And now, for something completely different. I promise this has a weird and witchy twist.
So I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim lately. I’ve got a story running on my book blog involving an Imperial rune-mage, which is why. He’s also an archaeologist, so in order to do the vast lore of the Elder Scrolls justice I’ve been absorbing every bit of theory, knowledge, text, and Top 10 Hidden Details lists I can get my wee hands on. That’s the backstory, short and sweet.
Early this morning I was scrolling through Tumblr – yeah, I know, don’t judge me – looking for anything related to Kynareth, one of the Nine Divines in the Elder Scrolls games. Mostly shrine screenshots and theories and whatnot. Well, a post came up of someone asking if they could use Kynareth in a pop culture pantheon. My brain goes, “Hm. I wonder what would happen if someone dedicated themselves to Kynareth for a month. Or to Talos, or Zenithar. Hmm.”
One leap of logic and a phone call from Brandon later, and I jokingly mentioned to him the idea of making an offering to or asking Dibella – goddess of beauty – for inspiration and help with art. Hung up the phone at the end of the conversation, thought little of it. Until about five minutes later when…
Suddenly so many inspiration!
Pop-culture Deity Devotion challenge! Using shrines in-game to leave offerings to the Nine Divines! Calling upon the Daedra for shadow work or bindings! Divination challenges!Tarot Spreads! And the CHEEESE!!!
So I do believe I just got trolled/helped by a video game goddess. Sounds like madness, might be madness, but it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless. I may or may not be distilling some of those ideas down into a workable format and posting them around. I particularly like the idea of Tamriellic pantheon tarot spreads. And putting a more helpful spin on some of the creepy/disturbing/unsettling Daedra. (Namiria, Mehrunes Dagon, and Molag Bal, I’m looking at you.) Part of me doesn’t want to touch the Daedra with a ten foot pole, part of me thinks it’ll be fun and enlightening, and part of me is still going, “these are from a video game! WTF?!”
Some of my oldest readers (readers? friends? who/what are you anyway?) will remember an attempt I made when I first started this blog to make a tarot deck based on characters from my novels. It… was alright-ish? But it didn’t pan out. The symbolism was wonky and forced and the sheer amount of time it took to do watercolor cards – I hate painting, as it turns out – made it, in the end, not really worth it to me.
And then I did the Five Realms Oracle.
More than anything, that proved to me that I do have a better handle on symbolism than I think I do, and that I have the patience and persistence necessary to complete a long-term, involved project like that. The tricky bit with that deck now is trying to put together a guidebook for it, and for that I’ve been testing it all over the place in different types of readings… but it’s hard to make an oracle deck from scratch. I can use the runes as a guide, obviously, but my views on the runes are changing a bit, and don’t really fit the cards anymore. I might take them off on the final versions. Still, trying to figure out how the symbolism fits into situations is a lot more difficult than I imagined starting out, even with a basic knowledge of the meanings already in place.
Tarot is different. Tarot is familiar. Tarot isn’t easy, per se, but it interacts and weaves into itself in known and predictable ways. The specific imagery can be twisted and shaped but the archetypal meanings stay roughly the same. Death is always change and rebirth. Strength is always endurance and boundaries. The Fool, as it turns out, was what I was missing the meaning of when I first tried to create the Five Realms Tarot (or the Revenant Tarot, I can’t remember which) a few years ago. I didn’t have a good enough scope of the whole story and the players in it. Who was powerful, who was learning. And part of what made the original set of symbolism so off was that I picked the wrong Fool.
Esper Ravenwood is the Fool. He’s the protagonist. He’s the one who goes on an epic journey, and whose journey gets reflected and faceted over and over again throughout his five and a half hundred years, and even after that. He is both catalyst and solution. He is the Fool that walks through the twenty-one doors, being changed by and in turn changing the people that he meets behind them. He’s walked through doors nobody was ever meant to come back through and done it anyway.
The other cards I lacked a decent understanding of? Death, Temperance, Judgement, and the Lovers. Which ties directly into what happened last April. I think I’ve finally walked through enough doors myself to do the Tarot justice. (Heh. Justice.) Watch me change my mind at the end of the Major Arcana. 😛
So… I think I might have another go at the Five Realms Tarot, now that I know who the Fool was. Funny enough, I wrote his Tales in first person. Read into that what you will.
