the epiphany of the lord

Minas Tirith

So I was looking at pictures of Minas Tirith, because I often do, and you should too. 

Originally posted by mirkokosmos

And I noticed something that had always bothered me. Maybe you noticed it to. That big giant jutting out spear of rock? Yeah, you know the one, the one Denethor runs off of. Well, there was a picture where the light hits it just the right way. And it all made sense.

We know that Minas Tirith is carved out of a mountain. The entire city was carved away and so fixed in stone that you can’t break down a house without further digging into a mountain. The place is a fortress, and solid stone. And I always thought it weird that there was a rock sticking out, and they didn’t bother to carve it down into more homes. I get it, they wanted a courtyard, but they couldn’t have wanted more housing?

And then it dawned on me. No, they didn’t carve that point out, because how else would they tell time? 

Minas Tirith is a giant sundial.

Originally posted by lecterings

And depending on what parts of the city are visible or not visible tells what time of day it is. 

very important and underrated quote that needs to be discussed because this confirms that ralph believes that being jack merridew is superior to being chief and that as long as you’re jack merridew you shouldn’t care about anything else

so basically ralph is annoyed by jack but he’s also his no.1 fangirl 

which means

ralph is the epitome of the jack fandom

3

Understanding the Caduceus

The Caduceus is an ancient symbol that represents the manner in which bio-energy flows within the human body. There is absolutely nothing “mystical” or “supernatural” about it. It simply reflects an internal human experience–a “subjective” experience for sure, but one that any person can duplicate for themselves if they are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to deeply explore this process within themselves. By employing a systematic method (such as insight meditation, or meditative self-inquiry) of inverting attention towards internal experience, they will discover that the Caduceus is simply a representation (re-presentation) or image of something they can sense/feel/see within their own experience. Because we humans are all wired the same. The content, the data-energy itself, differs from person to person, but the wiring and flow pattern remain essentially the same.

In the poems and stories of the ancient religions, the caduceus was a staff carried by herald-gods such as Hermes Trismegistus in Greco-Egyptian theology and Hermes in Greek theology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. Heralds weren’t exactly “messengers” as they are typically depicted; rather their appearance signified the sudden appearance of insight, of non-cognitive knowledge, of gnosis, of gestalt and groking, of sudden certainty, of epiphany. The Sumerian (Mesopotamian) god Ningishzida (”Lord of the Good Tree”), who dates back to 4000 B.C. to 3000 B.C., was also directly symbolized by the caduceus.

The central rod or axis of the caduceus represents the human spine. Likewise–as in Ningishzida above, or in Celtic or Norse theology for example–the central rod or axis is also sometimes represented as The Tree of Life, or Axis Mundi (and likely the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Christian Theology), but this is always a symbolic representation of the  cerebrospinal axis (spinal-neurological complex)–or at least its energetic (experiential, or felt) equivalent, called the Sushumna, which is said to be the primary energy channel that interpenetrates the cerebrospinal axis. That is, when experienced directly as a felt sense, this rod or axis actually feels more like a pathway, a conduit of sorts, through which our bioenergy flows. 

The snakes represent the two secondary pathways through which energy is dispersed throughout the human body. They are represented as the Ida and Pingala nadis in Kundalini-Tantric writings, and where the snakes cross over the central axis or spine reflect the “chakra” points. Chakra is a Sanskrit word describing certain important centers within the matrix of the human nervous system–places where vital organs and nerves plexuses do their biochemical thing, affecting our energy and experience. These pathways–the “snakes” themselves–are not biological so much as experiential–that is, while you won’t find them by cutting open a cadaver, you will find them by examining your own experience. So they are made of consciousness, or the insubstantial substance or medium of our experience, whatever that may be. It is theorized that our earlier emotional traumas and experiences lead to these channels becoming “knotted” or obstructed, and that by deliberately engaging with them and their energy flows (through certain specific meditative and physical practices) we can unblock them, thus reopening our basic bio-energetic pathways and freeing ourselves from their (distorted and thus) distorting influences on our thoughts, feelings, personal evolution, physical energy and overall vitality.

