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Solar System: Things to Know About the August Eclipse

We’re counting down until the August 21 total solar eclipse that will be visible across most of North America. Here are some things you can do to prepare.

1. Find A Spot 

The eclipse should be visible to some extent across the continental U.S. Here’s map of its path.

Our eclipse page can help you find the best viewing locations by longitude and latitude: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

2. Citizen Science

Want to know more about citizen science projects? Find a list of citizen science projects for the eclipse: https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/citizen-science

3. Never look directly at the sun! Even during the early phases of the eclipse!

Get your eclipse viewing safety glasses beforehand: eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

4. Get Our Interactive Eclipse Module App

In this interactive, 3D simulation of the total eclipse on August 21, 2017, you can see a view of the eclipse from anywhere on the planet: 

http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-eclipse.html

5. Got questions? 

Join the conversation on social media. Tag your posts: #Eclipse2017.

Twitter: @NASASolarSystem, @NASA, @NASASunEarth
Facebook: NASA Solar System

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

45 Asks!
  1. Have you ever been in the hospital?
  2. Favorite Youtuber?
  3. Have you ever explored an abandoned location?
  4. Best comeback you’ve told?
  5. Are you sassy?
  6. Are you good with make up?
  7. What’s your gender?
  8. What’s your sexuality?
  9. Dream job?
  10. Oldest memory you remember?
  11. What kind of clothes are you interested in?
  12. What was your first Fandom?
  13. What’s the length of your hair?
  14. First OTP?
  15. What makes you laugh?
  16. Why did you sign up for Tumblr?
  17. What’s something you regret?
  18. Favorite vacation memory?
  19. What do you think about while going to bed?
  20. What’s your phone/computer background?
  21. What’s a natural talent you have?
  22. Have you ever gotten in a physical fight?
  23. What are words that you remember?
  24. What’s an inside joke you have?
  25. Follower count?
  26. What are your side blogs?
  27. What’s your Youtube History?
  28. Ever committed a crime?
  29. What’s the most toxic person you’ve encountered?
  30. Have you ever been toxic?
  31. An embarrassing moment?
  32. Dream home?
  33. Do you have any OC’s?
  34. First URL?
  35. Nighttime routine?
  36. Morning routine?
  37. Have any toys?
  38. Favorite toothpaste flavor?
  39. How tall are you?
  40. Worst sleepover experience?
  41. What was your first date like?
  42. Favorite book?
  43. What’s your favorite meme?
  44. Can you sing well?
  45. What’s the silliest thing you’ve cried over?

A Scarecrow For God

by reddit user survivalprocedure

“Can I take your picture?” Larissa sat a few feet away from me on the grey velvet sofa as I aimed my iPhone towards her. I stared at the screen intently for a moment before shifting my focus, looking over the brim of the phone at her defeated, hopeless state portrayed by bloodshot eyes.

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It Is What It Is || Jung Hoseok

Originally posted by cum-for-hoseok

Word Count: 3.7k

Genre: Angst/Fluff

AN: So this turned more into a mini novel, but I really really like how it turned out and I hope you guys too. Please enjoy and let me know what you think!


It was your last year of high school, something you thought was supposed to be terrifying, but only ended up being amazing. This year surprised you the most, you were offered a place at the university you wanted, you had held outstanding grades, and you had some of the best friends in the entire world.

There was one best friend in particular that you had, who had made the last four years of your life beyond amazing. Who had turned your world upside down with his smile and made it something you could have never asked for. There was so much he gave you, and you would never be able to thank him properly for everything he had done.

Jung Hoseok had become your best friend in your freshman year, and it had stayed that way since then. The only difference between now and then, was now you found yourself lost in his eyes, waiting for every moment that he laughed so your brain could play it on repeat and you could listen to it forever. You had fallen in love with your best friend, and you loved everything about him.

Your attention drifted from the notebook you were writing in to the teacher who was standing at the front of the class. Even though your thoughts were elsewhere you were still managing to copy down the note to review for later. Multi-tasking was easy for you, especially when it involved thoughts of Hoseok.

As the teacher continued to drone on and on about the topic that you were studying, your eyes flickered up to the clock and you realized just how close class was to ending. Everyone around the class had already started packing up their things, and some people were even sitting with their heads down, not paying attention to the last few minutes of the lecture.

You decided it was time for yourself to pack up so you finished writing the last sentence for your notes and closed the front cover of your notebook. The teacher was about to start speaking again before the bell rang and you were dismissed from class. Student after student began rushing out of the class and you calmly followed the crowd.

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Herbal and Floral Waters

Keep an eye out for bottles of herbal and floral infused waters at your local grocery stores.

Behold the power of Lazy Magic.

