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

What will happen if I write a desire I have on a piece of paper burn it with lemon grass and put the ashes in a shot glass and holy water, and drink it?

– Ang

Everyone, if you have to ask this kind of question, then maybe dabbling is a thing you should not be doing. I replied to this kid to check their research – because if you’re going to do magick, you better do research. I’m not a Spellwork Hotline.

 

Biggest Question: can I use these arts or have someone do special rituals to help me get through college exams. I am not sure how much merit there is for using Black Magic or White Magic, but how powerful is is up to question. 

I am honestly skeptical of the practice. All the books dealing with spells seem like a lot of self talk. Like you do a ritual and something is supposed to happen? I did, nothing occurred. You have to meditate for a ritual. Nothing occurred. I lighted a candle. Followed rules. I felt empty. Nothing happened. This was to get some success in school. I was dealing with some entities that were supposed to be your guides. The main issue is: Goodness, I hate school. Classes in college are hard. I almost wish something could give me super human powers to understand what I read and study, make it enjoyable, and not make me feel restless, or unfocused. This article you made on mental health makes so much sense. I get so frustrated about school and life and this feels to be the cause my biggest problems. Learned helplessness. Plus Frustration, turning into broody self pity and despair that nothing ever changes. Yet, I hate how my circumstances just do not change no matter how much effort. Everything is so slow and take so much time. Goodness, does the universe want me at all. I honestly rebel against the thought of being nothing, and fight back to make my dreams of an education and to a dream school come true. That is how I feel on the Inside. I desire with my soul empowerment transcending beyond physical limitations of this life.

– Danny L.

There was a lot written here. The question, in a nutshell: “Can I do witchcraft to pass college? It does me a mischief.”

Try studying, it isn’t fun but it works. Visit the counselling center (assuming it doesn’t suck, some do) or talk to someone about the stress university causes you.

Here’s the kit and kaboodle – I’m quite a meritocrat so it should be obvious my next words:

College is supposed to be hard, intellectually. That’s why it is college. If college is not for you, build a plan and go an alternate route. This is, of course, assuming the actual problem is “the course work is hard” and not “I deal with prejudice in college.” The former I have limited sympathy for – again, it’s college, not pre-school – the latter is an actual issue that every university in the US blithely ignore as long as it doesn’t land them on the cover of the New York Times for longer than two days in a row.

Here’s the thing, if you’re having depression about college – because what you describe sounds like depression – then you should get help for that. Ask if your college has resources for dealing with a frustrating courseload such as tutors, competent people to talk to (note the word “competent”, most college mental health professionals just plain aren’t that) and groups on campus of people you can possibly relate to vent your frustrations.

Magick isn’t a smart route here because dabbling gets you nowhere – and doing proper magick requires courseload-sized reading and research. That’s just adding more onto your plate in the attempt to take a short cut.

Instead of candles, try actually talking to someone. Use resources available to you and think about what you actually want to do with your life.

 

Hi I would like to know what it means when someone uses a statue belonging to the person with intentions on putting a spell on them.

 My story: Two months ago I threw away my Decolletage because it fell off of the shelf twice mysteriously and broke at the bottom. The next day my husband took the garbage out and said, “You put the garbage in the wrong container”. I didn’t think anything about the statue because it was broken and it never crossed my mind that my husband would use it against me. But, something tells me that he did just that.
– Rhonda T.
As an outsider looking in, it doesn’t really look like much from here. While hunches are nice, they can lead you into some wild goose chases sometimes.
If the hubby:
– does not have a background in magick/occultism
– does not have a “I don’t get mad, I get even” temperament
– does not treat you like you are his property, treats you like a human instead
Then it’s a good chance that nothing that level of nefarious is happening. However, it does show that maybe you should have a heart to heart with him about things that are bugging you in the relationship – because it is evident that something is amiss for you to think your husband is hexing you secretly. You don’t have to say “I think you were gonna put a fix on my decolletage” but you could say something like, “I just am having issues trusting you, because I feel like ….” and go from there.
If you’re thinking “that’s gonna incite World War Three” then maybe you should either A) Really have the talk because communication is crucial in a relationship or B) Consider leaving because things are only going to get worse from here.

I was able to read a digital copy of the manga, Adorned by Chi. It is a magical girl manga based in Nigeria that follows the story of Adaeze, a young, sensitive girl that is trying to make it through college life the best she can. Introverted and shy, she is stumbled upon by a small, puppy-bear creature, Chi Chi, and told that she, Adaeze, is the dividing line between the safety and destruction of the world. A nefarious group, the Order of Nothingness, wants to empty the world of all its joy – and Adaeze is the key to make that happen.

Paired up with her friends, Adaeze fights back against the Order and tries to bring peace back to her world.

