Things I want white mentally ill people to acknowledge (that is if they genuinely care about wanting to be allies. Those that are blatantly racist will ignore this regardless of what I say, lol):
yes, mental illness can and does affect everyone. but no, the way mental illness is diagnosed and treated does not fall along equal lines. like physical health and physical medical care, it is delineated by race, class, and gender, which means people of color, particularly working-class people of color, have the least access to mental health care and resources.
yes, ableism is a problem, and we need to avoid it at all costs, but calling out and criticizing racism is not ableist. assuming that all people of color are neurotypical is both racist AND ableist. finally, using mental illness as an excuse to be racist is rife with ableism itself because you posit that mentally ill people are inherently going to be bigoted (and you also ignore the intersection of race and mental health).
on that note, using your mental illness and past traumatic experiences as political currency is awful, especially when you’re using it to justify your own racism. people of color making jokes about white people is not ableist. people of color refusing to engage with your racism is not ableist. people of color calling you out for your racism is not ableist. people of color using terms that are specific to their racial/ethnic groups is not ableist. people of color prioritizing each other is not ableist. finally, pretending that only white people can be victims of trauma is incredibly racist.
acknowledge that because of white supremacy, people of color are at a higher risk for mental illness and trauma while also contending with little to no federal help or attention and with under-diagnosis. acknowledge that culturally and racially specific programs for mental health are necessary because the way kids of color deal with mental health is very different from how white kids deal with it. culture is very much a part of mental health and mental illness.
sociological and academic terms like “white guilt”, “white sociopathy”, “white anxiety”, and “white delusion” are NOT ableist terms. those are very specific terms used to describe systemic phenomenon - that white people do not see people of color as human, and thus are unable to empathize with us, they project their own guilt onto us in often violent ways, and they manifest their inherent hatred and fear of us in violent ways. you cannot be a good racial ally if you hate these terms or think that they don’t apply to you. i hate to break it to you, but they apply to all white people.
on that note, but opening your mouth and screaming “ableist! this information is inaccessible!” the minute a woman of color uses specific sociological terms to describe racism is fraught with racialized misogyny. women of color have to do far more to succeed in academic spaces whereas white people, and yes even white mentally ill people, don’t have to contend with those obstacles. and obviously rhetoric should be accessible - that is absolutely right - but blaming women of color for using terms that rich white neurotypical men came up with and popularized is ridiculous. especially because women of color are not taken seriously whether they’re being angry and “unacademic” or whether they’re being academic and “pretentious”.
if you don’t see the trauma enacted by white supremacy as an actual form of trauma, you’re racist. things like weathering and intergenerational trauma exist and those are specific forms of trauma caused by RACISM.
cry-typing when you’re called out for being racist, saying that you don’t have the “spoons” to talk about or learn about racism, saying that posts about racism cause you “anxiety” or “trigger” you, blatantly ignoring vile acts of racism because “um sweetie i don’t have to discuss this because my mental health is more important than your marginalization”, “being racist is my coping mechanism” or contrasting and juxtaposing yourself as “fragile/naive/soft/innocent/gentle” against “mean/aggressive/snobby/pretentious/scary” people of color is incredibly racist. white people have been conceptualizing people of color as scary and brutal and aggressive for centuries. congratulations on reinforcing your own racist socialization by dressing it up with some faux-progressive sjw mental health rhetoric!
A.) Legalities:I will mention some things
that I do very briefly in my personal graveyard. It is an older one that
borders my 3 acre property directly and is not regularly maintained. This
allows to me to fudge some rules. HOWEVER- working as a paralegal for over a
decade, let me lay some groundwork legality clauses for the general witch:
1.) Do not
enter after dark. It is illegal in most states.
2.) Do not take
dirt directly from atop a grave.
3.) Do not
bring bottles of liquor into the cemetery, or glass jars to put you dirt in.
4.) Do not
light more than a tea candle and always hold the tea candle yourself (do not
set on ground)
5.) It’s best to not disclosure your craft
to anyone asking what you’re doing. Just say you’re visiting (and wanted to
honor your relative’s memory if a candle is lit)
6.) ALWAYS do
as an employee/pastor/policeman asks. Even if it may be technically legal and
they’re just uncomfortable, it’s better to de-escalate the situation and leave.
