a branch of may

I love you guys

Thank you so much for all your support on my last post, you are amazing! I never wanted to bring my stress onto here, it’s supposed to be my happy place. I am going to put less pressure on myself to post and I’m just going to continue plodding along where I’m comfortable with all you amazing followers who have been so lovely. 

I might occasionally post other branches of the Homily family and I may vanish from time to time, but I promise I will never disappear without letting you all know. 

I saw a great deal today in the Item Sales forum

ngl I looked at the hoardsell price (27 treasure) and the asking price, thought “WHY THE HECK NOT, I MAY AS WELL TURN A 17 TREASURE PROFIT”, but then…

and I thought… I don’t think I’d have the heart to sell this branch. I mean… look at it! It loves belly rubs. I couldn’t turn it away. What kind of heartless person would sell an innocent branch right after buying it? Ashamed I had even considered it, I made it a spot in my lair, tracking down on the AH a suitable dragon to watch over it.

And, wanting to ensure it felt welcome, I had it immediately fitted with bio art as well.

Consider what God may be trying to teach you...
  • When you feel isolated and lonely, consider that God may be trying to teach you that we can trust He will never truly leave us alone.
    • “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • When you feel heartbroken, consider that God may be trying to teach you what it means to fully rely on His strength and perfect will.
    • “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • When you feel like your future is going nowhere, consider that God may be growing you for the next season of your life in which you would never experience without the growth process first.
    • “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
  • When you feel hopeless, consider that God may be trying to show you He gives us eternal hope, which outweighs the temporary hope this world offers us.
    • “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


The point is, God can teach us in every situation of our lives… we need only to be open to learning what that is.

Consider what He may be trying to teach you now!

10

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency + Night Vale tweets (Part 1)

(Part 2Dirk Version, Todd Version)

Bonus Brotzly:

And the trees do not like strangers. They watch you. They are usually content merely to watch you, as long as daylight lasts, and don’t do much. Occasionally the most unfriendly ones may drop a branch, or stick a root out, or grasp at you with a long trailer. But at night things can be most alarming, or so I am told. I have only once or twice been in here after dark, and then only near the hedge. I thought all the trees were whispering to each other, passing news and plots along in an unintelligible language; and the branches swayed and groped without any wind. They do say the trees do actually move, and can surround strangers and hem them in. In fact long ago they attacked the Hedge: they came and planted themselves right by it, and leaned over it.
—  J.R.R. Tolkien, excerpt of The Fellowship of the Ring

Concept: financially struggling college student accepts a temporary position doing light secretarial work for Hell’s local branch office, and is given an unusual instruction - under no circumstances may she tempt anyone to sin. No, not even while off-duty; that’s a job for the proper demons, and corporate culture being what it is, they’re very territorial about their prerogatives. She quickly discovers that this is easier said than done!

Domestic Garden Witch: Shrines in the Garden

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

A Practice As Old As Time

In previous Domestic Garden Witch articles, I’ve covered setting up altars and arranging gardens so as to be living altars. As witches, we are often looking for ways in which we can reconnect with nature and find harmony with its ebb and flow. For as long as mankind has been around trees, it seems as though these impressive and beautiful plants have inspired and drawn us closer to the divine.

Nearly every culture has something to say when it comes to trees - their growth patterns, their spiritual significance, and even the varying properties of their constituent parts. Roots, leaves, branches, seeds or fruit, and wood… all have a part to play in many religions. This is particularly true for modern druidic practice, which draws from Celtic lore and centers around the magic in certain woods. And as can be seen from my current Runic Friday series on the Ogham, certain woods were prominent enough in Celtic lore to inspire a form of divination symbolized by Irish Celtic writing.

There are many ways in which we can bring the magic of trees into our lives, but when it comes to garden magic, I have yet to see a method so endearing as building shrines on or near them.

Simple or Complex, Religious or Spiritual

Shrines are most often associated with religion - especially religions such as Hindu, Shinto, and Buddhism. In short, a shrine is a type of altar which is usually dedicated to a specific god, spirit, or ancestor as opposed to being devoted to whole pantheons. Depending on the practice, these shrines can be ornate or very simple.

But shrines aren’t limited to religion or ancestor worship. Like altars, they can be places of meditation or magical working, and therefore can have a place in spirituality regardless of the faith practiced.

Tree shrines are a great way of integrating your practice with your garden, providing a place to meditate or work magic, or to honor deities. As an added benefit, they can be used to honor the spirit within the tree if desired. For those on a budget, the shrine need not be overly fancy - a small altar made of stone or wood at the base of the tree is sufficient. But if fancier shrines are more your style, inspiration can be drawn from real world shrines, which are often built into the hollows of trees or carved into them. Here, offerings can be made or deities worshipped as you see fit.