Reading the manga, I have to say it is very delightful. I have grown up with mahou shoujo/magical girl stories (Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors and my personal favorites, Cutey Honey and 3×3 Eyes). Adorned by Chi is very similar to these stories but still puts a new spin on and old tale. There are still magical guardians, there is still mythical monsters and there is still an ominous, overwhelming force out to ruin the world/universe. However, the cultural infusion of Nigeria helps revamp the story and keep it from being just another “Magical girl” story.

The artwork throughout the manga is professional level, there are times it feels pulled from the pages of Clamp. There are still some slippies here and there with body structure and perspective but I chalk it up to being new – besides, they managed to avoid yaoi hands and shoujo legs so they’re off to a good start for a first book. The story line is simple but that’s not a bad thing, not everything needs to be read like it was penned by Lady Murasaki. Clamp had very simple stories but they wove together well to make for deep impacts. Adorned by Chi could probably do a little better though by removing the SFX directives (Example: “SFX: Bright Magical Light”) and let the art narrate for itself, it does an amazing job doing so without them. Some commas are missed in a few places, which can slow the story just a touch but, again, this is a new manga that is not backed by a major publisher. I expect it to get better as time goes on.

While there are some imperfections, imperfections doesn’t make for a bad story. Anyone who read One Punch Man when it was just a webcomic would know that deeply.

See what I mean?

The story is captivating, the outfits are amazing, the animal guardians are cute, it is all very satisfying.

Pre-Orders are still available

 

I had stumbled upon a couple posts that reminded me how fad-ridden Modern Paganism is thanks to New Age, the ridiculousness of Pop Brujeria* (not to be confused with actual brujeria – which literally means “Witchcraft” in Spanish and thus can consist of an astounding variety of history, ideas, beliefs and more), and the usual stupidity of the general public when it comes to things of the fantastical, metaphysical, etc.

There is the discussion that “healing crystals” are unethically mined. It always concerns me when I hear “healing crystals” and other keywords that make me think “ohhhh, I think this is bunk” because it usually is an item stripped of allllll of its culture and importance. This mean whatever stone used for whatever purpose most likely had some legitmacy but due to mainstream dilution, it’s pretty much pointless in use.

To explain better – let’s take the rose quartz and the jade. Rose quartz is peddled everywhere as a stone of “self love” and “gentle healing”. As if, if you pick up this random rock, all your issues will float away like a willow in the wisp. You will love yourself, you will be abated of all emotional problems. You will be amazing. I see it alllllllllllll the time as beginner stones to magick or just to peddle woo-woo New Age/Pop Brujeria. As if you just carry it and all will be better. Or “carry this and congrats, you’re a witch”. Neither are true.

Then there is jade. Such a pretty stone that can be anywhere from red to green, and used for luck, good fortune, etc. A lot of my East Asian friends have them; strung in simple neckalaces using red string, hanging on their rearview mirror, bracelets, etc. Guess what? They’re not carrying them around because some random website or celebrity went “Ohhhhhhhh, this has luck and good fortune! Wear it any watch your bounty grow!” Nah, it was gifted from their loved ones as bonafide cultural well-wishes, for actual protection, good fortune and luck. Many of my friends didn’t obsess over their jade pieces but they weren’t that careless to lose them or think they were stupid, pointless rocks their parents made them wear. There is cultural significance – something very divorced from the usual person buying crystals because something online or in a store told them to do it.

I have a bevy of stones, they’re all stored in a small satchel. They were expertly identified and categorized by one of my friends who is a Christian occultist and can rival any geologist ever. Known him since college and when we both were running the Pagan Student Union during our separate tenures. He wrote down every rock I had (even correcting info I thought was correct because I missed minute details), their properties, which are poisonous and how, so on and so forth. Some of the rocks in there were discovered because I was walking with said friend and he would point at the ground and go, “That’s raw hematite. Yes, that rust looking one there. No, they are not shiny when discovered, that’s tumbled.” Do I carry them all with me like I’m in need of a slingshot? No. They’re part of my practice, yes, but they are not stuff I just carry about. I mean, no Christian I know totes around a censor and I’m certain most don’t tote around vials of holy water.

My favorite stones are the rutilated quartz and the tourmalated quartz. They’re magnificently beautiful, the threads and bars are immaculate. My pendulum is a rutilated quartz, which I use for divination. Not for “Will the Ravens go to the Superbowl” type questions but for deeper issues and guidance because uummm, why would I bother the universe and the deities I practice with dumb, inane questions like that? I have a tourmalated quartz necklace I no longer wear because I’m pretty certain it wants to leave me – doesn’t matter what chain it is on, that chain breaks Every. Time. Gold, silver, hand braided with tough thread, it doesn’t care. It wants to not explore the world and I am super okay with that. Actually, it’s probably a stone of sobering honesty for me because every time I found it, I always learned something new about the folks I was around or the places I was in – and none of it was of the warm-and-fuzzy variety. So it stays home because hunting for a lost stone all the time and learning unhappy things can lose its glean quick.

