Tag Archive: Paganism and society

Don’t forget! Black Witch Meet and Greet on Sunday in Baltimore, Maryland! Details at the bottom!

You know, it’s really something when you look about the ‘net and hear people say things like, “if only I had a magic wand” or “I’m not a wizard, I can’t make things happen like that” and things of that nature. Ha, even with magick, psionics, metaphysics, whatever on your side, you still have to deal with mundane life. Hey, right now I’m using a computer, a word processor and taking good advantage of my access to the internet.

Thing is, there isn’t really a “witchy world” and “muggle world”, never was. We live in the same communities that regular folks do, pay bills, vote, go to the market, get a job, so on and so forth. I can summon spirits and entities, and Baltimore Gas & Electric does not care. If anything, they’d probably remark, “That’s nice but you still have to pay your bills and if we don’t see any money from you by the 15th, you can summon some light spirits or whatever it is you do.”

Magick and metaphysics exists within normal life. Doing magick to make sure the bills are paid won’t magickally make money rain from the sky and there won’t be any sparkly thing happening (okay, most likely, I’ve learned that things can be improbable but not impossible). You still have to get a job, be good at writing a resume and a cover letter, things like that. It could make circumstances occur where there is somehow enough money to foot the bills or make the bills have a positive surprise (registered as forgiven or paid in the system or a surprise credit that makes the bill drop waaaaaay low (this actually happened to me, my electric bill is about $4.50 for this past month, very proud)) but I don’t think you’ll be seeing actual legal tender that is valid in your nation floating or plopping from the sky or out of your pet parakeet’s mouth. And please see a vet if your pet petite bird starts barfing money.

This isn’t to say the magickal life isn’t that magical. It’s just without a lot of the special effects. You can still witness fae and spirits and entities but there isn’t a Hogwarts around to teach you. There’s no Witch school, Wizarding academy, nothing to grant you a A.A. in ceremonial magick. Learning about magick is more like going to the library or the bookstore trying to look at as many titles as possible, finding metaphysical shops that may or may not be near and possible debating with people on Tumblr about what stick of sage is appropriate to use and if “smudging” is a culturally hijacked term. Way less fancy.

Thing is, back then, some things that were seen as magical back then such as a camera operating. People used to think that could steal your soul. Then science became more widely available and now we better understand the process, which does take some of the wonder out of it. Then you have the fact that a lot of shows and movies are so heavy on the special effects and camera angles because there’s no other way to convey that something has happened since movies only can effect two senses, sight and hearing, and has to convey something to make up for the absence to affect the other three senses. Seriously, next movie or show with magic and/or psionics in it, try to imagine if there weren’t any sparks or if the camera angle was as static as the human eye, seeing things from only one point of perspective at a time. You’d see how much detail could possibly be missed because there’s nothing overteaching the fact that something unusual was happening. When I and folks I know do magick, there aren’t really any wide, gaping movements, if any noticeable ones at all. We’re not Gandalf, we just want to get the spell done. Magick doesn’t require a stage manager (unless it’s Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wicca, ha!)

So does this mean that the life a Witch is ultra boring? Yep. Very. If someone followed me around my life all day, they wouldn’t see anything magickal happening. They may see me on the computer dilly dallying about or…that’s probably pretty much it. Maybe watch me wash dishes and complain about how my sink is too small or that water gets everywhere. I don’t cast spells everyday (that would be tiring!) and the fae in my home only really express themselves by stealing things I won’t notice are gone until I actually need it. Like my glasses. Magick is usually subtle and not loud and so is the magickal life. I do magick because that’s what I’m pulled to and resonate with naturally. I don’t practice magick because of the reactions people give when they learn that I do, that would be stupid and a bit emotionally desperate in attempt to look cool or relevant.

So there you have it, the Witchy life is no different than the normal life besides knowing how to be really handy with herbs and rocks. There’s no Disney or Warner Bros. styled living filled with sparkles, colored wind, designer clothes that seem to never get dirty or ripped and no bills or responsibilities. There is cool stuff and fun stuff and even some “holy crap, that just happened” stuff but that’s about it.

Now, for the Black Witch events!

