Wow, I talk about perfectionism a lot don’t I? Lol, well that’s because it haunts the f**k out of me. I’m a very ambitious, but sensitive person. I have big ideas that turn into elaborate, yet overwhelming strategies, and have issues altering those strategies only because I get stuck in a strong spell of the I-have-to’s…It takes time for someone like me to practice simplicity. Over-complication doesn’t mean it’s more exemplary than what’s simple. Taking a big picture view on my projects helped with that. When I look at the general goals, I can root out the extraneous details I thought I needed. Maybe that’s common knowledge for most people, but I suck at it! Anti-perfection is another pursuit of mine that takes so much conscious effort. I know I can work well under pressure, but that doesn’t mean I have to work under the pressure of perfection, yet here I am!
Have you been watching The Olympics? Can you relate to the olympians that beat themselves up for being second or third place? Can you relate to the olympians who perform wonderfully, but beat themselves up for not doing everything perfectly even though they’re on the track to winning gold? I can. It sucks.
Are you in the dark academia fandom? Do you relate to taking on academic assignments with the concept that your grade defines your self-worth? Have you ever had a meltdown over failing a quiz or test that didn’t even carry the entire weight of your grade? I have. IT SUCKS.
Now I’m here still struggling with seeing my projects as a process. Why can’t I just enjoy the journey? The relief and enjoyment truly comes when I keep things simple and push myself to be anti-perfection. I hope to the gods I can experience this relief more consistently…
During my meditations this week, I accepted an important sacrifice I had to make. Sacrifice is strange to me. Sometimes I go out of the way trying to find a way where I can get everything I want without losing anything. I try to strategize, work around the way people perceive me, hoping I can get what I want from them in the end. That’s not going to work this time. One day, they’ll know.
One day my family, who I love dearly, will know what I do in life. They’ll see for themselves that their Christian views aren’t as valuable to me when it comes to my career and lifestyle. They’ll see that animism, paganism, the occult, world religions, philosophies, history, science, the arts and more are my passions in life. For so long I feared they would see me as anti-Protestant Christian and use that as an excuse to abandon me. I desperately didn’t want that since they’ve done a lot for me and I want to offer my gratitude. It turns out I can definitely live my life how I want and still have them in my wonderful life. They’re the ones who make it wonderful actually. They inspire me tremendously because they are always teaching me even when I disagree with them, even when their words make sense or when their words hurt, and definitely when they show me their passion for their faith and their god. Their god is not mine and I’ve accepted they will put their god before me and others in many, if not all, instances. I thought that meant abandonment, but actually, according to their faith, it means they’ll love me more.
So what am I sacrificing exactly? The notion that people will always abandon me? No…Abandonment happens. Separation happens. People make their choices and sometimes that means you can’t walk with them through the consequences of those choices. Loss happens. You can’t control everything. You can’t make someone care about you, control the way they see you, force them to believe what you believe. I’m sacrificing the perception of myself that thinks I can’t survive if my family sees who I really am and what my life is dedicated to, which is mysticism and the arts. Not only am I incredibly proud of my life path, but I feel more dignified when I remember my life, my power, and my purpose belong to me and only me; expressing the exploration of my life, power, and purpose, is done through my art. I love my family and because of that love, I don’t fear them. I forgive myself for perceiving them as figures in my life that wanted to tear me down, when they’ve consistently lifted me up, albeit with the hopes that I’ll become a dutiful Christian like them. If I can accept that I can survive whatever their response is to my life’s work, I believe they’ll come to accept what they can’t control as well: my will.
This was a long time coming, but I think this epiphany has to be one of the most important ones of my life. Many of us artists struggle with having a lack of support from family, whether it be in the form of disapproval or apathy. The amount of willpower it takes to sacrifice the internal battle of trying to be yourself while also making others happy is an incredible amount. Doesn’t everybody talk about that? Everyone says,”Just be yourself,” when we also know there are only a select few who accept you or maybe come close to accepting you. What’s most important is accepting ourselves. Another cliche, but it’s fucking true. We must accept who we are if we’re ever going to summon the willpower to live our life as we want to. It makes whatever consequence you suspect you’ll confront as an opportunity to trust yourself to make the best choice for yourself. As someone who advocates for autonomy and freedom, I must accept that I don’t want to put my energy into trying to make my family like me or understand me. I want to put my energy into my life’s work and, if I’m being frank, be rich enough to take care of my family and myself. I mean let’s be real here; when you start making money doing what you love, and I mean good money, your family probably won’t be that concerned about the how and why at first.
