upheaveal

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Trump’s Comey firing reminds many of Nixon’s 1973 Saturday Night Massacre

  • On Tuesday, President Donald Trump unceremoniously fired FBI Director James Comey, the man who happened to also be investigating his administration’s ties to Russia.
  • Almost immediately after news broke that Comey was out of a job, social media users began comparing it to President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” where he too fired the man investigating his administration.
  • In 1973, Nixon was being investigated by a special prosecutor named Archibald Cox as part of an ongoing probe into the Watergate scandal, the Washington Post reported earlier this year. 
  • On Saturday, October 20 of that year, Nixon fired Cox and later accepted the resignations of his Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus, in what the Post at the time called “the most traumatic government upheaval of the Watergate crisis.” Read more (5/9/17) 

Donald Trump will follow up firing James Comey by meeting Russia’s top diplomat

  • President Donald Trump will meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday — less than 24 hours after he fired FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating the Trump campaign’s much-rumored ties to the Russian government.
  • According to a White House release, Lavrov and Trump will be convening in the Oval Office at 10:30 a.m. for a closed-door meeting. Read more (5/9/17)
Humans Are Weird

On the whole Humans are Weird thing.

If we take the accumulation of many of the Earth is Space Australia and Humans Are Space Orcs / Doc Brown / Hold My Beer Crazy / Obsessive Pack Bonders to it’s logical conclusion in terms of *the other aliens*, then it made me realise something.

Earth would be terrifyingly biodiverse to most of them.

Because they’re not as robust as us.  They’re more risk-averse.  They don’t pack bond like we do.

Aliens that evolved from prey animals wipe out most of the predators on their planet as soon as they’re able to, and heavily cull most of the non-sapient prey species that they don’t tame for labour or leather or other materials.  Predator-based aliens breed a select few species for sport and food, and mostly get rid of the rest.  Insects that bite or sting or are poisonous or don’t directly benefit them by maintaining their crops or the crops their food eats get wiped out, as do toxic and non-beneficial plants.  Forests are replaced by orchards, woodlands by farms and meadows by intricate little gardens, at least for the alien species with a sense of aesthetics.

Oh, there’s sometimes a period of some unease or upheaval once the realities of ecosystems are made known to them, but you’d be amazed how easy it is to bioengineer a species of tame, non-stinging multi-purpose pollinator.  And once all the other animals are whittled down to only the ones useful for the materials or food they produce, you can manage their numbers and food needs quite easily.

Some of the more daring alien species maintain zoos of select numbers of the more visually interesting wild creatures, carefully bred to maintain genetic diversity even at staggeringly low population levels.  Some of the more aggressive ones keep museums decked with the articulated skeletons of the more exciting animals they “conquered”. 

Hive aliens have the worst worlds.  There are some planets where the original biodiversity has been whittled down to nothing more than a half dozen varieties of fungi.


Humans might pack-bond readily with other aliens, but they almost never settle on worlds already established by other species, and rarely form terraforming teams with other species - at least not after the first time, when they saw what the other aliens thought of as terraforming. 


Meanwhile, aliens are terrified and horrified at the idea of settling on a human-settled world.  Don’t you know?  Humans managed to successfully wipe out wild boar, wolves and bears from some areas, only to *intentionally reintroduce those massively dangerous creatures* a couple centuries later!  Humans discovered the ancient remains of creatures with teeth larger than they were, and spent several centuries post-spaceflight trying eagerly to set up zoo worlds with genetically restored versions of them *for entertainment purposes*.  Humans have even dedicated entire small moons and planetoids to “conservation space” and do not replace the flora and fauna of newly colonised worlds with their own native species.

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Boarded-up Houses by Katharina Fitz

In the words of the artist Katharina Fitz:

Boarded-up Houses In Europe today there are around 11 million empty and unoccupied homes, of which 610,000 are in England. Large scale vacancy in cities is often a sign of great upheaval within the urban space.

Follow the Source Link for images sources and more information.

Tarot in Magic Use

I have a tarot deck that was gifted to me made entirely of leather and just the major arcana. It has an extremely powerful energy to it, and I knew right away this was a tarot deck to be used in spell work, not divination. So I started meditating and looking into the cards and really thinking about what they could be used for/associations. So here’s what I came up with!

(Note: I mention curses in here because some of the cards do lend themselves really well to that. If you don’t curse personally, feel free to disregard those parts. This is based on my personal relationship with the cards, so your personal associations and meanings for your deck may be very different. Be sure to understand the nuances of your cards before using them in a spell.)

🗝0 The Fool: Wiping the slate clean, a fresh start. Opening oneself to new experiences and knowledge.

🗝I The Magician: Manifestation and invocation. Energy work. Personal capability. Utilizing the power already within you and bringing it to the surface.

🗝II The High Priestess: Secrets. Hide and obscure knowledge to others. Increased intuition. Knowledge of the occult. Learn other people’s hidden knowledge while keeping yours under wraps.

🗝III The Empress: Fertility and abundance. Vibrancy, nurturing. Also to some degree, sensuality and sexiness.

🗝IV The Emperor: Strength and stability. Generic masculine power. Traditionalism.

🗝V The Hierophant: Jobs, mentorship and other positions that require some level of conformity. Traditional knowledge, coming more from a dogma or set path rather than a personal experience.

🗝VI The Lovers: Love (obviously,) union, harmony between two people. But mostly love.

🗝VII The Chariot: Success, motivation, overcoming any nasty obstacle. Personal power working with outside powers for your benefit.

