black witch: important bw announcement/nice to know ya
April 1, 2011
I am very sorry to announce that this is the last Black Witch column. It’s been a wonderful run, nearly at the one year mark too. I am truly happy and enchanted by all the wonderful people that I have met and the places I’ve gone. It’s totally world changing to me, I am very happy to see how this column/blog have influenced more people than I originally thought and how widespread it became in such short time. It’s really amazing and I’m very happy to see that there is a stronger Black Pagan community (and that there’s an actual, defined Black Pagan community) than I originally thought. I’m really happy for the opportunity that Afro-Punk had given me (even when sometimes they would make me pretty fussy with the edits), the support I’ve gotten from friends and readers and all the cool stuff I got to do – I mean, it’s amazing to introduce myself as Black Witch and to see the responses or even better yet, find that I have a reader that I didn’t know of.
It has been really nice to experience all these things, even if I feel like some of the success came a little too fast at times. It’s not every day I meet Lupe Fiasco and find out he’s one of my readers or that I see inside my column’s fan page are people who are from the Divine Nine or Black Ivy League alumni in the mix of my usual readers and this is only with ten to eleven months on the column. I thought it would be years before I would experience something like that. It was already surprising when I went to the Afro Punk Festival last year and people were walking up to me, knowing who I was. I honestly thought by the time of the AP Fest, everyone would have forgotten my column because it was a month before. Instead people were happy to see me, chatted with me and said they hope I would stay as their columnist. And I did for as long as I could.
It’s not anything bad that’s making me stop. If anything, this is the smoothest run I could ever anticipate. I haven’t gotten any hate mail, even when I called out the haters (turns out they were writing to Afro-Punk so AP was getting my hate mail, I was getting fan mail) because hey, if you got something to say, whine to me, not AP. I always promise to be nice – if it’s worth it. I’ve got a multitude of readers far beyond the spectrum of Black Pagans and even when things seemed odd, I always had friends to vent to. Yeah, a dumb commenter may be made as the carp of the day in my circle, always gave me and my crew entertainment but it’s wonderful to share the nice comments and really kind readers that I’ve gotten. What’s putting the brakes on this column is that I don’t feel I could dedicate as much time to it as I would like to maintain the column as is. Between the writing, editing, responding to readers and making sure Black Witch remains as seamless as possible, it gets burdensome for a college student such as myself on the brink of graduation and starting my life.
Thank you all for your support, this has been a very happy experience of my life and I wish you all a very happy, merry April Fools.
Happy April Fools, suckas! Ah, Black Witch is still here, gonna be here and will be staying here. I quite like this spot, all decorative and my words got power and weight to them and such. A Witch can get used to this, especially this Black Witch right here. “Putting on the brakes” my rufflebutt, I’m perfectly fine. I got columns for months and months. I was going to say I was leaving due to “unfavorable pressure” but I figure I might as well be a bit honest for authenticity. Even if I tried, I couldn’t care less what people say about my column, let ‘em talk. My inbox stays silent of the wack pedigree and I barely get static so if people did dislike Black Witch, it must not that bad of a grind. Besides it’s not like they got anything better to give, not even some of their cheesy words to match their whine. Besides, the more they chat, the more name I get so it works out for me in the end. As a matter of fact, Black Witch is even turning into a yearly book titled Black Witch: Life from the Black Pagan Perspective, vol. 1. That’s right, volume 1. Not only to I plan to stay but I plan to stay for a very. Long. Time. Preorders start in June on the anniversary, June 9th.
Since Black Witch isn’t going anywhere, lemme give you this week’s column:
“Nice To Know Ya”
You know what my pet peeve is as a diviner and witch? Know-it-alls.
Not intellectuals, know-it-alls. They think they know you like the back of their hand because they saw the palm of yours. It isn’t they’re not good at it, some of them are merely overflexing a well-wrought skill, it’s just they’re so posh and pompous about it, like they don’t need to get to know you, they already have your number – but they’re total enigmas to the mortal mind. (Yeah, right.)
