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Black Witch: Books and Sites for Witchcraft for the searching soul

October 29, 2010


Halloween/Samhain is on Sunday and that’s the Black Witch Ustream chat via the Afro-Punk Ustream on Afropunk.com homepage! It will be on Oct. 31 at 4:30 PM EST (Time changed). How this is gonna work: I video cast at the Mystickal Voyage metaphysical shop in Nottingham, MD and you guys talk to me via chat and we hold a convo in real time, bring good questions! I’m really excited as this will be my first vcast! Don’t want to use Ustream to talk to me? If you have a Twitter account, you can speak to me via tweeting me @thisblackwitch and I’ll get your comments and questions all the same.

Samhain Edition was last week on the
Black Witch external site but because this month’s installment is very
resource-filled for Pagans and Pagan-questioning, this week’s Black
Witch will be a 2-in-1 post. And remember, readers!

Black Witch Post: The Arts: Samhain Edition/Ask Black Witch
Reviews on the best books, sites, and advice
for all things Witchcraft- Just in time for Halloween

The Arts: Samhain Edition

Alright, this The Arts is the Samhain Edition, where I list out great books, sites and resources for Paganism, Witchcraft and finding like-minded individuals! Expect this to be yearly, there’s always new content! Have something to suggest? Lemme know! But first lemme kick things off with the winners of my first divination giveaway, Samhain Pickers! The winners (and their divy requests) are:

– C. Wright (Cartomancy)
– P. Scales (Tarot)
– S. Francis (Natal Chart)

All winners have been notified and will be read for this week. If you do not see your reading in your email by Halloween/Samhain, please do notify me. Thank you for making this contest so successful, it’s gonna be yearly so people who didn’t take part or didn’t win this year, there’s always next year! Now, let’s head on with The Arts!

Books

Books are where I first learned about Paganism and Witchcraft and the source I trust the most. I’m a total bibliophile and books I trust to be a very noteworthy source of information. Now this isn’t to say there aren’t any bad books, oh there are and plenty of them. I’m just recommending some of the best ones to you. In this year’s list I actually own these books (and more but that’s next year).

Where to Park Your Broomstick (Lauren Manoy)
This book is the first book I ever read on Paganism and Witchcraft and it totally was a great and revolutionizing read for me when I was a teen. I always refer back to this book, even now, and it still provides itself to be a wonderful source, no matter what. Ms. Manoy is fantastic and perfect for everyone, although it is originally pitched at teens. Gotta start somewhere.

Watkins Dictionary of Magic (Nevill Drury)
This book was suggested to me by my friend Brandon and wow is it amazing! It’s an encyclopedia of valuable information ranging across different backgrounds and mythos as well as history, facts and symbols. Over 3,000 entries on the magickal world from formulas to secret symbols to the sheer occult! Anything you need to know, no matter how obscure or well-known, it’s in this book.

Witch’s Halloween (Gernina Dunwich)
This book I referenced a lot in my last column “Witch’s Halloween.” Great book about the history of Halloween, how it is celebrated all around the world. Included are also backgrounds of the symbols of Halloween such as the black cat and Jack O’ Lantern, Samhain divination, spells and recipes to ring in the Witch’s New Year right! Very amazing read, Dunwich is a marvelous author!

Elements of Witchcraft (Ellen Dugan)
This book I had read after Where to Park Your Broomstick and I highly recommend it to any age. I love Ms. Dugan’s storytelling entries of her own experiences in the craft and the information that she gives is simply priceless, especially if you decide to go into green (nature-oriented) magick. Great book overall.

Sites

Books are valuable but you can’t always connect with others through them and some things are easier with the help of the internet. Take note, there are a lot of terrible sites on Paganism and Witchcraft, my god it’s like some of them were written up while trippin on acid. I’ve seen a good few that I have stored away on my favorites tab in my computer or been recommended to by my readers and I’m giving them to you!

Black Pagans (AfroPunk)
I’m a firm believer in Booker T. Washington’s quote, “Put your buckets down where they are, there’s diamonds in your own backyard.” There’s a Black Pagans group here on AfroPunk. go and join it! Ask questions, look around, socialize, do whatever but know that there is a place for Black Pagans here on AfroPunk.

