Dismantling The Widespread White Advantage in Witchcraft

Dismantling The Widespread White Advantage in Witchcraft March 27, 2019

White advantage is everywhere in modern witchcraft, from pop culture to the common Wheel of the Year. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is problematic when all this whiteness blinds us to the problems it causes for those who are from marginalized groups. However, there are ways those of us who want a more diverse witchcraft can be true allies. Diversity strengthens us personally and witchcraft as a whole. 

Look at your bookshelf and the thought leaders you follow on social media. I did just that. So much whiteness. This launched me on a quest to better understand the problems this causes and ways I can possibly help give space to those who aren’t white. I’m not putting myself on the cross here. My interest in dismantling whiteness in witchcraft is selfish. The more I learn from other groups, the more I can understand myself.

Note: This article isn’t about discrimination against witches. While this certainly is a problem, I’m not writing about it here. My choice not to focus on this is not a denial of its existence.
 “The unpleasant, unfortunate, unavoidable truth is that most modern forms of Paganism, polytheism, and occultism—and emphatically most modern American iterations of same—are, at heart, little more than watered-down Protestant Christianity with a thin coat of New Age whitewash (pun intended), concocted for the express purpose of making white people comfortable and reassuring us about our essentially libertarian individualism.” from The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Some Observations on White Fragility in Esoteric Spiritual Movements.

White supremacism is so extensive in modern paganism and witchcraft that it is breathtakingly invisible.

I shared a longer version of this article in my private group. The response to the above sentence from persons of color was that while it’s invisible to people like me, it’s the opposite to them. Those traditions who overtly practice white supremacism are only the obvious symptom of the widespread white advantage in modern witchcraft. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking it doesn’t exist and that these groups are unusual. Yes, talking about white advantage takes emotional labor. If you don’t feel like getting into it, consider how exhausted people who live with oppression every day feel.

Views of modern witchcraft are influenced by pop culture which is largely dictated by those who are the oppressors.

 
Sabrina, the good “white” witch. Papa Legba representing “black magic.” These are the images that reflect the dominant discourse about witchcraft today in pop culture. Don’t school me on the history of the meaning of white and black magic. Today, the terms “white” and “black” have certain connotations in our society. Pop culture is what draws many into our ways.
Neither are accurate. Both are appealing to some and repulsive to others. Sabrina and Papa Legba from American Horror Story. Romanticizing Papa Legba is just as problematic as being a Sabrina.

The problem of white witchcraft

I’m talking to my fellow white witches – not the color of the magick you practice – but your primary racial identification. Let’s begin by talking about that. I’ve read the comments where practitioners claim this has nothing to do with race. Give me a break. It has everything to do with race when filtered through our modern lens. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for a person of color to continually hear that the witchcraft that matches the racial color of their oppressors is the only acceptable kind. Also spare me the “color doesn’t matter” in witchcraft idea. It really does. All this whiteness isn’t good for any of us. 

Whiteness always is an advantage

If you’ve experienced personal victimization, discrimination and/or trauma because of who you are as an individual, then know that you have my support. This article isn’t about those of us with these experiences. It’s about an advantage we have because of our whiteness, no matter how poor or hurt we are. This isn’t the Oppression Olympics. Suffering is not a competition, but it is a continuum. No matter what we’ve been through, those tears of ours are still white. Crying about our own struggles when a person of color is speaking is very disrespectful.

Why is it that the loudest voices discussing cultural appropriation are always white people?

Taking up all the air in the room with their claims of injustice, speaking on behalf of groups to which they do not belong and whose lived experience they have nothing in common with. I sincerely try not to do this. I don’t always get it right. Being supportive means more than this. It requires actively dismantling the systemic white supremacism in witchcraft and society. It’s much more than articles claiming that it’s wrong for white people to practice shamanism or burn sage.

Dismantling white advantage in witchcraft

Us white witches have a unique position, being on the edge of the power structure of white supremacy we are able to reach out to the oppressed because we are closer to them, but we are not them. Yes, some of us accused of practicing witchcraft were brutalized in the past. It’s nothing compared to what marginalized witches go through each and everyday in the here and now.
 
White guilt is useless to us and harmful to those who we want to help. None of us here today created the system of oppression. We need to accept that it exists. That modern witchcraft often reinforces it. Avoidance is a luxury we white people have. I don’t want to avoid the truth of who I am anymore than I want to deny anyone else the opportunity to claim theirs.