One thing I find rather common in my experience is that people are truly uncomfy with the prospect of the unknown. Gotta turn over every rock, put religion in a test tube and peer review the afterlife. There’s nothing wrong with seeking knowledge or having it, it’s just how you go about it. No one knows truly everything and not everyone measures on the same scale however these people like to pretend that their minds are gifts from the gods, that they have no discomfort because they know all…supposedly. To seek knowledge isn’t problematic nor is being good at reading people. The issue comes alive when the person is too reliant on anything that can be a knowledge bank and get cocky about it because they believe they no longer live with the unknown being the unknown and not only that but somehow it makes them mysterious that they can “easily” figure you out and you can’t.
Granted, as a palmist, I could steal a glance at someone’s hand and figure them all the same but here are a couple issues with that and why:
How pretentious – I know I have a tendency of hiding behind a shell of myself but to live in it? That’s never good. I’m simply introverted but that’s just overly insular. It’s okay to be reserved and to have a method of interacting with people but to hide always never benefits anyone.
People aren’t black and white – Say I scan a palm because I want a quick way to know how to interact with the person but even then I know I could be surprised. No one is a simple box to open up and examine – the human mind simply doesn’t work that way. If it did, mental disorders would be a cakewalk to handle and the field of psychology would be very pointless. Plus, it’s much less headache to let people be themselves rather than figure them out all at once.
The idea of knowing everything of everyone but to the world be an absolute mystery is, to me, a way to make up relevancy where there isn’t any and to mask insecurity. They want a noteworthy talent and to even be talked about for it. It reminds me of the “wizard” in the Wizard of Oz and The Wiz where the wannabe showstopper tries to play up who they are around people who don’t truly know them or how small and pathetic they really are, just like the big and scary wizard being only a scared and failed man poised behind a curtain. Indeed, there is comfort in knowing countless information about someone. They aren’t strangers anymore and they can’t surprise you with a hidden trait that you may not like. The person is, well, conquerable and controllable even and that’s what I think those people want: control. It provides some extra control in life where the future is certain, waste is minimalized and practically nothing is for naught again. To have a grip on thing, not a bad thing to ask for, right?
Yes and no. Is getting a better grip on life good? Sure! Or I wouldn’t do divination or spellwork, let alone support it. However taking on the severe notion that everything and everyone in life must be attached with a string is a bit concerning. Generally those who try to control others have a problem controlling themselves. I’ll glance at a palm to help me out interacting with the person but I don’t want to make it feel like I’m trying to be a puppet master and assert dominance where there isn’t any and definitely no need to. In my experience, those that want to be an occult know-it-all have some pretty disheveled lives themselves, they’ve been picked on, made fun of, hapless victims of the hands of fate or feel unnecessarily threatened somehow. They can’t have any control in themselves or it’s too hard to gain control that they try to find it by subverting it onto others. This is why they try to pretend they know everything about everyone but no one knows anything about them, it creates the illusion of superiority because there’s a serious bout of inferiority floating about in their minds somewhere. Divination and spellwork is here to help people, not pretend you’re awesome.
Usually these folks can stun the crowd and even get a few to believe them and their pseudo-intellectual ways. They carry a highfalutin air about them, that they’re smarter than the average populace and can quote a few dusty books (usually incorrectly). They dress different from the crowd, decked out in tons of silver symbolic jewelry, perhaps has a Korn or System of a Down shirt in their wardrobe, something from Hot Topic, their hair may have seen better days. Or maybe they dress like Harvard professors from the 1940s (and may even have the social views to match). They talk kinda fast and like every sentence they say is a remarkable zing, paced as if they have the mind of a sage man or thematic like they’re V from V for Vendetta, usually walking with hunched shoulders. Depending on how deep in the occult they are, they may even make reference to otherworldly beings as if they’re so tough and powerful they could sic a deity on you. Always, they make it seem that no matter how hard you try to outwit them or have a level conversation with them, they imply that any chance to compete intellect is futile for they will always come out on top. Hey, they may even brag about women and sex like a 14 year old with a flair for stuffy chatter – despite the fact that nary has a woman ever approached them and they have no idea how to talk to one without sounding stupid. These people just want to mystify you with all their personal smoke and mirrors but they’re pretty easily handled fast with some straight talk and not being afraid to say, “Oh really?” They don’t like questions, just submission. If anything, they’re flustered by non-submission, they don’t want to be seen as an equal, they want to be a superior, something to fear. Take them down a few pegs and unravel the enigma they’re trying to be and you find someone who just wants to be somebody for once.
