Daughter of Eve Q&A: Black Witch

Name:

My name’s Olivia, but I prefer to go under the name Black Witch; it just sounds ever so official, ha!

Location:

Baltimore, MD

Website:

http://thisblackwitch.wordpress.com

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 nouvellenoirgoddess@gmail.com if you’d like to be featured in DOE Q&A.

 

About nouvellenoirgoddess
  • Walkinginlove1

    I don’t see a difference between pagan and black pagan.  I don’t understand why it has to be made separate.  Spirituality shouldn’t be segregated.

    • Nouvellenoirgoddess

      Greetings, Walking In Love! It’s wonderful that you don’t see a difference between being a Pagan, and being a black Pagan. The key word is BEING within the scope of society, a path, and an ethnic community and/or group. If you’re an African-American residing in a predominately black community, most likely you’ve experienced discrimination due to your path. Yet, I have a feeling you don’t reside in a predominately African-American community and being a black pagan within the community. Especially being a black pagan who doesn’t follow an African-Traditionalist Path (for it does receive a “free pass” by some but not many).

      As for being black pagan within the scope of the pagan community; pending on your location and path you may have experienced discrimination within the scope of paganism. Prime example is when the comic book turned movie Thor came out many people opposed an African-American playing Thor. Some of the Norse path followers even made racist statements on comment boards. It does hurt. That is similar when I hear prejudicial comments from African-Americans who are upset that Angelina Jolie is playing Cleopatra in an upcoming movie due to her skin being white. Which I had to educate some folks that Cleopatra the 7th came from Greek origins (not the typical “African”origins). If we do not address the racial discrimination and pretend it doesn’t exist will be doing a disservice to Paganism as a whole. I have an African-American friend who writes and/created an all black magazine for Vegans, Vegetarian, and healthy eating, exercise lifestyle. So many African-Americans believe that being a Vegan is not what blacks do, sadly. So many African-Americans who are Vegans, Vegetarians, and ect were revealed for now they have a magazine that addresses their lifestyle. They don’t feel as much alone. You may never understand it; Yet, I ask of you to respect it. Respect those who feel like they are the minority within the minorities. Again, I’m glad you don’t see any separation—yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. Brightest Blessings!Nouvelle Noir Goddess

    • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

      I don’t think talking about differences has to be a negative. We can celebrate the rich diversity of our diverging experiences without advocating segregation. Talking about these issues actually encourages people to come together, rather than driving them apart. Or so it seems to me.

    • http://twitter.com/thisblackwitch Black Witch

      Hi hi, the main difference between a Pagan and a Black Pagan is that a Pagan can be of any race and a Black Pagan is a Pagan that is of the African Diasporic descent (African-American, Brit-Caribbean, etc etc). There isn’t any separation made (boy, do I love those arguments) but more of a safe space for Blacks who are Pagan to talk and read about a culture that more reflects them than what they’ll ever find in average media, Pagan or not. Spirituality shouldn’t be segregated but it is, whether you like it or not. Ever notice how people point out Black Christian Spirituality and look at it as its own being? Not to mention mocked as if a lesser form of Christian faith? No matter what, religion and spirituality will always be affected by race due to the culture each race has that is unique to them and the histories they have. That’s why Black Christianity and White Christianity are two different animals. Even Asian Christianity and Latino Christianity are different from each other and what I just mentioned.

      For example, in White culture, because there’s a broader spectrum of “acceptance” in the mainstream, it’s more okay to out yourself as Pagan than it would in Black, Asian or even Latino culture because all things considered, the most the White Pagan has to worry about is religious acceptance. The other minorities have to worry about religious acceptance too – as well as interracial acceptance (being part of the same religion/spirituality doesn’t promise less of a chance of running into a bigoted wackjob, ask any minority), acceptance within the own race (being a different religion can be a big threat to racial identity), and how people will treat them now.

