magic gourd!

pimpmizziriam  asked:

I'm writing a story set in china, and so I've been reading novels that are set there. I noticed that the Chinese characters names, particularly the girls, are often things like 'magic gourd', or 'snow flower'. This strikes me as sort of odd, like if we called someone named Elizabeth 'oath of god'. Its what their name means, not what it is. It bugs me, but Amy Tan uses it, so I'm not sure whether its ok, or preferred, or a style thing, or what. any advice?

Using Name Meanings as Names for Chinese Protagonists

This is a very, very good question, and I’m glad you asked it. While I have to say that I don’t speak for all Chinese readers, as one myself, my answer, personally, is that it would put me off.

When I was younger, I got an English translation of Dream of the Red Chamber, and the names, unfortunately, had been translated as “Precious Jade” and “Black Jade” instead of Baoyu and Daiyu, respectively. It made me see these characters as the name meanings and not as people, and it annoyed me because, as you said, it’s what the name means, not what it is. It struck me as very othering and exoticizing.

The Chinese name given to me has the meaning of “elegant mountain mist,” for example, and you can see that it’d be a mouthful if translated that way! My mother’s name is only one character, and yet a translation would be “the tinkling sounds of jade.” And then some Chinese names, once translated, would make no sense when it comes to meaning.

My advice to you is this: please don’t translate the Chinese names. Just use them as they are.

–mod Jess

untilterminalfailure  asked:

Hey, I'm about to run a VtR chronicle that's going to be a heist story. I've polled every Wiccan, every mythology buff, every fantasy novel reader I know - other than the Philosopher's Stone, no one can tell me of an artifact that can provide great riches. Barring this, my last resort, I'm just going to make one up, but I was hoping to find something with a premade backstory.

Hi untilterminalfailure. Thanks for your question!

There are a lot of legends of things, places, or magical rituals that bring about wealth and prosperity for people - which, given humanity’s obsession with personal property and ownership, isn’t very surprising.

A quick search about the resources I use often brought me to this page: Wikipedia: List of Mythological Objects.

Here are some of the examples that really stand out in relation to your specific request. Bear in mind I know little about some of them, so I encourage you to do further research on those that really grab your attention. I’ve added some notes when an idea came to mind to put a bit of a spin on it to better suit your needs.

  • Draupnir, a golden arm ring possessed by Odin. The ring was a source of endless wealth. (Norse mythology)
  • Vaidurya, most precious of all stones, sparkling beauty beyond compare, the stone worn by the goddess Lakshmi and the goddess of wealth Rigveda. (Hindu Mythology)
  • Nábrók (Death Underpants), are a pair of pants made from the skin of a dead man, which are capable of producing an endless supply of money. (Icelandic folklore)
  • Andvaranaut, a magical ring capable of producing gold, first owned by Andvari. (Norse mythology)
  • Philosopher’s stone, said to perform alchemy without an equal sacrifice being made, such as turning lead to gold, and creating something out of nothing
  • Jeweled Branch of Hōrai, a branch from a tree found on Hōrai, these trees of gold have jewels for leaves. One of Kaguya-hime’s suitor set out to search for the branch. (Japanese mythology). Sometimes it isn’t the thing itself that produces wealth directly, but what it can lead people to or produce indirectly. Never underestimate the value of selling something truly desired by many.
  • Glasir (Gleaming), a tree or grove described as “the most beautiful among gods and men”, bearing golden leaves located in the realm of Asgard, outside the doors of Valhalla. (Norse mythology)
  • Golden Bough, before entering Hades, Deiphobe tells Aeneas he must obtain the bough of gold which grows nearby in the woods around her cave, and must be given as a gift to Proserpina, the queen of Pluto, king of the underworld. (Roman mythology)
  • Golden apple, an element that appears in various national and ethnic folk legends or fairy tales.
  • Alkahest, a hypothetical universal solvent, having the power to dissolve every other substance, including gold. It was much sought after by alchemists for what they thought would be its invaluable medicinal qualities. Alchemy exists in many systems and its parallels with magic, rarity, and incredible abilities are part of popular knowledge. Sometimes its an ingredient, other times a secret technique could be what‘s truly valuable.
  • Ichor, is the ethereal golden fluid that is the blood of the gods and/or immortals. (Greek mythology)
  • Orichalcum, a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, including a story of Atlantis in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato. According to Critias, orichalcum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of Atlantis in ancient times. A material so rare, so sought after, that having even a little of it yields great wealth.
  • Golden Fleece, sought by Jason and the Argonauts. (Greek mythology). Could be the fleece, could be the sheep.
  • Pot of Gold, Leprechaun store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (Irish mythology) What if the pot wasn’t just a container, but somehow produced it as well? Imagine the worth to that secret, as well as the truth of how its done.
  • Purple Gold Red Gourd, a powerful magic gourd that sucks anyone who speaks before it inside and melts them down into a bloody stew. (Chinese mythology). Okay, so bloody stew may not be all that valuable to most… but what if it wasn’t stew it produced, but instead gave something sweeter. At least to those willing and able to pay its hideous cost.
  • Lance of Olyndicus, the celtiberians’ war chief who fought against Rome. According to Florus, he wielded a silver lance that was sent to him by the gods from the sky. Forgetting the fact that a weapon can be forged from an expensive material, or do something wondrous, what about its rarity, or the legends and meaning carried in its history.
  • Silver apple, magical silver apples can be found on the Isle of Apple Trees. (Irish mythology)
  • Lyngurium (also Ligurium), the name of a mythical gemstone believed to be formed of the solidified urine of the lynx (the best ones coming from wild males). Finally, something to do with all that lynx piss.
  • Toadstone (also Bufonite), a mythical stone or gem thought to be found in, or produced by, a toad, and is supposed to be an antidote to poison. They’re already killing stuff, why not turn its parts into something useful?