Would I recommend these stones to a Johnny-Come-Lately? Absolutely not. These stones react to me the way they do because they’re part of my practice, not because I am derping around. I don’t use crystals to replace mental health work, I actually have a therapist. I don’t carry around rocks aimlessly because of a teeny placard at an overpriced metaphysical shop. That’s ridiculous for anyone to do. It’s one thing to collect stones because “pretty rock collection”, it’s another to assume it’s going to do something. Unless you have the Hope Diamond or you have an actual background in earth-type magick or cultural belief, chances are stupidly good that you just doled out money for a rock. One that comes out the ground. For free.

I would like to be omega clear that stones by themselves can not heal or fix anything. It doesn’t work like that, not even in magick. It’s not like a cell phone or a math equation, plug one thing in and if it’s correct, everything is fixed and working. Nah. Not even close. You can carry more rocks on you than a person buried in a landslide but it means nothing when there is nothing. No culture, no genuine practice, no nothing – just “I carry this rock because it’s somehow is better than working on my problems.” That is total absurdity. It also reminds me of people who wind up in my inbox thinking I pretty much exist to solve their life problems as if I’m a personal druid or something. Using crystals as a means of “healing” seems to be usually used by those who kinda don’t want to fix themselves, just feel like they’re doing something or pass off the work.

Actually, I remember when I used to hang around a local metaphysical store all day and I would regularly see people filter in looking for rocks to solve their problems. No lie. They would walk in, stare at the selection and the cards they had, pick a litany of them to be displayed on velvet and start talking about allllll their life problems. The store owner, Ms. Donna, always would try to talk sense to them, tell them that the rock doesn’t fix their problems by itself, that the legwork still on them. Some listened, a sizeable chunk didn’t. And guess who would come back weeks later bemoaning that the rocks are crap, they don’t work, and their lives still sucked?

Crystals are used as an assistive tool in appropriate actions. I mean, you don’t speak into a regular ink pen to write something down, do you? Even though you are communicating with the tool to dictate your words, that’s not the correct way to use a pen. Does that mean pens don’t work because they can’t turn ideas into words that way? No. But they work quite fine if you know how to write and have some semblance of a vocabulary. Otherwise, you may as well say it’s a pointless stick filled with stubborn, colored water. The crystals are the same way. Plopping a crystal in your pocket and saying it’s going to cure your cancer/heartbreak/life problems/etc. is not a correct way to use it. And it’s disingenuous, at that.

 

 

* If the only Spanish you know are half-fumbled lyrics from “Despacito” and the closest you have been to Latin culture is Taco Bell, you’re not an actual bruja – just a fluffy bunny dabbling in the “otherness” of someone else’s culture

It’s been forever since I updated my Links of Interest, which sits on the upper right hand side of my blog. It is a list of links that I personally like and think are really cool and useful. Not all of them are Pagan related or Black culture related, it’s just stuff that I like.

On the Outs:

MikeShinoda.com – It was a cool blog filled with interesting thoughts and feelings of Shinoda but now it’s pretty much Just Another Music Site at this point. That’s fine but it’s not what I came for nor boosted it for.

AfroPunk.com – AP has gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay downhill since I left in 2013. Yeah, my blog got started there but that was back when AfroPunk actually was that, Punk culture and music for Black folks in alternative culture. Now, it’s none of that. I may switch it with ECBACC (East Coast Black Arts Comics Convention) instead later but that’s still being considered.

That’s all! I personally pick the links by how much I like them so please use them. I may add links about mental health – primarily trauma disorders (since I have one) – later on.

 

 

It’s May! That means it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, which in turns means there’s going to be “well meaning” people coming out of the rafters in fake support of mental health issues and disparities – preferably without letting those with mental disorders talk or only picking ones that are super general (depression) or “sounds a little worse but still marketable/not too scary” (bipolar). Then there is the “omg, self care!” crowd. I’m sure it started as something real but it’s a bunch of meaningless capitalistic bullsh*t at this point, aimed at people who have little wrong with them.

Let’s start with Self Care:

Dealing with mental illness is difficult. Many people across the globe struggle and experience it everyday, me included. However, instead of actual, viable solutions such as better access to authentic mental health care, more genuine diversity in psychology/therapy fields, things of that nature – we get “self care”. Which is a paltry, hyper-capitalist idea that basically boils down to “Treat Yourself!”

An article written by Shayla Love “The Dark Truths Behind Our Obesession with Self-Care” talks about this in depth:

From the ashes of these increasing mental health burdens has risen a trendy, Instagrammable solution: self-care. We young people, suffering in unprecedented numbers, have been forced to take on the responsibility of caring for ourselves, and have fallen under the spell of this hashtaggable term to do so.

Self-care is a nebulous name for a group of behaviors that should have a simple definition: taking care of yourself. But it’s no longer just meditation and journaling; everything can now be #selfcare. Eating healthfully or indulgently; spending time alone or seeing friends; working out or taking a rest day; getting a manicure or forgoing beauty routines.