      Long story short, we can’t shove everyone together and be one big, happy, Pagan family because that’s simply not how the real world works. I’m glad for my White Pagan friends to have me around but seriously, as much as I love them, I want to be around my own culture too and in a place or manner where I know it’s not going to get watered down/whitewashed/tokenized/minimalized/parodied/etc. Yes, it’s hard to see from the White perspective and does look pretty separatist but it’s not. The same way safe spaces for LGBT are not separatists from straight kids and women groups aren’t separatists from men. It’s people getting together under their own culture and practicing their faith under that. If that is bothersome, deal. Sorry for being blunt at the end but there’s no super nice way to put it – besides the long wall o’ text I just wrote. 

  • Walkinginlove1

    I don’t see a difference between pagan and black pagan.  I don’t understand why it has to be made separate.  Spirituality shouldn’t be segregated.

    • Nouvellenoirgoddess

      Greetings, Walking In Love! It’s wonderful that you don’t see a difference between being a Pagan, and being a black Pagan. The key word is BEING within the scope of society, a path, and an ethnic community and/or group. If you’re an African-American residing in a predominately black community, most likely you’ve experienced discrimination due to your path. Yet, I have a feeling you don’t reside in a predominately African-American community and being a black pagan within the community. Especially being a black pagan who doesn’t follow an African-Traditionalist Path (for it does receive a “free pass” by some but not many).

      As for being black pagan within the scope of the pagan community; pending on your location and path you may have experienced discrimination within the scope of paganism. Prime example is when the comic book turned movie Thor came out many people opposed an African-American playing Thor. Some of the Norse path followers even made racist statements on comment boards. It does hurt. That is similar when I hear prejudicial comments from African-Americans who are upset that Angelina Jolie is playing Cleopatra in an upcoming movie due to her skin being white. Which I had to educate some folks that Cleopatra the 7th came from Greek origins (not the typical “African”origins). If we do not address the racial discrimination and pretend it doesn’t exist will be doing a disservice to Paganism as a whole. I have an African-American friend who writes and/created an all black magazine for Vegans, Vegetarian, and healthy eating, exercise lifestyle. So many African-Americans believe that being a Vegan is not what blacks do, sadly. So many African-Americans who are Vegans, Vegetarians, and ect were revealed for now they have a magazine that addresses their lifestyle. They don’t feel as much alone. You may never understand it; Yet, I ask of you to respect it. Respect those who feel like they are the minority within the minorities. Again, I’m glad you don’t see any separation—yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. Brightest Blessings!Nouvelle Noir Goddess

    • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

      I don’t think talking about differences has to be a negative. We can celebrate the rich diversity of our diverging experiences without advocating segregation. Talking about these issues actually encourages people to come together, rather than driving them apart. Or so it seems to me.

    • http://twitter.com/thisblackwitch Black Witch

      Hi hi, the main difference between a Pagan and a Black Pagan is that a Pagan can be of any race and a Black Pagan is a Pagan that is of the African Diasporic descent (African-American, Brit-Caribbean, etc etc). There isn’t any separation made (boy, do I love those arguments) but more of a safe space for Blacks who are Pagan to talk and read about a culture that more reflects them than what they’ll ever find in average media, Pagan or not. Spirituality shouldn’t be segregated but it is, whether you like it or not. Ever notice how people point out Black Christian Spirituality and look at it as its own being? Not to mention mocked as if a lesser form of Christian faith? No matter what, religion and spirituality will always be affected by race due to the culture each race has that is unique to them and the histories they have. That’s why Black Christianity and White Christianity are two different animals. Even Asian Christianity and Latino Christianity are different from each other and what I just mentioned.

      For example, in White culture, because there’s a broader spectrum of “acceptance” in the mainstream, it’s more okay to out yourself as Pagan than it would in Black, Asian or even Latino culture because all things considered, the most the White Pagan has to worry about is religious acceptance. The other minorities have to worry about religious acceptance too – as well as interracial acceptance (being part of the same religion/spirituality doesn’t promise less of a chance of running into a bigoted wackjob, ask any minority), acceptance within the own race (being a different religion can be a big threat to racial identity), and how people will treat them now.

