still going to claim lack of experience for why it's not better quality

Egregores and Local Spirits, Part I: Theories

Many occultists (though, strangely, not many witches) speak of egregores rather often. The term was originally used to describe the self-created guiding spirit of a group such as a magical order or other occult-based organization. Though this may seem similar to concepts such as the Secret Chiefs, in actuality, an egregore is quite different. Whereas organizations with Secret Chief-like figures tend to posit that these entities existed prior to and independent of the group’s temporal incarnation, an egregore is, by definition, a creation of the group. 

Constructed Egregores

Egregores are formed from the sum total of purposeful interaction and intention involved in the formation of a group or organization. In occult contexts, a group egregore is often a willful creation, and members will put a great degree of effort into cultivating the egregore. This can take the form of collectively visualizing it as a physical entity or more overt methods of ritually contacting and managing it. Many groups will create or attempt to discover a sigil representing the entity, though in some cases the group’s symbol may suffice. 

The reason for all this is simple: egregores are essentially two-way. They’re formed via the group’s purposeful interactions, but also influence individual members. In some cases, this communing with the egregore is done in a ritual context or via meditation/visualization, but even with those practices absent, an individual is influenced by the egregore of the organization. 

This may sound a bit troubling or disturbing, but it isn’t as if (in the overwhelming majority of cases) an egregore would exert complete (or even any) kind of control over members. Far more likely would be a relationship between the individual and the egregore wherein the entity acts as a sort of mechanism to impart or teach the group’s mysteries and practices. With all this in mind, then, it is easy to see why many occult groups put much emphasis on cultivating a proper egregore.

Organic Egregores

I argue egregores exist outside of occult contexts, as well. Groups ranging from corporations to families and even football teams will have them. Humans, after all, have a natural propensity towards magick, and as I’ve noted before, often act on a magical level without referring to it as such. This may even happen subconsciously, and the way our society views groups and organizations tends to support the notion that egregores can occur organically without overt manipulation. 

In the United States, for example, a corporation is legally considered a person. Some might argue that this is a mere political maneuver on the part of corporations, but the fact that it worked and became an accepted bit of the law suggests that personifying something of that sort to be quite natural. The existence of mascots also speak to the possibility of naturally-occurring egregores. I would not argue that all organizations will have a fully-formed and contactable egregore, but many certainly do.

An issue arises, though - how does one define an organization with regards to egregores? Since we see egregores created in casual settings, oaths or ritual commitments do not seem to be required. Nor, really, does a hierarchy or other byzantine structure. We are left wondering, then, which groupings of people have egregores and which do not, and also why. Really, I recommend intense experimentation and careful observation on the part of the witch. With practice and sensitivity, one can often sense the presence of egregores. This is typically easier for those who’ve got experience with spirits of any sort, naturally, but I’ve found that egregores and similar entities (more on this later) behave differently than beings such as godforms or Goetic spirits, are more accessible, and generally easier to contact.

Related Concepts (and Why They Might Just Be The Same Thing)

Spirits and entities are difficult to categorize, and egregores share many traits with related classes of entities. Notably, they are often said to operate like very overgrown thoughtforms. A thoughtform is a spirit that was, as the name implies, created via the power of human thought. They range in complexity from the simplest which have only a few functions (often called servitors) to capable and fleshed out beings with very definite attributes.

This can happen, again, intentionally or unintentionally. Many magicians and witches consciously create thoughtforms for various purposes using a variety of methods, ranging from sigil-based techniques to high ritual. Non-occultists, though, are prone to creating thoughtforms as well, especially authors who create characters. How many of us have (or know someone who has) a character who “takes on a life of their own?” These experiences may, at times, result from the unintentional creation of thoughtforms.

I think most would agree that egregores, thoughforms, and even servitors are very similar concepts, and though there are differences, one might even argue that they’re essentially different degrees of the same sort of spirit. There are, though, other categories of spirit that I think might function like egregores, despite popular lore suggesting otherwise.

Among them is the notion of place-based spirits, also known as genius loci. Conventional occult wisdom would argue that such spirits exist in and of themselves, independent of human intervention, and thus cannot be conflated with egregores. I am not so sure. The truth is, it would be impossible to verify whether any entity or spirit exists outside of human interaction insofar as we can only understand them via interacting with them. 