This Sunday will be the Black Witch Meet and Greet! Here’s the promo that has all the details (I know I will miss something if I don’t do this)

BW Meet and Greet (April 14; Baltimore, MD): Let’s hang out and meet each other! This is the Black Witch Meet and Greet, where you can meet me, fellow readers and have fun. Located at the Washington Monument, (if it rains, we’ll be at the Central Library) this event is open to any and everyone. The meet and greet will be on April 14th starting at 1 PM EST and going to 4 PM. Be there! If this one is really successful, there will most likely be a monthly BW meet and greet.

And if you can’t make this event, that’s okay! There’s always next month!

Ka-ra-o-ke! Music Time With Black Witch! (May 5; Baltimore, MD): I love singing and I especially love karaoke! So let’s do some karaoke together! We will gather at Rainbow Music Studio on 2126 Maryland 2 and have a room to sing the night away! Rooms prices are $35/hour for up to six people and increases by $10 when up to six more people show up (Ex: $45/hour for 12, $55/hour for 18, so on and so forth) so depending on how many people come, the price could be really small ($5.83 per person if up to six, $3.75 per person for up to twelve, so on and so forth) or bigger than that so although I will keep everyone updated, be sure to bring at least $15.

And The Arts! is next week! Sadly, I was forgetful about running a literary contest this year since April is National Poetry Month so here’s what we’re gonna do: hand selected pieces of noteworthy poems such as Saul Williams, unnamed poems and others! Huzzah!

Talky Talky

The past couple of weeks have been awful weird for me. I think within a three day span, I had about three to four people on separate occasions to hear of my religion and try to tell me to do something about it which is already embedded in the faith. Lemme illustrate:

Person 1: I told that I used divination to help me determine my issues and the solutions for them, such as tarot. Works pretty solidly for me since I actually know how to do it and done so for a while. They freak out and say it’s potentially demonic and that humans rely too much on themselves when they should rely on God and nature. Thing is, divination, given that the root word is “Divine”, as in “to divine”, as in “to communicate with the divine/divinity using a medium,” is relying on divinity and the collective unconscious of the universe, not the human self.

Person 2: Friend brings up Paganism and Animalism are two different things whereas Animalism is embedded in Paganism as one of the starting points of what we know as Paganism today. Paganism is pretty much the umbrella term for any nature-based belief and Animalism is firmly embedded in it given that Paganism started showing itself around the upper Paleolithic times, which is about 30,000 – 10,000 B.C.E*

Person 3: Some Christian that lives around the corner from me wouldn’t let up that other faiths actually exist and are just as legit as their own, asks me about the basis of my faith. I just say that Pagans believe in polytheism, duality and that divinity is expressed through nature, hence why we don’t have churches or other houses of worship since the earth is already holy unto itself. The lady then turns around and says that while she agree that nature is God-made, still thinks that I lack faith in a God – as in, she thinks I’m an Atheist – and that nature is a work of God, something that apparently I know nothing about, being the deluded, polytheistic Atheist that I supposedly am.

The thing isn’t that they happened necessarily, I’m quite used to witnessing brain farts about my religion. Hey, they occasionally make for interesting reads here on Black Witch! The issue is that they happened so closely together and mostly by folks who know me personally that it almost made me wonder how good of a job I do about explaining my faith without bopping people over the head with it. I mean, some of these questions are like asking a Christian, “Sooooooooo, do you believe in Jesus because Jesus said not to steal and to be nice to everybody. Are you sure you believe in a higher being?” They’re well embedded in the faith and kinda on the 101 level of things. While I’m glad that the people I know are knowledgeable enough to not try to stake me while taking a nap or attempt to bottle my tears because they heard they’ll live forever that way**, it does make me facepalm a little when they still see my faith through the lens of “something quirky she believes”. If anything, it makes me wonder what they think I actually do believe if they managed to bypass some of the more basic facts of my faith.

It should be noted that the average person is not a pro in comparative religious studies but still there are some basics that are well known (or at least should be) for various faiths. Such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity are all monotheistic religions, Buddhism doesn’t seem to have a violent streak in it, Atheists don’t believe in anything (except the wonders of science) and Hindus have various deities, thousands of them. Since Paganism isn’t very well known but kinda well stigmatized all the same, it is a little understanding that my friends and especially the random person on the street wouldn’t have all their facts in a row. So we’re not exactly working with a tabula rasa but kinda against the tide with some spots of tabula rasa resemblance.

