Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rune of the Week: Jera

Jera, meaning a good year. The plenty of the harvest.

Old Norse Rune Poem
Plenty is a boon to men;
I say that Frodi was generous.

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Summer is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven,
suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits
for rich and poor alike.

Icelandic Rune Poem
Boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.

It's good to be king, if just for awhile. Jera is the good times rolling. Cornacopia. That bountiful plentiness you see in early Southern Literature. You'll also note the presence of Kaunaz in it's design. This is life to Kaunaz's death.

Not a bad rune.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tarot Thoth Tuesday: Two of Disks (Change)

This week's Ophelia.
Last Week's Tarot.

This week's tarot is the two of disks. This card is called Change. Which I think is fitting given that it's the Chokmah for an idea whose physical manifestation is wealth. Change, wealth...get it.

Anyways, Jupiter and Capricorn rule this card, which is a bit of a problem as they don't exactly make the perfect match. The meloncholy and pragmitism of Capricorn is a bit of a downer for the youthful verve and forward push of Jupiter. This of course hits on a core tenet of change which is that it's the result of two forces fighting for balance. In some ways change isn't really about change at all. Crowley uses the metaphor of the Universe again for this card, and that's kind of about right. When you think of the universe you think of this great big static whole, that is kind of always there. But when you look at the smaller details, that stability is built on constant motion, constant warring, and constant change. The yin and yang is prominent here. Two warring energies who together make a harmony. The card directly speaks to this in it's presentation of the snake in the shape of the infinite figure 8.

What we find upon meditation of these elements is that this is a pretty accurate and full description of what change actually means. We are accostumed to view change in terms of it's beginning and end, but change is actually the infinite middle. Real change doesn't start anywhere or end anywhere, it just is. We're talking about a process, not an ends.

Anywho. As a bonus treat, here is the cover for next week's Ophelia associated with this card:And if you're wondering. No that's not Ophelia. That's a new character that is going to be introduced, and who will become quite key to the story.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photoshopping the Divine: Personal Anecdote # 7337

This will be a quick blog as I'm quite sleep deprived at this point. But the above is my extremely modest altar to Odin, I thought I'd share it. The plan is to eventually surround the thing with artwork(and not burn the house down(I may need to move it to a deeper shelf).

The idea I had was that since I'm poor, and can't feed my deities with a bunch of rum and whatever, I'll make them art(need to get better toner for my printer first) and frame it and put it around the room. I was thinking of this in relation to how in my webcomic I've got the pages sort of set up as altars to different aspects of the card I'm working with and the dieties I work with. I'm thinking a similar thing can be done with the specific purpose of honoring the various gods I deal with, in this case Odin. This will also serve to enhance the relationship, with all of these visual cues around the room(part of why I think Iconography is so popular in most religions--I think for some people this type of thing can definitely enhance the experience).

Anyways. I wanted to pass along the idea of collage altars. And show you the modest beginnings at play here, and maybe in a few months check back in with an update on the sitch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rune of the Week: Isa

This week's rune is Isa. Meaning Ice. The poems are:

The Old Norse Rune Poem
Ice we call the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.

The Icelandic Rune Poem
Bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.

We see in the poems a multi-faceted depiction of Ice. We see it's functionality and utility in the bridge, it's beauty in the gems it resembles, and then it's destruction in the waves. One thing that is interesting to note is that the first two poems focus on positive aspects with one negative caveat, and then in the final icelandic poem, that formula is reversed.

This is another one of those raw elemental force runes.
Gems are beautiful because they don't move, they're stationary, and always there for us to look at. For what it's worth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tarot Thoth Tuesday: Ten of Disks (Wealth)

If you didn't know, issue two of my webcomic Ophelia came out today.

And that also means it's time for a new installment of tarot thoth tuesdays. This week's card is the Ten of Disks-Wealth.

The ten of disks card is actually technically the last card of the deck. Because it is a disk card, it is also an earth card, and because of this it is the last group that goes down over the tree of life. And since it's a ten, it lands in Malkuth, which is the kingdom. Malkuth is sort of defined as the complete opposite of the abstract spiritual idea that kicks the whole process off. This is the peak physical manifestation of the journey through the sephiroth. It has a function similar to the Universe trump, in that it's a pretty positive card in that it's about wisdom, and true happiness--because it's the last card, it's also the mirror of the very very first card. So the whole of the tarot deck is building to this card.

