they are varied and many

autism spectrum disorder is not a linear spectrum. there is no “less autistic” end or “more autistic” end. when we say autism is a spectrum what we mean is that it has many different and varying characteristics and that each autistic person will experience it uniquely to them.

[Revised 11/1/17] Book Recommendations for Witches, Spellcasters, and the Curious

I periodically (usually once a year) make an updated post of my annotated bibliographies for witchcraft, magick, and divination studies. I recently noticed that I hadn’t done this in a long time! 

Since I’ve read a lot of new books in that time, and since many are worth adding, I thought I’d go ahead and post an updated list. 

I’ve added just ten new ones this time! Unfortunately, still, it’s getting quite long, so I’m splitting it into two posts - one for divination, and one for magick/witchcraft.  I will be tagging both as #long and #long+post because I realize this is pretty extreme in terms of length.

For Absolute Beginners

Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, by Judika Illes. Even better than the Weiser Field Guide to Witches - this book is huge and chock-full of information. It’ll explain in easy-to-understand language how the concept has developed throughout time, why witches do what they do, and different types of witches.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, by Judika Illes. This gives an excellent look at the historical lore concerning witches, from the perspective of a witch herself. It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it does have some information that won’t be found elsewhere.

The Modern Guide to Witchcraft, by Skye Alexander. Great book for those who’re really absolute beginners and are wondering what witchcraft is all about. Skye takes a very postmodern, utilitarian, and unfailingly honest approach, and it’s geared towards those of almost any belief system.

Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard, by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. Attractively packaged and readible for almost all ages, this is a great (mostly) non-denominational look at the foundations of magical practice. It’s extremely detailed. Some of it only applies to Zell’s own tradition, but it’s quite useful, anyways.

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy, by Rose Orriculum. Written by Tumblr’s own @orriculum, this is one of the best, most modern an no-nonsense Craft introductory books I’ve seen. It’s unabashedly up-to-date and self-aware in its portrayal of the contemporary Craft.

Basic Techniques

Protection and Reversal Magick, by Jason Miller. This gets a little woo-woo at times, but he gives good advice on how to avoid serious problems that can come up as you begin to practice. Take with a grain of salt, though - some of this has the potential to make you feel paranoid.

City Magick, by Christopher Penczak. If you’re at all interested in tech witchery, or just want to practice magick within an urban setting, do check this out. It is by far the best look at the subject I’ve seen, and his discussion of urban tutelary spirits is worth the price alone.

Power Spellcraft for Life, by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. Nicely done, quite secular book providing basic beginner information regarding writing original spells and workings. It does fall prey to the trap of just listing correspondences with little information at times, but also contains a great deal of detail about ritual timing, raising power, and other topics essential for the beginner.

Sorcerer’s Secrets, by Jason Miller. This is a decent volume that describes a lot of techniques you don’t usually see in books, such as gesture and gaze-based magick. Be warned that Miller writes extensively about manipulative techniques, but it’s useful theory regardless of how you put it into practice.

Witch’s Bag of Tricks, by Melanie Marquis. This is not recommended for beginners, because the whole point of this book is to help existing practitioners refine and improve their already-established techniques. It’s got some novel ideas in it, and I like the author’s approach to symbolism in spellcasting.

Spirit Conjuring for Witches, by Frater Barrabbas. Frater B. is a very learned and rather famous magician and witch. This book is mostly geared towards Wicca, but even if you’re not Wiccan, his techniques are innovative and interesting, many utterly unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

Direct Magick (Energy Work)

The Un-Spell Book, by Mya Om. This non-denominational guide to working with magical forces is filled with useful exercises that go beyond the author’s previous work. I recommend reading this after readingEnergy Essentials.

Instant Magick, by Christopher Penczak. Excellent beginner’s guide for those who don’t have access to a lot of fancy tools or prefer to work without them. This book won’t instantly teach you magick, but it will help even a seasoned practitioner find quicker, less-complicated ways of achieving results.

Energy Essentials for Witches and Spellcasters, by Mya Om. Though I balk at the use of the term “energy” to describe magical forces, this book is worth a look. It’s a bit like a workbook, with various exercises. Expect a lot of pseudoscience, though, and there are many religious references, but the techniques are solid.

Hedgewitchery and Astral Travel

Ecstatic Witchcraft, by Gede Parma. This is actually probably my favorite book on this subject, even though hedgeriding is only a part of what the book discusses. The only bad thing I can really say about this book is that it’s really not recommended for beginners, and it’s helpful to have the basics of visualization already mastered (for example) before doing the exercises Parma recommends.

By Land, Sky and Sea, by Gede Parma. This book goes into even greater details regarding different ways of conceptualizing the cosmology of hedgeriding, and I find it a very refreshing book that appreciatively draws from a number of different perspectives while grounding itself, so to speak, with the overarching metaphor of land, sky, and sea as the three worlds.

The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, by Christopher Penczak. Penczak is usually a pretty mixed bag, and this book is no exception. It gives a lot of good practical information and a very in-depth exploration of the three worlds (a useful concept), but it’s primarily framed by Wicca, so it might not resonate with those of other faiths and particularly those who aren’t pagan at all.

Ascension Magick, by Christopher Penczak. There’s a chapter or two in this that address alternate ways of conceptualizing the architecture of reality, and it’s pretty helpful for a hedgerider. Beyond that, this book is mostly about ceremonial magick, but it’s a (mostly) good book. Certain parts (such as the bit about UFOs) are a little off, in my opinion.

The Shamanic Witch, by Gail Wood. This book is really best suited for someone who practices Wicca and, besides the background info and cosmological descriptions, is really only useful in the context of that tradition. If you’re Wiccan or willing to pick around a lot of Wiccan-talk, though, this is a good foundation.

Witches, Werewolves and Fairies, by Claude Lecouteux. It can be hard to find scholarly works on these phenomena that are affordable, but here’s one I personally enjoyed. It details many accounts of journeying experienced by both pagans and Christians in earlier times, and gives a good description of the concept of the astral double, the architecture of the soul, and other topics throughout history.

Betwixt and Between, by Storm Faerywolf. This book is mostly a guide to the Feri tradition of witchcraft, but while I myself don’t practice that, those who do seem to know a lot about hedgeriding! The book has several chapters on the subject and is highly recommended for this reason.

The Psychic Energy Codex, by Michelle Belanger. A lot of people have strong opinions about this author, but this is book actually provides a lot of good information about so-called “energy work” which can be a step in the right direction for those wanting to ride the hedge.

Psychic Dreamwalking, by Michelle Belanger. In this book, Belanger discusses, essentially, how to use your non-waking life as a vehicle to for journeying, and while I myself don’t usually dreamwalk, much of what she says applies to hedgeriding in other states, too.

Hedge Rider by Eric De Vries. Considered a classic on this subject, this book contains a lot of good information on making the jump across the Hedge, but with a lot of editorializing about “true witchcraft,” etc. A mixed bag, but still recommended.

To Fly by Night, edited by Veronica Cummer. This is an anthology about hedgecraft by many different authors. The essays vary in quality but there’s something for everyone, and the text doesn’t shy away from tough topics, either.

Magical Writing, Words, and Symbols

Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, by Claude Lecouteux. Mostly a historical text, this book isn’t exactly practical or terribly useful. It is, nevertheless, incredibly interesting. It’s a bit difficult to navigate, but worth a glance.

Composing Magick, by Elizabeth Barrette. A very general, but well-done, look at writing in a magical context. Some of the ritual templates are slightly specific to religious witchcraft traditions, but most information is widely applicable.

Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink, by Susan Pesnecker. Focuses both on the physical act of writing as a magical act, and the mental state associated with it. Highly recommended

The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire, by Skye Alexander. This book is for those who want to create their own grimoire. It gives fairly good advice for doing so, as well as providing hints and tricks for spellcasting and useful correspondences.

General Concepts

Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, by Ivo Dominguez, Jr. This book, unlike most astrology texts, won’t tell you much about interpreting a chart - instead, it’s an entire book on timing your magick with the stars!

Planetary Magick, by Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips. If you want to work with the planets at all, particularly in a highly ritualized context, I recommend this book. It’s large, comprehensive and gives a good foundation beyond what you find in general astrology books.

Practical Planetary Magick, by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine. Shorter than I would have liked, but a useful reference to have on your shelf, with excellent tables and appendices in the back. The meditations are also quite useful.

Practical Elemental Magick, by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine. Should be read alongside the other book by this pair. Comprehensive guide to working with the elements in a ritualized fashion. Not as accessible to newbies as Lipp’s book, but good for seasoned practitioners.

The Way of Four, by Deborah Lipp. Though mostly geared towards Wiccans, I found this author’s in-depth treatment of the four elements highly fascinating. I will note that it’s probably best to get the print version of this book, as it contains exercises and quizzes.

