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!

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 [ 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 [ 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.

I'm fluent in Javascript as well as Klingon
reileen: (music - proofread score)
A working, functionally complete version of Bacchanalia [YouSendIt]

I have issues with this regarding melodic and chord progressions and overall structure, but I can perform it live if I wanted to. Will be leaving it for a while to simmer and cool down before I start trying to work on it again, if I'm inclined to do so.

I also showed this piece to [ profile] sannion, who is a devoted follower of Dionysos, and he wants to play the song during the next ritual he's going to do for the god. Which is good, because that's sort of why I was doing the song in the first place (albeit a few months late).



I left my ANT120/ART233 notebook at home today. *facepalm* So I couldn't study for the ANT120 quiz I had this morning (which wasn't hard, actually, but it's the principle of the thing I'm talking about here), and I had to/will have to take notes on looseleaf.

Am falling asleep here trying to murder time again (fucking thing just keeps coming back from the dead! Do I, like, have to cut off its head and gag the mouth with garlic or something?!) until I have to meet with Professor Akiyoshi at noon. Need something to eat, since I only had a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with milk for breakfast and then a can of Mountain Dew during ANT120. Am craving sushi again.

In the middle of reading Greek Folk Religion by Martin Nilsson. There's nuggets of information here and there, but the style is impeccably snore-inducing. I can't go more than a few pages at a time, because otherwise my eyes start glazing over. That is why I am here killing brain cells on the Interwebs instead of killing brain cells on studying the history of my adopted spirituality and taking notes. My logics, it is invincibles!

Am also obsessively refreshing Twitter, what.


The recent issue of the Hudson Fanclub Insider newsletter has pointed me to the official English site for the Bomberman Blast game for Wii. There's still no release date for the American version. Wiccapedes says that the WiiWare version of the game was already released in Europe on the 12th (wtf? What's the logic in that?), while the Japanese console and WiiWare versions will be released on September 25 and 30, respectively.

Wiccapedes also reports an overall positive reception to the game, with critics making favorable comparisons to the similar Bomberman Live. But y'all know I'm a little Bomberbitch who doesn't really care about multiplayer, so the comparison is mildly useless to moi. I'll probably ask the buttmunch to go pick it up if he can (thank the Gods that we have similar tastes in games), but I'm not sure I'd be willing to shell out the cash for it not in the least because I have no cash to shell out.

To slightly paraphrase [ profile] mia_noire's sentiments on finding a parking space at MVCC for my own use: "Who the fuck do I have to blow around here to get a decent Bomberman single-player platforming adventure game again?!"

there's no need to tell anyone, they'd only hold us down
reileen: (spirituality - temple/Artemis)
[ profile] sannion has recently written two posts regarding spirituality that have caught my eye.

First off, the SRS BSNS one: On the trend of Pagan apologetics

I do agree with you that the whole effort of Pagan apologetics is an interesting and at times amusing field. I think it's good in that it forces people to reflect on what they believe, and why, which can certainly be a good thing, since I'm not generally one to favor mindless adherence and blind, uncritical acceptance of ideas. However, I also feel that when it comes down to it, the intellect plays less of a role in the formation of religious acceptance than most people realize. We believe usually because it intuitively feels right, or our experiences confirm it for us - logic is often just a retroactive prop we use to support ideas we have already decided are true for us.

I think part of the reason Pagan apologetics can be so earnest and thorough lies in the predominance of pseudo-/anti-intellectualism we've been seeing from many members of the Right in America, some of whom are Christian dominionists. We as pagans don't want to be seen as Those Folk, Only With the Goddess, so we try to explain, in as logical a manner as possible, why we follow the faith that we do.

Alternatively, since paganism of all stripes is still a minority faith, it feels like we have to do more work to gain "legitimacy" with the majority, to dispel the myth that we're doing this for the lulz/orgies/whatever. This may mean coming up with all sorts of sound theological arguments as to Why We're Not [insert faith here]. Doing so has a number of benefits: we learn more about our religion and other religions, we give our brain a workout, and the end result may possibly convince skeptics that we're not completely crazy.

On the other hand, religion is by its very nature irrational, and I wish more people would acknowledge - and even celebrate - that irrationality and absurdity - and to not be ashamed of something that is built into the framework of religion. Everything has its domain, and irrationality and the unexplainable rules over the domain of spirituality and religion. That's not meant to be an insult, by the way - I do think it's a fair way of explaining and describing the nature of religion and the myths it is based on. I mean, come on, a guy who died and rose from the dead three days later? A goddess who was born, fully-grown, from the head of her father? Reincarnating endlessly until one of your lives gets his or her shit together and achieves nirvana to break that cycle? None of it makes any sense to us with our mortal perceptions and senses, and we can't definitively prove any of it. But that sort of thing is the root of religion. Instead of trying to cover that up, we need to acknowledge that religion is the place where you have to play by different rules. Endless theological explanations and arguments only help make sense of things if you accept the irrationalities that they are based on.

