Month: October 2013

#OpenSeasonOnBlackGirls- What I Have to Say About It

Posted on

This is sad. This is very sad.

For all of those who will say that racism is a “thing of the past”, state that “I’m just being sensitive”, that you “don’t see race”-

This is for you.

Let this “OpenSeasononBlackGirls be an example to you, an example of just how my blackness, my gender, is still seen by a joke by people.

So tell me- if this is the 21st century and racism is behind us- why is it that in order for another race to prosper and feel good about themselves, another one must be torn down, deminished, and dehumanized?

This is not just a string of black girl stereotypes- these are people degrading women’s black woman’s  bodies, comparing them to animals,to furniture and to food- for what?

Because being black is a joke to some people.

This outlines the main reason Black Girls Rock is needed in the first place. This illustrates why safe places for minorities are needed in the first place.

This is why feminism is needed in the first place.

Oh, wait.

Where are those feminists?

Because apparently when race and feminism meet, I’ve found that many white feminists go silent. Why? Why has the feminist community gone silent, when under other circumstances they are quick to comment, quick to protest, quick to demand change.

Because apparently, this is a black issue, and has nothing to do with them.

Despite the fact that we continue to fight and comment about how society continues to comment, grade, and shape the perception of the female body, it has nothing to do with them.

Because apparently, despite the long history of black women’s bodies being used as a joke to humor others, it has nothing to do with them.

Because apparently, despite stripping a group of human beings of their human status and turning them into nothing more than a joke at their own expense- has nothing to do with them.

Because, instead of continuing to fight for the freedom and equality of all women, what you are really saying is that youa re fighting for freedom and equality for yourselves.

And to the rest of you in the ‘racism doesn’t exist crowd”, I have something to say to you:

This is what I am fighting against. Yes I am angry, yes I am black, and yes, I am a woman. I am tired of watching my race be swallowed up by hatred, racism, and sexism. I am tired of a community of people being pitted against them selves- black women against black women, black men against black men- because of the mandates and expectations placed on them by a society that would rather see us fall than to see us rise.

I am tired of my experiences being cast aside, thrown away, and misinterpreted, because someone felt “guilty” or “attacked” whenever I speak about racism in America. I will not be silent, and if screaming is the only way I will be heard, then so be it.

Because apparently talking isn’t going to do it anymore.

I will not “calm down”, “learn to take a joke”, “stop being so sensitive”, and “stop bringing up the past”. I WILL hold my head high, wear my curly hair with pride, love my beautiful brown skin, and continue to shatter each pervasive stereotype as I continue to fight for equality in ALL forms. Let this be a reminder to you on how society and those within it view black women- and let this be a reminder to you that self hatred in the black community is also as prevalent.

 

Done.

 

 

Advertisements

Fabulous Fall Foraging: Rosa

Posted on Updated on

rosehips

In case you haven’t noticed- Autumn is upon us!

For those herbalists an foragers among us, it’s time to get to work harvesting roots, seeds, berries, and fruit. The topic of today will be using Roses in medicine!

According to the book Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-seal & Matthew Seal, roses:
……contain plentiful vitamins and minerals, but it was only in the 1930s that research established that home-grown hips had twenty, even forty times more vitamin C than oranges, plus good supplies of vitamins A, B, and K.

And Healing Herbs by Diane Stein:
Rose Hips • (Rosa canina)

The haws or fruit of the dog rose bush or other rose species, high in vitamins C, E, K, beta-carotene, pectin, and bioflavonoids; used as tea for a highly absorbable, though relatively low, source of vitamin C; 3 ounces of dried rose hips contain 1,700 mg of vitamin C (easily taken in 1 or 2 tablets from the health food store), but actually a higher amount of vitamin C than in citrus juice; rose hips are often included in vitamin C formulas; used as an herbal aspirin (though does not contain salicin) for many of the same things aspirin is used for; effective for osteoarthritis, as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever; reduces joint stiffness and promotes flexibility, especially for hips and knees; tones the vascular system, reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, may help prevent heart disease; diuretic, relieves water retention, flushes the kidneys, prevents cystitis and urinary tract infection symptoms, dissolves urinary gravel and kidney stones; aids digestion, reduces hunger cravings for weight loss, eases constipation, diarrhea, and dysentery; balances intestinal flora, balances the acid-alkaline balance of the body; clears the bronchial passages of congestion and mucus; use for colds, flu, sore throat, allergies; cools the body to reduce fever; helps prevent infections, boosts the immune system and thymus function, protects from cancer, protects from environmental pollutants; blood cleanser; also for headaches, dizziness, nervous tension, mastitis, uterine cramps; reduces menstrual flow, vaginal discharge; calms the fetus in the womb; used in skin preparations and cosmetics to stimulate collagen growth, speed wound and bruise healing, and soothe skin irritations, rashes, burns, eczema, and aging skin. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, astringent, diuretic. Considered extremely safe, even in pregnancy and nursing; possible rare side effects: headache, heartburn, nausea, or insomnia; no drug interactions or warnings.