Tips for Being A Real Ally

  1.  Shut up and really listen. I’m trying.
  2. Give credit where credit is due. If your truth includes practices from a nondominant group, honor them and acknowledge it. We all borrow from other cultures. The myth of “pure” witchcraft is xenophobic at best.
  3. Question why you are drawn to certain practices. Avoid the “wise savage” trope of white supremacism. Approach other cultures with respect. Don’t think they hold all the answers.
  4. Develop your own identity. Figuring out your truth will help you understand the importance of letting others speak theirs.
  5. Speak out. “Ally” needs to be a verb. Don’t speak on behalf of groups to which you don’t belong. Use your perspective.
  6. Be accountable for your practices. Know why you do what you do.
  7. Don’t be an isolationist. Get to know witches who are from marginalized groups. Read books.
  8. Check your privilege. Basically, asking ourselves if we are coming from a place of dominance over the individual or group with whom we are interacting. Also, if we believe that we are inherently better than another group or individual. In addition, having an attitude that we are the “chosen ones” can also be a sign of privilege. In other words, be humble.
  9. Check the privilege of the teachers and authors you admire. Do they claim that their way is the superior one? Is there diversity in their followers? Have they ever denounced a group due to reasons of identity, for example TERF witches who decry non-biological women.
  10. Don’t use your self-proclaimed ally status to glorify yourself. The irony of writing this doesn’t escape me.
  11. Do not monopolize the emotional energy when engaging in discussions about oppression. Seriously, this is a huge problem in the witch world. I know I’m guilty of doing it. Their experience is not about your pain.
  12. Engage in witchery to make yourself a better ally and to dismantle white supremacism in the witch world and society in general.
  13. Get over yourself. Don’t take it personally. Your identity is not threatened by creating space for others. I may get this tattooed on my forearm as a reminder.

 

* I am writing about witchcraft in this article. Paganism and witchcraft are often intertwined, but not always. There has been much written about the whiteness of modern paganism, some of it conflating witchcraft with it.
Articles about white supremacy in paganism and witchcraft tend to focus on certain traditions, as though only overt white supremacy matters. Here’s an example:
Article that does a better job of explaining why modern witchcraft is white supremacy than I do:
My cover image was inspired by another article, cited above.
Further Reading:
 
 
 
 
 
 
About Cyndi
Cyndi is a witch and spiritual teacher, a trained energetic healer, psychic and herbalist. Her teaching and writing extends from where she stands at the crossroads of personal development, spirituality and witchcraft. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to modern understanding through magic and personal development is available now from Moon Books. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch uses the magic of the elements and the three realms to activate your true witch powers and will be available later in 2019 from Moon as well. Connect with her on Facebook or at keepingherkeys.com to learn more about her teaching and writing. Cyndi lives in rural coastal Nova Scotia with her two sons where she can often be found wandering the cliffs or wild foraging plants. She lives what she teaches: fierce love, emotional courage and true magic. You can read more about the author here.

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  • The “white dominance” of such things as BTW, Druidry, Asatru/Heathenism is that way for a reason. Yes, MANY Playgans and McWiccans draw from all sorts of paths and such, but those who DO practice within the Orthodox Traditions I mentioned aren’t doing so to be “supremacist”, they’re following their own culture. Traditions from West Africa and the Caribbean are certainly not “white supremacist” and even getting into an “outer” circle is difficult, at best, if you’re WHITE. Greco-Roman recon folks are following their way. Even the Ras Tafari will tell you “Irie no whi’allowin’, mon, Jah!.” White kids with dread are just that. White kids with dread. And a bong. I practice the Italian Craft of my ancestors, as was taught to me by my family. (which is NOT what one late author’s “Wicca With Meatballs” approach was). Dianics don’t allow men. Okay, MAYBE there’s a “pop culture” issue. But! “diversity for it’s own sake” is not a boon to the Craft.

  • “Traditions from West Africa and the Caribbean are certainly not “white supremacist” and even getting into an “outer” circle is difficult, at best, if you’re WHITE.”

    That varies by the lifestyle and the people leading the respective Ile or temple, etc., and most definitely have no problems with said-white folks being included, as there is literally no rule in orthodox systems like these prohibiting white folks. There are plenty in some who are legitimate and well-respected priests and priestesses. Not to mention the assumption that it’s somehow harder for white people to get included is a hilariously reactive sentiment that ignores that even Black, etc., people born and raised into these lifestyles – especially those requiring initiations – are NOT entitled to them. Being Yoruba does not make a person a Babalawo or ritual drummer any more than being Ewe makes a woman a Queen Mother of Vodun or an Amegansie Priestess. Those things are earned rather than simply given away, and even lineage doesn’t promise a person something; inheriting a bunch of spirits from a family line means nothing if the person inheriting them still doesn’t know how to serve those spirits correctly.