      Long story short, we can’t shove everyone together and be one big, happy, Pagan family because that’s simply not how the real world works. I’m glad for my White Pagan friends to have me around but seriously, as much as I love them, I want to be around my own culture too and in a place or manner where I know it’s not going to get watered down/whitewashed/tokenized/minimalized/parodied/etc. Yes, it’s hard to see from the White perspective and does look pretty separatist but it’s not. The same way safe spaces for LGBT are not separatists from straight kids and women groups aren’t separatists from men. It’s people getting together under their own culture and practicing their faith under that. If that is bothersome, deal. Sorry for being blunt at the end but there’s no super nice way to put it – besides the long wall o’ text I just wrote. 

  • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

    It’s great to see this cross-pollination between two bloggers I follow. One quibble I’d like to make, I think an atheistic Paganism is possible. There are atheistic variants of most (if not all) religions, and Paganism is no exception. Thanks for sharing this interview.

    • Anonymous
      • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

        Yes. Big fan.

    • http://thisblackwitch.wordpress.com Black Witch

      Y’know, that did dawn upon me afterwards. It slipped my mind because I don’t often see it and usually with Paganism there’s some sort of metaphysical acknowledgement besides, “I like those flowers, they are pretty” but I’ll definitely mull over it. 

      • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

        Some folks would of course shy away from the “atheist” label which is so negative in so many circles.  But I think there are pagans who have little or no reference to gods and goddesses in their practice and thought. They might simply worship nature or revere the Earth. Then there are also those who might think about gods and goddesses a lot, but as metaphors or archetypes.

        • Anonymous

          More along the lines of pantheism. I’m one of those, if I had to put a label to it.

        • http://thisblackwitch.wordpress.com Black Witch

          See, that sounds legit to me. Thank you for outlining it.

  • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

    It’s great to see this cross-pollination between two bloggers I follow. One quibble I’d like to make, I think an atheistic Paganism is possible. There are atheistic variants of most (if not all) religions, and Paganism is no exception. Thanks for sharing this interview.

    • Anonymous
      • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

        Yes. Big fan.

    • http://thisblackwitch.wordpress.com Black Witch

      Y’know, that did dawn upon me afterwards. It slipped my mind because I don’t often see it and usually with Paganism there’s some sort of metaphysical acknowledgement besides, “I like those flowers, they are pretty” but I’ll definitely mull over it. 

      • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

        Some folks would of course shy away from the “atheist” label which is so negative in so many circles.  But I think there are pagans who have little or no reference to gods and goddesses in their practice and thought. They might simply worship nature or revere the Earth. Then there are also those who might think about gods and goddesses a lot, but as metaphors or archetypes.

        • Anonymous

          More along the lines of pantheism. I’m one of those, if I had to put a label to it.

        • http://thisblackwitch.wordpress.com Black Witch

          See, that sounds legit to me. Thank you for outlining it.

  • Dion

    Black Witch, how much history of Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism have you studied?  I mean if you studied basic Anthropology there is much evidence pointing that all of mankind came from the African continent.  Are you suggesting that we all are Black, or are you separating yourself based on the color of your skin?  Because there are many other dark colored people who lived in lots of other places around the world, places like India for example…  

    Also I’m unsure if you know what Paganism really means.  Studying the history of language and culture, Paganism (in a historical perspective) refers to the tribal and ancient religions of Europe, hence all the white people.  Pagan isn’t anything that isn’t one of the Abrahamic religions, because Hinduism isn’t Pagan, neither is Shintoism, or Buddhism, or Taoism, or Native American traditions, or Voodou/Hoodou… and I know that if you asked any of those other religions they would tell you that they are not Pagan.  

    Now, I’m not suggesting that Paganism is only for people with light skin color.  Most Pagans and Wiccans, for a lack of a better term, believe in reincarnation and as more and more people are spreading their genes across the globe many people from many backgrounds feel the call of the Ancient European traditions.  Whether a call from study or from past lives modern Pagans are not stickily European, but that is its origin and theme.  

