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Black Identity and Paganism

It seems pan-Africanism is getting a revival of sorts in Western Black culture. Not a full revival but a sort of revival. There’s the natural hair movement, the extended (but sometimes very lop-sided) discussion of history and faiths that fall outside of Abrahamic beliefs and more media that reflects Blackness a bit more than usual (movies such as Black Panther (The superhero, not the political party) come to mind.) This is great for a host of reasons but also could potentially be another as identity movements such as these come and go in hills and valleys.

Pan-Africanism refers to all things Black: the history, the people, the culture. When done well, it’s very self-confidence boosting and creates solid ground to build a stable identity upon, inclusive of all Black people, not just a thin slice of an intersection (which is usually male, usually straight, usually cis, usually Western and usually 1D in ideas and beliefs). It decenters Whiteness, which is both inaccurately used and determined as the yardstick of “what is a human? What is human?” and allows people, Black people, to simply be themselves. When done poorly, it just subtly supports White supremacist thinking, theories and ideologies, creates discord and only benefits one thin slice of an intersection (which, again, is usually male, usually straight, usually cis, usually Western and usually 1D in ideas and beliefs). Then there’s the middle where things just swing between the two because Blackness is understood and expressed differently by different Black people and people, in general, are pretty complex. What bothers someone from Zimbabwe is probably not going to bother someone from America, which may or may not irk someone from Germany. All Black but all different for a myriad of reasons.

And with Paganism, this is no different. It’s been said many times already, Paganism – particularly Western Paganism – has a severe and vastly ignored issue (there’s lip service but still usually ignored at the end of the day) of painting itself as overly White. Paganism encompasses all indigenous faiths throughout the world but is usually streamlined to Euro-centric practices, with some token practices that get commonly Whitewashed, such as yoga, chakras, feng shui, Voodun and, as a whole, Buddhism.

Black people in the West seem to want to get more back in their cultures but it’s difficult because there are many more things in play besides just race alone. For one, there’s the different Black cultures. What someone from Nairobi feels is important to them is going to be different from someone from Atlanta because the differences of where they come from, which sometimes is commonly forgotten when Black people, particularly Westerners, want to have a cultural revival and reconnection but may still adopt Western imperialist attitudes about those who are not similar to them, even if they look like them. Rave about being from the “motherland” but shame those who are still there simply because of difference of opinion or complete misunderstanding. I saw this a lot from those who were happy to see Black Panther because of its Black representation (which did indeed pain Marvel at the start, which not just a Marvel problem but a Whiteness-in-comics general problem) but would still make light or underhanded jabs about the state of various African places. Or still referred to Africa as a country and not a continent. Or about the manner of traditional African dress and style referenced or featured in Black Panther.

With other ideas and practices, such as natural hair and the modernized concept of being “woke” (aware of institutional injustices that is primarily driven by White supremacist & imperialism-focused racism but strongly targets with a vein of anti-Blackness (but can also get kicked into selfish and blind overdrive that ignores intersectionalism when not balanced)), it helps Black folks relate to their histories and look more into whatever scraps of their family tree and past they may find but it still is difficult. From the Black cultural side, there’s a lot of misinformation because most Western books on Black culture and identity were generally written or gatekept by White editors and writers and explorers so what facts and info is more widely available is pretty much poisoned with “those subhuman savages with bones in their noses” beliefs from National Geographic to a good sum of academic books. That can further poison more minds and reinforce Western imperialist ideas (“Life sucks as an American but at least I don’t live in a mud hut”) as well as confuse in Black minds.

From the Pagan cultural side, it works pretty hard to keep Paganism, and all its diverse practices, very White. Either on purpose or through subconscious accident. Many Black folks just looking at the Pagan side of their pan-cultural history already have problems of encountering expressions of identity that should be for them being Whitewashed and torn apart. Or they run into the same gatekeeping of Whiteness that is already common just about everywhere else.  What is discovered is that modern Pagan practice tends to choke out diverse perspectives in favor of tokenized ones that preferably has price tags attached to them.

