books: the idea

I saw a comment today on Twitter that made me stop a bit.

“I would love to read this book but it’s so hard with dyslexia and I don’t think I’ll be able to.”

And I thought, how many people want to read books that don’t exist as audio books? How many people want to read long books but can’t focus?
How many people love stories but can’t read, or afford to read?

Idea: a book club that happens either in real life or over skype, aimed at fixing this, where you can hear a book read out loud. You’d only need one copy of the book per group, so it would save costs (for a skype group, it wouldn’t be difficult to send pictures of the pages). Those who wanted to could read out loud or listen as they chose.

Everyone could enjoy the story, everyone could save money, everyone could have time socialising in a structured setting.

I don’t have any barriers to reading long books, so if anyone does and has feedback, please let me know because I’d want to do this to help others out!

fantasy book with witches and wizards and magical people but all magic has a price, like

main character, in awe and slightly terrified: what did you have to give up to be able to control storms with your mind?

powerful enchanter, fighting back tears as they pull down the hood of their cloak to reveal a knotted oily mess: my beautiful luscious hair….no matter how many times i wash or brush it, it always looks like this

main character: [horrified gasp]

Laurel’s Guide to Grimoires

A while back I made a post about how I organize my Grimoire/Book of Shadows and for a long time since then I’ve wanted to a sort of 101 for creating a Grimoire/Book of Shadows. Be warned, this will be a long post! As always, this is merely my opinion, my word is not law.

(UPDATED 4/24/17; All updates are marked)

Originally posted by ephemeralsyzygy

-The Grimoire Basics-

What is a Grimoire?

As my own personal definition, a Grimoire is simply any book used by a witch in his/her/their own personal practice. There is no limit as to what a Grimoire can or cannot be, as each one is as unique as the witch who wrote it.

How do I use a Grimoire?

A grimoire is used to document, or keep track of, any magickal information that is relevant to the practitioner.It serves to log everything you need to know in your own personal craft. 

-Types of Grimoires-

These are my own personal “styles” of grimoires that I have made over the years. These are not the only “kinds” of grimoires, merely suggestions.

- “Textbook” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that is set up to serve as a reference book, a book strictly for spiritual or magickal information. 

- “Practical” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that can serve a practical purpose, such as a recipe or spell book. Often more portable than a standard grimoire.

- “Inspirational” Grimoire: These are often called inspiration journals. They are filled with spiritual images, quotes and writings to serve as a sort of “bible.”

- “Memory Keeping” or “Journal” Grimoire: This is a grimoire that serves to be a personal record of thoughts and feelings pertaining to spiritual activity in your life. 

-Grimoire Keeping Methods-

- Blank bound or spiral bound Notebooks
    - I’ve actually seen someone tape composition notebooks together to get             a “thick” book.
- Recycled or used hard/soft cover books
- Binders
- OneNote/Tumblr/Internet
- Computer Folder/Flash Drive/Memory Card

-How to make a Grimoire-

I recommend that if you are starting a grimoire or are a relatively new witch, don’t even bother buying a nice, expensive, fancy journal. Most of the time (unless you’ve already done one or two grimoires before and you know exactly what you’ll be putting in this grimoire), that book will sit on a shelf and collect dust. Many new witches get excited to have a “fancy” grimoire and then become terrified of “messing up” in it which results in that book never being used. We’ve all been there, done that.

That being said, here are the basic steps I followed when making my “permanent” grimoire.

- Decide on your Grimoire Keeping Method
 - Gather the information that you would like to put into your grimoire (this can sometimes take a very long time, it took me years), although if the “write as you go” method is more comfortable for you, then go ahead.
- Organize your information. If you’re a perfectionist like me, this might take a bit. It’s also completely natural to change up your organization style later on.
- Protect/Consecrate your Grimoire. This is completely optional, but it can also be a fun “witchy” way to bond with your grimoire.
- Put all your information in your book in anyway that you desire. I found it useful to “plan” out the book before I started writing in all the information. This way I knew exactly what pages were going where.
- Decorate your Grimoire. Also, completely optional. Some people like decorating with flowers and ribbons and pictures and stickers. Other people prefer straight to the point text. Either way works perfectly fine.