Crowley writes of this card:
The Ten of Disks is called Wealth. Here again is written this constantly recurring doctrine, that as soon as one gets to the bottom one finds oneself at the top: and Wealth is given to Mercury in Virgo. When wealth accumulates beyond a certain point, it must either become completely inert and cease to be wealth, or call in the aid of intelligence to use it rightly. This must necessarily happen in spheres which have nothing to do with material possessions as such. In this way, Carenegie establishes a Library, Rockefeller endows Research, simply because there is nothing else to do.

There is another view to consider, that this is the last of all the cards, and therefore representes the sum total of all work that has been done from the beginning. Therefore, in it is drawn the very figure of the Tree of Life itself. This card, to the other thirty-five small cards, is what the twenty-first Trump, the Universe, is to the rest of the trumps....the symbol of the uniting of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, the accomplishment of the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness."

So in some respects it's both the first and the last card, because the imminations are never static, and while it represents an end, it also represents a beginning. This is probably the most transparent way I use this card for the next issue of the book. But a lot of the other themes are only going to be apparent as we get further down the road into the story.

Anyways. That's this week's card.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rune of the Week: Naudiz

First off, the launch of my webcomic has gone really well, and thanks to everyone who has taken a gander, and I hope it was enjoyable. If you still haven't read it, it's called Ophelia, and it's here.

Obviously it's Wednesday, so it's rune day. Today's rune is Naudiz. Naudiz means "need".

The three poems are:

Old Norse Rune Poem
Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.

Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.

The Icelandic Rune Poem
Grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.

The vision of need presented in the poems here is one born out of pain and trouble. It's the lemonade of that damn lemon tree, if the lemon tree fell on your house and made you homeless.

Here's a very lucid explanation from the Barbelith poster cusm:

"Naudhiz is another two edged rune. Need implies lacking, and hardship. Freya Aswynn links this with the future, the norn Skald, Niffleheim (the low underworld of mists), and fears. A need is something inherently connected to the future, as something to be fulfilled or quested for. It inspires action. It is also a signal of distress, should you make your need public. The need fires burn to call for help.

This rune is often used for protection, as a ward against trouble, to call for help, or to aid in meeting a need.

The positive side is in dealing with a need in a timely manner. Should the need be fulfilled early, hardship is avoided and prosperity maintained. It can serve as a warning, of dangers unforseen. Heeded, safety is found. Needs are fulfilled.

The fire burns in the night to ward off cold and preserve life. Fire is a basic essencial need, like food and shelter. "

So maybe this is a week to let your needs be known and see what kind of aid you can get to your cause?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoth Tarot Tuesdays: Princess of Swords

So yeah a lot of exciting stuff today to hit.

First off, if you didn't know, my webcomic "Ophelia" launched today:

Go check that funness out.

Second off, it's Tuesdays, and in addition to be thing the day when a new webcomic episode comes out, they are the days I explore the tarot card which next week's issue deals with. Which incidentally, if you are coming here from the webcomic, last week's card, the Hermit, was explored here

So anyways . The Princess of Swords.
Crowley writes of the Princess of Swords:
"The Princess of Swords represents the earthy part of Air, the fixation of the volatile. She brings about the materialization of Idea. She represents the influence of Heaven upon Earth. She partakes of the characteristics of Minerva and Artemis, and there is some suggestion of the Valkyrie. She represents to some extent the anger of the Gods, and she appears helmed, with serpent-haired Medusa for her crest. She stands in front of a barren altar as if to avenge its profanation, and she stabs downward with her sword. The heaven and the clouds, which are her home, seem angry.
The Princess is stern and revengeful. Her logic is destructive."

The Princess also as a rule has her place at the bottom of the tree of life in Malkuth, which is the Kingdom. It is so far removed from the original idea, that it actually acts more as a moon, emmanating reflections from the creation back to the original idea.

I found the best way to understand the Princess of Swords through understanding Artemis. Artemis is the wrathful goddess hunter, who is also associated with Diana(who embarrassed Paul at Ephesus--so much so that when he had the opportunity to go back to the city, he decided he was in too much of a hurry(wink wink)). A lot of the stories associated with her hinge on a sometimes over the top and harsh act of revenge she takes for either a real slight or a percieved one. She's not someone you want to even give the impression of screwing over, let alone actually screwing her over. She has quite the high body count.

She is also a skilled hunter though. So when the card is drawn, the higher qualities of this card refer to a cleverness in practical affairs, while the lower aspects(if you want to call them that) refer to revenge, and the lowest aspect is destructive acts of delusion.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Interior Home Decorating: Making an Altar

Oh hey. So I've linked this information before. But I've recently moved back home to my mom's house, and I've moved into my sister's old room, so in that vein there's a whole slew of redecorating that I want to do with her room. And one of the things I'm planning to do is use some of the shelves that are bolted to her walls to set up some altars to various dieties I'm working with. Right now for Odin I'm using the top of the small TV that is in there, I just set the channel to static, and spend my time with him. It seems to work reasonably well.

