visual basics

[Revised 2/17] Books for Witches, Diviners and Spellcasters

Hi, everyone. A while back (a long time ago, actually), I started an annotated bibliography on books about witchcraft and magick, and I’ve updated it once (last November). 

Since then, I’d been keeping a list of things I need to add to it, but didn’t get around to actually reworking and updating the list a second time until today. Largely because I can’t really go outside much today because of the smog. But anyways, here it is. I’ve also included divination-related books in this version, whereas previously they were separate.

I hope you find something on here that suits your fancy! Happy reading! Also, yes, I do want to do more book reviews on this blog, so if you’d like a longer review of one of the books listed below, let me know and I can write one.

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.

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.

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 reading Energy 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 Riding and Hedge Witchcraft, by Harmonia Saille. I only mention these two in order to say that they’re best avoided. Saille tries to give a comprehensive look at the phenomenon, but it’s poorly-written and overly New Age. The negative reviews of them on Amazon really cover the problems with these book in more detail than I ever could.

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

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.

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.

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 have major 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.

Tarot

The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley. Make sure you actually own (or have access to pictures of) the Thoth deck before you dive into this. By far one of the best books on Tarot ever published. The prose is often dense and purple, but in this one book, Crowley teaches so much about Tarot and it’s connection to the Western Mystery Tradition. I can’t really say much more - it must be experienced.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by Arthur Edward Waite. I recommend this book because it is a classic and was introductory for many older readers. It will teach you to read and gives insight into the methodology behind the Waite-Smith deck specifically, particularly his use of what are essentially parables and why he does this. Do not expect too much esoteric information, but read it anyways.

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack. This is the epitome of a good modern Tarot book and is really one of the first ones I’d recommend for someone looking for an accessible book on Tarot in a modern context. Very dense in information and history, yet altogether worth it. You’ll want highlighters nearby for this one!

Tarot for a New Generation, by Janina Renée. This is essentially a book for children and teenagers, but I do recommend it for them, specifically, because it is well-written, easy to understand, and helpful to absolute beginners.

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot, by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. This book focuses just on the history, symbolism, and creative process of the Waite-Smith deck. It gives you an inside line on just what Pixie Smith was thinking when painting specific scenes, and is a great look at her life’s work, as well.

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, by Robert M. Place. This book will not teach you to read Tarot, but does give an actual, accurate portrait of the history of the phenomena, which is incredibly important and useful. Know your history.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, by Lon Milo DuQuette. I hesitate to recommend DuQuette due to issues I have with his approach to Qabalah, but many people ask me for a beginner book for the Thoth Tarot specifically, and this is the closest I’ve come to finding one. I recommend reading this alongside, and not instead of, Crowley’s Book of Thoth.

The Back in Time Tarot, by Janet Boyer. This is more for the intermediate reader, and the entire book details a single, extremely useful technique for familiarizing yourself with the cards, namely by framing past events in terms of how they might appear in a spread.

Lenormand

The Essential Lenormand, by Rana George. This was not the first Lenormand book I picked up, but it was the most influential and intense. Ms. George writes in a personable, touching fashion and brings the concepts of the system home by relating them to life experiences in a way rarely seen. She is one of those authors I literally go all “fangirl” over.

Learning Lenormand, by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. This is one of the better beginner books on Lenormand. I’m not going to lie - it isn’t as good as Rana George’s, but it definitely is worth reading if you’re completely new to the system. It’s very accessible, where some of the books I’ll be listing later in this can seem intimidating, or so I’ve been told.

Lenormand: Thirty-Six Cards, by Andy Boroveshengra. This book is intense, but in a different way than Ms. George’s. Expect to be inundated with information and techniques. Another one of those where you really need to take notes or highlight while reading, and read it multiple times.

Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, by Sylvie Steinbach. This book is organized in a novel and useful fashion by topic, and gives specific techniques for readings on love, money, spirituality, and other topics. Highly recommended, and I tend to use it as a reference book nowadays, looking things up as needed.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook, by Caitlyn Matthews. Not for the beginner, nor the faint at heart, this one details a lot of what, to me, seem to be more advanced approaches and techniques. I use this book a lot, and I think anyone else will enjoy it, too. Good information on the connection between Lenormand and traditional playing cards, too.

