First Success with my Witch Runes

Good evening, dear reader(s),

I, as a newbie pagan eclectic witch, have been experimenting with different sorts of divination. While the pendulum is all nice and dandy to communicate with my gods and goddesses, my witch runes are great at providing some success. Thanks to their little help, I finally got my first job.

Though I had to give it  a few tries, before it worked. The first time I asked, it looked promising. I got the Flight Rune (which will be explained a little later). At that time, I was already applying for a summer job. However, the second time I asked, I got the Crossroad Rune, a sign for major life decisions, the unknown, being stuck and afraid of moving forward. Well, I got the bad news that I wouldn’t be able to work at that specific (and pretty well-paid) job after all. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

The second time, they straight out refused to show me anything. All I got to look at were their bare backs. Not too great, either. So I waited for another week before asking them again. So I lighted my candles, burned some incense and asked them the same question again. The results were promising.

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picture by The Norse Wind

There was the Flight Rune; a sign for movement, communication, networking, travels, etc. Plus, there was the Man Rune; a sign for action, confidence and protection, among others. So, I interpreted the signs as something positive coming up. Something to do with communication, a probably busy job. I uploaded my CV on a job site and it didn’t take three days before I got an offer.  Interestingly, I interpreted the Man Rune also as someone maybe giving me some fatherly advice or simply a man getting in touch, since it also stands for any male characteristic. I was right. A young man called me and asked if I was still interested in the job offer. And now, I will start work as a concierge in August!

Now, I’ll be off burning some incense and playing some lovely music to thank my dear gods and goddesses for their help and guidance.

 

 

 

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Leaving sadness slowly setting in

Good evening, dear reader(s)

Another semester at university is slowly coming to an end and with it, the slow realization that I will have to leave a bunch of friends behind when returning home for good. I know that there is something called social media, but I prefer talking to people in real life. I still have friends back at home as well whom I haven’t seen in a long time either. These people will have some priority for a while, but I might try to meet-up with my university friends at least once a year (I’m pretty optimistic, since plane tickets cost money…).

The people I will probably miss the most are the guys from my fencing club. I’ve been hanging out with these people for three years, and we have been through some adventurous times together. They have become a sort of family. When I first joined the club, I didn’t know that I would meet an awesome bunch of nerds and geeks with swords and a tendency to party hard when the occasion arises. Geez, I think the final tournament and its following barbecue will be the death of me (and, I think, of them as well). Tears may or may not be shed, but good memories will stay forever. If not there, then it might happen on the airplane when the realization will hit me with its sledgehammer.

In other words, I will leave with a luggage filled with great memories, some captured in photographs, some captured in my brain. Until then, I still have to focus on my exams, before planning to move out of my accommodation (and what I’ll do with all of my kitchen stuff…).

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Varsities 2018

Good afternoon, dear reader(s),

Since my flu has diminished a little, I can finally sit down and write about the last week-ends Varsities.

Our fencing club was the chosen one to host this year’s big event that is the All-Irish-Varsities 2018. In other words, this meant months of preparation: getting the money together, chase down  other clubs’ captains and get them to pay for dinner, book a place for said dinner, find possible sponsors,  get an armourer, a First Aid team, referees, boxes, spools, pistes, booking the hall for the week-end, etc. It not only sounds stressful, it really is stressful. However, once everything falls into place, it feels good. (until the week-end’s over and you have to clean out the hall, dismantle the pistes, put everything back into place, that is)

On Saturday, Women’s Foil, Men’s Epée and Men’s Sabre were on. From what I can remember, our Epée team came in 4th out of 8. I can’t remember the other results; the only general thing I actually can remember is that we didn’t do too bad. I mean, we didn’t win, but we weren’t the very last ones either.

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Women’s Foil (picture by me)
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Men’s Sabre (picture by me)

 

That Saturday evening was also the dinner. Now, just imagine the noise of over 200 people attending and slowly getting drunk. I stayed sober, more or less, since I would be fencing on Sunday. And fencing with a hangover is not something I was looking forward to. The evening was good fun, especially the so-called Varsity Virgins. The ‘Virgins’ are for those who attend the Varsities for their very first time and is basically a short set of challenges for the new ones. We had settled on a ‘Three Legged Race’, where participants are tied together at their legs, have to run up and down a short distance and down a pint at the return. (Galway won that race, by the way). Needless to say, it was great to watch people struggle their way up and down the dance floor.