It’s nice that there’s a new wave of Black identity where now we’re more in control than prior but still there are walls present. If it isn’t self-perception of pan-African cultural identity, it’s outer forces that could reinforce negative self-perception of pan-African cultural identity.

I’m Back

Welcome back! I’ve been gone for a while! I mainly needed a break. During the time of my break I’ve been working on stuff (not all of it Black Witch focused) and even got a new 3D printer so I can make things to put in the BW Shoppe. Right now it’s full of book arts stuff like sewing cradles, awl guides, things like that. As time goes on, I’ll add more stuff. I’m also going to open it up for custom 3D printing service as well but that’s probably going to need a minute or two because there’s a lot to explain about 3D printing to those who never seen it in action (here’s a video of it in action). 3D Printing: It’s one step above watching paint dry). Either way, stuff is happening.

I’ve taken a break from a lot of BW social media (FB, Twitter and Tumblr) but that’s because it was wearing me out, frankly.

Not much has happened since I was on break, which was probably a good thing. I was pretty stressed so nothing really useful would have came from it.

That’s all for updates! I may do a livestream on FB later (possibly Saturday).

Here’s a sample print that I’ve been working on:

I have been late on postings but I haz a reason (I have been posting a lot of non-Pagan-y posts, mainly site updates (can they be called updates? Whatevers, it shall be.)) I have mostly finished the cat feeder! The automatic cat feeder that I have been working on for a little over a year. The reason why it took a little over a year is because I kept changing my mind and, thus, changing the design.

For those who are going “What does this have to do with being Black or Pagan?” I made a robot and it didn’t blow up, chuck my cat, murder me, prank call the CIA with terrorist threats, or set anything on fire so hush. (It did throw food at me once and tried to randomly tell the time from 2021). And I’m Black and I’m Pagan, there ya go.

Here is a crappy video of it working:

So crappy, such wow, very amaze. It was late at night, I got tired of setting up things again and again and testing things again and again that I just laid out some aluminum foil for easy clean up and called it a day. All I cared about was not having to solider things together again. I got annoyed that I figured I’d have to 3D print another container for the cat feeder and I’m impatient so I went to the craft store and bought a cardboard box, glue gun, some oven clay (clay that is hardened in an oven). In the video is what you get from all of that. And a hackneyed chute that basically is notebook paper. Eventually, it’s going to have a 3D printed form but I just want this to work now since my 3D printer is away. I’ll eventually have it under the same roof as me, just needs the space for it. Either way, I have a functional robot.

Yes, that is a Pringles can. I usually try to paint stuff and basically make it mine but I am just in the testing/prototype phase so I’m not slapping bolts and BW’s on everything. That and it’s a machine designed to feed my cat – she seriously does not care what it looks like.

Does not care at all

When I originally thought this up, I figured that the cat feeder should have a camera, bluetooth, wi-fi connectivity, two motors and an LCD screen.

A cat seriously does not need all of that. As long as it vomits food once a day, it does not matter to her what it looks like or what it does. So now I have a spare servo motor and teeny LCD screen that’s currently sitting in my project box.

I had coded everything from scratch, which actually didn’t take as much time as I thought it would, especially since I whittled everything down to a single motor and some teeny clock to tell the mini computer the time and when to feed the cat. It’s only 60 lines of code (because I love spaces and gaps). I already have a background in code from since I was in high school (I had one Intro to Tech class, that was it) but I pretty much put it all together with ze power of the internets.

Woo! This is why I took so long posting stuff and suches. The second post will come later. And, look! I 3D printed a water dish for my cat as well.

It’s a gravity watering dish. You use a random soda bottle, fill it with water, flip it upside down and there you go. The dish says filled with water, nothing overflows, I never have to worry about my cat being thirsty because of my forgetfulness.

Amazing news, everyone! Black Witch is now outfitted with a 3D printer!

The World is Mine! I can print whatever I want!

This is great! I used to repair them and make CAD files to 3D print for others so I got one of my own. I’m still sorting the code out on the profile files so I can have a more plug-and-play experience.

