He's stern and sardonic, definitely has an air of arrogance, but surprisingly happy (or nonplussed?) to take an apprentice for magic. Maybe its because he thinks it's funny, or because it's genuinely something interesting, I couldn't tell you. In a recent post I made of him compared to another vampire entity, the other one is much more social and pleasant to converse with compared to Dracula. Not that he's cruel or anything, he just prefers to stick with business.
He's he's very down-to-business with my energy work training. He isn't cruel, he's rather inquisitive, but it isn't really the same as conversation. I don't personally mind, I'm glad he isn't trying to harm me as I've had such run-ins with other typically villainous entities, plus his guidance is genuinely good work and incredibly helpful. He's also very patient, which I found surprising but am glad for it.
He's still relatively new to the roster of beings I work with so we'll see how it evolves, if at all.
Firstly, they are an agender being but pronouns don’t necessarily matter to them. They’ve been called He, She, They, and I’m sure wouldn’t care if other alternative pronouns were used, either.
Ashiok is a powerful entity, but unlike other villainous beings I have worked with, they are less interested in causing harm to the practitioner and more or less prefers to work alone. They are cryptic and finds beauty in creation, even and especially when he creates fear, a “myriad melody” they call call it.
They have taught me much of the art of nightmare and dream weaving, having taught me a variety of techniques in order to not only herald my own dreams and nightmares, but to manipulate the dreams of others, to utilize the astral in order to manifest and inject fears into others.
One such technique is in tandem with dream journaling. The number one source for dreams is yourself. When I began working with them, I began journaling almost all of my strangest and most frightening dreams. As soon as I wake up, I would journal them into my ipod, and now phone. I would look into their meanings, analyze them myself both spiritually and psychologically, and I would utilize shadow work to find their relationship to my subconscious.
Shadow Work is also a great focus on their work. Not necessarily for themselves, but in order to understand the fears of others, one must understand one’s own fears. That’s where creativity begins. Anything, from something as small as “I’m afraid of spiders” to “I am afraid that if I get to know someone, they will see who I really am I will hate them and push them away while they realy I’m not who they think I am.” The big and the small are all equally important in the woven tapestry of nightmares and fears.
Utilizing divination, as well, to divine the internal tribulations that a person has, divining what they fear when one does not have an immediate mental or astral connection to them helps greatly. Drawing out the fears someone has, mixing them with your own, and injecting them — literally creating a physical piece of spellwork such as a sachet or a jar, or transferring it through the astral.
Ashiok is a distant being, they prefer to watch than teach directly. They’re less of a teacher and more of a vague coach hoping you’ll figure it out along the way. They appreciate offerings, but tend to prefer offerings in the forms of ideas, dreams, and work. Offering, also, your deepest insecurities and fears.
Offering your own bottled up dreams (literal dream jars, or journaling, or anything of the sort) in order to help give them a larger collection to work with is an especially important part to their working.
Practicing all other forms of art, as well. Painting, drawing, writing poetry are especially ways to appease Ashiok, but sculpture, pottery, jewelry, and more are also appreciated. Hypersigils created in this manner, also, are an especially good way to garner approval.
Kennings & Epithets
Nightmare Weaver, Bringer of Fear, Phobomancer, Phantasmagore, The Neither, The Artist of the Dark, Bringer of Ruin, Destructor of Dreams, He of Cracked Porcelain, He Who Claws Dreams, He of Night and Dreams, He Who Instills Doubt, He Who Feels It's None of Your Business, He Who Cherishes Beauty, He of the Penumbra, He Who Heralds Fear
Dreams and Nightmares. Shadow Work. Traumas. Fear. Insecurities. Anything deeply personal. Dream Journaling. Therapy. Doing spellcraft in their name. Practicing dreadweaving.
La Cage: Ces Yeux Pleins De Lumiere / The Cage: Those Eyes Full Of Light
“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story...I will.” ~ Amy Schumer
"La Cage: Ces Yeux Pleins De Lumiere (Black Panther)" by Sandra Chevrier, 2018
Arty-Fact: With her work demanding to be dissected beyond its surface value, Sandra's portraits are quite literally torn between comic book's fantastical heroics and iconography.
Sandra creates masterfully detailed images, making her women seemingly emerge from a surreal world onto the canvas, where a dance is performed between reality and imagination, truth and deception. She chooses to highlight the superhero's fragility, struggles and weaknesses and exposes humanity's humanity.
When asked what drew her to use comic book images for this critique, she replied:
"Society is asking us to be superheroes. Preconceptions of what ought and ought not be, how one ought and ought not act, think or believe. False notions of perfection and beauty. Unrealistic expectations demanding women of society to become ‘superheroes’ as if it were their supposed position. One’s own false sense of identity and the societal pressures to remain therein. And also there is a war inside each of us, a battle between villain and heroes.