A Handbook of Saxon Sorcery and Magic, by Alric Albertsson. I really enjoyed this little book, which focuses on older magical traditions common among the ancient Saxons. It is very much introductory, but worth a read for those new to those traditions.

Ingredients and Correspondences

The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook, by Karen Harrison. I cannot praise this book enough for its concise and well-formulated approach to astrology, herbs, and magick as a whole.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magick, by Judith Hawkins-Tillirson. This is excellent for anyone who’s interested in any kind of magick. Yes, the focus is generally herbs, but there’s a lot to be learned here about Kabbalah and other correspondence systems, as well.

Mixing Essential Oils for Magic, by Sandra Kynes. Fills a very difficult gap in published knowledge regarding the use of essential oils by discussing, in great detail, how scents interact with each other and how to create a formula that’s not only palatable, but evocative.

Dunwich’s Guide to Gemstone Sorcery, by Gerina Dunwich. Given the New Age fascination with all things shiny, it was quite a chore to sort through the myriad crystal books to find something with good information. While far from perfect and not exactly devoid of fluff, this book does give a level of detail about the lore surrounding gemstones not seen in many other texts.

Real Alchemy, by Robert Allen Bartlett. Excellent book, lots of history and detail. There’s a strong focus on tradition within the text, yet the author is quite accommodating of his audience and describes alternate methods that work better in a modern context.

Spagyrics, by Manfred M. Junius. With a highly-developed academic tone and attention to detail, this book is a meaty look at traditional alchemy. I recommend this more for intermediate practitioners due to the sheer density of information.

The Hearth Witch’s Compendium, by Anna Franklin. This book is essentially a recipe book for various home remedies and magical purposes. For the most part, it focuses on healing work, but there’s some great tips in there for making your own cleaning products and such, too. Highly recommended.

Magical Housekeeping, by Tess Whitehurst. This is worth reading if you keep your own house/apartment and are looking for practical magical techniques for cleanliness and inviting harmony into your spaces. It could be more detailed, but I enjoyed it.

A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook, by Patricia Telesco. This is a recipe book. It is mainly geared towards Wiccans and those who celebrate the eight sabbats, but the dishes are tasty and sure to please anyone.

Spellbooks

The Goodly Spellbook, by Dixie Deerman and Steve Rasmussen. The title sounds horribly fluffy, but this is a hidden gem. It explains obscure concepts like alternative alphabets and potential uses of musical notes, as well as plant lore and other bits and pieces. Definitely worth checking out. It’s way more than just “a book of spells.”

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, by Judika Illes. The title sounds trite to some, but it delivers. This book has spells from almost every culture and spiritual philosophy, as well as a very detailed formulary. I read it when I’m bored sometimes, too, just because I always learn some tidbit from it.

Book of Spells, by Nicola Pulford. In most editions, this book is absolutely gorgeous and describes spellcasting traditions from a variety of perspectives and traditions. Recommended for those who already understand the basics, as this book jumps straight into spellcasting and gives only a small amount of information about how things work.

Ceremonial Magick

Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig. I received this as a gift several years ago. It is essentially a workbook meant to be completed slowly, step by step, and while the format will not appeal to everyone, it’s a good easy-to-read introduction to ceremonial magick.

Familiar Spirits, by Donald Tyson. Though geared towards ceremonialists, any practitioner can likely learn a thing or two from Tyson’s interesting stroll through the whys and wherefores of spirit work and thoughtform creation. This is by far the best book I’ve seen on the topic of familiar spirits.

Secrets of High Magick, by Francis Melville. The most recent edition of this (the one I own) is lavishly-illustrated and full of rudimentary, yet useful information. He stresses the basics of ceremonial practice, and his writing style is very accessible. Highly recommended for absolute beginners.

My Life With The Spirits, by Lon Milo DuQuette. This is a memoir of a ceremonial magician, but it gives a good look at the magickal mindset in a highly developed form from someone who’s experienced quite a lot. I havemajor issues with DuQuette’s approach to Qabalah, but his memoirs are worth a read.

Chaos Magick

Liber Null and Psychonaut, by Peter Carroll. Classic book of chaos magick. I consider it required reading for almost anyone interested in the occult. Even if you have no love for chaos magick, do give it a read, just to understand how influential Carroll is, and why.

Hands-On Chaos Magic, by Andrieh Vitimus. Knowing some of the people involved in the creation of this book, I’m a bit biased towards it. That said, even if I didn’t know them, I would still recommend it. It’s especially interesting to read alongside Liber Null and Psychonautin order to see how the chaos “current” has developed over the years.

Pop Culture Magic 2.0 by Taylor Ellwood. There aren’t a lot of books on using pop culture symbolism in magick, but this one is nearly perfect. The author writes in a highly erudite, literate fashion, while still being accessible to newbies. Many useful resources cited, as well, so prepare to branch off a bit while reading it.

History-Related

Triumph of the Moon, by Ronald Hutton. An inside no-holds-barred look at the history of Wicca and Modern paganism. Highly recommended. This is sort of the book that fluffbunnies don’t want you to read.

Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, by Richard Metzger. Lots of facts and history of magick in the context of Postmodernity. This is different from the Crowley text of the same name, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you want to focus on his tradition.

The Place of Enchantment, by Alex Owen. This is a purely historical text that documents the occult revival within the context of Modernity. I remember it being very good, but please realize I haven’t really picked it up much since graduating, and it might just have served my mindset at the time.

*~Venus Signs~*

Venus in Aries: Men with this placement are attracted to feisty, sassy, passionate women. They appeal to women by showing their boldness. Secretly, they want a woman to get on top and ride them! Women with Venus in Aries like to dominate a man, express sass, and they are full of va va voom as lovers! She gets herself in trouble as she sometimes speaks with a sharp tongue. She’ll just as easily knock someone down with her attitude, as she’ll stick up for herself without inhibition! Aphrodite carries a flaming torch thru unexplored lands, leading others behind her. Marching bravely, sometimes acting carelessly, she learns lessons the hard way as she assumes she knows what other people will say or how scenarios turn out. She doesn’t often look before she leaps, the vitality within her doesn’t have time to wait and think things thru; this could actually be a virtue in the sense that she can quickly respond to crisis. Acting on impulse propels her to be a go-getter; truth is, we need impulsive people just as much as we value cautious people. The zest in her soul drives her to persist, there’s hardly any joys she will have missed! Her adventurous spirit always finds something to do, in an instant, she rises anew.

Venus in Taurus: Men with this placement value commitment and stability in relationships. Either their lover is entirely committed to them or they don’t want a relationship at all. They savor comfort food and enjoy playing music. Their patience allows her to understand what’s going on before acting. Women with Venus in Taurus are very charming and have the ability to get along with many people because they have a pleasant disposition (unless other items in their chart indicate chaos). People with Venus in Taurus often indulge in sweets! Gee I wonder who raided the cookie jar? ;) Aphrodite basks in the sunlight, surrounded by the tenderness of newly sprouted daisies and newborn animals. Squirrels scurry up a budding tree, lizards saunter at her toes… She picks a fresh pair off the branch, playing a flute as the wind blows… Spring chicks chirp as she stops to smell the roses.

Venus in Gemini: Men with this will try to appeal to women by learning a variety of subjects, they know how to chat a woman into bed ;). They value women with intelligence. Venus in Gemini charms people on by being adaptable. Gaining knowledge is one of the greatest pleasures, as they can use their varied interests to appeal to many different love prospects. Their fickle nature is curious about many types of people that they don’t always know what they want. They can date around with a lighthearted attitude, appreciating people of various walks of life, cohorts, styles, and skillsets. A pleasing voice aids them in their talent of persuasion. Women with a Gemini Venus are curious to get with a variety of men (or women). The duality of Gemini may be inclined to attraction of more than one gender; or even power play, alternating between D/s roles. Kinks, toys, sex positions, and different kinds of sex are treated with an open mind, experimentation is playful! Venus in Gemini is a jester in love, sometimes they treat it like a game and don’t realize they’ve led someone on. They’d rather not be pinned down as they’re a natural flirt. Their intellect tends to be scattered, learning bits of many subjects without mastering any. They struggle with commitment in love or projects, unless other planets indicate otherwise. For the most part, they live to experience all that life has to offer, getting a taste of many flavors of romance, their sex life, food, and various art movements.