Finally, the “wings” at the top of the caduceus represent the cerebral cortex when it is “lit up” or energized in a particular way through certain deliberate practices (such as kundalini yoga). This activity results in many “mystical" or “higher” experiences which, in turn, alters our experiences and ongoing perceptions is very unique ways and seems to precipitate further experiential evolution.

This subject matter is quite complex, and much more can be understood through de-encripting and unpacking the caduceus symbol both intellectually and historically. But the most essential aspect involves feeling and exploring this dynamic form directly, as a felt experience, within one’s own body-mind. This “yoga” links us back to our basic, ephemeral energetic nature rather than the feeling we typically assume of being a solid object (called “me”) in space surrounded by other solid objects.

Namaste

~The Mystical Lion


anonymous asked:

Do you have a list of any cielizzy fanfic? It doesn't matter if it's Victorian era or AU fics

I actually don’t read a lot of Cielizzy fanfiction (I think mod Lizzy might be able to give a you a more complete list) but here are a few that I love, love, love: 

Afraid by liketolaugh (a beautiful dark POV of Cielizzy from Soma’s perspective)

Hope’s Tears by Piscaria (In which Ciel doesn’t think Lizzie can survive in his world, and she’s determined to prove him wrong.)

Miracles in Equality by ravelqueen (married Cielizzy - beautifully angsty and lovingly bittersweet)

Grass-Stains by Tat_Tat (A picnic, tossed aside in favor of pleasure. Explicit.)

Thunderstorms by UnknownPaws (Thunder was what always brought the together.)

Sleep Well, My Queen by CallForCourage1516 (beautifully written, Victorian in tone, and overflowing with emotion - for once, it’s Ciel who’s waiting for Lizzy)

Folia by Indochine (the childhood and higher education of Lady Elizabeth E.C. Midford; writ by one of the best theorists/analysts I know)

Life’s Little Moments by NickeltheRed (sweet Cielizzy drabbles)  

Defending the Sky by Shu of the Wind (I will be Artemis and give you the moon.)

One Last Dance by Phantom Ou (this is a future fic and my god does it tug at your heartstrings. Demon!Ciel returns to the human plane for a few precious moments)

Coming of the Dawn by liketolaugh (where Lizzy discovers Ciel’s contract)

And here are a few Cielizzy fics I wrote that I’m particularly fond of :)

Saudade (my personal fave. Elizabeth meets - and says goodbye - to Ciel in Arizona.)

and the sea loved the moon (Lord Phantomhive has an epiphany while attending another gilded soiree. Cielizzy goodness. Victorian in tone.)

lavender’s blue (if you love me too) (Where Ciel learns that love really does make mockeries of man.) 

and all that’s best of dark and bright (Ciel Phantomhive through the years, relentless in his pursuit of vengeance while the lady who loves him is forced to look on. (And then, the roles reverse.))

The Painted Veil (Adult Cielizzy - angst with a fluffy ending) 

Comme des enfants (Adult Cielizzy - Countess Phantomhive learns that light cannot survive in a black hole.)

Pretty U (Ciel has been in a terrible, wicked mood lately. And it’s NOT because Lizzy’s stopped visiting. Nope. No way.) 

Moon River (The last soiree of Ciel Phantomhive and his Lady Elizabeth.)

The Goldfinch (Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.)

Sing the August Moon (Modern AU. Bit like Gossip Girl - Ciel is the spoiled rich kid with issues. Lots of issues. Lizzy is the bright, beaming ray of sunshine he needs in his life.) 


I hope you enjoy!! Like I said mod Lizzy may have more recommendations than I do but these are the fics that I remember off the cuff :) 

x

mod Nina

Milady and the curse of misogyny in Dumas' novel

As I told fox-rain the other day, I’ve been wanting to talk about Milady for quite some time, but couldn’t be bothered to make a post. philomathic-sophia’s post on the relationship between Athos & Anne de Winter finally inspired me to write up my thoughts, so thank you!

