that and the inspiration comes from only one direction

Sagittarius - Searching for Meaning

The Sagittarian manta is “I perceive” and the symbol for this archetype continues the theme; the Centaur and the Archer – the arrow directed to the heavens in search of an existence beyond the mundane. Sagittarius is the sign that represents humanity’s presence in both the spiritual and human worlds. As the zodiac’s third Fire sign, Sagittarius people are ruled by a self emanating intuition, spirit, and godforce. The individual seeks a true intimate experience with ‘God’ one that transcends religion and blind faith. This can move the Sagittarius to travel so he experiences new cultures and ways of seeing, become in tune with nature, immerse himself in philosophical and theological studies, and learn as much about the world as possible. The Sagittarius must find a sense of meaning from his inner and outer experiences. It is insufficient for the individual to adopt conventional beliefs or somebody else’s definition of infinity. There is this constant quest in the Sagittarian spirit to fuse the physical and the imaginative vision.

Traditionally in astrology, the Centaur symbolises forms of soul development. There is the need to recognise his aspirations form in everyday life, alchemize symbol into philosophy, and give a human face to the undefinable. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planet with the largest auric field on the solar system. Jupiter stands for the expansion of the knowledge base, wisdom, and the higher intellect. Through these powerful forces, the Sagittarius is lured to travel far and wide following the map of his infinite curiosity. The inquisitive streaks lead him through land and sea, bookshelf and university, studies of the mind and experiences of spiritual kind. There is joy with Jupiter, and the jubliant planet encourages us to see fortune in everyday affairs. We can attract good opportunities because of our faith and optimism with Jupiter.

Esoteric astrologers have long considered it favorable to meditate on Sagittarius if one was searching for inspiration, intuition, heavenly knowledge, and messages from the unconscious. The Sagittarius individual could be consumed with expanding his inner world by soaking up as much of life and people as possible. The arrow he shoots into the clouds is fueled by a potent flame, a fire that dwells both within the Sagittarius and through the arrow in the skies. This lights the direction in the stars for the individual to run toward, as he boards boats and planes, libraries and festivals. The larger picture comes naturally to Sagittarius, and the individual is aware details will only fog his visionary focal spectrum. There is enough love, life, and spirit in the Sagittarian to live a thousand lives in his one.


Spider-Man: Homecoming Review Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

I’ve talked about Homecoming as just a movie, but what about as an adaptation?

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Sherlock Is Not in Unrequited Love with John

It seems that after Series 4, an increasing number of people think BBC Sherlock is TPLoSH come again. Sherlock is therefore in unrequited love with John (ala Molly, seen as Sherlock’s own mirror). Whether it’s because they cannot unsee the gay pining in TSoT or because a loving John wouldn’t have beat up Sherlock or blamed him for Mary’s death, it is what it is. And either that’s okay, or (more commonly) it’s the reason people leave fandom or simply reject BBC John as hateful and Johnlock more broadly, or at least shipping it in canon. The way I see it, however, BBC Sherlock only makes sense and works for Mofftiss’ stated purposes in showing how Sherlock became a ‘good man’ and John and Sherlock became the legendary Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in two ways.

Version One: it was always just really intense devotion, true platonic love at first sight. John is 'not gay’ as in he’s heterosexual, and Sherlock made the choice to be pure mind, as Moffat has said. So basically, he’s not gay or straight because he’s not anything, as I discussed in my post-S4 reading of ASiB and Sherlock’s sexuality. Sherlock genuinely angsted over losing his life with John in TSoT, as I’ve said post-S4, but it doesn’t mean that he’s in love. It certainly could be but doesn’t have to be read romantically to make sense. Given we’re interested in making the show work as a narrative, I think TSoT works best as a tribute, a high point before John and Sherlock’s slide into prolonged suffering, and a narrative demonstration of the parallels between John and Sherlock and John with Mary.

Basically, John explicitly compares and parallels his feelings for Sherlock with Mary in this episode, so if you’re reading Sherlock’s feelings romantically when he says both he and Mary love John during his speech, John logically has to be given the same courtesy. However, if you’re not reading their words romantically, then it’s all just there to set up a platonic threesome: Mary’s part of John-and-Sherlock now, at the end of TSoT. That’s what Moffat was talking about recently (though that’s not to say HLV and TST didn’t mess with this dynamic in its execution). Anyway, TSoT creates a parallel between the platonic bond between John and Sherlock and the romantic/matrimonial one between John and Mary. This is heightened by the fact that both John and Sherlock make a vow to Mary on John’s wedding day. Sherlock’s vow ties him into their family, which is reinforced by becoming Rosie’s godfather and finally simply calling John (and presumably Rosie) 'family’ in TFP. This is a real, functioning and balanced arc, and saying John doesn’t love Sherlock in this context breaks it.

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"The paladins and crew as actors IRL in 'Voltron' TV show" AU!

