Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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An Open Letter

An open letter to the arrogant national embarassment known as Donald J. Trump:

I see you.

I saw you, standing so proud over the pounds of fast food, still in their trademarked containers, sitting on historical tableware. I saw you, boasting about how you paid $50 yourself to buy the food, when it would have been truly a better display of wealth to pay for a quality dinner.

I saw you, so proud of your paranoia, ignoring the fact that that meal may trash the diets of these athletes. Of course you couldn’t serve actual food like the Obamas did: potato and eggplant salad from the White House Garden, red lentil soup, potato dumplings with okra and chutney, green curry prawns, coconut rice, pumpkin pies and pear tatins.

Speaking of real food, you know who would like some? The federal employees who are going to food banks in droves because they haven’t been paid and they need to eat. You say they support you. You’ve never faced hunger. Or privation. Let me tell you a secret. It sucks. There’s only so many ways to cook rice and beans. Food stamps help a lot. Food banks help a lot.

When I was at my hungriest, I thought about how much easier it would have been to go back to my ex husband. Then I wouldn’t be eating rice with hot sauce. I cried into my veggies when I got food stamps. I sobbed into the Wheat Thins I got from the food bank.

Don’t say people support you when they’re rationing insulin, heat, and food because you shut down the government. Don’t act proud that you paid for a meal when federal employees are struggling.

Food is sacred. Food should be safe from E. coli and Hepatitis A. Farmers should be able to plant their crops without having to rely on the government for loans. Your actions will starve the country. But you don’t care. Let them eat Big Macs.

I know malice is your agenda, but you’re a piece of shit.


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Open Enrollment Ends December 15th

Despite Republican efforts to make it as difficult as possible to enroll in healthcare, remember you still can. Open enrollment ends on December 15th, so take a moment this Yule season and get the gift that really keep on giving: a health insurance plan.

You can enroll here.


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I see witches

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles in my news alerts that are in a panic about how there are more witches in the States than Presbyterians. Now, that’s based on a misinterpetation of a poorly reported poll, it’s a whole story on its own, and something I will address on Wednesday when I have wifi and don’t have to type my posts on my phone (2 more days praise the gods).

But before that, I honestly think more visible witches is a good thing. For the people in the back: RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IS A GOOD THING. My spiritual perspective allows me to see problems and alternatives others may be blind to. My minority religion status allows me to see where the majority religion fails; and Jesus Christ does it do that.

But that visibility and diversity isn’t just good for political and activist reasons.

It’s also good for the kids like me, kids in small towns whose conversions brought out waves of spite. I spent hours on the forums recommended by Witch Vox. Social media was still in its infancy-at this time Facebook still only allowed college students on their platform, and Myspace was the place to be. I didn’t have glamorous and inspiring role models.

But this generation does. The Hood Witch is the glamorous, elegant, and confident witch that will always be my #goals. Also, check out the Slutist tarot deck she has for sale. That deck is a thing of sex positivity, diversity, and beauty. And we need that. New and budding magickal practitioners need to see that representation to develop the strength and core needed to walk in strength and beauty on this path.

So keep representing witches. Keep showing up because we all need to see you.


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Update on the “witch kits” from Sephora

Earlier I wrote about witch kits for sale at Sephora. As of the fifth, Pinrose has decided to pull the witch kits from Sephora. I’m ok with this for a couple of reasons.

As long as Trump continues to use the words “witch” and “witch hunt” in his stochastic terrorism, we’re going to see an uptick in crimes like this one from Dallas. In this case, the criminal in question appears to be trying to bring attention to a police shooting, but his flyers are claiming that “witchery by mob of females” tried to kill him. His flyers are a little word salad-y, but the fact that this is making national news and claiming witches are behind police violence is dangerous to people who claim the title. And Sephora should not be making money off that title when people can get hurt. I shouldn’t have to explain that.

Jason Mankey points out in his response to the recall, witchcraft has always been a commodity. And that’s true, historically many flavors of witchcraft have sold their services. I totally down with that, as long as the service providers are being properly compensated. But I’m not ok with a corporation claiming that title as a way to push their product. Especially because it doesn’t sound like they properly compensated Vera Petruk for her tarot artwork.

My last point is a response to Jason Mankey. In his post, he says “Pinrose is a woman-owned business and all of their products are made in the United States. This is the kind of company many of us love”. Now, I want to support women-owned businesses and the Native American owned businesses Pinrose claims to support. But I’m once burned, twice shy on those counts. The cosmetic and woman-centric industries are full of shady companies that use wordplay to make it seem like they’re something they’re not. Jen Gunter has an excellent takedown of a group that does this sort of thing for tampons. Further, where I live there is a roaring tourist industry surrounding the tribes and their products. The money is so good, many non-Native people claim to be in order to get in the market. Given that many of Native and Dine artists around here live near or below the poverty level, anyone who lies to get in the market is a privileged douche of the highest order.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I have certain standards for my consumerism.