Venus in Cancer: The way to their heart is thru a home cooked meal. Their self-esteem is highest when they have a lifestyle that allows them to flow in their rhythms, they are likely not the type who thrive under pressure or like to be challenged, they’d rather experience security where they can allow their inner child to be expressed. Men with a Cancer Venus are attracted to nurturing women who are motherly. They may subconsciously seek women who resemble their mother, or women who heal their mommy issues. Women with Venus in Cancer express their femininity by intuiting how to appeal to others, they aren’t loud and proud with their female expression, more timid and imaginative. If she has honored the divine feminine, by caring for her body the way that feels right to her, she will shimmer with feminine mystique, pulling in men with her tides of alluring womanhood. Aphrodite dives in the dark creepy depths of the sea, unlocking secrets from a treasure chest buried under sand made of crushed up seashells that were formed thousands of years ago. A peek into the past, she yearns to feel the entire ocean in her heart, to swim in memories so vast… She carries an ocean jasper with her, to hold onto a lost love, she’ll never forget. She admires pearls with iridescence, hoping someone will cherish her essence.

Venus in Leo: Women with this can be bold and expressive, excited to pursue creative projects and they experience physical pleasure with vigor. Compliments make her swoon, she’s a well-groomed babe applying makeup oh so artfully. She is so bright and passionate, she can commit (as Leo is a fixed sign) but the fire of spontaneity can also enjoy flirting with someone just one time to validate herself as a bombshell. Men with Venus in Leo are attracted to confident women who are glamorous. They love to stroke a woman’s ego. Aphrodite dolls herself up with rosy cheeks, bright eye shadow, gold sequins contouring her dashing figure, her hairdo gains attention, and she speaks with pride from her juicy lips. She can daringly make out with someone she barely met.

Venus in Virgo: an earthly sensuality that is physically affectionate and turned off by those who brag. Discerning about how they give out their love, they know what they want in a partner and will not settle! They enjoy critiquing art and ideas. Men with a Virgo Venus respect women who value accuracy in the topics they speak of, and a woman who is willing to get down to work. They make a point to be courteous and considerate, as the Virgo archetype cares to put their best foot forward, realizing that you do need to care what others think in order to be a productive person. However, a life of nitty gritty work turns them cynical to the point of picking out the faults of others. The caution of Venus in Virgo is to become aware of one’s own negativity, learning to be more open and tolerant. These people are modest unless certain placements by the sun or Jupiter suggest otherwise. Aphrodite harvests the fruits of the earth for a feast, nourishing their loved ones with all the essential amino acids.

Venus in Libra: A soft sweet romantic who keeps an open mind, interested in others’ opinions. Libra is an ingenue, with many men drawn to her, she doesn’t want to hurt any of their feelings so she may accidentally lead them on! She can find the beauty in everyone, and she may need someone with strong Virgo in their chart to help her determine who is worth her time, and who may not have best intentions. Libra wishes to be the socialite, spending lots of time with many different kinds of friends without realizing how these friends are influencing her/his thoughts. Libra has that way of compromising discernment when it comes to the truth of a situation in order to go along with the viewpoint that is popular among their friends. A Venus in Libra girl will go along with what their man says, she probably likes to be dominated. An evolved Libra gathers a bunch of information, to seek justice and truth instead of what pleases others. Venus in Libra is very persuasive. With his/her friends, someone with Venus in Libra likes to make others feel included, their fair minded disposition brings everyone together with the goal of increasing harmony in this world.

Venus in Scorpio: This woman is daring and intense, she is not easily impressed! Her abilities of discernment and judgement protect her from getting hurt, but when they do get hurt, heartbreak stings them to the core… People with Venus in Scorpio radiate sexuality and like to have a dramatic appearance and attitude. Men with Venus in Scorpio have a dangerous appeal, they’ve explored darkness that many cannot handle and they might even be kinky. There has to be a genuine emotional connection in your relationships or else you’ll feel unfulfilled. Venus in Scorpio has a chaotic love life as they are addicted to feeling a love that shakes them to the bones! Aphrodite dangles spider webs from her fingertips, her skin is pale as she’s been plotting revenge in her cave instead of basking in the light, she brews a potion of hypnosis in her cauldron; whoever drinks it is doomed to fall madly in love with her… She likes knowing she has power over others, she doesn’t care for diplomacy unless if she’s using it to hide her suspicions…

Venus in Sagittarius: You enjoy dates where you’re exploring new territory, whether that be hiking trails, or conversing intriguing topics. You’re wild and adventurous in your love life even if you’re more cautious and sensible in other areas. Taking chances and trying new activities gives you a thrill. You’re curious about foreign cultures and other peoples’ perspectives. Men with Venus in Sagittarius desire women who are spontaneous and open minded, bonus points if she introduces him to new ideas and places. They tend to be loose with their money, as men with a Sagittarius Venus are generous to a fault, and put off by frugality. They’ll get caught up in the passion of the moment, using up too much of an item, to find themselves with none left later on. If someone with Venus in Sagittarius doesn’t have enough earth in their chart, they struggle with being unaware of consequences until the shit hits the fan. Aphrodite sings a prayer with 108 Tulsi beads, banging a gong under a pagoda, blowing a didgeridoo in the outback for dreamtime, hunting for mescalito in the Sonoran desert, trying a tribal dance on the savannah, playing a harp in the Scottish highlands with fairies…

Venus in Capricorn: You indulge in the pure physical sensation of sex and might not get so emotional about it (unless other factors in the chart say otherwise). You value good quality food and a love prospect has to meet certain standards of yours for you to commit to them, otherwise you enjoy entirely physical connections with the opposite sex. These people are cautious about falling in love, as they are hesitant to be tender and vulnerable in relationships. Men with Capricorn Venus value women with sensibility, superb taste in food, music, clothes, and art. They are horrendously turned off by people who are unrealistic, all over the place, impulsive, or assuming. They cannot stand it when people jump to conclusions, they’re “hold your horses” type of people. Aphrodite expresses herself in a classy suit, she may have flair but it is very refined. Her polished presentation of herself sets a respectable impression. It’s not that she never goes wild, but she waits for the correct time to do so. Underneath her self-conscious tendencies is a satyr enjoying themselves in the forest. Someone with Venus in Capricorn can thoroughly savor their connection to the earth, barefoot on the gems and minerals of the dirt, every pressure point of her toes receives the energy of the stones. Playing the pan flute while gaining a tan from sunbeams, eating their grapes one by one, sauntering thru meadows and mountains, having the patience to notice the mathematical beauty of the ferns in the Fibonacci sequence…

Venus in Aquarius: You appeal to others with adorable quirkiness. You may have the capacity to be detached during sex. From a psychological perspective, someone with an Aquarius Venus might have experienced a heartbreak or trauma that caused them to be detached in how they feel about relationships. Rationalizing one’s romantic life reinforces the idea of being in control of their feelings, even though their love life is chaotic. They can categorize lust from romance from lurve from infatuation, yet their feelings could be so erratic and unstable that they fool themselves into thinking they’re more logical when love isn’t meant to be logical. There can be a neurosis in attempting to understand relationship dynamics. A tendency to be kinky will make this person want to experiment with going wild in the bedroom. Unpredictable people hold their attention! They are turned on by people who stimulate their mind. Venus in Aquarius people value the broad spectrum of gender and sexuality, homophobes lose major points with them. Men with an Aquarius Venus are drawn to chatty women who flaunt their intellect and women who aren’t afraid of strange people. Aphrodite skips up the Ethernet cable, connecting humanity if the internet connection is stable. Networking a group together, harmonizing social dynamics for a grand plan. We’re comrades till the end, brainstorming ideas, testing theories, until you unfriend. Spurts of inspiration, an outcast in cynical contemplation. Seeking reactions by acting life a freakazoid, the free spirit could care less who’s annoyed!

Venus in Pisces gives you capacity to love freely, but the caution is that you put on “rose colored glasses” figuratively when it comes to love. You may put your love interests on a pedestal, getting caught up in the fantasy. You may fall for people who seem kinder than they turn out to be, as you can get carried away with your excitement, to the point of blinding yourself to the flaws of a love interest, only to get hurt in the end. You likely need to learn to understand boundaries, and be firm in sticking to them. Seeking pleasure in escapism, may enjoy having a glass of wine or smoke a bowl to release the pressure of the world. Men with a Pisces Venus are attracted to dreamy girls who go with the flow rather than women who challenge them. They value adaptability rather than someone stubborn. Aphrodite dreams endlessly, perceiving messages from the spirit world, peering into another reality… A sea of psychedelia stares back at her, where do all the whirlwinds lead? “How do I distinguish what I truly need?” Carried away on spending for indulgence, swept away by a new romance, she is enamored by her own brain chemistry. Lost in a blur of pure feeling, in her own world, the collective consciousness is revealing.