  • Buy some water with corresponding flowers/herbs to create desired effect. For example, I have used the Cloves Cardamom and Cinnamon to help with the symptoms of a cold. The floral waters, pictured below, can be used for magical purposed as well.
  • You can infuse the water with energy to give the water an extra magical boost. Place a bottle under the moon. Allow rain water to flow over it. Fill it with your own energy. Chill it. Warm it. Or anything else you can think of!
  • Use it as an ingredient in any spells you want.
  • Discreet magic. Who’s going to question a bottle of water?
  • Delicious, healthy hydration.
  • Super easy.

As offerings to Deities or Entities.

  • I often give the Deities I worship these floral waters as libations. They are luxurious and extremely fragrant. They are also a great alternative to alcohol.
  • You can offer these based on flower/herb/fruit correspondences with your Deities, if you would like. For example, I often give Hekate the Plum Jasmine water in offerings because jasmine is a night-flowering plant. However, I have found that every Deity I have offered these floral or herbal waters to has accepted it. In most cases, they love them! In my experience, Hera adores the Lemon Rose water.  Zeus enjoyed the Lavender Mint water.

How to find them.

  • These waters are all from my local grocery store (Wegmans). You would have the best luck locating these types of waters at a store than has a respectable organic or specialty food section. They run about $1 to $1.50 dollars a bottle.
  • Also, keep in mind you can infuse your own waters!

So. Mohn is mentioned by name by the guys who work at Pokecenter Cafes. They say his beans are second to none. This information is readily given to eleven year old kids. So he’s known. Despite this, nobody who knew of Mohn’s disappearance ever discovers this information. That implies they don’t go to the cafe in Pokecenters, or else SOMEONE would have overheard it.

Basically what I’m saying is, Aether Paradise probably has their own cafe, and it must be pretty damn good.

take me there (g.d.)

~I saw Gray post this on his snapchat (graysondolan) and got inspired to write a cute lil blurb. This is the first thing I’ve written about Grayson, so I’m pretty excited. It’s just off the top of my head. I hope you enjoy!! :)

As always, please forgive any mistakes you might see.

**(No warnings. Just a lil fluff is all. xx)**

I’m actually gonna kill him,” you mumbled to yourself as you swatted another mosquito invading your personal space. All you wanted was to locate your best friend and get to the bottom of his weird behavior without being attacked by insects every thirty seconds. 

He’d been acting so strange the past couple days and neither you, nor his twin brother could pinpoint exactly why. He seemed too far lodged in his head; alone with his cyclone of thoughts. Grayson was never one to wear his heart on his sleeve per say, but he never did develop the toxic habit of shutting you or Ethan out when he wasn’t feeling one hundred percent himself. You desperately wanted to help your best friend, which is why you immediately jumped in the car to find him when you saw the recent addition to his Snapchat story captioned, “Thinkin spot”. You knew exactly where it was, having been there yourself many times. 

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Spiritual Drug Use; Practical UPG Guide

Hi! I am calling this a UPG post because, well, it’s my UPG. I have NOT been formally trained in any shamanic system or system of spiritual drug use. This is just my system of being a drug user stoner witch and shamanic practitioner for the past five years. So y'know we’re gunna start with some basics such as

DONT’ START DOING DRUGS. FUCK. DON’T.

Look guys. Doing drugs is NOT a spiritual “shortcut.” Trust me. Doing drugs takes as much time, dedication, pain, sweat, tears, and metaphorical blood as sitting it out on the meditation mat every day. Doing drugs one time will NOT guarantee you a spiritual experience, no matter what Experienced Drug Users™ tell you. In my experience even if a person has an instant spiritual revelation, it’s like a rare candy – 500xp. And that’s it. If you want to learn more and gain more, you have to do more drugs and yeah for some of us it kind of becomes a habit, and no one should erase the fact that for certain spiritual drug users the line between recreational and spiritual is incredibly blurred. And drugs come with shit side-effects. Shit. Pleeeeease trust me. Please do not start doing drugs. It’s not worth it. It isn’t. Plus it’s fucking expensive.

However, in the interest of fuck abstinence-only education, I am going to make a guide. Because some people are going to try it. And I’m not going to stand on the sidelines and wave to those kids as they feel blindly along, laughing and smoking on my pipe and saying “gosh I sure remember when I desperately needed guidance and none was to be had.” So I’m going to write this post :)

Since drug culture is often verbal and stoners and drug users learn through tutelary and initiatory sessions with more experienced drug users around them, I am going to write this post as if the person reading it knows nothing about drug use. This is because I cannot determine the experience level of anyone reading this, so I want to cover every safety concern that comes up.

Oh also, I have not been doing psychedelics and other drugs for decades; I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about the chemical interactions. All I know are basic dumb-person stuff that us regular folks really need to know in order to have safe trips. And that is what I want to share with you today!

Sooooo let’s get started, curious Seeker. I’m going to assume a drug (besides cough syrup and caffiene) has never passed your lips before.