These activities and products are not sinister in and of themselves. I would hope that a life includes leisure, time with loved ones, and exercise. But self-care has been appropriated by companies and turned into #selfcare; a kind of tease about the healthcare that we are lacking and are desperate for. As Baba realized, you can’t actually treat an anxiety disorder with a bubble bath or a meditation app, and the supposition that you can is a dangerous one.

The article is a very good read (even despite being a Vice work, which is pretty rare for me to say) and strikes on how the captialized version of self-care, not necessarily the concept itself, is not a decent replacement for mental healthcare.

I have ran into people preaching self-care over and over again, especially when I bring the fact I have mental disorders, particularly trauma disorders.

“Do exercise!” I have practiced martial arts for over 10 years. And I roller skate. And I go biking. And I’m usually told this by folks who are less healthy than me.

“Do yoga!” Been there, done that. Doesn’t do anything for suicidal thoughts. Or stop attempts.

“Get a hobby!” I already knit, crochet, build robots, code, do martial arts, cook, write long length stories, make books and journals, create CADs, 3D print, roller skate, draw, sketch, bike, fix cars, fix bikes, speak several languages and more … and yet I still have several disorders. Huh, it’s almost like the two aren’t related. Like I can be really good at something, and still my brain will malfunct. Y’know, like how you can be really, really good at deep breathing but that’s not going to stop you from having lung cancer – or cure it.

“Have a gratitude journal.” Sounds like bullsh*t and I’m both a writer and a bookbinder. Gratitude journals are worthless because while being grateful for things is nice – it doesn’t fix problems. It’s just pointless distraction better aimed at those who have little wrong with them.

While doing these things are not bad in and of themselves, they are a shabby and crap replacement for actual mental health care. Happy thoughts and “positive vibes” can’t heal cancer nor mend a broken leg, why would it do the same for a messed up mind? It is important for people to have access to real resources for proper care. While having green tea every morning is nice, it doesn’t cure depression (if that were the case, Korea and Japan wouldn’t be fiercely competing neck and neck for who has the most suicides and China would save massive yuans on anti-suicide nets they put on buildings). Real conditions should be met with real solutions.

Then there is the money part – a lot of these “self-care” things cost money. Luxurious amounts. Here is the thing: if a poor person can’t participate, it is not a legitimate practice. I always use that as a litmus test because if something is supposed to authentically help but ices out those who need it most, then it is probably a fad for the rich and self-indulgent. I mean, who truly believes that wearing a temporary tattoo that says “you got this” actually fixes PTSD? Either you’re nursing a drug habit or plain stupid to believe this.

The Self-Care movement seems borne from the fact that, honestly, it is far too hard for the average person to get psychological help if they need it. On its face, Self-Care sounds very individualistic, pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstraps … which conveniently ignores the fact you have to wait long months for a professional you can’t afford. As if being besieged by a disorder is a choice and can be greeted with simple solutions, like buying expensive tea or buying fuzzy pillows.

And this is just Self-Care. There is also the fact the bulk of mental health assistance really is just, “pills are the new strait jacket, everything useful is expensive, White people only – preferably women. Everyone else can go to jail. Or die.”

This isn’t to say that proper medication does not help conditions but A) not every mental disorder can be solved with a pill (or a litany of them) B ) Pills do not replace talk therapy, at all. US mental health care honestly feels that if someone winds up in a psych ward, they just need to be drugged up, no need for cohesive one-on-one therapy. And if they are not White, even their cultural experiences and perspectives are going to be labeled as a disorder, usually one of the psychotic ones. By the way, that is a historical problem because, long story short, White people always thought Black folks were legitimately crazy for believing racism exists. Give those same White folks a clipboard and hospital badges, and you get a lot of misdiagnosed people who never get helped – or get swept into a system that just rather dose them into silence or compliance. I actually had to argue with doctors over my diagnosis because they wanted to diagnose me with – guess what? Schizophrenia! Or bipolar. Because it was easier to ignore the fact I had a trauma-filled childhood that gave me memory problems that heavily hinted I had major dissociation. Y’know, a dissocative trauma disorder? Since I believed, “cops harm Black folks on the level of serial killers, the drug trade literally poisons and rot communities, and racism exists”, I was considered “militant and bananas”* – oh, and they weren’t too interested in shoving me in front of a therapist but they were pretty quick about “what pills should she be on?” That’s a problem. A big one. And pretty oft ignored.

And if you get tossed in-patient? Problems just compound. Remember, you will just about never see a therapist if you’re general admissions (which is most people: the suicidal, the psychotic, the addicted, everyone in between. They all wind up here) so if you want to talk out your problems, you have to settle for your fellow patients during down time – which is not what they are there for, by the way – or group therapy, where if you are not really cool with telling swaths of strangers your problems, you really don’t have options. And there is really little to do so if you want to stay outside your head, that’s probably not going to happen.