    Also most interesting in this comment though, is that it ignores how a lot of the reservations many of these groups have to white people being in them – especially as authority figures – stems directly from Imperialism, something many if not all still deal with. You go to the Caribbean and you actually will see a lot of white folks practicing, even with some as high priests in certain places. Some parts of the Caribbean even accept white Rastas. In the US especially, when the first Cubans started bringing Lukumí and other African systems to the Union during Castro’s Revolution, the vast majority were white and in fact tried their damndest to prohibit Black folks from practicing. Black practitioners were demonized and called fake while the others used their privilege to benefit and gate-keep these systems. It took a concerted effort for them to lose the influence they had so that the practice would be open to African Americans. Even still, white practitioners are constantly being paraded as experts and granted exposure that the original people these lifestyles come from do not have. Even in my paternal homeland, white Spaniards of the upper-class Espiritismo movement began entire propaganda campaigns demonizing Black and Indigenous practices as “backward” while secretly benefiting from them in private. Plenty of white practitioners acknowledge this history and work with our communities to deconstruct it. They earn their way just like others work to earn theirs.

    Ironically, Asatru and similar movements have had to combat white supremacists trying to infiltrate them for the very issues pointed out here in this article. The “white dominance” being alluded to is not natural or organic to the practice itself, let alone reflective of its history. Your patwa is terrible by the way.

  • Meron Nic Cruithne

    I find it at least ironic that this very passionate comment isn’t even replying to the subject matter in the blog post. Maybe read it again? “I am writing about witchcraft in this article. Paganism and witchcraft are often intertwined, but not always. There has been much written about the whiteness of modern paganism, some of it conflating witchcraft with it.” There is a fundamental difference between neopaganism and witchcraft. [Modern attempts at reconstructing] Druidry and Asatru aren’t witchcraft.

    Aye, neopaganism started as a movement from white people to white people – in an attempt to reconnect with the ancestral faith that has been wiped out of mainland Europe by the imperialist sect of Christianity. So of course these paths will focus more on the lore and mythology written down by white people. Neopaganism has a huge problem with white supremacism but it’s a different matter. What Cyndi is discussing here is the problem of only respecting white depictions of *witches*, not pagans.

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  • nikkidarlin

    Nobody said it wasn’t. Nobody decides to what groups they are going to be born into.

    It’s not, however, ok to be a white supremacist and suggest we need to “secure a place for white children.”

    That is diseased thinking, the disease being the bizarre delusion that things are somehow worse for white people than those of color. That notion is objectively false.

  • nikkidarlin

    The author absolutely never does this. She specifically addresses her “fellow white witches.” What she says to people of color is *if* they feel they have been discriminated against, they have her support.

    You are clearly reading things that are not in this article.

  • nikkidarlin

    This article separates people based on behavior not just race. If your behavior has been the result of unexamined white privilege and your actions support white supremacy, you are part of the problem.

    As a white person, I do not feel this article blames me for anything. I have spent my adult life weeding out any prejudices ingrained in me by society and my upbringing. I still spend time doing this.

    Maybe you would not feel called out if you bothered listening to what people are actually saying about white supremacy instead of doubling down on your unexamined beliefs about race.

  • nikkidarlin

    This article is not about he appropriation of shamanism. It’s about the treatment of people of color by white witches and pagans in groups. FYI.

  • kitkitschy

    This was very cleansing to read. I appreciate the thoroughness of listing exactly what you are saying, who you are talking to, and providing links to further reading. One only needs to look at the comments here to know that this is a really entrenched issue and desperately needs witches to get behind it. Thanks for sharing.

  • WOW, the comments on this article really illustrate how important it was to write! Listen, in North America, when you go into a room and all you see is a bunch of white faces, you have to ask yourself why. Seems to me Cyndi has some theories. Maybe we should think about them.

  • To be fair, it’s definitely not just witches. Most of us have practiced with enough other brands of Paganism at one point to know, even if that’s not where we settled.

  • Arakiba

    Charlottesville much?

  • I know European history has some bloody moments and I’m well aware that the Colonial Era was brutal. I do not believe our history was more bloody nor our expansion more brutal than any before or since. And I’m staunchly against the concept of collective guilt. What seems to make people hop up and down is that I won’t make an exception for White collective guilt.

  • I actually wrote that white guilt is useless in my article that you are commenting on.

  • Thanks Sable. I share your view of these comments illustrating the need to talk about white privilege in witchcraft.