🗝VIII Justice: Pretty self explanatory. Justice, getting what one deserves for better or worse. Could also be used as an aid to help guide you to the best decision when stuck at a crossroads.

🗝IX The Hermit: Knowledge latent within oneself that you want to bring to the surface. Cutting ties between yourself and people/groups that no longer benefit you. Any spell designed to get people to stay away from you (but warning here, the Hermit doesn’t discriminate between the people you still want to see and those you don’t!)

🗝X Wheel of Fortune: Luck, a change of fate. Finding one’s true calling/destiny. A request of a long-term type of success.

🗝XI Strength: Emotional strength, mastery of emotions, self-control. Resilience and courage.

🗝XII The Hanged Man: Release of unwanted emotions, new perspectives. In a curse or hex setting, it can also be used to represent someone who has been traitorous, especially in decks with a more traditional art style.

🗝XIII Death: Can be used to represent death during rituals such as a dumb supper. Important endings, rebirth, shedding the skin of the past. Hard cutoffs.

🗝XIV Temperance: Balance, cleansing, a restoration of energies as they should be. Healing.

🗝XV The Devil: Addictive negativity. All things bad in life that can be avoided, but are easy to slip into. Can be used to sic this on someone else in a powerful hex, or can be used as a representation of your own demons as you break free from them.

🗝XVI The Tower: Another card that’s particularly good for offense magic. Sudden, unexpected crisis. A destruction of what one has been working for. Upheaval. Could also be used to try and protect oneself as much as possible from this before it happens, if you sense trouble ahead.

🗝XVII The Star: Hope, guidance, generosity. Can be used when searching for a sign for something or for a pathway to be illuminated.

🗝XVIII The Moon: Mystery, emotional/spiritual fog, being stuck in a grey area. Illusion, hiding/obscuring yourself or something else. Could be used as a more gentle hex to weaken somebody without wrecking them like some of the other cards. Alternatively, it could be used to represent the literal moon, as either a replacement (if you can’t access the moon) or as a way to draw down the moon’s power.

🗝XIX The Sun: Recharging, success, vitality and enlightenment. Celebration. A powerful source of positive and productive energies, but without a lot of direction on its own. Similarly to The Moon, it could also be used as a representation of the literal Sun.

🗝XX Judgement: Guidance in making tough decisions. Luck or good fortune in the final stages of something important. Reaping the benefits (or punishments, so be careful) of our work up to this point.

🗝XXI The World: Harmony, tying up loose ends. Completeness and wholeness. Resolution of all conflict.

Film Analysis: The Themes of Wonder Woman

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

I know I pretty much never deviate from SU but I really loved the latest Wonder Woman film. I just wanted to do a brief analysis because I feel like there are so many themes to unpack in the film (so there’ll be spoilers) and I was pleasantly surprised by the way things turned out. 

I’ll be using images only from the official trailer WB posted on their YouTube channel though, in case you happen to scroll past and don’t want to see anything yet.

This post doesn’t feel like the appropriate avenue to talk about the cast, the sets, music, and colours, so I’ll be focusing on the film itself, particularly on the story. I enjoyed all the other things about the movie but won’t go into them here.

1. Diana of Themyscira 

Source: WBP

Before any other character in DC and now the DCEU, I read and watched Wonder Woman. One thing I’d like to point out is how the story doesn’t shy away from her god-heritage and how that dictates her interactions with others. In fact, one pertinent lens to view this film is that of self-discovery.

Diana doesn’t know she’s god. Throughout the story she believes that she is as capable as any other Amazon (I really liked the Amazons, but maybe another post). She believes she’s equal in capacity and potential. I think this is an important thing to note. Diana didn’t go into war, looking for Ares, certain she was stronger than any other member of Themyscira. She left her home not because of a conviction that only she could do the task but because she believed it was the right thing to do. In her eyes, her mother and the other Amazons just didn’t see the value in entering human affairs the way she did. That was all. 

What I appreciated was that she went on her “hero’s journey” not out of a sense of duty as the only one who could do it, but precisely because anyone could go and help put a stop to the fighting. It then was not a question of who was most worthy, which is a question that excludes, but a question of who believed in this cause.

That agency is important in the story, as many heroes’ journeys often begin with a powerful force that pushes the hero to step up. In this case, she could have remained in her insular life, but she decided to step out of the comfort of the island and into a world she’s repeatedly been told does not deserve her.

In that regard, Diana knows what’s waiting for her will be difficult and fulfilling her objective will be a struggle. That struggle extends beyond the fighting, as even walking down the street is an issue for her.

And these “issues” are laden with our concept of heteronormativity. We’re talking about the early 1900s and perceptions of women at the time were brought up again and again. How she should act, speak, and dress are all moments that were presented with a tension that rubs up against our current understanding of equality. For instance, that a session could no longer be held because a woman entered the room is the kind of dissonance that I feel was intended to come off as laughable, because decades later the idea of perpetuating the same attitude is absurd (and very inefficient). In the same way, I feel it calls to attention present and more subtle forms of bias that the film hopes we grow to see as equally absurd to perpetuate.

Source: WBP

Diana is presented as a character of depth. She is exceptionally strong, learned, and yet feels like a believable character because she is also prideful, flawed, funny, and naive. It’s a good proof as to why realistic movies don’t have to be “gritty” per se. Grit isn’t the magical ingredient; it’s grounding. And in her struggles to understand those around her as well as understand herself, the movements of the micro story are embedded and woven into a huge historical narrative, that of the Great War. 

