Tag Archive: family and Paganism


Next week in America is Thanksgiving, where everyone celebrates by stuffing their face (including me), watching parades and the coming advertising onslaught of All Christmas Everything. This is a time to deal with family and friends, fending the turkey from the pets and dealing with the emotional punji pits that can be at an all-time high around this time of year.

It can be tough being Black and Pagan during the holidays. There’s the usual emotional punji pit that comes with relatives being relatives and their billion questions, some of them that pose outdated beliefs or simply make you want to endure waterboarding instead of spend another minute with them. Then there’s being Pagan on top of that and if whether you’re in or out the broom closet, it’s really tough to navigate what to say and do and not result in some nuclear meltdown. Families are like countries, everyone has their own rules, customs and taboos. And just like countries, some don’t get along with others, some have more in-fighting than others, some are just simply peaceful or with a weird past.

If you’re out the broom closet to your folks, congrats! Prepare to experience questions and remarks that will make you wish you didn’t. Given that Black culture is heavily influenced by Christianity to the point that it is part of the African-American/African diasporic gaze (how Black culture sees and interprets stuff), expect a lot of churchy questions to spike around this time of year. You know, the usual accusations of devil worshipping, blatant misuse and cherry picking of the Bible to back up those accusations as attempts to scare you back into Christianity, crazy conspiracy stories that somehow explains how Witchcraft (or a real humdinger, Christianity) is truly evil, folks talking about Indigo children or complaining about how fluoride in the water is somehow killing people and the government practices witchcraft and somehow the connection between them makes sense. Yaaaay, the fun world of interacting with people while practicing the occult or metaphysics.

These questions are probably going to be stupid, some very fear-mongering and don’t feel bad if you’re new to being Pagan or out of the broom closet. It’s more them than you, to be honest. Paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft has had quite the nasty slandering of reputations for a very long time and then you layer on the historical forced practice of Christianity on Blacks when we were slaves as a method to make them more dependent on the new culture they’ve been dragged into and then have that same religious institution be instrumental to important movements once those slaves take back the right to be human, you’re going to get a WTF salad a good bit of the time. Being Pagan, practicing magick, simply not adhering to the Abrahamic faiths, none of those are bad things in and of themselves and you have to remind yourself that. Chances are, when you got started in the practice, you had a lot of the same notions and beliefs as well until you finally picked up a book so try to be understanding from that perspective. This does not mean you should proselytize and be annoying, this means that you can’t always get frustrated at your uncle if he doesn’t understand why you left Christianity and erroneously claim you suffered from “church hurt” because it’s not 100% his fault. It’s the culture.

The best way you can go about this is being as factual as possible and, if you can, set your boundaries. This is supposed to be a family holiday, not an interrogation. Unless you’re running about on a broomstick or a mop screaming, “I’M PAAAAAAAAAGAAAAAAAAN! I DO WIIIIIIIIIIITCHCRAAAAAAAAFT! I PLAY JAY-Z TO DO MONEY SPELLS AND KANYE WEST TO SUMMON NARCISSUS! I’MA WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH!” it’s pretty certain that the questions you’ll get will be from others that are curious (to put it nicely) that you’re somehow not practicing their faith and why. Be as factual as possible, even about the Bible, and if you don’t want to talk about it anymore, you should be able to establish that. Being part of a different faith does not give anyone the right to be an absolute jerk. If anyone says, “You shouldn’t have became a Pagan if you didn’t want people grilling you with questions about it,” bring up the fact that there are people who think if Blacks didn’t want to experience racism, they should somehow become lighter, stop talking about racism, ignore history and drop the culture. Again, something that is your identity is not anyone’s greenlight to be a nuisance. That is very stupid thinking, remember that.