–Sellieve
Remember, any given planetary placement can be overruled by other factors in the chart. Most of us are contradictory people. Some of your other planets may interact with your Venus in a way that is harmonious or a clash. Feel free to ask me about it!
If you’re interested in a reading that synthesizes your Venus placement with the effects of your Mars, with the power of Pluto in your chart, along with the gifts of your Jupiter, contact me, and I am happy to write up a report about your chart! AcaiPsycheLife.tumblr.com/readings

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Round 1 of Team Battle for our knb discord server starts tonight~!  So excited hufhu~

(Collab with @murakiyos !! So excited to launch our first event hufhu.)

Mercury In The Houses

Mercury in 1st House
- You are restless
- You enjoy talking
- You monopolize the conversation
- You have a mischievous manner
- You adapt quickly to new situations
- You treat new projects with curiosity and interest
- Your first reaction is logical

Mercury in 2nd House
- You have a practical mind
- You are intelligent
- You see the logical answer before others
- You don’t like being put on the spot
- You work at your own pace
- You are one-tracked minded
- You don’t multitask
- You are fixed in your opinions

Mercury in 3rd House
- You are interested in learning
- Your interest are many and varied
- You are easily distracted
- Your attention span is short
- You are quick to learn
- You are very talkative
- You like making lists

Mercury in 4th House
- You are extremely imaginative
- Your thinking is subjective
- You enjoy working at home
- You retain a lot of information
- You are traditional in your thinking

Mercury in 5th House
- You use your voice as a way to express yourself
- You are witty and humorous
- You love playing intellectual games
- You love jokes and puns
- You are skilled at impersonations
- You are a clever liar
- You may have more than one lover at once
- You are curious about people

Mercury in 6th House
- You think of all the details
- You are always thinking
- You are excellent at sorting things out
- You miss the bigger point
- You are helpful to others
- You love feeling useful

Mercury in 7th House
- You love debate
- You see the other side of the coin
- You play the devil’s advocate
- You crave communication
- You attract partners who are not especially sincere
- You love analyzing relationships

Mercury in 8th House
- You are curious about what motivates people
- You are excellent at analyzing people
- You have a good mind for subjects that require research and investigation
- You speak with authority
- You feel that everything has a purpose
- You a penetrating mind and you are good at developing strategies

Mercury in 9th House
- You are eternally curious
- You hunger for knowledge
- You enjoy studying and learning
- You enjoy exchanging ideas
- You are buoyant in your communications
- You don’t pay attention to details
- You readily see the bigger picture
- You enjoy how information affects people’s lives
- You are too quick to offer advice
- You are interested in learning about different cultures

Mercury in 10th House
- You are good with language
- You have an authoritative air about you
- You have more than one job going at once
- You require frequent changes of setting or activities to remain stimulated and challenged
- You are skilled at bringing fresh energy to your conversations or job

Mercury in 11th House
- You are endlessly curious about people
- You are attracted to people who bring new ideas into your experience
- You are very forward looking and fair-minded
- Fair play is important to you
- There are many changes or fluctuations in your personal wishes
- You attract friends who come and go

Mercury in 12th House
- You are not very quick to speak or communicate
- You make an excellent confidant
- You make matters too complex by overanalyzing motives or hunches
- You are very attracted to symbols
- You prefer not to focus on facts
- Learning to communicate clearly is a challenge for you

InterdictedKai’s Guide To Writing Trans Men Having Sex

I wrote this up in response to another post but it really should have its own post here on my blog. The topic? Sex scenes involving trans guys, how to write them, and how not to write them.

There’s been a lot of trans male headcanons popping up in fandoms lately. And that’s awesome! As a trans guy myself, I love seeing trans headcanons by both cis and trans people! And there’s been a lot of fics & art involving trans dudes having sex popping up lately. And that’s awesome too! Hell yeah we can get down and do the do! Unfortunately… many of these headcanons, art pieces, & fics don’t portray trans guys, their bodies, and their sex lives accurately. And that’s… not so awesome. There’s some pretty icky stereotypes and commonalities going around. So I’m here to shed a little light on trans men and how we get down.

First, I’d like to start by saying this content is of a mature nature, please exercise reader discretion before deciding to read it and follow your local laws & restrictions regarding such content.

Second, I’d like to note that my ask box is always open to questions if anybody wants to fact-check their trans fic with an actual trans dude. I’m more than willing to help educate.

Now, on to the lesson!

InterdictedKai’s Guide To Writing Trans Men Having Sex:

  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Trans guys come in all sexual orientations.
    • If a trans man is having sex with a man, whether that man is cis or trans, that is gay sex. They’re both men. Having gay sex.
    • If a trans man is having sex with a woman, whether that woman is cis or trans, that is straight sex. It’s a man and a woman. That’s straight sex.
    • Trans guys can most often be found fucking: gay men, bi/pan men, straight women, & bi/pan women. In other words: People who are attracted to men.

  • TERMINOLOGY: My number one issue with people who aren’t trans guys (eg: cis, nb, etc) writing about trans guys having sex is the words they use. Topping the chart: CALL IT A DICK, NOT A CLIT. Seriously.
    • Up top: The most standard term for talking about a trans guy’s chest is ‘chest’. A lot of pre-op & no-op trans guys are really not okay with having the lumps on their chest called ‘breasts’. So if you’re writing about trans men getting some action on their torso, you’re better off talking about his chest and nipples than his breasts and nipples. 
    • The pole: It’s a dick. It might be a small dick but almost universally every trans guy I’ve met calls it a dick or cock and either dislikes or is actively squicked by it being called a clit. I’ve had so many conversations with other trans guys where we salt about seeing cis people writing trans guys in fic & calling it a clit. Sure, there are exceptions, trans guys who use the word clit, but there’s also gay men who use the f-slur to describe themselves. That’s a personal use. It’s not the standard. It’s not the common term. It’s not okay if you’re someone who isn’t a trans dude writing about a trans dude having sex. It doesn’t matter if you’re cis, nb, or any other identity, call it a dick. It’s a dick. Call it a dick. It doesn’t matter if they’re pre-T, on T, or if they’ve had some sort of genital surgery. It’s a dick any which way. He is a man. He has a penis.
    • The hole: There is no standard term for what a trans guy is probably gonna call the hole he’s got in front. I know guys using: Cunt, vagina, pussy, front hole, front door, boy hole, bonus hole, and so on. Personally, I like cunt, it’s gritty and abrasive and feels the most ‘masculine’ to me personally. That said, whatever term you use, try to be respectful in using it and understand that not all trans guys want sex to involve that body part.

  • TO REPEAT: DO NOT CALL A TRANS DUDE’S DICK A CLIT.

  • COMING OUT: Coming out as trans is usually scary. Coming out as trans can be dangerous.
    • Trans guys who pass, meaning they are perceived as men by people they meet, will at some point have to come out to romantic and/or sexual partner(s).
    • Usually these conversations will take place well before anything gets hot and heavy but sometimes things get a little carried out of hand and things need to pause so they can talk.
    • The last place most trans guys want to be when disclosing they’re trans is in the bedroom with someone’s hand down their pants as an “oh, by the way”. There have been many of cases of trans guys getting attacked in these situations if their partner freaks out over it. General rule? Don’t write your coming out scene as happening in the bedroom.

  • BODY BOUNDARIES: Trans people in general have a different relationship to their body from cis people by virtue of being trans. So since we’re focused on trans guys, let’s get into that.
    • Not all trans guys have sex the same way. Not all trans guys are okay with using some or all of the body parts they have during sex. We each have different body boundaries.
    • I know guys who won’t get shirtless, guys who won’t take off their binder, and guys who strip shirtless without worry. I know guys who don’t want their chest touched and guys who are really into receiving nipple play.
    • I know guys who love getting blowjobs and guys who don’t want a mouth down there.
    • I know guys who don’t want their cunt touched, guys who are okay with only fingers in there, and guys who are all about taking things in the front door.
    • I know guys who don’t want any penetrative sex, guys who don’t care where you put it, guys who only want it in the front, guys who don’t want anything in their ass, and guys who are fine as long as it’s only going in their ass.
    • I know guys who exclusively top, never bottom, and have gorgeous collections of strap-ons to fuck their partner(s). Yes, that’s right, trans men can top!
    • These are just some examples and there’s no standard. Every trans man will have different body boundaries that they need to discuss with their partner(s).