Entirely by coincidence, I re-read the novel in November last year, before I knew about the BBC show. My impression of the novel and the character was therefore entirely unfettered by the BBC’s adaptation of the characters. The more I read, the more I realised that I was rooting for Milady - not because she was the “bad girl”, but because, as a character, she was very much ambiguous. The thing is, if you disregard what the characters (mainly Athos, later Lord de Winter and d'Artagnan) say about her, and disregard the authorial ex cathedra voice that keeps telling (not showing!) that she was a demon, Milady does absolutely nothing on the pages of the book that is in any way worse than what the musketeers do.

A lot has been said about how the show made a good job at presenting complex female character, as opposed to the one-dimensional novel ones. But: Milady in the novel is not one-dimensional at all. The way she is treated by the author and the other characters is one-dimensional. You could tell book Milady’s story just as it is in the book, leaving out the ongoing commentary of how evil a demon she is, and you would end up with a highly sympathetic portrait of a woman who is driven to more and more desperate actions by the limits of the world in which she lives, and by the men surrounding her. Pretty much like on the BBC show, only with more ambiguity, not less. (BBC Milady is presented as the Dark Action Girl and assassin from the get-go. Book Milady… isn’t. Not if you go by what she actually does.)

Milady is only the cardboard-cutout evil villainess in the novel, because we are repeatedly told by unreliable narrators that she is. As to what she does, the information provided are:

She was in a convent as a young girl (age unclear due to Dumas’ handwave-y approach), let’s say around 14-16. As the executioner tells the musketeers during the farce of a trial: “A young priest, with a simple and trustful heart, performed the duties of the church of that convent. She undertook his seduction, and succeeded; she would have seduced a saint”, and then: “The young priest was condemned to ten years of imprisonment, and to be branded. I was executioner of the city of Lille, as this woman has said. I was obliged to brand the guilty one; and he, gentlemen, was my brother!”

This pretty much sets the tone for how Milady is treated throughout the book: her characterisation is “evil”, and everything she does is interpreted through that lens. She is supposedly driven by the desire to do evil; but this is not how humans work. Dumas obviously wants us to agree with the executioner’s assessment of Milady, but I find it impossible to not find this backstory highly ambiguous. Just about every piece of information he provides, if you go by pure facts and disregard the speaker’s (and author’s) misogynic opinion, allows you to come to an entirely different conclusion than the characters. You could read it as a young nun genuinely falling in love with a priest. You could read it as a young nun being seduced/coerced/raped by a priest. The executioner clearly hates her for what she did to his - entirely innocent, I’m sure – brother; he wants revenge for the dishonour she, and in his opinion she alone, caused his family and hardly qualifies as an impartial witness.

Athos tells d'Artagnan: “My friend, who was seigneur of the country, might have seduced her, or taken her by force, at his will–for he was master. Who would have come to the assistance of two strangers, two unknown persons? Unfortunately he was an honourable man…”

Yes, Athos, well done on not raping a teenage girl. Again, the “honourable” action is entirely due to the spin put on it by the speaker and the author. We know nothing about Milady at this point, apart from the fact that she was “lovely” and lived with her “brother” - quite possibly the only choice that had been open to her after she was forced to leave the convent. Again, the situation is more than ambiguous and could be interpreted any way you like, if you didn’t take the speaker’s and the author’s opinion as gospel.

D'Artagnan’s reaction to Athos’ acting as judge, jury, and executioner is (at least in the English translation, emphasis mine) as follows: “Heavens, Athos, a murder?” cried d'Artagnan. - “No less,” said Athos, as pale as a corpse. Again, the ambiguity is right there: Athos admits that what he did was commit murder – not fulfil his duty as the feudal lord. BBC Athos was given a much nobler reason, namely “doing his duty”, to make him more relatable for the modern viewer. (Personally, I much prefer the darker Athos from the book, the BBC version has been too thoroughly whitewashed for my taste, but that’s not the point here.)