And I think that’s where we feel all our individual stories are. We are at once absorbed in the primacy of our own lives while living in the tumult of the world at large. Navigating both the personal and the global is the daily struggle. 

Despite all of these struggles, both the physical fighting and the social tension, Diana stays true to her convictions about who she is and what she aims to do. Those beliefs can change, especially in light of new knowledge, which is what does happen in the film as she learns more about Sameer, Charlie, and Chief, but there is a Diana who remains. 

“I am Diana, Princess of Themyscira,” she says in the film. Her commitment to an identity of which she isn’t even fully aware is striking, and that message is empowering to any viewer. 

Because of this, the “reveal” of her godhood does not seem like an upheaval of her character. It is a part of Diana, but it doesn’t exclusively define her. In fact, as she knows more about herself, of which being a god is only a part, the more she is able to succeed. At the climax of the film, it is when Diana declares she fights for love and peace that she is able to muster up the strength to defeat Ares. 

2. Her relationship with Steve

Source: WBP

From the onset, Diana is presented as the protagonist of the film. There is no question. Her first interaction with Steve is her saving him from drowning. Then, she walks in on him immediately after he bathes. Then after they leave the island, she makes it clear that she knows about “the pleasures of the flesh” and just doesn’t believe that having two people sleep beside each other is going to lead to anything if they don’t want it to.

In the earlier parts of the film, their interactions were presented with vulnerability on Steve’s part (danger, nakedness, fear), but we begin to see it in all the characters as the movie progresses. Moreover, we see how they deal with their vulnerability. Steve is a cynic, and this underlies the way he acts.

Steve isn’t a one-note character though. He is complex and has stories implied about him. He is able to think quickly and hold his own in all the situations they’ve been placed. And his occupation as a spy does seem to hit very close to the theme of self-discovery taken by Diana’s character. As a spy, Steve holds on to his core identity and plays with the characters he assumes, never losing sight of who he is. As such, we have two characters very different, but also very similar. 

On the other hand, Diana isn’t presented as a character with gaps to fill (in the form of Steve). Rather, she’s a complete individual on her own, which is what makes her decision to love Steve more significant. It isn’t a decision of necessity, but similar to her deciding on taking the hero’s journey, it is a matter of choice.

The romance in the film feels organic in progression. I think it should be noted that the threat of death and the war ahead may have provided an adrenaline rush that propelled their romance forward, but even without taking it into consideration, they had a very intimate platonic relationship prior that could have believably developed towards the romantic. And again, for Steve’s character as well, it was a choice.

I enjoyed the contrast of Diana’s frankness and Steve’s truly trying to be inconspicuous and subtle in all his affairs. By the end of the film, both had begun to take up the better traits in the other. It is especially marked in Steve as he’d begun to trust Diana and open up about himself a little more.

3. The “Villain” 

Source: WBP

A lot of people I know found the “villain” Ares to be lacklustre, and the ending cheesy. I disagree because systemic issues and human nature are my favourite things to explore in media, particularly media created for popular consumption. 

Very explicitly it’s said in the film that we can’t all point our fingers to one “bad guy.” There is no one reason for war, inequality, poverty, and all of the injustice that we see in the world. There are many people who, and entire societies that orchestrate, execute, and then perpetuate the injustices that plague people even today. Tyrants don’t rise overnight (and they hadn’t in history either). This isn’t the first film to show this, and I hope it isn’t the last. 

I really liked how the film pointed out that systemic and systematic injustice exists. There are specific people who do things that are deplorable, but there are also systems that enable them, and I think that is the takeaway from this theme.

I also applaud the look that was given Ares. Instead of the stereotypical villain, who is bigger, more violent, and appears more physically powerful than the protagonist, we have someone who looks unassuming but is infinitely powerful. We don’t see the usual male villain who is really muscular and that becomes the focal point of his villainy. Instead, we have someone manipulative and powerful in a different way. Instead of the traditional god of war who brawls, we have someone equally powerful but more tempered in that power, and it’s the mark of someone who really has lost everything and everyone and now just wants to start over.

Striking also is how all of the characters talk about the war as “The war to end all wars.” That was the honest sentiment of people during the First World War. Operative term here being “first.” That there were more wars that followed really speaks of how those systems and ideologies lived on after the people who instigated the conflict. And situated in the context of all those who died and lost everything, it seems callous that we would keep fighting one another and causing more destruction. But it is something that’s been done and is now etched forever in history. 

The non-violent message features rather heavily in the film’s climax. When Diana fights Ares, the first thing to go is her sword, the one she believed was the god-killer. The sword is a classic symbol of violence, conflict, and war, and it was destroyed almost immediately. It’s interesting because she clung to that weapon throughout the film, and it gave her faith in her own abilities.

In the end, it is not brute force that will stop the existing brute force. Diana herself put a stop to Ares. It was what emanated from her that destroyed the embodiment of violence. 

In that regard, it is the individual who has to decide not to give in to the temptation of furthering violence and injustice. After all, Ares’ main role in the film was to tempt. That was exactly what he did to Diana and she resisted.

4. The role of Dr. Poison

Source: WBP

Isabel Maru had such a presence in the film, even though she didn’t feature on the screen as often as did the other characters. Back in London, they deemed her the greatest threat. They were setting out specifically to destroy her laboratory. 

I find her character very interesting because we get the faintest sign of a backstory from her and it’s still all very coherent. Her file reveals that she didn’t always have an injury on her face, and based on her interactions with Ludendorff and later, Steve, she’s searching for acceptance and affirmation. There is a subtle manipulation that goes into convincing her to continue creating poisons and chemical weapons.