  • BODY CHANGES: The body changes a lot on testosterone. So let’s get into some of those changes.
    • CHEST: Chest fat does lessen on testosterone, but not usually by much. That said, they do become a lot more limp due to binding over the years. Binding makes breast tissue basically wilt, break down, and go floppy. If a trans guy binds, his chest fat will become more limp over time. Easier to compress flatter, but also deteriorates skin quality for future surgery.
    • BODY HAIR: Holy hairy nipples, batman! Trans guys often get chest hair, just like cis guys. I’ve never once seen a fic talk about a trans guy’s chest hair. Trans guys also get happy trails, facial hair, thicker hair on our legs and arms, etc, and generally develop average male body & facial hair patterns. 
    • DICK: This is one of the most noticeable changes on T, and also the fastest. Most guys begin to notice their dick starting to grow within a few weeks of starting T. Most grow to around 1″-2″ when erect. There are many cases of guys getting as much as 3″ but these should be considered outliers and not average. It’s the trans dude equivalent of a cis dude with a 10″ dick: possible but uncommon. Wait, erect? Yep! It gets erect. You can definitely see when a trans guy has a boner if you’re looking at his dick! You can also notice that it has a foreskin just like an uncut penis! The labia may also become more coarse and similar in texture to a cis guy’s balls.
    • FLUIDS: Not all trans guys get dry downstairs on T. Some do. But I know a lot of guys who’ve gotten a lot more wet since starting T. It happens a lot. It’s a 50/50 shot, really. Bodies are weird. There are some sloppy, messy, slick trans guys and some trans guys who have to use lube daily so they don’t chafe or even use an estrogen cream down there.
    • SMELL: On Testosterone, the smell of a trans guy’s junk changes. You get Man Musk within the first 6 months. Anyone who’s been near a cis guy’s dick knows what I mean by that: that really sharp, earthy dick smell.
    • TASTE: After about 6-8 months on testosterone, a trans guy’s fluids down there stop tasting like going down on a cis girl and they start tasting a hell of a lot more like a cis dude’s precum. It’s a hormone thing. So giving a trans dude who’s been on T for a while a blowjob is gonna smell & taste a lot more like blowing a guy with a really leaky dick than going down on a girl. Cause that’s exactly what’s going on. 
    • ORGASMS: Orgasms also change on testosterone. Guys who could previously get multiple orgasms pre-T often can’t once they start testosterone. But they do usually report them being stronger and more intense

  • HAVING SEX: Trans men definitely don’t have sex like cis women. Because they’re not cis women. They’re men. They’re just men with a slightly different tool set in their tool belt.
    • Like I said under Body Boundaries, we use our bodies to have sex in many varied ways. Blowjobs, handjobs, rimming, vaginal fingering, anal fingering, vaginal sex, anal sex, I could go on for ages.
    • If a trans guy is taking a cis dude’s dick in his cunt, it’s still gay sex, not straight sex, and needs to be treated as such.

  • SAFER SEX & PREGNANCY:
    • Trans guys can get STDs like any other guy and should use condoms accordingly. Trans guys having risky or unprotected sex with cis men may be prescribed PrEP, an HIV-prevention medication designed to lower the risk of contracting HIV. 
    • Speaking of STDs, people can get gonorrhoea & chlamydia in their ass or throat via anal & oral sex. This will not show on a standard pee test. There are special swabs for the ass and throat. Most doctors do not routinely perform these tests. They really should. But, back to the point.
    • Some people think trans men can’t get pregnant. This is a myth. Some men think trans men can’t be on birth control. This is a myth. These myths are dangerous.
    • Trans men who are having sex with cis men can get pregnant unless they’ve had a hysterectomy. The risk of pregnancy is decreased but not eliminated by T.
    • Trans men on T cannot get estrogen-based birth control but they can be on progesterone-only birth control. Most large trans-affirming health clinics will recommend this for trans men who have sex with cis men. Generally, this comes in two forms: a daily pill known as the ‘minipill’ or a 12-week injection known as the ‘depo shot’.

  • MEDICAL PROCEDURES: There are many routes trans guys can take in terms of medically transitioning.
    • For most trans people, the first step is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). For trans guys, this involves Testosterone therapy. Testosterone is usually administered via injection every 1, 2, or 12 weeks, depending on which kind, or via a daily cream/gel. 1 & 2 week shots are self-administered while 12-week shots are done by a professional. Trans guys who come out as kids or young teens may be prescribed hormone blockers to prevent or halt puberty until they can start T when they’re 15-18 (age varies with local laws & doctor’s discretion).
    • Another step for trans guys is usually top surgery. Guys with tiny chests (small B or less) can get periareolar (’peri’) or keyhole surgery. This leaves only a tiny scar around the nipple. Guys with larger chests usually get a double incision (’DI’) surgery which involves larger scars along the bottom of the pecs and nipple grafts or, less commonly, an Inverted-T or T-anchor surgery which involves the same scars under the pecs but an additional vertical scar from there to the nipple while eliminating the need for nipple grafts.
    • Trans guys usually get a total hysterectomy, removing the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and all the bits in between. A trans guy who has his ovaries removed must be on some form of hormone therapy (eg: testosterone) or else risks bone loss & osteoporosis.
    • Some trans guys may opt for genital surgery. These procedures and the reasons why some trans guys might or might not want one surgery or another is a whole complicated topic in itself. But if you’re curious, look into metoidioplasty (’meta/meto’) or phalloplasty (’phallo’). Tread carefully.

So, I’ll wrap this up with my most important point, again: If you are anything other than a trans guy (eg: if you are cis, nb, etc), DO NOT CALL A TRANS DUDE’S DICK A CLIT. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SMUTTY, CALL IT A DICK.

And, as I said, anyone can feel free to message me if they have questions about writing trans guys having sex.

Tl;dr: Just be respectful and know your subject matter.

anonymous asked:

Can someone help me understand the Ace Spectrum, please? I'm trying to make sense of... things and I'm so confused I don't know what to do.

Of course!

So, the place where I think most of us get confused on our ace identity journey is with separating out types of attraction, and also separating out attraction from sex drive. So let’s talk about those two things:

There are many kinds of attraction, but we’re going to talk about these: sexual, romantic, aesthetic, and sensual. The idea of the split attraction model is that you don’t have to be attracted to someone in more than one of the ways above at the same time to still experience real and powerful attraction of a specific kind. For most allosexual (non-ace spectrum) folks, they tend to experience all four modes of attraction at the same time, and in particular sexual, aesthetic, and sensual attraction are so deeply tied together that they may not realize they’re actually three separate things. In ace folks, those modes of attraction are often not experienced at the same time, and one of them (sexual attraction) may not ever be experienced at all.

Romantic attraction is, well, someone you’re romantically attracted to. You want to spend your time with them, you think about them when they’re gone, they inspire poetry in you, etc etc.

Sexual attraction is basically when you see a person and think, Wow, I’d hit that. This is the kind of attraction people on the ace spectrum either don’t experience at all or don’t experience as often/broadly as allosexual folks, so we’ll come back to this one in a bit.

Aesthetic attraction is when something hits you just right in the beauty department and you want to look at it for a while. In my own personal experience with both myself and my ace friends, this type of attraction is often (but by all means not always or in everyone) hyper-powered in aces. I’m ace, and lemme tell you, there are people I could stare at forever. But I have never once in my entire life looked at one of those people and thought Wow I’d climb them like a tree. Just never happened, probably never will, because I don’t actually experience sexual attraction.

This particular kind of attraction often trips up people who are struggling to understand asexuality, to which I’d suggest this amazing example I’ve seen floating round the interwebs: You ever go out hiking, and you come to the top of a mountain and you see this breathtaking view of other mountains and valleys stretched out for miles before you, and it’s so incredibly beautiful that you just sit right down and stare at it for a while, and maybe you decide to take an early lunch so you can enjoy the view some more because it’s that lovely. But do you at any point want to bang the mountains? No, you do not. (I mean, if you do, we’re not judging, but let’s assume for most folks the answer is no :-p) And that is the difference between aesthetic and sexual attraction.

Sensual attraction is when you see a person and want to touch or hug or cuddle them in a non-sexual way. Some aces don’t experience this at all. Others experience it quite a lot. Still others experience it somewhere in the middle. For some aces it’s tied exclusively to romantic attraction. For others it’s tied to affection in general (familial, platonic, romantic, etc.). For others, it’s tied to aesthetic attraction. There are all kinds of reasons you might experience sensual attraction, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be tied to sexual attraction in any way.

So, that’s the split attraction model. To make a personal example, I experience aesthetic attraction roughly every 0.4 seconds, romantic and sensual attraction very rarely (and not always together), and sexual attraction literally never (I’m all the way on the far end of the ace spectrum). And my aesthetic attractions don’t necessarily line up with my romantic or sensual attractions, and vice versa. But aces are many and varied and beautiful, and everyone’s going to experience these attractions differently.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is how sexual attraction =/= sex drive. Folks struggling to identify on the ace spectrum often think they’re not “allowed” to be ace because they masturbate, or they watch porn, or they’re experiencing sexual attraction to their current partner. But here’s the thing: all of those experiences are 100% valid and do not make you any less ace.