Obviously it would be of huge help to you if you had an IRL friend experienced in drug use to guide you during every session. As equally obvious is the fact that for some people this is impossible. So I give you this short guide as a tea light in the windy path <3

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

You need a certain level of emotional competence. If you cannot control your emotions, acid may not be your drug of choice. In certain psychedelic situations, you need to have a certain control over your own state of mind. On the other hand, it is possible some drugs like marijuana will have a calming effect on you and make it more possible to gain spiritual understanding.

You will need a safe place to trip. You need to have somewhere pretty far away from negative influence. Like, hearing your family yelling in the living room is not an optimal location to have a mushroom trip. If you are comfortable in nature, nature is a great place to trip. “Comfortable in nature” means having the survival skills to reasonably spend a night alone (or with company as your situation allows) in the terrain you choose to camp out in. For fuck’s sake, please don’t drop a ton of acid and wander out in to the forest and get lost with zero survival skills. The trees are not going to wake up and guide you back. You are going to die.

If camping out isn’t an option for you, a very good friend’s house makes an excellent place to take drugs. Especially seek out a friend who is spiritual or very chill with your spirituality; a confidant whom you can tell anything to.

I encourage everyone to wait and seek out a very safe place to trip. You have no idea how much your environment directly influences your trip. You are not going to have a beautiful trip with nature when your environment is dirty, chaotic, and riddled with negativity and human negative emotion. It is very alright to wait weeks or even months until you can have your optimal time to trip. If this means a camping trip half an hour outside of town, great. If this means waiting until the most miserable member of your family is on vacation, great. Do whatever you can. For people tripping inside homes this means thorough cleansing of the trip containment room (your bedroom). In the days or weeks leading up to your trip, try to clean your room as thoroughly as you can. You really want to feel you are in a beautiful temple-space where you are ultimately protected and ultimately able to be creatively free. For people tripping in nature, go to the area beforehand and scout out the energies and spirits there. Hit up a couple of different campsites or locations and just see which place you think will feel best for you. Choose locations which will bring you comfort and relaxation. Don’t show up at dusk on night 1 and find a pissed off and very territorial spirit protecting the campsite you chose online.

You will need basic trip supplies.

Water: ½ gallon for every half-hour of your trip. Multiply by number of trippers on your session. Obviously bring more if you are camping as you should probably not be tripping 100% of the time.

Food; optimally vegetarian (the stomach does flippy things when it sees rainbows and meat in the same sentence), such as PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetable snacks, and vitamin-enforced fruit gummy snacks. Choose things you might feed to someone coming off a stomach flu. Nothing greasy or too rich. Very strong flavor sensations such as those found in sour candy might not be highly appetizing. Prep what you need to beforehand because you may not be able or willing to prepare food for a while.

A cozy space to sleep, whether this be a sleeping bag reinforced with blankies inside a tent, or a bed with freshly made sheets and fluffed pillows. Sometimes when you’re high or tripping you just… need to hit the blankies.

Basic survival (or urban survival) kit. A basic survival kit would include things like first-aid, a knife, emergency lights, etc. A basic urban survival kit is a small bag, purse, fanny pack, satchel, or pocket filled with the following items: ID/driver’s license, all the emergency cash you can muster up ($5-15 is fine if you aren’t intending to go out; $40 if you are going out anywhere. I like a bit of change on hand in case the bros all want to order a pizza, or in case I need to take an emergency Uber, etc.), a list of all the medications you take including what dosage, a daily dose of medication in case you are going out and can’t make it home on time, a list of emergency contacts who are very reliable, a pack of gum (you will thank yourself later) and a small healthy snack (you will definitely thank yourself later!)

Aphone. You need a way to access the outside world. I do not condone tech-free nature trips :P especially not when they are nature “trips” and ESPECIALLY if you are thinking of going alone. Take your phone, take it fully charged, and splurge on a mobile battery pack for it. $10 at Wal-mart. Support the beast to keep yourself safe.

Electrolyte delivery system such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, Powerade, etc. You will need this a couple hours in when you start to get dehydrated. 1 liter of Pedialyte or 3-4 bottles of a sports drink.

Shit to do. You are going to need some stuff to occupy your time with. If you are dropping acid I can almost guarantee you will lost interest in meditation well before hour 7 kicks in.

#DrugUserTip! The real fun of a trip is letting the natural high of your trip wax and wane. There will be times when you want to connect and be spiritual, and other times when you would rather be communicating with someone, making art, writing an article ( ;] ), or watching television or the starry night sky. Ensure you have planned enough to do to occupy your time!

Suggestions are: coloring books and/or art supplies for drawing or painting or whatever medium you prefer. Games, especially if you are going to trip with others; Cards Against Humanity is fun (nothing feels better and gets you more grounded out than feeling like a horrible human laughing at terrible card combos. Great game.), or a deck of cards, kinetic toys, a 3Ds, even a playstation or laptop for playing videogames.

You will need time.