Well, I hope that gets you started. Have a peek at the original source page I posted for more ideas.

And check out Tabletop Gaming Resources for more art, tips and tools for your game!

alchemydansmith  asked:

WAIT okay I remember the movie you're talking about I think? its called "the secret of the magic gourd" and I thought I imagined it?????? wha t the shit

I just googled it and holy shit you’re right

thank you I thought that film was a fever dream for years and this is perhaps the most validating moment in my life thus far

Netsuke. Ivory and bone , early 20th century, Japan. The RöhsskaMuseum, of Design, Fashion and Decorative Arts, Sweden.

According to legend the islands of Japan rest on a giant fish, Namazu, whose all-too-lively quivering causes devastating earthquakes. The god Kadori Myojin is depicted on this netsuke as an ape riding on Namazu. In order to prevent catastrophe, he tries to keep the unruly fish calm with the aid of a magic gourd. Originally a simple piece of wood with two holes for fastening cords, the netsuke’s design and motif universe has developed more and more. Skillful sculptors and craftsmen developed the netsuke from merely being a useful article into an “objet d’art.

Everyone loves halloween. It’s great, I fucking love it it’s awesome and I’ve loved it since I was a kid.

However, some of its traditions have started to kinda irritate me.

Let’s talk about what we do on Halloween. We put up lots of orangey yellow and black decorations, featuring warty, wrinkled old witches riding broomsticks with toads and probably some bats and pumpkins. It’s a time of evil spirits when the devil walks the earth. It’s all about witches and evil and night and probably a little bit of death.

Now, humour me for a minute, let’s talk about Hecate.


This gorgeous woman here is Hecate

She is an ancient greek goddess. She is insanely old and insanely powerful. When Zeus kicked out and killed all the titans and became god of basically everything, she was one of the only ones he allowed not only to live but keep all of her power.

Zeus is the almighty god of the heavens and skies etc and generally like the most powerful yeah? This badass is not only a goddess of the heavens, she is also a goddess of the earth and the underworld. ALL THREE REALMS.

She is a goddess of the Underworld, Children and Childbirth, Crossroads, Gates, the Moon, the Earth, Wilderness, Magic, Witchcraft, the Night, Ghosts and Necromancy. Her titles include Queen of the Night and the Light-Bringer.

The Ancient Greeks also saw her as a triple goddess with three forms, maiden (young), mother, and crone (old). She was sometimes pictured  as having three heads, and was associated with Selene and Artemis (two other awesome goddesses) as moon goddess.

What am I saying here? this woman is amazing. 

Back on topic, let’s talk about things associated with Hecate. They include the colours black, yellow, and orange, animals such as toads and bats, witchcraft and magic, gourds (especially pumpkins), do you get where I’m going with this yet cos if not I would go have another look at the list of stuff to do with halloween. If that’s not enough you should also know that one of her festival days is October 31st.

What I’m really saying is that Hecate was such a powerful and widely worshipped goddess that when Christianity came along and tried to convert the people who worshipped her, they turned her and everything she stood for into symbols of evil. Instead of showing her in her forms of mother and maiden, they almost always envisioned her in the role of Crone (which is still awesome but more associated with death, because, well, old people die).

So my point is that as much as I love Halloween I’m mightily pissed that such an amazing, powerful, loved, worshipped and respected goddess as Hecate has been reduced to a night where kids go round asking for candy.