My name’s Olivia, but I prefer to go under the name Black Witch; it just sounds ever so official, ha!
Social Networking Site:
@thisblackwitch on Twitter and there’s a Black Witch fan page on Facebook
How long have you been a Wiccan/Pagan? What drew you to the path?
I’m not Wiccan, but I have been Pagan for about almost 10 years now. I have always had a natural pull to Witchcraft, psionics, and magic, as well as some personal experiences that have strengthened those pulls. I was raised the same way as everyone else was, Christian and thinking that Witchcraft is evil and of the Devil, until I wanted to hear it all from the horse’s mouth and started doing research. My first and favorite book is Where to Park your Broomstick by Lauren Manoy. Love her book!
How has the path changed you? How much of you stayed the same?
It has made me happier and less conflicted in faith. I still have hard days and rough times just like anyone else but it doesn’t feel so pointless anymore. I’ve gotten more friends, done more things, and I like my life, despite the issues, way better than when I was Christian and super conflicted. I have stayed the same in personality and views – actually, some of my personal views are part of what made me leave Christianity – but I don’t feel dismal all the time because I don’t feel like a square peg in a round hole anymore. But, I have also changed a lot and definitely modified some of my views now that I have experienced more growing up.
What inspired you to create “Black Witch” blog?
The absolute and sheer lack of Black Pagan anything on the internet. I’ve looked high and low; I couldn’t find a single Black Pagan blog running. There may be, like, one post from some years ago by some random person here or there, but no actual dedicated blogs. What really moved me to make Black Witch was that there was a columnist on Afro-Punk, Twyla, who runs Dorm Room Diaries: Diary of a Femnerd and I learned that she was Pagan (it was coded by Afro-Punk in her introduction as “practices her own religion” = Pagan) but was a little disappointed and impatient that she didn’t talk about Black Pagan issues enough for me. I understood she was the feminism columnist, but I wanted Black Pagan stuff as well! So I contacted Afro-Punk, sent them a pitch, they lost it and forgot about it; I send them another pitch, they take forever with it, I made the Black Witch WordPress, and Twitter with the help of my friends and, finally, a month before the Afro-Punk Festival in July, Afro-Punk posts me up as their official columnist. So, what made Black Witch is my absolute impatience, all in all.
Name one misconception of being a black witch, pagan, Wiccan that you personally feel should be addressed? How should the black pagan community combat it?
There are lots of them. One big one, it seems, is that we don’t believe in God or we have sided with the Devil; both misconceptions that are completely moronic and total bull. Paganism is not atheistic since atheism means “lack of belief system” and it’s kind of impossible to be an atheist when you believe in multiple deities, which is polytheism and, hence, Paganism. Paganism is a polytheistic belief system, not atheist. Plus, joining another religion does not count as “siding with the Devil”; that’s a pretty myopic perspective, but one I hear so often because people believe that there is no god except for their one and only God, even though I don’t think that is true. Another one is that Black Pagans think that they’re White because, right now, the face of Paganism is pretty much the color of mayonnaise when, the reality is, indigenous/Pagan beliefs are very far and wide around the world. Plus, Christianity was forced on Blacks during slavery by White colonizers so, actually, the argument of Black Pagans thinking they’re White is pretty moot because by that extension, so are Black Christians. How to combat such annoying notions is to keep talking about it. Yes, that does mean meeting people who, by opening their mouths, they could prove Darwinism wrong and showcase natural selection in reverse and it does mean having heated debates with people who don’t know the difference between debate and yelling at someone in disagreement. But it also means that a face, a new face, is being put on a religion that seriously needs the visual and cultural overhaul. I know that I have Christian readers who actually positively comment on my blog and are happy they have someone to learn from that makes the Pagan religion look a lot less scary and something understandable, especially in cultural context. So there needs to be more blogs, twitters, Facebook pages, and things of that sort to get a foot in a door for recognition and a place at the table for acceptance.
What is your personal practice, spiritual/religious identity that you go by? Why do you choose such title?
I’m Pagan because it’s the best choice for me. Wicca is too structured and a little isolated for me, surprisingly, and with Paganism, I’m allowed the freedom to choose to work either with deities or with nature itself without the labels. I really like that. I’m a Witch because I always had a draw to it and I’m following it! So far, it hasn’t led me into a ditch, so I would like to say all is spiffy for the most part.
Tell us about your practice: Are you solitary? Do you attend group rituals? Do you belong to a group? Why do you choose such practice?
I am very solitary. Though I can be a motor mouth, I’m quite the introvert. I prefer being by myself because I can do things on my own time and there’s no other schedule to adhere to or drama to deal with. I have seen group rituals, but never participated really because I just feel weird since I’m so used to doing it all by myself. That, and I barely go to any as a whole because I feel like a token being there. I think if there was an all-Black group ritual, I might give it more thought or at least be more interactive instead of stand to the side and wonder where the food is.
What was your religious background prior to your current path?
I was originally raised non-denominational Christian.
What type of audience do you feel would benefit from your blog?
The blog’s primary audience is Black Pagans, but I try to write it so those who are not Black and/or Pagan can also read and understand because, if they understand, that means the air gets a lot more welcoming for Black Pagans. Plus, there are so many misconceptions about Paganism, metaphysics, psionics, witchcraft, and Blacks, that it’s nice to be able to have a place that talks about it with some hint of seriousness and doesn’t sound like someone wrote it while tripping on acid, an issue I found on other Pagan blogs and Black blogs.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading and please send in any questions that you may have; I love to answer them.
What deity (deities), if any, you most “work” with?
I actually like to remain general. I have worked with the Christian pantheon among others due to familiarity but, for ease of use, I use nature spirits in general, so I prefer to work with elements and elementals when I can and save deities and such for the bigger things.
Are you a pagan and/or Wiccan of color? African traditionalist, regardless of ethnicity? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be featured in DOE Q&A.