I plan to add these 3D printed items to the Black Witch Gift Shoppe (which is currently empty because I very sporadically fill it). I plan to restock the shop with journals but I also plan to add knickknacks to the store. Here is a WIP of a sample CAD (Computer Aided Design) shot:

 

More will be added! The thing about 3D printers is that they are fairly versatile – if you can think it, it can be printed. Things can be printed in a variety of materials: wood, metal, plastic, flexible, etc.

This also means that I can eventually open up a small custom 3D print design service because 3D printing is still new to a lot of people and thus still not very present or chatted about much in the Black community, where we could get a lot of usage out of this. It isn’t because Black folks are tech-adverse or not bright, it’s because tech (and the rest of STEM) has a serious racism problem they like to gloss over a bunch that basically boils down to this: keep them out by any means necessary – tokenization, make subject appear too complex or boring, plain old micro-aggressions or blatant “we seriously don’t want you here – get the hint and leave, dummy” racism.  I could go all day about this but long story short, hopefully having a small 3D print custom design service on Black Witch will be useful to those who could really use it. I’ll be creating a page for it quite soon, I just want to make sure all the details and pricing make sense, especially for those who are new to 3D printing and thus don’t know the terms.

Huzzah, hopefully, this will make things super easier!

Not a Demon

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I get a lot of pretty dumb questions here on Black Witch. I honestly wish I had a better spectrum of inquries. Here’s one from the BW Facebook fan page:

Why do people ask me stupid questions like these? I got some weird guy in Australia with a super obvious fake name of “Nixon See Dee” who probably is a teenager or a young adult with no life.

Some may think I’m harsh. Let me break down why this is stupid.

People who have “weird” experiences – which usually turns out to be normal human life experiences – tend to believe it is proof that they are part of the supernatural or metaphysical automatically. It isn’t. Part of the basic litmus test for if you are part demon/angel/undine/gnome/whatever is that you wouldn’t have to ask about it because it is already part of your life. Your parent would have remembered being with some random spirit (this is another thing – the person will believe they are half-whatever magickal but can’t trace which side of the family that half is…because it isn’t there) and the magick would have shown up significantly during child rearing.

Also, it seems people in the West are obsessed with being demons or angels. Can’t even recite a single line from the Book of Enoch or a single word of Latin but somehow are on the family tree of fearsome entities. Does this mean I don’t believe people could be part of mystical families? Not necessarily, it’s a big world and truth can be stranger than fiction. However, it is extraordinarily improbable. Especially when the person asking has to actually ask.

Obviously, my initial response was too difficult to understand for this guy, hence his reply:

“Ra sounds”? “Noises of the devil?” Sounds like a super Christian who is having a hard time adjusting to life and hence crafted this up. Like I said above, hearing a “Ra ra” noise is not a demonic noise personified. Demons can make a variety of noises but they’re not exactly the loud crowd, honestly. Unless it involves knocking stuff over to troll people, then they are all for noise. (Note: If stuff is getting knocked over inside your home, it is not automatically demons. Please read more books besides the Bible. Thank you.) Also, two things about the interacting with animals: A) Interacting with animals telepathically isn’t inherently demonic (Not everything potentially metaphysical is not demonic – remember, everyone, this isn’t a Christian site, so the unexplainable isn’t shoved in the “work of the devil” pile) B) These occurrences with the birds and dog are not exactly iron demonstrations of telepathically talking to them. Given how this dude is, he’s probably reading into everything he sees and interacts with as him somehow interacting with them and “proof” that he is of at least partial demon heritage. I’ve practiced witchcraft, psionics and am fairly studied up on the occult, I’ve seen the type a million times: male, usually young (but can go well into mid-age or more), and very self-absorbed.