  1. If I’m buying magick products, I want it from a person I can confirm is real and can pay fairly.
  2. If a seller is taking on a label like woman-owned or Native, I want to confirm that they are, so I know my money is going where I want it to.
  3. Corporations and companies should be aware enough to sell stupid shit that plays into dangerous narratives.


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A Dark Horse on the Horizon

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While my musical tastes are broad and sometimes “auditorily offensive”, Katy Perry is by no means a favorite, and not someone I normally associate with Paganism. So when I saw Katy Perry mentioned on The Wild Hunt, I was a bit confused. Apparently, Perry is in the hot seat again for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse”. For me, Perry is hugely problematic not-fave for reasons you can see here, here, here, and here.

And honestly, even if none of her homophobia, cultural appropriation, or sexual misconduct was a factor, I’m not super enthused by the music video. As a Hellenic practitioner with no real ties to the Egyptian pantheon, I don’t have a horse in the race in terms of divine representation; even if the color scheme in the music video is the hue of my depression. The song is meh and I have no comment on the use of Aphrodite’s name in the lyrics. In an early version of the music video, Perry destroyed a necklace with the name of Allah on it which is really just another sign of her inattentiveness as an artist. Although I did find her Grammy performance of “Dark Horse” distasteful and concerning for a whole host of reasons.

The issue here is that Perry is being sued by Marcus Gray, Lecrae Moore, Emanuel Lambert, and Chike Ojukwu for plagiarism of their song “Joyful Noise“, as well as tarnishing the reputation of “Joyful Noise” with “Dark Horse”s “association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in Dark Horse. Indeed, the music video of Dark Horse generated widespread accusations of blasphemy and an online petition signed by more than 60,000 demanding removal of an offensive religious image from the video.” Given that Perry has a background as a Christian music singer, and that the songs do share a remarkably similar beat and melody I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Perry didn’t give credit where it was due. And that’s really shitty of her if she did. But I take serious issue with where this fits into the larger cultural narrative, particularly the cultural narrative in Trump’s America. 

Right out of the gate, I will say I don’t expect my celebrities to use their platform politically. I do think that individuals with that kind of reach have an ethical responsibility to use that platform wisely, but having a responsibility doesn’t mean you have to do something. However, I do know for a fact that people who claim minority status have to behave like the eye of the Moirae is on them; because the eye of the public is and it’s not much kinder.

Why does that matter? Perry has claimed to be a New Age practitioner.

Now, if we’re talking labels, “New Age practitioner” isn’t Pagan isn’t pagan isn’t Wiccan isn’t witchcraft isn’t Illuminati (what even is an Illuminati when it’s at home?). But those are differences without a distinction to most of the populace, as we see in the “Joyful Noise” lawsuit.

In terms of the claims from the lawsuit, most of the pagan imagery comes from the music video. Excluding the army of sexy-Bastet, I can somewhat understand it. Ra and Anubis have probably never been so ripped, but many who reject the Christian faith often go through a phase of strongly connecting with the Divine Feminine. Most people don’t have such a large artistic venture to express it though, and others who do have certainly done it better (the bold mixture of Isis and Christianity in The Cranberries “Zombie” and Beyonce as Oshun come to mind).  I can tolerate Perry’s bubblegum attempt at Isis, even if I give it a healthy dose of side eye.

More concerning was her Grammy performance. I’m not going to claim that witchcraft is always rainbows and fairies: in my magickal pantry I have grave dirt, bones, and menstrual blood. But that performance. I was a child during the Satanic Panic, and the evangelical school my parents sent me to clung to the panic even after it passed out of the mainstream media. That Grammy performance was EXACTLY what my parents and the school said witchcraft was: skeletal trees, hooded Baphomet, dancing demons, witches branded with red crosses, women getting sexual pleasure from being burned. I swear, joining my first coven after that build up was such a letdown.