Now, dealing with others is going to differ depending on if you live with your folks or not. If you live at home, any faux pas during the holidays will not end after the last guest has closed the door so pick your battles wisely. You don’t want the act of telling off your cousin about how you don’t even believe in Satan to continue well into the new year because your parents think that your new religion has made you a tetchy hothead. If you live away from home, you can have a little bit more freedom in standing your ground and expressing how you want to be respected. The only weighing factor is how much you want your faith to be respected and how much would it mean to you if they expressed disappointment or threatened to go as far as disowning you but weigh carefully.

If someone wants to genuinely have an actual conversation – not a one-sided blame game, an actual dialogue – then talk to them. You don’t have to do it in front of everyone, you can do it in private if you or they want and actually listen to them. They may have just as stupid questions as the ones as you possibly fielded but remember, this person simply wants to learn about what it is you’re doing and all they have to go on is what they picked up growing up. They’re trying to understand you and your faith so help them out. You don’t have to lecture them or anything like that, just answer questions as plainly as possible and with bite sized information so in case they tell others, they’re going to recite the correct facts.

Staying in the broom closet? That’s a perfectly fine place to be. And it should be your choice on how long you wanna stay there. There are many reason to why a person should not reveal themselves until the time is right: there’s the possibility of financial issues, not being able to handle the emotional strain just yet, worried of fallout and/or wanting to make sure that Paganism is the faith they’re going to choose so if they take heat for it, at least it’s worth it. The holidays can be a stressful time, you don’t have to out yourself if you don’t want to. Yeah, everyone is all together thus it can look like it’s ripping off a bandaid when broadly announcing your faith but it can create a perfect storm of stress because everyone is all together to drill you about being Pagan. Don’t feel ashamed about keeping your faith to yourself, it’s a waiting game but one that is for your safety and wellbeing.

Know someone in the broom closet? Let them stay there. As you probably saw from the last post, “Busted”, it’s not really appreciated to drag someone out of the broom closet. Yes, you may think, “The truth will set you free,” and that’s really nice but in some instances, the truth can also leave you broke, alone, homeless or outright killed. Ignorance (in very small doses) can be bliss. That means your job is simply to play ally, not spokesperson. What this means is that if you’re cool with the relative being Pagan, then be there for them. Be the sounding board, listen to their stories and ideas, be there for them when they vent. Heck, be their alibi or distraction when the heat is starting to come down. Being an ally means that you’re cool with the relative being Pagan but you have to remember when they finally come out the broom closet is their choice alone. They’re probably going to talk to you about it but that’s not your cue to out them. Help them weigh their options but don’t pick it for them because that is most likely going to cause an irreparable rip in your relationship. You’ll be identified not as an “ally” but a “backstabber” instead and you don’t want that.

So! Now that everyone knows what to do, go out there and have fun. Navigate the emotional punji pits, try not to fall in any of them and have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Next week is TheArts!, let’s see how is getting featured:

– Bea Gaddy

– Straight Line Stitch

– Zen Writer

Don’t forget, Ask Black Witch is at the end of the month! Don’t forget to send your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

Busted

So, now my mom knows that I’m Pagan.

It wasn’t through my choice or this would be waaaaaaay down the line. Newp. I got outed by my sister out of some kind of show of concern trolling. None too happy about this because this is something I tote very often on the column: If you know someone who is of some kind of alignment that is not readily socially favorable such as gay or Pagan, you leave the battle alone. It’s not your choice to decide whether the person wants to have that big discussion (or argument), it’s theirs and it doesn’t matter what your opinion is on the matter about the person closeting themselves, it’s up to them to decide on when to say something about it. Unless you plan to 150% care for the person and the possible ensuing problems, don’t bother.