Cartomancy with Lenormand and the Tarot, by Patrick Dunn. This is more of a special topic book, and best read after you’ve got some familiarity with both Tarot and Lenormand. It’s all about using them in tandem and the synergy between them.

Astrology

The Luminaries, by Liz Greene. I could really recommend anything by this author, but she’s written so much, and this book is a particularly important one. It focuses entirely on the Sun and Moon in astrology, and gives a good look at why the luminaries need to have a special place in your understanding.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Practical Astrology, by Priscilla Costello. This is focused, as you might expect, on actual interpretation of charts and less on theory, but it gives a good background on that, too. Was quite helpful in my attempts to interpret @xepsurah‘s unusual natal chart.

The Complete Book of Astrology, by Kris Brandt Riske. Very beginner, and very light on intellect, heavy on intuition. A great introduction, but I would not suggest it as the only book you read if you’re really interested in the subject.

Tasseography

Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners, by Caroline Dow. There are only a few books within Llewellyn’s immensely popular “For Beginners” series that I would recommend, and this is one of them. The symbol glossary (which makes up the bulk of the book) is the most useful part.

Tea Cup Reading, by Sasha Fenton. This book goes into some detail (quite a bit, actually) about the history of tea and coffee, and, better yet, how to prepare them in the traditional fashion! A lot of traditional lore is described, as well.

Scrying, etc.

Scrying for Beginners, by Donald Tyson. This is really a surprise find, as I don’t usually expect much from this series, by Tyson knows his history and goes far beyond simple exercises for scrying. He is a bit biased towards mirror and crystal-gazing techniques, but does discuss other methods.

Psychic Development for Beginners, by William Hewitt. Readable, and offers some very practical developmental exercises for those wishing to hone extrasensory abilities. Be prepared to sort through a lot of woo, though.

anonymous asked:

What's the visual novel that the quote is from?

The visual novel is called Burning Bright in the Forests of the Night.

It was first released as an extra with the first pressing of the 6th Japanese DVD/Bluray volumes on December 18th, 2013, along with other two visual novels: A Choice with no Regrets, and Wall Sina, Goodbye. It has been re-released on the recent Season 1 DVD/Bluray Boxsets.

The whole visual novel is basically Levi’s thoughts about Eren during the events of Season 1. We get to see his point of view during the most relevant moments Eren and Levi share.

It really is great because we get into Levi’s head and know what he thinks about Eren. Here’s a resume with the most important points:

Levi calls Eren a monster, but a monster “created so perfectly it inspires awe, and fear”.

When Levi realizes Eren has transformed to fight the female titan in the forest, and he might be in danger, Levi’s heart is described as “cold as ice”, and he “flies like a released arrow”.

Levi beating Eren in the trial is described as “an extreme, cunning performance. But a necessary one”. He also thinks how they’re forced to make hard decisions all the time, and beating Eren is his last resort. “Ahh, what a load of bullshit. But there’s no choice. A soldier’s profession is to wield violence”. I personally love this part because it really proves that Levi did not want to hurt Eren, and was just doing it because he had no other choice.

Levi knows about Eren’s past, about his training time, and even about his childhood. It is said that “violence and any other form of pain will never break the boy’s spirit”. Not even getting a beating is going to destroy him, on the contrary, it will make him stronger.

The most important part from the whole visual novel is probably this one:

Humanity’s Strongest understands Eren Jaeger very well.
Eren Jaeger is indeed feared as a monster.
Eren Jaeger is undoubtedly a monster.
But all these people have gotten it wrong from the start.
Eren Jaeger is not a monster because he has the power to shift into a titan
”.

When Levi calls Eren a monster, he isn’t talking about his shifting power. He is talking about his strenght and will. He is a monster because he is capable of enduring so much and still keep fighting. When Levi calls Eren a monster, it’s not something with bad connotations, it’s actually almost a compliment, as he speaks of him with admiration.