    African tribal traditions are not Pagan either.  They have their own names and are very different in a lot of ways to the European tribal traditions.  There is a subtle difference between being spiritual and being religious.  And reading your words it really sounds like you do not understand this difference.  Religion is a ritual that is done over and over and over again for it’s spiritual meaning and value in the lives of its practitioners.  Spirituality is personal, away from religion and has its place in our lives as well. It often times brings us to a religion (if we feel that we must have it) or can connect us with what we find meaningful in our lives.  I mention this because how you describe Paganism in your interview. It really sounds like you being spiritual.  How is calling Christian Deities, Pagan (pre-Christian Europe?)  

    Additionally, for the record, Pagan does not mean Witch.  Wicca means Witch.  The Pagan people of Europe were not all Priests and Priestesses of the old religion.  They were the farmers, the candle stick makers, the herders, the people who followed the traditions of Fertility to keep their crops growing, to keep life growing and to stay alive.  

    It is my humble advise that before dedicating a “Zazzle Shope” for your own benefit that you actually study the subject you are so vocal about.  And I would also encourage you to be active in your Pagan community.  If you want to stand up and be a leader in community then you can’t stay hidden the safety of the solitude due of preconceived notions of standing out because of your skin color.  Do you honestly think that open minded Pagan and Wiccan people alike would judge you based on the color of your skin? 

    I would also advise to be careful with your words.  What might sound good in the heat of the moment may come to haunt you later.  Calling people “mayonnaise” colored may sound edgy but it also makes it very difficult to take your other words seriously.  

    • Anonymous

      Hi Dion, actually it is also the DNA and archeological records that show the African origins of the human species. Hence the name of this blog, Daughters of Eve. A good book which traces the history of the human DNA record is the Journey of Man by geneticist Spencer Wells.

      Secondly, while the English word “pagan” has Latin roots, it  has various shades of meaning that go beyond those roots. In the narrowest sense, “pagan” means to many the “pre-Christian religions of Europe,” but if you look at Biblical and Church history you will also see the word has been liberally applied to any religion that was non-Abrahamic, including those of the Middle East and North Africa. Later on, Christians used the word to describe any indigenous culture they encountered which was polytheistic. 

      You see the word “heathen” applied in the same way. “Heathen” today has been claimed by folks of the Northern traditions, but in the past this word was used by Christians to describe the non-Christian brown and black people they encountered during the ages of exploration and colonialism. The African people captured and sold as slaves were called heathens. So words evolve over time, just as religions do. 

      Wicca, for example, started out in England during the mid-20th century and reflected the interests of a small group of British occult practitioners. It is now spreading across the globe and as it does, it takes on the flavors of the many people who adopt it. Some of whom are brown and black. So it is valid today to speak of a “black paganism,” for example. 

      Along those lines, not everyone’s spirituality fits into a neat, traditional category. While it’s true that folks who practice Yoruba, do not self-identify as pagan per se, there are many black people who form their own spiritual hybrids of say, a little of ATR, a little of Christianity, a little of Wicca or what have you and craft for themselves a practice that works for them. Sometimes these people label themselves pagan, sometimes they don’t. Some eschew labels all together.

    • Nouvellenoirgoddess

      Greetings, Dion! This is Nouvelle Noir Goddess! I know your
      question is directed to Black Witch. Yet, I felt compelled to “answer” a
      question/statement you made. I’m only speaking of myself and of my experience.
      I don’t speak for anyone else. Within the Vodou community many of us don’t
      agree on many things (like any other belief and lack thereof). For instance;

       

      Many
      Vodou practitioners don’t agree on the terms of monotheism or polytheism.
      Do to the fact Bon Dieu (God, literally translated to “Good God”) is
      present; yet for some either remote from human affairs or active (again,
      many have different opinions on Bon Dieu’s “activity with us”). The lwas (Creole)
      or loas (French) are seen as intermediaries (similar to Catholic Saints
      and/or angels) by many. For others they’re seen as Gods and Goddesses
      within their own right not intermediaries. Therefore, some people say
      Vodou is monotheistic and others say Vodou is polytheistic due. Personally
      for me, Vodou is seen by ME, for I can speak upon me, as polytheistic. Bon
      Dieu is seen by me as remote (I rarely call upon Bon Dieu).