Then we have Lord de Winter, who lives happily side by side with his sister-in-law, a man whom [d'Artagnan] had seen load her with kindnesses. He never suspects her of anything, until the designated heroes tell him she’s evil. Then, he suddenly remembers, all those years later, that she poisoned his brother. There is no shred of evidence, no proof is ever presented, nor do I find his sudden epiphany particularly believable. It’s blatantly the narrative imperative at work: Lord de Winter has to believe that Milady killed his brother for the purpose of the Buckingham subplot.

The assassination of Buckingham is the best part of the novel, really, and the moment where I root for Milady the most. It is a political coup, ordered by the Cardinal. This is really important to keep in mind: Milady is an agent of the Cardinal, committing politically motivated killing on his behalf, just like the musketeers kill on behalf of the King. She is sent to England just like they are sent to La Rochelle and has to use the means available to her to carry out her superior’s orders. (Also, she doesn’t perform the act of killing herself, but in an inspired move makes somebody else do it.)

The worst she does on the pages of the book is poisoning Constance by the end of the novel. But I fail to see how her killing Constance is worse than, say, d'Artagnan attacking a complete stranger on his way to Paris for the purpose of taking his passport off him and leaving the injured man lying on the road to die a slow and agonising death. The difference is that a) d'Artagnan is the designated hero and b) injuring/killing a man in a duel is a man’s method and therefore “honourable”, whilst poisoning is a woman’s method and therefore evil. This is something I would have loved to see addressed in a modern adaptation.

I’m not saying Milady is an innocent angel, that’s not the purpose of this meta. I am merely trying to point out that her motives and her character development as presented in canon are open to a wealth of alternative interpretations. We have a young nun (by vocation? by choice? because she had been a disgrace to the family and had to be locked up? because she was an orphan? because she was a Huguenot who had to be “re-educated”?) who for reasons unknown ended up entangled with a priest (love? rape? lust? ignorance of what she was doing? where would a teenage nun have learned what it means to seduce a man and how to go on about it?), and got married to a local nobleman (because she wanted to? because she was after money and status? because – as the text implies – he wanted to have her and she had no other choice? she could’ve been in love with the man she was living with as her brother and could’ve known that marrying the Comte de la Fère was the only way to protect him). By the time she’s in her late teens or her early twenties, three of the seemingly safe niches she had carved out for herself - the convent, the life as the “sister” of a rural curate, her marriage - in an increasingly hostile world had been destroyed. It’s easy to understand why she becomes progressively angrier, more desperate and more ruthless as she gets older.

I do not want to see Milady whitewashed, she makes a wonderful antagonist. And it is certainly possible to believe Dumas’ very one-dimensional opinion of her and her motives and consider her “evil” and nothing else. But I would find it so much more interesting if her character arc was the result of bad choices (starting with falling in love with a priest in the convent and proceeding downhill from there), in combination with her being a wilful and headstrong girl who kept running against walls in a man’s world, rather than the fact that the was a demon from hell, which is the laziest of all lazy explanations.

In conclusion: Nothing about the novel version of Milady is clear-cut and one-dimensional. She is punished for being a woman and for using stereotypically feminine weapons: seduction and poison. But they are the only weapons available to her. I would love a modern adaptation to address the way male characters’ actions are being excused whilst the female character’s actions are being condemned: killing people in duels for fun (!) is fine; poisoning people for revenge is not. Thrashing your valet because he dared speak is the action of the most honourable and noble character in the book; punishing your soubrette for betrayal is not. Seducing a man out of genuine attraction (Milady with de Wardes) is not okay; seducing the maid to get into the mistress’ knickers whilst pretending to be the man she’s in love with (d’Artagnan with Kitty and Milady respectively) are the actions of the designated hero. The characters are morally judged by the authorial voice not for what they do, but for the roles he wants them to play in the narrative. Take the same characters and the same actions and leave out the author’s commentary, and you could be telling a completely different story.