If you have to ask “What counts as demonic?” it is very safe to say you are not any parts demon. You’re just a normal person with a possible complex. Like Austin Gillespie (he calls himself Augustus Sol Invictus), the neo-nazi who thought that he was a god – even when he was battling stomach flu. He’s just a self-absorbed, dumb nazi.  Seriously, read up on the SPLC write up of this guy, it’s a great demonstration of what self-absorbed bullsh*t personified looks like, the Pagan edition. Befriends a woman he met online, she was nice enough to put him up in her home for his stay but she had to pay for all his expenses and he broke into her phone to basically pry through all her life. That’s not all the crap he’s done, frankly. This is why there are women-only sects in Paganism, sheesh.

Back to this dunce at hand:

Firstly, I think he meant “Western Christian culture” because “English culture” literally zooms into England only. And England’s occultic history isn’t exactly chock full of demons – that’s a Christian repainting of indigenous faiths. And I doubt he’s smart enough to be so hyper focused on the occultic history of England or I would have probably heard the name of some random entity by this point of the conversation. I haven’t.

Now, it really does depend on the culture because – surprise, surprise – different cultures perceive the same thing differently. With their own names, background stories and everything. It’s called “cultural diversity”. And once you take Christianity way off center focus and try to see the culture for itself, you find way less demons. They do exist in other cultures but when looking through the Christian gaze, everything Pagan is demonic, including the neutral and benevolent deities and spirits. I mention the Christianity so much because that’s usually what the asker at least passively believes in and frames their “amazing story” by.

And note that I said about two or so times at this point to the guy some variation of, “if you have to ask, you’re not demonic”. And note how he’s just plain not listening. Feeling intense energy doesn’t make one demonic. Many people feel that. Many people invoke that at music shows and while creating something. It’s part of being human. Nothing incredibly metaphysical or occultic there and definitely not demonic.

If he feels that he is part demon, it really is from the media he interacts with. The full bit below:

It really is. Usually teens get this kind of thinking because they’re super new to the world of magick and witchcraft and they’re coming from the usual pop culture depiction of it being dark and scary and how nothing is as it seem but everything is jaw-dropping…and they’re doing it. This wows them. And then they spend way more time beyond “dabbler” status and calm down.

Again, the guy is bringing up the “ra sound” as his groundbreaking basis of proof that something spooky is definitely afoot. Which is a super low threshold of proof. And here comes the reference to a satanic meditation. Given this guy so far, for all I know, it’s a 100% normal, garden variety meditation that involves a focus word and he probably decided to use “devil” or something equally fluffy bunny/dabbler. Even if it were a bona fide satanic meditation, that doesn’t make you half-demon still. Not at all. Potentially engaged in demonic practices but not a demon – or even a partial demon – yourself.

This guy really doesn’t get it and I’ve said it as plainly as I could. Actually, at this point, it begs the question of “why did this guy ask if all he wanted was blatant confirmation bias done for him?” It’s pretty pointless to ask if you already think you know the answer. At that point, you’re wasting someone else’s time out of complete selfish vanity.

I got confused with the “Ra” stuff because frankly, I still didn’t know what was the sound he was talking about and I do know that dabblers tend to mishmash Christian rhetoric with very orientalist ideas about Egyptian deties commonly. Too commonly.

Instead, the guy says “monster sounds”. Now things are getting very childish. It probably is a normal sound. This dude is seriously reaching for something that just plain isn’t there.

Yep, this guy is basically the super basic version of Austin Gillespie (the dude’s Latin name is incredibly ridiculous and I actually have Thelmites for friends so I’m 100% not using the alternative). Like, the selfish stupidity of it all. The obsession with their genitalia (I’m certain if I let the dude talk longer while gassing his ego, it would have devolved to that – it always does) at the end. The absolute refusal to listen to reason. I don’t practice demonology or anything of that nature – this site is called Black Witch because I’m a Black person that practices magick, pretty simple to understand – but I know enough about it to tell that this isn’t it.

I’ve encountered a lot of people who would believe they are part something magickal, besiged by demons or something else that is outstanding. In the scope of the human experience, it is entirely understandable that some people will feel that their life is a little more magickal than others. However, it’s not entirely common to be part-fae/demon/undine/etc and finally discover it when you’re much, much older. At all. Unless it was already in the family tree, it’s extremely unlikely. Extraordinarily unlikely. I remember one person telling me they believed they were part werewolf because they liked raw/rare meat. That’s a low threshold of proof. Believe it or not, there are many people who prefer their steak not so well done. It simply just isn’t. Same thing here. Low threshold and, on top of that, very self absorbed. That doesn’t mean there’s a demon here, just a dense person.