Even among enemy lines, there is a struggle for her not to be infantilised and patronised, or to be viewed only as a woman in the case of her interaction with Steve. Especially in the latter scene, Isabel is fully aware of this and explicitly tells him she knows. She may not have been pulling all the strings, but she was presented from the beginning as a strong secondary character to the main enemy.

Diana was able to defeat Ludendorff relatively easily, but Maru had survived until the end of the film and was in the climax. What Ares tempted Diana to do was destroy Dr. Poison, and Diana let her go.

In depth: Throughout the movie, Diana was never directly pitted against her. The former’s goal was always to remove Ares in the form of Ludendorff. Then suddenly, close to the end, Ares pits the two women against each other (It’s all a very familiar story). Diana chooses not to perpetuate the cycle of killing and violence that characterises the pasts of so many of the other characters.

5. What it leaves us

Source: WBP

One emergent theme from the film that we get is a loss of innocence. At first, Diana is idealistic and feels her beliefs are clear-cut. Liars are bad. Ares is responsible for everything. Being strong is enough to save the day.

Gradually, we see her belief in these things erode, eventually replaced by an understanding that the world is more complex than it was made out to be. At the same time, there are moments when world doesn’t want to be saved.

It culminates when Steve sacrifices himself at the climax of the film. At this point, it appears as though there is no use in fighting Ares, and it seems as though Ares was proven correct all along. Human beings are cruel and violent and selfish. It becomes so easy to assume apathy. What does it matter what one person does if there are all these people and systems that perpetuate injustice? It becomes easy to give up and do nothing or give up and join in.

At the same time, though, Steve’s loss presents the other side of the story. Human beings are empathetic and altruistic; they try to see the good in others and are moved to change by others’ suffering. It is true that a lot of the systemic issues we see in the movie, particularly for equality and peace, are still present today, but we’re making progress.

Diana emerges with a realistic working understanding of human beings. They aren’t perfect, and they are capable of great harm, but also great good. As she said, she’s realised it wasn’t up to her to save the world for them, but she’d be there when they did make the decision.

In our current socio-political climate, it is almost the default to affect the same hopelessness and apathy. But that’s why the message of love, justice, and peace was anything but “cheesy.” It’s precisely what we can do in the environment we’re put in. It’s something that is in our control, and like all things the movie presents, it is a choice.


I really love Wonder Woman. Before there was Harley Quinn in my life, there was and will always be Wonder Woman. I loved the way Jenkins told the story and I really hope for more like it in the DCEU. So much could be written specifically about the character as a woman, and all the imagery that comes with it. And the Amazons. Countless posts could be dedicated only to analysing their social structure, values, and dynamics. The film was great and it did justice to a lot of what made Wonder Woman so appealing when I was growing up.

  • Mainstream Media: You made a historical action drama that deals with socio-political upheaval in the Bahamas in the early 18th century with a diverse cast including a variety of ethnicities and sexualities and people with disabilities?
  • Black Sails creators: What, like it's hard?
Chiron - The Wounded Healer (Long Post)

To find your Chiron, get your chart on astro.com, it’s already added in.

Chiron is known as the comet asteroid. It is said to represent the deepest wounds in our natal chart - while we may have many wounds Chiron is said to be the wound of the soul, however, with wounds comes invaluable experience, lessons that we learn much quicker than others. It is important that we take into account the House and Aspect as well as it’s residing sign when looking at our Chiron placements. 

Chiron in the Signs - 

The sign that Chiron is in tells us a lot about the nature of the wound we experience. 

Chiron in Aries: This person may have deep wounds as a result of experiencing anger - either from themselves or others. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their passions and their own self expression/motivation.

Chiron in Taurus: This person may have deep wounds from experiences as a result of financial instability or perhaps the greed of others. They may also have experienced wounds surrounding a lack of self-worth. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their appreciation for the beauty in life and the ability to work hard for what they want. 

Chiron in Gemini: This person may have deep wounds from verbal encounters with others or situations involving early childhood, school and siblings. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their communications and making themselves heard. 

Chiron in Cancer: This person may have deep wounds from family ties or conditions in the home, they may have experienced emotional trauma. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their emotional intelligence and ability to accept their own feelings.

Chiron in Leo: This person may have deep wounds linked to their self-esteem and their creative expression. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their artistic ability and their self-love.

Chiron in Virgo: This person may have deep wounds from academic pressure either from themselves or others. They may have expectations to live up to that result in unhappiness. Their ability to heal themselves and others focuses on their ability to take care of others while balancing their own self-care.

Keep reading

The house Jupiter is in can be an area of extreme overwhelm for the native because its expansion & inflation may take place more quickly than they are capable of keeping up with. Jupiter in the third house can cause the native to be overwhelmed by siblings & school, in the fifth they may be overwhelmed by hobbies and romantic partners, in the eighth they can be overwhelmed by the secrets they have or know about (or don’t). If Jupiter’s placement manifests negatively like this, it can create intense upheaval and chaos that makes the chart holder resent or possibly destroy whatever is affected.

Enchanted Forest History class must suck.

“when did this happen?”

“A time of great upheaval”

“when was that?”

“I just told you.”

“Ok… what about this other thing? When did that happen?”

“A very long time ago”

“And this?”

“Many years ago.”

