black witch: “can you keep a secret?”

March 18, 2011

This is an old Black Witch WordPress post from December, read the new BW series post: Fandom and the Fan. As for the “Travelin Light: Lasers Giveaway”, the winner is Janae W.!  For any Witch, diviner or psychic that decides to do some social good, the ethics of confidentiality is always a big subject. Who do you tell, how much do you tell and how big of a mouth do you have are all important questions when it come to reading or performing spells for others. I can’t really talk about other Pagans because we can have such varying views but the general consensus is usually keep it personal and private unless in an emergency. I couldn’t agree more.


Black Witch: “Can You Keep A Secret?”

How a witch keeps a secret when everyone spills during readings

Words Black Witch


I have been doing divination for others since 2004, basically since I was 16. I’ve had countless requests, questions and reactions to my readings. Many were positive, some were bad, very few were wrong (I’ll talk about getting a reading wrong in future columns). I’ve helped out countless people with their lives and try to make sure they only will need me once. One reading to set them on the right track and not need coming back, I feel this should be the aim of all diviners. Often people would worry, especially when I inform them that I keep all natal chart data stored in my laptop and card spread interpretations in a handmade booklet (that Saul Williams signed, omigosh!), that their lives will be spread to unknown ears out and about. I have to consistently console many a person I’ve read for (I hate using the term “client” because I don’t treat my divination like a business…somewhat) that I don’t use their lives as my mini joke book and whatever comes up in a reading remains between us, emergencies being the only exception.

One reason I don’t talk about spreads and readings I have done in the past is, frankly, I simply don’t care enough to remember. I’ve done well over a hundred readings – I don’t even know who was the hundredth read or when it was – there’s no way that little snippet of your life story is going to intrigue me enough to tell others after my day or my job is done, they’re rather few and far in between. Have problems in your love life? You’re not the only one. Family issues? Plenty others out there just like you. Social issues? There’s a reason Facebook and Twitter are big hits. I have rarely came across readings that stood out to me so much they stick with me, there’s a reason why I keep a book full of spreads about. I won’t go, “Oh! You’re so-and-so with the boyfriend issue! How’s he doing?” if I run into that person again. If it was a short period ago I did a reading then yes, I’ll remember without much help but go a little longer than two weeks and you will have to jog my memory. The more diviners will do readings, the more they will forget them, hence why I tell plenty new diviners to carry around a booklet to write their readings in or they will forget. While it may be a blow to my querent’s ego to inform them this, it probably gives them some assurance that their business won’t be front page news somehow. If I do remember anything from readings, it’s how people have acted and reacted. I can tell you plenty of readings I’ve done for people who were eerily quiet, incredibly egotistical, unnecessarily religious (if you’re that, please let me get a taco, okonomiyaki, mochi or something first before you begin your diatribe so I’ll be well fed while you convince yourself that you’re not betraying your God’s trust and forcing me to listen to it) but I can’t for the life of me remember what their readings were. I once read for some guy that had an ego that could probably best Kanye West, I forgot what I said but he was pretty quiet and humble at the end of the reading. Otherwise, just about everyone has the same reaction, sit and listen attentively.

I’ve never casted a spell for someone. I feel that if it is your life you want change in, it has to be your energy to be put in motion, not mine. The part I rather play is fairly instrumental, I rather be the informant telling what you’ll need, what you need to do and why. (The why is always important, gives the action more meaning than just “you’re lighting a candle and talking over it, the end.”) In addition, I usually make the querent perform the spell because I have learned the hard way that if you do the dirty work for others, they’ll always keep coming back mumbling out a new request. The average person is pretty spooked out to do any form of witchcraft so refusing to do the legwork for them means that person won’t do it much.

I will advise and oversee spell construction (the what you’re supposed to do and how) but only if the querent needs a spell. Mundane options have to be sought first, spells are last resorts so when approached with a spell request, I sit the querent down and pick their brain. I’m just making sure the person has a legit reason for spell casting (i.e. really terrible run of bad luck) and not using magick as an excuse for leg work or a “get out of jail” free card. I don’t make people fall in love, I won’t kill or hex anybody and the inquirer simply can’t keep coming back to me just because I let them try one spell. I’ve only had one jinx removal request and that was an adventure and a half…and one I rather not have again. Many times people won’t get the spellwork because they simply don’t need it. Upset you lost a job and wanna get back at the boss? America is going through a sucky economy, you’re not the only one. Wanna get that cute boy’s/girl’s attention and maybe a date? Have you tried talking to them? Works fairly okay. Poor health? What did the doctor say? (And did you go to the doctor at all?) Most spell requests can be solved with mundane measures, I don’t even often cast spells myself and I’m a practicing witch.