"But I also love to use the images of the fragile heroes. If they can be fragile, then so can we! Let’s allow ourselves to be."
Source: "Freeing the Cage: Interview with Cover Artist Sandra Chevrier", Room Magazine, Issue 37.3 "Geek Girls"
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A Speculation on Hero Worship, and Why Heroes are not 'Fictional Characters'.
I would like to begin this post with a disclaimer. I in no way intend to invalidate others beliefs and or opinions. I also do not wish for anyone to use this post to attack others' ideologies, especially if they are not harmful to themselves or others.
In this post, I will be logically describing and explaining why hero worship in the Hellenic Pagan faith is not worshipping ocs of stories, and is actually a form of ancestor worship. This will be a follow up on my response to the previous post.
First, we will be explaining that the Greeks in fact did take myths as true. According to Britannica, the ancient Greeks did indeed take the myths word for word, albeit these stories differentiated throughout regions, perhaps the explain certain epithets in some places. The reason why they (at first) did not question these stories is because of the immense 'piety' as the Britannica describes it, towards the gods. It wasn't until famous philosophers such as Socrates or Plato came around and attempted to dissect these stories, and as we modern practicing pagans know, are not the full and completely true descriptions of the gods we love and see. In fact, the reason why many people did not see the gods as the way they were described in the myths are due to cults dedicated to specific deities. These people saw the god(s) they worshipped differently than how some of the myths portray them.
With this in mind, people in Ancient times took these stories seriously. Worshippers saw these heroes as true, and everything they did as real, even if it does seem far fetched at times. Worshippers did not see heroes such as Perseus or Achilles as simply characters in an orally told story, but rather semi-divine mortals whom showed great potential, and walked among humans ever so long ago. To say that these heroes are simply made up characters is an insult to past worshippers, as well as present worshippers who have studied hero worship and have dedicated most of their spiritual lives to these heroes. This is why this opinion has received a lot of backlash from many hellenic pagans, as historically this is untrue. Yes, many of us agree that the myths are not 100% true, and that there is a great amount of misogyny and other unwelcomed traits in these stories, especially when they were translated by western scholars in recent centuries. This does not mean, however, that they are completely made up from scratch.
Invalidating others' practice, even unintentionally, is unreasonable. Although I myself do not understand and do not agree with Pop Culture Paganism, I do not insert my opinions on this community because I do not know what it is like to have a mindset as such a worshipper/practioner. I ask that the PC community also respects us in a similar manner, and does not intrude on the many hero worshippers whom have a great deal of bonds between these heros and themselves. The same way how you would not want someone to invalidate a PC worshipper, that is what we ask of them. Some opinions should never be said as they are disrespectful.
With this out of the way, I want to explain why heroes are most likely real, and are NOT simply made up story characters.
Sherlock Holmes is, as many of us know, a fictional detective. There have been stories of him spanning from the 1800s until now, with movies of his stories. He is a fictional character. This series is labeled as a masterpiece by many writers and literature enthusiasts. However, there is a hidden truth to this character. He was inspired by a real detective in England. A professor took a liking to this detective and began writing books inspired by him. This information is obtained by a simple search (look up Sherlock Holmes origin). Although the character itself is massively fictional with little truth, the character is based off a real human, who was a detective and helped his community to lower the crime rates. It is a legend of a human.
2. The Trojan horse.
According to BBC, the story of the Trojan horse is massively fictional with little truth. The story goes that, Troy was in a war with Athens. Troy decided to trick the Athenians as though they were leaving, and left behind a gift for the Goddess Athena. Little did Athens know that Trojan soldiers were hiding in it let the grand horse in, and the Trojans burned the city to the ground.
Historically, the city was burned to the ground, but there was no wooden horse to be found. In fact, BBC says that the horse was inspired off a tactic used in war where soldiers would use wet horse hides to avoid fire arrows from the enemy. This story having fictional traits does not mean it is completely wrong, it was inspired by real events, and romanticized to appeal to the media.
Because myths were told orally, they have been changed, and many myths have inconsistencies, even if it's the same myth. An example is of the Kidnapping of Persephone. In this story, some forms say she went of her own accord, wandering into the Underworld. There are some accounts that say Hades forcefully took Persephone to be his queen. No matter what you believe in, the story has the same basis: Persephone becomes the queen of the Underworld with Hades as her consort and leaves the human world every year for half a year, and her mother mourns the loss of her daughter, thus giving us the winter months of no harvest. This myth is heavily changed, but the essence of it is the same.