Eren is a monster “not because of the titan power, but because his soul itself is a monster”. And nothing can’t control this monster, “not even love” (゚ω゚;).

Levi wants to protect Eren, and calls him a “monster with perfect, fearsome beauty”. ( I assume this is the quote you saw in the first place).

When Levi rescues Eren, he yells his name. He “looks at the boy he’s holding" and wonders if he put too much weight on his shoulders or confused him by making him decide.

The visual novel ends with the poem The Tyger by William Blake, which gives name to the visual novel.

You can watch the visual novel here or here.

It was translated to english by sunset-tower, you can find the translation here. Any quotes used on this post belong to that translation.

I personally recommend this visual novel, it’s short but I think it’s very important to understand Eren and Levi’s relationship a bit better.

anonymous asked:

I want to create a character design sketchbook thats strictly for fleshing out my characters. How do i do that? What do I put in it? Like what type of stuff?

The great thing about sketchbooks is that there are no rules about how to use them— it’s all about what you want from it! 

Of course, that can also be a pretty daunting thing, especially if you’re just starting out with it. Here’s a slightly disorganized list of things to consider including in a character design-centered sketchbook in addition to basic design sketches:

  • Movement and body type gestures/studies
  • Facial expression charts
  • Hairstyle thumbnails and studies
  • Character turnarounds/reference sheets
  • The same character at different ages throughout their life
  • Detail drawings of jewelry, patterns/embroidery, tattoos, and other smaller elements that may not be clear in full-body sketches
  • Studies of real-life examples of clothes, accessories, weapons, etc. that are similar to what you’re imaging for your character
  • Annotations/notes about parts of the design, such as clothing/armor materials, meaning or significance of special accessories, the contents of a bag, how a magical items works, the story behind a tattoo or scar… really anything that you want to flesh out beyond the basic visual design
  • Family trees and/or non-familial relationship charts (e.g. who’s friends, who hates each other, who’s dating, etc.)
  • Height comparison/chart for the main characters of a story
  • Drawings of a character’s bedroom/apartment/dorm/other living space
  • Hand studies
  • Clothing layer breakdown (as in, how would the character get dressed in their typical outfit, from undies to finished design?)

Obviously there’s no way to list every single thing that you could possibly put in a sketchbook, nor do you have to do everything that is on this list, but hopefully it will give you enough ideas to get started! 

minghao is GORGEOUS. he has surpassed all possible levels of beauty at this point. just when you thought his looks have reached its peak BOOM he switches that hair up on you, throws on some eyeliner, and takes another iconic selfie to let you know he’s got more tricks up his sleeve. I’m terrified. what’s he gonna do next? he’s already a top visual out of basically every idol group ever. you think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. he’s just too attractive. Its honestly infuriating now,, I don’t know what else to do except get physically angry whenever I see his perfect face. fucking angel faced piece of shit. how dare he.

Spiritual Hygiene Guide

Visualization directs personal power.

Using visualization to start your day can be useful for anyone, empath or not. Empaths usually have some difficulty navigating how to help others without feeling drained or vulnerable. Here are some exercises that employ really basic visualizations you can add your own artistic flair to. They serve to help protect and reserve energy for the Self.

Charging Your Battery:

This can be done through meditation.

1. Sit and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth with your mouth slightly opening

2. Breath in through your nose and out through your nose

3. Try to breath 4 seconds in and 6 seconds out (this lowers your heart rate naturally)

4. Focus on filling the space below your navel and above your pelvis with air and a “golden light”that you can return to throughout the day as your energy reservoir. In Qigong this area is referred to as your lower Dan Tien.

Shielding:

After you have filled your reservoir for the day, “charged” your spiritual battery, it is nice to add an additional layer of protection.

1. Continue breathing in and out through your nose slowly

2. Imagine that with every out breath you are contributing to a bubble forming around your body that expands outwards building a shell around your electromagnetic field

3. Be creative – this shell can be any color, opaque or translucent. I decorate mine with Renoir paintings, dried flowers, opals, and arrowheads. Make it your own haven.