Should you spend too much time in your head and fall into an episode, the options are restraints, being tersely spoken to, solitary, or getting the Spike (sometimes three needles, sometimes one, always a knock-out serum). Restraints are no fun, you feel like you’re in The Exorcist. Solitary is exactly that, just you and your thoughts in a teeny room. Some places have teeny 6×6 rooms with four walls, a mattress and a camera staring riiiiiiight at you embedded in the corner of the room. You get a sheet and pillow but nothing more than that. Other places, it’s just a cleared out room – most hospitals have done away with padded walls, those are a thing of the past (and bad movies). The burnt out nurses have no idea how to talk to you so they opt for “as if speaking to a bad child”. The ones who do use training were trained by people who read from guides crafted by idealists and edited by paranoid lawyers – useless. And most do not seem to know how to reference the DSM, the handbook of mental health and disorders, when they meet a patient whose disorder they do not understand. Despite the fact I am diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (old name: multiple personality disorder, hasn’t been used since 1994), nurses would go directly down the “schizophrenia” route in treatment and mannerisms towards me. If not outright ignore me because, eh, what is there to do? I’ve seen others get the Spike, it’s fast acting and you either wake up in restraints, in solitary or in your room. In some places, you’re surrounded by a small crowd of people when you come to, in others, you just wake up on your own but someone is definitely checking on you.

Psych wards pretty much are like holding cells for the mentally bereft. You’re not allowed outside, you get three squares a day, the nurses act like wardens, and your time is dictated with little variation. Not to mention, it’s a holding cell you get a massive bill for. And I am talking “You could buy a fancy Tesla with all the trimmings” massive. I thought I amassed student debt fast, I managed to outpace what I accumulated in four years from college in less than three weeks at a mental hospital for my trauma disorder.

Speaking of which – yes, there are mental health programs. For example, there are a few for trauma disorders – emphasis on few because there are about twenty hospitals maybe on the planet that can treat DID. I’ve gone to one of them twice. However, mental health programs are hard to get into and prohibitively expensive. Just one night there is about $1,500 USD. For my disorder, I need about at least six weeks for treatments to actually work. Some have stayed over a year. Yes, you get one-on-one therapy and structured plans but still cultural barriers exist (yay, being labeled “aggressive” even when you’re not and not being allowed to discuss institutional prejudice or racism). And if you opt out on meds, things get a little worse because it concerns the doctors. And the insurance companies think a mental disorder is like a cold – you do a couple things and the person is all better again.

For example, my insurance, United Healthcare, did not want to pay. They actually had me booted out a day after being taken off suicide watch, saying I was all better. Refused to talk to the doctor, just said “she’s good.” Oh, and they do this a lot. United Healthcare’s reason? As expressed in the linked article:

United had a structural conflict of interest in applying its own restrictive coverage rules because it felt pressure to keep benefit expenses down so it could offer competitive rates to employers.

… A major issue in the case was the adequacy of United’s coverage of behavioral and substance use disorders as chronic rather than acute conditions. The plaintiffs said United’s guidelines inappropriately limited coverage once patients’ symptoms subsided, rather than covering the range of services needed to maintain patient’s stable health conditions over a longer term.

And they were doing this for yeeeeeeears. That is a lot of people under-served because of one insurance company’s belief of “crazy people are crazy expensive”.

In Baltimore, my hometown and where I live, hospitals practice “patient dumping”. Still out of your mind and nowhere to go? Not their problem, out you go. I remember asking nurses when they would prepare discharge to people without stable homes, “Where do they go now? Like, they still seem not well.” The nurses would shrug and reply, “We give them a three day supply of meds and turn them loose. We can’t keep y’all here that long, state laws.” Because in Maryland, you’re out in a matter of days, it doesn’t matter if you’re really well or not. There is no infinity of beds and, again, “crazy people are crazy expensive” so that’s just how it is. They do try to point you to shelters and homes, they even try to give you bus vouchers and cab fares sometimes but if you’re not mentally fit when it’s time to go, you’re not going to understand any of that. Doesn’t matter though, out you go.

And as for the hospital that did the January patient dumping, University of Maryland Medical Center (better known locally as “UMMC” and used to be Maryland General Hospital), I am not surprised they did this because this hospital in particular is pretty nefarious about how they treat the mentally ill. When my doctor was seeking out hospitals for me, first thing she said was “Not UMMC” because of how poorly they treat patients. Other patients who have been to UMMC have described over-bearing security guards, non-caring staff and higher ups who pretty much don’t care as long as there isn’t a nagging lawyer staring over their shoulder. I bring this up because these are the same exact places that present themselves as forward-thinking and probably has countless “Mental Health Awareness Month” events that look wonderful but, let’s face it: they don’t actually care. Might as well say on a banner, “It’s nice to be nice to crazy people, but don’t ever become one.”