First, remember that asexuality, like all sexualities, is a spectrum. So you may be all the way on one end of the spectrum like me (never experiences sexual attraction under any circumstance), or you may be demisexual (only experiences sexual attraction with someone to whom you’ve formed a deep emotional relationship) gray ace (only experiences sexual attraction rarely, for reasons that may or may not involve emotional connection). Both of those orientations are valid asexual identities that involve sexual attraction, and experiencing sexual attraction in those ways does not invalidate your identity on the ace spectrum.

Second, it’s important to remember that sex drive doesn’t actually have to be tied in any way to sexual attraction. Think about the human body like a machine. Just because you’re ace doesn’t mean the pipes don’t still work, you know? You can still experience arousal, you can still enjoy orgasm, you can still enjoy porn, you can even still enjoy sex with other people. None of those things means you experience sexual attraction to the person(s) you’re watching or with. Many aces have extremely active sex drives. Many aces have robust solo sex lives. Many aces read or watch porn to get off (check out autochorissexual; it’s an identity many aces feel at home with, including me). And there are endless valid reasons why an ace person might have sex with someone (you want the emotional intimacy, you’re horny, it makes your partner happy and you don’t mind it at all, you’re wildly in love and want to express it physically, you’re sensually attracted and want the physical closeness, you want to get/get someone pregnant, it just plain feels good, etc. etc. etc.), not one of which need involve sexual attraction to the person you’re sleeping with. Of course, if you’re gray ace or demisexual, you may very well experience a deep sexual attraction to the person you’re with. The point is, aces can and do have sex drives, masturbate, watch porn, and have sex with other people. Although I feel it’s also important to point out here that it’s perfectly okay not to do any of these things; some aces are sex repulsed and/or touch-averse and that is 100% valid too.

Okay so this answer is getting crazy long now, and I feel like I’ve covered the general bases, so I’m going to wrap up. But if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Half the staff here is ace and we’re always happy to talk about it, either in broad strokes or via our own personal experiences.

I want to talk about this whole “punching nazis” thing, which I have been thinking about for some days.

To start, let me clarify that I have no moral or ethical qualms with Richard Spencer getting punched in the face on tv. I’d be happy to see it happen again.

But I do have a couple issues with much of the dialogue that has emerged in the wake of this event.

A lot of the people suddenly talking about nazis right now are people who didn’t seem to even realize they existed in this country prior to this election.

A lot of people seem to have gotten some strange ideas about how and where nazis are typically encountered, or who they actually are.

So, I’d like to talk about some of the times in my life when I’ve encountered nazis.

Before I do that, let’s try to establish a definition. There are a lot of different stripes of fascists and white supremacists out there, with varying agendas and varying degrees of organization. In the US we’ve got many types, ranging from the KKK and Aryan Nation to various unorganized skinhead rabble to the newish group calling itself the Alt Right. It seems easiest, at least for the sake of this argument, to lump those all together under one general “nazi” category. But does that really make sense? I’ll come back to that. But for now, in most of the examples I will describe below, these were people who openly called themselves such.

Also, I want to establish a bit about who I am. I don’t like to discuss any of these things publicly, but I also feel like I kind of have to, to explain where I am coming from. So: I am Jewish, I am bi, I am neurodivergent. Due to this last thing, I have certain issues navigating the physical world. I am physically fit but not athletic. I have very little self defense training. By occupation I am a musician.

And lastly I want to point out that these examples are from 15-20 years ago and describe some of my earliest encounters with these forces to provide context. And I’m going to start with some clear cut cases:

I first became aware of the existence of modern nazis my first year in high school. This was in the suburbs of San Francisco. I had a few friends who were into punk music and culture. I heard about “white power punks” and nazi skinheads who would sometimes show up at shows. When I started going out I would see them every once in a while. When I started going up to the city, at that time there were places that were absolutely notorious for nazi skinheads. I never interacted with them, I always steered clear of them, and never really fell in with the punk scene anyway. But that’s when I first became aware that there were people in modern America who called themselves nazis and directly advocated for white supremacy.

To be honest I did not think of myself as their “target” because (in my mind, at that time) Jewish culture in the SF Bay Area was practically invisible and unlikely to be on their radar. In fact I didn’t think too deeply about who their target was. I mostly thought they were crazy people who loved violence and called themselves “nazis” because it was the meanest thing they could think of, that they were in favor of “white power” because it was so obviously wrong. At this time, there was fair amount of tension in the state around the issue of immigration from Mexico. But it did not occur to me then that there could have been any relationship between the xenophobia I saw expressed by mainstream circles in conversations about Proposition 187 and the blatant, violent white supremacy expressed by the skinheads on the periphery of local punk scenes. (also please note that I am aware that not all skinheads are nazis and that there is an anti-racist element within skinhead culture as well)

In college, in Pittsburgh, I lived on a store with a convenience store on one end. One of the people who worked in this store was a skinhead who wore a jacket covered in various white power/“rock against communism” band logos. He had a group of similar buddies that often hung around nearby, a couple of whom had aryan nation tattoos. On several occasions when I woke up in the morning I would find leaflets distributed up and down the block decrying the Holocaust as a “Jewish scam to make money”. These flyers were attributed to Church of the Creator, one of the more active neo-nazi groups in Pennsylvania at that time. Every once in a while I would cautiously engage in arguments with some people on the fringes of that crew of guys who hung out in the area. Things were sometimes tense but never got physical. Soon after 9/11 most of them disappeared. I don’t know why or where to.

While traveling alone in Slovenia, I nearly ran into a parade of about 40 skinheads chanting and marching in the street while I was on the way back to where I was staying. I do not know what specific group they were affiliated with but wore patches with the common “celtic cross” symbol used by far right/white nationalist groups all over the world. At that time, fascist graffiti covered Ljubljana.

Those are just a few of the more blatant examples from that time. These experiences were not rare. The KKK and various neo-nazi groups held public parades and rallies all throughout this period, and sometimes showed up as counter protestors or forces of violence at protests for progressive causes. They marched through downtown Pittsburgh - with the local government’s blessing - and many other cities in that region.

There were protestors at those marches, and there were people who fought the nazis directly, but the general consensus in mainstream liberal circles at that time seemed to be that nazis had the right to march just like anyone else, that any violence against them would be bad. It certainly wasn’t at all common to hear college educated, NY Times-reading liberals talking about the glories of “punching nazis”. This is a problematic but very complicated phenomenon: they were to be tolerated up until the point at which they’ve come into power.

But let me explain why _I_ didn’t go around punching the nazis I saw, during those times when I encountered them personally. To some extent, part of me did follow that logic mentioned above, but that’s not the real reason. The real reason is pretty simple: most nazis are a lot better at fighting than I am, they do it more frequently, they usually travel in numbers, they are often armed, and in almost every circumstance when I’ve encountered them the odds would not have been remotely in my favor had things gotten physical.

Richard Spencer was alone and unarmed standing in front of a video camera busily talking about an internet meme while he was sucker punched. This occurred in broad daylight in a very crowded, open area with a ton of media and police present. While I applaud the anonymous puncher for seizing upon that opportunity, that’s not really a typical situation in which one encounters nazis.

Recently, Richard Spencer posted a video in reaction to this incident. In this video he mentions that the Alt Right will not succeed if they are unable to be who they are in public. I’ve seen a lot of people pointing to this video as a sign of victory over the Alt Right, a sign that they are scared. I think the latter half is true but not the former. What Spencer is saying is that they are going to ramp up security. And I would anticipate that these people will begin to receive even more protection from the current administration.

So, this is one conclusion I’d like to leave here - in most cases “punching nazis” means getting involved in serious physical violence in which your life will be at risk. And that risk is only going to increase in the future. Fantasizing about punching some idiot talking about a frog on tv is fun, but I think it ignores the realities that many have faced and many more are about to face. And while many of us have disabilities that hinder us in this department, I think it would behoove anyone who is serious about getting physical with fascists to study and learn how to do so before getting involved in a situation you are unprepared for. I would also think long and hard before making that demand of anyone else. But that’s not the most important point.

I’d like to circle back to talking about definitions. The examples I gave above are obvious. These were people who, in almost all cases, were openly wearing the actual logos of white supremacist organizations. So let me bring up a different example:

About one year after 9/11 I was in Budapest, taking an overnight train to Amsterdam. I had a spot in a sleeper compartment on a train. I got on and a couple other passengers came in. One of them was a young guy, a little older than me (I was in my early 20’s at this time). He spoke English very well and we got to talking. It turned out he was an Austrian who worked in finance. Middle management at a major bank. He bought us a couple of beers and we were getting along. Inevitably, the topic of 9/11 came up. Seemingly out of nowhere, he explains to me how “there were no Jews in the building that day”. He then goes on to explain how 9/11 and the entire War on Terror that was then unfolding was all a Jewish plot to direct money to Israel’s armed forces. And hinted that the Holocaust was a similar plot. I tried to argue with him for a bit (without letting on that I was Jewish) but it was nearly impossible to get through to him, and he soon became surly and then passed out. I tried to do the same. But what caught my attention was that this man was well spoken, dressed conservatively, he looked every bit the upper middle class finance professional. It was difficult to imagine him in a street fight. No one would have described this person as being on the fringes of his society.