African-American Wiccans
Despite the name, it’s not entirely for Wiccans but really a Yahoo group for Black Pagans all over. I was recommended by a reader of mine on AfroPunk and went to see for myself. It really is a wonderful way to connect with other Black Pagans across the US, I even managed to make a good friend myself who I visited on my last trip to Philly! Really nice spot and I very much recommend it!

Avalon Moon
One of the first sites with Pagan goods online I have ever come across. I remember being in high school consistently leafing through their staple-joined catalog at the end of class, looking at all the lovely stuff they had. I believe I bought a ring from them with the little bit of money I had and I still have it, the lovely ring. I also remembered when they didn’t have a store but now they do in Delhi, NY! Their selection is amazing! Amazing books, products and simply a one-stop shop for all your Pagan needs! And best of all? Free shipping on orders over $19. Can’t beat that!

The Celtic Connection
Ah, good old wicca.com. Very good site detailing Paganism and a decent jump off point for anyone new to the path or pretty curious about it.

Gryphon Moon
I loooooove this site ever since I stumbled upon it years ago! It’s entertaining (I love the freebies and the buttons section), has beautiful products such as the jewelry, everything is simply lovely. The site is very well done, I highly recommend going there and checking it out!

Witch Vox
This is pretty much the Witches’ Yellowbook, you can find just about anyone there. It’s a useful directory to find other Pagans and Witches in your area, functions and read essays from fellow Wiccans, Witches and Pagans all around the world!

Mystic Wicks
This is the first message board I ever was on for Paganism. I honestly have forgotten how I found it but I’m glad I did. Connect with other Pagans, participate in free online classes, be happy and merry! It’s a great place to hone your knowledge, make friends and learn from others.

Resources

These are resources that I use when I need something. Divination, charts, dreams whatever I need.

Alabe
I trust this site for the current astrological conditions and to draft natal charts with. I have always used alabe to draft and interpret natal charts with. I think I have recommended them before in a previous Black Witch post, “Baby, the Stars Shine Bright”. The natal chart casting is free but take a gander at their software if you choose to get serious, they have some amazing stuff!

The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams (Theresa Chang)
As a dream interpreter, I need a book with as far of a stretch as possible. I have a few dream books but this one I would really recommend because of the diverse and detailed entries.

The Crystal Bible (Judy Hall)
See a stone but don’t know what it is? This book is for you! Flip through thousands of countless crystals, their backgrounds, densities, various properties (including metaphysical) and how to’s, simply amazing. Wanna know the difference between a lodestone and a hematite and ever wondered what a Herkimer diamond looks like and how it got its name? This books is a wonderful resource, especially if you work with stones often. Even if you don’t, stones represent Earth so it’s best to have a book like this tucked away for just in case.

The Palmistry Bible (Jane Struthers)
This little, thick book is an amazing source for palmistry as it goes over every line in the hand, rings, fingers, fingerprint and very in-depth!

The Art of Hand Reading (Lori Reid)
Wonderful suppliment for The Palmistry Bible but great on its own as well, this book is taller and skinner but discusses the history of palmisty, how it is used and perceived around the world throughout time and the hand gestures that are made in different societies such as the peace sign and the handshake.

What is Paganism page
This I found after some long and hard searching for a good webpage or website to explain Paganism without the author sounding crazy or crazy high and this page is it. It’s now a staple on my Black Witch external site under “Links of Interest” on the right hand side, it’s so on point.

That’s all for The Arts: Samhain Edition this year! I couldn’t put everything down or this would be nothing but a long list! But never fear, The Arts: Samhain Edition will come every year with new books, sites and resources for you to use. Have something to suggest? Speak up! I found African American Wiccans through the recommendation of a reader, certainly there must be more out there I haven’t found. You know how to send ‘em to me, just comment, email or tweet.

Ask Black Witch



I was wondering what you think about numerology? How does it, if at all, relate to Paganism? Witchcraft?

– Djay

Numerology is actually a form of divination so it relates heavily to Paganism and witchcraft as divination tends to be pretty important. I don’t practice it myself but I know those who do and it definitely does relate. It’s also another form of divination that gets misused often and due to that it reaps a pretty bad rap, just like astrology. Perfectly acceptable form of divination that can definitely work your brain if you have a thing for numbers though.

Over the past couple of months or so I have been studying paganism, I was curious what lured you towards it. Also at the time did you have anyone else to share your beliefs?