       

      Many
      Vodou practitioners don’t agree upon identification of Vodou as a whole in
      regards to others. Some Vodou practitioners would say they’re Christians
      (due to the blend and many still go to church, especially Catholic Church.
      Not all are Catholics but for the most part). Some straight up say they
      are Vodou practitioners. Then there are some who say they’re Pagans. Like
      myself. Why do I refer myself as Pagan? For I also blend other deities
      outside of Vodou. Vodou to me is a WAY OF LIFE. Not a religion. Like my
      friend R.A. Waldon stated, the one I interviewed first, “We eat, sleep,
      drink, walk, breathe…..ect” Vodou. This brings me to…

       

      Some
      of us don’t even see Vodou as a religion. It’s away of life. While others
      see it as a religion. Again, hence why some people will say, “I’m
      Christian” Yet, when others see that there is Vodou elements around their
      home and rituals— its’ confusing and some would even think that the person
      who identify themselves as Christians were lying—they’re not. For Vodou to
      them is a way life. There is no thought-for it’s buried into your DNA/ on
      automatic pilot, shall I say. Yes, I do feel that we need to be recognized
      as a religion so we can have the same rights protected by law (due to
      discrimination) for the “layman” Yet, really, for me—it’s a way of life.
       

       

      As Black
      Pagan, eloquently placed it. Words evolved and some people claim words
      while others don’t. For instance the word “witch” in Niger is seen as “negative”
      Yet, in Benin for some people it’s not. In South Africa there is a black
      Wiccan parliament “member” representative of his district who does identify
      himself as Wiccan and a witch. It’s not as taboo compared to like Ghana.
      Reclaiming a word is everywhere. I’m a mambo but when I speak to others I
      may say, “I’m a high priestess” or “I’m a witch” Especially those who are
      unfamiliar with the “mambo” terminology.

       

      What I love about Vodou, especially within Haiti—despite what
      we call ourselves—it doesn’t matter. We understand—as long as we have each
      others “back” we’re cool. We don’t debate on each others personal
      identification. There is much “stressing” matters that needs to be discuss;
      keeping our culture, keeping our way of life (religion), uplifting our country
      and our people (as in Haitians), and the likes. Sitting around bricking about
      what we call each other is wasting time that needs to be spent on other matters
      that is very much dire.

       

       

    • Black Witch

      I don’t really have to say much because Nouvelle Noir and Black Pagan pretty much said it for me. Tho, I must say, “African tribal traditions are not Pagan either.” Uh-huuuuuh. I wonder what your definition on Paganism is. And you must have never met a Pagan Christian (or a Christian Pagan) nor a Christian Occultist. And you must not be very familiar with religious backgrounds – well, that’s a little clear already. And Wicca means Witch? It has various definitions and not every Wiccan is a Witch. I think I’m pretty well-read up on the basics of Paganism including the words meant to describe it, which is more than what I can see in your comment. Pagan doesn’t promise to mean Witch but can refer to it and Wicca doesn’t mean Witch exactly as it can be taken from “wician”,”wica” or “wic-”. Pagan can be an umbrella term, y’know. And yeah, I am helping out in the community, not simply hiding behind a screen because there’s not much good in that. I don’t bring those up in the column because that’s not the focal point of the column and more personal life. Besides, I have a feeling you’d be fussy about what I say either way. 