Paganism, regardless whether the average Pagan would like to admit it or not, is still a little known religion. Regardless of how fast it is spreading, and it is spreading at quite a pace, Paganism is still little known and highly stigmatized and the stigma is what rests in common memory. Either that or the misinformation, such as assuming every Pagan to be Wiccan, regardless what kind of Pagan the person has identified themselves as. Or just thinking the person to be outright mad simply because they believe in spells and telling the future.

When the average person hears the term “Pagan”, the idea of a fairly normal person doesn’t spring to mind, simply a person that is straight from the story books as demon-summoners, wicked people and blood drinkers. These folks aren’t very Pagan at all. Have they existed in Pagan religious/cultural history? Oh sure but there’s no religion on this planet that hasn’t gone straight into WTF territory somehow and with such the wide umbrella such as Paganism, we’re going to dredge a lot of folks who are a bit more eccentric than most in our past. However, it doesn’t mean that Pagans today aren’t civilized people, just like any other practitioner of some sort of faith. It just means that you could be a civilized, normal person that is Pagan and the average person may still think you might sacrifice their cat to the Devil, even if you were a card carrying member of the Humane Society.

There’s not much really one can do about it but keep correcting nuances and mistakes as they come along. Sure, it’ll be like straightening up the memory of an Alzheimer’s patient but repetition does make for learning. It is a bit frustrating but necessary, especially if the information can alarm others, such as divination or witchcraft. Now, I’m not going to say that the average person has absolutely zero reason to climb the walls upon hearing that someone reads tarot cards or cast spells given the usual spooky stigmas surrounding those two but it still isn’t a good excuse for them to do it. When it comes to things like divination and magick, prepare to just play a repeat session of 20 Questions over and over again until the person gets it through and through that you’re not going to summon Satan in their living room and you’re not a Satanist simply because you use tarot cards and palmistry to help determine what to do next. That’s pretty much all a Pagan person can do, as well as keep an eye out to identify any myths that they may mention obliviously or take as fact. I know in my personal experience, when I bring up divination to my older friends, they’re quick to assume that I’m summoning demons or other malevolent spirits until I remind them that if you’re doing divination right, no spirits should be conjured at all because they’re not needed. As for the witchcraftin’, I judge on how long the person has known me and how likely are they to freak out about spells and to what extent. So some folks know I do stuff like that and some don’t. Then others find out because they discover I write Black Witch.

Now, this is not for every Pagan as no Pagan has to serve as the cultural ambassador. Newp. You can mention what you plan to do this upcoming Samhain and if anyone foams at the mouth about it, you can just leave them there to froth while you find more rational people. It shouldn’t be a privilege to talk about what you do in your religious faith just as normally as anyone else.

And this goes for anyone who knows someone who is Pagan or Witch: albeit it is always great to get facts from the horse’s mouth, no one is obligated to be your Encyclopedia Pagananica. That means if they say something you don’t understand about their faith and you’ve already grilled them relentlessly before (if not sure, think about if the person was exasperated at the end of it all or had a “Plz stop talking” look on their face), juuuuuust make mental note of it, assume it’s most likely not evil and try to Google it later on if possible. That and remember, if you’re not a practitioner of the faith, you probably don’t know more about the faith than someone who has practiced it for years so it would not be wise “educate” the Pagan friend on things they probably already knew existed in their faith. Nothing is wrong with sharing what you learned, that’s fine – always makes me happy when my non-Pagan friends take it upon themselves to learn about my faith without drilling me endlessly with questions and make me more amiable to clear up mistakes in the nuances – but I will admit it’s a liiiiiittle aggravating when it feels like someone is trying to teach me something that was already well espoused in my faith. So, to be short and dry, your Pagan buddy is not your personal Well o’ Paganism and should you learn a thing or two on your own, please remember that your Pagan friend probably has known this as well. Oh, and don’t forget to listen the first go around, it usually make everyone happier in the end.

And that’s all the Black Witch for this week! Huzzah! Sorry I’ve been uber late with the postings. Either I get caught up in something else, stuck in bed, playing video games performing intellectually strenuous tasks, things like that. I just gotta get back on top of things, that’s all.

*Note: Wicca started in 1957 by Gerald Gardiner, it is not an ancient religion. It was created around the same time the television set was.
**It doesn’t work. Total myth. Do not attempt. Who seriously thought that one up?

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