My life path number is 8, often called “The CEO” path. I kept doubting whether that really matched my desires and ambitions for a good portion of my life. I’m not doubting anymore. With the acceptance of the self comes purpose and with a sense of purpose comes will. I’m too determined to be worried about disapproval. The game is on.
Look, dreamcatchers aren’t “aesthetic” investments. The regalia of indigenous American tribes aren’t Halloween costumes. Instead, you should invest in this wonderful list of Native American brands I found on Tumblr, where the artistry is spectacular and deserves more recognition. I really love Jamie Okuma‘s work (her work is in the featured image above [click here for her Instagram]) and Urban Native Era with their “You Are On Native Land” line.
Credit to the original poster, indigenoustifa, and the blogger who created the list, ficklewitchsupporter.
Not all the store links work, but most of them do. Please take time to check out this incredible art.
Many creatives are caught in the rat race while trying to maintain the status of being a valiant competitor just to make ends meet. Doing this almost kills us.
As creative and critical thinkers, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, being forced to follow a regimen is something we can excel to keep AND completely fail to achieve because our potential provides us with everything we need to be successful at whatever we put our mind to. That potential, however, is redirected to someone else’s agenda, like the mission of a company or the tradition of a culture that encourages assimilation for the their own sense of validation, and in that, we become invalidated as the call inside ourselves beckoning our potential to take a more fulfilling path is scolded and oppressed. This almost kills us, but it doesn’t succeed.
The artist can cultivate this near death experience into the first step towards a more suitable life. Recently, I reflected on an old job and sketched a drawing representing how drained and powerless I felt. I don’t miss the job or that feeling, but I hope I can upgrade that (rough/messy) sketch into a digital painting someday since this feeling is all too common and like many artists before me, I’d like this artistic expression to be whatever “sign” a fellow artist needs to push themselves to get out.
“The primary power of water is in assisting the creation of forms for the expression of consciousness, providing nutrition for their continued existence, and physical purification.”
Mark Stavish – The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing & the World of Natural Magic (Pathways to Enlightenment)
When I started practicing, I wasn’t really into using water because I learned about how hazardous it can be to your materials and health if you weren’t careful. It is quite useful when it comes to enchanting, however. Many glamours, enchanted teas, purification spells and curses use water as a fundamental tool. Water represents so much more than just emotional energy. It also represents intuitive and psychic abilities, the concept of flow in many contexts, like time, memory, life, death, and more.
Stavish claims that water is very sensitive to psychic energies, so when using it in alchemy or otherwise, it’s important to adhere to your intent or motivation when casting energy or charging any kind of water. To be honest, I am a bit sick of the word “intent” in witchy and metaphysical circles and I know there are other practitioners who argue that intent isn’t everything. I do agree with that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It’s great practice honing one’s intention through the enchantment of an item and water, I’ve noticed, will absorb every bit of that focus. There’s something about water that is incredibly malleable. I suppose you could say that about any of the elements. I’ve been studying the functionality of water magic along with studying the role of poison in the metaphysical sense. Poisonous substances function very similarly to water, although it can take many forms, such as an herb, a liquid, or a gas. In regards to its liquid form, those studying the poison path have expressed that there are benefits to the use of poisonous and psychotropic herbs to aid in meditation and spell work, such as making tinctures, hexing/cursing, and building up one’s immunity in some way. All elements have a shadow side to them, and I find that poisonous liquids is one of those shadow elements that also provide an alternate view on intent.
Understanding our intent for casting anything requires intense reflection. I’m one of many who wrote a poorly thought out incantation leading to poor results. I kept spell writing techniques in mind afterwards, but I think a big issue was the intent. I’m not sure if anyone else thinks this way, but sometimes when I try to push my craft to do things that are more “positive” even though my craft doesn’t specialize in things like love, protection, harmony, etc., I realize the motivation just isn’t there. In this instance I was sort of “poisoning” myself with false positivity. I didn’t use any water for this spell, but I wish I had. I needed that reflective element to help me check in with myself before casting.
So, those are my thoughts and experiences regarding water magic and enchanting. I’ve been using water more often this year and it’s helped tremendously. Additionally it’s inspired one of my recent art pieces: Poison Becomes Power (which you’ve probably have seen on all my socials).
I’ve wanted to be a polyglot since I was a kid and I blame Lara Croft (the movies and the games). I was head over heels in love with her. Having her level of erudition and speaking so many languages was so attractive to me. But how do you achieve that? I’ve done the research and most polyglots have the same advice, which is practice, passion, and consistency. I think there’s a lot more to it than that.