      Ah that Zazzle shop, I actually was going to revamp it to make it something better (and less Zazzle), the site does need funds to survive. But again, you’d prolly fuss nonetheless even if the page was top notch so I’m sure it’s no real concern to you.I am careful enough with my words but if you think I’m going to PC myself, it’s not very likely because I disagree greatly with that concept for I find it to be a concept that hurts way more than help. The reference to mayo is a metaphor, not an attempt to be edgy. I could have said, “White as a cloud” but that’s practically saying the same thing, just using a simile. I say that I am careful enough that if I do say something off the wall, I can at least own up to it, regardless whether I feel the same or not about it in the future. So I still stand by the same notion I said above but if it does bother you that greatly, here is the non-metaphoric version: “The face of Paganism is far too White, there needs to be more expansion to best reflect the practitioners.”

  • Dion

    Black Witch, how much history of Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism have you studied?  I mean if you studied basic Anthropology there is much evidence pointing that all of mankind came from the African continent.  Are you suggesting that we all are Black, or are you separating yourself based on the color of your skin?  Because there are many other dark colored people who lived in lots of other places around the world, places like India for example…  

    Also I’m unsure if you know what Paganism really means.  Studying the history of language and culture, Paganism (in a historical perspective) refers to the tribal and ancient religions of Europe, hence all the white people.  Pagan isn’t anything that isn’t one of the Abrahamic religions, because Hinduism isn’t Pagan, neither is Shintoism, or Buddhism, or Taoism, or Native American traditions, or Voodou/Hoodou… and I know that if you asked any of those other religions they would tell you that they are not Pagan.  

    Now, I’m not suggesting that Paganism is only for people with light skin color.  Most Pagans and Wiccans, for a lack of a better term, believe in reincarnation and as more and more people are spreading their genes across the globe many people from many backgrounds feel the call of the Ancient European traditions.  Whether a call from study or from past lives modern Pagans are not stickily European, but that is its origin and theme.  

    African tribal traditions are not Pagan either.  They have their own names and are very different in a lot of ways to the European tribal traditions.  There is a subtle difference between being spiritual and being religious.  And reading your words it really sounds like you do not understand this difference.  Religion is a ritual that is done over and over and over again for it’s spiritual meaning and value in the lives of its practitioners.  Spirituality is personal, away from religion and has its place in our lives as well. It often times brings us to a religion (if we feel that we must have it) or can connect us with what we find meaningful in our lives.  I mention this because how you describe Paganism in your interview. It really sounds like you being spiritual.  How is calling Christian Deities, Pagan (pre-Christian Europe?)  

    Additionally, for the record, Pagan does not mean Witch.  Wicca means Witch.  The Pagan people of Europe were not all Priests and Priestesses of the old religion.  They were the farmers, the candle stick makers, the herders, the people who followed the traditions of Fertility to keep their crops growing, to keep life growing and to stay alive.  

    It is my humble advise that before dedicating a “Zazzle Shope” for your own benefit that you actually study the subject you are so vocal about.  And I would also encourage you to be active in your Pagan community.  If you want to stand up and be a leader in community then you can’t stay hidden the safety of the solitude due of preconceived notions of standing out because of your skin color.  Do you honestly think that open minded Pagan and Wiccan people alike would judge you based on the color of your skin? 

    I would also advise to be careful with your words.  What might sound good in the heat of the moment may come to haunt you later.  Calling people “mayonnaise” colored may sound edgy but it also makes it very difficult to take your other words seriously.  

    • Anonymous

      Hi Dion, actually it is also the DNA and archeological records that show the African origins of the human species. Hence the name of this blog, Daughters of Eve. A good book which traces the history of the human DNA record is the Journey of Man by geneticist Spencer Wells.

      Secondly, while the English word “pagan” has Latin roots, it  has various shades of meaning that go beyond those roots. In the narrowest sense, “pagan” means to many the “pre-Christian religions of Europe,” but if you look at Biblical and Church history you will also see the word has been liberally applied to any religion that was non-Abrahamic, including those of the Middle East and North Africa. Later on, Christians used the word to describe any indigenous culture they encountered which was polytheistic. 

