering other people to solve your problem.

Or go Greek mythos with it: try to poison him or something. I mean, geez, it’s your family, it’s your problem. Maybe try growing a backbone, that would probably be better suited for your issue. Don’t like being a big sister? Complain to mommy and daddy or steel up and deal with it head on.

I got a couple more but they’re pretty small ones and one that basically warrants its own post but that’s it, I’ve caught up from basically super late July to now in February. Hurrah.

For quite a while, I’ve had supportive donations opened on Black Witch, such as direct donation, such as Paypal and Patreon. Granted, I’ve never pitched them much and with Paypal, they only just came out with direct donation for general purposes, not framing it like a purchase (Paypal.me). Supportive donations are different from emergency donations because they are, first and foremost, not based on emergency. Supportive donations simply help support the creator (which, in turn, helps them avoid fiscal emergencies).

Introducing Ko-Fi! It is digital coffee/donation feature. You can donate to Black Witch by buying me a digital cup of coffee. The reason for “digital coffee” is because sometimes it can be odd to ask for donations and it can feel odd to give donations. Hence “digital coffee”, it’s a placeholder product that helps make it feel more like you’re offering help rather than just randomly throwing coins all over the internet.

Donations are nice because this blog lapses for long, extended periods of time. This is because either I am working, tired from working, etc. Donations help make things easier because I can use it for BW means such as keeping the site ad free, buy materials to create and sell in the BW Shoppe, etc etc. Unfortunately, Black Witch consists of a lot more than being a bump on the log, typing full columns in 15 minutes. I really don’t think that ever happens, honestly.

Hurrah. Now that I have explained it, let me show you how it works!

The link is here, under the “Support Black Witch” box:

See the huge coffee cup?

See the huge coffee cup?

Click either the link or the coffee cup and you’ll be taken to a site that looks like this:

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It’s pretty straightforward, just put in a name or message if you want, choose “public” (everyone will see your donation) or “private” (it will be hidden), select how many cups of coffee to pick (each cup is $3) and click “Support Black Witch”. It takes paypal and cards.

There is a Supporter Reward Available, it’s a thank you letter!

And that’s Ko-fi, in a box!

It’s been a while! So let’s get into it

NekojinDesigns
During Otakon, I saw the cutest pillow. It was blue with a little kitty sleeping on a crescent moon among the stars and curled up next to a pentacle. I usually don’t buy things with pentacles on them because generally, they look gaudy and/or awful. This demonstration of the pentacle was nice and very cute!

As you can see, it's well used

As you can see, it’s well used

Since I’ve gotten the pillow, I use it all the time. When traveling or staying home, this pillow is everywhere because it’s so soft and nice. The pillow is made of fleece, cotton and minky (a super soft, fur-like fabric that is the face of the design) and filled with polyfil.

Visiting the site, you can see the variety of items, not just pillows. There are earrings, bags, pins, stickers and more! There are even LGBT+ paw pins and even Ace/asexual stickers and pins.
nekodesign

The pillows look like they’re on custom order, meaning you’ll have to contact the creator, but it seems the price hovers around $25, which is totally worth it.

Sites:
Main Website
Twitter
Tumblr
Facebook
DeviantArt
Pinterest

Nicky Case
I’ve been on Newgrounds since 1998 when I was playing Crazy Shuttle. Sometimes, there are some serious gems among the mindlessness and Nicky Case is a creator of a few of them. I remember when I first saw “Coming Out Simulator

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“Coming Out Simulator: A Half-True Story About Half-Truths” is about coming out to very hyper-conservative parents. It’s a good game that makes you think.

The game that I really want to bring up is “We Become What We Behold

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This story is about media frenzy and how when vicious things go viral, a terrible cycle ensues. It’s a five minute game, a quick game but with a salient message.

There are other great games as well, such as “Neurotic Neurons”, which is about brain chemistry, therapy and anxiety.

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Sites:
Website
Patreon
Twitter

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