A quick note for those who suffer from the perfectionist complex: don’t sweat it. We all want our books to be “perfect” but after writing about six grimoires I’ve learned that grimoires really don’t ever become “permanent” because our preferences change as we grow. If you’re worried about it being perfect, starting “planning” pages in a cheap journal. Take note of any mistakes or things you want to change. You can always create another grimoire later. Don’t let that pesky perfectionism hold you back. And if you make mistakes, try to work with them and turn them into something else instead of scrapping your book to start over.

I used to dream of having a huge, Charmed-like Grimoire, and now I prefer the small, sloppy, scrap book, messy-writing kind of grimoire. Don’t sweat it.

Things to put in your Grimoire

- Correspondences
- Sabbats, Esbats and any Holidays you celebrate
- How to cast spells
- Spells and Rituals
- Divination
- Astrology
- Herbs and Recipes
- Crystals
- Topics you’d like to learn about later.

@cosmic-witch has a HUGE list of topics here

How to organize your Grimoire

This post details my own personal Grimoire Index. However the best way to organize your grimoire would be whatever works best for you. I personally like having everything divided into matching sections. However, if you write spells a lot, you may want spell writing notes in the front, while correspondences would be better in the back. It’s all up to personal preference. 

 Witchy-Woman’s Grimoire Organization

TripleVirgo’s Grimoire Index

 My Tips on Grimoire Organization

(UPDATED 4/24/17)

Other Grimoire Tips

- Intention Cheat Sheets. When you want to write a spell, nothing sucks more than having to flip back and forth all over your grimoire to find the information you need. My advice is to make “cheat sheets” for each of your intentions. Pick an intention, such as Money, and write down anything that corresponds to that (colors, herbs, moon phases or zodiac signs, crystals, incense, etc) this way the next time you want to do a spell for Money, you can just flip to your cheat sheet and be done. (UPDATED 4/24/17)

- Incognito Grimoire: Find a generic book that you like at a Goodwill or second hand shop. Write your witchcraft notes/correspondences in the margins and spacing. Use markers or crayons to draw pictures and symbols. You can also glue blank pages into the book so you have more space to write anything you want. This way your Grimoire can sit in plain sight on your bookshelf when you have company over and no one will be the wiser.

- So You Don’t Think You Can Grimoire: Tips and ideas for witches who struggle with the “My handwriting is terrible and I can’t draw” complex. (UPDATED 4/24/17)

- Scrapbook Altars

- Create a Magickal Memories Folder

This post will probably be a “masterpost” of sorts that I’ll continue to add to as the inspiration strikes. If anyone has any ideas or grimoire-related topics they’d like to see, feel free to share!

~L

15 more ideas for your BOS!

Since our last list went down so well, we thought we would put our heads together and think of 15 more ideas for your book!

Let’s get started, in no particular order:

1.       Something to protect your book, I can’t believe this was not on our previous list! Bless your book/protective sigils, something to protect from wandering or prying eyes.

2.       Update your path page (if you have one, or start one) basically saying what your path is, and what is important to you – know this was in the other list, but we believe our practice changes from one year to the next so keep it updated.

3.       Do you have an altar? If so how about a section dedicated to it? How you set it up for ritual, for each sabbat/season (if it changes), life events, for offerings! Keep all that info together, and add pictures and photos.

4.       An ancestor page, where are your ancestors from? Is there anyone you would like to honour? Anyone who has really shaped who you are as a person? Write about them.

5.       Familiars, do you have one? What do you know about them? Have you had one in the past? Write about it.

6.       Tools. Write a list of the tools that are in your practice and how you use them, keep it updated.

7.       Rites/rituals/blessings/recipes that mean something to you and your practice, or ones that you have done, and how they went.

8.       A list of any active charges, wards, sigils that you have running at the moment.

9.       How you meditate

10.   How you ground yourself

11.   How you centre yourself

12.   How you create a sigil

13.   Have you had experience with spirits, done any spirit work? Write about it?

14.   Have you got experience with binding? Or banishing? Write about them.

15.   Draw/paint/be creative.

16.   Bonus! Have you picked up any witchy life hacks? Or little witchy tips? Write them all down in one place.

amie.

this is a story about a sorcerer and a knight. well, a knight-in-training. they go by KiT, a nickname for their title, but a perfectly good name for anyone. kit’s a good squire, for the most part, but they have a knack for getting into trouble.

this time the trouble is they just fuckin decked another knight in the middle of the tavern.

“keep your hands off my friend,” kit tells the shocked personification of grossness, now sitting on his ass on the ground. kit’s pretty sure the message was already sent though the ass-kicking, but it doesn’t hurt to be thorough.

the man splutters for a minute before finding his tongue. “you— you— you piece of shit, you’ll pay for this. i have powerful friends.”