BARE: A POP OPERA SENTENCE STARTERS.

ACT 1  /  ACT 2 

EPIPHANY.

  • ❝  pray for me to the lord our god.  ❞
  • ❝  and he knows that his romance is doomed.  ❞
  • ❝  dig down deep and save your soul.  ❞
  • ❝  but it doesn’t all make sense, what i feel is real.  ❞

YOU & I.

  • ❝  hey little boy, would you like a ride, a lollipop, a puppy? how about a baseball bat, there’s one in my pants.  ❞
  • ❝  so a kiss is out of the question then?  ❞
  • ❝  are we damned?  ❞
  • ❝  this is all just a game.  ❞
  • ❝  you take my hand, leaving me breathless.  ❞
  • ❝  i’ll be with you always.  ❞
  • ❝  tell me why i should trust you when the girls all lust to touch you.  ❞
  • ❝  you’re cute and it’s tough to argue with a hard-on.  ❞
  • ❝  what we have is perfect.  ❞
  • ❝  is that supposed to shut me up?  ❞
  • ❝  miss me.  ❞

ROLE OF A LIFETIME.

  • ❝  everything’s an act when you’re pleasing everyone.  ❞
  • ❝  thoughts battle words over deeds, a war with such casualties.  ❞
  • ❝  when we’re alone it all somehow makes sense.  ❞
  • ❝  remember the word ‘forget’ and try to bury something so intense.  ❞
  • ❝  but what role do i play? am i a savior or a phase? am i here to damn you or to help you navigate this maze?  ❞
  • ❝  what happens when the music stops? in the silence will you stay?  ❞
  • ❝  one day you’ll realize that these feelings aren’t going away.  ❞

AUDITIONS.

  • ❝  hey, what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  ❞
  • ❝  i think i’ve seen all i can stand to see.  ❞
  • ❝  hear my voice.  ❞
  • ❝  did you really hear me?  ❞
  • ❝  you think you know me.  ❞

PLAIN JANE FAT ASS.

  • ❝  yeah, looking forward to that conversation.  ❞
  • ❝  why are you so hard on yourself?  ❞
  • ❝  why are you such an overachiever?  ❞
  • ❝  but i’ll have the last laugh, you bet your ass.  ❞
  • ❝  dad’s birthday package arrived, two weeks late as usual.  ❞

WONDERLAND.

  • ❝  you should throw her a surprise.  ❞
  • ❝  where’s the trust?  ❞
  • ❝  you look like a million bucks, wear something cheaper to the scene.  ❞
  • ❝  i think the map is upside-down.  ❞
  • ❝  i got your back but i won’t babysit. i don’t need that shit.  ❞
  • ❝  play the game, player, but play to stay in it.  ❞

A QUIET NIGHT AT HOME.

  • ❝  all my friends are gone and once again i find myself alone.  ❞
  • ❝  sadness, who me? sad?  ❞
  • ❝  honey, it’ll be okay.  ❞
  • ❝  after all you’ve such a pretty face.  ❞
  • ❝  play my siren song, attracting none. my ship just won’t come in.  ❞
  • ❝  never ever even get the chance to sin.  ❞
  • ❝  what a tale of star-crossed lovers.  ❞
  • ❝  pain adores me. god ignores me.  ❞

BEST KEPT SECRET.

  • ❝  you can’t kiss me inside?  ❞
  • ❝  i know this world can have a place for us if we just try to find a way to trust that time will be kind.  ❞
  • ❝  all i ever want is there in your eyes.  ❞
  • ❝  we whisper words when we’re alone at night. i wanna hear them in the morning light.  ❞
  • ❝  with love on our side i know we’ll be alright.  ❞
  • ❝  you’re such a coward.  ❞
  • ❝  all this ‘forever’, can’t you live for today?  ❞
  • ❝  it’s best kept secret.  ❞

PORTRAIT OF A GIRL.