That’g a lot of healing powers for one little plant.
But what species of roses are we talking about here? Dog roses, or R. canina are favored, although according to Backyard Medicine, all varieties of roses can be used medicinally.

Not to mention the spiritual uses, also from Backyard Community:

Take three roses, white, pink and red. Wear them next to your heart for three days. Steep them in wine for three days more, then give to your lover. When he drinks, he will be yours forever.
– traditional love-charm, Germany

Here’s a Recipe from Foraged Flavored by Tama Matsuoka and Eddy Leroux, which utilized the seasonal flavor of roses into a delicious:

Rose Petal Jam

This jam uses minimal cooking time to preserve the delicate texture and aroma of the rose petals. Our favorite way to enjoy this jam is to mix it with slivered almonds and a tablespoon of cornmeal to make a paste. We slather the paste on seared duck and serve extra on the side. The sweet floral taste of the wild rose petals is a perfect match for the fatty duck meat. Makes 3 cups

2½ ounces (3 cups) wild rose petals (from 1 grocery bagful of flower-laden branches)
1¾ cups sugar ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 (1¾-ounce) package powdered pectin
1 tablespoon rosewater (optional)
1. Set a small plate in the freezer for testing the jam later. In a large pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the rose petals, turn off the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes or more.

2. Turn the heat back on to high and bring to a boil, adding the sugar ½ cup at a time, waiting for it to boil after each addition. Add the lemon juice.

3. Put the pectin in a heat-safe 1-cup measure and vigorously mix in a small amount of the hot liquid so that the pectin does not become lumpy. Pour the dissolved pectin mixture back into the pot and rapidly boil on high heat, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Check the consistency by dropping a teaspoon of the hot jelly onto the chilled plate and leaving it in the freezer for 10 seconds. When you run a finger through the gel on the plate it should form a trail or otherwise achieve the consistency you are looking for. If it does not, continue to boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat. If you prefer a stronger rose taste, add the rosewater. Pour into glass jars and refrigerate.

Don’t Hold Back- Say It!

Posted on Updated on

I’m sure many of you reading this have thought about it. Someone says something racist, sexist, or prejudice- and there’s that moment where you’re not sure if you should point it out.

Point it out.

Flipping through YouTube, I find racist comments everywhere. As soon as I hit the ‘reply’ button, I hesitate. Should I really start a conversation here? What will people say in response?

I no longer care. What can they call me?

Bitch? Whore? Slut?Nigger?

They’re all futile insults, meant to stifle you, you’re voice. They want you to sit down, shut up, and know you’re imaginary place.

I won’t.

For most of my early life, I allowed myself to be bullied into silence.

I won’t let it happen again.

So the next time you stop by, say, YouTube comments that some off as racist or sexist (or both!) Stop! You don;t have to engage in a super long, two week argument- simply stop and say:

That’t not right: many painful stereotypes exist about women that continue to be detrimental to their well being. Then maybe provide examples or something.

I don’t mean to say that words cannot harm people- because I know they can. In your mind, just imagine your voice teamed with many other people’s. Imagine what a difference that would make.

No, Not All Deities are the Same

Posted on

Image

Did I catch your attention? I hope so.

I wanted to further talk about cultural appropriation in the pagan community, because I feel as if it is a topic that needs to be stressed and understood. If this were an issue that people recognized and said “Oh! Now I understand! I’ll stop doing it right away and tell all my friends!” I’d be quiet. However, it is ongoing, and so I, in turn, will be vigilant.

The problem I want to talk about is cultural appropriation in terms of lumping all deities together. Whether one believes that all deities are archetypes isn’t really what I’m talking about- what I am talking about is when a person decides to lump all deities together, slap an Archetype on them, and then proceed to honor them in anyway they feel like it, because it feels “natural”, “intuitive”, or the like.

There is nothing wrong with feeling intuitive and inspirational in your practice. However, when a person decides that they don’t care how a religion has been practiced for hundreds or thousands of  years, or decides that an individual deity can be worshiped in the same way as another, ignoring any cultural implications or traditional practices,  it becomes a matter of cultural appropriation.

This also ties into the “shiny, me want” culture. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to a pagan website, and have them create a ritual for Kali-Ma under the Archetype of “Destroyer”, without even understanding how She is worshiped by actual followers of the Hindu faith. They do not take the time to learn, because they feel as if they can worship the deity  in anyway that they want to.

This is not okay.

This is especially not okay when we are talking about cultures that have been (and continue to be) marginalized, exotified, and trivialized. 

If you love a deity, and feel called to them, how about you actually take the time to learn about them, they’re history, and they’re development? 

Image

The same thing happens in regards for the iChing. How many people can actually tell you a bit about Chinese mythology, or even some history or spiritual practices? Not many. But they still love the iChing! The words are beautiful and poetic, and the symbols are pretty cool too. What could be wrong with that?