You are going to need to do thorough and accurate research on the drug you are going to use. More on that later, but you need to reasonably know how much time this is actually going to take. If you drop acid for the first time, and it’s a strong enough dose, you may be in for a 12 hour ride. So if you drop at 10am and you have to work at 6pm… not a great combo. Leave the cool “Imma sneak in some heavy drugs right before work because I’m a cool drug user” decision making to the kids who like to show up to work high.

Optimally you will want an entire day afterwords to unravel and ride it out. No work, no school, no family obligations. Just you chilling out with some hot coco alone in your room, processing what happened and getting reacquainted with the world. I will say that I’ve never found this necessary for even the most intense weed trip and I pop right back up like a weed ;) in the morning. If not optimal, just try to get 15 hours between the expected end of the trip and your first obligation. You’ll probably want to sleep a bit between the two.

You will need to research your drug of choice.

What I’m telling you here is just basic shit. You actually gotta go out and look up websites and books and stuff that tell you things because you gotta know about them.

You gotta know what drug interactions you may have. You gotta. This one is not optional. We’re talking like you could kinda literally fuck your shit up permanently if you take the wrong drugs together, so don’t fuck around with it. Go find out your drug interactions.

You gotta have a basic understanding of what this drug is actually doing to you and your brain. If you understand the trip, it makes the trip easier to process, understand, and that makes relaxation easier. If you’re just like IDK WTF IS GOING ON the entire time it won’t be super enjoyable for you. It’s not like cracking a new novel for the first time without reading the back cover first. You’re literally fucking with your brain so???? do the research??? and find out wtf it’s going to do to you??

TWO WORDS OF ADVICE

Do marijuana first.

Look, I like weed. But I’ve never ever ever met an Experienced Drug User™ who recommended doing “heavier”, “harder” drugs first. I’ve actually brought this exact question up to many people and they’ve all said the same thing: start by smoking weed. If you want to have wild acid trips, mind-blowing mushroom journeys, whatever – start with weed. You need to have that foundation level of experience knowing what it’s like to be high before you go get really fucking high.

Consider weed to be the tutorial mode of drugs. A…. gateway…. if you will, to drugs. A portal to step through to get to other drugs. A drug door? If that makes sense?

Don’t do crazy shaman-only drugs. Leave that for the shaman-guided trips.

Skip the Ayahuasca for now. Stick to things we know a little better domestically. If you want to pay for a trip to Peru and sign up for a guided shaman drug trip, you do you!! But don’t try to prepare and do rituals that should be preserved for those with serious spiritual background.

PREPERATORY TIME – WHERE THE SPIRITUALITY ACTUALLY STARTS

We’re talking about a spiritual drug trip :) so at some point, the research ends. You know your drug interactions, you know how this drug is going to affect you. You’ve done your best to create the safest space possible for your trip, with lots of preparations like food and water in the works. Now it’s time to get spiritual.

You will want to fully cleanse before any spiritual drug trip. Unless you want to spend five hours intensely focused on the spiritual grime coating you, please cleanse. A shower will work great :) Scrub yourself from head to toe, starting with shampoo, face, neck, and so on, down to the spaces in between your toes and the bottoms of your feet. As you scrub, just be aware that as you cleanse physical dirt you also cleanse psychic dirt. They are connected; as you clean one, you cleanse the other.

If you want to be more ritualistic about it, here you go:

Take a pot holding about 1 liter of water and boil it. Whenever you add an ingredient, say the following incantation over it: “Spirit of Substance, I ask that you awaken and arise, and add your powers of Powers to my brew, so I may become ultimately cleansed and purified in mind, body, and soul.”

  • Add three large whole bay leaves or pieces adding up to three large whole leaves. Powers: “divine cleansing and powerful uplifting vibrations.”
  • Add a teaspoon of any of the following: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm. Powers: “intense calming.”
  • Add two tablespoons of salt. Powers: “wiping away evil.”
  • Add a teaspoon of rosemary, pine needles, or basil. Powers: “divine protection.”

Bring boil down to simmer. Stir ingredients with wooden spoon clockwise, focusing on how they blend together and form a perfect brew of cleansing, calming, and protective powers. Sooner or later (sometimes up to 15 or 20 minutes for me) you will feel the brew is “ready”. When you feel this, strain the brew out in to a heat safe container. Thank the plant remnants for their sacrifice and discard, but not in the compost (too salty!).

Scrub and clean your tub very well. Take a shower and wash yourself well. After you are rinsed and clean, turn the tub on to a comfortable temperature for soaking. Add your liter of witch’s brew to the bath water. As you pour it, ask the brew to infuse in to the bath water. Imagine your words touch the heart of this potion and speaks to all the spirits within. Soak in the water and let it cleanse you, calm you, and protect you. Light incense and candles in the bathroom if you can for some effective atmosphere.

No tub? No problem! Use a cloth or sponge to soak up the brew in the shower. Squeeze it over your body and pat it on your arms, torso, and legs. Sit quietly and soak in this brew and focus on the protection and cleansing you receive. Meditate to feel the calm.

