the time of angles

I don’t think it’s inherently (or even usually) homophobic to kill off an LGBT+ character, but, like, at the same time, it does get old.

I can forgive shows like The Walking Dead, because everyone is fair game in TWD. Even main characters are becoming more and more likely to bite the dust (a la my beloved Glenn), and I think the show may move more toward that angle in the future.

(Although, at the same time, they do have to worry about ratings/viewer satisfaction. They really cannot create their show in a vacuum, as harsh and gritty as they’d probably like, because it is very much a product they need to make money off of–so, idk, some characters may retain their plot armor. The point is, dozens of characters have died in the show’s history, so losing one or two LGBT+ characters in a world where people are constantly dying isn’t such a big deal in my eyes.)

But then you’ve got pieces of media that aren’t the clusterfuck of death TWD is killing off LGBT+ characters, for no real reason other than angst, and it’s…it’s just obnoxious, man. I’m tired of feeling like I have to worry about my representation being killed off just ‘cause the writers wanted to, especially when they aren’t treating their cishet characters in the same manner.

I don’t think they mean to be homophobic, but they’ve ingested way too many angsty LGBT+ dramas written by other cishet people, so now they think that LGBT+ characters are just supposed to die in every piece of fiction we’re in. It’s one of the ugliest character tropes out there, and, yeah, I am tired of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve killed off my LGBT+ characters before. Hell, one of the saddest moments in my canon is the death of a gay man with a fiance and son, mere months before he and his fiance were meant to be married, after only just reuniting with one of his parents after ten years of being apart due to unfortunate circumstances. It’s awful, it’s really fucking bleak.

But, also, most of my characters are LGBT+, and he dies in the middle of a crazy fucking war between the Catholic Church and demonkind–so his death is understandable, it’s not just out of nowhere, with no explanation, or with the only explanation being, “I felt like it.” It’s a major turning point for his parents as individuals, and it shapes his son’s future in a meaningful way.

But so many people use LGBT+ characters as just. Fodder. A way to get a cheap angsty moment. Because it’s somehow more acceptable to kill off their minority characters than their majority characters–not because they’re homophobic, but because that’s just what they’ve been taught by other cishet content creators, who have perpetuated the idea that LGBT+ characters are destined to suffer.

It’s not some grand conspiracy of homophobia or anything. It’s just the usual stupid shit that goes down in the content creating business. But just because it’s not homophobic doesn’t mean it’s not annoying, overdone, and stemming from a place of ignorance.

(Note: that isn’t to say all LGBT+ deaths are handled poorly. Just a lot of them.)

I’m a dork. I love tv shows. Everything from the clichés to the overlooked. Supergirl, The Flash, Riverdale, Glee, Gossip Girl. You name it. I fangirl over everything Harry Potter. I adore New York City. Everything touristy really. Photography takes up a lot of my time, angles no one sees. Beauty no one ever stops to look at. Art is my peace of mind. Poetry is my escape. I play the uke, singing off key and strumming slightly out of tune. I taught myself. I believe you can never have too many cats and dogs. I put friends before most things whether that’s smart or not. A lot of my role models are celebrities because I don’t have a ton of adults I trust. Except my mom who’s raised me to be me. My abusive dad created the damaged side of me that tends to overpower my old happy self. I’ve always gotten good grades in the past but after I started high school I realized I’m not really a genius. I want to become an English teacher and I writer. Always have. I want to change the world, but I’m starting to think that’s not in the cards for me. I’m not religious but I guess I believe in something. I’ve always believed in true love. I’ve been in love before. I’ve been heartbroken. I make mistakes. I don’t go to therapy anymore or take my medications. I used to self-harm. I’ve considered suicide before. I have mood swings a lot. I don’t sleep much. I love winter. I love snow. I get nostalgic over everything. I live in the past a lot. I’m not spontaneous. Surprises make me nervous. I have social anxieties. I loathe myself sometimes. I love puns and sarcasm. My humor is mainly sarcastic. I’m always listening to music. I have hot chocolate almost every day. I don’t think I’m beautiful. I tend to remember every mistake I make. I forgive easily. I give a lot of second chances. I push people away without meaning to. I like hugs but never ask for them. I’m generally sad a lot. I hate that I hate school. I procrastinate a lot. I don’t feel genuinely happy often. I love laughing uncontrollably but rarely do. I’m afraid to eat in front of people. It bothers me if someone doesn’t like me. I overshare or don’t share enough. I’m an extroverted introvert. I don’t like Halloween. I love Christmas. I’m scared of drowning and therefore can’t swim well. I’m weary of fire. I love campfires. I like hiking. I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

- all my little quirks that someone will love and accept. Someday.

blackbearmagic’s Crystal Hunting Guide

Introduction

Scientific Fact: Witches love crystals almost as much as they love jars. 
Consumerism Fact: In many metaphysical shops, nice-looking crystals can be had for relatively cheap.
Ethical Fact: Many of those crystals are as cheap as they are because they are mined with no consideration for the damage done to the environment or the welfare of the humans collecting them.