4. Say a mantra out loud to yourself to state your needs as far as protection is concerned. For example “ Let all the negative energy fall to the ground, and only let love and light enter and exit through this shield.”

Ultra Basic Super Simplified M16A1 vs M16 A2 guide

In the spirit of my AK Visual ID guide, I’ve again stolen pics from Google images, AR15.com, and a couple of my own pics, to make my own super easy basic layman visual ID guide for the A1 and A2 style ARs.

This will only cover very basic visual differences and will not get into SP1, or M16 vs M16A1, or any other variant discussion.


There’s a TON of M16 variants as you can see.

We’ll expand on the above pic.

This is a typical A1 style rifle

Now, my personal A2 style build

Some similarities, a few differences.

The A1 stock is roughly 5/8 of an inch shorter than an A2 stock

The A1 handguards will typically be triangular shaped…

 ..vs the A2 style rounded handguards


Original A1 grips are also smooth

A2 grips have the finger ledge


Also note, A1 and A2 furniture are interchangeable on most 20 inch barreled rifles.

The primary visual difference lies in the receiver, specifically the fixed carry handle of both.


The A1 carry handle lacks an elevation knob and has a much simpler windage adjustment.


The A2 style has very distinct elevation and windage adjustment knobs



Super simplified. Ultra Basic. Doesn’t even begin to discuss slab sides and M16A4s.

Oh well. I got tired of seeing the A2 tag on an A1 and vice-versa.

2

25 Days of Outlander - Dec 14 - Favorite Scene That Wasn’t in the Book
I’m not sure I’m ready to go to war again.

i don’t know if anyone noticed the color transition from blue to yellow by the end of 4x03, but oh my god how dramatically does the colorism change? lmao.

i mean, on a larger scale, the change especially highlights the interlude for the season’s tagline “from the ashes we will rise”, but it embeds a lot of interesting shifts in the simple act from getting characters from point A to point B too, while also introducing a different and new connotation to the theme of “hope” as well, and i think that’s pretty cool and pretty neatly done in the context of everything.

my favorite thing about this particular shift is that it takes place on one level (clarke walking), but connects two different settings with one another.

setting 1: when clarke watches the people work outside from inside the quarter’s (they’re preparing themselves for the radiation) while she works on a list that only includes 100 people, which means 400 of them are not in it.

setting 2: when she enters medical after her moment with bellamy in the quarter’s, and they (abby and co) figure out that luna’s nightblood is the one thing that is able to reject the radiation in her body and keep her alive

and here is where the transition takes place:

the thing you might notice with the color blue is that it is connected to her previous scene with bellamy, which means that visually speaking the color highlights what her relationship with bellamy represents and how that particular moment has affected her personally: (i won’t write down a list of what the color stands for, you can google it). so, the reactive framing in connection to the color blue even outside of the quarter’s shows a paradigm shift in the piece of hope bellamy has given clarke - she is able to make a step with that feeling within herself, even after having to write a list that only contains 100 people.

and here is where it gets pretty fascinating: that same bit of hope that bellamy has given her transitions into the next scene without us entering the new setting yet - we go from blue to yellow while clarke walks - which means that bellamy’s piece of hope transcends into all of humanity without clarke/the audience knowing that luna is already up on her feet with her body (the nightblood) rejecting the radiation, and the fact they might have found a new solution to the bigger problem they’re facing. this is so neat in regards to basic visual mechanics, because the color yellow in this case represents sickness, or even madness. so, it doesn’t really sound promising if you look at it that way. we do enter the scene seeing a lot of people dead first, after all. but it does come with a big promise, because of the hopeful tone we get through the transition (blue to yellow). so, colorism as a piece of foreshadowing? why the hell not.

overall, the way in how the visuals process that togetherness between clarke/bellamy is really compelling, because while bellamy is not present, you still feel him. even when clarke enters a new dimension of visuality, their connection does not get lost, but grows bigger in the picture. and it comes in full circle when she repeats “from the ashes we will rise”, which in hindsight creates a good callback to clarke’s line “science is our only hope” in 4x01, because luna, quite literally, represents hope too and she’s going to move the story in big ways.