  • Thanks so much. Some of the comments really do so much to illustrate the point of my article, which, is perhaps, not what the writers intended.

  • Nikki, thanks so much for taking the time to address the comments.

  • I have been. Many times. Granted, the Heathen have had issues w/ supremacist types, but by-and-large they’re doing okay. Oh, if you think my patwa is bad, you should try reading my Latin. BAAAD…

  • T Thorn Coyle

    Thank you for being so transparent, Kenaz. It’s good to know where you stand.

    _____________________________________

    For other people reading this thread:

    If you aren’t familiar with “The 14 Words” used by Kenaz, they were written by white supremacist and anti-Semite David Lane and are now often used to signal alliances with white nationalist and white supremacist groups. Other commonly used phrases are “It’s okay to be white” and “white genocide.”

    Scholars have found similarities between the 14 Words and this passage from Mein Kampf: “What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe.”

    Here’s more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Words

    Folks may also be interested in checking out Life After Hate: https://www.lifeafterhate.org/

  • I read it and re-read it. I’ll grant you that there have been issues of “depiction”, but with few exceptions the depictions of *witches* hasn’t been all that great even for white people. Or green, for that matter. They re-made “Charmed”, they re-made “Sabrina”. After all, re-makes are all the rage today. I have no idea if they’re any good, (they’re well out of my age range), but they’re there.
    I believe I mentioned that I practice a family craft, and I do consider myself to be pagan. I have been involved in the “pagans/witches” debate for decades, with at least 2 1/2 of them online. I’m still just unimpressed with the inclusivity-for-it’s-own-sake POV.

  • Felicia Steemer

    First off i have found this is really a USA thing! I am non white, my mother is from Germany and my father is Black American. I am a witch and a pagan i follow Romuva and Slavic witchcraft and I am learning more of Norse. I lived my first 35 years in USA and i was born in USA. In the 17 states I lived in over the years including Florida, California, which are thought to be more open minded, every single time i went to a shop the help always directed me towards the Vodoo area or some type of Latin stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but I have never been Christian which many of these paths seem to requite knowledge of that, and also simply i was never drawn to things from the Caribbean or Americas. I feel people should do and go with what they are drawn too. No matter the color of their skin or whatever. Wiccans, Witches, Pagan etc in USA tend to be very narrow in this view. Many groups over the years would think i am when i spoke on the phone with them as i speak quite proper then when they meet me and find out i am non white I would get the cold shoulder. One time i went to a shop with the guy i was dating who was white, he wanted to buy me a new tarot deck. I mentioned a deck to the lady there who was the owner mind you, she flat out said she did not have it and was cold. I took the time and looked for it, she once again said she did not have it and asked me to leave. As we were leaving i saw that she not only had it in stock but on display! My bf told her that I made him drive further to go to her store to buy this as I wanted to support a female owned, witch owned small business instead of just going to BnN.

    I moved to Europe in 2014, i spent a year in Norway and it is amazing how much Asatru and Norse pagan groups there embrace people of color. I visited Sweden and Finland and same thing, the fact a non white american person would want to worship their deities and follow their culture was something they really enjoyed and embraced. Most people in the Nordic countries wanted me to learn and be a part of things where as in USA people of the same path would use Nordic witchcraft/paganism as a means to be racist. Same with in Lithuania and Latvia. Many pagan groups in Europe do not even deal with USA people due to my fellow Americans being so intolerant! I have seen very much also. So many Americans that have never left USA will preach to a Swedish person about Swedish witchcraft! It is bad.

    I know little of Celtic or Greek or other European paths so i can not speak of how a person of color would be treated in Greece, or Italy, or Wales etc if they were open with being into their witchcraft.

    Now i have lived in Hungary for several years and unfortunately this area of Europe is very much like USA and very close minded. I moved to Europe for several reasons and I will never go back to USA for many reasons. Europe is my home now.

    But I will say in regards to this white superiority in this regard this really is an USA thing.

  • kitkitschy

    I would like to know why, in the face of this specific kind of violence, there are narratives that dismiss it by saying “well this isn’t any worse than any other violence in the world”.

    Of course we cannot end all violence, everywhere, simultaneously. But I only ever see this argument used when anti-racists are participating in a conversation about ending racist practices. Also, we aren’t talking about all violence everywhere. We are talking about this specific type of violence, and op shared several realistic ways to combat it. We can care about this specific thing. We can work to dismantle it. And if that’s not your specific thing, in this particular way, I don’t understand how you could with all sincerity want to even participate in this conversation in the way you are participating, unless it is to push a nationalist rhetoric forward.