Once cleansed you will want to place basic wards in the space you are tripping in. If you are in nature, why not a few nail crosses designed to keep away malicious and evil spirits? In your home, try brewing another potion. Use the incantation, “Spirit of Substance, awake and arise! Add your powers of Powers to my protective and defensive brew.” The three basic ingredients are cinnamon, cloves, and red pepper flakes (Powers: “fiery protection” for all three), mixed with frankincense if you have it, bay leaf if you don’t (Powers: “divine protection”). The purpose of this potion is to create a protective barrier. Create a very simple sigil meaning KEEP OUT MALICIOUS SPIRITS AND ENERGIES. When your potion is done brewing on the stove, use a paintbrush to paint large iterations of your sigil on walls, mirrors, doors, and window panes. ENSURE however the ingredients you have chose will not stain any surfaces first!!

Now that you are cleansed and prepped your space for protection, it is time for some relaxing journaling. Light a candle or get in a relaxed atmosphere and ask yourself what you really want from this trip. Is it communication? Learning divine truth? Trying to see spirits? Just hearing from the Universe itself? Whatever you are seeking, write it out. Write out questions as if you are preparing for an interview. Write out thoughts and what your greatest hopes are for this trip. Keep this journal with you to reference while you are high.

Right before the trip, the moments before you take the drug, do a ritual of dedication. This can be as simple as sitting cross-legged and closing your eyes and thinking, “I seek my highest good during this drug trip.” It can be as complex as a full ritual calling the quarters and announcing your intent to the Universe. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Here is a small example ritual if you would like one to reference:

Cast a protective circle. Take two of the following: a stick of incense, a candle, a dish of water, or an earthy stone. Sit in front of them and Name each as the element it represents. For example, “I sit here with this dish of water, which brings Water to my circle. I sit here with this stone, which brings Earth in to my circle.” You do not need all four elements present, this is only a simple ritual :) I think two is a good number but include all the elements you like.

Meditate with the good feelings these elements bring you. Surely it brings you a feeling of calm when you may be nervous about taking a serious drug. When you are ready, say,

“Element of Element, I brought you here today so you could support me and protect me during my trip. I am seeking a spiritual journey, and I want your guidance and support during this time.” Repeat this for each element. Speak to them honestly; tell them about your worries and fears. Get your anxieties out. Tell them about what you hope to achieve and what you are excited about!

When you are done talking, place the representations somewhere nearby. Ask the elements to stay with you, and if they are willing then you have a good valuable ally during your trip :) Erase your circle as you should no longer need it within your fully warded trip space.

ALRIGHT LET’S DO SOME DRUGS

Food and water? Check. All spiritual preparatory steps? Check. All physical safety preparatory steps? Check. Nothing left to do now but take some drugs, amIright?

At this point it basically becomes a personal experience but I can tell you some common things you may run in to and how I personally handle them.

Once I take a drug I usually feel a rush of nervous energy. I just strapped in for the rollercoaster ride and now, welp, I’m still sober and gosh that anxiety is getting bad…. some drugs, such as LSD or marijuana edibles, can take a long time to kick in. Do not take extra doses because nothing has kicked in after 30 minutes. You should know how long this drug is going to take to kick in for you. You should know how long you need to reasonably wait, even hours, to feel the effects.

I find that marijuana greatly increases the intensity and effect of every other psychedelic I take. If you are a marijuana smoker, try smoking weed to calm pre-trip anxiety and to help the trip “kick in” once enough time has reasonably passed for the drug you took.

Sometimes, laying down during a trip is really nice. But if I’m too high it turns in to a nightmare. If you are not feeling good, ask yourself if you are being very sedentary. Why not get up and move around? Try an activity like a coloring book or a simple task like taking a shower :)

Stay in communication!! Whether that be with your IRL trip buddies, your online friends, your spirit friends, your gods, the Universe… stay talking :) don’t go too deep inside your own head. Shit just gets weird in there. To me, the point of drug trips are the increased ability to communicate.

Doodle and journal whenever you feel the urge. It is quite nice to be able to reflect on your mushroom trip homebrew psychedelic drawings later on. As you practice being high, you’ll learn to write more accurate and concise reflections of your mental state that make more sense while you’re sober. Don’t mind if you can’t decipher your ramblings right away! It does take a bit of practice.

Allow your thoughts to carry you. Don’t trouble yourself with forcing a certain path. These drugs defy force and certainty. Let the trip take you where it wants to go. Of course you can guide it and stop negative thoughts :) but if you wanted to have a trip about seeing spirits, and it turns in to a trip about learning messages from your higher self, let the trip take its natural course. Don’t try and force it in to your idealized version of a trip.