So, I had a surprise conversation about my faith with my mom. She asked me if I had anything against the Bible and I had no clue what she was going on but I knew that it would probably be better for me to fluff like usual because while I don’t mind challenging churches and closed minded Christians about my faith, it’s a little different when the person I could be debating with is my mom. Granted, as much as I would love to express my faith to her, we don’t live in a perfect world and I’m more than aware of that. My mom isn’t some rabid Christian but she’s still strongly Christian enough for me to have concern about going “I’m Pagan! I haven’t prayed to Jesus since Bush was trying to explain exactly what happened in New York and why this somehow justifies invading Iraq.” She never seemed the type to have a liking towards metaphysics and things like that so yeah, I was doing just fine keeping my mouth shut and pretty much living a double life where around her, I don’t bring up anything that has anything to do with religion and if so, I try to end the convo as fast and seamless as possible. Friends have asked me in the past when do I plan to tell her but my response has usually been, “Somewhere between the future and never. Maybe waaaaaay in the future or just not at all.” See, if I can avoid an argument that’s not really necessary, then I do because I’m not a very confrontational person, believe it or not. I mainly only push when shoved.

Continuing where I left off, my mom asked me if I had anything against the Bible and I was hemming and hawing, completely surprised. Apparently my sister thought my mom kicked me out a year ago due to religious differences and said that I had a faith that was opposite of mom’s. Here’s the bullsh*t in the sentence: I moved out because I’m getting older, simple as that. Also, Paganism is not the opposite of Christianity. If anything, that would be Satanism. I’m not a Satanist, I’m Pagan. Paganism is different from Christianity in a few ways but we’re not their opposite.

After hemming and hawing (I already thought about running but figured that was pointless and senseless), my mom asked me what was my faith’s name and so I told her, totally concerned that she would flip out. She didn’t, thankfully, and pretty much told me how she was younger and she was into things like astrology and such. Some of the stories were interesting and it pretty much was a good hour or so of me being quiet and trying to keep things from going nuclear. So far things were fine but I didn’t want push it.

After her talk it seems that she’s most convinced that just like it was a phase for her, it’s one for me. Usually hearing that makes me pretty miffed because I’ve been practicing Paganism for the past ten years, far beyond “phase period” but since I pretty much didn’t talk about how long I actually practiced, I let it go. I already was dealing with the fact that she knows about I’m Pagan, I didn’t feel I needed to go into specifics.

Though the conversation went much better than I thought it would (mainly because I let her do the talking), I’m still quite pissed at not having the choice to decide when was the right time for myself. Though my mom said she’s okay with me being Pagan, now things are awkward because hey hey, she found out her kiddo’s Pagan. What fun.

It is a good thing that I live on my own and not under my parent’s roof because this would be very tricky because I don’t feel like answering questions on my faith and why I’m not Christian anymore when I’m not in the mood to do so. It is a good thing I can pay my own bills and do not have to worry about being disconnected financially. I can buy or borrow tons of books on magick and Paganism and not worry about my things getting rifled through or those books getting thrown away just because. I can run Black Witch a whole lot better when not hiding my business cards and business papers. I’m lucky that I’m pretty independent with my living and finances (and Black Witch always takes donations) because others usually aren’t so fortunate when someone opens their mouth at the wrong time.

This changes a lot of things for me and as you could see in the writing, it’s pretty hard to talk about. It definitely sets me back emotionally because I totally didn’t think I would have to deal with this so soon. A lot of thinkin has to go into how to go forward and I didn’t exactly plan for this.

So again, to those who know someone who is Pagan and also know their family doesn’t know: Please keep silent because it’s not your fight and not your problem. The Pagan in question knows what’s best for them, not you so let them choose. Unless you really want to have a nice, heavy rip in your relationship with this person (because they’re not going to be grateful), just stay silent.

Ask Black Witch

It’s this month’s Ask Black Witch! Before we get to the questions of this month let’s pick the winnahs of Samhain Pickers!

– Alice O.

– Taryn M.

– Erika B.

W00t! You all have been contacted and remember folks, Halloween chat is at 4:30 PM EST on Ustream! Now on with the questions!