  • ❝  they say she’s fairest of them all.  ❞
  • ❝  don’t mind me, i’m just watching.  ❞
  • ❝  she’ll play her part, she sees that she’s a work of art.  ❞
  • ❝  don’t know what to say; i’m scared i’ll say too much.  ❞
  • ❝  stripped bare, beneath all the layers, would you recognize the girl lying there?  ❞

BIRTHDAY, BITCH.

  • ❝  i wrote a song for us to sing.  ❞
  • ❝  happy birthday, ___, you are the special birthday bitch!  ❞
  • ❝  mary jane made some brownies, they’re dope.  ❞
  • ❝  i may have to crash here tonight, there’s no way i’m gonna make it home.  ❞
  • ❝  i wish your piñata were that big.  ❞
  • ❝  i hear our song on the radio and i don’t care who knows.  ❞
  • ❝  i wish i could shout it, shout how much i love you!  ❞

ONE KISS.

  • ❝  i spent the whole party just waiting for us to be alone. but then, you must have known. or perhaps you haven’t noticed how i stare.  ❞
  • ❝  why should i be frightened?  ❞
  • ❝  i’ve wanted to kiss you for so long.  ❞
  • ❝  you’re wasted and this is wrong.  ❞
  • ❝  could that be some life stirring in your jeans? how obscene!  ❞
  • ❝  don’t you want to kiss me?  ❞

ARE YOU THERE?

  • ❝  how come life is so unfair?  ❞
  • ❝  do you know, well of course you do, what it’s like to be afraid that nothing will become of all the plans that you have made?  ❞
  • ❝  i try so hard to please you but you never seem to see.  ❞
  • ❝  i wish i knew that someone out there cared.  ❞
  • ❝  it sucks to be ignored.  ❞
  • ❝  they said things would get better but i guess they lied.  ❞
  • ❝  who cares what people think? we’re fine! we’ve been through this before.  ❞
  • ❝  look, i’m going to bed. i’ll catch you later, alright?  ❞

911 EMERGENCY.

  • ❝  change is coming, it’s coming.  ❞
  • ❝  seems the love that dare not speak its name done gone ahead and spoke.  ❞
  • ❝  it’s time to be a grownup.  ❞
  • ❝  jesus knows what’s up.  ❞

REPUTATION STAIN’D.

  • ❝  i’m free tonight, just so you know.  ❞
  • ❝  where were you last night? i waited up.  ❞
  • ❝  alack the day, he’s gone, he’s killed, he’s dead!  ❞
  • ❝  what’d you call me?  ❞
  • ❝  or maybe, maybe my dad will just beat the shit out of me and then disown me. yeah, smart money says that’s his first move.  ❞
  • ❝  i can’t deal with this anymore. i mean, you’re all i have, don’t you get that?  ❞
  • ❝  what? are you out of your mind?  ❞
  • ❝  this… us… whatever… it needs to stop.  ❞

EVER AFTER.

  • ❝  you stand before me and i barely know you.  ❞
  • ❝  is it so easy to leave?  ❞
  • ❝  where is the boy who said i was his soulmate? where is the boy i believed?  ❞
  • ❝  not all tales have happy endings, we can’t keep pretending ‘cause there’s no such thing as heroes who are queer.  ❞
  • ❝  you’ve hurt me more than you know.  ❞
  • ❝  all that i wanted was you. you were my tomorrow.  ❞

SPRING.

  • ❝  are you almost done with this pretty little ode?  ❞
  • ❝  stay the hell out of my way.  ❞
  • ❝  mother nature is a turd. she can shover her flowers right up her ass.  ❞
  • ❝  baby, let it snow.  ❞

ONE.