If a negative thought does come up, there are some things I have trained myself to do: don’t dwell on it. When I trip, dwelling on a negative thought is like a freefall through the ocean depths. I spend just a few moments focused on negativity and when I’m ready to come out of it I realize I’m 20,000 leagues under the sea. So my trick is to squash that shit. Here are some methods I use to squash negative energy thoughts when I’m high:

  • Put the thought in the Vault. Just lock it up in that box in the back of your brain that never opens and you can only teleport stuff in and it never comes back out. Just boop, in the vault. Locked up.
  • Put the thought on a leaf floating down a stream, to be carried downstream to a very tall purifying waterfall.
  • Obsessively think about something else. Browse Tumblr or Reddit. Sketch. Talk to people. Distract yourself hardcore and get fun and energized and kinda dig the trenches for some good energy to flow back in.
  • Chilling with plants is DOPE while you’re on psychedelics, especially a beloved plant that has been treated well. Chill with some house plants or a nearby tree :D Try this if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

No shame in hitting the blankie fort. Sometimes I get very over-stimulated. If you are feeling like input is too much, flop on the bed and put a pillow over your ears.

Try keeping lighting low to minimal depending on your comfort levels. Very bright lights just seem… harsh. It’s not fun. I typically do not prefer natural flame because I am very safety conscious while I’m high, so usually a dim lamp in a room is enough for me.

When you want to get started meditating, become comfortable and use your favorite techniques. Don’t focus too much on controlling your thoughts. Just focus on your goals for this session (you know, the ones you journaled about in the preparatory phases!) and let yourself relax, try to stay focused, and see what happens.

Drink water. Even when you don’t feel particularly thirsty. Switch between water and your electrolyte system. Don’t over-do it and get water poisoning, obviously. Just sip water regularly and drink electrolytes regularly.

Don’t double-dip. Eventually your trip will wear off. Don’t be tempted to take extra doses to make the trip last longer. It won’t work, you’ll waste drugs, and you’ll be disappointed. Even if you didn’t get your “guaranteed” full hours of trip, just let it go :) you got what you were there for! This just means more time to come down, get sleep, eat, and decompress before your responsibilities coming up.

COMING DOWN

You should definitely already know the come-down effects of the drugs you took. With a lot of psychedelics this can mean feeling like trash for days after. Combine this with a mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder and you’re gunna feel riggity-riggity-fucked up in a bad way, son. Get your support systems in order. These drugs are no joke and they will make you feel terrible under the right conditions. Hopefully you’ll be riding an amazing spiritual high that will get you through this time but in any situation, be prepared for the come-down.

There are things you can do to improve this process. In the days leading up to your trip catch up on chores so you have very little to do in the days following your trip. Prepare food ahead of time. Even trade shifts if you need to. Spend a lot of time with IRL people and friends, this helps take the edge off. Chamomile tea and other bright flavors and herbs will help “brighten” you up. Spend time in the sun. Get LOTS of sleep and lots of good nutritious food (your body has to rebuild all the chemicals it lost… needs good nutrition to do so!)

WAIT BUT I WAS JUST SMOKING WEED THIS ALL SOUNDS KINDA HARDCORE

Alright so you’re just smoking weed! Basically all this info still applies. Scale as necessary. You may not need such hardcore preparations and you won’t have a “coming down” phase.

Still prepare things to do. Still do a dedication ritual, a cleansing ritual, and set up protections. A spiritual drug trip is not the same as a recreational drug trip. You are calling and attracting and connecting with greater forces, and this does attract negative attention sometimes. So DON’T skimp on protections, even for weed. If you’re a lazy stoner mage like me, just permanently ward your room and have a few handy amulets you can carry with you when you need to go out. Easy-peasy.

THE END

Yep! This is all I got for ya! I hope this was helpful in a practical sense to anyone seeking spiritual drug use guidance. Again, I do not advocate anyone start using drugs. But as I stated earlier, I do not support abstinence-only education so this is why I have written this post :) I hope this can help keep at least one person safe on their journeys. Message me with any questions!

The Witches Ladder

Witches ladders (also known as witch’s ladders) are a type of knot magic that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. They are commonly made by braiding or knotting cords together while incorporating other materials that represent the intention of the creator. Witches ladders can be easily customized for every practitioner and used for nearly any purpose, making them a very versatile and convenient talisman to create. Witches ladders can be used for purposes like attracting or manifesting things, creating a more positive environment, warding off negative entities or energies, protecting yourself or others, or banishing certain behaviors or individuals, just to name a few.

To make a basic witches ladder, you will need:

- Several cords of equal length in colors of your choice

- Whatever materials you choose to weave into the cords (such as feathers, bones, herbs, hair, flowers, seashells, ribbons, beads, hag stones, sticks, crystals, keys, charms, etc.)

Optional but helpful:

- Tape

- A ruler

Some other ideas: You can incorporate pieces of paper with sigils drawn on them, drawstring bags filled with herbs or crystals, or personal symbolic items that have been made from clay or another material. If you are making a witches ladder for an individual, you may wish to include a taglock (a personal item that is strongly associated with the target) to further bond the person to the talisman. Taglocks may include hair, jewelry, etc. Depending on your practice, you may wish to incorporate numerology into your witches ladder by using a specific number of knots, number of cords, or number of items used.