There is no way to discern, for example whether the spirit of a stream was in existence prior to humans visiting and drawing water there. Such a spirit might claim that it was, but similarly, many thoughtforms claim great ages as well or impossible origins, by their very design. This isn’t a lie on the part of the spirit - it reflects the personal mythology developed around it by its creators. 

My Personal Experiences

Having interacted with different entities of these sorts, I do argue that place-based spirits have much in common with egregores. Regardless of whether they exist prior to human interaction, they’re definitely shaped and cultivated by humans. Those documented in popular lore tend to have features clearly influenced by the cultures with which they interact and the sentiments of the time in which they were well-known. As such, yes, I’d call them very similar to egregores and I’ve had no trouble approaching them in much the same way. Whether they’re the same creatures or not is really immaterial.

My first ever experience with a spirit of this sort drives home this point, as I never did determine whether it loosely qualified as an egregore or a genuis loci. At age eighteen, I moved to Indiana to attend a small liberal arts college with a colorful history. At the time I was a few years into practicing magick, but still struggling. I was quite pleased to discover many other students were interested in the occult as well, though. 

Many of them seemed to be of the opinion that there was a strong presence on campus, particularly at certain hours and in certain places. Interestingly, very few (if anyone) ever claimed to have seen it. It was more a matter of feeling that something or someone was nearby, unseen. It lacked the unsettling qualities usually seen with this kind of experience, and the overall consensus was that whatever it was, it wasn’t malevolent. Indeed, it seemed rather friendly. 

To explain a bit of what it felt like (and realizing this verges into the territory of UPG), it was, again, a sense of someone being present but relatively uncommunicative, and unseen. If you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis and the sense of “someone’s there” that comes with that, it was very similar, but lacked the element of terror you’d find in sleep paralysis. Instead of terror, there was a feeling of prankishness and wonderment.

College students can be prone to histrionics, and no doubt we were, but I’ll never shake the notion that there was, in fact, some reality in this experience. One reason I still think so: there were, in fact, physical aspects to the phenomenon, with objects (sometimes large and heavy and not easily misplaced) going missing in certain areas where it was strongly felt. 

Ultimately I decided that the presence was probably the college itself, either and egregore of the student body and professors, or a genius loci, or possibly both. As time went on and I left that school, I got a little better at sensing such things and became aware that, even if not fully-formed, most places will have some sort of spirit associated with them. It does remain to be seen, though, whether the spirits are the creation of those visiting and living in the location, or something more primal that was discovered rather than created.

I was especially surprised when I moved to Pittsburgh to realize that cities (some of them) have very strong and personable spirits associated with them, be they egregores of those who live there or some kind of manifestation of the physical location without human intervention. It was during this period that I began to realize the usefulness of such spirits and how helpful they can be. For me, it takes a great deal of effort to get in touch with such an entity in a new place, and involves careful historical research as well as experimenting with different techniques of invocation and evocation, but it’s well-worth it. 

Soon, I’ll be posting a continuation of this article where I’ll discuss techniques for communicating with these things and possible uses for said communication.

Breaking down the ingredients in Flat tummy tea

Disclaimer : Whatever you do, do not take this tea while pregnant, breastfeeding or if you have diabetes.

The official website claims that their Activate tea will help you increase your metabolism, give you an energy boost and get your digestion ready to start the day, supposedly leading to a flat stomach. Step two is the Cleanse tea, which they say detoxifies your intestinal track and claims to get rid of toxins and reduce water weight. This is supposedly to keep you flat stomach. They also say that most women that use the product start to feel a difference within the first few days.

Flat Tummy Tea Ingredients:
Activate Tea -

Peppermint: One study (done in Iran) has claimed it could potentially improve your performance during exercise. This might mean you work harder during your workout and burn more calories. So you will still have to actually do exercise for this to work.

Lemon Balm: High doses of purified lemon balm extracts were found to be effective in the amelioration of laboratory-induced stress in human subjects, producing “significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness.” The authors further report a “significant increase in the speed of mathematical processing, with no reduction in accuracy” following the administration of a 300-mg dose of extract. Makes you calm to the point of slow processing. This plus high caffeine is not a good combination.