“we haven’t invented the calendar yet have we”

Deepening Social and Political Conflict in your Fiction

In many speculative fiction works, war or civil unrest is common, sometimes it’s a given. And yet so often, these grand, world-shattering wars are shallow when looked at straight-on. If you think about the history of the conflict or the spark that sent the nations to war, you can come up kind of dry. A lot of readers are tired of “WAR” being the default backdrop of a story, especially when it’s used as a prop rather than handled with the care it should be.

So how do you make sure that your social and political conflicts don’t just provide a canvas to your story, but help deepen and strengthen the world and the characters therein? Simple! Just do a little thinking! 

General Questions

  • What are they fighting over/why are they fighting?
    • Land
    • Pettiness
    • Resources
    • Religion
    • Safety/Peace-of-mind
    • Debt
    • Misconceptions or misunderstanding
    • Political or social ideologies
    • Power
    • Lies
    • Something stupid
    • Freedom (revolution)
  • Who is the root of the conflict between?
    • Nation & Nation
    • Government & People
    • Two factions of people
    • Parts of the same government
    • Government & Church/Religious group
    • Church & People
    • Government & Private institution
    • Or does it span numerous groups?
    • How has it spread?
  • How long has this conflict been going on?
  • What was the origin point of this disagreement?
  • How quickly have things escalated? 
  • How has magic or technology figured into the conflict as it is and as it’s developed?
  • What has motivated the continuation of this fighting?
  • What level of devastation have the people dealt with?
  • What is the military structure of the two sides?
  • How much do your characters know and understand about the history or reasons surrounding the war? How does that influence their feelings toward it?
  • Are there outside influences that are escalating the situation by getting involved? Perhaps manipulating or aiding one side?

Long-Time War

  • What event triggered the initial conflict? The war (if they’re two separate things)?
  • Do the people remember what started the war, or has too much time passed?
  • How has the constant presence of war altered the society and culture? 
  • How much fear is present in the day-to-day life of the citizens?
  • How do parents handle the knowledge that their children will undoubtedly go off to war at X age?
  • How has the family structure changed with the constant absence of soldiers?
  • Does lineage play any part in how likely a child is to be recruited or what level they start at?
  • How hardened have people come to war and death?
  • When does soldier training start for children? Is there a gender divide on who fights and who doesn’t? How is “fitness” determined for combat?
  • Has there been any tries at peace between the warring factions? How were they handled? Why did they fail?
  • Have art, literature, music etc. survived the enduring war? How has the umbrella of unrest affected the arts?
  • What do the people believe this war is trying to accomplish? Or do they accept it as a part of life that will likely never go away?

Sudden War

  • How do people cope with the upheaval of their lives?
  • How are soldiers selected and trained?
  • How informed are the general citizens?
  • How in-danger are the non-combatant people?
  • Are emotions running rampant, or are they in check? Or is ignorance bliss for most people?
  • How quickly did the inciting incident lead to the full-on war?
  • How well- or ill-tempered are the leaders of the sides and how does that contribute to the way the delegations, exchanges, and treaties are handled?
  • Are the people of the general public on board with going to war, or are they angry about their leaders’ involvement?
  • How well-documented and reported are the goings-on at the front lines/in governmental offices?

Civil Unrest

  • Why are the people unhappy or unsettled?
  • What groups are trying to resolve the issues or help the needy during the fragile times?
  • What are the opposing sides/ideas trying to accomplish and how are they balanced over discontentment rather than heading straight to war?
  • How much pressure is there to start an uprising?
  • Has the disagreement between some groups brought unity to others?
  • Is the unrest more mental and political, or are there mobs rioting in the streets?
  • Are there rumors (true or not) circulating that are adding to the tension?
  • Is there a press involved? How are their reportings affecting the people? How are they viewed by the ones in power?
  • How long has this unrest been present? Do people think that it will eventually lead to a revolution or war…or are they just resigned to the way things are?

Happy writing!

Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
New Species
New Worlds
New Cultures
New Civilizations
Politics and Government
Map Making
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions & Groups
Science & Technology

my fave merthur fics, all first time/getting together

Long Canon AU: 

  1. The World I Built For You: 32K, T, If I told you to execute Mordred, would you do it? Merlin wondered, losing himself in the blue of Arthur’s eyes. Can I save you like this, even if it damns me? you didn’t think s5 could get any more emotional but u were wrong
  2. Touch My Skin To Make Me Whole: 64K, E, The Kingdom of Essetir has once again fallen under new rule, and Arthur travels to visit its new king, determined to make peace. Unfortunately peace is the furthest thing from this new king’s mind. Arthur and Merlin are forced to navigate his every attempt to make Arthur a scapegoat in starting a war between Camelot and Essetir. The new king is treacherous though, and he may have just found the one weakness that will force Arthur’s hand. Note: AU Post Season 4 the ultimate hurt/comfort
  3. Stars Above, Stones Below: 47K, E,  After the disastrous end of his betrothal to Gwen and the regret of his offer to Princess Mithian, Arthur swears off finding a wife until he’s ready to wed. When Merlin offers himself to Arthur as bedmate, Arthur suggests they hand-fast in secret for a single year of mutual pleasure without obligation. As their year together unfolds, and secrets and betrayals unravel around them, Arthur and Merlin learn there is no such thing as uncomplicated pleasure. Everything they thought they knew can change in the span of a single year.