I follow Artemis because, for me personally, it feels right. It's not like I sat down one day with a big-ass encyclopedia of deities and made a list of pros and cons for following each one, then concluded that following the Bitch Upstairs had enough pros to outweigh the cons. There's no real logical reason why I should have left Jesus for Artemis. In fact, if we were doing a pros vs. cons thing, it would probably make more sense for me to continue to follow Jesus. Jesus is a compassionate figure, who becomes angry in his myths only when, by our mortal perceptions, he has just reason for it, such as the moneychangers in the temple. The man has an admirable love and respect for all humanity. In contrast, Artemis changed a hunter into a stag that got torn to shreds by his own dogs for the mortal sin of...accidentally looking upon Her naked while She was bathing. (There are a number of different ways of accounting for Her hostility, some of which are detailed here.) She does not forgive transgressions to Her easily; She certainly does not love everyone. Unlike Jesus, who is widely considered to be almost wholly benevolent (save for the Rambo!Jesus that tends to pop up in dominionist mythology), Artemis' standing in mortal eyes is more troublesome. She, like many of the Olympians, embodies both light and dark aspects of life. She is the protectress of animals...but She is also the one who hunts and kills them. She offers no universal promise of salvation from evil or from ourselves (this applies to the entire Olympic pantheon). If I were going about choosing my religion in a sensible manner, logic would seem to dictate that I should follow the more comfortable, compassionate figure of Jesus Christ.

But, as y'all know, that's not the case.

I am also uncomfortable with attempts to convert others. This, unfortunately, is often a big part of contemporary Paganism - an effort to win masses to one's side, and a feeling that our religion is somehow inferior because of its minority status. While I am sympathetic to that plight, and would certainly like to have a lot of people with whom to celebrate my festivals - I think this preoccupation with winning the masses over to our side is incredibly unhealthy, and frankly dangerous.

[. . .]

Frankly, I'm against efforts at conversion because when it comes down to it, I'm a misanthrope at heart. I like the fact that our numbers are small, and most of the people who are drawn to the faith are passionate, pious, and rather smart. Once we pass a critical mark - that is not going to be the case. We'll end up with the same ignorant, bigoted, superficial, and lukewarm individuals that swell the ranks of every other religion.

Agreed with [ profile] sannion here. I seem to be drawn to things with a small following, and am uncomfortable with massive groups of people. What I want for paganism is not necessarily great numbers of followers, but the legitimacy accorded to movements or institutions with a great number of followers.

I suppose when it comes down to it, it's about fear and insecurity. Attempts to convert others usually originate in the individual's insecurity regarding their own faith. They figure if they convince others it will banish the specter of their nagging doubts and prove the validity of it, because why else would people convert if it wasn't true.

Because I'm a cynic, I used to think this was true across the board, but now I figure that there must be some people who convert because they genuinely believe (by sometimes jumping through the hoops of doublethink, but not always) that their faith is Right, True, and Good. I don't know which one is statistically more common, though. And I think there's something to be said for the types of conversion individuals engage in, which can be traced to the reason they engage in conversion attempts in the first place. People who try to convert through words and hard-sell preaching may be more likely to be more insecure about their faith than those who live conversion attempts - that is, they evangelize by living the Word of God.

And then, for the lulz: Who do you think would win in a match - Zeus or Jesus?

our revels have just started, many lifetime friend
reileen: (Default)
I hereby dub these linkposts as "link-o-llections", a portmanteau of "link" and a misspelled "collection"! I r witty.


From the inimitable [ profile] sannion - Rihanna's Hymn to Zeus (otherwise known as "Umbrella"):

Rihanna goes on to sing:

You can stand under my umbrella

And this is one of the most powerful metaphors in the piece. Here she is comparing Zeus to an umbrella, by which she means that Zeus is our shelter and protection from the storm, a noble sentiment indeed, and one that is truly worthy of the god that she hymns so lovingly. No doubt that is why she chose to give such a name to her piece, for it is truly the central theme of the song.

Be sure to check the comments for a brief expose on how Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" is an allegory for Hephaistos. No, seriously.


From the Angry Asian Man - Obama on vacation in the "foreign, exotic" state of Hawaii:

Oh, please. As you might know, Senator Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, which—last I checked—is a state. One of those United States, actually. Of America. But it turns out, according to political analyst Cokie Roberts, Hawaii is too "foreign" and "exotic" a locale for a campaigning presidential candidate to go to for vacation. Huh?

On yesterday's edition of ABC's This Week, Roberts criticized Senator Obama for "going off this week to a vacation in Hawaii," which she said "does not make any sense whatsoever." Funny, it makes perfect sense to me. Can't a guy go back to his home state to chill? According to Roberts:

"I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place... He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time."

Hawaii isn't American enough, apparently. What the hell kind of criticism is this?!


From Making Light - Classifying the Novel:

Novels may be classified in this manner:

(a) Those that are best-sellers, (b) those that were assigned to you in school, (c) those that you feel you have already read even though you have not, (d) classics, (e) those that are not read as the author intended, (f) those that many intend to read “some day,” (g) fantasy trilogies, (h) those that are otherwise not flawed, (i) those that were written on manual typewriters, (j) those that can be judged by their covers, (k) those that were padded by their designers during production to appear longer than they are, (l) those that are only called ‘novel’ by courtesy, (m) those that have been condensed by Readers Digest, (n) those that look well upon the shelf.

Making Light is a wonderful place full of simultaneously inspiring and intimidating individuals with a knack for wordplay and verse. Make sure you go through the comments - there's even more gems in there.

in another life, you and I worked West Virginia coal mines, side by side


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010



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