“bring it on,” kit retorts. they’re feeling pretty confident right now.

they’re feeling significantly less confident as two other men step up behind the first guy.

“outside,” the first growls.

“we’re zit and wedge, and we’re going to kick your ass,” the second one clarifies. 

zit nods. “but we don’t want to make a mess of you on mal’s floor, since it was just scrubbed and all.”

kit glances at mal, who they rather thought was a friend, to find her nodding appreciatively. “brawlers these days are so polite. out you three go.”

kit wilts. “but… there’s just one of me.”

it’s around this time, when the two other guys are starting to crack their knuckles and look like they’re going to drag kit outside whether they like it or not, that someone else pushes their way through the small crowd that’s forming.

“’scuse me, pardon me. hello. what’s going on here?”

she’s got bright blue hair, of the kind that you get from mucking around with magic too much. everyone immediately reassesses the situation, and watches her warily. a sorcerer can quickly change the way a brawl plays out, if they feel like intervening. kit sincerely hopes she does.

“miss,” zit jumps in before kit can get a word in, “this young… person, here, just brutally attacked my poor friend, and me and wedge think we ought to be able to teach them a lesson in manners.”

the sorcerer studies him for a moment, as if considering his statement, and kit grabs their chance.

“pimple here is completely leaving out the fact that their friend wouldn’t leave my friend alone, after she asked him to go away twice!”

zit bristles, and looks to the sorcerer for her judgment.

she considers for while. “can anyone vouch for this knight’s statement?”

“i was the one getting hit on!” tea shouts from behind kit’s shoulder.

the sorcerer digests the witness’s statement. “hm. i’m inclined to see this as a case of self-defense, through the channel of someone who was not the self being hit on. i would suggest that all the parties involved accept the ruling of “he who gets their ass kicked probably deserves it”, and move on.”

“fat chance,” wedge growls. “the pack sticks together. we have to defend our leader.”

werewolves, kit sighs internally. it just figured.

there’s a dramatic pause, then the sorcerer says cooly, “you try it, and you’ll get your asses kicked too.”

zit and wedge eye her warily. kit eyes all three of them, which is hard with only two eyes.

“i reckon we could take a sorcerer,” wedge hypothesizes— an idea that would be quickly proven false in any laboratory experiment.

but this is a tavern, and the sorcerer has a delayed reaction, only raising her hands when zit charges at her. kit flinches back, sure she’s about to be crushed, but the next moment flames explode in the small space between the sorcerer and zit. there’s a yelp, and mad scrambling back from the sorcerer.

“i have nowhere to be until book club at midnight,” the sorcerer informs them calmly, her hands still out, palms up and ready to summon more flame. kit squints at them. “so i have plenty of time to teach you a lesson.”

apparently rescinding their hypothesis, all three werewolves make a mad dash for the door and disappear into the night.

the sorcerer smiles victoriously, and shakes her bright hair out of her face. kit squints at her scalp as she turns to them. “all good?”

“yes, thank you,” tea says, sounding impressed. “wow… a fire summoner. i didn’t know there were any teenagers powerful enough.”

kit has no other specific places to squint, so they just stare hard at the sorcerer’s face. “yeah… thanks. that was really cool.”

she waves their thanks off with one hand, a few strands of smoke issuing from her sleeves. “all in a day’s work. i’ll be off now.”

kit leaves tea with mal, though they frankly no longer trust her so much, and follows the sorcerer out the door. “hey, wait! you, blue hair magic person. what are you?”

“a masked vigilante,” she says, after a pause. “without the mask, because magic.”

kit blinks at that, before realizing she’s perfectly right. besides the definite ideas that she’s female and blue-haired, kit seems to forget what she looks like one moment to the next. kinda neat, honestly, though disconcerting.

they shake their head. “no, i mean… you’re not a sorcerer. i’ve seen people summon fire, and it comes from a loosely closed fist, not an open hand. also, your hair is dyed, not magically changed.”

she doesn’t answer for a moment, then looks stumped, and continues to not answer.

“well?” kit asks.

“fine,” she admits. “i’m a sorcerer in training, but the fake mask is about the most complicated magic i can do. the hair is so people will take me seriously when i do masked vigilante stuff.”