I’m 13 years old (And Black) and I’m just coming out about being bisexual. I’ve been interested in magick and Paganism for awhile, but in between school and the other activities I do, I never have time to focus on this. I’m not afraid about me interest in Paganism but it’s not really accepted in my area, since i live in the bible belt. I brought it up once and I got in a very large argument that left me wondering, Is there anything against Bisexual people in the Paganism religion? Other than that, do you have tips, or sites, that I can use to further my investigation and study of this religion. It’s been on my mind since I was 8 and it’s never left, so I’m positive that I am serious about this, but if you were to look at the knowledge of this topic, it would seem like I didn’t care. Any help??

– IceBiFire

Here’s the fun part about Paganism and what sets us apart from Christianity: We don’t care about your sexuality. You can be gay, straight, bi, pan, asexual, demisexual, it doesn’t matter in this religion. As long as you’re not a raging jerk and understand consent, all is spiffy. If anything, folks will embrace you, you’ll probably have an easier time finding someone to date and other fun stuff as you explore your sexuality. If someone was being a homophobe or bi-phobic, they have far less ground to stand on in Paganism (nature is rife with examples of pretty much chucking all sexuality and gender norms in the trash, for one, and so does plenty of mythologies, for two) and it definitely would not get nearly a favorable audience as it would in some Christian circles, like the Bible Belt. Keep in mind tho that bigots can exist in any walk of life but you ought to run into them less in Paganism. Way less.

You can see useful information about Paganism all over Black Witch, just click Resources and Information but here’s a basic clump to get you started:

What is Paganism

God Checker

African American Wiccan Society – Yeah, it says Wiccans but it refers to all Pagans, there’s also a facebook group!

Mystick Wicks – a great forum to interact and meet with other Pagans

Then there’s the book I always recommend: Where to Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy

Now, you’re a young person so that means I’m gonna link dump some useful information here. Here’s some tumblrs about being bisexual so you can navigate your feelings and experiences better

Bi’s of Colour – This is UK based but fantastic nonetheless. And they even have a phone number, I recommend Google Voice to call it for free.

QPOC – This tumblr operates as an asks blog (where people ask questions and get them answered) but has outstanding information I think you’ll benefit from. And you can still ask relationship questions here at Black Witch. Sometimes it gets a tad raunchy tho (not really but definitely not exactly age appropriate for young teens) but that’s what the scroll button is for.

Bisexual facts – Also an asks blog with tons of helpful advice!

And when you get into a relationship down the road of life, it’s important for you to be super informed so every relationship will be a happy one and you can recognize the bad ones before they get worse. And do not forget to build a relationship with yourself and know what you truly want, like and dislike before you want to have a relationship with another person. Take your time, get to know yourself first.

What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like – very important because a lot of people get confused on it, straight, gay, bi and otherwise. Everyone should be reading this.

Condoms and sex safety – this is for the future, the better informed you are, the happier you’ll be. You don’t have to click on it now if the idea of sex squicks you out – which is totally fine – just store this post for future use.

Bisexuality myths and realities – Since you live in the Bible belt, you will probably hear a ton of these, best know how to get them out of the way because they will be annoying. And here’s another. And anudda.

Don’t forget to find a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school or any physical place that serves as one if you can. You sound like you’re on the cusp to high school so there definitely should be one there.

Hi,

Sorry, but I can’t seem to find your name on your website, but my name is Khadijah, and I am 17 yrs old, in high school, and I have always been interested with the supernatural. But, now I am starting to take an interest in Wicca. I’ve seen shows about it, movies, and even read books about it. But I can’t really find any non-fiction books that really explain what it is. So I was just wondering if you could sort of be my mentor? Or just someone who can quickly explain anything you know about it…

If you’re willing to help me, that would be so, so great. However, if you’re worried about my maturity level, you have nothing to worry about, because, I’m in challenging classes and have always been told I’m mature for my age. I’m just someone who would like to learn about a religion that is open and peaceful, rather than having to sit for hours in church to prove I believe in God.

It really would be wonderful if you could help me, but now I’ve realized I have written an essay for you, and am just going to let you think about it.

