Saturday, 29 August 2015

Fashion Inspiration - Dark Forest Witch

Lately I have been very inspired by Dark Mori and Strega styles that I have come across through YouTube videos and Tumblr. I had seen the looks before and thought they looked great and had heard the words before loosely used but didn't think about what they meant much specifically. But lately through, my forays on the internet I found out more specifically what these terms meant and through that was led to looking into them even more. So what is Dark Mori and Strega?

(Photos are sourced from various Tumblr sites).

To discuss Dark Mori, one has to discuss Mori girl style first. This style started in Japan by a woman named Choco, who literally wrote the rules for this style. As with many other Japanese subculture styles (like Lolita), there are a lot of rules. Mori means forest in Japanese, and the aim is to look like you stepped out of a forest. The style's colour scheme is creams, white, green and brown and is very earthy. Mori girls dress in layers, and wear modest length A line skirts, along with shawls, sweaters, cardigans and comfortable shoes. Lace is popular as well as adding leather items, and natural elements like leaves, and flowers. They collect oddities and antiques and often accessorize with old jewelry or pocket watches. There are also rules about likes and behaviours like being sweet and shy, and enjoying tea and reading books.
I personally don't have any interest in this style, but to understand Dark Mori it's a useful to know about where it came from.

Dark Mori
Dark Mori is an off shoot of Mori in that one is dressing like they are a witch that came out of the darkest part of the forest. This style is influenced by fairy tales and fantasy creatures. The colour scheme is black with some including dark greys and greens or red. It also involves layering in long skirts and dresses, shawls, sweaters, and cardigans. Lace and netting is popular as well as accesorizing with bone jewelry, feathers, and natural elements. Fantasy elements, and occult symbols can be incorporated into this style as well.
There was some controversy with this name as some felt that it was getting too far away from the original Mori and that others were appropriating the style. I don't want to get too much into that discussion, but one should recognize it exists.


Because of the controversy and because there was a lot of branching away from the original Mori there was debate about what to call the new emerging witchy style. A Tumblr user called shortcuttothestars
Came up with the name "Strega" (Italian for witch) to describe the new witchy fashion trend. She even has a Strega manifesto which states that none can define what Strega is and is not as it is dressing up bring out your inner witch. Every individual must define for themselves what this means. There was also some controversy about this name as it is Italian for witch and there are a few who practice Strega to this day. However the new name seems to have been adopted and accepted.
Strega style is expressed in different ways, with some sticking to more Dark Mori leanings with shawls, scarves and layers, to others expressing a more Stevie Nicks vibe and others taking inspiration from shows like American Horror Story - Coven. Many cross between these styles as well - it's up to the individual. If it looks witchy to you, then it is Strega!
A Strega polyvore I found on Pintrest.

I actually prefer the Term Dark Forest Witch as this is literally what dark Strega means. I think it also corporates all the things I love about these styles - the dark of goth, the nature living aspects of Mori and the witchiness of Strega.

What are your thoughts on these styles?

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

August Full Moon in Pisces - balancing the Spiritual and the Mundane.

Moon Opposite Sun
This month's full moon, the harvest moon, occurs on August 29th and is in the sign of Pisces. Pisces is the sign associated with spirituality, imagination and mystery. During this time we may be drawn emotionally to daydream or to express ourselves creatively, or explore our spiritual side. At full moon the moon is opposite the sun, which is in the sign of Virgo. This sign is one of detail, service, health and work. So while we may feel drawn to the ethereal, our minds and those around us will be telling us we need to buckle down, get to work and focus on the day to day reality. The trick will be integrating the two. We may want to think of how our creativity or spirituality can be of service to others, or how we can bring these things into our day to day lives.

Moon Conjunction Neptune Retrograde
This full moon is conjunction with the dreamy planet Neptune, further enhancing its mystical and etherical energies. This is a time where you may experience clairvoyance or other psychic abilities. This is a great full moon for divination! This is also a great time to connect with females in your life.
Drawbacks are that you may experience more flare ups from any mental or emotional conditions, and there may be leaks or flooding in your home. Also avoid being careless with possessions as they are more likely to be lost or stolen.

Moon Opposite Jupiter
This aspect also emphasizes that emotions may be running high. Those prone to depression may be especially affected. Avoid getting into overly emotional confrontations. You and others may be over sensitive this weekend and it can lead to conflicts. Weak emotional bonds will be tested, but stronger ones will be fine. Keep in mind children may be a little out of control.

Sun conjunct Jupiter
This is a great weekend to get out and travel or enjoy cultural activities. If you can keep the lunar emotions in check you may receive a spiritual insight. If you get out and about luck will be on your side and turn even a seemingly bad situation into a good one.

Mercury sextile Saturn
This aspect encourages us to be more organized and prepared for the future. It's a great time to get those yearly planners out, especially if we are starting a new job or going back to school. Those in authority will be impressed.

Venus Retrograde Conjunct Mars
Venus and Mars together add up to a passionate time. While usually this is a great time to pursue a romantic interest or to use our energy towards an artistic venture, retrograde Venus warns us that what we start now, we will probably regret once she moves forward September 06. Hold your horses until then, and see where your passion leads you after.