And a gratuitous swordfight scene for Hiddleston that has zero purpose other than the visuals. Hiddleston has basically wandered in from a romance novel, and at least one of the camera people appears to have fallen in love with him at some point during the shoot.
—  Movie Beat “Despite Tom Hiddleston Kong the real star of Kong Skull Island” - Jenniffer Wardell - March 13, 2017

anonymous asked:

You mentioned in the past that Keith might be part Druid, what evidence do you have to think that?

The main thing that I base this on is s1e1. Keith demonstrates a particular aptitude for sensing and finding the Lions.

Now… this’d seem like a “no, duh” moment- aren’t they supposed to be connected?

But here’s the thing. Or, rather, things.

Keep reading

Visualization in Witchcraft: The Basics

I’ve gotten many, many requests for more information for beginning witches or those who are just curious, and I’ve decided it’s time I start writing and posting such things more often. This article will be (one of) the first in a series where I’ll talk about common beginner issues an techniques for those just starting out, skills that I personally found useful early on, and anything else that comes up. My plan is mostly to write based on questions I receive, and address topics as needed. Here we go.

Today, I’ll be writing about visualization, and I’ll just be explaining the basics as I see them. I recently got a message from someone interested in studying witchcraft who was concerned about how to begin practicing without having to buy things. This is a common sentiment, and I get questions about it a lot. There’s not too many authors who address it, except in passing. The books that do talk about practicing witchcraft without tools often suggest learning to astrally project and creating a sort of sacred space in the astral realm containing all the tools you might need. This never seemed practical to me, as many people who are just starting out won’t necessarily be able to fully project, and heck, even many experienced witches never quite pick up the skill. 

A far better approach than trying to astrally project right away would be to study visualization and develop it as a skill. Visualization is the art of manipulating your own imagination in order to create vivid experiences within your own mind. This practice sharpens your intuition and magical acuity. Even many rituals and spells in books (with or without suggesting tools) will call for the witch to visualize, though they may not call it that, and sometimes say “imagine” instead. 

It’s perhaps best explained by way of examples, and can take many forms with varying levels of complexity. Sometimes, you might want to visualize something as existing within your physical space. In other words, you would want to strongly imagine it appearing to you as if it were physically in front of you. In one particular ritual I used to perform regularly (it was for banishing), part of it entailed my strongly imagining a pentagram in a particular color left in the wake of my ritual actions. That’s a form of visualization. This may sound like a simple thing, but it does take practice. 

After a while, though, I got to the point where yes, I could “see” the pentagrams surrounding me in the ritual, though I knew it was actually a visualization sprung from my imagination rather than a physical object hanging in the air. Techniques like that are pretty common, and they aren’t a new thing - books written in the Victorian era and earlier will often recommend doing this, though the word visualization itself wasn’t often used. 

Many witches and magicians incorporate visualization into simple symbol and sigil magick. In the image below, I’ve listed the planetary symbols and associated colors. While many people, when working with symbols, would assume they’d need to carve, draw, or sketch the symbol on a physical talisman or something similar, there are other ways.

One technique using visualization would be to trace the symbol in the air with your finger. You would visualize light in a particular color (of your choice, or relevant in some way) flowing from your fingertips and forming the symbol hanging in the air. The length of time you’ll be able to visualize will likely vary based on how long you’ve practiced, as well as whether there’s anything breaking your concentration. In some settings, I can only “hold” the symbol in my mind for a few seconds before it’s interrupted by something in my environment. Conversely, I can think of a ritual I recently did with a partner that involved visualizing symbols. We did this in a quiet room and with much mental preparation, so I was able to “see” the symbols for much longer than in other situations.

All of that, of course, is going to be done with your eyes open, visualizing objects in your physical space. Things can get pretty interesting if you close your eyes, though! Obviously, you wouldn’t be moving around doing a ritual with closed eyes, but it’s possible to work magick while sitting (or even lying down!) with your eyes closed performing an intense visualization. Some people find this easier than open eye visualization, but for others, it’s the reverse. It just depends on the person.