Holy crap it’s been a while. Sorry about that, guys. Nothing bad happened this time – nothing on the order of soul-close-friends dying, anyway – I just haven’t had much to talk about. Life’s been happening and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Might update soon.
A personal (I guess??) piece for Ingvi-Frey, lord of peace and good seasons. and pants I mean plants. Whenever the sunflowers and tiger lilies start blooming I think of him, and I haven’t done an art for him in a while.
I went out for an impromptu picnic with my lovely Moose man the other day and it was just so peaceful and warm, birds were chatting and bumble bees kept checking in to say hello (and scare the crap out of me), and all I could think of was, “this is Frey. This is what he’s all about. Peace and laughter and loving moments shared with friends and family.” We sat under a tree which is actually two trees twisted up together and surrounded by a bed of clover. It was hot as heck out, as summer on the front range tends to be, but it was so… Frey. I wish I could take that feeling and distill it, stick it into a bottle, and wear it forever. Give it to those who need it more than me.
Hi, btw, for those of you who don’t know I am actually rather devoted to this particular deity. He stands for so much that I try to stand for, that I try to be. He represents a version of masculinity that I deeply admire – giving without being pushy, protective without being possessive, friendly without being obnoxious, strong without feeling the need to prove it or show it off, respectful and kind toward all people – and working on this piece for him lit me up from the moment I started sketching it. I don’t do lineless art very often; it just takes so long to do, so I tend to reserve it for special pieces. This is in thanks to him for all of the things that have been going well lately, all of the crap I’ve been trying to sort out emotionally and mentally, all of the courage I’ve found whilst digging in the depths of hopelessness, and hope that I might actually have the wherewithal to follow the paths I can’t help but stare at from a distance because I’ve been so scared of being judged for taking them.
That got a little weird but I hope someone finds some peace in the picture, at least. Peace and Good Seasons to ya’ll.
Aside: And guess what just happened while I was getting ready to post this? A friend asked for help. Spiritual help. That. Was. WHAT?! I still get flabbergasted when shit like this happens!!
And by that I mean most of my county got flooded and/or hailed on by a rather powerful thunderstorm. It rained, hailed, and thundered like the dickens out here and I managed to fill a 20 oz. bottle with storm water and hail. In five minutes. Everything’s fine today but yesterday the park was flooded to the point where my sister and I spotted a duck swimming across what would normally be a sidewalk.
I’m about to leave the bottle – it’s glass, btw, dunno if that matters to anyone reading – out in my window for a few days so it can get a full charge of moon and sunlight, provided the clouds scoot a little. Obviously I’m also going to filter the absolute hell out of it and possibly boil it for safety before I actually use it for anything. Or at least anything regarding contact with my own skin or tools (e.g. charged baths or charged paint water… actually that last one isn’t a half-bad idea).
Which is my problem, actually. I don’t have much of a clue what I’m going to use it for, yet, since I’ve never had this much storm water in the same place before – I live in a normally arid part of Colorado – but I’m excited to have it regardless. I’ve also not really been one for ritual spellcasting and potion-making in the past, since I prefer on-the-fly practical shtuff, but I’m feeling a rather strong urge to work some “get off my lawn” type spellcraft toward a certain individual who keeps gumming up the works in terms of scheduling lately. I’m thinking storm water will be a good thing to use for a bit of zap. Hell, with how much it flooded I wonder if I could built a proverbial moat.
Anyway. Do ya’ll use storm water in your practices? If so, what for? (I might steal a few ideas while my brain is percolating.)
In which I go off on mega tangents and talk a lot about writing, art, D&D, and worldbuilding. Mainly worldbuilding, and how it applies to self-help, magic, and other witchy things. Let the mental wrestling commence!
So it might seem a little bizarre for someone like me – spiritually inclined and whatnot – to have a moment of, “Oh yeah. I forgot about that,” regarding something like empathy, or high sensitivity in general. Guess who has two thumbs and forgot they were an empath? Me.
Full disclosure, I’ve done three other readings with this deck already and it’s a bit scary how on-the-nose the results can be, sometimes. The reason for so many readings is simple: understanding the cards in different contexts. The more situations I find the cards in, the more facets I can look at and interpret.