For my witches ladder, I used thick dark green yarn, twine, seashells, goose feathers, ribbon, a pine cone, and a sand dollar. I chose to arrange my goose feathers with the smallest ones at the top and the largest ones at the bottom. I also decided to make a double witches ladder purely for aesthetic reasons, but you can stick to one or make as many as you want.

Creating the witches ladder

1. Start by gathering your materials and getting your cords ready to knot or braid. It may help to tie the cords together on one end and tape the knotted end to a table or another surface. I found that doing so helps to prevent the cords from getting tangled in the process and it helps maintain a nice tension while braiding.

2. As you braid or knot your cords, begin adding your chosen materials. You may wish to recite something or chant as you are doing this, but it is not necessary. Depending on how many items you are using, you may wish to space them out evenly. For this, a ruler may come in handy. In my own experience, I have found that certain materials such as feathers, herbs, flowers, and certain bones can be difficult to braid around. It may be helpful to braid the cords first and then insert your objects into the braid later on.

3. Continue braiding or knotting until you have made your witches ladder as long as you would like it. To finish your witches ladder, you may choose to simply tie off the cords, or you may choose to add something extra to the end. I chose to add a pine cone and ribbon to one of my witches ladders, and a sand dollar to the other. Finish off your witches ladder however you see fit.

4. Hang your witches ladder. You may wish to hang it near a doorway in your home, near your bed, or even outside. The best location for your talisman will depend on both it’s intended purpose and your personal preference. If you have cats or other mischievous pets, it may be a good idea to hang your witches ladder up high or out of their reach.

-theowloracle

Please do not remove source

Deep Roads Overlay Map

So, back in one of the earlier books of Dances in Darkness, I mentioned I had taken awhile writing because I was trying to work out all the locations of the Thaigs and Deep Roads relative to the surface. We know that the dwarven empire once spanned almost all of Thedas. Most of it has been lost. Only Orzammar survives. 

During the Paragon of Her Kind quest in Dragon Age: Origins, we are given a “map” by whichever person you choose to support, which is ultimately a rough work-up of what their team has discovered so far. We know it’s maybe a little inaccurate. It’s absolutely not even remotely complete, and yet it has a lot of information there for us. The Warden uses it to reach the Anvil of the Void and yay, all is happy.

This is the longest portion of the bloody game, and tedious in parts. You visit a lot of locations, and have to fight your way through some fairly large areas. I have no idea if my timescale is correct for Dances in Darkness, but I use Dagna’s two weeks from Orzammar to the Circle Tower as a guide, so all my times in story come from that generalized figure (I count this as two weeks walking or slow riding). I guess it takes about as long to Redcliffe, and contrary to people saying you can sail to Kinloch Hold from Redcliffe in 2 days (one there, one back) in game, I’m not sure how that’s really possible unless you account for boats being amazing, and Templars not being angry at people sailing directly from Redcliffe to their Tower. I feel like there’s maybe something weird with that. 

Ultimately the endeavour to work out the Deep Roads then actually came from a need to get my timescale right. In Dances, they’re on a very limited time schedule to work in, and I needed to know just how limited and if the time constraints set were even possible. So I needed to know how that Deep Roads map relates to the actual Thedas map of Ferelden to compare Dagna’s two weeks measurement (let’s trust her on that; she’s obsessed with the place and would probably know specifics like measurements given she’s a smith’s daughter who loves learning).

Looking at the basic Deep Roads map, we get this:

Now, at first glance, you look at this thinking right, compass rose there in the lower corner, so the Anvil of the Void and Bownammar are west, probably into Orlais, and Cadash Thaig is down south, and Orzammar is there in the north-east corner. Except this is not actually correct. We have several pieces of evidence that point to the fact that this map is not currently correctly angled.

1. This is a mock-up by Bhelen/Harrowmont men trying to find Branka. It was made by dwarves who have never been to the surface and navigate using stone sense (which is probably linked to lyrium and not to an actual magnetic direction). Therefore, there is no reason why dwarves would use north/south/east/west anyway.

2. It deliberately says on the map in the top right corner “to Frostback Mountains”. Since the Frostbacks are an entire mountain range, let’s assume this means to the mountain range itself, and that arrow up there is pointing to the range. The range therefore runs somewhat along the entire top edge of the map.

3. We enter Orzammar from the surface from a door that is facing South. The door leads into the Commons directly across from the Provings. The door into the Deep Roads is actually then off to the right in the level, meaning that the map should be showing the Deep Roads exit/entrance to Orzammar. And it does. If we angle the map again, we find that the map is angled incorrectly.