Consider the role the tree plays in your garden, and build your shrine with that in mind. Is your oak tree a silent protector? Or perhaps you feel that your maple tree brings luck and money to your home? If this is a tree in your orchard, the shrine may be a way by which you can ask for healthy and bountiful harvests!

A few examples:

-Oak: Oak trees are common, and are often symbolic of protection, knowledge, wisdom, and strength. Building a shrine decorated with acorns and fallen oak branches may be a way of encouraging the oak to protect your home, or inspire the drive to learn in your heart. Or even, perhaps, it can be a way of honoring the Oak King if you follow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year!

-Maple: Often associated with the moon, maple trees are linked to both magic and healing. Shrines dedicated to bringing about good health and happiness are ideal with maple trees, allowing them to extend their healing energies to you!

-Pine: Pine trees, a mainstay in the northern hemisphere, are trees of strength and raw power. They are ancient and invoke a sense of mystery. Shrines built at the base of a pine tree can be dedicated to finding that primal strength that lives within all of us, and for helping us connect with the past. These are excellent trees for ancestor shrines, depending upon your practice.

-Apple: Speaking of ancestor worship, apple is associated with otherworld. Its link to the dead is on a mythical scope, lending its energies quite well to ancestor shrines. However, it is also a tree of fertility and choice. As such, shrines meant to encourage fertility in the garden or one’s own fertility are great when built at the base of an apple tree. Furthermore, it helps encourage decisive action, inspiring quick decision making and wise undertakings.

In Conclusion…

While this week’s article is quite different from most, it calls us back to a time when the gardens we tended were the ones planted by nature itself. Whether your shrine is dedicated to the tree or some other spirit, or if it is built to honor an altogether different plant, it is a useful tool for the garden witch who thrives when working magic outdoors.

Consider how your garden can benefit from the added spiritual energy of shrines. Perhaps the trees have more to offer than we may realize!

May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(

part of thread transposed:

First, it’s important to understand that Mueller has entered into a plea deal with Flynn in which Flynn pleads guilty to far less than the available evidence suggests he could be charged with. This indicates that he has cut a deal with Mueller to cooperate in the Russia probe.

We’ve already seen Mueller do this once before in the probe, with George Papadopoulos—who was charged with the same crime as Flynn, Making False Statements, to secure his cooperation with the Russia probe. The Papadopoulos plea affidavit emphasized facts were being left out.

Flynn is widely regarded as dead-to-rights on more charges than Making False Statements—notably, FARA violations (failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey under the Foreign Agent Registration Act). There’s recently been evidence he was part of a kidnapping plot, too.

Getting charged with just one count of Making False Statements is a great deal for Mike Flynn—it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll escape incarceration, but a) it makes that a possibility (depending on what the parties and judge say and do), and b) any time served may be minimal.

What this suggests is Flynn brings substantial inculpatory info (info tending to incriminate others) to the table. Unlike Papadopoulos, Flynn was going to be—because of his position in the administration—a primary target of the probe. So he had to offer a lot to get this deal.

Deals like this are offered *only* when a witness can incriminate someone “higher up the food-chain” than them. In the case of the nation’s former National Security Advisor, the *only* people above him in the executive-branch hierarchy are the President and the Vice President.

There may be other targets in the Russia probe—such as Attorney General Sessions—at Flynn’s same level in the hierarchy, but unless he could incriminate two or more of them, a deal like this would not be offered to him. And there *aren’t* two or more at his level in this case.

What this indicates—beyond any serious doubt—is the following: Special Counsel Bob Mueller, the former Director of the FBI, believes Mike Flynn’s testimony will *incriminate* the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, or both of these two men.

For this reason, what’s about to happen in 50 minutes is far and away the biggest development thus far in the Trump-Russia probe, and likely the biggest development in U.S. politics since President Nixon resigned from office during the Watergate scandal. 

This is historic.

You can read more of this thread here

Fantasy Biology: Pixies

It was close voting this time round folks, but the Pixies pulled ahead by a beetle’s wing.

Pixies are small entities which are often confused with fairies. They are generally considered more benign than the other Fae but are still enigmatic. Their features include:

  • Small size
  • Child-like appearance
  • sometimes nude, sometimes wearing rags and discarded things
  • like finery (ribbons, lace, etc)
  • may or may not have wings (some debate)

Those wings are interesting, and I suspect they’re the main reason i was asked about this species in the first place, because they’re insect-like wings, not vertebrate wings. And as it happens, making the Pixie an arthropod or insect species works really well.