Come Sunday morning. Waking up at 8:30-ish to be at the hall at 9am,only to notice that the number of participants has shrunk. My guess: curing the all dreaded hangover. Anyways, it was  time for Women’s Sabre, Women’s Epée and Men’s Foil. I fenced Sabre, since I have recently fallen in love with that weapon (plus, it makes me feel like a pirate…Yarrr!) and since our Women’s Epée team had fallen apart shortly before the Varsities.  I’m normally not one to brag, but I can proudly say that we didn’t fail completely. In almost every round, we managed to get some hits (and we broke one of our most dreaded opponent’s blade. I won’t go into detail about who that is, but let’s just say that these guys need to stop taking themselves and events such as this too seriously). If I remember correctly, we made it to the 6th place out of 7, which is not too bad, considering that most of the students fencing were doing it since years or were half-professionals. Oh, and another plus side to fencing saber is the shortness of it. At around lunch time, we were done with everything.

Then, in the late afternoon, came the part of getting the hall back into its initial state. While the trophies were handed out, some of us already started to take the pistes apart. Now, these may be made of aluminium and some other metals, but theses things are heavy as hell, especially if you have to remove six long pistes à fourteen to fifteen pieces each. People from other clubs did help out a bit, and thankfully so. The hall was empty and more or less cleaned out of rubbish at around 6pm. By then, my feet were killing me, my knee hurt (which I had overstretched a bit while lunging) , I was tired and hungry. As if that wasn’t enough, I still had to do laundry  that evening as well. In other words, I was officially done with everything at 8pm.

Even though it has been a long and sometimes tiring week-end, it was still good fun as always. Meeting new people, reconnecting with old acquaintances, cheering on your teams…Unfortunately, these will be my last Varsities as is my final year at university, so I’d like to keep this one in particular lodged deep inside my brain.

When inspiration strikes…

Good afternoon, dear reader(s),

Recently, I have been on a Powerwolf– binge. For those who have never heard of these guys: they are a German Symphonic- Powermetal band whose main themes are religion, werewolves and vampires. Their music is a blend of church organs, epic choirs and general badasssery, as the band name suggests.

So much for that.

Now, I am sure a lot of you know the feeling of an idea lurking in the deepest corner of your mind. An idea that you cannot let go and leaves you sleepless until you decide to realize that idea once and for all.  I sure know that feeling. In fact, I am currently living it. Amongst the essays and a dissertation to be written lies this idea for a story. What does it have to do with Powerwolf, you might ask? Well, the idea is based on their albums and concept. Let me explain:

Roman Catholic werewolves fighting in the name of God is a concept that basically writes itself. I mean, the opportunities are great: it can be set in any time period, it leaves a lot of possibilities to create characters struggling with their identity, their beliefs, how it can be justified as a werewolf and how they deal with that; the endless ‘good vs evil’ trope or werewolves vs vampires or even werewolves and vampires teaming up together against a bigger, even more evil force, etc.

Powerwolf’s  album art also provides inspiration. Just look at it:

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Preachers of the Night
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Blessed and Possessed
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Blessed and Possessed
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The Metal Mass Live Tour

These pictures get my imagination working. ( Who are these characters? What are they like? Why do they join the fight? etc.)

And don’t get me started on the lyrics or even the orchestral versions of some of their songs. I mean, just listen to their Sacrilege Symphony, if you a) might not like metal music as much as I do but still want to know what Powerwolf sounds like, b) want to get the chills and c) want to feel epic doing whatever you are doing right now, whether that be reading, writing, drawing, doing chores…a little epicness never did any harm 🙂

If I start working on this project, I’ll let you know. So far, it’s an abstract idea. Once I have one essay down, I’ll start working on it.

 

Alestorm Live and Friendly Metalheads

Good afternoon, dear reader(s),

I finally got to see Alestorm live for the first time! I had bought the ticket before Christmas, as a sort of Christmas present from myself to myself. And since chances are that they won’t tour in my home country, I thought: “Heck, let’s do this!” Moreover, it was the perfect day, since the exam results had come out and I now had a good reason to go out and have some fun and celebrate. And so, I went to see them during their Piratefest Tour 2018.

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Before the concert, I had some trouble finding the venue, even though it was closer to the train station than I thought.I had been walking around for minutes, even though I would just have gone straight up the road and then right…but that’s me and my wonderful orientation skills 😀 Anyways, I found some metalheads and followed them and ta-daaaa, I found the venue.  That’s a good tip, by the way, if you’re going to an event and don’t know where it is: find people who look like they might go there as well, and follow them (only works for festivals and concerts, though)

While queuing up, I was still on the look out for a friend of mine. We were supposed to meet and go together, but he didn’t show up. So, I was by myself. You might think that a girl, all by herself standing in a queue surrounded by intimidating looking guys would feel horrified and scared, but let me tell you: I know from experience that metalheads are the nicest people on earth and thus, I felt safe. I even ended up chatting with  a bunch of people for a while (and mind you, I’m not necessarily a very social person) until we got in.

Inside, at the merchandise stand, I had a few seconds of a fangirl moment. I saw Christopher Bowes, Alestorm’s front man, for a few seconds. Before I could do anything, he was gone again. It was a very short moment, but probably one of the best moments of the concert. I’m still fangirling a little.