I personally don’t always believe in social awareness months. Black history month? Sure, be great if it was naturally embedded into everything already, though. Asian American Heritage month? Sure, be great if it was naturally embedded into everything already, though. Domestic Violence awareness month? Sounds like a checkbox excuse, a way to pretend to care about gender violence issues without actually doing anything. Same for Mental Health Awareness month. It’s a checkbox issue to pretend to care without actually doing anything. Outside of the occasional depression screening events, I honestly do not really see anything actively useful for people who have disorders. Maybe those who get a case of the blues or fret about a test but nothing more than that. Again, handing out bath bombs do not cure disorders. It would be poignant if it was a year-round thing and not something to do for a month because it looks good in the eyes of the unaffected.

For all the awareness month does, it really doesn’t do much. People still think mentally ill people are dangerous and vicious. You could get fired for having a disorder, and don’t bother with EEOC – they’re too overburdened to care or do anything about it. You could get placed into a hospital where you don’t get any sufficient care, just pills and apathy. You could find someone to treat you but it will put you in the poorhouse by hour 3. You might not be able to find anyone who can treat you at all. An awareness month on the issues of mental health is absolutely pointless if it’s does not cause any action and no one is better informed or impacted by these efforts. It simply feels like a way for neurotypical people (people who do not have disorders) feel like they’re good people, great allies – without lifting a single finger.

Actually, that’s probably the point.

 

* I still think it is ridiculous I was declared “militant” since I have friends who could make Spike Lee sound like Ben Carson. That and their solution for “militant” is not therapy but pills. Talk therapy isn’t lunacy but appears to the doctors I’ve ran into, it is.

 

No questions this month! So that means this is a free space where I can do whatever I want.  So I am posting “Parole Du Chat”. The episode: Plume, L’Angora Turc (Plume, the Turkish Angora). It’s in French but there are English captions.

 

The Arts!: Car Care

This The Arts! is gonna be a teeny bit different but, hey, cars can count as art due to design and features. For example, the 1934 Maybach, the original Mini Cooper (both the rally car from the 1950s and when they came back in the early 2000s), and the modern day Corvette – oh, and the Thunderbird. That and I have been working on my car, thus it is all I can think about. One day, I will get an electric car (I fancy the Mini Cooper most buuuuuuuuuuuut I’m biased because I like mini coopers). I think Teslas are nice but there’s several issues with it, including the techbro ego that I keep running into when discussing with others.

I scour the internet (and my owners manual) for info of repair and maintenance but I have happened upon a fairly decent channel that can also help with basics, such as changing the oil or a tire. When I search for car stuff, I tend to look for women mechanics because I feel the info is more direct and I get to run a lower risk of hearing sexist nonsense when all I want to know is how to boost the engine.

Jessica Chou has been very helpful in this department! She has several playlists and videos about car care that is simplistic and straightforward. Not all cars are the same but she gets you on the right track of what to do.

These are really helpful skills to have if you drive. You never know when your car will give you issues and good maintenance keeps the car on the road longer. While it would be great to have electric cars around because they are good for the environment and are interesting, they’re still big financial undertakings that is out of reach for many people. And then there’s the issues of sensor failure, others hacking the car, the list could go on and on. However, these vids hopefully will provide some help.

Parade of Apologies

I’ve gotten a few apologies over the last spate of months. They’re all from folks who acted badly when we were better friends years ago. Two came out of the blue, one I got after poking them about their bad/racist behavior on social media. Two apologized for being racist and boneheaded about their actions. Years and years and years down the line.

To be honest, while the apologies are nice, I sincerely can’t feel them. The two who went “sorry I was racist and didn’t care, even when you pointed it out” (this includes the one I poked on their social media), it was nice they gave their apologies but I think this is a great demonstration of how being prejudice can follow you. And that just because you didn’t care about being bigoted, that doesn’t mean no one did.

The one I talked to on social media actually started the convo with, “Why are you bringing up something I said ten years ago, I did a toxic purge, I’m a different person now.” While the distancing is something I expect, especially since they were really gleeful to say the n-word several times, especially after I said, “Not cool” and used a defense of “I’m Jewish! It’s not prejudiced! Heck, the Holocaust doesn’t even bother me!” … because logic and a touch of internalized anti-semitism. Eventually, they apologized twice, and it was a short conversation after that because I really wanted to nail home why what they said was bad.

Every time I’ve gotten an “I’m sorry, I was racist and shouldn’t have been”, I don’t think I’ve ever sugarcoated my words. You feel bad – because you should feel bad, since you did a bad thing. I’m going to not simply hold you to it, I’m stapling you to it. And making sure it doesn’t become a Shakespearean “Woe is me, for I am the rogue that caused distress” conversation because there’s no need to elicit sorrow from me – I have none.  Especially if it took eons of time to say it/own up to it.