Let’s get past the vague, but inspirational buzz words that inspire you to reach a goal and get to the technicalities. That practice and consistency is best applied with an understanding language partner, reliable study material, and an accurate understanding of cultural context. I studied Japanese for four years (on and off, so I wasn’t that good at all) with very few of those things, so when I finally had the opportunity to live in Japan for a month, it was truly a month of ignorance and embarrassment. This killed my confidence and I dropped studying languages period for a while. I’m glad I’m back into it now, but I’ll never forget that. As for the passion, that gets more personal. I still have Lara Croft goals to meet, but ultimately knowledge is power to me. I want the privileges that comes with this knowledge and connect with people who remind me I know nothing about the world. I feel like I need that kind of experience as an artist and as a person overall. Gotta keep that American ego in check, right?
Currently, I’m doing my best to learn, Korean/Hangul, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, French, and Ancient Greek was something I stumbled upon during my mystic studies, but I’m falling in love with it.
What languages are you learning? Do you think I’m taking on too much at once? You’re probably right, but challenging feats like these are fun for me. I’ve been doing well to practice one language for an hour or more every day. I really love it.
Is it weird being insecure about this? When my mother noticed I was teaching myself piano at the age of 4 or 5, I started taking lessons early and I was on the classical track with this teacher. Then my passion for marital arts led to my mother saying she could only pay for one. I chose martial arts, but the piano didn’t stop. I continued to teach myself and started writing songs at 12. Now at 28, I have over 50 songs written. I’m proud of that accomplishment and I’ll be showing off some new songs this year.
Wait, why am I insecure again? Because my work isn’t purely classical?
This has been a wonderful read so far. The narrative style is specific enough for the sake of immersion, but also jumps into the action of the story without too much wait. Traveling through Hell from the perspective of multiple characters is mesmerizing; each chapter isn’t too long nor short for me, which contributes to this work being a delightful page-turner. I’m always excited to witness a new area of Hell, another god, the growth of a revolution, and the developing external and internal conflicts of each character overlapping with one another without being confusing or sloppy. So far, I truly enjoy Lost Gods with all its ruthlessness and narrative poise. This was a book I started reading on Scribd, then had to order in print.
Still reading…but close to dropping it…
Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
I was excited for a magical/occult dark academia work to dive into. Unfortunately, the info dumps are incredibly bothersome, but are a good example of why authors need to show rather than tell. The most exciting part about magical systems and their environments is the experience, after all. I’m also concerned with how each character is portrayed, whether through their choices or their description from the protagonist’s perspective, leans into ignorance and racial prejudice. My first impression of the world building and character design overall isn’t good; I’m underwhelmed and keep hoping for actual storytelling and more active characters. I do enjoy the protagonists’s sarcastic and cynical tone, but I would prefer she would stop ranting to me about her conflicts and motives in life and just go after them. She gives me Slytherin vibes, but good gods, stop bitching about everyone and everything around you and do what you claim you’re going to do.
Still reading and loving it
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
I heard many people compare this book to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova so I started it a while ago. So far, I really like it. The narration style is believable and fresh, meaning it’s a style I don’t really come across often. Similar to Brom, Pyper’s writing jumps into the heart of the story with good pacing. I’m a sucker for the stories about an academic who is recruited for some kind of mission that turns out to be more dangerous than it is educational, but is educational nonetheless. I love the narrator’s perspective on things, mostly because his tone of voice is certainly someone who is haunted by many things beyond his control, but isn’t drowning in cynicism necessarily, which must be due to the love for his daughter.
Listening and very intrigued
The Death of The Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech by William Deresiewicz
This was a featured audiobook that was a recommended read on Scribd and I absolutely love it. I think many people, especially artists, may think it’s all doom and gloom, but I like a good wake up call to the reality of artistry in our time. I think any artist and creative entrepreneur should read or listen to this book if they’re stumped by the question “How do I make a living doing what I love?” Deresiewicz provides research and testimonials from artists who answer the question with, “Well, you may not make a living. That’s kind of the point.” It’s not as pessimistic as artistic souls may think. It’s more of a realistic, big picture view as to why it’s so damn hard making a living doing what you love and that it’s simultaneously harder and easier compared to how artists fought for their careers in the past. I’m not contradicting myself; Deresiewicz breaks down the conundrum of the art and entertainment industries so we as artists can have a more grounded view on the many roads of success that inevitably come with obstacles, failures, and a hell of a lot of exploitation from corporations. (I’m on the chapter about writers, publishing, and fucking Amazon right now…and if I told you how I feel about all this information, this post would be a long ass rant.)
I plan to provide updates about my current reads to stay in touch. I’m actually reading a lot more at once than what’s posted here. That will be another post.