Licorice: mild laxative. Hello Diarrhea! Also has hypoglycaemic effects: Cause decrease in blood sugar levels. This may result in a variety of symptoms including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, or death.

Dandelion : (Taraxacum Leaf and Root) diuretic and laxative. It simply means you will pee more and more and get diarrhea. So your body will lose massive amounts of water. So you will feel lighter, but the weight will be back as soon as u drink water. And since your body is dehydrated, your body will conserve more water and you’ll gain more weight. Its also an allergen, so be careful about that if you’re prone to allergies.

Cleavers : (Galium Aparine) increase urine flow to relive fluid retention. Again, you’ll pee more, lose water. will seem like you lost weight, but you won’t. you’ll be dehydrated and weak.

Fennel: It has been said to have the potential to help you decrease your food intake, which may help you regulate your diet. Appetite suppressant. You can just eat fennel seeds for this. This is done in many cultures (Indians have fennel seeds after meals, it is called saunf)

Figworts: a heart stimulant, laxative and diuretic. You’ll pee and poo more and lose the much needed body water. Dehydration coupled with increased heart rate is not a great combination.

Green Tea : high level of antioxidants and caffeine. Causes high heart rate and metabolism. Might help u have more energy for exercise, something you can get from normal coffee or tea. also the levels are too high, will cause high blood pressure and heart damage in longer run. Most people can’t tolerate this high amount and feel very uneasy and mimics a panic state. Its side effects are commonly related to its caffeine content, which may include nervousness, restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and fast heart and breathing rates.

Caraway: For fragrance.

Cardamom: For smell and taste.

Cleanse Tea -
Senna:
It is claimed to have laxative qualities, which may be why it is used as medicine for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids. As it may flush out your system, Senna might only result in temporary weight loss. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, the potential side effects of senna use may include abdominal pain and discomfort, cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea; excessive use can lead to potassium depletion and other electrolyte abnormalities, which can trigger muscle spasms and an abnormal heart rhythm.

Peppermint: One study (done in Iran) has claimed it could potentially improve your performance during exercise. This might mean you work harder during your workout and burn more calories. So you will still have to actually do exercise for this to work.

Cassia: This ingredient they do not give details about. This can refer to just cinnamon, which is for smell and flavor. Or the Cassia in senna, that’s explained above.

Chamaecrista: Again the description for this is vague. There are several species of this plant and I’m not sure why they are using this in the tea.

Licorice: mild laxative. Hello Diarrhea! hypoglycaemic effects: Cause decrease in blood sugar levels. This may result in a variety of symptoms including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, or death.

Caraway: For fragrance.

Dandelion: (Taraxacum Leaf and Root) diuretic and laxative. It simply means you will pee more and more and get diarrhea. So your body will lose massive amounts of water. So you will feel lighter, but the weight will be back as soon as u drink water. And since your body is dehydrated, your body will conserve more water and you’ll gain more weight.

Rhubarb: Rhubarb leaves contain poisonous substances, including oxalic acid, which is a nephrotoxic and corrosive acid that is present in many plants. Humans have been poisoned after ingesting the leaves, a particular problem during World War I when the leaves were mistakenly recommended as a food source in Britain. The toxic rhubarb leaves have been used in flavoring extracts, after the oxalic acid is removed by treatment with precipitated chalk. Rhubarb contains anthraquinones including rhein, and emodin and their glycosides (e.g. glucorhein), which impart cathartic and laxative properties. It is hence useful as a cathartic in case of constipation.

Summary: 

Basically, ingesting senna and other laxatives in this tea, is going to make you have go to the bathroom… a lot. And afterwards you’re going to feel lighter because you have successfully emptied out the entire contents of your intestines. While pooping out a pound or two might seem like an activity that’s innocent enough, the laxative process isn’t usually quick or painless. As ridiculous as it sounds, trips to the bathroom can take hours to complete after senna use. It’s why you’ll find warnings like “ensure you have ready access to a toilet during the day until you know how your body reacts to the tea" on nighttime detox teas. During this window — and let’s call it a window for lack of a better word — users are likely to experience cramps, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea. The U.S. National Library of Medicine claims these are expected side effects of senna, but they also state: “Don’t use senna for more than two weeks. Longer use can cause the bowels to stop functioning normally and might cause dependence on laxatives. Long-term use can also change the amount or balance of some chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) that can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other harmful effects.