    If your comments are to be taken the way that another poster is also putting forth, you are not trying to have a conversation and instead are interested in posting signals to other white supremacists or potential recruits. And that is not ok.

  • kitkitschy

    Your experience is really interesting! I haven’t ever lived outside of the US, but I know from reading perspectives of POC in particular who have that racism does exist all over…just in different ways. I of course must defer to you in experiential knowledge of the pagan community however. And I definitely think that the USA does racism very thoroughly and uniquely from other places. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  • Because some people seem determined to paint the Colonial era as unique in its atrocities when it was unique only in its scope.

    I’m a European Identitarian and an American Nationalist. I’m a product of the European Diaspora and of a culture with roots stretching back past Homer into Pasteur and beyond. I recognize that my ancestors were not perfect and welcome concrete suggestions as to how we might address present issues. I reject any approach that involves ritual self-loathing and guilt over one’s “racist” thoughts and preconceptions as self-indulgent and unproductive. I think Black culture is a perfectly fine and wonderful thing: while Black people have their problems, they also have lots of Black people working on fixing those problems. If those Black people need my help, I’m not difficult to find. Otherwise, my efforts to “dismantle White Advantage” do far more for my ego than for anybody White or Black. And since 37 million Black Americans, 52 million Hispanic Americans and 200 million White Americans aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, I’d much rather we come together and figure out how to keep living together peacefully than any Glorious Revolution which is likely only to leave us more divided than before.

  • Kayla Levine

    Sabrina is a fictional Caucasian practitioner of dark magic. She’s not representing white magic. Papa Legba is a God from African religions. He’s not representing black magic. Most people associate “witchcraft” with Wicca and Paganism; European religions. That’s why you see more white representation. White supremacists are appropriating Norce Pagan symbols. They did the same thing to the Hindu swastika. Yes, there are Pagan white supremacists and Drumph supporters but the same can be said for Christianity. Marginalized people maybe under represented and misrepresented in general society and media and it’s no exception in witchcraft but don’t think it’s concentrated in witchcraft.

  • Arakiba

    You may want to check out this website: https://www.lifeafterhate.org/

  • Arakiba

    You should check out this website: https://www.lifeafterhate.org/

  • Arakiba

    There is still hope for you, Kenaz. You should visit this site: https://www.lifeafterhate.org/

  • Arakiba

    So much #WhiteFragility here…maybe this article should have come with a trigger warning for alt right snowflakes, since so many members of the Pale People’s Posse are clutching their pearls and retreating to their fainting couches.

  • kitkitschy

    I disagree with you on many points, and find your narrative to be more harmful than the sentiment you seem to be getting out of this article.

  • nikkidarlin

    This is not about guilt over a distant and more violent past. White supremacy persists in the present through conscious and unconscious attitude toward people of color.

    At the heart of Cyndi’s critique is a call to self-reflection and the questioning of one’s biases (and those of groups of witches). Acknowleging and addressing these issues will absolutely transform how treat each other and change the way we talk about witchcraft itself.

  • Kenaz, you have no idea of my lived experience nor I of yours. What is clear from your comments is that you are happy to put words into my mouth by claiming to know my emotional states as well (i.e., “disgusted”). Why is it that you feel justified to do this? What special privilege do you have that permits you to know both my lived experience and emotions?

  • Nikki, of course, all the fragile alt-white snowflakes commenting on this article have absolutely no ability to see past the end of their own noses.

  • Kitkitschy, thank you for saying all of that.

  • Shawn Herles

    If your approach to ending racism is founded on the notion of race, you’re part of the problem.

  • nikkidarlin

    How can you end racism without examining notions of race and how they influence the conscious and unconscious biases of dominant cultures? Your comment is willfully illogical.

  • nikkidarlin

    Absolutely.

  • sitara_yab

    Hi, I just want to add that one of the editors of Bringing Race to the Table, Taylor Elwood does not practice racial understanding in his practice. I’m a Brown-skinned Indigenous person who used to attend his monthly groups in Portland, Oregon and he kicked me out using white person tactics of trying to say my energy was chaotic or that I was a risk. He and other white members of his group have made micro and macro aggressive racist statements during board games. Also I have a few critiques over some wording in your article that will center People-of-Color better, I’m willing to offer you that labor if you’d like to message me.