Which brings me to my Yule reading for this year, which is actually a rune reading spread that I found on Pinterest and decided to try out since my cards have runes on them. Rather than tossing runes onto my rug, however, I asked my pendulum how many cards to pull for each position and read them from there. This deck seems to work really well with my pendulum, actually.
So, here’s the spread(which I’ve actually flipped from the original, for flow reasons), followed by my interpretation of the cards:
Past – The Warrior, The Sage, and The Wounded
This one is pretty straightforward. All the crap in April happened, I got called down a path I never thought I’d have to go down, and I’ve been struggling with trying to live without someone who had a massive effect on my life. Not only have I been trying to get a handle on the grieving process and trying to move past it, I’ve been in situations where it feels like people expect me to pretend it never happened and move on with my life. I can’t do that. This year changed me, for better or worse, and while I’m probably stronger because of it, I still don’t think I’ve got enough of a handle on anything to start really living again, even though the gods know I’m trying. Long story short: shit happened, and I’m still trying to deal with some of it.
Present – Wyrd
Speaking of on-the-nose, things are currently weird. I feel like I and many others are in a kind of between-space right now. Chronologically this seems to be true, since we’re between Yule and the New Year right now, and that seems like a rather funky time in most peoples’ lives, and not just because of the holidays or lack thereof. Right now, I’m taking a bit of a breather. Taking space – hee – from life while I try to figure out how to do anything remotely resembling moving forward. I feel a bit like life knocked me down hard over the last several months, and I’m just now getting up to limp into 2017. For the sake of understanding, I feel obligated to say that while I do try to put my best face forward on camera or in text, my mental/emotional state has been an absolute clusterfuck for the last seven months or so. That said, things are happening outside of my awareness right now and I think – I hope, anyway – that whatever strings are being pulled will lead to a reprieve at the least, and a breakthrough at best.
Action – The Rune
If you’re thinking this card has a very Odin vibe about it, you’d be right, and it was definitely designed that way on purpose. My tentative meaning for The Rune was something along the lines of embracing the unknown as a challenge, rather than an insurmountable wall. Looking into shadows you normally shun or shy away from. Ordeals and confrontations of the self come to mind immediately, and actually make me recoil a bit. I feel like I’ve already had enough crap thrown at me for one year, but unfortunately I believe the Powers That Be aren’t done with me yet. I know this is an action I will have to initiate, and taking action is by far the thing that I’m the worst at. This card represents stepping into the unknown and trusting that it’s for a reason. Or stepping into the unknown with a purpose, or a target. The Gar rune has always looked a bit like a crosshair, to me.
Stagnation – The Victorious, and the Realm of Spirit
This is what happens if I don’t take that action. That tower sticks out like a sore thumb in an, “I’m just waiting for the lightning strike,” kind of way. While it might make me feel like I’ve beaten something or won out in some way, I feel like it’ll be short lived and hollow. Yes, I could be happy, but I’ll still be stuck in the same place and just asking for something else to come along and push me out of the tower. (Oh hey, Bran Stark reference on accident.) So the question posed by the cards turns into, “Would you rather move of your own power or be moved by something you can’t control?” Being a Taurus, I’d rather just not move in general, but I see where this is going.
Future – The Guardian and The Alchemist
Now, this pair I find interesting for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that my primary archetype is the Alchemist. There’s a lot to pick out of these cards. They’re both facing each other, and are pulling magic in the same sort of way, but one is much more purposeful and the other is experimental. The Guardian is controlling water, and the Alchemist is playing with fire. The Guardian, being a dark-elf, is old, while the Alchemist is a young girl. Frankly, I’m still struggling a little with the meaning of the Guardian, but together these two cards synergize so well. Like the inner child and the inner parent (hm. “Guardian.” Interesting. That actually explains a little about why I’m terrified of the Guardian in the Wildwood Tarot, now that I think about it) coming together to make things happen of their own power, and at their own pace. So this seems like coming into power as a self-reliant being and not just being swooped around by forces beyond anyone’s control. I’m not quite sure yet, but I’ll definitely know it when I get there, if I get there.