Takashi “Shiro”: the sweet and gentlemanly one that all the viewers want autographs and hugs from, a huge introverted dork who prefers to stay at home watching Dreamworks or Pixar movies with Keith while trying out new dinner recipes, helps write some of the show’s more emotional scenes

Keith: hilarious and unexpectedly sociable with everyone, totally chill with people asking for selfies and on-the-spot improv requests, has been dating Shiro for three years and is secretly planning on proposing after the season 2 finale, an incredible artist and does some of the special effects for the show

Pidge: the Slytherin genius of the group, makes the most double-edged jokes that have people either rolling on the floor laughing or in the corner in awe and terrified, holds an actual PhD in Astrophysics and Computer Science with a concentration in Planetary Biochemistry, fact-checks everything connected to science in the show

Lance: is really smooth and charming but undoubtedly genuine, loves to talk about his family (both his biological one and his ‘Voltron’ one), has thousands of subscribers on his YouTube channel where he puts up guitar and piano covers of his favorite songs, helps create and edit the show’s soundtrack

Hunk: literally the most active person you will ever meet, has a Hufflepuff sense of humor that makes everyone feel comfortable and happy, leads the group in daily exercises before and after filming, helps choreograph a lot of the action sequences in the show

Allura: the queen of all things badass, serious at first but loves cheesy jokes and bad puns, has a black-belt in both judo and karate, graduated with honors from Juilliard, loves to meet and interact with the fans - especially the wide-eyed kids that run up to her and ask for advice and hugs

Coran: the dad of the entire group, has the typical “dad” sense of humor (watch out for those puns, they will come out of nowhere when you least expect it), is the only one who can beat Hunk in an arm-wrestling match, co-directs the show and handles a lot of their media presence

(disclaimer: This series will be ongoing and indefinitely open to new posts and new suggestions for topics. A table of contents is available and kept up-to-date as new posts are added. As with all advice on culture, if you are planning on basing your own fictional culture off an existing culture, please do extensive research into anthropology and discussions from people of the culture. Avoid direct appropriation and utilize only for inspirational purposes.)

Part 6: Bringing Out Culture Through Characters

If you’re going to stop being content to let culture take a back seat, if you’re intent on having active culture rather than passive culture, your number one tool is your character. Remember our 8 delineations of culture? Knowledge, belief, customs/traditions, arts, morals, laws, habits, and capabilities, right? All those things come together in a perfect storm to create people, characters.

In my last series, Let’s Talk About: Developing Character, I posed a whole bunch of questions for you to consider when creating your cast. Many of those will portray culture, so do be sure to take a peek at those after this.

Given that culture is most powerfully portrayed through the actions and decisions of people, it can be difficult for writers to differentiate when they’re talking about a character decision and when they’re talking about culture. A character decision is defined in my book as a choice made by an individual that could have gone another way if another character were making the choice. Basically, these are all the actions, decisions, and comebacks you pause to consider: “What would they do, anyway?” We writers are very familiar with the idea that our characters are influenced by their past. We understand that who raised them will impact how they view and deal with relationships. We get that an event in their childhood will impact how they handle a situation.

What’s often forgotten is that culture will define just as many of your characters’ decisions and reactions and feelings as anything else. We, as human beings, are defined by our experiences, right? Those experiences were defined by how we were raised. In short, we are entirely composed of a mix of the cultures around us–our parents’ cultures, our neighbors’ cultures, the culture of that man who lives down the street who gives you rhubarb and gooseberry tarts as you’re coming home from school every day.

So what kind of things will culture influence in your characters? Hopefully by now you know the answer is everything, but let’s look at some examples to help give you an idea:

  • Their hobbies: Some cultures have an art form that’s become traditional and recognizable as belonging to that group of peoples. I find this idea (actually, the whole idea of cultural arts) to be under-represented. Give your people something they’re known for and then be sure to feature it a couple of times. Maybe a triangular geometric beading pattern is your culture’s ~thing.~ Give your character or someone close to your character–either physically or emotionally–this gift. Make them passionate about it. Mention it every time a character is wearing something emblazoned with it.
  • How they view family: Some cultures believe the elderly are to be cherished and cared for, never abandoned. If your character grew up in a culture with this view, they’ll go out of their way to check on elderly family members, friends, and even a stranger on a street corner. Other cultures are so forced to dwell on survival because of harsh living conditions, their elderly choose to leave the group to relieve them of a mouth to feed who could no longer contribute to the collection of the food they were eating. A character raised in a culture with this view would have an entirely different view of people. They would always be evaluating individuals by how much they contribute and if a comrade could pull their own weight. They would feel absolutely comfortable leaving an injured companion behind. In fact, they would see their friend’s plea (”Just leave me and go!”) as a noble realization on their friend’s part of the greater need of the rest of the group. It would be a grand and honorable sacrifice. Whatever your culture’s social norms are, they ought to be just as prevalent in your characters’ decisions and reactions as their experiences.
  • What allusions they make: We humans use certain things as cultural touchstones. Legends, myths, stories, and classic literature are just a few. We refer back to stories we know to explain how the world works. Tell me (no, I mean it, send it into my ask box or tag it if you reblog this post or something; I’m actually curious) how was thunder explained to you? My great-grandmother told my grandmother who told my sister and I that it was the sound of an old man pushing a huge potato cart across the sky and the crack that comes with lightning is when a potato falls out of the back of the cart. If you grew up without the Bible, you may not understand when someone who sees an old friend for the first time in years says, “Someone kill the fatted calf!” Legends and allusions your characters make will depend on culture. What stories do your characters consider traditional, ones that everybody knows? Are they actually traditional to every culture or just that character’s and they don’t realize it? Here’s a tip: You don’t always need to know the entirety of a myth or cultural tale for your characters to make allusions to it. Of course it’ll help (and will go an extra mile in showing culture), but if the flow of the moment leaves no space for an explanation to a character of another culture, don’t stress over it. Listen to the story and its pace before trying to force an element that doesn’t belong.

