reileen: (spirituality - temple/Artemis)
Although I've been more spiritual lately (meaning, in the past couple of months) than I usually am, I still feel like I am falling woefully short of the mark. Am I Doing It Wrong? What am I missing? Is it okay that I can only do pitiful, tiny offerings every month to Artemis and Hermes and can't do a lot of research (yet) into ancient Greek religion? Why do I not seem to be as "in tune" to the Divine and to spirits as other people? Am I meant to be this spiritually dense? What do the Gods want from me? Do the Gods even want anything from me? Is this the right path for me? Ad nauseam.

With my brain drowning in this skepticism, I sat down on the train Wednesday morning and began to read through Dancing in Moonlight's entry about the Artemisian festival of Mounukhia, set on the night of the full moon in April (which is tonight, if my Googling skills haven't failed me). I put on my iPod, which had been paused in the middle of playing "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne, and let it finish through that song because there was only a few more seconds left of it.

The next song that came up?

"only begun" by Artemis.

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun

you drifted to me like a wisp of a cloud
soft lips parting utter not a sound
I felt so warm cradled in your arms
but now I see you were only floating freely

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun
only begun

my heart was written in an ebony stone
you cracked it open, kisses like rays of sun
I thought I'd go crazy when you were gone
but now I see you surround me, laughing in dreams

I close my eyes, the night glitters
and you beckon to me
I tiptoe softly, so not to waken
from angelic slumber
I read your letters, the ground trembles
and the stars come down to whisper

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun
only begun...

Only coincidence? Maybe. But an intriguing one.

The goal of the modern Mounukhia festival is to help people understand the ways in which Artemis can strengthen ourselves and the world around us. Women should get a chance to revel in the camaraderie of sisterhood and feel that their femininity is embraced, honored, and supported by the community.

-Thista Minai, Dancing in Moonlight: Understanding Artemis Through Celebration, p.51

I thought about putting off my personal observance of this festival until later, because it's Thursday and y'all know how I feel on and about Thursdays this quarter. But then I realized, well, it's not like I have class tomorrow, and anyway this is a festival well-suited to be celebrated at night. (Even though it's so cloudy that you can't really see the moon out tonight, le sigh. It was really nice yesterday, though.)

***

Yesterday, I caved and bought the latest installment of the Dresden Files, Turn Coat, at nearly full price at Barnes and Noble.* I was blown away - this is easily one of the most epic books of the series. I'm always fascinated at how Butcher neatly ties up threads from previous plots while also introducing new ones. I also love how he balances the dark, serious business with cynical light-heartedness that (usually) doesn't take away from the gravity of certain situations, but instead reads more as...I'm not sure how to phrase it. A celebration of life, I suppose, if I wanted to be cliche and cheesy. Or - and this would be more in line with Harry Dresden's personality - it's kind of a "fuck you" to the bad shit that happens in the Dresden Files (and some pretty bad shit happens, let me tell you). Even when the plots hit the readers with darker and more depressing curveballs, there's always something that softens the blow a bit.

One thing that had me confused was that the cover features Harry with a sword instead of his usual staff. The staff is still on the cover, true, but it's no longer the main focus of Harry's image (it's hidden behind the book title). So I originally thought that the story was going to involve the whole subplot with the Knights of the Cross and the sword Amoracchius (of which Harry is currently the caretaker). But after reading the book, it then occurred to me that the Wardens of the White Council carry swords as well, and that's probably what the sword on the cover is referring to, because the entire plot of Turn Coat is about White Council intrigue.

I realize I'm not being very eloquent, articulate, or thorough about this book, but I'm hungry and I have a ritual to do. Long story short, Turn Coat is pretty damn amazing, although I wouldn't recommend picking it up if you haven't ever read the Dresden Files before, since it relies heavily on acquired information from previous books.

***

I am not looking forward to my first major ART227 project. We have to go out in a neighborhood and take pictures of an actual place that we're going to design a virtual mural for. By next Thursday, I need thirty photos plus a "research" paper describing 1) the atmosphere of the neighborhood and 2) how our favorite mural artist will inspire and guide our design.

Okay, first off, who the hell - even in arts majors - just casually has a "favorite mural artist"? I barely have favorite artists, period, and that number drops if we're not counting people on deviantArt (yes, I realize how failtastic this sounds). Secondly, the stuff is due Thursday, but really, I'll only have time to do this on the weekend. So it's either Friday or Saturday that I gotta drive out around Burbank (yeah, I'm taking the easy way out and staying close to home...although Burbank is so dreary that pretty much any building in this area could use some color).