Thanks,

Khadijah

Black Witch is the name! I can’t be your mentor because I can be major derpy with time but you can always ask questions here on BW, that’s no problem. If you don’t want to wait for the end of the month to get answers to them, that’s what the BW Twitter and Tumblr is for. And for the movies and books that touch on subjects like Wicca and Paganism and Witchcraft, I highly recommend you take those with a grain of salt (a salt lick even) because they’re full of stereotypes. I always recommend Where to Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy, it’s the book that got me started and is a great piece of writing.

Maturity is very useful in this faith because there’s a lot to learn and trust, the more you learn and understand, the happier everything becomes. Keeping an open mind is the best first step you can take. And you haven’t written an essay, I am known for sending friends honest blocks of texts a page or so long so no problem. Besides, I like reading so don’t be afraid to get in contact again.

Can you make me a mermaid?

– Vanessa

Since you actually wrote in a legible manner, I shall go easy on you.

I’d make you a mermaid but I’m all out of clay to do an ornament sized one but there’s a site that makes tons!

Hopefully you didn’t think I was gonna actually turn you into an actual mermaid? Lolz, not my thing and you most likely wouldn’t have been able to afford it, spells aren’t cheap and if I did pay for pray, I wouldn’t be either.

Remember folks, the Black Witch Ustream chat is on Halloween at 4:30 PM EST. Be there!

Ask Black Witch

It’s this month’s Ask Black Witch! Where readers ask me questions and I answer them! Huzzah! And, remember, it’s real easy to submit questions but beware: Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Let’s hop to it!

I want to become a pagan, but I don’t know how to tell my family. They are serious Christians. But even worse, my mother used to be catholic. How do I go about this? Not only this, but I would like to know more before I completely consider becoming pagan.

What if I want to become a pagan, but I’m naturally violent, hurt, and angry? Like, I’m literally unable to let go. What happens then? Am I suddenly a “Dark Witch”? Will everything I do turn against me or go horribly wrong?

Thanks,
– SweetFire

Folks, this is what a really good question look like. Send more like these.

Sweetfire, I would say pick your battles wisely. Even I haven’t told every member in my family that I’m Pagan and I’m pretty open about my faith to the average person and been practicing for the past ten years. Some folks are really stuck in their ways and it’s up to you to decide to disturb that or not. I’ve learned that some people, even serious Christians, still have room to be open minded but you have to prod carefully around that.

This part depends solely on whether or not you live with them or not: If you do then just learn to be very cautious, you don’t want to risk food and home because someone couldn’t see past their own bigotry. If you don’t, it’s up to you on when and how you want to tell them. If you’re outed, you may have to put your foot down and give them the choice that either they can have their religious bigotry or have you but they can’t have both. As much as I would like to promise all will be happy, it wouldn’t be realistic. So get ready for tense moments, having to stand up for your beliefs (whatever they may be) and deal with a lot of broken record preaching as well as Olympic grade guilt tripping and some strained family ties. The only way you can be ready for that is to be studied up on your faith and explore various faiths as well to know truth from falsehood.

To be read up on this stuff, check out the Resources and Information tag here on Black Witch, especially the The Arts!: Samhain Editions because they list books and sites for you to read and visit and that should really help because right now you sound like you’re on the fence so just keep everything under your hat for now until things have solidified a little more.

If you’ve got a poor temper that you’ve a hard time to let go, I would recommend meditation and counseling. Doing meditation and more religious practice will help you through your personal problems and keep you from flying off the handle and counseling (I recommend doing a google search or going to Psychology Today to look for affordable therapists) to deal with your problems. I understand how a bad temper can rip through practice but your faith, regardless of whatever faith, is supposed to help reel that in. This is given that you are consistent in practice of whatever faith you choose to practice. Some of the books recommended – and I’ll always recommend Where To Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy because that’s where I got my start and is a fantastic book – will have meditation techniques in there for you to use readily. You could even google search basic meditation techniques and use those. You won’t become some dark witch or anything, especially when you have your first dealings with karmic repercussions. It’s one thing if you’re evil by nature but it another to just have a temper like any other human being. As you keep practicing, you’ll probably find yourself calming down more as time goes on and your opinions/perspectives change so again, I recommend meditation and counseling. If you don’t truly want to be the ever-hexing witch (and you won’t, it’ll be too much trouble and energy) you fear, then you won’t be.