The first special guest band were Rumahoy. Holy cow, they were rocking it! If you want to know what they sound like, just imagine what Sabaton sounded like if they would turn into pirates. It was a great warm-up for the rest to come. The second special guest band were The Dread Crew of Deadwood. Now, I can say that they have a new fan now. These guys were playing “Heavy Mahogany” (their words, not mine) or,in other words, folk. And I am a sucker for some good folk music and these guys sounded heavy without any metal guitars or stuff like that. Plus, the crowd loved them since they got a bottle of Buckfast (a very Northern Irish drink that gets you drunk).

As for Alestorm themselves, I cannot give you a full account on their concert since I had to leave four songs in to catch the last train back. But from what I witnessed, it was amazing. They kicked off with Keelhauled, which was followed by Alestorm, Magnetic North and Mexico. After the last song, I had unfortunately to leave. I wish I could have stayed the whole evening through, but as I am dependent on public transport, I did not really have another choice. In other words, I have no idea if they played Captain Morgan’s Revenge or F*cked with an Anchor (yes, that song’s called like that and it’s hilarious) and that makes me kind of sad. Nor do I know if they played any of their “for dogs” songs (which are basically their normal songs, except that the vocals have been exchanged for barking dogs).

Even if I had to leave earlier, I still witnessed some interesting things happening. First, the drunk singing of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. This was played in-between the last special guest band and Alestorm. It was sight to behold/hear:A few hundred drunk grown men and women ‘singing’ that song. It’s something you don’t see every day.

Then there were the two elderly ladies standing next to me. For those who’ve never been to a metal concert, it is usual to throw the horns up in the air. They look like this, for those unfamiliar with them:

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These ladies were doing it and looked like they were having tons of fun. It was great to see!

I also chatted with another random guy, got hugged by two different people (though one of them was a guy I had met in the queue) and one of the guys standing next to me looked like Joakim Brodén from Sabaton, just without sunglasses.

All in all, it had been an amazing evening. Thanks again, Alestorm for touring and introducing me to new bands!

Brave New World : A Review & Thoughts on it

Good morning, dear reader(s),

I have finished reading one of the classic dystopian novels: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Now, before I go into any details, I will warn you: SPOILERS AHEAD! (Just in case you might not have read it, yet)

I’ll give a short summary first, before any details that struck me. So, the novel is set the far future, where the so-called World Controllers have created the perfect society, based on brainwashing, genetic engineering and recreational sex and drug use. Everyone is happy. Everyone? No, a guy called Bernard Marx (yes, the people are all named after Revolutionaries from both science, politics, capitalism, such as Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Ford, Freud, etc) feels like an outsider. He feels empty and devoid of purpose. All he wants is to be free from everything and break out from the perfect society. After he visits one of the remaining ‘Savage Reservation’ and brings one of the Savages into his perfect society, his life takes a whole different turn.

So much for the summary, now come the details which made me think about our own possible future.

This society is, first of all, divided into various classes. Nothing unusual, one might think, but Huxley takes it to a whole new level. The children are not born naturally, as this is heavily frowned upon. Instead, they are literally mass-produced in labs and split into groups, ranging from Alpha to Epsilon. As the brainwashing machine explains:

“Alpha children wear grey.They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m Beta, because I don’t work so hard.And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. […] And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to…”

You get the picture. Children are trained to believe that some are to be treated as inferiors, others should be respected because they are superior. They are pushed into their future purposes by constant brainwashing and eventually believe it. An Epsilon could never do the same work an Alpha does, since he wouldn’t know how to do it nor feel the need to. He is, after all, been told to be happy about the job he has to do. It is scary to think about it. Are we also not told that we have our own free will, but are constantly bombarded by the media on how we should behave, what we should buy, where we should go to, etc. It leaves the question about Free Will unanswered. Are we really free? Or is it just an illusion?

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Another bit which caught me off guard is how women are presented. As mentioned in the summary, recreational sex is used as a method to keep everyone happy and satisfied. (I do not, in any way, condemn the idea as such, by the way). Huxley, however, shows with the women’s behavior, how far the brainwashing actually goes. Lenina, who is interested in Bernard, sees herself as a ‘piece of meat’, as Bernard notices. She enjoys sleeping with a lot of men, and is proud of her numbers. However, that is her sole interest. When Bernard takes her out on a date and simply wants to enjoy watching the sea at night, she becomes lost. Lenina does not know how to react and starts sobbing violently. She doesn’t understand that Bernard might be interested in more than just sex. Same goes for when she tries to seduce John, the ‘Savage’. He rejects her attempts of sexual approaches and leaves her broken. Out of helplessness and frustration, she takes drugs to forget about it. Lenina is simply a product of the human mass-production and the brainwashing, and doesn’t know about anything more than being available for any man who wants her. If you start thinking about it, how many people (men and women) count their own worth in simply being an object of desire? They might only feel worthy by their one-night stands and do not understand that love includes more than just the exchange of bodily fluids.