Overview/Bottom of the Deck – The Smith
Recently I’ve started looking at the card at the bottom of the deck for an overview or a, “here’s what you’re missing” piece of information. The Smith has actually come up in a couple of other readings with this deck. I tend to be drawn to the Rune, rather than the actual figure, and the bit of the Uruz rune poem that says, “dross comes from bad iron.” Meaning, nothing worthwhile comes out of half-assing it. So, elbow grease and a steel resolve will likely be useful going forward. A common thread with me is that whatever I really put my mind to, I will achieve, because I’m a stubborn bull like that. So when a path isn’t really meant for me, I will plow my own. Make my own spear and throw it, too! At least, that’s what I like to think, and that’s been the case in the past. This deck is the result of being dedicated and determined, so hopefully that willpower carries through into whatever The Rune wants me to do.
The future is still a little blurry, but I’ll get there when I get there. In the meantime, what do you think of this deck? I’m pretty proud of it, if not as a functioning deck (which, I think it is) than as an artistic experiment. So far, most of my readings with it have been pretty spot-on, character and world knowledge aside.
Guess what? I fixed my editing software! 😀 And decided to do some rambles about anxiety because it’s a thing that I have and can do videos about. I’m gonna make a playlist about it. I am excited, if you couldn’t tell.
Also, something I didn’t mention in the video is the idea that fear can actually direct you toward where you need to go next, so that’ll probably go into another video at some point. “The thing I fear contains the thing I need.”
My Etsy shop is still on vacation until I can get a handle on some stuff but I’m working on it. I probably won’t be offering tarot or rune readings anymore, but my illustrations are still up. We’ll see! I’m also working on a super-secret project that is currently still in testing, but I think so far it’s working. Like, ~really~ well.
I promise I didn’t get hurt or anything when I went on my adventure, I’ve just been lurking around in the background for a few weeks trying to recharge and get my brain back on correctly. More details eventually, but apparently mountains and I have a massive connection, because as soon as I got within picking-out-trees distance I felt like I was home. Or at least more grounded. Coming back out to the flats has given me a lot to think about and digest, and not all of it is good.
Also, Pup wanted a group get-together the weekend after the massive, anxiety-inducing, emotionally, mentally, and physically draining excursion. I think I’ve about reached my limit for the next year or so when it comes to human interaction and I need time before I have to deal with those two again. I love them to bits but neither of them quite seem to understand the extent to which people – even people that I care about and consider my friends – exhaust me, nor that I don’t come back from it nearly as fast as they all seem to. Digital stuff, I’m fine with. I don’t get sensory overload from talking to people or watching stuff on a screen. Heck, I can play Overwatch for hours (not that I do very often, but sometimes I just need to shoot pixels at other pixels, you know?) and still be alright. Being in person with people, especially in an area that I’m not familiar with, I get twitchy, and that exhausts me. It’s gotten worse after the Mutt incident. Can’t say as I blame myself, there.
Sooo, yah. I’ve been trying to recuperate from some apparently severe emotional and mental exhaustion. The other day I was reminded – forcefully and by my own brain – that I can’t run myself on maximum all the time without suffering consequences. I need to construct additional pylons, as it were. Be more firm in my boundaries, learn to say no, and really listen to myself. All things I thought I’d learned how to do but in the wake of tragedy, I can forgive myself for forgetting.
I’ll be back with a video eventually. Right now I need a nap and bit of tarot, maybe. It tends to get me in more of an objective, relaxed mindset where I can properly process things.
No video this week, because I’ve been preparing for another three-day trip, akin to the one I took in College where I went around Colorado and saw All The Things with my geology class. This time, though, I have a more solemn purpose for my gallivanting around, and the Pack is coming with me. We’re off today to go scatter Mutt’s ashes up in the mountains. He’d have liked that, I think. Only two things he would have wanted more would probably be getting made into little necklaces for us and his family, or getting shipped off to Egypt. (Which is where he was the last time he was a human!) I know he’s in good hands, both physically and soulfully, so I’m not too morose about the whole thing. Just worried about the getting there and back. And it’s supposed to rain again, like it did the whole week of April 27th.
So I’ll be back soon. Until then have some poetry that I remember from one of my dad’s books, but I don’t know who the original author is:
I must off to the seas again, To the lonely sea in the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship, And a star to steer her by.