  • Shawn Herles

    “How can you end racism without examining notions of race and how they influence the conscious and unconscious biases”

    I’m not suggesting we don’t, but that can be done without affirming the concept of race itself. In fact a radical approach to dismantling racism must begin with dismantling the very idea of race. Unfortunately recent trends in progressive identity politics tend to do the opposite by affirming racial identity, at least for people who are non “white”. This can, and does, lead to more racism, not less.

    Here is a good article exploring the problematic issues with progressive identity politics and race.

    ‘The Racist Logic Of Progressive Identity Politics’

    https://medium.com/@samuelkronen/the-racist-logic-of-progressive-identity-politics-fc92238c58db

    “Identity Politics, which could readily be defined as an undying emphasis on group identity (race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on) in the context of a victim/victimizer quasi-marxist cultural narrative, reflects the very racial essentialism that it claims to be transcending.”

  • anonymauz

    Do deities favour one race above others? Do spirits grant different reactions based on race? Is the ability to embrace and follow magic / witchcraft affected by race?

    No. Stop pushing a racist agenda. Stop being anti-“race”. Start being pro-intelllect. Magic IS colorblind: A pity not everyone else is.

  • Arakiba

    lmao!

  • Arakiba

    Kenaz, quoting neonazi rhetoric doesn’t make you “edgy” and it’s not “owning the libs”. It’s you showing everyone who you really are.

  • Felicia Steemer

    My commit was removed for some reason! But I will re post it.

    First off i have found this is really a USA thing! I am non white, my mother is from Germany and my father is Black American. I am a witch and a pagan i follow Romuva and Slavic witchcraft and I am learning more of Norse. I lived my first 35 years in USA and i was born in USA. In the 17 states I lived in over the years including Florida, California, which are thought to be more open minded, every single time i went to a shop the help always directed me towards the Vodoo area or some type of Latin stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but I have never been Christian which many of these paths seem to requite knowledge of that, and also simply i was never drawn to things from the Caribbean or Americas. I feel people should do and go with what they are drawn too. No matter the color of their skin or whatever. Wiccans, Witches, Pagan etc in USA tend to be very narrow in this view. Many groups over the years would think i am when i spoke on the phone with them as i speak quite proper then when they meet me and find out i am non white I would get the cold shoulder. One time i went to a shop with the guy i was dating who was white, he wanted to buy me a new tarot deck. I mentioned a deck to the lady there who was the owner mind you, she flat out said she did not have it and was cold. I took the time and looked for it, she once again said she did not have it and asked me to leave. As we were leaving i saw that she not only had it in stock but on display! My bf told her that I made him drive further to go to her store to buy this as I wanted to support a female owned, witch owned small business instead of just going to BnN.

    I moved to Europe in 2014, i spent a year in Norway and it is amazing how much Asatru and Norse pagan groups there embrace people of color. I visited Sweden and Finland and same thing, the fact a non white american person would want to worship their deities and follow their culture was something they really enjoyed and embraced. Most people in the Nordic countries wanted me to learn and be a part of things where as in USA people of the same path would use Nordic witchcraft/paganism as a means to be racist. Same with in Lithuania and Latvia. Many pagan groups in Europe do not even deal with USA people due to my fellow Americans being so intolerant! I have seen very much also. So many Americans that have never left USA will preach to a Swedish person about Swedish witchcraft! It is bad.

    I know little of Celtic or Greek or other European paths so i can not speak of how a person of color would be treated in Greece, or Italy, or Wales etc if they were open with being into their witchcraft.

    Now i have lived in Hungary for several years and unfortunately this area of Europe is very much like USA and very close minded. I moved to Europe for several reasons and I will never go back to USA for many reasons. Europe is my home now.

    But I will say in regards to this white superiority in this regard this really is an USA thing.

  • anonymauz

    Identify as a human being. Drop the labels. Drop the identity crisis. Be a decent person.

    Constantly vilifying and blaming everyone and everything that does not conform to your idealistic worldview conveys an image of insecurity and disconnection from reality.

    Stop, drop, roll.

    Stop hating.
    Drop the attitude.
    Roll with it.

    (Or in summary, “Just be cool, not a fool.”)

  • anonymauz

    Some of the biggest hypocrisy is from those who preach an ideal yet do not apply it. Don’t let a few rotten apples give a bad name for all.

    Labels can be dangerous and fool ourselves into assuming the few represent the majority.

    Everyone is an individual, accountable for their own words and actions. Judge each by their own merits.

  • anonymauz

    The only willfully illogical comments have been the ones tip-toeing around giving clear and concise answers.

    Fluffy buzzwords and hip trendy “social justice warrior” parading around on a soapbox, fighting people’s natural-born skin pigmentation… THAT is illogical.