      You see the word “heathen” applied in the same way. “Heathen” today has been claimed by folks of the Northern traditions, but in the past this word was used by Christians to describe the non-Christian brown and black people they encountered during the ages of exploration and colonialism. The African people captured and sold as slaves were called heathens. So words evolve over time, just as religions do. 

      Wicca, for example, started out in England during the mid-20th century and reflected the interests of a small group of British occult practitioners. It is now spreading across the globe and as it does, it takes on the flavors of the many people who adopt it. Some of whom are brown and black. So it is valid today to speak of a “black paganism,” for example. 

      Along those lines, not everyone’s spirituality fits into a neat, traditional category. While it’s true that folks who practice Yoruba, do not self-identify as pagan per se, there are many black people who form their own spiritual hybrids of say, a little of ATR, a little of Christianity, a little of Wicca or what have you and craft for themselves a practice that works for them. Sometimes these people label themselves pagan, sometimes they don’t. Some eschew labels all together.

    • Nouvellenoirgoddess

      Greetings, Dion! This is Nouvelle Noir Goddess! I know your
      question is directed to Black Witch. Yet, I felt compelled to “answer” a
      question/statement you made. I’m only speaking of myself and of my experience.
      I don’t speak for anyone else. Within the Vodou community many of us don’t
      agree on many things (like any other belief and lack thereof). For instance;

       

      Many
      Vodou practitioners don’t agree on the terms of monotheism or polytheism.
      Do to the fact Bon Dieu (God, literally translated to “Good God”) is
      present; yet for some either remote from human affairs or active (again,
      many have different opinions on Bon Dieu’s “activity with us”). The lwas (Creole)
      or loas (French) are seen as intermediaries (similar to Catholic Saints
      and/or angels) by many. For others they’re seen as Gods and Goddesses
      within their own right not intermediaries. Therefore, some people say
      Vodou is monotheistic and others say Vodou is polytheistic due. Personally
      for me, Vodou is seen by ME, for I can speak upon me, as polytheistic. Bon
      Dieu is seen by me as remote (I rarely call upon Bon Dieu).

       

      Many
      Vodou practitioners don’t agree upon identification of Vodou as a whole in
      regards to others. Some Vodou practitioners would say they’re Christians
      (due to the blend and many still go to church, especially Catholic Church.
      Not all are Catholics but for the most part). Some straight up say they
      are Vodou practitioners. Then there are some who say they’re Pagans. Like
      myself. Why do I refer myself as Pagan? For I also blend other deities
      outside of Vodou. Vodou to me is a WAY OF LIFE. Not a religion. Like my
      friend R.A. Waldon stated, the one I interviewed first, “We eat, sleep,
      drink, walk, breathe…..ect” Vodou. This brings me to…

       

      Some
      of us don’t even see Vodou as a religion. It’s away of life. While others
      see it as a religion. Again, hence why some people will say, “I’m
      Christian” Yet, when others see that there is Vodou elements around their
      home and rituals— its’ confusing and some would even think that the person
      who identify themselves as Christians were lying—they’re not. For Vodou to
      them is a way life. There is no thought-for it’s buried into your DNA/ on
      automatic pilot, shall I say. Yes, I do feel that we need to be recognized
      as a religion so we can have the same rights protected by law (due to
      discrimination) for the “layman” Yet, really, for me—it’s a way of life.
       

       

      As Black
      Pagan, eloquently placed it. Words evolved and some people claim words
      while others don’t. For instance the word “witch” in Niger is seen as “negative”
      Yet, in Benin for some people it’s not. In South Africa there is a black
      Wiccan parliament “member” representative of his district who does identify
      himself as Wiccan and a witch. It’s not as taboo compared to like Ghana.
      Reclaiming a word is everywhere. I’m a mambo but when I speak to others I
      may say, “I’m a high priestess” or “I’m a witch” Especially those who are
      unfamiliar with the “mambo” terminology.