Keep reading

Legit Worldbuilding Tip #3

or - “Crafting Religions for Fictional Worlds”

Whether you’re religious or not, there’s no denying the cultural, political, and social impact that religion has had on the world around us. 

So when crafting a brand new world, whether it’s high fantasy, science fiction, science fantasy, etc., religion can play a big part of the world that you’re building. And because of its relative importance, there are a lot of things to think about re: crafted religions. 

Religions Shape Morals and Virtues

Morals are a strange thing. People aren’t born with an innate knowledge of what to do in life, or how to act. It only makes sense, then, that people would turn to religion as a guide for how they should behave. That’s easy enough to see with the world we live in. 

The Golden Rule. Nearly everybody learns this one growing up. For Christians, it comes in the form of a Biblical quote - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But the concept isn’t unique to Christianity. Nearly every religion has this same rule, in some form or another. 

But when you get further into the details of differing religions, you see that each has its own set of morals and what it feels is “right.” This can range from Evangelicals who feel that same-sex love is a sin because of an archaic passage from the old testament to vegetarianism as a way to avoid hurting other living creatures, commonly found among Hindus. 

So What Does This Mean?

Well, this means that when you’re crafting a religion, one of the things to think about is what morals you want in your world. 

Don’t want a world with a bunch of homophobic assholes? I’ve got good news for you! A same-sex couple amongst your pantheon of Gods and you can have a world where people don’t just accept same-sex love, but celebrate it!

But that’s not the only thing to think about. Different taboos are often religion-centric as well. 

These taboos can have minor consequences on your world-building in some ways. For example, maybe you just want to make things more interesting by adding details such as characters who avoid certain kinds of metals or stones because they’re strictly forbidden in their religious texts. 

These taboos can also have major consequences on your story. For example, even in the modern day and age there are a lot of prejudices against albinism in some African countries. You can imagine the consequences for such a character.

Religions Shape Cultural Practices and Thoughts

In the West, pretty much everybody celebrates the holidays, even if they aren’t Christian. They may adapt their practices depending on their beliefs, but regardless, if you live in a country like America you’ll experience a lot of religious influence around the holiday season. Christmas, a day that celebrates the birth of a religious figure, has a tremendous cultural impact even on those that aren’t Christian. 

When crafting a religion, it only makes sense to think about the cultural impact said religion will have. Holidays, prayer, rituals, religious pilgrimages, the way that people keep track of time (as in our AD system), taboos (as already mentioned), fasting, celibacy, religious bathing/cleansing… 

These are just a few practices that exist within different religions. Many are so ingrained in our culture that people don’t even think of them as “religious” any more. 

For example, the practice of abstaining from sex before marriage. This single religious belief has created a culture that is very prohibitive regarding sexuality. A lot of people still think that fewer sex partners = a better person, even those who aren’t adherents of any religious philosophy. It’s just something that’s ingrained in our culture. 

All this to say - the best starting point for creating a religion in a fictional world is knowing what kind of world you want to write. 

With all that out of the way, let’s get on to the actual creation process. There are a few things to think about, but I want to start with something I feel is very important. 

There are a lot of religions out there. I suggest you research them and learn about them.

But please don’t just take an existing religion, especially one from another culture, slap a new name on it, give it an air of mysticism, and then be done with it. It’s disrespectful to those who actually practice these religions.

*Ahem* Okay, I’ve said my piece and now I’ll move on. 

Remember - Multiple Religions Can and Usually Do Exist in a Culture

This is the first and most important thing I want to point out. Most of the stories I’ve seen where creators do religion right is when they remember that not everybody practices the same religion. 

George R. R. Martin does this incredibly well with the different religions in ASOIAF. They are all different, they are all unique, they are very much shaped by the part of the world that those characters live in. 

Also remember that the same religion can have many different interpretations, leading to different branches and sects. They can be quite different and they may not get along that well. This is another thing that is often forgotten. 

Different Types of Religions

Throughout history there have been many different types of religions. Some have a single god. Some have an entire pantheon. Some see gods as people. Some see gods as animals. Some gods are both people and animals, depending on the story that’s being told. Some religions see gods as having no form. Some religions teach that god is the universe. Some say that there are no gods, but there is power in everything.

Let’s Talk Prophets and Stuff

Another thing to remember is that religions are often centered on a prophet, or a person’s teachings. While a god or pantheon of gods may be central to that religion, the prophet/guru/etc. is also very important. Jesus, Muhammed, the Buddha… just a few real world examples. 

This is where I take the time to point out something important. Your religion doesn’t have to have a male prophet/teacher. A prophet can be a woman. Or nonbinary. There can be six prophets who worked together, all of different gender identities. In fact, this can be a really good way to get rid of gross stuff like sexism in your world’s culture, or just plain avoid stereotypical high fantasy with Manly Men and Damsels in Distress.