Isala Arla - Chapter 1

This is the start of a long form multi-chapter Solas x Isii fic. (Not kidding about length - there are roughly 30 chapters in my outline.) I hope to update on a weekly basis - probably Thursdays or Fridays.

You can either follow this fic here on tumblr or over on AO3

Setting: Weeks after Adamant, before leaving for the Arbor Wilds. Set after the fics Simple Pleasures and Some Choice Passages.

***

Emma solas.
Emma ena souveri suledin
Sahlin ar ven ma vir, ma aravel
In Elvhenan
In solas vhen’alas
Arlathvhen
Dar’en isala atisha
Dar’en isala arla.

I am proud
I appear weary but am able to endure.
Now I go down my path, on my journey of great purpose
In the place belonging to our people,
In the proud land of our race,
For the love of the elves.
We are in need of peace.
We are in need of a home.

 -Translated from a Dalish poem of unknown origin

***

It felt much like falling, but with purpose.

There was a boundlessness, a sensation he had not felt in a long time, no longer held to the narrow parameters of weak flesh and petty magic. Movement was effortless, fluid, unrestrained. The Fade bent before him, arcing, twisting, giving way to his will as he walked – no – hunted, stalking with soundless steps.

He was himself again.

His lips curled, teeth gleaming. There was a heady quality to this feeling, slipping back into the familiar skin, letting himself experience his senses how he once used to, heightened and indulgent. He had forgotten what it was like to truly take in scent, to be able to taste the buzzing of the Fade on his tongue.

He felt alive again.

He could hear the voices. They echoed, ringing, distant, familiar. He loped toward the sound, drawn to it, pursued by it. The din formed words, ancient and half-remembered. The song soured in note as he neared, the chorus of voices choking on bitterness, one rising above them. A deep, commanding voice. One he would never forget.

“We are trapped. We are dying. Betrayer.”

A low, guttural hum rumbled in his throat as his eyes narrowed.

“We trusted you. You were our kin.”

“This isn’t real,” Fen’Harel growled. The Fade shifted and changed. A forest now, deep and ancient, jagged shards of mirrored glass embedded in each trunk, hanging from the branches, sputtering shafts of light dancing as they caught the dim beams of the sun. In each reflection he could see the ghostly echo of hands pressing from within, scratching, clawing in desperation with bloodied fingers.

This was a dream. Nothing more. A dream stitched together from memories. He could control this.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Can you explain what's wrong with the N52 because everyone keeps saying that and I don't know why. Will you start reading after Convergence which "ends" the new 52?

The New 52 is not ending after Convergence.

This is a common misconception that is very likely intentional on DC’s part.  Whenever DC announces that one thing is “ending” and another is “beginning,” it drives up their sales temporarily.  DC is hurting right now, since the New 52 isn’t selling very well, so in order to market themselves they are making a big thing about the New 52 “ending.”  

This means absolutely nothing. There will be no change to the continuity of the New 52, the only thing that will be changed will be the names of the titles being published.

So no, I will not be reading new DC titles post convergence, so long as they still follow the post-flashpoint timeline.

As to your other question, there are a lot of things people dislike about the New 52, and it’s not all comics related.  DC as a company has also been making a collection of bad decisions, from proclaiming that Batwoman is not allowed to get married to her same-sex lover (resulting in the writers for the title quitting), to firing the majority of their female creative staff (at the relaunch the number went from 12% female staff to 1% female staff).  Dan Didio, co-publisher at DC, has been under a lot of heat in the past few years for completely ignoring the voices of fans.  Seriously, try listening to an interview with him sometime, he’s very condescending and his attitude is that if the fans don’t like the decisions he’s made, its because they’re wrong.