Short Canon AU: 

  1. Visiting Hunith: 9K, T, Five times Ealdor had visitors.
  2. Wager of Battle: 12K, M, When a knight-in-training mistakes Merlin for a common servant, Arthur is Most Displeased. Trial by combat ensues…but Arthur isn’t the one who takes up the sword.
  3. Beauty in the Ashes of Our Lives: 22K, T, After Merlin is executed for Uther’s murder, Arthur’s world falls apart.
  4. Apotheosis: 9K, T, magic reveal, love vs destiny

Modern AU:

  1. Serious Eyes, Suddenly Smiles: 11K, E, When you are young everything seems definite. You are either in or out. Finishing up at university or messing up your whole future.
  2. Unsteady: 10K, T, merlin is a private investigator for arthur, who’s dating sophia
  3. Perfect: 15K, E, infidelity, internalized homophobia

Reincarnation:

  1. Do Not Go Gentle: 5K, T, “Don’t you understand?” He shakes her. “I cared more about him than I did about his kingdom, more than I ever cared about magic – or anything. I didn’t care about Arthur the legend; I didn’t care about Arthur the King of Camelot. I only cared about Arthur the man.” His chest is hurting. He can’t get enough air. “I fucked up, Gwen, and I’m sorry. Do you want that in writing?” 
  2. The Heart You Call Home: 16K, M, Arthur writing about stories he can only barely remember, Merlin, depressed and with major survivors guilt, finds them, much angst

Historical AU (honestly i love historical aus, that’s why there are so many here):

  1. Gaudy: 6K, G, political AU in the 1960s thru 1997, honestly the best characterizations of all time
  2. A West-Country Romance: 91K, E, Poldark AU
  3. True Heart of Wexford: 21K, E, Wexford, 1798, Merlin is the Catholic groundskeeper on a manor belonging to Anglo-Irish aristocrat Arthur Pendragon. While Merlin’s day job entails looking after Arthur’s property, he’s also involved with the United Irishmen. Political upheaval is about to plunge the country into turmoil. In the midst of all this stands Arthur Pendragon, who’s become Merlin’s staunch friend in spite of everything that divides them: faith, class, position, and obligation.
  4. Something Worth Fighting For: 21K, E, Set during World War II. Arthur is sent to the front lines to fight for Britain, while Merlin is left behind, struggling to cope with the absence of his best friend. Seeking to give Arthur some comfort, Merlin begins to send him pieces of a story, which tells of a legendary King and his devoted manservant.Through their letters, Arthur and Merlin grow closer, and perhaps begin to discover feelings that they could not put into words before. 
  5. Yet The Man Would At Once Run Away With Your Heart: 4K, M,  Mordred comes to stay at Avalon Hall and takes a shine to Merlin. Arthur is most unimpressed by this turn of events.

Smut:

  1. Merlin’s Place: 3K, bath
  2. Brighter When We Come: 4K, bath
  3. Night Sky Changing Overhead: 5K, bath
  4. What I Want You’ve Got, It Might Be Hard to Handle: 3K, magic made them do it (100% consenual tho)
  5. The Dirty Little Things You Say: 9K, arthur gets so turned on from merlin’s dirty talk
  6. At Our Best When It’s From The Hips: 13K, loss of virginity
  7. Solace: 1K, bath

High school/Teenage AU: 

  1. Out of Body: 53K, E, Finding out that his best friend is gay shouldn’t be a big deal. But then, catching Merlin wanking to gay porn shouldn’t turn Arthur on, either. With his plans for uni in shambles and his position on the high school footie team lost to injury, Arthur’s determined not to disappoint his father any further. Running away from Merlin seems like the easiest thing to do, but his denial might cost him everything. the teenage au you’ve been dreaming of
  2. Should You Choose to Accept It: 11K, T, so pure, childhood friends to falling out in middle school to falling in love in high school
  3. A Personal History of Midwestern Running: 20K, T, hahah the ending kills me every time, the one where arthur teaches merlin how to run

Uncertain Times

Dandelion don’t tell me lies,
Dandelion please make me wise,
Tell me, should I laugh or cry?
Blow away dandelion, blow away dandelion…

(With apologies to the Rolling Stones)

New Jersey, April 15, 2017.

Photo and poem by @mellowcat-artist​ All Rights Reserved

Rebloggers please do not delete caption, credits or links. Thanks.

Evolving in sweltering, humid wetlands, preindustrial Birrin found the frozen places of their world among the most forbidding. A hothouse planet, most snowbound regions of Chriirah are restricted to high altitudes and were seldom visited until the advent of lightweight insulated clothing allowed the intrepid to explore these last terrestrial frontiers.

Already rare on Chriirah, the upheaval of The Fall and subsequent global temperate rise has left even fewer permanent snowbound peaks on the planet. The most spectacular of all tower above the inhospitable Kiln desert: the legendary First Mountains.

To climb this ancient range in modern times requires considerable capital and influence; the region lies in the Kiln desert and remains largely lawless where not outright uninhabitable. All supplies have to airlifted or transported overland to establish a base of operations from which climbs can be co-ordinated.

The isolation of the region is twofold: satellite communications post-Fall have been hampered by debris still filling most useful orbits. As such sat-phone services are exceptionally expensive for anyone without a personal stake in the space industry. High-powered radio transmitters and relay stations help climbers maintain contact with both basecamp and one another, but sudden storms and low temperatures can leave climbers cut off and vulnerable.

The First Mountains are littered with spent oxygen bottles and iced radio equipment, but few bodies. Subsequent expeditions often feed on the preserved carcases of other climbers, carrying back choice parts for basecamp meals in celebration of the dead. Those engaged in the feasts would expect nothing less for themselves.

There’s no such thing as the Dark Ages, but OK

As a very serious adult, with a respectable career and life, and a healthy ability to let petty shit slide, I spent much too much time last week arguing with strangers on the internet who believe in the myth of the Dark Ages.

