My Twin Flame Article Broke 10,000 reads on vocal.media!

My article “Quit Obsessing Over Your Twin Flame” has gained a lot of attention on my vocal.media platform and I’m so very grateful. Twin flames are a tricky subject in the metaphysical/new age community. We always wonder if we’re ever going to meet them, if we only have one, how can we manifest it faster, or what to do when your twin flame doesn’t know you exist or even care.

A twin flame is a little different than a soulmate. A twin flame is like your living mirror who has their own life and being around them or even thinking about them can be intense. Recognizing your twin flame isn’t really for the sake of having a beautiful romantic reunion (and for the record, NOT all twin flames are romantic), but more for each flame’s self-enlightenment.

Please read if the topic interests you. It’s a bit trippy, but I hope anyone on their twin flame journey will get a better idea on how to handle what they’re going through. I’m heading into my sixth year with mine and my twin flame doesn’t even know I exist. The twin flame journey will also be discussed in my novel series, but I’ll expand on that another time.

Also, I’d like to give a quick shout out to vocal.media, which is an excellent platform for writers who want to make some earnings for writing what they love.

Music On The Way – “Love’s A Burden” by Beyond The Black – How I Did Cover Songs In The Past

Beyond The Black is a german symphonic metal band that I really like. I don’t have a badass metal band at the moment, so I’m going to do my own take on “Love’s A Burden” with sort of a gothic electronica twist, since it is one of the few songs that isn’t heavy and I don’t have to feel too pressured.

Follow me on Instagram for more updates on my progress.

How I Did Cover Songs In The Past

So, in 2014, I actually had a channel called “Keiko Artz” where I would do cover songs (mostly anime intros, songs from movies, or songs from video games lol). When I nearly lost my battle with clinical depression in 2016, I deleted the channel and all my old songs off of YouTube and removed it from stores (well some songs might be up somewhere lol). The songs are still saved on my computer and there are some I would like to share again, but I’ll need to record them over. But when I had them up, I had them accompanied with (very amateur-ish) digital art. I was still learning how to draw then and it was incredibly difficult to have enough confidence in myself to complete a work and keep it up there. Well, three years later, I’m back into drawing again and I’m determined to keep creating. So, if you stay in touch, I hope you’ll support me. Like I said before, on Instagram I show my progress. The final result will be on my YouTube Channel and on my blog of course :).

Wonder and delight: Tolkien and Pagan ideas — Dowsing for Divinity

JRR Tolkien loved ancient Pagan mythology, especially Norse mythology. He also loved trees, flowers, rivers and streams, mountains, woods, and landscape generally. His writing is infused with a love of Nature, as well as an in-depth knowledge of ancient cultures and mythologies. He was, however, a Catholic, both by upbringing and conviction. He wrote his […]

Wonder and delight: Tolkien and Pagan ideas — Dowsing for Divinity

This is an EXCELLENT read if you’re a Tolkien fan.

What Does Pastoral Mean? – Literary Terms 101

Pastoral: “A poem having to do with shepherds and rural life; from pastor, the Latin word for shepherd…The three forms are (1) the singing match between two shepherds, sometimes called the eclogue, (2) the monologue of a single lovesick shepherd lamenting his mistress’s aloofness; and (3) the elegy, or dirge, for a dead friend,” (Morner and Rausch, 1991) – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms.

My Take on Pastoral Work/Poetry

I see rural or rustic life as having a mixture of peaceful simplicity and complex melancholy. As a southern Colorado person, I find the wide open space and absence of urban life to have a calm to it, but my mind has transformed that calm into a type of sadness. I really relate to pastoral works, especially elegies. If you think about rural life, small farm towns where everybody knows everybody, the passing of someone or the breaking off of a relationship is often devastating. You have very few activities to distract you and even more responsibilities to attend to if you don’t have some of the conveniences city life can offer. But no matter where you live, loss happens. John Milton’s Lycidas is a well-known example of a pastoral elegy. Milton had so much anxiety about his life accomplishments and his mortality. Milton wrote many elegies, so existence and death must’ve been at the forefront of his brain. Through Lycidas, I want to argue that he did a kind of self-talk to face his grief over his college friend, Edward King; Apollo, St. Peter, and the Muses appear and seem to help him confront the shepherding lifestyle that reminded Milton of his friend, but guided him from a place of despair to hope and inner peace.

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, 
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, 
Sunk though he be beneath the wat’ry floor; 
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, 
And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high

Lycidas Lines 165-172

It’s kind of interesting that Milton, who grew up in a bourgeois family and lifestyle, wanted to use pastoral themes to honor Edward. I know it was the 17th century so what they considered “urban” or city life isn’t how we see it today and I’m probably overthinking it (lol). Some analyses of Lycidas consider Milton using pastoral poetry to metaphorically call out the Church of England clergymen, which is more likely. So am I taking pastoral works too literally? Even Virgil’s pastoral work is described as, “…a poetic genre in which the author could use humble characters to talk about public figures and current affairs. Because shepherds are the poet-musicians of the countryside,” (Poetry Foundation) but his pastoral poetry is also “…not just a literary construct, inasmuch as there are striking touches of realism in the descriptions of country life,” (Poetry Foundation). So there is something about the countryside that encourages deep contemplation! But Virgil became a rich boy too with humble beginnings. I guess I find it interesting as to how the wide open spaces of the countryside can inspire so much existentialism.