I didn’t get any worthwhile questions this month so I’m taking the time to talk about Venmo on BW.

Ahem…

New thing alert! I switched from Ko-Fi to Venmo! This means that instead of seeing “Support Black Witch with Digital Coffee”, it is now “Support Black Witch with Venmo”. The change happened because a) ease of use b) more people have Venmo c) much more versatile. This means everything Ko-Fi related is gonna change in the sidebars and Venmo is going to be flouted a lot more.

Venmo is a much easier way for readers to donate fiscal support, for me to do transactions if I ever decide to open up for doing paid divination, natal charts, custom 3D printing or bookbinding for others, whatever. Life is made simpler. This also means that I will be changing the sidebar to account for this. Venmo uses QR codes so this makes life easy for me since I’ve already had QR codes on my blog for years.

This is what the new BW Venmo code looks like now:

Custom designed by me, ha! I’m super used to making these and it’s totally functional

This will now be in the sidebar and wherever appropriate.

Support Black Witch with Venmo, coming soon!
Join the Black Witch Discord Server

Before I start with this post, there’s gonna be a teeny-weeny change here! Black Witch will be using Venmo for instead of Ko-Fi, now. For a few weeks, I have began posts with “Support Black Witch with Digital Coffee” as a way for readers to donate via Ko-Fi but it’s getting switched to Venmo. This will be it’s own post but for now, let’s continue with below.

Alters
This is a trailer for a short film about having Dissociative Identity Disorder. Constant readers will know that I talk about DID pretty extensively, especially if there is any good media about it. While this is simply a trailer, the video looks great, just like the website.

Does not center Whiteness
Just about every storied retelling of DID I have come across has a White person at the center. Sybil: White. Split: White. Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde: White. United States of Tara: White. Even when I look at documentaries about DID, they feature White people, always. Besides K-Dramas Heal Me/Kill Me and Hyde Jekyll, Me, everything stays very blanche neige. Even only super recently did I find a Black youtuber who talked about having DID, axolotls-in-a-trenchcoat.

In Alters, the lead is not White, but Latina. The alters don’t appear White. This is really great because not every person with DID is a White person. For example: I’m not White and I have DID. Severe and extensive long-term childhood trauma happens to way more than just to White people. Way, way more.

Well Researched/Well Done
The trailer doesn’t appear that they will rely on DID tropes but be more honest in its retelling. Basically, the creators did their homework, it seems. Usually, stories about DID sound very absurd and always forget that every person with DID all started out the same: with extensive childhood trauma. It appears the lead will be moreso humanized than anything – a person with DID who is simply just trying to get through life just like everyone else.

The website even has a fact sheet about DID. Also the writer for the script has DID herself so it really showed for great accuracy from a primary person’s perspective.

Why this trailer appears promising
Reminds me of another, creatively accurate telling of DID, short film called “Inside”, which I have also featured here. DID is not a hard disorder to display if you have enough actors on one hand (and a smart researcher in the other). Those with DID constantly say that their alters (short for “alternate identities” – not to be confused with “alter ego”, which is generally used by entertainers, not those with DID) are like separate people, complete with their own ideas, looks, thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes. While this short film plays on the mental asylum trope (dark and spooky), the depiction of what it is like to have DID is pretty dead-on.

I really look forward to seeing the full film, which also will be featured here.

Abdullah X
To say that this is a constantly changing world is putting it lightly. In America, there are constant mass shootings, a numbnut in the White House (that’s working on getting himself impeached because a) he’s a numbnut and b) don’t take help from Russia to become an American president, we’ve got a long history together and it isn’t a fun one, so much going on. And super hard to keep the faith. Or at least keep the faith from getting twisted. America has a very, very long history in both Christian extremism (Timothy McVeigh, Ku Klux Klan) and the more displayed in media, Islamic extremism (Daesh/ISIS).