Me and my friends want to swap bodies, and I also want to swap bodies with this girl. However I know she won’t agree but I like her and want to learn about her so I can impress her. So do you have a voluntarily body swap spell for my friends and a non-voluntarily spell for the girl
– Mike

Oh geez, when I first saw this I first thought “Another body swap spell?” and then I saw the girl part. Dude, no. If you want to learn about someone, you get to know them the normal way: talking to them, chatting with them online, things like that, just like how you got to know your friend. Don’t worry about impressing her – besides, if she saw this, she probably would be super creeped out. If she doesn’t want you to get to know her, deal with it. Maybe you should learn communication skills instead of asking for spells – something I don’t give out on Black Witch. Besides, body swap or possession anything takes a great deal of learning in witchcraft as well as skill, something I can probably bet you don’t have at all. Magick is too advanced for you, especially what you’re asking for, stick with learning communication and stuff that doesn’t involve coercing people, no one wants to get to know or be impressed by potential creepers/psychos.

I have been reading for the past 10+ years on and off books like the power of the psalms, candle magick. I live in southern California and I have always looked for other black witches in the area with no luck in finding any. And my questions I have two, 1. I had a reading about 8 years ago and I was told I was a white witch under Christ rule is this possible? 2. I have lost, I will say power when I moved back to Callie. How can I get that back again? I come from a family that believes but won’t tell you anything and now days I am over 3000 miles away and I am the baby of the family and I do not won’t to lose the art is there any kind of way you can help me and point me in the direction of someone who want a student?
Blessed Be
– Gwenaveir

Eh, it sounds like you’re a Christian Witch – or at least a Christianity-influenced Witch – judging from the fact that you read and reference books like Power of the Psalms so I don’t see how it could really concern you on being a “white witch under Christ rule” since it sounds like you already are (this is ignoring the fact that there’s no real thing as a white or black magick – outside of colloquial description I would suppose – since magick is colored by intent and nothing is really pure on either side). I mean, it is completely possible to be a Christian Witch and if the Christian path/theology is right for you, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to spread your net to something less Abrahamic influenced if it bothers you that much.

I don’t think you lost power, just settling down after a move and hence still getting back into the swing of things. Just calm down, do what you did in the past to gather energy and it should come back, you and yourself is still settling from being one place to another, it’s going to take time.

The last part confused me somewhat, does your family practice magick but keeps it secret or something? What your family does, short of putting a fix on you or traumatizing you somehow, shouldn’t really have much bearing on your metaphysical practice. But you also mentioned that you’re the baby of the family so I guess you’re homesick and when amongst familiarity you thrive (which makes total sense because the mind is at ease) but all in all, it seems that you don’t really need to be a student of anyone because these are kinda issues you can still solve yourself through time and practice. I recommend you do that for a little bit, at least a few weeks, before throwing up an ad for student practice on WitchVox – but you can socialize with people on Mystic Wicks, which is just as good, if not better.

I am having very serious difficult times right now, as many are. Serious financial difficulties, a house in foreclosure, and a neighbour who has coveted my property for years, harassed me, and may now finally succeed in getting his hands on it. I have tried to meditate and perform an out of body experience, as I have always felt that might awaken the powers I believe that lie dormant within me, and give me some insight into what I can do to help myself, but I can’t seem to concentrate like I should be able to.