You can either come back at a different time or find a different graveyard.
7.) Bring flowers to appear
more normal! They also make great offerings!
8.) Do not remove ANYTHING
from a grave site. Ever.
9.) Do not leave offerings of
stones. It is offensive (i.e. personal) in some religions.
Note: In regards to leaving stones on graves/headstones: It is a Jewish practice for remembrance and respect, but my personal research has not found any sources of it being disrespectful for gentiles/non-Jews to also do so. If you find a credible source to the contrary- please let us know! Otherwise, it is fine to leave small stones as offerings.
B.) Offerings: these should always be something
subtle. I never bring in an actual bottle/glass of the liquor offerings. I
usually soak a small bit of cotton or leaf/herb mixture in it and use that. For honey, I’m a huge
fan of those individual packets you can get at restaurants (even though they
aren’t perfectly local and organic, they are more transportable and less
legality issues- just please dispose of the plastic trash after use properly)
Offering examples: tobacco,
juice, silver coins, honey, liquor, fruit, flowers, herbs, incense (I like to
use pomegranate based juice/liquor/fruit due to it’s ties to the Underworld)
do NOT recommend bringing a shovel or spade. Period. I don’t even do this with my own
graveyard, it is a dangerous offense to be caught with.
would be best to wear shoes that are easy to take off, and do the ritual
without digging (if you don’t like the idea of bare feet in a graveyard, wear
thin socks you don’t mind getting dirty). The spirits will understand you don’t
want to be put in jail.
NOT recommend inhaling the herbs listed as wormwood and mugwort both contain
Thujone, which can cause a LOT of issues if too much is ingested/smoked. An sachet
of these is fine. You can gently smell the sachet bundle when focusing on the
spirit connection. Please be aware of your own medical conditions as well (i.e. allergies/pregnancies/disorders)
I recommend that are safe to place on your eyelids and would have positive
connotations with the dead: olive, pomegranate, coconut, almond, hemp seed
(these are all technically “carrier oils” and if you want to add a dash of an
essential oil that increases psychic/perception, you can- just spot check it
before you put it on the eyelid. Also, just a dab on each eyelid is fine. No
need to stick your eyelashes together.
D.) Graveyard dirt. What the hell
is it? Simply put, it’s dirt collected from a graveyard. It is NOT a euphemism
for other herbs. Also, when it comes to “Goofer dust”, that is a NOT
interchangeable with graveyard dirt, though graveyard dirt is a component of
the mixture. Please keep in mind Goofer dust is a traditional Hoodoo mixture,
and not something I recommend trying to use or replicate without stepping into
appropriation territory (THANKS “SUPERNATURAL”). However, graveyard dirt is
-Magical uses: Protection, barriers/wards (around property especially!),
cursing/hexes, banishing, certain types of healing, divination, spirit-work
General graveyard dirt: from anywhere
inside the graveyard grounds. This is what I recommend for beginners or people
who don’t have a lot of spirit work experience. Still leave an offering,
explain your purpose, and be respectful even if you’re just snagging a couple
spoonfuls from under a tree.
Grave dirt: dirt from a specific grave.
Do not do this with recent graves unless it is someone you knew/a relative.
It’s best to do this with older/semi-abandoned graves (pre 1900s are great).
Ask permission first (this is where spirit work experience comes in, it’s best
to get some sort of positive response in the method you are familiar with
before removing), leave an offering, and again be respectful.
Grave dust: The “leavings”/debris from
atop the gravestone itself. This is actually the easiest to collect without
looking suspicious. Just gently sweep it off into your hand and discreetly put
it in the bag/vessel you brought. It’s a common ingredient in
Underworld/Death/Necro workings. Also can be thought of as an extra potent
version of graveyard dirt in regards to magical correspondences. Still leave an
offering, ask permission, and explain yourself beforehand.
E.) Homework: Go to a
graveyard/cemetery and walk around quietly. Let yourself soak in the energy and
see if you’re drawn to any gravestones. Take pictures of the one(s) that you’re
drawn to! Share them on the server (or on your blog and tag us!)
Extra credit: Research the
person listed on the grave and see if you can figure out a reason you might
have been drawn to them!