I think that while it is fun and very good to know divination because of its usefulness to get a better grip on life but to rely on that for relevancy or control is pretty pathetic. The world is a pretty wild place filled with coincidences, happenings, surprises and weird stuff, it’s impossible to harness all of that and rather pointless to. The unknown is the unknown, so what? Not everything is meant to be discovered, examined or thoroughly understood to a fine point, including people. To study the occult, there shouldn’t be a direct aim to control it but to best understand it and work with it. Those that want to control others or to somehow have what they want to believe is an unfair advantage aren’t mysterious, they’re stereotypical. It’s clear what they want and what they lack. It’s annoying how much leverage people give them because they know a few big words in the dictionary (it’s another argument altogether of whether or not they use them correctly) and can act like a character out of an Alan Moore movie. They’re believed because they act the part, it’s a common stereotype that those involved with the metaphysics acts weird and creepy because they know something the general public don’t. These folks act pompous because they’ve stumped and amazed enough people willing to believe that stereotype and I’m stumped and amazed that people believe them.
Usually those who are good at what they do generally don’t flaunt it. There’s no need to. Why show yourself off as something big and bad to those that shouldn’t care? The best diviners I know never show it until they have to and some of the most intellectual people I know have a multiplex and full personality filled with perks, quirks, moods, strong suits and shortcomings. They believe that the proof is in the pudding, not the recipe and that’s how it should be. Know-it-alls are more like know-nothings that want to be something, intellectuals just that – intellectual.
Now I would stop the column right here but I got an interesting email from African American Wiccans talking about Black Victims in the Holocaust. It is displayed by Toyin Adepoju and written by Onookome Okome. Read it yourself:
Black German Victims in the Holocaust
So much of our history is lost to us because we often don’t write the history books, don’t film the documentaries, or don’t pass the accounts down from generation to generation.
One documentary now touring the film festival circuit, telling us to “Always Remember” is “Black Survivors of the Holocaust” (1997).
Outside the U.S., the film is entitled “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims”(Afro-Wisdom Productions). It codifies another dimension to the “Never Forget” Holocaust story-our dimension.
Did you know that in the 1920’s, there were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany? Neither did I. Here’s how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.
Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800’s in what later became Togo, Cameroon, Namibia , and Tanzania. German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the 1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.
As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland -a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations for centuries. The French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and, soon thereafter, 92% of them voted in the Nazi party.
Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these “Rhineland Bastards”. When he came to power, one of his first directive was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler’s obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further “race polluting,” as Hitler termed it.
Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler’s mandatory sterilization program, explained in the film “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” that, when he was forced to undergo sterilization as a teenager, he was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was “free to go”, so long as he agreed to have no sexual relations whatsoever with Germans.
Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut their doors to Germans, including the Black ones.
Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler’s reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows; but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first, Black second, opted to remain in Germany. Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Lut Waffe pilots!) Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom facilities or food), that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.
Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable–man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the “Final Solution.”
In every story of Black oppression, no matter how we were enslaved, shackled, or beaten, we always found a way to survive and to rescue others. As a case in point; consider Johnny Voste, a Belgian resistance fighter who was arrested in 1942 for alleged sabotage and then shipped to Dachau. One of his jobs was stacking vitamin crates. Risking his own life, he distributed hundreds of vitamins to camp detainees, which saved the lives of many who were starving, weak, and ill–conditions exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His motto was “No, you can’t have my life; I will fight for it.”
According to Essex University’s Delroy Constantine-Simms, there were Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who founded the Northwest Rann –an organization of entertainers that fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf–and who was murdered by the SS in 1933, the year that Hitler came into power.
Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some victims of the Nazi sterilization project and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still alive and telling their story in films such as “Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust”, but they must also speak out for justice, not just history.
Unlike Jews (in Israel and in Germany ), Black Germans receive no war reparations because their German citizenship was revoked (even though they were German-born). The only pension they get is from those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and continue their battle for recognition and compensation.
After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust stories, from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, and to the gas ovens in Germany. We often shy away from hearing about our historical past because so much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for rights, dignity, and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.
For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi.
Wanna stay in touch with Black Witch? Hit me up on the twitter @thisblackwitch, check out the Black Witch Fan Page, write to me (email@example.com) or fill out an Ask Black Witch submission form. All ABW questions are answered every last Friday of the month on the Black Witch WordPress.
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