       

      What I love about Vodou, especially within Haiti—despite what
      we call ourselves—it doesn’t matter. We understand—as long as we have each
      others “back” we’re cool. We don’t debate on each others personal
      identification. There is much “stressing” matters that needs to be discuss;
      keeping our culture, keeping our way of life (religion), uplifting our country
      and our people (as in Haitians), and the likes. Sitting around bricking about
      what we call each other is wasting time that needs to be spent on other matters
      that is very much dire.

       

       

    • Black Witch

      I don’t really have to say much because Nouvelle Noir and Black Pagan pretty much said it for me. Tho, I must say, “African tribal traditions are not Pagan either.” Uh-huuuuuh. I wonder what your definition on Paganism is. And you must have never met a Pagan Christian (or a Christian Pagan) nor a Christian Occultist. And you must not be very familiar with religious backgrounds – well, that’s a little clear already. And Wicca means Witch? It has various definitions and not every Wiccan is a Witch. I think I’m pretty well-read up on the basics of Paganism including the words meant to describe it, which is more than what I can see in your comment. Pagan doesn’t promise to mean Witch but can refer to it and Wicca doesn’t mean Witch exactly as it can be taken from “wician”,”wica” or “wic-”. Pagan can be an umbrella term, y’know. And yeah, I am helping out in the community, not simply hiding behind a screen because there’s not much good in that. I don’t bring those up in the column because that’s not the focal point of the column and more personal life. Besides, I have a feeling you’d be fussy about what I say either way. 

      Ah that Zazzle shop, I actually was going to revamp it to make it something better (and less Zazzle), the site does need funds to survive. But again, you’d prolly fuss nonetheless even if the page was top notch so I’m sure it’s no real concern to you.I am careful enough with my words but if you think I’m going to PC myself, it’s not very likely because I disagree greatly with that concept for I find it to be a concept that hurts way more than help. The reference to mayo is a metaphor, not an attempt to be edgy. I could have said, “White as a cloud” but that’s practically saying the same thing, just using a simile. I say that I am careful enough that if I do say something off the wall, I can at least own up to it, regardless whether I feel the same or not about it in the future. So I still stand by the same notion I said above but if it does bother you that greatly, here is the non-metaphoric version: “The face of Paganism is far too White, there needs to be more expansion to best reflect the practitioners.”

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the interview. Thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the interview. Thanks for posting.

  • BlackLotuz

    I’m so glad that I found this discussion. I consider myself a black pagan. And find that it can be a lonely experience especially looking for acceptance within the white pagan community. I feel like I have to act as if I’m willing to do anything to be a good devotee or flunky verses being my true self and being shunned because standing in my own power makes pagans of Euro decent intimidated.  Yet, at the same times so many in my own community dont get it and thing I’m acting,”white,” when pagan, Ifa, voudu, wicca, santeria, and Thelema just to name a few all have their roots in Africa. In order to reclaim what was lost and takine from my ancestors I have to study under the umbrella of paganism, hermeticsim, kemetism and more. For it is there that I find myself and my true identity. And with the hlep of Netjer/Neteru, the one and the many, I pray I am oneday able to create sacred space in the physical where we can meet on a small scale in my community and I hope others seek to do the same.
    Love and Light.
    thank you for the sacred space you have created here.

  • BlackLotuz

    I’m so glad that I found this discussion. I consider myself a black pagan. And find that it can be a lonely experience especially looking for acceptance within the white pagan community. I feel like I have to act as if I’m willing to do anything to be a good devotee or flunky verses being my true self and being shunned because standing in my own power makes pagans of Euro decent intimidated.  Yet, at the same times so many in my own community dont get it and thing I’m acting,”white,” when pagan, Ifa, voudu, wicca, santeria, and Thelema just to name a few all have their roots in Africa. In order to reclaim what was lost and takine from my ancestors I have to study under the umbrella of paganism, hermeticsim, kemetism and more. For it is there that I find myself and my true identity. And with the hlep of Netjer/Neteru, the one and the many, I pray I am oneday able to create sacred space in the physical where we can meet on a small scale in my community and I hope others seek to do the same.
    Love and Light.
    thank you for the sacred space you have created here.


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