But yeah, so this sort of tells how to set up a vodoun offering, which is a decent basis for a lot of other kinds of altars, and sort of hits at the principles behind why you'd do an altar.

"Here is one possible way to set up a basic altar indoors, without a dirt floor. Get a white cloth, and wash it in water with some of your first urine of the morning. For urine, you can substitue vinegar. Let the cloth dry outdoors in the sun if possible. Cover your altar table with it, and then sprinkle it lightly with your favorite perfume or Florida Water.

Next, get four small stones from near your house, clean them by scouring with salt and rinsing well, then place one at each corner of your altar. Clean a wineglass, cut glass bowl, or other vessel and fill it with water. Do not use metal or earthenware - glass or crystal only. Place it at the center of your altar, and add three splashes of anisette or white rum as you bless the water.

It is common in Vodou practice to baptise ritual objects, that is, to give them names. You can take a spring of basil and splash a baptism onto your water glass, which is now a powerful passageway for spiritual energy. You might name it almost anything appropriate, fanciful, and positive - "Water of Life", "Gurgle Mama Brings Spirit", or whatever!

Into a glass candleholder, place some earth from near your house and a few grains of salt. Take a white candle, and with a pure vegetable oil rub the candle from the middle up to the top and then from the middle down to the base. As you oil the candle, direct your energy into your hands and pray for spiritual awareness. Put the candle firmly into the candleholder and place it in front of the glass of water. Don't light the candle just yet.

Around the altar you will place other objects according to the divine principles you wish to serve. An ancestor shrine will have images of deceased ancesters, Ogoun's altar will have a machete and a red kerchief, Erzulie Freda's shrine will have flowers and jewelry, and so on."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rune of the Week: Haglaz

This week's rune is Haglaz. It means: "hail".

The three poems are:

Hail is the coldest of grain;
Christ created the world of old.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water.

The Icelandic Rune Poem
Cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.

This section of eight in the runes are under Heimdall's watch. Heimdal is the guardian at the bridge up into Midgard. The patch of which is a rainbow. Because of this many of the runes in this section are primordial forces of nature. Heglaz is no diffrent. This rune is the embodiment of the cold. The pounding of the hail. But there is a duality here in that it is called a grain. The metaphor here is hail as a prize of the gods whirled down into earth. And its existence here is fleeting as it soon becomes water. Which is nourishing. So it's the violent coldness of the initial bounty dissapates into nourishment for the future.

Today's isolation and catastrophe is the seed of tomorrow's pleathora.

The god's give us hail as a gift, so that we might learn from it, and make our own brilliance of it. The presence of the wind in the distribution of the ice grain would seem to allude to the messenger nature of it's arrival. These seemingly painful nuggets, have in them the keys to unlocking a full and filling future.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thoth Tarot Tuesdays: The Hermit

I figured now was as good a time as any to do a blog on the Hermit card of the Thoth deck, considering the very large role it has played in my life the past few weeks. It just keeps coming up. The first place it came up for me, was in regards to deciding whether to move from Rhode Island or not. At the end of the day, I felt that the isolation while painful, would result in some good for the soul moments of epiphany.

Of course this happened a week later, when I decided to do a webcomic without an artist. The comic I previewed the other day, "Ophelia" is based around a much larger story, but the focus of each episode is themed around a tarot card I get from a reading before I sit down to write every week. And for the inaugral issue of "Ophelia" I drew the Hermit, again. So there's a weird crossroads conjoining here between the internet, the tarot, the comic and my life.

At any rate. The Hermit, as you might guess has to do with seclusion and isolation, focus on yourself. Going off to the cave to meditate and find your own path.

Over at Barbelith the poster Kobol Strom made a terrific meditation on the card:
"Mad man running through the forest.The poor guy on the street.Being secluded away from society by physical or spiritual means.Locking yourself away from parts of your headspace you can't deal with.Concern with other peoples acceptance is diminishing, creating isolation.Someone in your life who doesn't seem to want to talk,actually finds they have the most to say.Hidden talents that need space to grow.Mental calm.Clarity through ordinary perception.Finally seeing the wood for all the trees.Howling at the moon.Taking time out for a necessary spiritual search.The inner journey to find out how you feel,resulting in making your own mind up.
Time to remember just who the fuck you are.
Alone,with your fears held out in front,scrutinising their usefulness,and then throwing them away like a cheap coat should you feel the desire."

