Archive for April, 2008

Let’s talk, y’all.

April 21, 2008 4 comments

So, who the hell am I and why am I here?

To the first: My name is Zaratha Zarathi. Not my legal name, just one of many magical names. I also go by Morboriel Parthenos. I’m a 27 year old African-American witch, born and raised in New York City, currently residing in the Southwest. I say “African-American” despite despising the term, largely because “black witch” still conjures up stupid shit in many people’s minds (a rant for a future post). I’m a lot of things that Black Women are not “supposed” to be: Gothic, bisexual, polyamorous, gamer chick, anime geek. Hell, I’m even a Mac user. I don’t say this because I think I’m some kind of special, unique snowflake. Quite the contrary. There are many, many more like me out there.

I’ve been practicing various forms of Paganism for about thirteen years. I was featured in a documentary called “Out of the Broom Closet” which has yet to see the light of day, unfortunately. I’ve also had an essay published in a scholarly anthology on teenage witchcraft. I’ve done time working at a fairly well-known witch shop in New York; if you shopped at Enchantments, Inc. some time in the mid-to-late ’90s, you’ve probably met me.

In my time as a Pagan, I’ve explored British Traditional Wicca, Celtic and Norse-based traditions, Feri, Hellenism, Thelema and just about everything in-between. My current path is one of Eclectic Dark Paganism, with Middle-Eastern/Indo-Pagan leanings, though it’s not really anything I can nail down in a short, pithy label.

To the second, why am I here? Because I’m tired of seeing news article after news article insinuating that All Neo-Pagans Everywhere are bored middle class white women. I’m tired of being looked at cross-eyed because I am the only person of color at a public ritual. I’m tired of being followed in metaphysical stores because the proprietors think I’m stealing. I’m here because I am way the fuck over the rampant, unexamined white privilege I see in the community. I’m tired of seeing comment after ignorant ass comment on blogs equating Halloween decorations with the lynching of blacks, and the so-called “Burning Times” with the Middle Passage. I’m tired of righteous middle-class WASP indignation over animal sacrifice in Afro-Caribbean traditions, and I am sick and fucking tired of having to explain that no, I don’t work in those traditions despite being of African descent. Perhaps above all, I’m tired of being invisible.

Really, there’s just a whole lot of Lose and Fail that goes about unchallenged in the Pagan community with regard to issues of race and ethnicity. There are Pagans who valiantly try to put a spotlight on these issues (Jason Pitzl-Waters of Wild Hunt in particular has my undying admiration for continually trying to drop some sense on people). For the most part, though, the silence is truly deafening. More people need to speak up, and my loud ass is volunteering. I will not always be ranting about the Dumb Ass; I’ll also be talking a little about my personal path. I’ll also try to highlight the positive, because as many problems as the community has, there is a lot of good to be found there.

Hopefully I can help you laugh a little, and think along the way.

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