With these examples in mind, I will now talk how these are relevant to hero worship.
What these stories have in common is that, behind every story, there is truth. Maybe will never have historical evidence that a man named Achilles existed. But the war certainly did. And out of war, comes heroes. Perhaps there was no man named 'Achilles', and he did not have any powers. Perhaps he was a normal man who died for a heroic cause. But his story lives on. His descendants told his story to others, and his triumphs inspired others, thus making the man we know of. Perhaps his name wasn't Achilles, but this man existed. He fought and died, and someone out there wanted his memory to still be alive. So they made these stories. Even if the story of achilles isn't true, a sliver of it is, and should be respected as such. That was someone's ancestor, and thus has bene preserved through the millenia as a story about a semi-divine mortal. To say he is a made up character is untrue. This story is a legend about an actual warrior. That is its truth.
Perhaps there was never a man name Orpheus and his lover named Eurydice. Maybe it was symbolism after all. But in the end the main basis of the story is, a man loses his lover, tries to retrieve her form the dead, but fails. Perhaps Orpheus was a practioner of magic and attempted to revive his beloved, but after a long journey of doing so, he failed and was never with her again until death. In the end Eurydice stays dead, and Orpheus is forever heart broken. Maybe the character names and the journey he took was unreal, but the essence of the story is real, and that was likely someone's ancestor or relative. Someone in ancient times was inspired by someone who sa ehow much effort they put into bringing their loved one back that they decided to keep it going. To be imprinted in history forever even if the truth has almost, if not completely vanished.
In some parts of Greece, however, there were local heros. These men and women went unsung as perhaps they did not receive as much interest as heroes such as Achilles. But they were cherished among their people. In fact, some place even kept their remains and worshipped them! Their stories kept living amongst their people, and their people in turn showed their gratitude for their efforts in whatever struggle they took place.
There is no true historical evidence that all these heroes existed, but there was someone who inspired these stories. They were loved and cared for by someone, and therefore preserved via stories. The personalities made possibly even the names, could be untrue, but the essence of the story stays true. That is the nonfiction part.
With this concludes my logical explanation as to why Hero Worship is not worshipping random story characters. These stories preserved someone's legacy, love, adventure whatever it may be. Please do not invalidate those who have worshipped these heroes for more than a millenia. Do not belittle them and say such things please. If you have any addiontal information, or would like to continue this conversation by all means this post will stay open. This will not be taken down. All I ask is that we stay respectful to one another, no matter our opinions.
Thank you for your time, and may the Gods look down upon us in favor ❤️
Lately I have been going back and forth between Sorin Markov and SotN Dracula to better train my magic and astral abilities, as well as re-practice energy work in general in order to better control the flow from specific points throughout my body. There was also energy pool that wasn’t flowing right in my abdominal core that needed to be helped.
Dracula has given me exercises to control magic in power. One such exercise is to gather quite a lot of it, and condense it into as small and tight of a ball as possible, spin it at a specific speed between my thumb and forefinger, and be able to smoothly manipulate it's turning. As simple as it sounds, it’s difficult. There’s a lot to focus on, and focusing too much on one thing messes up another thing. It’s also training me to turn energy work into second nature. I practiced every day for a week and a half, I’m making decent progress, though it’s pretty tiring. My arm feels sore sometimes, like I’ve tensed it for a long period of time.
He's also been helping me work on elemental magic, which is something I severely lack (and why I turn to MtG instead of elements orz). Starting with fire, which is apparently my more prominent element compared to the others before getting into harder territory.
Sorin has been working with me to practice finesse and reflex. Creating shape of energy in his hands, rotating it, my exercise was to try and pull it from his hands without disturbing the rotation, essentially as if my energy and his were melded as one. This is also rather difficult. I can take it from him, but the shape melts. I can remake it, but have yet to be able to take it from his hands without disturbing it. I managed to get better at it, even if it still halts or falters, especially after I worked more on core exercises (IRL/In-Body exercises i.e. crunches, stretching, yoga, planking, etc as well as some cleansing rituals). He has also been training me in form and stances. He's much more physically oriented than Dracula.
Both Dracula and Sorin are very to-the-point and matter-of-fact but Sorin likes to indulge in socializing more. He has a certain art to it I hope I can learn from, really. He’s always curious of new and interesting things, so I like to tell him new and interesting things I learned or think he would enjoy knowing about. He’s very interested in Epicureanism. I used to rent a book for him but sadly never finished it before I lost access to the library (closed due to covid).
