Responses to Summer Walker's altar were rife with anti-Black commentary and lacked historical knowledge around Black people’s relationship to witchcraft. Twitter has been a source of a lot of criticism about singer-songwriter Summer Walker for the last couple of weeks. Some
The treatment of Black characters on "Charmed" is still lacking in nuance, but I believe it still has the potential to be headed in the right direction. This essay contains spoilers for "Charmed" By Cosima Smith I grew up watching "Charmed"—the original, slightly
Feel free to treat yourself with this witch-y gift guide during this hectic and stressful time of the year.Just because the holiday season is adorned with silver bells, plastic images of Christ in the manger and Christmas trees doesn’t mean that you have to be. It’s perfectly acceptable and possible to insert some witch-y goodness into the season and whether you’re a rootworker or Wiccan, there are many online shops out there to make your season magickal. In this roundup I’ll be sharing some great places to purchase spiritual gifts and supplies. Many of the retailers are Black/POC and cater to that market which is to say they offer products that are feature POC or are used for practices of the diaspora such as hoodoo, Ifa, Santeria, etc. This isn’t the case for all sellers on this list.
Basic SuppliesThis shop specializes in the goods you need for conjure and rootwork. Everything from candles, to herbs and curios. She also offers readings and spell work. For those just starting, there are books and kits available as well as classes. The Beginner Witch Box is a fully stocked starter kit for workers in training and is a great gift for the person who is just starting out. This is one of the most well-known online shops for supplies and charms. Although they have a tilt towards Santeria and hoodoo work, their tarot, candle selection, which includes a variety of figure candles, and herbs can be used by many paths. This shop also sells many icons for altars as well as offering help for using their products. The charms and talismans section is a great place to look for thoughtful gifts. If you need dressed (this means to be anointed with oils and herbs for specific magickal purposes) candles, this is the spot for them. They’re handmade and infused with herbs and oils to help you manifest a wide variety of goodness into your own life. The colors are bright and fun and they come in different styles. Even if someone isn’t spiritual, you can bless them with a special candle. Everyone likes candles. Speaking of candles, these prayer/7 day candles have a lot of attitude. If healing vibes aren’t really your thing, why banish some people with the Fuck Outta Here prayer candle or remind yourself to Hustle Harder? These aren’t dressed or sealed but there’s a good chance that anyone who you gift these two will get a kick out of them. And you can use white candles for just about anything. The overall store is filled with a ton of witch-y goods from home to things to do the work but these candles are top-notch. If you’re not sure what you want to do, this shop sells full spell kits to help you get started. They make good gifts because they’re something that people can engage in and help them find their own power, even if they haven’t spent a good deal of time working with it. They’re inexpensive and can really help to awaken someone to their own gifts.
Self-Care Rituals and Everyday LoveSpiritual baths are one of the first things you learn about when working with hoodoo. Although the practice of taking one isn’t about cleaning the body, in a pinch, using soaps like this can help to clear cluttered and negative energy. They also carry body creams, bath bombs, and hair care products. The seller puts together specialty baskets as well. Burning a full candle isn’t something that everyone has the space to do safely. Using wax melts is sometimes suggested as an alternative for those who want to practice candle magic without a full candle. This shop has great ones infused with many combinations of herbs for manifesting peace and goodness. They also carry products for making spiritual baths including oils, pre-mixed herbs, bath bombs and scrubs. All natural and a great selection. Self-care is inside and out. This virtual yoga studio combines narrative with yoga to create a unique, spiritual experience. Classes are taught online through streaming and recordings, breaking down some barriers and providing accessibility. A diet culture free practice and full disclosure, I am the instructor. Classes are grouped into sessions ranging from four to seven weeks, treat yourself or a friend to one. Feeling adrift in your life? This reader does astrology readings as well as tarot and oracle cards to help people understand the energy that surrounds their lives. Much better than a generic, computer created one, the AfroMystic takes time to personally review the querents chart or cards to give them an in-depth reading. This experience makes a great gift for yourself or others.
All Things ShinyAlthough this store is small, it has something I haven’t seen. It sells really beautiful and unique loc jewelry. Each piece is a combination of copper wire, crystals to draw different energy, and curios which include keys and cowrie shells. These are very unique statement pieces. I think we all feel a bit more magickal when we’re adorned with crystals and rings. This site sells beautiful rings and necklaces that feature different crystals and stones set in brass. There’s a tilt to Afrocentric imagery, especially those associated with Egypt but the designs are very unique. For just straight crystals and stones, Heaven and Earth is the place to go. This online shop has the motherload of crystals, both raw and shaped for all your needs. Whether you’re hoping to put together mojo bags or if you need some pretty jewelry, this spot is one stop shopping. It is a very large website and lacks the personal touch of the indie brands but it’s the place to go stones.
Everyone should be able to enjoy this commercial holiday and no one should have to worry about seeing themselves represented negatively so others can have a good time.A few weeks ago, a Twitter screenshot began to circulate calling for people not to dress up as witches for Halloween because it was in the same line as dressing up in something like Día de los Muertos face paint. The post posits that witches are a living culture and should be respected. Although I generally disagree with the overall argument, I do think that living magickal practices should be respected. My point of contention here is that the idea of the witch that children and adults are focusing on during the Halloween festivities has to do with a caricature version of witches created by the Church of England to persecute, namely, Catholics. Witch trials aside, a lot of the fanfare around witches has to do with that and has nothing to do with actual witchcraft. Pointy black hats, brooms for riding, copious amounts of black velvet, all of these, in my opinion are fine to dress up as. However, they are not ours. Halloween is not exactly Samhain, the Wiccan practice that happens on the same day. Although they do share the idea that spirits and the like can walk the earth around this time, Samhain is a religious celebration and has nothing to do with the commercial celebration of Halloween. That being said, there are many people who do identify as witches, be they Wiccan (the most popular witchcraft-based following in the US), Chaos magicians, or something else. There are also people who call themselves shamans, rootworkers, or vodou practitioners. These are all valid and living practices and are not there to be made into a costume. Although the wide world of “pagan” practice may seem like a free for all as to what anyone wants to believe, it is not. There are many religions with their own belief systems, and although some things are religious practices, such as Hoodoo or rootwork, other things like Vodou or Santeria, are religious with deities and rules. These practices should be respected. Related: The History of Dia de los Muertos and Why You Shouldn't Appropriate It
Cuba was the first country I visited where I was able to blend in. Despite my modest Spanish skills, as long as I kept mum, locals assumed I was Afro-Cuban, and other tourists gravitated to paler, more familiar faces for