Up until a year ago, if I told this story to a European, or to an American person of color, they were unsurprised. But if I told it to a white American their reaction would usually be “yeah, well, that’s Europe for you”.

But that’s never been the case.

One common narrative is that many of the groups of fascists have figured out that they aren’t going to get very far if they are seen just thugs who march around on the street wearing in leather jackets getting in scraps. many of them have figured this out some time ago, and have been infiltrating mainstream education and corporate life. And yes, that is happening.

But there is a big problem with that narrative: it ignores the fact that many of America’s institutions and businesses are, themselves, organizations that promote white supremacy. Many of our banks, many of our police departments, our prison system, much of our media. Does these mean they are all “nazis”? Not really. But what it does mean is that white supremacy is not some outside force that just suddenly popped out of Steve Bannon’s suitcase. It’s been here for a long time. It is deeply engrained in our society. Fascism is not some new danger that we suddenly need to prevent from being “normalized” - for much of America, fascism has been the norm for a very long time.

Here’s my point with all of this: sooner or later, Trump will be defeated. This regime is monstrous, but I have seen the power and anger and sheer volume of opposition to it, and I do not think that this regime will last. My worry is, once this most obvious of enemies is defeated, the liberal establishment will go right back to completely forgetting that white supremacy and fascism are a major problem in this country. The sad fact is, even when Democrats in power, even when the POTUS is the most progressive sounding person electable, the nazis are still here, white supremacy is still here, fascism is still here. And not always on “the other side”. We need to remember that, we need to keep pointing to them and ostracizing them and speaking out against white supremacy and fascism even when it looks like things are more comfortable, because that comfort is a trap.

me as kid: magical girls are pretty and good! They look cute and fight evil!

Teen Years: the magical girl genre is stupid and pointless, the characters are flat, girly and solve everything with “heart.” I don’t know I wasn’t just watching DBZ or something the whole time

me now: magical girls are pretty and good! (And continue to be a genre that largely focuses on depicting healthy female friendship and empowering young protagonists to overcome obstacles through their own abilities- whether it be kindness or compassion; there are usually many girls that are depicted as important and varied- something you won’t see in other TV) They look cute and fight evil!

2

Killian Jones Appreciation MemeDay 1: Favorite Season 2 Episode
‘And Straight On ‘Til Morning’ (2x22) [Bonus]

Some Awesome Female Avant-Garde Artists

Now I have always been a very big fan of unconventional art movements. Not only do I appreciate how those art movements have influenced what we see today, but the history that prompted them is rather revolutionary. Today, I want to appreciate the women who aren’t as well-known as the great Frida Kahlo. This post is more focused in the late 1910’s, to the 1930’s period. It is to honour some of the out-of-the-box women that I admire so much, from all sorts of movements. Here we go!

Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999)

Not just a formally taught and talented artist, but Lundeberg was actually one of the founders of what would be known as the Post-Surrealism art movement, later leaning to abstraction in the 1950’s. She was not only talented, but extremely intelligent, earning a place at Stanford University for “brilliant children.” Now while I said I would focus on the lesser-known artists, Lundeberg is a rather more famous one. However she is a tough one to leave out. She was especially famous during the 1930’s. She was in charge to create multiple murals, and her exhibitions (including her early solo exhibits) were very successful. It’s interesting to see her works evolve during her life, yet remain distinctly recognizable as hers.

Above: Portrait of Inez, 1933, by Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999).

Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943)

Certainly a woman ahead of her time, Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s artwork as a painter, sculptor, textile designer, furniture, interior designer, architect and dancer all scream “modern woman.” She studied different art forms, primarily textile art, formally in some areas. She was quite heavy in the Dada scene, yet her Constructivist works are probably her most recognizable. Her use of colours of her geometric forms are what draw the eye. Taeuber-Arp’s talent and hard work earned her a position teaching weaving and other textile arts at the Zürich Kunstgewerbeschule (Zürich University of the Arts). She was a woman that appreciated art in all its forms, and many appreciated the way she presented them. In fact, her flexibility and talent is appreciated today, as she is, in fact, the only woman on the current series of Swiss banknotes in Switzerland.

Above: Oval Composition with Abstract Motifs, 1922, by Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943).

Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968)

Another intelligent artistic lady on the list, Marguerite Zorach became interested in art at a very young age. She, luckily, was blessed with very supportive parents that encouraged her to study everything related with liberal arts. People generally don’t get as unconventional as Zorach really was. Influenced by friends such as Picasso and Matisse, she is naturally recognized for her Fauvist work. Even her husband commented “I just couldn’t understand why such a nice girl would paint such wild pictures.” It may sound like he didn’t approve, but her husband (William Zorach) loved the way she stood out from a crowd. While she settled her “wild” painting side and became more focused on her family, she was titled president to the New York Society of Women Artists. Throughout her life Zorach experimented in all kinds of art media - even making clothes. You can certainly tell the different influences and evolution of her works. Because of this she received mixed criticism throughout her artistic years, yet her works are remembered today.

Above: Death of a Miner, 1930, by Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968).

Pan Yuliang (1899-1977)

Truly a woman to differ from the mainstream (and possibly my favourite on this list). Pan Yuliang is considered China’s “first woman in the country to paint in the Western style.” Unlike many of the woman included in this list, Yuliang did not come from a family of prominence. Just at the age of 14, she was sold by her uncle to a brothel and forced into prostitution. In an amazing turn of events, however, she was noticed by a kind wealthy man who brought her freedom. Becoming his second wife and adopting his last name, he sponsored her education and allowed her artistic abilities to flourish. Because of her talent, fast learning, and hard work, she was accepted in not only the Shanghai Art School, but also numerous schools in Europe. This even included Italy’s Roman Royal Art Academy. Pan Yuliang wasn’t particularly loved by all in China, however. Her works caused some outrage in her home country, and she eventually settled in France, where her paintings were more appreciated.

Above: Detail of Self-portrait, 1936, by Pan Yuliang (1899-1977).

Aleksandra Ekster (1882-1949)

Another abstract woman to appreciate, Russian painter Aleksandra Ekster uniquely used her skills for design purposes. Because of her extraordinary designs, she was required to work in numerous fabulous cities, from places in her home country of Russia, to the romantic Paris, France. Thanks to her prominent and wealthy family, Ekster was free to study art formally, later graduating from Kiev Art School. Her life was the ultimate art fantasy, as she organised meetings at her studio for Russia’s “intellectual elite.” This included artists, writers, and poets. While she never stuck with just one movement, but varied in many revolutionary avant-garde art movements of her time, her style is completely unique and consistent. She is known distinctly for her fashion designs, which were not only completely wearable, but also very memorable.

Above: Costume design for Romeo and Juliette, 1921, by Aleksandra Ekster (1882-1949).

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EAST ASIAN MYTHOLOGY MEME:

[2/8] JAPANESE GODS AND GODDESSES | TSUKUYOMI

Tsukuyomi or Tsukiyomi [月読], also known as Tsukiyomi-no-mikoto, is the moon god in Shinto and Japanese mythology. Unlike the myths of ancient Greece or Rome, the Japanese moon deity is male.

Tsukuyomi was the second of the “three noble children” born when Izanagi-no-Mikoto, the god who created the first land of Onogoro-shima, was cleansing himself of his sins while bathing after escaping the underworld and the clutches of his enraged dead wife, Izanami-no-Mikoto. Tsukuyomi was born when he washed out of Izanagi’s right eye. After climbing a celestial ladder, Tsukuyomi lived in the heavens, also known as Takamagahara, with his sister Amaterasu Ōmikami, the sun goddess.

Tsukuyomi angered Amaterasu when he killed Uke Mochi, the goddess of food. Amaterasu had sent Tsukuyomi to represent her at a feast presented by Uke Mochi. She’d made the food by turning to the ocean and spitting out a fish, then faced the forest and poured game from her mouth, and finally turned to a rice paddy and coughed up a bowl of rice. Tsukuyomi was utterly disgusted by the fact that, although the repast looked exquisite, the meal was made in a disgusting manner, and so he killed her. Soon, Amaterasu learned what had transpired; in her fury, she refused to ever look at Tsukuyomi again, forever moving to another part of the sky. This is the reason that day and night are never together.

Skin Care on a Budget

As much as I love luxury beauty products, it’s only realistic to accept that not everyone can afford the luxury price tag. (tbh I can’t either) Here’s some examples of cheap skin care routines and products.