Oh! But then I also have to have a paper subject for Monday for my HAA115, which is going to require going out to the Art Institute and wandering around until I find something that I like enough that I'll be able and willing to do the legwork to write a 5-6 page paper on it (due May 8th, on ACEN, ha). Granted, this isn't technically hard, but it's the principle of the thing - I just don't want to go out right now. I want to stay home and be a vegetable. What kind of vegetable should I be? A carrot? A tomato? A cauliflower? Baby corn?

And then I also have some poster mockups plus a quiz (where I'll actually have to write stuff instead of just doing fill-in-the-blank like the previous quiz) for ART264. Thank the Gods I was able to get Illustrator to work on my laptop, because otherwise I'd be nearly screwed for this assignment: the labs will all be closed from Friday to Sunday for Easter weekend. I feel bad for the girls in my class who don't have Illustrator and don't readily have access to it.

Okay, I should probably stop this entry here and go tidy up my room a bit before I do Mounukhia stuff.

Speaking of Artemisian festivals, it amuses me that Thargelia - the joint festival for the birthdays of Artemis and Apollo - falls on the sixth and seventh of May, which is right before ACEN this year. Yeah, that's real convenient, right there!

-Reileen
snowy peaks lost in the clouds



*I have it up on sale for Amazon right now for about $14. Yeah, it sucks I'm only getting half my money back, but if someone bought it, at least it'd be something and I could use the money to get the paperback versions of Proven Guilty and White Night. When the hell is Small Favor gonna come out in paperback, srsly?
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Names? What's in a name? I <3 names!

M.I.A. refutes the circulating rumors that her newly-born son was named "Ickett".

"I didn't release the baby name because I didn't think it was news," she continues. "But I will be back with something newsworthy soon. Till then, go pick on Apple, Satchel, and Moon Unit."

And then the best part of the article comes at the end, where there's a poll to choose what you think is the most bizarre celebrity baby name. Holy shit, some of those names are atrocious!

Banjo - Unless you're a brown honey bear in bright yellow shorts who pals around with a red-crested breegull, you can't pull off this name. Period.

Bronx Mowgli - I demand to see this kid do a crossover of The Jungle Book with Rumble in the Bronx (which was actually filmed in Vancouver, lulz).

Jermajesty - I was initially pronouncing this "JER-ma-jes-ty", but then realized that if you pronounced it "jer-MAJ-es-ty", it ended up being a pun. I can't decide which version is worse. And you can't even get a really good nickname out of that! "Jerma"? Or "Jesty"? Well, I guess you could have "Jes" as a nickname, but good lord.

Moon Unit - ...I...just...what? How on any planet is this considered a good name for anything besides a sci-fi gadget?!

Moxie Crimefighter - Hmm, I wonder what career path the parents have in mind for this kid!

Pilot Inspektor - Geez! Why don't you just call the kid "Inspektor Gadget" and be done with it?!

***

In this post on [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's LJ, I mentioned that, out of the languages I used to learn or am learning, the hardest one for me was - of all things - Cebuano/Binisaya, the native tongue of my parents. At the time I made the comment, I couldn't articulate exactly why it was hard for me, though I suspected that it had to do with pronunciation and the radically different grammar from English. Well, I flipped through A Handbook of Cebuano (got it for Christmas from [livejournal.com profile] dantaron recently, and hoo boy, is that second issue ever a bitch.

First off, Cebuano's a Verb-Subject-Object language, so that right there is going to trip me up. Then we've got two different possessive pronoun forms, depending on whether the pronoun is placed before or after the object it's modifying (akong pamilya vs. pamilya ko, and there's also an additional pronoun form (among others) that are used when the pronoun is the direct or indirect object of a sentence. Demonstrative pronouns, too, have two forms, depending on whether they're the subject of the sentence or not. And to express words like "myself" or "yourself", you use sa akong kaugalingon (first-person) or sa imong kaugalingon (second-person), etc., replacing the modifying pronoun as needed.

Then there's the "genitive" form, which is used to indicate possessor. Not only are the phrases longer than their English equivalents, but the preposition used changes depending on whether the possessor is a proper name (or functions as one), if there are more than one possessors with a proper name, or [insert other cases here].

ang inahan ni Paula - Paula's mother
(possessor is a proper name; ni is used)

ang kwarta nila ni Jim ug Jill - Jim and Jill's money
(possessor is multiple proper names; nila ni is used)

ang mga stop sa mga balay - the roofs of the houses
(possessor does not fall under previous two categories; sa is used)

Oh, and verbs are a joy, too! It turns out that the affixes for conjugating verbs for the past and present tenses are exactly alike. Which means that you usually have to add an adverb of time to make it clear about the sentence's timeframe. In addition, the affixes are different depending on whether the action described is of a short duration or a longer duration. And there's no such thing as a "conditional", either - to express something like that, you'd have to use the future tense.