  • ❝  i didn’t mean to throw myself at you like that.  ❞
  • ❝  i meant all those things i told you. my feelings for you are real and i… just know i wouldn’t lie.  ❞
  • ❝  you want me to kiss you, don’t you?  ❞
  • ❝  one forever, can you feel it?  ❞
  • ❝  i’m so happy, does it show?  ❞
  • ❝  are you there? please pick up the phone.  ❞
  • ❝  i’ve never felt so all alone.  ❞
  • ❝  once i had a hero, i guess he couldn’t stay. fear took up his trembling hand and led him far away.  ❞
Why I love The Girl Who Died.
  • I adore Jamie Mathison’s script. Neat, funny, and full of subtexts. The more I re-watch it, the more feelings and ideas I get, and it often leads to further developments in the coming episodes. Not to mention so many great one liners in this episode, he really has a talent of putting words together.
  • The theme of story telling. Is it only me or The Girl Who Died had nods to The Princess Bride? Eels, and more importantly the concept of story telling. The power of stories is always a big theme of New Who especially in Moffat’s run, and this time they put more emphasis on a story teller, who seemed strange, not fit into the world, but loved people around her and was loved. A story teller who died to save a whole village against Mire. Without TARDIS, without sonic. And then the story teller became immortal. Of course we still have next episode to see the whole story of Ashildr, but I really love how they dealt with those subtexts here. It’s very beautiful.
  • The reason why the Doctor chose this face. 
    • When I watched this scene for the first time I was slightly disappointed. I thought that would be a bigger thing, some complicated plot twist or something. However, I was wrong.
    • 12th chose this face to remind himself, that when he was doomed to lose a battle, when the destiny was fixed, like Pompeii, he could always choose to save someone. That’s why he need a companion to ask him to do the thing, if he couldn’t save the whole town, try to save someone. Remind him of his compassion. It’s not about winning a war, but saving people, and that, THAT IS the meaning of being the Doctor.
    • From series 8, 12th Doctor was set as a man who considered in balance. He could lose some battle in order to win a war. In The Witch’s Familiar, Missy asked Clara why the Doctor always survived. In The Girl Who Died Clara said what the Doctor was good at was winning a war. In the end, he didn’t lose a war. But he said that he could lose any war she liked, but he was sick of losing people. A further development from the situation in the end of Flatline, when the Doctor and Clara discussing the meaning of being the Doctor.
    • Faces refers to identities, the main running theme in series 8. Whether this epiphany leads to another extreme way of action similar to Time Lord Victories? Or he will be pulled back due to his self-questioning “Am I a good man?” and the “I am an idiot!” epiphany in Death in Heaven? I don’t know. Whether his fear to lose Clara leads to a rule-breaking, reckless, dark Doctor/Valeyard? I don’t know. And I think that’s the beauty here. When most of us thought 12th would kill a kid and change the whole history, he didn’t. When 12th wanted to break the rule and cheat time, the TARDIS refused, and yet, it helped the Doctor to actually come back to Clara. What will happen next time? We don’t know yet. Just like Peter Capaldi once said, this show is about a man who constantly makes choices. It seems the Doctor will face an ultimate one before the finale. A massive closure of both the Doctor and Clara’s relationship and his own identity (Doctor Who). I will be waiting patiently with finger crossed.
  • The way 12th and Clara telling and showing their affections and feelings toward each other now. I’ve already said a thousand times but I will definitely say it again.
  • Every time when Clara came to comfort him and before she started talking, the way she stared at him and the way he stared back. That spoke something a thousand times louder than words.
  • Clara said the word “deserve” again when they were talking about 12th making Ashildr immortal. And that made me really worried. There are chances that 12th will do the same to Clara, however, Clara said quite clear that she didn’t ask for 12th’s care as his duty. And she confessed that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with 12th and leave before him. I doubt 12th will do anything against her will. Instead, he will choose to suffer himself.
  • Why Clara didn’t show up in The Woman Who Lived trailer? Why?

A homily given by Saint Josemaría Escrivá on January 6, 1956: Feast of the Epiphany.