Another poster on Barbelith, 6opow made this observation about the Hermit archetype:
"It is also interesting to note that Nietzche's Madman bears many similarities to the archetype of the Hermit."

This is of course something I noticed as well with the card, and why the first thing my comic does is make a Nietzche reference.

As for what Crowley has to say about the card:
"Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the LIght so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep silence in all ways.

Illumination from within, secret impulse from within; practical plans derived accordingly. Retirement from participation in current events."

As for the imagery of the card, the shape of the Hermit is based upon the shape of the letter Yod, which symbolizes Wisdom, and is the highest form of Mercury and the logos. The background of the card is a field of wheat, which refers to Virgo which is the lowest, most receptive and feminine of Earth. The card is also invoking the legend of Persephone and the notion of a psychopomp(guide for the soul)--this is why Cerebrus is in the corner of the card. This particular element of the card also has a cross section with my comic, but I don't want to spoil it much.

At any rate. That's the card for this week. It's pretty cool.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ophelia: WebComic

This is the cover and the first two pages of a web comic I am doing. I'm using collage stuffs, because 1) it looks neat, and 2) I can't draw and 3) I'm tired of waiting to run into someone who can draw just to get my bloody stories out the window for people to read. Anyways.

The series is called Ophelia. Each section of the story is done in six pages, and is based around a certain tarot card for that week. Each issue can stand alone, but I've got a longer narrative here in mind as to why this girl is doing what she's doing.

I'm very excited about this. Additionally if anyone knows a good place to host my comic for free, let me know. Ideally, I'd like to have it set up where you click links to go between pages.

Page 1:

If you click on the images they get GI-NORMOUS.

Page Two:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rune of the Week: Wynn

This week's rune is Wynn. It means "joy".

The poem for it is:
Bliss he enjoys who knows not pain,
sorrow nor anxiety, and himself has
prosperity and bliss and a good enough house.

As with most runes there's a darker edge to everything. We see in the poem that because of the perspective of the narrator, the definition of the rune for joy, takes on a jealous tone. It seems to read, bliss is for one who has the good fortune not to have been screwed over too many times.

There's also a strange reference to having a roof over your head in the final line. This rune stands for being free from pain, and enjoying the finer accouterments of what you have. Perhaps asking us to take stock of what we have, put aside our pains, sorrows, and anxieties, and revel in whatever prosperity we have. These are the conditions of to meet joy.

Incidentally, this completes the first set of runes. The first eight runes are Freya's eight.

Which if you are scoring at home:

"The daughter of NJORD, and the beautiful twin sister of FREYR, she is — to put it in modern vernacular — a bit of a goer. She did marry a God called OD, causing much confusion amongst academics and historians who have confused him with ODIN leading to further confusion by confusing her with FRIGG. (This is why you need Godchecker.) But OD was a bit of a goer himself and nipped out one day for pastures new.

This caused much weeping of golden tears, but as usual FREYA made the best of a bad job and really went off the rails. She ran wild with Gods, mortals, giants and dwarves.

The stories and allegations of how she gained possession of Brisingamen, the golden amber necklace of desire, are scandalous. Especially the one about her bedding four dwarves in turn before they would give it to her. But this sort of thing is just titillation. In any case, the necklace was stolen by LOKI and — although it was rescued by HEIMDALL — we don't think she got it back.

Being a strong-willed warrior maiden, she joined and then led the VALKYRIES — so that she could have first pick of the slain battlefield warriors. Most of the slain go to VALHALLA, but the good-looking heroes go straight to her palace for rest and recuperation.

But FREYA does have a softer side — she loves romantic music and bunches of flowers. Her daughters are the beautiful HNOSS and the equally beautiful GERSEMI."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tarot Thoth Tuesday: The Sun

Hi folks, I think it's Tuesday, so that means it's time for tarot Tuesdays, because that's how I roll, all alliterative and stuff.

Today's Tarot is: The Sun.

I chose this tarot to explore today because I had a run in with the sun this weekend, and my friend had dreams at the same time involving Loki giving instructions about the sun. So this is what I've got.

From Crowley:
"Give forth thy light to all without doubt;
the clouds and shadows are no matter for thee.
Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness,
twin forms of the play."

Glory, gain, riches, triumph, pleasure, frankness, truth, shamelessness, arrogance, vanity, manifestation, recovery from sickness, but sometimes sudden death."

"A. E. Waite suggested that this card is associated with attained knowledge. The conscious mind prevails over the fears and illusions of the unconscious. Innocence is renewed through discovery, bringing hope for the future."

Shane Hall:
Something to do with a sacred place. I think is what he said. He was quite tired and I can't find the text.