Even when someone does manage to get their hands on some magick, it’s never much, usually. I rather suggest simple things that are easy to do like prayer or affirmations. If anything beyond that is needed, then I craft a simple, cheap, one-time use ritual designed strictly for the inquirer that takes less than an hour to do and fairly discreet. The reason is often times the person doesn’t know a single thing about magick so it wouldn’t make a bit of sense to throw complicated works into the mix where there is a higher margin of error. Everyone knows basic first aid such as putting on a bandaid but not everyone knows how to stitch shut an open wound. Same thing with magick. I don’t want to weird the person out either so I keep it simple. It’s only if I’m getting spell requests from other Witches do I make the constructions more complex because I’m aware they know what they’re doing and they’ve taken all the steps they could prior to solve the problem. Witches and normal people combined, however, I barely get five spell requests a year, even lesser become actual spell constructions – if any at all.

I keep spells and divination under wraps for several reasons. The most prominent (but seemingly least obvious for those who I have helped) reason is I simply don’t care. Everything always looks scarier when standing in the center of the storm but to me, an outsider and seasoned diviner, it’s really not that noteworthy. I recommend that perspective towards divination and spell casting as well for other diviners, psychics and Witches because it’s less burden on the heart. To overly worry and care as if you know every person personally is going to wear very quickly because people are people and people are different. Some do need saving, some have to save themselves, and some simply can’t be saved or don’t want to be saved, just flail in the water for attention. The last two are the biggest reasons to be easygoing about readings because it is not the diviner’s or witch’s job to save that person, only help them. If they wanna continue screwing up even though they know there’s a brick wall ahead, let them. If they wanna keep coming back because they know someone is paying them the slightest bit of attention to their self-made drama, don’t feed into it and remain professional. No diviner or witch has an S on their chest so they don’t have to save anyone, just guide. I have had to tell many that, I’m not here to solve their problems, just let them know what they are and the potential solutions. I only get involved further if the person is possibly suicidal or making any other terrible mistakes. There, I make sure the querent has open venues to receive help and inform loved ones if at all possible. It’s not my job to save anyone but it would be against my ethics to simply let them destroy themselves.

Another reason I keep readings under wraps is because of the stigma that divination and witchcraft still has. Tell someone you’ve seen a diviner or witch and prepare to get odd looks. Either people will think you have lost your mind, become very desperate or up to no good. Then there’s religious implications that I simply won’t go into because they’re quite complex depending on the religion and I don’t always quite understand myself. Either way, I don’t announce to a crowded room, “Hey, Mr. so-and-so! I finally did your natal chart! Did you know you have a lot of placements that spell out divorce and failed relationships? I think it might have stemmed from your dad.” Whether the person I’m reading for believes in what I’m doing or not (not like that makes the reading any more accurate or not), embarrassing information is embarrassing information. Often I am telling sensitive information and if I wouldn’t want my business out there, why would anyone else? This is why I never publicize readings I have done for others, no one needs to know but the person I am reading for.

Regardless of what method of help is being sought, it is important to keep everything confidential. How can the querent trust their reader or Witch if they’re loose at the lips? Plus it can cause very unsavory rumors anyone would like to avoid. No matter how interesting someone’s life or problem may be, it should never be the subject of idle gossip or terrible stories. Confidential mean the inquirer can have confidence in the reader or Witch involved but that means the Witch/reader has to be able to keep a secret, which won’t feel like secrets after a while.

Hey hey, everyone! Black Witch is doing a bit of traveling! I’ve gotten a bit restless so I’m heading back up to NYC on March 19th! What will I be doing? My usual, hanging out in Koreatown and visiting lolita fashion store Tokyo Rebel but I certainly don’t mind seeing the sights of NYC with readers. If you’re in NYC on that day, lemme know! Not in NYC? Stalk me on Twitter, @thisblackwitch.