Some may say, “Be happy you got an apology, some don’t get even that.” Here’s the thing: they could have avoided the bad behavior altogether and no apology would have had to be said. They were all old enough to understand what they did. I even told them directly what they were doing wrong. And still they kept at it as if it was my problem and not theirs. They screwed up, they don’t get to evade consequences by being emo about it about a decade later. Oh, and we weren’t strangers on the internet. We were friends – that’s not how you treat friends, that’s how you treat someone you don’t like.

Look, I’m not a walking life lesson. It is also part of why I was agitated with the apologies. Hearing “You tried to tell me, but I just couldn’t listen. O woe!” makes it sound like I’m just an anti-racism AI out to help direct White people down the path of Righteousness.

Though I am a Black person who practices magick, I am galaxies away from being the “Magical Negro” stereotype. Many light-years away.

Nobody should have to go through such behavior. It is so common for me to hear in predominately White spaces this “I’m so awaaaaare now” thinking. Discard the people you went through to get this way and just champion yourself on the current end point of your behavior. Nah. You’re not noble, just faking.

That’s not how you treat the people you meet and if you think this is more acceptable to treat your friends, then maybe you shouldn’t have any because this is a pretty selfish mindset that leaves little to no room for them.

Everyone screws up, everyone learns but it’s how you do it that matters, too. Wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and having a “Resist” bumper sticker on your car means nothing (besides garden-variety virtue signaling – and usually to other White people). Saying “I did a toxic purge” is just another way to say, “I don’t want to be held accountable”. Dealing with historically marginalized people should not seem like playing Watch Dogs 2: DLC in VR, no one is here on this planet solely to help a privileged person acknowledge their privilege. At all. Because that would be a waste of time, energy and space. I have watched paint dry and that was a better use of my time and entertainment.

Because we’re not walking simulations to learn from and put through misery. We’re individuals. That shouldn’t take almost a decade to figure out.

I want to discuss mental health and magick because in the really recent weeks, I’ve gotten letters from people who believe they are experiencing fantastical and occultic things but actually aren’t.

The most recent one:

I was turned into a spider on a few occasions, and now I’m being eaten by them and other parasites. What can I do? One of the spiders says it was trained to be my Satanist. I can hear them, but I can’t see them. However, I do feel their presence and can hear them quite well. I’d like to know how I can protect myself too. If you have any advice.

I suggested this person talk to a psychologist because this isn’t an occurrence of magick, it’s a sign of actual possible psychosis*. Let’s break down why first and go from there.

Unless the person was a regular practitioner of very advanced magick, it’s not normal to say “I was turned into a spider on a few occasions”. And even for very advanced magick, that’s pushing it.

The whole sentence of “I was turned into a spider on a few occasions, and now I’m being eaten by them and other parasites” sound really similar to what people that experience symptoms of psychosis in terms of sensory issues. In short, it sounds like a sensory delusion. Magick doesn’t create what the person is describing in this sentence.

The sentence “One of the spiders says it was trained to be my Satanist,” sounds like a textbook definition of a “word salad”. Nothing in that entire sentence made sense, especially the latter part.

Though auditory hallucinations (not to be confused with clairaudience**) are the most common types of hallucinations a person can experience and are not promised hallmarks of psychosis, the next sentence unfortunately sounds like it: “I can hear them, but I can’t see them. However, I do feel their presence and can hear them quite well.”

In magick, there are myriads of experiences, sensory and extra sensory, but this whole letter is not it. There is nothing to protect from because I’m pretty certain nothing is actually there. The best advice is for the person to see a therapist or psychologist because it is nothing from the realm of magick, just mental illness.

Here’s the thing to remember, also: we’re currently looking from the outside in, where it is pretty clear. When standing in the eye of the storm, things get a little more blurry. I should know, when I was younger, I thought the fact that I had a split mind was just part of “being a witch” and doing magick – despite the fact pretty much everyone in the magick/Pagan community went “naaaaaaah, that don’t sound right.” This definitely included the psychologists and therapists in that community. I didn’t believe them then but turns out they were right: I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, a childhood trauma disorder. Does this render all my other experiences moot? Not at all. The Pagan community just narrowed down that and went, “That particular thing right there, that doesn’t sound right. That exact thing you just described.” Everything else I’ve shared with the community is more garden-variety “Yup, you’re dealing with witchcraft and magick, all right.” So, there is a difference. Sometimes the difference is blurry, but there is one.