4. In one of the books (I think Stolen Throne?) Maric and Loghain and Rowan are fighting in the Battle of West HIlls (located up near Highever and Waking Sea and the Storm Coast). This battle goes spectacularly badly. Maric, Loghain, and Rowan only escape the battle by fleeing into the Deep Roads, where they end up somewhere in or around Ortan Thaig. They then travel through the Deep Roads to Gwaren to emerge, by which time everyone thinks Maric is dead, and this is some spectacular resurrection or something. It’s because of this previous journey that the Grey Wardens later try to get King Maric to help them navigate the Deep Roads after Rowan’s death (The Calling, I believe). This is the whole Fiona/Maric and Duncan and the Architect story here. The Architect is doing something sketchy in a Thaig called Kul’Baras, and he later emerges very close to or under Kinloch Hold itself. This information actually gives us locations of not one but three different Thaigs on the map. Kul’Baras is somewhere under Lake Calenhad. Gwaren is under Gwaren. And Ortan Thaig is under West Hills. Only one of these is specifically listed on the map, but we also know where Orzammar is too, so then it just becomes a matter of lining it up.

The result is something like this:

As you can see, by lining up Orzammar, the arrow pointing to the Frostbacks, and Ortan Thaig, some very interesting things happen. Some of those symbols on the original Deep Roads map start to line up in some very interesting places. Gwaren down there was only a smidge off Gwaren itself. And that dog symbol comes up right by Denerim. Large pockets of spaces, which before I had assumed were simply twists and turns, actually appear to be Thaigs themselves. There’s only one big blob of Deep Roads map under Lake Calenhad, so I assume that is Kul’Baras where the Architect first worked. We have some very interesting symbols and roads skimming off in the northern portion of the map. That little tower symbol from the Deep Roads map falls right near Kirkwall in the Vimmark Mountain Range. I don’t know, but that symbol looks suspiciously like this to me:

This, for those who don’t know or don’t recognize it, is the base of Corypheus’s prison from the Deep Roads level. We know it’s connected to the Deep Roads, because Varric’s ancestor got stuck there and died. If ever they were going to mark something on a map it would be the tower underground that you really don’t want to go anywhere near unless you get stuck.

Also interesting is to note the location of the Anvil of the Void, far south in the Korcari Wilds. The chasm where we first meet the Archdemon in DA:O is there too, and happens to run from Ostagar all the way to Denerim. Which, coincidentally is exactly where we happen to see the Archdemon and the horde: Ostagar, the chasm, and Denerim.

Obviously some of this then becomes guesswork. We can tell by some of our map locations which Thaigs are which, or at least the general locations. We know Kal’Hirol lies under Amaranthine, and Cadash Thaig from our maps appears to be west of that under Soldier’s Peak or thereabouts. Take it further and we see parts of the Deep Roads extend even under oceans, which is fully understandable as Cadash Thaig is a flooded mess, and what would stop them digging under the ocean? They’re dwarves. They must have passages under that way to connect to everywhere else in Thedas.

A few educated guesses and some map locations comparisons from Inquisition give us the locations of a few more places, like Valammar (best guess), and Daerwen’s Mouth on the Storm Coast. Since we know the location of Crestwood from the game map, it’s not hard to work out which of the Deep Roads blobs is the old crossroad. And once we do, we get another point as well. Gundaar. The crossroads under Crestwood was created to commemorate a paragon (see codex information for this) and was located directly halfway between Aeducan Thaig and Gundaar. The best guess I have is that dog symbol near Denerim, and since Gundaar was a fairly large location it makes some sense it would have its own symbol or whatever.

A few other locations are done by a basic search on the Dragon Age wiki for what we know about Thaigs. Two thaigs lie somewhere south of Kal’Hirol: Varen and Kal Barosh. These are best guesses based on where the blobs are in the map and based on that general statement, and are probably the most sketchy of the locations.

That golem symbol…I don’t know what that is. But if I had to venture a guess, my best guess is the location of Amgarrak Thaig where they tried to recreate golem work. Also this is a very sketchy guess. I’ve got nothing further to suggest that’s it.

And the last interesting point of note: there is a path leading under the ocean parallel to the coast alongside Kirkwall. Is this the path towards the Primeval Thaig? Maybe? I don’t know…

Anyway, it took me a bloody long time to do this, and this is the best guess I have. The same map in raw form is actually all of Thedas, but without more Deep Roads maps I cannot expand it as the only other point I know is Kal Repartha located in the Hissing Wastes on the surface. I did take some time to work out the general locations of the Archdemons, and where they struck, but what that tells us is only that with the exception of Urthemiel, and a number of attacks located along the southern edge of Lake Celestine at Montsimmard, it appears that everything south of the Waking Sea has never before experienced Blights, or at least has never experienced the massive attack. In fact, the area that seems to suffer the most is in fact the Silent Plains where Dumat was finally slain.

So I’ll leave it at that for now. Hope you guys enjoy the maps and find the information intriguing. It may all be wrong, but I hope maybe some of it is at least right, cuz I like to think that there’s a bit of the poetic in the way the Blights played out.

~HigheverRains