Also, there's no equivalent of the verb "to be" in Cebuano sentences:

Taga Pilipinas sila.
"from Philippines them" - They are from the Philippines.

Unsay imong ngalan?
"what your name" - What is your name?

On the bright side, if I ever need help on figuring out what the hell sounds natural, I can just ask my parents to speak to me exclusively in Cebuano. Not right now, though - I'm currently spazflailing over Japanese.

***

The goal of the Arkteia is to help people understand the aspects of Artemis that protect, nurture, and liberate. With Her help at the Arkteia, participants can hopefully learn a bit more about their wild nature, embrace their inner child and keep it a little closer to the surface, and release some pent up tension through expressive motion. At the end of the day, participants should go home feeling freer, wilder, and filled with childish joy.

-Thista Minai, Dancing in Moonlight: Understanding Artemis Through Celebration, p.34

Arkteia is a modern-day festival based on the ancient festival of Brauronia. Brauronia actually included a rite that was called arkteia in which little girls acted like bears, expressing wildness in a socially acceptable way so as to be "tamed" for marriage later. The modern-day Arkteia focuses more on temporarily shedding grown-up responsibilities to let one's inner child run free for a bit, "taming" it so that one can return to one's normal life without all the suppressed hyperactivity.

How am I observing Arkteia? By sitting down with an old teddy bear from my younger days that I still have and playing video games for the first time in forever. Yeah, it's not exactly, uh, "wild", but it is getting back in touch with my inner kid for a little bit.

-Reileen
I'm fluent in Javascript as well as Klingon
reileen: (spirituality - temple/Artemis)
TUESDAY: I found out that my attendance grade for ART105 is currently teetering on the brink of an abyss. The way it goes is that, once you accumulate enough absences and tardies, the professor will dock a letter off your final grade for the class, e.g. if you have an A, she'll lower it to a B. Technically, I'd already hit that limit, with two absences and three tardies. However, one of my tardies was from the first day of class, and the professor said she gives students a pass on tardies and absences for the first day, so now I've got one more tardy left before my final grade gets affected. And it would be pretty fucking pathetic if the only reason I didn't score an A in my ART105 class was because I happened to be running on Filipino time.

WEDNESDAY: I've gotten into the habit lately of talking to Artemis and Hermes more often, usually before I go to bed. At the very least, I tell Them "good night and thank you". Sometimes I rant about things that are bothering me, and sometimes, as I did Wednesday night, I remind Them (not that they need it, it's more just me being neurotic, I suppose) that if They want to tell me something, They need to be obvious about it and hit me over the head with it because I'm so spiritually dense.

THURSDAY: I was woken up at about 8:00am by a poster falling off my wall and onto my head. WTF.

...buuuuut because my cell phone alarm wasn't set to go off until 9:15am because my ART105 class doesn't start until 11:45am, and I can get there on time if I leave my house by 10:15-10:20 or so, I fell back asleep!

Alarm went off, I slept in some more, I woke up, ate some breakfast, mucked around on the interwebz, got ready, left the house at 10:20. Okay, I thought to myself, it's cutting it a bit close, but it takes 15 minutes to get from my house to the Midway Airport CTA station, so I should still be able to make it to class on time.

Except that once we got on Cicero Avenue (the main street to take from my house to Midway), traffic was backed up for blocks.

Why? Because there were construction workers working on a pothole north from where I was, and they set up a barricade so that the three-lane street was reduced to a single lane. Add in a couple of semis that were trying to elbow their way through, and traffic was pretty much fucked. The fifteen minutes I thought it was going to take to get to the station turned into, like, a half hour. FAIL.

Miraculously enough, I still managed to get on campus at 11:43! Even more miraculously, although I stumbled into the classroom at 11:47, the professor didn't mark me as late! "Close fucking call" doesn't even begin to cut it.

LESSON LEARNED: When you tell your Gods that, if They want to tell you something, They need to be obvious and hit you over the head with it, and then They literally do it...you really should listen!

Although in terms of "things falling on one's head as a message from a deity", I got off easy compared to the one pagan I once knew on the AOL Teen Wicca boards...she'd been ignoring/not noticing signs of Ares wanting her attention, and then one day while she was at a museum, a statue of Ares nearly fell on her.

-Reileen
for now I walk beside you, for now I walk beside you

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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