Leave Some Stuff Unexplained

Another thing I want to point out is that religions don’t usually have explanations for everything. I mean, the whole point of religion is faith most of the time. 

I was talking with @more-legit-gr8er-writing-tips earlier about this. Because I still get mad about the midichlorian thing in Star Wars. The Force was an awesome (if a little underdeveloped) religion. It was focused on the power that exists in all things rather than the idea of a god. Certain people could access the Force. All was good. Then they made the Force the result of little critters that live inside people. 

No. No no no. Okay, I’ll stop. Just suffice it to say, whatever genre you’re writing in, don’t feel the need to explain everything. Even if magic exists, even if there’s science, just embrace the mystery and the wonder of the religion you’ve created.

Religious Institutions

I’ll keep this one short. But just remember that where there’s religion, there’s inevitably going to be some sort of religious institution. It may be that in your world every town has its own religious leader and group of scholars. Or you could have a vast system of temples. Or you could have the fantasy equivalent of the Catholic Church. 

(Remember also - the bigger a religious institution is, and the more influence it has on the people, the more likely it is going to be a power in its own right in your world - a.k.a. the Catholic Church basically being a governing power in our own history.)

Religion in Science Fiction

Apart from some science fantasy, I’m hard pressed to find many science fiction stories that include religion. I think there’s a general assumption that people will move away from religion, especially as we learn more about the world we live in.

But… people are people. And I’m 100% sure that there will always be some people who believe in something. Your dystopian government may not like it, but somebody somewhere will discover the last unburned copy of the Torah and a brand new religion with elements of Judaism will spring up around it. 

And that starship flying through space in the year 3277? Probably going to have Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and who knows what else on board. Though they may not practice religion the same way we do now. And who the crap knows what the aliens are going to believe in.

Common Themes in Religion

One of the final things I have to say is that, for as many differences there are in religions, there are a lot of commonalities. Things like prophets, and trickster gods, and miraculous births (such as children being found in rivers or born to virgins). I suggest you do some research on the commonalities in religions and use them if you need a bit of inspiration for crafting your own. 

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough. I just want you to consider some of these things. This is just one way to build a little more complexity into a world you’ve created, and it can do a lot for everything from plot to making the reader really believe that your world exists. So have at it! Enjoy playing god(s). 

You wanna know what I found funny with this scene, is that branch looks at random objects and thinks of the snack pack but the second he looks at the toilet it becomes Creek. Branch is basically calling Creek a lil shit

ritual for designating a wand 🌱

if you choose to use a wand in your craft, you may not want to fashion one from a branch, perhaps preferring to choose something that has special significance to you, or something that represents your craft, such as a spoon, a pencil, a wrench, etc.

however, if your chosen wand doesn’t have any natural magical correspondances, you may want to designate it with your power before using it in rituals. here are some suggestions!

ritual actions to empower your choice of wand:

depending on the type of magic you will be using it for charge it under a corresponding phase of the moon, or the sunif waterproof, submerge under and charge in full moon / rain / sea watersurround with lit candles for an hour, speak over it of its power
place within a crystal grid to align with their energies and conduct themhold, and meditate with, visualizing it conducting your power into it from one end and returning your power from the other end.

feel free to add crystal chips, ribbons, to your  wand to further empower it!

anonymous asked:

I've always been scared of having "too much exaggeration on emotions" in my drawins and for the past few months my art has always had a dulled, neural look. It was really bumming me out. But after finding your blog and all your amazin pieces, I love your bnha btw lmao, I've been really inspired to branch out and break the mold I've set myself in. Idk, it may sound silly or weird but I just wanted to say thank you for that and for showin me how emotions really bring out every art piece. Rock on!

Im glad youre pushing yourself to give characters more life in your art! 

I think sometimes people worry that by contorting characters faces with intense emotion that they somehow make them “ugly” or “embarrassing”–but I find beauty in characters who’s faces crunch and twist and become almost monster like. So much power comes from feelings that “destroy” the face, and I personally flock to art styles that aren’t afraid of that ugliness, like:

Horikoshi (as you know)

Takehiko Inoue 

One (Studio BONES)

Satoru Noda

Yoshitoki Ōima

Inio Asano

Kei Sanbe (A-1 Pictures)

Kazue Katō (A-1 Pictures)

Atsushi Ōkubo (Studio BONES)

This…ended up turning into a show-and-tell post abt the kinda of faces I like lmao BUT!! You get the point.

Get ugly! Get embarrassing! Get alive!