The arguments in question focused on a massively inaccurate meme, which some observers of the group pointed out was originally supposed to be about knowledge loss after the burning of the Library of Alexandria, but which some very cool EDGE LORD had changed to be about ‘The Christian Dark Ages’. Please feast your eyes on it in all it’s massive wrongness:

This is, pretty obviously, a bunch of honkey bullshit and also massively incorrect, as many important scholars have noted. As a result, I spent hours of my life – which I will never get back -  pointing out repeatedly that the ‘graph’ in question has nothing to do with reality, and arguing with non-experts about the medieval period.

For the most part – these people were well-meaning. Many pointed out that this was a very Euro-centric world view, and that Asia, Africa, and the Arab world were all making huge advancements in scientific and medical theory at this time. That is absolutely true. White people have never been the entire world. The Chinese had a massively advanced scientific culture by this time, for example, and had been holding it down with hermetically sealed research laboratories since the third century BCE. The Arab world, meanwhile was compiling treatises on eye surgery. Scientific advancement was something that was happening in this period. Europe is not the centre of the world.

Having said that, while it is important to acknowledge that the-rest-of-the-world was making huge strides in scientific advancement during this time, and that Europe and white people are not the entire world, nor responsible for all of human advancement, there was no such thing as the Dark Ages in Europe either.

While everything about the idea of the Dark Ages is incorrect, lets start off with the way the term was meant to be used. The totally ignorant graph above, unsurprisingly, is completely fucking off. Hilariously, the idea of the ‘Dark Ages’ actually originated in the medieval period itself. Petrarch – the poet laureate of fourteenth-century Rome - was actually the originator of the idea that there was a period of stagnation that Europe was moving out of. Petrarch had a political axe to grind. He considered that any point at which Rome – where he lived and worked and had considerable sway – did not completely dominate the world was a BAD TIME. This is not an unbiased assessment of world history.

The actual phrase ‘Dark Ages’ itself derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, which Caesar Baronius – a cardinal and Church historian - came up with around 1602. He applied the term exclusively to the tenth and eleventh centuries.  However, and very significantly in his use of the term, Baronius was not decrying a state of scientific malaise, or a particularly turbulent political period – he’s talking about a lack of sources surviving from that time.  Indeed, Baronius sees the cut off point for the dark ages to be the Gregorian reforms of 1046, following which we see a massive increase in surviving documentation. Witness an actual useful chart:

When we move into a period where there are more texts to be considered, Baronius argues, Europe moved out of the period of darkness and into a ‘new age’.*

Now this is some real talk. As you can tell from that graph, during the Carolingian Renaissance of the ninth century, we see a flurry of Latin writers emerge, and a lot of text copying. This drops off again until what we term the Twelfth-Century Renaissance – home to this blog’s favourite philosopher/proto-Kanye –  Abelard. (Shout out to my boy.) However, when people use the term ‘Dark Ages’ now, they usually use it to talk about the entire millennium of the Medieval period, and they aren’t talking about source survival.  They aren’t thinking ‘dark’ as in ‘occluded’, they are thinking ‘dark’ as in pejorative.

We can thank the Enlightenment historiography for the expansion of the idea that the medieval period was a bad dark time. Kant and Voltaire in particular liked to see themselves as a part of an ‘Age of Reason’ as opposed to what they saw as the ‘Age of Faith’ of the medieval period. To their way of thinking, any time that the Church was in power was a time of regressive thinking. The Middle Ages, then, was a dark time because it was so dominated by religion. 

The first push back against the term dark ages began with the Romantics. After the, um, unpleasantness of the Reign of Terror, and the major cultural and environmental upheavals of the Industrial Revolution it became fashionable to look at the medieval period as a time of spiritual focus, and environmental purity. Obviously this is a super-biased way of looking at the period – just like it was biased for Enlightenment thinkers to take one look at the primacy of the Church and declare an entire millennium to be bad. I mean, really what the Romantics were doing was just casting shade on the Enlightenment historiography because they felt like it inevitably led to the guillotine. But what can you do?

By the twentieth century historians had moved on from the idea pretty much completely. If you take the time to actually, you know, study the medieval period, it becomes very apparent very quickly that there was a tremendous amount of intensive thought happening. This is the era of Thomas Aquinas – a bad ass philosopher who will think you under the fucking table. Of Hildegard of Bingen – who basically founded scientific natural history in the German speaking lands. Hell, like we talked about last week Rogerius and Giles of Corbeil were throwing it down for major medical advancement. There was a lot going on. On the real, without the contributions of medieval thinkers you would not get Galileo, Newton, or the Scientific Revolution. The medieval period was not a period of stagnation, it was a time of progress.

But it’s not just that the idea of a ‘Dark Ages’ makes no sense when you look at what incredible advancement was happening at the time, it also makes no sense because it implies that stuff was going really well under the Romans. We estimate that somewhere between thirty to forty percent of the population of Italian Rome were slaves. The Romans had total bans on human dissection, meaning that there was no real way for medicine to progress any further than it had by the time of collapse – a problem that medieval people didn’t have. I mean even if you just want to make it about religion - the Roman Empire was Christian at the time of its collapse and had its heads of state worshipped as LITERAL GODS during the pagan era. Somehow every edgy motherfucker with a fedora is totally cool with this and thinks it is super reasonable though. Because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The Romans were not a bunch of really awesome people living a life of idealised rationality any more than medieval people were all ignorant savages living in fear of God.