Can you give me some insight into how I can help myself?
-Thom

Y’know, it sounds like you should stay in your body for a second and do some actual doing. Walking outside your body isn’t going to do much in helping you A)Keep your home and B) Making sure your neighbor doesn’t get it (granted, if they are) unless you plan on haunting said neighbor. I would work with some people who specialize in foreclosure to make sure that you’re losing your home fair and square, not as a result of banks being their usual evil selves. Then, if it’s true that you can’t keep your house, then prep for that because you’re going to have bigger problems in the near future than your neighbor trying to nab your home. And just because they wanted your property does not necessarily mean they will get it.

TL;DR: The powers you need to awaken are that of a lawyer. Do that.

That usually would be it for this month (I only answer up to three questions per ABW) but I looked at my Formstack account and noticed I missed a couple due to either my email filtering them out or something like that so let me get to a couple.

I want to know if werewolves are real
– Jaszmin

Usually I joke and such but upon thought, I think it can be considered a good question. I looked up the definition of a werewolf in my trusty book o’ knowledge The Watkins Dictionary of Magic and here’s what it said about werewolves:

Werewolf: In occult and folk belief, a person who can transform into the form of a wolf and eat human flesh. In other cultures, individuals are similarly believed to become other fierce animals, such as a jaguar or a tiger. Compare Vampire and see also Lycanthropy.

Alrighty, Lycanthropy it is!

Lycanthropy: From the Greek lukos, “wolf”, and anthropos, “man”, the belief among practitioners of witchcraft and sorcery that a human being may transform into a wolf. In Europe the wolf was traditionally regarded as the most ferocious animal, and in this regard the sorcerer capable of such transformation personified bestial power and terror – hence the many legends of the werewolf. The term is also used generally to describe the magical act of changing into any wild animal, for example a hyena or tiger, and there are examples of “leopard men” in Africa and “jackal men” in the Congo. Some legends relating to lycanthropy may have their origin in the psychedelicexperience, since it is now considered that hallucinatory witchcraft potions are responsible for the legend of witches travelling through the air to the witches’ Sabbath, riding on their broomsticks. Many shamans – some of whom use psychedelic sacraments – similarly believe themselves capable of self-transformation, and assume the form of a power animal.

Oh wait, there’s more. I looked up the history of lycanthropy on the internet and came across a couple good finds.

In “Lycanthropy – A History of the Werewolf”, written by Geffyb, explains that the werewolf was especially feared during the Middle Ages when wolves commonly attacked men unprovoked and thus thought of as evil men doing the work of the devil. There were various takes on the story of the werewolf and how one becomes such a thing. There’s mental illness, a punishment of God, or through satanic rituals. The method we all know and hear of so commonly comes from Italy, Germany and France and expresses that a man could become a werewolf if he slept outside on a particular Wednesday or Friday on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on his face.

In “Lycanthropy: Myth and Medical”, written by Jennifer Cruver-Plaza, she brings up the earliest mention of lycanthropy being in Metamorphoses, written by Ovid (43 BCE – 17 CE). Then there’s the medical condition Werewolf syndrome, congenital hypertrichosis, which has several various strains. Though the condition is rare, it has been documented in the sixth and seventh centuries through four generations within the Gonzales family where, Petrus Gonzales, his kids and their grandchild were called the Family of Ambras. The condition makes them dog faced. Then there’s a psychological disorder where patients act or believe that they are indeed animals and does not exactly remember what they did but believe they were possessed by something. And there’s being poisoned by a fungus called ergot of rye, called ergotism, which was particularly nasty.

And there you have it. So technically, they can be real but not exactly as media such as Twilight would like to picture it.

I’d answer the other missed ones but they’re lol-worthy so I’ll save them for a future Ask Black Witch: Off Day. Don’t let the fact I missed a couple discourage everyone else from using the Ask Black Witch Submission Form. Remember there are other ways to contact me, go to the Contact Me page to learn how!

I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival all this weekend so try and spot me! Plus, I will be at Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor 2 signing today at around 7 PM. Signing is from 6-8PM at Soundgarden in Baltimore, MD.

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