Religion extremism happens from a bevy of reasons – xenophobia, nationalism – but it basically is a power grab thinly veiled as “God told me to do this”. In pretty much every case of religious extremism, it’s usually a group of guys – or one guy – who thinks God wants them to murder everyone but deep down, that’s more of a phony front than anything. The Klan believes the bible doesn’t want Black people to exist (really, they just want to murder Black folks wantonly because they’re incurable terrorists fueled by racism). Daesh/ISIS wants the West to back off and spread Islam everywhere (really, they just want to do a power grab in an unstable political environment because they’ve murdered other Muslims by the payload, too). Sticking with both Christianity and Islam, there is nothing in either of these religious texts that say “murder everyone who disagrees with you”. Tons of stuff about accepting others, especially those who help others like doctors and teachers, but nothing about mass murder being a great PR move.

Zeroing in on young Muslims trying to navigate the world around them, it can be very tough. Everyone thinks you’re a terrorist. You start to become paranoid that FBI will eventually wiretap or even swarm your mosque. All this negative exposure, it leaves open the chance to be radicalized because fear makes people act in very surprising ways. This is literally how street gangs work and recruit: join us and get protection from them – or, better yet, make them pay.

This is bad news bears for so many reasons but Abdullah X breaks down radicalization for young Muslims and even tries to prevent it.

The video is really well animated and greatly done. I like how he takes the subject, it is definitely directed for young Muslim viewers. He doesn’t make his points boring, he gets to the point and is engaging. The videos serve as very good counterweight against radicalization. There also is a comic that you can download in the Apple store.

Not a Genie

I’m starting to adopt a new phrase:

“I’m a Witch, not a genie”

What this means:

I don’t cast spells for others. Ever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Not Occult

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I seem to be running into more people who have a tendency in confusing regular life for the occult or as an act of witchcraft.

It’s should come as a surprise to literally no one that life is stressful, tricky and irritating. It is complicated, makes very little sense and all around baffling. When you have things like war, the drastic and more overt resurgence of White Supremacy as well as the general terribleness that people seem to be, it can certainly feel easier to say something nefarious is afoot and it is through magick. “Bad/Negative energy”,  accusing someone putting a fix on them or some other flexed about excuse that pretty much conveniently avoids the concept that some people are awful people, no magick needed.

The more recent claims I have heard is witchcraft. Like, “Oh, I’ve studied witchcraft. This is why [person] is being so difficult, they’re doing witchcraft.” Basically, it boils down to no matter what, it is witchcraft somehow. Their terrible attitude towards you? Witchcraft. The fact that you seem to be in their cross hairs for every little thing? Witchcraft. It’s not general malice, or prejudice, it’s supernatural.

This is a Pagan site so I’m not going to sit here and say that magick isn’t real, jinxes don’t happen and folks don’t engage in witchcraft. However, the average person is not engaged in the occult, particularly not to the point of actively putting curses on others. Maybe cursing at others but not cursing on others. When being told things like this and especially by those who never have really worked with anything in occultic studies, it honestly irritates me because it feels like it is hitting a straw poppet instead of looking at the matter at hand.

By focusing on saying “oh, it’s magick/witchcraft/the occult”, it almost works as a some protective shield from the actual reality of the situation. It starts to feel that it is a battle of energies and just a bigger Goliath than expected so if things don’t work out, don’t feel bad because it’s almost like battling an evil greater than life itself. If one faced their situation with a realistic and honest, “This person doesn’t like me and their actions are starting to drastically effect my career/life/relationship,” that can leave a whittling feeling because it’s going to be a battle of wits and a taxing one at that.