Matthew 2:1-5.7-11
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star 3 at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet. Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

To understand this passage of the holy Gospel
“Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Mt 2:11). Let us pause here a while to understand this passage of the holy Gospel. How is it possible that we, who are nothing and worth nothing, can make an offering to God? …

Giving is a vital need for those in love
But the Lord knows full well that giving is a vital need for those in love, and he himself points out what he desires from us. He does not care for riches, nor for the fruits or the beasts of the earth, nor for the sea or the air, because they all belong to him. He wants something intimate, which we have to give him freely: “My son, give me your heart” (Prov 22:26). Do you see? God is not satisfied with sharing. He wants it all. It’s not our things he wants. It is ourselves. It is only when we give ourselves that we can offer other gifts to our Lord.

Gold, What is our treasure?
Let us give him gold. The precious gold we receive when in spirit we are detached from money and material goods. Let us not forget that these things are good, for they come from God. But the Lord has laid down that we should use them without allowing our hearts to become attached to them, putting them to good use for the benefit of all mankind.

Earthly goods are not bad, but they are debased when man sets them up as idols, when he adores them. They are ennobled when they are converted into instruments for good, for just and charitable Christian undertakings. We cannot seek after material goods as if they were a treasure. Our treasure is here, in a manger. Our treasure is Christ and all our love and desire must be centered on him…

Frankincense, human warmth
We offer frankincense that rises up to the Lord: our desire to live a noble life which gives off the “aroma of Christ.” To impregnate our words and actions with his aroma is to sow understanding and friendship. We should accompany others so that no one is left, or can feel, abandoned. Our charity has to be affectionate, full of human warmth.

What does Jesus Christ teach us?
That is what Jesus Christ teaches us. Mankind awaited the coming of the Saviour for centuries. The prophets had announced his coming in a thousand ways. Even in the farthest corners of the earth, where a great part of God’s revelation to men was perhaps lost through sin or ignorance, the longing for God, the desire to be redeemed, had been kept alive.

As a baby
When the fullness of time comes, no philosophical genius, no Plato or Socrates appears to fulfil the mission of redemption. Nor does a powerful conqueror, another Alexander, take over the earth. Instead a child is born in Bethlehem. He it is who is to redeem the world. But before he speaks he loves with deeds. It is no magic formula he brings, because he knows that the salvation he offers must pass through human hearts. What does he first do? He laughs and cries and sleeps defenceless, as a baby, though he is God incarnate. And he does this so that we may fall in love with him, so that we may learn to take him in our arms….

Myrrh, the spirit of sacrifice
Together with the Magi we also offer myrrh, the spirit of sacrifice that can never be lacking in a Christian life. Myrrh reminds us of the passion of our Lord. On the cross he is offered wine mingled with myrrh. And it was with myrrh that his body was anointed for burial. But do not think that to meditate on the need for sacrifice and mortification means to add a note of sadness to this joyful feast we celebrate today.

Mortification is not pessimism or bitterness. Mortification is useless without charity. That is why we must seek mortifications which, while helping us develop a proper dominion over the things of this earth, do not mortify those who live with us…A Christian is a person who knows how to love with deeds and to prove his love on the touchstone of suffering.

The star
We read in the Gospel that the Magi, videntes stellam — when they saw the star — were filled with great joy.
—They rejoiced, my son, they were immensely glad, because they had done what they were supposed to do; and they rejoiced because they knew for certain they would reach the King, who never abandons those who seek him.

Where is the king? Could it be that Jesus wants to reign above all in men’s hearts, in your heart? That is why he has become a child, for who can help loving a little baby? Where then is the king? Where is the Christ whom the Holy Spirit wants to fashion in our souls? He cannot be present in the pride that separates us from God, nor in the lack of charity which cuts us off from others. Christ cannot be there. In that loveless state man is left alone.
As you kneel at the feet of the child Jesus on the day of his Epiphany and see him a king bearing none of the outward signs of royalty, you can tell him: “Lord, take away my pride; crush my self-love, my desire to affirm myself and impose myself on others. Make the foundation of my personality my identification with you.”