Anyway, there are many other good pastoral works out there (Shelley’s Adonais is recommended as well). I think the most important quality of this genre is the act of contemplating life whether that leads to existential dread or a kind of revelation. I wonder if pastorals influenced Westerns and other storytelling mediums about country life. I also want to add that even though I chose an example that focused on death and grief, not all pastorals are so morbid. There’s a beauty and charm in pastoral simplicity as well, such as finding love and simply loving. The point is that the pastoral piece itself addresses elements of rural life emphasizing its influence or symbolic meaning on life events, similar to an idyll.

Let me know what you thought of this. Have you tried writing pastoral poems before? How would you write one if you’re a city slicker or have you ventured the countryside before? I’d love to hear from you.

A Creative Spirit and Mystic – Understanding My Blog’s Niche

My greatest challenge lately has been balancing emotion with logic and when it comes to creating anything, I always feel a bit out of balance. I’ll overthink the way I wrote something or sang something, then a split second later I hate it because what I created doesn’t feel right. I’ve been weighing the balance while creating content on this blog. All I’ve figured out so far is that I don’t want to be boxed in. I want, well, need to connect with others and for that to happen, I need to be transparent, vulnerable, and, as my artist name suggests, authentic.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to gradually exhibit more transparency. I want my blog/Instagram to be in the realm of “lifestyle” when it comes to my spiritual ventures, pagan philosophy, metaphysical wonderings, and the like, but I’m also someone who enjoys advising others and providing information, especially about writing. Being a freelance editor for about two years showed me how much I love helping people sharpen their work and have a better understanding of who they are, so I need to do the same for myself.

My content niche is artistry combined with spirituality. They have never been separated and, frankly, have never been categorized and I think that’s because there’s something about being a creative spirit where freedom is mandatory. If I box myself in, I’ll die. Call it melodramatic, but I can’t emphasize how much it sucks when I go into full-blown panic attacks over thinking about the hypothetical life of having a “steady” job, working from 9-5, eating shitty food because my job doesn’t give me enough time to have a decent meal, rushing to satisfy another person’s schedule, going to bed feeling empty because my job is emotionally unfulfilling, then waking up and doing that all over again. Other’s thrive in the steadiness of a job like that and that’s fine. It’s just not me. So perhaps the purpose of this blog and its content isn’t just to share my lifestyle with others and connect with those who follow the same path, but it’s also to help me take a deep breath and remember that following my intuition in the grand scheme of my overall wellness.

So, that’s who I am and that’s what my little sole-proprietor business shall be. It’s just me: a creative spirit and mystic.

(If anyone knows the original artist of the featured photo, please comment below so I can credit them. Thank you 🙂 )

What is Hamartia? Literary Terms 101

Hamartia: “The error, misstep, frailty, or flaw that causes the downfall of a tragic hero. Sometimes called the tragic flaw… bad judgment, ignorance, accident, inherited weakness, or plain bad luck…Whatever the error or defect, it results in action (or inaction) that leads to disaster. – NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms by Kathleen Morner and Ralph Rausch (1991).

I strongly recommend getting this dictionary if you’re a fiction writer.

My Take on Hamartia In Writing

Hamartia must appear in every story, if you think about. It’s necessary conflict (internal and external). How else is your character going to develop if they don’t endure some sort of issue that is placed upon them or self-perpetuated? Many authors understood that any type of tragedy or disaster makes audiences feel pity, fear, or satisfaction for the character(s) affected by it. One example off the top of my head is (vague Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!!) is Hodor who just…had to hold that damn door and shatter my heart into a million pieces.

I’ve seen tragedy hit the whole spectrum of archetypes, even though this definition focuses solely on the tragic hero since the Greek Classics have most protagonists fail due to their prideful nature. It has to happen because that’s what makes a plot work; that’s what makes characters relatable. Audiences want to see the character confront disaster, whether they survive it or not because it echoes reality, you succeed or you fail. However, tragedy is not that black and white. Some rise from the ashes of their suffering and some don’t, but transformation is inevitable. Even when a villain faces disaster in death, and I mean a well-crafted villain with backstory, motive, and ambition, you see them as more than just the bad guy who got what they deserved. If anything, it should poke at the audience’s moral compass encouraging them to question their ethical boundaries (because pitying a villain is strange to some and accepted by others).

Additionally, adding a little metaphysical take on this, the act of manifesting or weaving your own destiny is common in stories and hamartia plays in the mix of that. Most of us prefer calling it “reaping what you sow”, but in the metaphysical community, we call that “The Dark Night of the Soul“, where you’re in a place of complete sacrifice or surrender and come to terms with whether you’ll endure what’s happening to you by trusting yourself to survive it or choose to despair and desperately mourn that you didn’t reach your ego-based expectations. I don’t think hamartia is enticing if it becomes the definite annihilation of the character where they’re damned for eternity for their purposeful or accidental sin and that’s it. A choice must be made. Hamartia exudes its greatest effect as an inevitable, destructive force that shows no bias to any archetype and shouldn’t be considered “evil” or “just”, “bad” or “good”, but simply destined to appear before you and demand you make a choice, which can be taking action or being inactive.