Is there a time that historians use the term ‘Dark Ages’? Yeah, we do use it to talk about source survival rates. It’s not a term we use as a value judgment, however. We just mean that we don’t have a lot of evidence to go off of. By the same token – if we somehow move on to another electronic format without converting the way things are stored now, we could be moving into a theoretical Digital Dark Age, where historians in the future won’t be able to study what we are writing now. (And that would be a tragedy, because legit, I would kill to be a historian working on Donald Trump’s tweets in the year 2717.)

We’re now moving away from using the term Dark Ages at all, however, because of the frequency with which it is misinterpreted. I mean, if every basic motherfucker out there who never bothered to read God’s Philosophers (hat tip to James Hamman – this book is amazing) will insist on willfully misinterpreting us, we just ain’t gonna give them the ammo.

What it comes down to is that the medieval period was as vibrant as any other period of history. If you’re going to player hate, go ahead, but please don’t act like you know anything about either medieval or ancient history when you do. There is no period of rational supermen followed by ignorant monsters. There are just people doing their best in the circumstances.

* Caesar Baronius, Annales Ecclesiastici Vol. X. (Rome, 1602), p. 647. “Novum incohatur saeculum quod, sua asperitate ac boni sterilitate ferreum, malique exudantis deformitate plumbeum, atque inopia scriptorum, appellari consuevit obscurum.”

Upheaval

After a rollercoaster year filled with departing friends, jail time, and one of the most notorious killers the team has ever faced, the last thing anyone needs is this. A truck barrels toward a group of them, leaving their future uncertain, while others stand by unable to help in any way. What crosses their minds when their lives flash before their eyes? Even if the physical injuries don’t kill them, will they be able to recover?

Emily Prentiss - Guilt

Jennifer Jareau - Family

David Rossi - Disappointment

Tara Lewis - Anger

Luke Alvez - Regret

Stephen Walker - Sadness

Penelope Garcia - Uncertainty

Derek Morgan - Helplessness

Spencer Reid - Broken

Here is the look into my next fic. Each member of the team will have two chapters, the events leading up to the car crash of season 12, as well as the aftermath. If you want to be tagged in this fic once I start it, please like this post. I’m very much looking forward to this and I hope you are too. <3

WADTT has been covering more zoo / sanctuary / animal rights politics than usual lately, and I want to talk to you guys about why I think that’s so important. (I also realize that it does dominate the feed some days, and I’m working hard to make sure I’m still posting a good percentage of pet and general behavior blogging for those of you primarily here for that).

If you’ve been following this blog for very long, you probably know how much I adore good zoos - I’ve worked in them, I write about them, and I will happily explain the inner workings of them to death if you ask. I’ve seen good zoos do amazing things for conservation. I’ve watched my colleagues achieve incredible training milestones with animals people had given up on. I’ve seen how much impact a zoo visit can have on both kids and adults. I wholeheartedly support the existence of zoos. I also think it is incredibly important that the public really understand how they work and what makes them tick. You love animals. You (maybe) visit zoos that care for them. As guests, you deserve to know what they do well, what they’re still not great at, and what politics are at play. It’s also really important to note that visitor feedback plays a big role in keeping zoos accountable for the continued improvement of their practices and be transparent.

I’ve been talking more about the politics surrounding the zoo field lately because I am really, genuinely terrified by what I see coming down the pipelines in terms of radical animal rights influence in the next couple years. I’ve been observing the patterns of behavior in the AR movement, I’ve been reading the history, I’ve been studying the driving philosophy. What’s scarier is that I’ve been watching my colleagues and my friends and my mentors in the field totally not notice that the rug is about to be pulled out from under their feet, and I’m seeing that the powerful people and the organizations with power are not stepping up to support their people or their facilities or their industry. I think there’s going to be a huge amount of upheaval in the next while and it is going to be brutal and ugly and full of rhetoric about abuse and people twisting the welfare of animals to fulfill their agendas. At the end of it, if nobody does anything, you legitimately might never be able to go see big cat or an elephant or a komodo dragon again. I am scared for the immediate future of the zoos and aquariums. 

I know not everyone who follows this blog believes in the industry as much as I do. I know some of my followers are iffy about certain aspects of the field and that some of you aren’t sure you trust them at all. And that is entirely okay, and I thank you for bearing with me. I’m not trying to convert you to my way of thinking - I want to teach you enough to help you to develop your own. That’s what I’ve always done in regard to zoos on this blog, and that’s what I want to do with zoo politics. 

I’m hoping to ask you guys, my readers, to trust me that the politics surrounding captive animal management are worth paying attention to. I don’t think the zoos and their trade organizations are going to start doing that sort of education (if they ever do) until it is way too late to reverse the damage AR propaganda is going to do. I want to give you guys enough knowledge that when shit hits the fan you are able to look at everything from an informed perspective and decide what you want to support and why. 

I love the zoological field. The best thing I can do to give it a fighting chance is teach you guys everything and anything about it and send you off as informed, empowered people who give a shit about animals and want the best for them - whatever you decide you think that is. 

I’m moving to Denver!

at the beginning of August.

I’m super excited to be putting an end to long-distance with @victuuriplease, but also super terrified because I’ve not lived outside of the greater Boston area before and will be leaving all of my family and friends.

And there’s so much sunshine there! And the people are nice! And it’s so cheap to go to hockey and baseball games! Maybe I can learn how to ski! And to not be immediately suspicious of people who smile at me on the sidewalk!

Do you live in Denver? Can we hang out? Please? (Is it creepy to ask that? And do I care?)