“and the fire?” kit persists.

after a moment, she shakes out her sleeve, sending a tiny purple dragon tumbling into her other hand. “my helper. my fire aid, if you will. you’re the first person to notice, you know?”

“just logic and being awesome,” kit says with a shrug, feeling pleased. neither are skills they get to show off a lot. they kinda feel like they’ve earned something for it. “hey, can i ask you a question?”

after a pause, the sorcerer in training says, “go for it.”

“why do you wait a second before responding to anything?”

their question is punctuated by a pause before she answers.

then the sorcerer motions kit closer, and tucks her hair behind her ears. the knight-in-training leans in, gaping. there’s a green dragon no longer than the length of one finger perched behind her ear, claws holding onto her piercings for balance. it unwedges one tiny wing to wave at them.

“what the fuck,” kit says, unable to find a reason for this from logic or being awesome.

“what the fuck,” the dragon repeats, pushing its snoot practically inside the sorcerer’s ear.

“this is peep,” she says. “my hearing is shit, so it helps me out. i call it my hearing aid.”

the draconian hearing aid preens under the knight-in-training’s stare.

“shit,” kit mumbles, for lack of better words.

“shit!” the dragon crows, gleefully.

I still, to this day, don’t understand how Simon could be so oblivious about his feelings for Baz. Are you actually telling me that it took Baz going against all of Smokey Bear’s rules on forest fires to make Simon realize he wanted to kiss the dolt when he has been thinking things like this throughout the whole goddamn book

‘I’m just lying in my bed, thinking about Baz.’

‘I know I should be happy about Baz being gone–but it seems so… wrong’

’If he weren’t a vampire, Baz’d be bloody perfect.’

‘Smarter than I am. Better looking.’

*literally there’s hardly a paragraph that goes by where Baz’s name isn’t mentioned at least like 6 times I mean come on*

A Witch’s Journal

Although I do have a grimoire, I use a journal to track my day-to-day practices that I do not usually include in my grimoire. A witch’s journal is a great place to record your feelings and discover any repeating symbols that you may not have noticed if you hadn’t written them down.  It is a great way to look through and see how much your craft has grown.


Things you could include: 

  • Dreams and visions with any interpretations you have
  • Day-to-day magickal practice 
  • Symbols that may seem important
  • Astral protection experiences
  • Meditation  journeys
  •  A list of books you read and any important magickal teachings you learned from them
  • Progress of any castings or “spell tracking”
  • Magick Workings
  • Events and decisions in your life that affect your magickal workings
  • Magickal goals and plans
  • Maintenance and home cleaning/cleansing
  • Daily rituals or habits 
  • Astrological events and any symbols or visions you may have received that are connect to the event

Things to include in each entry:

  • The moon phases
  • Weather
  • Date
  • Emotion
  • Position of the moon in the zodiac
  • Season
  • Time

Another short post but I hope it may inspire some people.

May the moon light your path

Moonlight Academy 

A Handful of Questions to Ask Yourself While Creating a Character

Compelling characters make compelling stories. Here’s a bunch of questions you can ask yourself while developing a character. 

1) What does your character want from life? What is their motivation? What drives them? Most people want things - it could be as small as wanting a sandwich, or something huge like wanting to change the world. Does your character want something? Does your character dream? What about? And if they don’t, why don’t they? 

2) Is your character shy? Outgoing? Insecure? Proud? Why are they the way they are? My favourite example of this question answered well is Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. He’s insecure because he doesn’t come from a wealthy family, has a bunch of older brothers who are all amazing in some form or way, his mother always wanted a daughter, Ginny, and so he doesn’t feel as wanted. Also, one of his best friends is the Chosen One, and the other is the brightest witch of her age - a cocktail that would make anyone doubt themselves. 

3) What kind of clothes does your character wear? Why? The way you dress says a lot about who you are. For instance, If a character wears designer clothes and the latest fashions, it shows that they have the means to keep up with the trends. However if they wear a medley of things bought second-hand, or buy cheap stuff from supermarkets, they might not have the money to spare on outfits, or maybe they just don’t care about fashion.

4) How does your character speak?  Speech patterns have origins. An accent, language, a dialect, all signify geography, social class, personality. It could be as simple as cussing too much. But be sure you know why your character speaks the way they do. And if it’s not a speech pattern you’re familiar with, do your research!