I could go on giving examples forever (and will given requests), but I have one final point to make in regards to characters and culture. If you want to do this–and I mean really do this–make culture a priority in your story–you’re going to have to go outside your comfort zone. There’s a kind of default culture that fantasy writers utilize, and then there’s also a tendency for writers to use elements of their own culture to base stories off of. There’s a perfectly understandable reason for that: It’s what seems normal for us. Our own cultures are so embedded in us that it shows up in our writing without us even being aware of it. It’s winter, and of course there’s a festival going on, but no, no! It’s not Christmas! It’s a celebration of the miracle of snow! Yes, of course. These are the excuses we give ourselves. We’ve taken what’s familiar to us and tweaked it so we can lay claims that it’s not, that it’s ~different.~ Don’t fool yourself. Think so far outside your normal that what you come up with feels strange, wrong, odd, and hard. Challenge yourself to write beyond. But of course, always return to reason. Be sure your social norms have a basis in plausibility and you’ll do just fine.

Next up: Culture in plot!

#943: You're trying to write.
  • Louis: You think it's the most boring and uneventful scene you've written in the past month and you want to hit yourself upside the head repeatedly. "Oh, come on, love, it can't be too bad!" he soothes you softly, reaching up to tuck a piece of hair behind your ear. "Can I?" You know what he's asking for and you nod, a bit embarrassed, before sliding over the script and watching him soak everything in before reciting the first scene in a much deeper, posher voice. It's the funniest thing you've heard and soon you're doubling over with tears in your eyes, all while he keeps a straight face and acts out your words for you. And to be honest, it helps more than anything. His voice creates a new image of what needs to be written and for that, you launch over onto his lip and kiss the shit out of him until you're both overheated.
  • Niall: It's well past midnight and you're cramming to finish an essay that's due a few hours later, the moment you walk into your nine o'clock class. "Hey," a soft whisper sounds out, a hand clamping down on your shoulder gently before a cup of tea comes into your line of vision, "Made your favorite." You rub at the bridge of your nose and set your laptop down, turning your face into his stomach after he's slid down onto the couch next to you, still holding your steaming hot beverage. "It's okay," he murmurs, smiling a little bit when you brush your nose against the side of his shirt. "You're going to finish this and then we'll get to bed, yeah? Come on. Only a few more paragraphs. You're so smart, you can do it." He offers you more words of encouragement and stays up with you for another hour before carrying you to bed.
  • Liam: "Come on, beautiful -- oh, don't give me that look!" Currently, you're pinned underneath him, your hips being pushed down by his and one of his hands wrapped around both of your wrists to keep you from hitting at his chest. "I was in the middle of writing, Liam!" you scold him, trying to shimmy your way out of his hold, though he only grabs on to you tighter, fingers just beginning to tickle you by the armpits. "I know, I know," he soothes, a goofy grin gracing his lips, "But you were looking too stressed... my pretty baby all stressed, that's not fun." You pout up at him and he leans down to kiss your lips, tickling at your ribs and your hips and your neck until you're screeching and laughing almost uncontrollably. "Good, I got a smile out of you," he says, and you narrow your eyes at him. "Yeah, and my foot up your ass, Liam."
  • Zayn: Except, the writer's block has gotten so bad, you've had to contact your college professor, staying after class with shaking fingers to explain to him how awful it's been, how you can't think of anything else. He watches you with big brown eyes, lips wet and moist and you almost lose your train of thought just looking at him, disheveled hair and tie. "Distract yourself with something," he offers words of encouragement, "You're doing absolutely fine. Is there something more on your mind?" He uncrosses his ankles and shifts a little farther into his chair while you stand there in front of his desk, images of him bending you over and fucking you until you cry etched into your mind. "N-no, Mr. Malik," you stammer out, chest heavy with unreleased air. He raises an eyebrow at you and you swear you see the tiniest gleam in his eyes.
  • Harry: It's a late Sunday night and he's restless, tossing and turning in the sheets and whining about his weekly show that is giving him a maddening headache. Every time he moves in your direction, the laptop jostles on your lap and you're almost always momentarily dragged away from your sentence. "Harry, I'm writing," you'll say, and he'll stop for only an instant before he finally drapes his arm along your chest and presses his nose into your neck. "Stop stressing," he whispers, feather-like kisses inching away from your neck and down to your collarbone. "Watch my show with me. Come on." He snuggles further into your side and closes down the computer before pulling you flush into him. It's almost like a light bulb turns on then; you're not really watching the television, but he's just spurred more inspiration.