Whenever I get letters that are glaringly “this sounds less like magick and more like mental illness”, I regularly suggest getting help and diagnosis if they don’t have one. Yes, mental health care is terrible all around the world, I can’t think of one place where it is awesome (the United States certainly weighs close to the bottom of the list for me), and it gets even worse when race is applied*** but it is important to get on top of it somehow so the disorder does not atrophy. This can even mean doing your own research, like I did. I already knew I had depression, OCD and PTSD so I knew what to rule out in my experiences (for example, I knew that nightmares and quickness of breath were not instances of metaphysical occurrences, just my anxiety and PTSD acting up). I didn’t know about the DID, though, so that was inaccurately attributed. Now that I do, it helps me rule out what is and what isn’t. It is also why I tell everyone to research as much as they can about their practices as well because if you know what sounds like a metaphysical occurrence, that also means you know what doesn’t and that can be a pretty ample clue.

I’m not irritated that I get these letters but it is concerning that it’s growing a little in volume so I think it’s a good topic to pen.

 

 

*Note I’m calling it “possible psychosis” and not outright “schizophrenia”.  A) I’m not a psych doctor, I just research a lot B ) The person is not physically here to make such a call C) Psychosis can be a range of disorders, which can include Schizophrenia but it could also be something else under the same umbrella.

** “Clairaudience” is the hearing version of “Clairvoyance”. Remember, this is a blog about magick and even psionics, for any confused new-comers.

*** I’ve met many not-smart doctors who couldn’t see past their own biases and try to misdiagnose me because they didn’t understand A) what Paganism is B ) how Black people work and C) the DSM-5 has more than five disorders in there for a reason – so I nearly was slated as some version of schizophrenic or bipolar until I argued them into the ground about why they wanted to ignore the glaring fact I have memory problems related to trauma and that my “delusions” have grounds of reality – such as “cops are homicidal and unchecked, racism literally harms my life”. I’m a Black person, that’s not a delusion. This is a major result of the psych field being waaaaaaay too White and myopic – and none too interested in fixing that beyond lip service.

I feel I am cursed because I have health issues no doctor knows what to do and I am always tired. I have had health issues for 7 years now that no one can solve. I have been to so many doctors with no hope of an answer and I always get a new unsolvable health issue almost monthly. I have had an almost strong pull telling me I am cursed for 7 years. I am never happy always hiding sadness and it seems like everything I do takes me one step back. I am always being haunted by the paranormal(mostly bad spirits). Is any of this a sign of a curse?

– Lindsay D

If you count “Depression”, then yes. It sounds like a Depression Screening is what you need. Unless the doctors you went to were also psychologists/psychiatrists (which are different kind of doctors), that should have been noted. Depression can cause psychosomatic effects such as lower resistance to colds, back aches, etc, etc. Or it can be the starting ground for an unrelated health issue (Ex: having poor health due to poor/reduced diet stemming from depressive episodes).

 

I know this may sound dumb but what type of witch practices necromancy? Is there a name for someone like that other than necromancer?

– Ciara G

Yay for self-awareness. A necromancer is a person who practice necromancy. That’s it. The end.

 

What do you know about Ankou? Have you ever worked with him? If so, do you have any advice for one who is new to his companionship?

Thank you for your time. It is greatly appreciated.

Blessed be.

– Aura

Nope. Nope. And do what I’m about to do below: Research. (Because that’s pretty much 85% of Paganism.)

With a quick trip through the world wide web, Ankou is a Celtic death collector. I don’t work with death deities or entities, because that’s fairly advanced and really easy to screw up. If you have to ask “how do I work with a Celtic grim reaper?” perhaps it’s smarter to find a not so “heavy” entity. Oh, and this dude sound obscure enough that you might want to brush up your Gaelic and Breton.

 

How would I go about cleansing an item of bad energies and such, without removing/releasing the spirit I want to keep attached? The item is a memorial cross pendant with a loved one’s ashes in it. I wear it for luck and protection and because I still need their strength, but I also work with the sick and dying and bad feelings since I’m a nurse. I feel all that bad energy is starting to collect on the pendent (making it seem tired?), but I don’t want to remove the loved one’s spirit from it along with the bad stuff. Because my mother and I still see them roaming the house out of the corner of our eyes, we feel they are still with us after all these years.

– Waya L

Clean/buff it.

I am just learning The Craft I did a love spell to bring my lover back. And it worked I’ve been trying to do a banishing spell because now that we’re happy and we’re together his ex seems to have one crisis after another and I want her out of our lives forever I don’t care what it takes can you help me with a true banishing spell?

-Kim H

So a noob decided to dabble in magick, legit bypass really important rudimentary topics like “ethics” and go straight into “controlling others” land. It’s currently going wrong (predictably) and now the numbnut noob in question in my inbox looking for a way out of their own Very Bad Idea. As if it’s my job to bail out stupid people and save them from themselves.

Kiddo, maybe if you got rid of the “lover”, the ex will go right with them. Let’s face it, you don’t really care about the “lover”, the spell is more about you than it is about the both of you and the ex most likely cared about the person, hence why they are NOT. GOING. AWAY.

Sounds like you broke up a happy couple out of sheer selfishness and now you’re getting the back draft of your own actions. You got yourself in this mess, you get yourself out.

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