5) Likes and dislikes I sometimes give characters specific likes (”I like tomatoes”) or specific dislikes (”I dislike eggs”), simply because it humanises them. You don’t have to do this, or be as specific as that, if it doesn’t serve your story. But it’s definitely something you can consider. Everyone has those little things they love and hate, and you can go places with them. (”I hate eggs because my childhood bully threw an egg at me and scarred me for life.”) Be creative and have fun with it.

6) Who does your character love? Romantic attraction isn’t necessary to create a wholesome character. Nevertheless, if they are in love with someone, be sure to understand why they love someone. Love is at its best, a complicated emotion difficult to break down, but a relationship has to be believable. As a reader, I need to be able to look at a couple and think, yeah, I can see what their love is built on. 

7) What would their favourite songs be? This is not so much a question as it is a trick I use to get a better feel for who my character is. No matter what time period your story is set in, you can use this to understand your character better. Take your playlist and pick what songs they would enjoy. It says a lot about who they are. For instance, one of my characters would enjoy Western classical music and nothing else. Another character listens to the worst kind of pop and loves it. 

8) How does your character react under stress? Can they cope with it? Do they get tense? Angry? Teary? Why? Why not? How a person deals with stress is a vital part of their personality. Decisions taken under stress can be the worst you’ve ever made, or (depending on how you handle stress), can be effective solutions to problems. The way a person reacts to stress often has a lot to do with their background and upbringing. Example (this is a generalisation, of course): someone who comes from a difficult family background may have more extreme reactions to stress than someone who is well-adjusted and comes from a happy family. 

9) What does your character do when they’re alone? You’re often a different person alone than when you are with other people. The pretences and false faces come away, and all the little thoughts you usually ignore now have time to play in the open. Who is your character when they’re alone? What do they do? What do they think about? Why do they think about/do things in that way?

10) Where does your character fail? Characters must have flaws to be compelling. Nobody is perfect, and your character shouldn’t be either. Whether its insecurity or anger, or a lack of initiative, or smaller things like not being a good artist, or not being the best at sports–we all have personal failings and we all have things we aren’t good at. Consider: where does your character mess up? 

I hope this helps! Remember to have fun. Developing characters can be the most exciting thing. Keep an open mind while working. Happy writing! 

Tips and Ideas for Writing Post-Apocolypse

Writing post-apocalypse/dystopian future can actually open a large range of possibilities and original ideas but there are some things we should try to keep in mind. The problem with this genre is that is a heavily research-based genre, it requires a lot of information so a lot of things can slip up or be forgotten.

Limits of the Body - This is something that seems to be largely forgotten unless in extreme situations. Yes, humans are tough, but they are also weak. We have that balance of nature within us. People can keep going whilst in a lot of pain, but something like a headache could knock them senseless. I knew someone who got shot in the leg and ran three miles because he thought he had been hit by the brick. The second he realised he had actually been shot and was safe to do so, he collapsed in pain. Quickly establish what your characters can and cannot do.

Children - Children are more robust than so many people give them credit for, they wouldn’t make it to adulthood otherwise. Children are emotionally stronger than they are physically but many children have a lot more endurance for their size than adults because they have to keep up with adults. Two good examples are The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

Hygiene - Namely with periods and stuff. It is hard work keeping the body clean, so personal hygiene will be poor but people tend to stop caring at a point when they realise how hard it is to maintain. A lot of people would revert to old fashioned methods of vagina health as well, so people would use reusable cloth or diva cups. The only book I know of that covers this is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

Simple Killers - More people died of the Spanish flu than in the First World War (source). It is surprising how often it is “little things” that kill people off. An emotional death does not have to be all that dramatic, no bloody death or major killer. Something as simple as a small cut that festered will kill someone if not treated correctly. An asthma attack, diabetes, things we see as treatable would make quick work of us without medical aid. Also most deaths are really simple and sudden.

World Limitations - What is this obsession with guns and everything happening in the summer and unlimited cans of food? No, let’s be honest, none of these are realistic. Guns will not last, can goods will be snatched up by the shop loads, most natural disasters will happen in spring or autumn. Remember to do the key thing, make your world real and people are more likely to believe it.

Take a Page - Who are most renowned for their post-apocalyptic stories? British pre-1950s authors. Why? Their worlds are real, the possibilities of what could happen in those worlds are real. Some where and still are scarily accurate, they looked at the current and possible state of things, creating a world too similar to our own. Great examples like 1984 by George Orwell, The Death of Grass by John Christopher, The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, Soylent Green and the Mad Max Series.