I’d like to purchase a copy to finish, even if I personally think it’s boring and dry beyond hell. Also, I had asked Sorin about Reno Stromkirk, who, to me, seemed like he’d be a very strict and imperious, I’ve felt somewhat intimidated by wanting to approach him, but Sorin said he’s actually not quite like that at all, that he carries himself with excellent grace and is much more entertained by humans than the other vampire lords, even more than the rest of the Stromkirk bloodline; he’d be fascinated by my interest in the vampires, so I shouldn’t feel so intimidated by him; he encouraged me to approach Reno if I felt like it. So I may reach out to Reno, especially if I can ask him about magic (his bloodline worships old gods Innistrad doesn’t believe in anymore, especially gods of the ocean, which have apparently given the Stromkirk bloodline special abilities the other bloodlines don’t have).
Dracula was interested in learning more about my magic and style, and asked me to demonstrate my craft, and from there decided to create a sort of curriculum for me to work on. He noticed my magic is not very well refined, that I lean very heavily on a sudden burst of power rather than a slow burn focus. It’s a very strict teacher-student relationship. I go, I learn, I leave. He’s more interested in watching me work than socializing, he tells me what I’m doing wrong, how I should think of the energy to help me control it better, and it’s definitely working. However, I greatly appreciate his method, it’s a good replacement for traditional meditation which just agitates either my mind or my body. Either traditional meditation gives me way too many intrusive thoughts, or my physical body cannot stand other forms of meditation (rhythm and music meditation can help sometimes but usually only for entering trance, otherwise I still get agitated).
The focus on Doing Something Right rather than Not Doing Something is an interesting enough mental shift for me to do, which I suppose in and of itself is a type of meditation. Just not a typical/traditional one. I liken it to being so hyperfocused on a drawing or sewing etc that it ends up sharpening my intuition, forces me into a tunnel vision where I can focus. Where Sorin is physically involved, Dracula is more mentally involved.
When I first project myself, I’m always surrounded by an iridescent silvery-white, like I’m surrounded by the color of a cloudy bubble. When I “go” somewhere, it begins to fade in, just materializes bit by bit. Usually I see and feel the ground first, then the sky, then everything in between just sort of peppers in. My spiritual self also changes shape depending on my innate psychology. I feel like maybe that’s an obvious statement, but to actually feel and see it happen was very interesting, especially when pointed out by both Dracula and Sorin at different times ; Sorin commented also my appearance to him has changed quite a bit since the first time we had met, which is especially interesting as my projected self doesn’t look exactly like my physical self either.
When a sensitive topic comes up, I manifest armor, especially gauntlets and chestplate. A literal steeling in order to make it through the subject.
Innistrad has always given me the most physical feeling when it comes to astral planeswalking. It’s always frigid and chill, and very humid. I don’t know “where” I am with Dracula. It’s not his castle. But it is a building... It’s a bit fuzzy. It’s all wooden, there’s a circular table we sit at, it’s all very plain and modest. I wonder if it’s a cabin, actually, recalling some details about it. A lamp in the corner that lights the room up fairly well, a single, broad window. But beyond that I’ve not really been focused on the surroundings with him as much, though, just the work at hand. Other instances with Dracula have been much the same even since before I started reworking with him. I wonder if it’s his own glamor abilities….
Markov Manor is so much more vivid to me, the stone is cold, the moon is always brilliant, there are vines growing over some of the lower levels that adds a certain haunted charm to it, the courtyard is beautiful with a fountain in the center, and a few other water features surrounding it, but it’s current disarray makes it seem also very haunted. Honestly Innistrad as a whole is just described as “haunted.” Literally and aesthetically. The manor is large, the foyer has a dried blood fountain with the image of an angel, a bright red staircase that splits in two, the decorations are a little fuzzy but I can recall vases with dead flowers in them, stone gargoyles, intricate pillar fixtures. It’s interesting how different these two places are, one being so incredibly vivid and the other…. Not at all.
Egregores and thoughtforms and worship of created gods isn’t just LARPing or lesser than any recon beliefs, and as norse pagan who worships gods, landvaettr, and hero spirits as well as a PC pagan, the worship of heroes from mythologies are not different from the worship of created beings. That’s the point of PC Paganism. The comparison is only offensive if you think PC paganism is lesser than your belief so just say you hate PC paganism and go.
Honestly I will never understand white people who get super pissy over disability or lgbt issues but dont participate in discussions on race bc its “too political”, and then refuse to listen to POC when they speak on something. Like holy shit. Holy SHIT
Soooo I just wrote to these guys for help with my War & Pop Culture class this fall. Next step, contacting Jamie baby for a cameo (and not asking him to adopt me, sigh). I don't know what will happen with the students, but I'm going to have a great semester!