    You cannot empower, uplift, or offer true equality to ANYONE by oppressing someone else.

    P.S. Do not insult the intelligence of others; your own ignorance becomes evident far too quickly.

  • Rahne Alexander

    This article is good and necessary, and I’m a new fan of this blog in general. Thank you for offering so much good work here. I do have feelings, being a trans woman, about the use of “non-biological” to describe me and my kind. I am very much a biological woman. I believe your heart is in the right place here, and think the language is still very much in flux, and I think that it would have been fine to say “trans women” here instead.

  • Destiny

    Yes, I can read, thank you very much. Can you? “Sometimes, though, it feels so strained that it no longer even provides support for itself, as if the very idea of appropriation has itself been appropriated for use as a cultural touchstone.”

  • Rahne, excellent point about me using “non-biological.” It is just a way to identify those who perhaps weren’t born with certain features matching their gender when referring to everyone who identifies as such. Maybe trans women/men/others would be better? The language is challenging. I welcome your suggestions. I’ll actually pose this question to the many trans individuals who are in my courses and private group because it is a worthwhile discussion. Thanks so much for saying this.

  • Rahne Alexander

    The language is constantly in flux — the terms more commonly in use now are very different from those used when I came out, for instance, and I think the language will continue to get more nuanced in the future. I think you might get as many answers to what term you should use instead as there are people you ask! When I was young I placed a lot of blame on nature for “messing up” with me, and it took a long time working within my own witchcraft practice to really reconcile my own relationship with nature. Being trans is natural and organic; it has been in every human culture which has made room for us. Those of us who have sought out Western medical intervention (as I have) are still natural and biological creatures; I would be a (less happy, less free) trans person even without those interventions. Thank you for dialoguing on this! I look forward to more of your work.

  • Ericka Kaye

    All I want to point out is diversity in paganism is so blatantly missing, that even if you search google or go by what a tv show says, you don’t realize that’s not Papa Legba. That’s Baron Samedi.

  • Your.mom.smokes.weed

    Please stop using “trigger warning” as a put down. It’s not funny to people like myself who live with ptsd. And I would expect better from someone who is on a high horse about morals.

  • My response, also posted to my blog at https://europaschildren.com/2019/04/09/witches-dismantling-whiteness-pt-2-witches-discussing-whiteness/

    Thank you for being so transparent, Kenaz. It’s good to know where you stand.

    That was indeed my intention. As Thorn goes on to make clear, for her it’s not just the 14 words. Saying “It’s OK to be White” or referring to “White Genocide” in South Africa is proof of one’s “White Supremacist” sympathies. We can either defend White people and Western civilization or we can fade away apologetically. I will not fade away: neither will I apologize. Some may wonder why I have not sugarcoated my words. It is because I have no use for those who need sugarcoated words.

    Thorn would condemn my ideology for past atrocities. I do not condemn hers. For decades Thorn has lived in the Bay Area, a place where her Leftist beliefs have held a greater influence than anywhere else in America. Every pile of shit in the San Francisco streets condemns her ideology. Every dirty needle in the gutters condemns her ideology. Every homeless camp festering in the shadow of the latest techno-feudal castle condemns her ideology. They speak far more eloquently, and far more harshly, than I ever could.

  • I responded to you in more detail on my blog: as I noted there, I don’t doubt your sincerity but I have serious questions about many of your premises and about the utility of your approach.

    https://europaschildren.com/2019/04/06/witches-dismantling-whiteness/

  • Mermadic American

    Nikkidarlin wrote; “How can you end racism without examining notions of race and how they influence the conscious and unconscious biases of dominant cultures? Your comment is willfully illogical.”

    by not placing blame on one race for all the little problems of every other race,

  • Mermadic American

    “Get over yourself. Don’t take it personally. Your identity is not threatened by creating space for others.” So your identity is not threatened by making a place for white children. Right? I mean it’s right there, and we agree with this trash.. er.. I mean opinion piece, right?

    The fact that anyone thinks things are worse for white people is false. That’s just a narrative used by racists to drive discord. Congrats, you are discord.

  • persephone

    Back in the 90s, I took a trip to southern Missouri to visit relatives. It felt off whenever we were in public. One day we went to Bass Pro Shops and a black man was in line buying fishing gear. I realized that he was the first black person I had seen since arriving in Missouri.

    And, as to your comment about noticing the color of people’s skins, of course, we do that. It’s innate, connected to the lizard brain where we are continually viewing and reviewing our circumstances and situation. To play the “I don’t see color” card is diminishing and ridiculous.