So what’s a good, honest, ethically-minded witch to do, especially if he/she/they don’t have the money to afford crystals that were mined sustainably and responsibly, or the time to research which sellers obtain their wares from ethical mines?

Find their own.

I’ve been crystal hunting all my life, but only within the last year have I started doing it seriously. I’ve walked away from a creeking expedition with slabs of smoky quartz the size of my palm or calcite hunks bigger than my fist, and I personally think creek-crystal energy is much more vibrant and easy to work with; by comparison, the crystal points I’ve bought from metaphysical shops feel… inert, lifeless.

So let’s get straight into it!

What You’ll Need

  • a good-sized creek or stream with lots of gravel spits along its length
  • offerings to the spirit of the creek, if appropriate to your personal practice
  • bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, water, and anything else you’d normally bring on a hike
  • your trusty adventurer’s Bag of Holding
  • your sweet self

Now let’s talk details.

When I say “gravel spits”, this is what I’m referring to:

These tumbles of stone are going to be where you’ll find your treasures, and the size of the stones themselves actually tells you what size of crystal you might find: When the conditions are right (ie, during a flood), the water flowing through that portion of the creek is capable of lifting and moving rocks of the size you see there now. 

In my experience, the crystal specimens you’ll find are typically half or one-third the size of the average rock on the spit. They’re usually larger than the smallest rocks, but much smaller than the largest rocks. Not always, though–I have found specimens larger. (See the introduction.)

Regarding offerings, if that’s part of your path, you’ll want to make sure it’s nothing that will harm the local wildlife or damage the ecosystem in any way. My personal go-to is water, ideally water from a bottle I haven’t drunk from yet.

In the same vein as offerings, I’ve had great success in making a sort of bargain with the spirit of the place: That in return for treasures, I will pick up and remove any litter I find in the area. It is, of course, always a good idea to remove any litter you see when you’re out in nature, but it doesn’t hurt to point out to the spirit of the place that it’s something you’re doing for it. Bring along a trash bag to help collect it.

Lastly, with regards to your bag, I would advise something with two shoulder straps. Rocks are heavy.

What You’ll Do

Once you’ve hiked to your creek and found a gravel spit with lots of good-sized rocks, it’s time to start looking. There’s two main approaches I’ve found that work well, and I tend to use both. 

The first is a broad sweep. This one works best if you’ve got good lighting on the rocks. All you do is stand in one spot and sway side to side slightly while looking over the gravel, looking for anything that glints, shines, or otherwise catches the light shining on it. If you see something, investigate it. Repeat.

The second is the more detailed search. Get down on the ground–whether that means kneeling, crouching, laying on your belly, I don’t care–and go over each rock one by one. Use your eyes and use your hands. I imagine this method is probably going to be unpleasant for a lot of you, but honestly, it’s like crack to me.

Once you’ve combed over the current gravel spit as thoroughly as you please, pack up and move on to the next. Continue for as long as you like, or until you feel it’s time to go. Just remember that as far out as you go is how far you’ll have to walk back!

Advice and Warnings

Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you godsforbid go missing, they’ll be able to give the police an idea of where to start searching for your poor, lost ass.

Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times. 

If you see something or someone iffy, do your best avoid it. Sometimes there are creepy people in the woods, and sometimes they do creepy things. Don’t get involved.

Make sure you’re not trespassing on private property. All of the creeks I hike on are on public land. If you’re in a state park or other protected environmental area, don’t go off the trail–you could cause damage to a fragile ecosystem.

Following the creek is a good way to get out and back without losing your way.  Don’t stray too far from it if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

The best times of year to go hunting–assuming Northern Hemisphere, a temperate climate and deciduous forests around the creek–are the spring and summer. In the autumn, you’ll have to clear fallen leaves off of the gravel before you can look, and winter is too cold. 