– Rashawnda

What lured me to Paganism? Hm, kinda a good question and one I haven’t been asked in a while. I’ve always kind of had a hidden lure to Paganism ever since I was a kid. Heck, I remember when I was young and playing with long fake nails and funky nail polish I would always say to myself, “I wanna have these nails when I become a witch!” Ah, funny how things manifest (except for the fake nails, I dropped those after preteens because they simply destroyed my real nails and I lost interest) but I wasn’t always “Yea yea, Paganism!” I still had my reservations about the religion because I was raised hearing the same thing about Witches and Pagans but I read Where to Park Your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy, it looked like a harmless book and I’m glad I did for it opened my mind and, well, shown me a path I would soon take as my own.

Did I have anyone to share my beliefs with? Well that all depends on the age group. For the older crowd, I did have people to share my newfound faith with and even receive guidance at a local metaphysical shop. They’re not there anymore but good news, I’m currently looking for them and hopefully I’ll find them, especially the one I consider practically my mentor and second mom, Ms. Donna. As for the younger crowd, ehhhhhhh…not so much. I had one or two close Pagan friends that were my age but any others that were my age and Pagan, I seem to always fall out of touch with them. Though I had a couple close Pagan friends, I couldn’t always be around them so I kept to myself often and hung out at the metaphysical shop. When I did talk about my faith to others my age, I wasn’t always given the warmest receptions around. One of them I still keep in touch with thankfully but otherwise, since I wasn’t (and still am not kinda) the social type, I just stayed to myself and with my books when around my own peers. When I couldn’t be at the metaphysical shops, I hung out on online communities such as Mystic Wicks and Witch Vox and made friends through that. (Be careful when making friends online if you’re a teen in the Pagan circles, there are some pretty creepy people out there.)

What do you think about this article about the Air Force being more open to pagans in the battlefield?

– Mat

Well, I must firstly say that my personal political feelings aside, I am very proud to hear of someone serving in the military and doing their duty. From the title of the piece “Air Force Academy Now Welcomes Spell-Casters,” I can kinda tell it’s gonna be a piece that’s going to be a bit misleading and carry a tinge of sensationalism since they are putting a Harry Potter/”aren’t these people crazy?” twist to their words. Instead of calling us “spell-casters” and giving the image that we fight wars on Firebolt 3000’s broomsticks and can make the Taliban disappear with the flick of a wand, they could have simply called us by our proper names: Pagans and Wiccans or better yet, Witches – especially since no one obviously dropped the writer a memo that not all Pagans and Wiccans participate in spell casting.

Although I feel that the article could have been held to a higher standard of journalism, I do like this part: “…keep in mind that magic doesn’t necessarily mean miracles…. Say you have cancer, and someone does a healing spell for you. It doesn’t mean the cancer disappears overnight. It could mean your doctor thinks up a different treatment.”’ Sound like someone knows what they’re talking about, which is a step in the right direction for the military to understand religious tolerance. I am happy that the military is growing more open to Pagans but I am cautious all the same. As I see the military (and a lot of American homestead policy), if you’re not Christian or living by a Christian standard, you’re tipping on a nasty tightrope. I don’t think that Christian/Pagan relations of the military will automatically be smooth – something clearly shown by the wooden cross planted in the middle of dedicated sacred space and by the journalistic piece itself – but it is nice to see the military is trying to do something rather than brushing the problem under the rug. I feel that if the American military is supposed to defend the American people, they should do so without discrimination of race, religion, orientation and/or gender because we the American people are not of one sole race, religion, orientation or gender and our military ought to reflect that.

That’s all the Ask Black Witch & The Arts for this month! If you wanna send me a question, you can email (thisblackwitch@hotmail.com), tweet me on Twitter, comment below or best of all, use the Ask Black Witch form! Remember, should you email me, please put “Ask Black Witch” or something along those lines in the subject line so I won’t regard it as spam and delete.

All the winners of Samhain Pickers have been picked and read for! I hope you like your readings and there are any errors, lemme know and we’ll get ‘em fix tout suite! Thank you everyone for making this giveaway such a success! I hope to do more giveaway and contests in the future! Samhain Pickers will be yearly so if you didn’t enter or didn’t win, there’s next year!

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