One mistake I made when learning this type of visualization was trying to make my visuals too complex too quickly, not realizing that these things take time, and complicated, immersive scenes are something that has to develop slowly. One way of beginning is to start with, again, symbols, visualizing them projected on the back of your eyelids. 

Simple shapes, like line drawings, are great to begin with, too. Slowly add color and depth, and eventually you’ll be able to build a proper scene inside your mind. This could consist of imagining the workspace you’ve always dreamed of with everything you would need for any kind of spell, but for many witches, the visualization is the spell itself. I find that method more productive than just imagining tools. Experimentation is key, and you’ll find something that works for you, but one common method of using visualization in spellwork would be to visualize the goal of the spell manifesting in an efficacious manner. For example, if I were visualizing as part of a spell to help a friend’s wedding go smoothly with no mishaps or delays, I would visualize exactly that happening.

There is, naturally, a strong connection between visualization and scrying, and usually improving your skills in one will improve your skills in the other. In the image below, I discuss how scrying can often be much more than just seeing images, and that is true of visualization as well - you can experience any sensation or impression via visualization, be it auditory, visual, olfactory, or really anything else.

Getting in touch with your guardians and/or guides

I believe most all people have natural guardian and/or guide spirits, which aid them in life. You may not be aware of your spirits, but they are almost always with you, sending you subtle messages and organizing things for you to help life go your way. If you ever feel that things just always work out for you, or you catch a lot of lucky breaks, that could be your spirits working on your behalf. On the other hand if you feel that nothing ever goes your way and life is out to get you, there could be a problem with the spirits that are intended to aid you.

Some people believe everyone has spirits to aid them. I don’t believe everyone does, because I have met people without them. There also exists lore that a person can offend their spirits to the point where the spirits abandon them entirely. From my own experience, when someone does not have spirits around them, it is for an unusual magical reason and this can often be remedied by help from a witch, shaman, or spirit-worker.

Regardless, you very likely have guides around you right now. Meeting them is easy and does not require any kind of spirit summoning or conjuration.

If you use a pendulum and/or a spirit board, have those with you. Otherwise do things the old fashion way and just contact your guides through visualization.

Remember that ‘visualization’ basically means 'magical imagining’. Your imagination is a powerful cauldron of magical potential. When you contact spirits it may easily seem like you are just making them up, but have faith in yourself and faith in them.

Sit or lie down in a relaxed state. Imagine a large door before you. Note what color it is and what style it is. Say to yourself, “beyond this door is the World Tree.”

Open the door and observe a massive tree standing before you. It’s trunk is the size of a city block, it’s roots are as tall as houses. Within the roots of the tree you notice small doorways much like the one you passed through. Think to yourself that you would like to find a room where you can meet your benevolent and helpful spirit allies. A single door will stand out to you. Note it’s color and design, and walk to it. Open the door and pass through.

You will find yourself in a certain location. This will be where your spirit companions feel most comfortable. This could be a cathedral, a cozy cottage, a forest, or a sunny field. Many times I open this door to find blackness, which indicates to me that my guides do not care where they manifest. Observe this location.

Somewhere close you will see your guardian or guide. There may be more than one that appear to you at this time. At first your imagination may become confused and project several different appearances on to your guide, but don’t force anything. Relax and see what comes to you. Remember that your spirits may be in human, animal, plant, insect, mineral, elemental, or mythical form. Do not expect to see a creature that you have a spiritual connection with, as these will not necessarily be your guide spirits. Note what this spirit looks like.

Once you have met, try talking to it. Think or speak your questions and wait for something to come to you – words, images, thoughts, feelings, sounds. A list of questions you can ask is [here].

Once you are done, exit back through the root door. Walk back to the original door you came through, exit it, and close and lock it firmly behind you. Wake yourself up from your trance state with food, water, and mundane activities.

You do not always have to use the world tree visualization to contact your guides. I simply think the names of my companions and I am connected to them, able to communicate mentally.