It also expresses itself by claiming everything unsavory is “negative energy”. Such as “they’re trying to pass their negative energy onto you”, “this person constantly infects the air with their negative energy”, “I think you’re giving off negative energy when you talk about why gentrification is a bad thing” and other choice quotes. While energy is transferable, it really isn’t this. Sometimes, describing things as giving “negative energy” are just things that just bothering the person who is claiming there is “negative energy” and it’s an easy way to put the issue to bed without dealing with it. It isn’t a case of some weird version of feng shui, it appears to be more of a desire to avoid a problem because it is hard to deal with.

Usually, it is said in situations that the speaker doesn’t want to engage in simply because it is too arduous, generally for them. And the speaker usually, again, does not practice any metaphysics, it’s just a orientalist borrowed phrase. I use the term “orientalist” because it is indeed borrowed from various energy work, spiritual and meditation practices from several different parts of Asia but watered way down into hyper-simplistic ideas such as the binary of “good vibes/bad vibes – positive energy/negative energy” that is easy for Westerns to understand, but only with a bunch of Yellowscare prejudice slathered on. Hence why it only really gets used when the speaker gets very uncomfortable about a situation. It would simply be better to say, “I don’t want to talk about [this situation] anymore” or “I really don’t like you because [reasons]” instead of dodging because of some mysterious force that seems to simply overpower a situation…especially when it goes awry.

Granted, these sayings get used in the positive, particularly to affirm appeal – “This place has good vibes, I like it” (actually, just “vibes/energy” gets used in the positive but not references to magick or witchcraft) – but when used in the positive, it’s not served as a justification to avoid a bad situation or explain a wayward person’s bad behavior. Not only is it foolish-sounding, it’s also incredibly evasive of actual problem solving. Both excuses – because they are indeed excuses, not genuine practices of magick – seem to be more so diversions than actual examinations of the problem at hand. And from people who don’t practice, just did cursory reading and not even from decent material. Just new-agey, cobbled up nonsense used to deflect situations and unsavory topics.

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Ah,  dealing with Christians. When they learn that someone around them is not Christian, it almost becomes professional victim time instantly. And all the while, being really harassing and disrespectful simply because they finally met someone who openly said in the same room as them, “I’m not Christian. At all.”

Y’see, I don’t cover up the fact that I’m Pagan. If the solstices come up, I say such since it is a holiday for me. If they bring up some obscure part of the Bible, I joke that I wouldn’t know because I’m not Christian and haven’t been one since Bush Jr. was in office, first term. I remember when I was in university, I bombed a pop quiz in my Middle English literature course because it was “Name five books in the Bible.” I think all I put down was three at most and my thinking went like this:

“Ok, Genesis is one. And…oh! Revelations because that’s the one Christian cite all the time. And Leviticus gotta be one because they somehow hate gay people but love football – which one has the commandments again? And Paul? Is that a book?”

I told the teacher my thought process because he lamented how easy the quiz should have been. I retorted, “Can’t you do five books in the Koran or something next? I would have probably done better. I’m not Christian, I don’t keep this info in my brain on hand.” I simply don’t twist myself into knots to learn strictly one holy text, especially if the followers seem know about it (or care) less than I do. If it were the Bhagavad Gita  or Torah, that would have been interesting. That and I was expecting a quiz on Middle English literature texts like Chaucer*. I’m already hyper surrounded by Christian belief and rhetoric, that is far more than enough for me.

My issue with Christian folk isn’t the fact they exist. It’s the fact a very sizable chunk of them think they and they alone should be the only ones who exist and anyone not them should be harassed otherwise. Because if that person states they are not Christian and have no qualms with it, it somehow is a existential threat to the Christian – despite the fact that American society is intensely Christo-friendly…to the point of literally bombing other nations for not being Christian (*koff*thefertilecresent*koff*) and normalizing the ostracization  of not being Christian. For example,  Mosques somehow are suspicious but churches aren’t – nor do they get surveyed by the FBI en masse simply based on faith despite a big amount of terrorists in America are usually Christian or Christian-leaning (and White. And Male. But that’s another column). Like Timothy McVeigh for one and then there’s pretty much everyone in the Tea Party, Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the list goes on and on. Even Donald Trump ascribes to Christianity and the religion itself still doesn’t get a bad rap. No one else really gets afforded this luxury. A Pagan person does something not too smart, every Pagan gets hit with whatever they’re labeling that particular person. A Muslim person does something awry, the same thing happens. A Christian can be a serial gambler that eventually rents out a suite to shoot a bunch of people below with enough high-powered guns to fuel a militia annnnnnnnnd it’s just them that is hit with whatever bad rep they get – if they get any at all. (Mass shooters, unfortunately, get glorified. A lot.) This isn’t to say that Christianity should be seen as a terrorist religion (though I’m super sure Islam, and all its practitioners, would love to take a very extended break from that label everyone puts on them) but simply the fact that they have a lot of privilege for a faith that believes it is persecuted all of the time. And some of those times simply come from the fact they’re breathing the same air as someone who is not Christian, which is hardly oppression.