  • persephone

    This comment section is why I’m a solitary.

  • Gordon Cooper

    Since the Craft has neither Pope nor Curia, addressing not just the blindness but the prejudices inside its writings and fiction will be difficult, especially since these are baked in. Look at the number of evil black magicians in popular novels about the Craft, especially those written by well known elders. Voodoo/Hoodoo/Voudon are portrayed as evil religions, practiced by folks of ill intent against innocent white people. Cursing through a voodoo poppet is a frequent trope.

    The basis of the magics practiced within the Western esoteric currents are by and large African, Mesopotamian or African. Even modern faiths considered to be based entirely in the purity of Indo-European ideals use a seven day Sumerian/Babylonian week, astrological concepts and the like. Acknowledging this might be a good start towards comity and inclusion.

  • Gordon Cooper

    One very uncomfortable truth is that persons of color were deliberately excluded from many Covens and Craft traditions through the 1980’s. Elders of more than one group would send American blacks, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, etc. to Santeria groups or elsewhere so they could be “more comfortable with their own kind.”

  • herbprof

    Brava, brava, brava to you Cyndi, Thank You!

  • herbprof

    Do you really think so narrowly, that in that room full of just white faces, that black faces would not be welcomed? If that is what you were actually thinking at that time, then you are a really an anger twisted, sad judge of character? And the next time you see that group, would you have the courage of your convictions, and stand-up and clear the air for yourself, by asking them that question?

  • nikkidarlin

    So, if not the ancestors of white people who are you going to blame for chattel slavery? What about the genocide of indigenous peoples worldwide? Jim Crow laws? All of those things still have a punishing effect on people of color today.

    In the West, almost everything that’s served to harm, from a racial standpoint has come from white people. It still does. Institutionalized racism is by definition, mostly lthe work of white people. Unless we start to have whole governments and institutions run by people of color that then racially target white people, there’s no way it could ever be close.

    You’re offering up a false equivalency here.

  • Pstoffwtch 1

    Cindy , Why was my comment removed and now says removed as as spam ? I spoke from experience and truth as a Neo Pagan. I am not spamming. There is nothing about me that is even close to spamming.
    I spoke truth as a Neo Pagan. Thats not spam.

  • Hmmm…wasn’t me that marked it as spam. Don’t know what happened. I’ll try to find out.

  • I. H. Hagar

    #MeToo!!!

  • Pstoffwtch 1

    Thank You

  • I don’t know what happened to your comment. It’s not in the deleted section nor in the spam.

  • Greybeard Wise

    When I walk into a room I don’t count how many faces are what color. But then, I’m not so racist to care. What color people are and how many of what race is a RACIST concern. And I’m not racist enough to notice or care.

  • Greybeard Wise

    Either that, or he kicked you out for being chaotic, upsetting people, or some other reason, but you blamed it on race rather than address the issues involved. As a general practice, anyone who brings that “micro aggression” racist chip on their shoulder to a group is going to be disruptive. If you won’t get along then you should be asked to leave, because you CHOOSE not to get along. Just saying.

  • Greybeard Wise

    Thank you for pointing that out, Shawn.

  • lilithdorsey

    I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to discuss this with you in person. As a black person I would respectfully like to ask why you didn’t link or include more people of color in this piece. Using Papa Legba’s misinformed AHS image without a more detailed explanation doesn’t seem helpful and almost feels insulting under the circumstances. I have written extensively on these topics in my blog, and all I am asking is for visibility.

  • Jen Horton

    So, how’s the diversity in African or Haitian magic, plenty of white folk along side, hand in hand ? A good diversity there then ? I doubt it. Why people can’t be just that, people.

  • I hear you and thank you for your comments. You are correct that I should have explained why I chose that image. I was trying to highlight the connections between societal views/media portrayals and whiteness in witchcraft. As for your comment about including people of color in my piece, I think this is an excellent point. For me, as someone who is trying to understand my own privilege, I appreciate your words. I was writing from my perspective. Perhaps a follow-up article where I share voices such as yours may be in order. Honestly, I am trying to find my way as an ally so any advice is appreciated.

  • Mistress Of The Shadows33

    Thank you so much for this article! I am mixed Puerto Rican, Irish and Cherokee Indian. Puerto Rican itself is a mix of African and Taio Indian. Thus i feel drawn to many different witchcraft practices! From shamanism, voodoo, celtic druidism to modern hekatean witchcraft. When you are of mixed races its even harder to feel like you fit in as your not 100% of either nationality and find it difficut to be accepted in either groups. Thus why i have been a Solitary for 10 years lol.