I’ll be sharing more literary terms in the future, but seriously, get the dictionary of literary terms. Maybe I’m being a lit nerd and pushing too hard, but it’s just…fun to read. Especially if you like learning random new things.

Magic Systems in Fantasy and Science Fiction

So, I just shared an article I posted today! It was a very enthusiastic review/recommendation of S. Kelley Harrell’s Runic Book of Days, which I strongly recommend to baby witches or pagans on the rise in norse shamanism, but ultimately, this is a blog about my progress as novelist and I’d like to discuss my thought process and construction of magic in my fantasy/scifi story. Rune magick has helped me with my confidence as a person, but definitely gave me inspiration as a writer.

Primarily there are two magic systems in this genre: hard and soft. My novel, Spirit Strings: Initiation, actually fixates on these systems because one is praised while the other is considered dangerous and I have my protagonist decide the truth of these magical systems for herself. The use of rune magick in my story, although they aren’t the Elder Futhark (yet? lol), would be considered part of the hard system, I think. Two videos immediately came to mind and I think if you’re reading this as a fantasy writer, you’ll definitely benefit from watching them. A YouTuber known as Hello Future Me made a concise video on the soft and hard magic systems. If you’re trying to figure out what direction you want to take with your magic system, I recommend giving them a listen. He’s quite silly, but I think he explained the systems wonderfully.

He really likes Brandon Sanderson doesn’t he? It’s understandable because these rules within the two magic systems bring a really nice foundation in fantasy world building. Sanderson goes into even more detail on his website, and I’m certainly thinking about checking out his publications on Kindle.

Anyway, conflict, cooperation, and consequence are essential in a story’s plot; if your story has magic, following the Sanderson laws is a good place to start. For my story, I really wanted the use of magic to be a controversial and stressful topic because the ability to wield it lives in everyone and facing the responsibility of using magic can be twisted into either oppression or empowerment. That is commonly seen in fantasy, of course, but I’m striving to go beyond character development. I want a psychological shift in my characters and I want my audience to wonder who’s going to snap, this way, as I reference Sanderson’s first law, my audience’s understanding of magic won’t bring a detrimental effect to the plot whether they want or expect hard magic or soft magic. As an Edgar Allan Poe fan, my knowledge of the supernatural, paranormal, and psychology wasn’t expansive when I was introduced to his work, but I was still allured by his writing because I connected to his commonly used first-person narrative voice. He wanted me to be right beside him while he experienced what terrified him. Audiences understand fear, stress, and other very common human instances. So when it comes to the magic system, yes, it’s important to have those foundational laws and thorough world building, which I’m definitely aiming for, but as I write, I want the magic system to be fueled by strained perceptions. I want the “cost” in hard magic to feel like suffocation. I want the “sense of wonder” in soft magic to reflect falling helplessly into the dark unconscious, the abyss of the psyche.

I want this because maybe you and others have ventured there before. I certainly did while working with rune magick guided by The Runic Book of Days. In my article, I spoke about the springtime, but in my novel series, you’ll get a glimpse of my bittersweet winter. I’m not trying to be edgy; just being honest. I relish in the fact that I trudged through my cold unconscious and survived. I still visit from time to time enthusiastically.

Springtime and Rune Magick: The Runic Book of Days

I’m in a position where I must bet on myself or bet on a system that may or may not take care of me. I know for a fact that if the system doesn’t have art or doesn’t let me create art, I’ll die. I’ve idealized death too many times to go there again. That was another risk. Another circumstance. Another chaotic instance of thrill and torment, but at least in art that torment tears me to pieces that I can reassemble and make into a new creation. Art provides rebirth beyond death or circumstance or consequence.

This is from my recent blog post where I was contemplating a certain transition I’m going through. As a pagan, I did my best to tap into some inner wisdom, but the panic set in faster. A whole winter of contemplation and meditation, but I still go into panic mode over, what I feel are, the most mundane things. Now spring is here and one source that has guided me through the figurative and literal seasons of change is the Runic Book of Days by S. Kelley Harrell, a wonderful guide to rune magick and how to apply its wisdom daily.

Read more..

Rate My Music – Storm Magick – Follow for Follow

Happy to announce the release of my single Storm Magick, the start of my dream to create a soundtrack or score for my upcoming novel. If you’re musically inclined or just like checking out new melodies, I’d appreciate your feedback. If you’d like to know the novel synopsis, go to my Home Page, especially if you’re into dark fantasy/scifi. I will announce when the track will continue to share other outlets where people can listen to my music, such as Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and more.

Also, if there are any fellow musicians out there on WordPress, I’d be thrilled to give a follow back and support you if you took the time to listen to my single. Happy listening.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/storm-magick-single/1457413245