The best time of day is the morning, when the sun angle is lower and is more likely to glint off of shiny rocks.

You’ll have your best luck the day after heavy rain. Rain will swell the stream and shift the stones around, and could uncover new treasures! 

Inspect anything that looks even remotely worthwhile. You’ll find a lot of duds, sure, but that will help train your brain to tune out what you don’t care about finding.

“What Can I Find?”

Exactly what sort of minerals and crystals you’ll find is highly variable. All minerals are not equally distributed across the planet, because many of them require very different conditions to form and the crust composition varies slightly from place to place. However, there are some stones that are pretty common all over the Earth, so no matter where you go hunting, you’re likely to find them.

Of course, for more specific identifications, please consult the internet, a book on mineralogy, or your local rockhounding club. 

Quartz

The chemical formula of quartz is SiO2, or silicon dioxide. Silicon and oxygen are, by mass, the two most abundant elements in Earth’s crust; around 90% of it is composed of silicate minerals like quartz. Ever find a pretty, sparkly, mostly-clear rock on the ground? It was probably quartz. 

Quartz comes in a mind-boggling array of colors, from smoky quartz so dark it’s practically opaque to purple-and-orange ametrine to the brilliant clear of a Herkimer diamond (yup, not actually diamonds) but all of these varieties are still quartz. In my region of North America, clear and smoky quartz seem to be the most plentiful. 

Calcite

Calcite is calcium carbonate, CaCO3. Like quartz, it is made of some of the Earth’s most abundant crustal elements (in this case, calcium and oxygen) and comes in a stunning array of colors. In my creeks, I’ve found calcite in yellow, orange, white, and even blue and red.

The biggest giveaway for rough calcite is its texture. If you pick up a rock and it feels like someone rubbed wax all over it, you’ve probably got yourself a calcite specimen.

Feldspar

Feldspar is one of the most abundant minerals in the crust, alongside quartz. It’s also a silicate, and it frequently finds its way into other minerals, such as granite. 

What sets feldspar apart from the other two minerals I’ve mentioned here is its fracture habit: It naturally fractures along cleavage planes which intersect at 90-degree angles. It doesn’t shatter–it shears. If you find a rock with a smooth face that looks like a polished stone countertop, it’s probably feldspar.

“But Bear, I Want Crystal Points!”

Oh. Yeah.

You can find those too. 

Every one of those pictures is of quartz points that I have found in my area. (In fact, they’re actually all from the same crystal-hunting hike, and represent only about a third of the specimens I found that day!) As you can see, they aren’t all perfect–and I have plenty of others that are, like, three facets and no point–but they’re all beautiful, and some of them really sing, if you know what I mean. 

Conclusion

Finding your own crystals can be pretty simple, when you get down to it. It can be a lot of fun to get down and dirty, and is a great way to get yourself out in nature for a while. And, of course, you can rest assured that your crystals were gathered in a sustainable, respectful, ethical manner–assuming you took care of yourself and the environment while finding them!

Best of luck! –Bear

8

Aaah, sorry for being late! 
Also, happy birthday for that one Anon! ♡

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Sparring/Training Sentence Starters

Requested by Anonymous

  • “Come on, then! Hit me!”
  • “Your stance is all wrong.”
  • “Am I doing this right?”
  • “I feel like I’ve been chewed up, spat out, and run over repeatedly.”
  • “Get down and give me 20!”
  • How many miles/kilometers are we running?!”
  • “Hey! Watch where you’re swinging that!” 
  • “Nice punch! Now do it again!” 
  • “You won’t hurt me, I promise.” 
  • “My grip feels off…” 
  • “Have you ever used a(n) __ before?” 
  • “I don’t want to hurt you…” 
  • “I think I’m going to feel that tomorrow.” 
  • “If you can lift me up, then you can lift these weights just fine.” 
  • “On a scale of one to ten, how much did that hurt?”
  • “Here, you put your feet like this…” 
  • “Relax. I’m trying to help.” 
  • “Can you teach me how to __?”
  • “God, we stink.” 
  • “Are you doing okay?” 
  • “Are you alright?” 
  • “If I do fifteen push-ups, can I be done for the day?” 
  • “Come on! Another round!” 
  • “You can win this time!”
  • “Work your angle a little more and you got it perfect!” 
  • “What are you doing up at this hour?” 
  • “Where did you get that bruise?” 
  • “Hey, no, stop. You’re going to break your fingers punching like that.”