Consider that each product will last you, with daily use, about 3 months. This can vary on many factors, but I’ll stick with 3 for simplicity’s sake. So, that 30-something dollar toner might seem pricy, but if it’s 300ml in size, it should last you a long time, making it more affordable.

Also, for the cheapest possible routine, stick to the 3-4 necessary products for proper skin care. In the following sample routines, I will put an asterisk (*) next to these necessary products. Of course, a routine with more products with more quality formulations will give you, well, MORE. However, if you’re choosing between rent and a $80 serum, you should probably choose rent.

Normal Skin:

  • *Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil ($7.79- $2.60/month)
  • *Innisfree Blueberry Rebalancing 5.5 Cleanser ($9.95- ~$3.32/month)
  • The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% ($12.90- ~$4.30/month)
  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8.70- ~$2.90/month)
  • Kikumasamune High Moist Lotion ($12.99- ~$4.33/month)
  • *Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream ($13.87- ~$4.62/month)
  • *Biore Watery Essence ($9.40- ~$3.13/month)

Total: $75.60 | Monthly: $25.20 | * Total: $41.01 | * Monthly: $13.67

Oily Skin:

  • *Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil ($7.79- $2.60/month)
  • *Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser ($9.00- ~$3.00/month)
  • Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid ($16.00- ~$5.33/month)
  • Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ($7.75- ~$2.58/month)
  • Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence ($13.89- ~$4.63/month)
  • *Mizon Snail Recovery Gel ($6.57- ~$2.19/month)
  • *Biore Watery Essence ($9.40- ~$3.13/month)

Total: $70.40 | Monthly: $23.46 | * Total: $32.76 | * Monthly: $10.95

Dry Skin:

  • *The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter ($9.60- $3.20/month)
  • *CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($8.99- ~$3.00/month)
  • Hada Labo Premium Gokujyun Lotion ($14.38- ~$4.79/month)
  • Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence ($15.95- ~$5.32/month)
  • *CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($8.27- ~$2.76/month)
  • The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil ($9.90- ~$3.30/month)
  • *Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream ($12.00- ~$4.00/month)

Total: $79.09 | Monthly: $26.37 | * Total: $38.86  | * Monthly: $12.96

Mature/Anti-Aging Skin:

  • *The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter ($9.60- $3.20/month)
  • *CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($8.99- ~$3.00/month)
  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8.70- ~$2.90/month)
  • Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence ($15.95- ~$5.32/month)
  • The Ordinary “Buffet” Serum ($14.80- ~$4.93/month)
  • *Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme ($8.84- ~$2.95/month)
  • *Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Suncreen ($6.70- $2.23/month)

Total: $73.58 | Monthly: $24.53 | * Total: $34.13 | * Monthly: $11.38

Now feel free to mix, match, cut down, and build up these routines to your specific needs. Also, look into certain brands, like Cosrx and The Ordinary, to see if any of their other cheap products appeal to you!

Originally posted by equispebe

My fellow trans and/or nonbinary friends (especially those that use uncommon labels): 

Society drills into your brain the idea that you are faking your identity, that you’re doing this for attention, being a special snowflake, or that it’s just a fad that will go away in a few weeks. 

And while of course it’s okay if it’s just a phase, you do not have to assume it is just because that is what others believe. It is not your fault that they cannot respect your identity. 

 They tell you these lies because your identity is different from those they already know, from the ones they grew up with, the ones they were taught were right and normal

 They cannot grasp the idea that their idea of right and normal is changing. The people who have been living in shame and denial are realizing that they don’t have to anymore. 

This world doesn’t fit their close-minded ideologies of binaries and stereotypes anymore, and that scares them. 

 They are afraid of the change this might bring, that their privilege and so-called normalcy will be shattered. 

They cannot deal with these changes. 

But that is not your fault. 

You do not owe them apologies or explanations. 

They will crowd you and shout at you, demanding that you explain why you are like this; what made you like this. 

You owe them nothing. 

Your identity is beautiful, and natural, and deserves to be respected. Humans are creatures that are vastly varied in so many ways. 

Your identity deserves to be seen. But if they refuse to see it, refuse to accept you as who you really are, they do not deserve your time, your attention, or your love. 

You are a wonderful, whole person, who is different from everyone who is, has been, or will ever be. 

So be proud, because you are changing the world just by existing.

Humans are Weird: Genetic Diversity

What if aliens have very little genetic diversity and they all look the same and then they meet humans. Where we can look extremely different, have extremely different personalities. 

Alien Scientist, S’chern, was quite young for her age; she was barely 21 sols on her marine home planet. But the job was a new position and it came with proper accommodations. S’chern she was among the first Sapienologists in the universe and was tasked with discovering how humans worked. 

Humans, as they called themselves, were eyed warily by most of the galaxy. They had all heard the stories about their ferocity and endurance. Unless you were amongst the few exploring the uncolonized space, aliens didn’t interact with humans much. 

There were treaties and laws and visas, as the humans called them, allowing interplanetary travel, but very few took up on the offer. Younglings just barely out of their last metamorphosis, sporting shiny black shells,  would dare each other to go to Earth. Most would chicken out just as they were about to board the shuttle, refund their ticket, and walk back ashamed. Some, however, were daring enough to go through with it. 

Most of the travelers on the shuttle-pod to earth were explorers looking to hire humans for their crew. They were clad in bulky, gleaming red carapaces, indicating their command status. They were usually accompanied by soldiers who never left their side. 

The final group on the shuttle were scientists. Eager to study the planet and the humans and all forms of life. Unlike the recruiters, who stared stoically straight ahead, or the dared who whispered with another excitedly, S’chern reviewed her notes on humans. 

Reports varied with contradictions that seemed impossible. Captain Kirnik explorer of the frontier reported his humans as determined, capable, and surprisingly ruthless. 

Others said their humans were lazy, and bonded with all life forms, refusing to leave crew-mates behind. 

S’chern resolved to talk about the inconsistencies between reports to determine who was correct. 

After instructions were announced, passengers were placed into cryogenic sleep and were instructed they would be awoken on entry to the human’s solar system. 

Upon entering the solar system, S’chern retrieved her recording cube from its storage and examined it to make sure it was in working order. The others were still stirring from sleep. 

They arrived on Earth two hours after entry and the passengers were ushered off the shuttle. Despite the promises of a quiet entrance, a veritable sea of humans flooded the exit. They carried devices flashing lights that agitated their eyes and she hissed. Instead of discouraging them, it only seemed to make them want to take more pictures. And Hurried whispers ensued containing fragments of English she couldn’t understand. 

The humans wore colors of many types on their hair: Brown, Black, and even Red. S’chern had been told it was a human custom to change their hair color unnaturally. It seemed to be a common thing now. There were the reported pinks and blues, but mostly the aforementioned colors. 

They scattered by quickly into a quieter room that was mostly human free. There was a young human there with shiny black hair and her teeth were bared unnaturally the whole time. 

“It’s called a smile,” One of the more experienced recruiters whispered to her,  seeing S’chern’s horrified look, “It means they’re friendly.” 
She nodded wondering what creature bared their teeth to show friendliness. 

As she was a Sapienologist, S'chern was taken into a chamber where she would meet with a human scientist. There were a few preliminary questions, that she answered in halting English. 

“Greetings,” A human spoke in a mutilation of her original language, “I am Bill." 

"Hello human-Bill,” S'chern bowed her head in an indication of respect, “ I am S'chern." 
human Bill’s features were much different than the human with the terrifying ‘smile’ who had welcomed them. 

"Have you altered your features,” S'chern asked. 

“What?” Human-Bill seemed confused, “No,”
“But you look different from the other human,” S'chern said. 

“Goodness wait until they see dogs,” he remarked to no one in particular. 

“Dogs?” S'chern questioned, “Are these the canine companions you call pets?" 

"Yes. And to answer your earlier question, humans can look quite different. Different hair and eye color, as well as many other features, can vary.” He paused, “I take it your…species has little genetic variation." 

"No,” S'chern clicked her pincers, “ We shed our shells when we reach maturity and change them once more when we are around fifty Sols." 

"Interesting,” The human jotted something down on a device. 

“Now, for curiosities sake, let me show you some dogs." 
After typing something on the device he flipped it around to show an average canine. 

"That is a husky, a breed of dog.” He said. He then typed in something and showed another furred mammal significantly smaller. 

“That is also a dog,’ He said. 

"But they are so different; this has short fur and is much smaller. The other one was huge and had long fur.” S'chern was baffled. How could they both be the same species? 

Perhaps the differing opinions were right, the humans could be both. But How could you expect different ones to react in the same situation?  

After a few more dog identification games, S'chern just gave up. How could they hope to classify humans if they varied this much?  Humans were most definitely weird.