Outside of a very wise group of Cassandras, I don’t think any of us really expected the political rise of the White Evangelical to play out the way it did. In 2014 I remember Pagans talking about LGBTQ rights and evangelism; Trump, Russia, and the malice of White Evangelism were hidden for the most part. Most of us didn’t think it could or would happen. Except it did, and we’re seeing all sorts of human rights violations and bullshit go down. After all, evangelical lobbyists sell access to the president at the Prayer Breakfast, the DOJ uses the Bible to justify separating children at the border, and Jeff Sessions formed the Religious Liberty Task Force (ostensibly to protect the voices of religion in the government, but let’s be real about how that’s going to play out).  In the grand scheme of things, this lawsuit seems small and insignificant. But bigger atrocities are built on the small and insignificant, so this case very well should be watched closely.

Perry has the wealth and resources to inoculate herself against the discrimination every Pagans and magickal practitioners face. Regardless of the outcome of this case, Perry will continue on making money by the boatload and will present an air of the effortless New Age practitioner. She will not struggle to find employment or days off, and should things in America turn against minority religions she has the means to protect herself and her empire. But if Perry claims to be a New Age practitioner, she’s the representative we have in the wider world even if she isn’t one we would have chosen for ourselves. Which means she needs to step up her game, and we need to call her out about it. Because it’s not her neck on the line. It’s ours.


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Influential Books: xxxHolic

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Yesterday, I was brutally ill. Like, thank all gods my bathtub is next to the toilet ill. Like, vomiting on the kitchen floor trying to get a ginger ale ill. The pit bulls tried to “HALP”, and were not actually helpful. Which is why this particular post is a day late according to my schedule, and although I feel worlds better today I don’t feel bad about it being late.  As I lay miserably on the sofa, I decided to turn on some TV; coincidentally xxxHolic. Now, I 100% love the anime adaptation of xxxHolic; and I adore the live action adaption of the anime as well. But between the language translation and the switch from one medium to another, a few things get lost and nothing will replace the original manga in my book.

xxxHolic (pronounced Holic, and written by the fabulous collaborative group CLAMP) follows the misadventures of Kimihiro Watanuki as he works off a debt to Yuuko Ichihara, a woman known as the Time-Space Witch. Yuuko runs a shop that grants wishes (for a price!), and often granting wishes to people who accidentally made magical problems for themselves. The first volume immediately jumps into musings on the nature of fate, the nature of names, and the weight of lies and addictions. That might seem like a heavy start, but the comic relief is excellently timed and the series moves at an excellent pace.

Yuuko’s dialogue is something that ended up being a large stone in my magical and philosophical foundation. Her approach to inevitability and fate is something I use to this day. Her discussion of Will in the second (third?) story is a cornerstone in my philosophy on how magick works. I genuinely can’t stress enough how much this character influenced my philosophy.

In a physical and stylistic sense, she is who I want to be when I grow up. Yuuko is a delightful ball of dualities: she’s a gourmand and borderline alcoholic who is yet exceptionally active and healthy. She wears a glorious wardrobe with an impossible ease, even for manga and anime standards, but with a playfulness that is absorbing. Yuuko can deliver a striking speech about Will, yet turns around in the next panel and uses a red aluminum t-ball bat as an athame.

I think in some ways I got very lucky, or maybe it was inevitable, that I would pick up xxxHolic when I was in high school. At the time, I was a hot mess; not only was I blundering my way through puberty but I was really struggling with the dualities of my own nature. Yuuko and xxxHolic came at just the right time for me to sort through all of that and start to get on the right track.


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Influential Books: If Wishes Were Horses

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It’s really appropriate that I’m writing about If Wishes Were Horses by Anne McCaffrey today. Yesterday I did my 3rd-degree initiation, and in some ways, If Wishes Were Horses follows a concept that was brought up during my preparation before the ritual. But that isn’t how I was introduced to the book.

I talk my way through my thoughts, so when I was grappling with what I believed and my philosophies, I talked my way through it. The problem was, instead of talking my thoughts out to my dogs, I talked them out to the people around me. And that wasn’t the best idea, and I was often bullied because I didn’t know when to stop pushing. I can honestly say I was a terror, and I retreated to the library.  If Wishes Were Horses is a short coming of age story, that follows Tirza from 14 to 16 as the family survives a war. Tirza watches as her mother works magic and miracles to hold the community together. At the end, Tirza receives her first magic crystal necklace as well as the wishes she for as she works throughout the book.

This book really kickstarted my basic magical practice. I started selecting my jewelry with thought to the magical potential: what was I doing that day? what stones would augment and supplement my plans? I also started to see small acts as magical, the small things I do every day that become spells and witchcraft. Salting a dish becomes a spell. Lighting a candle before a bath is a spell. The bells on the door are a spell everytime they chime. Blowing dandelions on the walk home is a spell. Brushing my hair is a spell. If Wishes Were Horses really opened my eyes to basic hedge magic and folk magic.