Now, to the final point: the clash of the ‘Savage’ and the perfect society. John, the ‘Savage’ comes from the Reservation and thus outside of ‘civilization’. He was born and raised by his biological mother, a woman who actually comes from Bernard’s society. However, as a white young man, he faces serious bullying from the Natives, who call him and his mother names, throw stones at him, exclude him from everything, etc. John, of course, resigns to this life and tries somewhat to fit in. Bernard is fascinated by the young man and decides to take him and his old mother out of the Reservation and into ‘civilization’. This, of course, causes a massive uproar. John is treated as an abnormality. He does not take drugs, does not sleep around, has other emotions apart from happiness and has not been born in a laboratory. People flock to Bernard to finally have a look at this human being. While Bernard profits from his sudden success, John wants to get rid of all the unwanted attention. He eventually decided to move into a lighthouse in the countryside, but cannot escape the people’s attention. When he punches a journalist out of affect, the flocks of helicopters really swarm onto him. John breaks under the pressure and ends up hanging himself. The character of John is a pendant to Bernard’s. He allows the reader to see how the perfect society actually works and make up his mind about whether or not it really is a utopia. From all the drug induced happiness and brainwashing, John offers a massive contrast by reacting in a humane way. He wants to be alone to grieve his mother’s death, but is constantly interrupted by a group of children who are being ‘death trained’. Of course, he becomes frustrated and lets out his anger, shocking everyone around him. John, with his wide range of emotions, shows how cold the utopian society is. He is seen as insane and uncontrollable, while in fact, he is the only ‘real’ human being with all his imperfections. Mind you, the idea of genetic perfection is terrifying to me. Imagine being able to create the perfect human beings without any inheritable illnesses or other imperfections. Now, getting rid of Alzheimer’s, for example, would be nice, but how far would we go? How long would it last until there will be perfect and almost immortal soldiers? Would we start separating people according to their birth certificates and decide who is better than the other, just because the womb has been replaced by a glass container?

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In conclusion, this novel makes you really think about such topics and ethics. It becomes scary, when you take the thoughts too far (as I have a tendency to do). Then again, I suppose that this was Huxley’s intention. So, if you’re up to get your mind working, read the novel.

2nd Semester, Meditation,Pendulum & Beliefs

Good morning, dear reader(s),

With my last exam finally written on Monday, I have now a week ahead to focus on other things, which mainly consist of getting all the books for my main module about 20th-century literature. From what the list tells me, it is going to be a lot of poetry, such as Sylvia Plath, Thomas Hardy and T.S Eliot, just to name a few. As for novels, there are D.H Lawrence’s Women in Love, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Huxley’s Brave New World (can’t wait to read that one! It has always been on my list.) Greene’s The Heart of the Matter and Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride. As you can see, it is quite a variety. Now, I’m just waiting for all these books to arrive.

While waiting and still having another week of nothing happening, I have decided to embrace my Pagan/Wiccan beliefs. For years, I have always believed in something bigger out there, which is not necessarily God, but more of an universal Force/Energy. Plus, I feel the need to reconnect with nature again in one way or another. I guess I would fall under the Solitary Eclectic Practitioner, since it is a mashup of everything. My pantheon is made up from Egyptian Gods/ Goddesses (Thoth, Seshat, Nut, Geb) and Celtic Gods/Goddesses (Brighid, Blodeuwedd, Lugh, Cernunnos, Macha). Now, I don’t have the space to practice any spells, nor do I know if I have to do it. I don’t even have a proper space to create an altar. (It is on my list, though. I mean, Imbolc is coming up soon and some lovely flowers wouldn’t do my room any harm anyways.) The only thing I have the space for is Meditation and Dowsing.

I try to contact my Gods and Goddesses by meditating daily. As soon as my pendulum arrives, I will even try to reach out for them by dowsing. Being far away from home, I can use every support I can get, be it from friends or Higher Beings. Plus, since I am currently studying in Ireland, it is easier for me to reach out to the Celtic pantheon.I am yet to work on my own rituals for the Celtic Gods/Goddesses.

Now for my two Egyptian ones, reaching out to them is easier in a daily short ritual. Thoth and Seshat are both linked to wisdom, writing and truth. So, in the act of writing, I am honoring Thoth and while reading, I am honoring Seshat and her eternal library. (And as an English major, both can come in handy.) I wish I could burn incense or some lovely smelling oils, but I am not allowed to do so in my accommodation. However, I’ll do that as soon as I am back home again.

I might do another post about the Gods and Goddesses mentioned above. They are, after all, very interesting.

That’s it for now.