There is also the fact Christians tend to have a super strict “Either you’re Christian or you’re atheist – no middle, no other” binary thinking. Heck, most Christians who get the vapors about me being Pagan can’t even figure out the difference between an atheist and a polytheist. Despite being stupidly simple:

A- (“lack of”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “atheist” = “lack of belief in deity”

Poly- (“many”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “polytheist” = “belief in many deities”

An omake:

Mono (“one”) Theist (“belief in deity), so “monotheist” = “belief in one god”

There ya go. And all are valid because they simply are. To confuse me for an Atheist simply because they don’t want to acknowledge that, O Hark! a Pagan exists! in their midst is really insulting. Extremely insulting. That and getting moody that Christ is considered no different than any other deity – actually, Jesus Christ would be ranked as a demigod, (like Hercules) because only dad was a god, mom wasn’t – in the general Pagan ranks of marking divinity. And Christians have got to understand that”demigod” means “halfgod status”, not “demon god”. Dictionaries, moreso than Bibles in this instance, are important books, too. Just like being not a douche over religion is also important.

Being dismissive about the fact other people believe in something different is also disrespectful. Saying things like “When God finally reveals Himself to you and shows you the right way in your life -” I already have a deity, several of them. Because I’m Pagan. Which is already a religion. That predates Christianity by 50,000 years. If I was this level dismissive of the Christian god, they would act as if I personally killed Christ. Treating people from different religions as deluded, hoodwinked and stupid because they’re not Christian is super rude. Yes, the Bible said proselytize but I don’t think it said “harass, murder and start wars over this book.”

Yes, I was originally raised Christian (I’m Black and live in the South**, thus making Christianity most likely religion to be raised in) but it’s stuff like this, in addition to the rudimentary fact that upon taking a closer look to the religion, I learned I didn’t click with anything I read in the Bible or the various studies of it.  It took three years but it seemed Paganism was a way better fit for me. But what definitely wasn’t keeping me tethered to Christianity was the continual and prejudiced “our way or no way” manner of thinking that seriously pervades them. It’s like they think America is supposed to be an all-Christian nation (we’re not, sayeth the Constitution) and the planet is supposed to be an all-Christian planet (we’re not, sayeth the many billions of non-Christians). Being hateful, including to people who are simply different (such as being trans or queer) is not something I find endearing and if it seems to be a consistent trend in a faith, even down to the texts, I am not going to stick around.

For the Christians going “Not all Christians”, don’t tell me – tell other Christians so they know this behavior in very not cool. I couldn’t care less with the No True Scotsman rhetoric either because it still lowkey condones and covers for the problematic behaviors that the other Christians do that they refuse to correct. Which doesn’t fix the problem, it’s just asking everyone to play pretend that it isn’t there.

* Yes, he is French and hated the English. English literature professors still twist themselves into pretzels to include him. In the very same way they try to keep PoC/minority literature out, especially for that time period.

** Maryland is part of the South. Most northern Southern state but still the South. Part of why we are called the Old Line State (Mason-Dixon Line) and why we have a Robert E. Lee Park (which is probably about to be renamed soon, which I support) as well as a Ulysses S. Grant Park, confederate statues (some currently removed) as well as Union statues and other stuff that a quick stroll through a history book will tell you.

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