Everything, because you are taking something interesting from a culture, and saying fuck the rest. You believe that you have a right to something belonging to another culture, and will kick, scream, and whine when someone tries to tell you otherwise.

The problem with saying that all deities are the same is that when most people say this, they ignore the individual cultural implications any deity has, and then take it upon them selves to make shit up instead of, you know, reading, about something. So the next time you feel the need to trivialize someone else’s spirituality because you think you can, try stepping back and actually learning about it for once. That way, you won’t get offended when someone calls bullshit.

 

 

Free Pagan E-Book Bundle!

Posted on Updated on

Image

Hello, lovely readers!

This wonderful month of October, I will be giving away FREE digital copies of Pagan e-books!

Here’s how it works:

In the comments below, tell me:

a) When you discovered paganism

b) What your magical specialty is, or which practice most intrigues you (crystals, divination, spellwork, mythology, ect.)

OR

c) What type of e-books you would like to receive.

Each bundle will have three (3) e-books in a .ZIP file, to which I will contact winners and send them the books through email.

A Note: Books may come in e-pub or pdf format. For those without an e-reader of some sort, please visit http://calibre-ebook.com/ to download Calibre, which is a free e-book/pdf/document library that can read e-books.

Winners will be chosen each week for the rest of the month, along with a Samhain themed bundle going out on October the 31st.

Ready?

Go!

No, I Will Not Listen to Rap Just Because I Am Black, Sorry

Posted on Updated on

sykes-bmth-bring-me-the-horizon-oli-Favim.com-536874_original

I am African American.

And I do not like rap music.

Contrary to popular opinion, I do not listen to it in the car. I roll my eyes whenever anyone around me listens to it, and I hate going to events where it is played.

Rap, as it was, used to be about struggle, about hardship, about the deeds done after driven by poverty. It was about the struggle of African Americans to attain a better life as a message from those who had made it to the ones who didn’t-to the ones that died- to say, “You made me who I am. I haven’t forgotten about you.”

Now, I believe it has changed.

I do not want to hear music that went from the struggles of blacks to music about objectifying women, senseless violence, drugs, and money. Do not look at me crazy because I do not know the names of rappers or listen to the radio.

I will not treat music that berates, objectifies, exotifies women and other cultural minorities as if it is normal and acceptable. I will not listen to music that speaks of women as if they are something to be used and then thrown out for a new one, or music that treats other minorities as exotic bedroom treats.

I will not listen to music that insists that women can be bought out, that out bodies are the playthings of men.

Let me state that not all rap music is this way, however the vast majority of the genre tends to be. I do not like it, I will not enjoy it- now let me do just that, and stop blaring your preferred musical preference in every public place. Because I can almost  guarantee you don’t want me to blast Bring Me the Horizon.

A Message for Women

Posted on Updated on

 

Dear Women,

Everyday, I here women all across the U.S. fret about their looks. Whether it be that their hair is too short, too thin, too curly or too “normal”. I see them twist and turn in the mirror, their worried thoughts, “How do I make these lumps, those dimples, those jiggly parts disappear?”

Women, young women, let me tell you of your beauty, beauty that has been changed, altered, or misused against us.

Your hair-be it soft as silk or coarse or curly-frames your face, your lips a promise of soft kisses before tumbling head first in passion. Your thighs cradle your lover in warmth and comfort, reminding them of the simple pleasure of being close to a woman.

Your body curves, hips flaring, breasts soft, with pink or brown of red nipples puckered in cold or pleasure, feed a child or snuggle one to your bosom, falling into lover’s hands like ripe fruit.

Your arms pull loved ones close and hold them, your bosom quivering under your rapidly increasing heartbeat, all the while your lovers passion expresses itself in kisses trailed down to the soft lips between your legs, your arousal like honey, tasted, licked, and savored.

Do not shame yourself, your body, be it delicate and fine, rich and curvy, heavy, sturdy,or strongly rooted. See your self from your lover’s eyes which fall upon you in wonder as you remove your clothes, taste their anticipation and desire, be they man or woman.

See the fire in your eyes when you gaze in the mirror, the uniqueness which is yours and yours alone- cherish it, like a small child with secret- remember your childhood, your playfulness, and walk strong and proud among the leering gazes, whispered comments.

Embrace your inner passion, your desire, your sexuality. Wear a hip scarf, decorated with shells or coins or beads, framing your hips, honor your feminine nature.

Show the world that being a woman is not simply about your biological “destiny”- explore the arts, create with your hands, go into nature or look up at the stars and understand the sheer magnitude of the Universe.

You are crafted in beauty, no matter your shape, be it thin or thick, whether your skin is the softest cream or the darkest, sheer black. Whether your breasts are small and perky or full and heavy. Embrace your beauty, your uniqueness, your fire, your passion. Go out into the world, and create.