However, comics specifically, one of the main issues has to do with the lack of continuity.  When DC relaunched the New 52, they never specified to their own writers what aspects of the old continuity were in play and what aspects arent.  This resulted in writers either

  1. contradicting each other constantly
  2. being too afraid to write about characters past experiences, or their relationships with pre-existing characters, because no one had a clue who existed and who didn’t, what happened and where, etc.

It was just a giant mess, and today it is still a giant mess.  One comic says that Tim Drake’s Teen Titans were the first Titans (thereby erasing the continuity for all the previous titan groups), but then another comic references the time Dick, Kory, and Roy spent in the Titans, then ANOTHER comic refutes this by claiming Dick wasn’t Robin long enough to ever be with the Titans.  It’s a god damn mess.

DCs response to this?  Fans shouldn’t care about continuity!  What’s important isn’t that it makes sense as a full, comprehensive story, whats important is that each individual comic is good!

This mindset plays 100% into the kind of consumer DC is marketing to right now, which leads me into my second issue with New 52 comics: the stories aren’t compelling.

DC is not marketing their comics to “long-term” fans.  They are marketing to the “short-term” fan.  These are fans who are not particularly invested in comics for the long run.  Many of them are fans via the recent rise in comic book movies (nothing wrong with that), and are more interested in only buying a single arc of comic book issues (such as Injustice, or Convergence).  It may be the case that these short-term fans will become long-term fans, but for the most part that won’t happen.

The short-term fan market is much larger than the long-term fan market, because it typically encompasses most long-term fans as well.  This means that every time DC starts a new major event, there’s a boost in their sales.  You can check these boosts out for yourself at comichron.com, which chronicles the sales figures of almost every major comic released.  

Now, the problem with the short-term fan is that once the initial “hype” of something new is over, they tend to drop out of the market, and they aren’t interested in compelling stories that play on decades of beloved character history.  The majority of, for example, Chuck Dixon’s Nightwing Vol2 (1996-2002), would not be considered “exciting” enough to warrant attention from the short-term fan, despite being one of the highest rated Nightwing volumes.  The short-term fan is typically drawn in by: major character deaths, major plot arcs, and AUs that are usually based in dystopian worlds (Injustice, Futures End, Zombies).

There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of story arcs, or the fact that short-term fans like them.  The issue is that DC realized that they could make more money by marketing primarily to these fans rather than to the long-term fans that comics have always marketed to.  This means that the majority of the stories we get in the New 52 are nothing more than short-term cash cows.  It’s one violent, dark, death-filled arc after another, with DC making very little attempt to tell a story that makes readers want to stick around past the current arc.  But then as soon as that arc ends,  here comes another shocking and horrific, violent plot that pulls the short-term fans back for another 4+ issues. Yeeeeey.

If DC were to suddenly go back to creating quality content, stories about heroes that will be remembered as pivotal and as having an impact on the entire comic book industry as a whole, versus stories that may evoke shock or emotion when you read them now, but won’t be remembered ten or twenty years in the future, they would lose a good chunk of the short-term fans who are buying their comics right now because of the shock value they provide. But what DC fails to understand is that they are also alienating their long term fans.  They’ve lost the business of tons of fans, some of whom have been loyal buyers of DC comics for decades.  And they don’t care.  The very fact that they’ve eliminated your ability, as a consumer, to share your thoughts about their product with them, tells us that they don’t care.

The last time something happened in a Marvel comic that upset me, I was able to email Marvel Comics, discuss why the situation in particular bothered me, and I got a response.

When a fan called Dan Didio out on DC still not having anywhere near the number of female creators years after the launch of the New 52, he basically told the fan, “You try doing my job, you can’t so don’t complain.”

Two different ways of looking at the customers.  Sorry, Marvel’s doing a better job.

So that, anon, is why I dislike the New 52, in a nutshell. I honestly don’t foresee any major changes happening so long as the current administration is pulling the strings.  Eventually things will change, people will leave the company, power relations will shift, new blood will be introduced.  

Whatever ends up happening, I do trust that someday DC will get back onto the right track, the question is how much are they going to screw up before they’re stopped?  Dan Didio said he saw Future’s End as the “definitive” direction of the DCU, bold statements and choices like this will have an effect on the kind of content that can be produced even after he no longer has his fingers in everyone’s creative pies.