Venus Retrograde Trine Uranus Retrograde
This aspect encourages us to get out and socialize with others of different age groups and backgrounds, than our own. You might learn something new or experience something different. Get out there and explore this weekend.

Mars Trine
Uranus Retrograde

You may find yourself doing things that are out of routine or unusual for you this week. These new experiences will turn out well and you will learn something about yourself. Don't be afraid to go outside of your normal routine this week.

Jupiter Opposite Neptune Retrograde
If someone offers you something or tells you something that sounds too good to be true it is. Deception and illusion are running high right now, so be careful. Not all the facts are out, so be wary of what information you hear right now. This is also a bad time for long distance travel over water.

In short this coming week and weekend, be aware that yours and others emotions will be running high. It's also a time where deception and even theft may be more likely. Your intuition and sense of spirituality will be heightened.
Take a little time to get organized and you will be rewarded. And don't forget to try something new, or get out of your routine. You may be surprised what you learn.

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Stone of the Month - Garnet

As discussed in a previous post, I've decided to pick a theme for each lunar month. This month the theme is positive energy. I thought it would be good to work with a crystal each month to help focus this energy. This month I chose January's birthstone - garnet.

Garnet has long been considered a powerful talisman and healing stone. It energizes and balances the chakras and is considered a protective talisman as it will warn you of approaching danger.
I picked this stone as it is a great stone for raising one's courage and self esteem. It can help you in a crisis to focus fragmented energy, to turn it into an opportunity and to attract assistance. It helps to rid yourself of negativity and of patterns or behaviours that may be holding you back, including self sabotage. It can also aid you in riding yourself of patterns that no longer serve you because it aids in past life recall.

A close up of my piece of garnet. As you can see, it is a very dark red.

On a healing level, garnet stimulates the blood, metabolism and DNA regeneration. Wear it in earrings, on rings, or keep it in contact with your skin for maximum benefits.
Garnet comes in many colours and is very plentiful, so it is not an expensive or hard to find stone. It can vary in colour from dark yellow, to brown, pink and most famously a rich deep red. The red garnet in particular is a stone of love and devotion and can be used to enhance one's sexual energies and passion for life.

What are your thoughts on garnet?

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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Update - Loulapaloosa

This past week I took off from work. I usually take the week off around my birthday and I fondly call it "Loulapaloosa". This week I was especially looking forward to as the last three times I have had a week off I have gotten sick. It's almost like my body sees me rest and decides to really make me rest by forcing me to lie in bed.This week though I remained well and had a wonderful time.
I kicked off last Saturday, the actual day of my 41st birthday by going out for dinner with the BF. He does not like to appear in social media, so I will refrain from posting pics of him. I will show you the food though. We went to a local Italian place called Buccachinos and I had calatalia, it's spaghetti in garlic and olive oil with black olives, green pepper, feta and sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Then we stopped and got cake at a wonderful bakery called Baked Expectations. We got the chocolate strawberry mousse cake. I posted a pic on Instagram and Twitter and can't believe how much retweeting its received.

The calatalia

The infamous chocolate strawberry mousse cake

Sunday I got together with friends and we went for dim sum, then Back to my place for cake and coffee/wine/beer etc. I bought a MLP table cloth and cups and plates. Hey, it's my party so I can do what I want! I recieved some lovely flowers from my friend Aimee(see below). I also got a book of Steampunk romances from my friend Zlatan, and a bottle of sparkling wine from my friend Mel. Such thoughtful gifts. šŸ’–

The rest of the week was pretty quiet which is just the way I wanted it. I did work a little on cleaning up my computer which has died. I'm saving photos onto CDs and then I'm going to factory reset the thing. If that doesn't work then I am getting a new computer. I mostly spent the week just reading on my deck and drinking cherry coke. I love this drink but you never see it here in Canada, only in the U.S. However this summer they are selling it as a promotion. I have been stocking up! I know it sounds silly but it's my favourite type of pop and we never see it here.
Wednesday the BF and I drove to Morden as he wanted to check out the Harley Davidson shop there. It's about an hour and a half drive southwest of the city and it was nice to get out and see the countryside. The store is huge and is made inside and out to look like a bunch of old store fronts.

On Thursday I went and got my hair redone, as the bangs were getting long, the colour fading and my roots shocking. Here is the before and after photos. So glad to get things refreshed!

Yesterday the BF the kids and I went out to his family's farm in Minnedosa. It was nice again to get out in the country and see everyone. I'd post farm photos, but the kids and the BF are in them and I want to respect privacy. We found a cool lookout tower over the town, as it is in a valley. I took a photo at the top of the hill, then went to the top of the tower, but alas my phone died. At least I got this shot.

All in all it was a nice relaxing week off. I hope your summer (winter for those down under) is going well too. šŸ’œ

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Jade Emperor

I decided to do a monthly theme for the coming lunar cycles, as part of a series about magic. I will pick a theme and do posts about dirties, crystals, animals and oils that could be incorporated into this theme. This month the theme is Positvity. I want to work on being more positive in my words and thoughts, and discarding criticism of myself or others.
For each lunar cycle, I will pick a diety card at the beginning of the to find someone to help with my monthly theme. This month I was drawn to the Gods and Titans Oracle and pulled the Jade Emperor.

I will be the first to admit that I do not know a lot about the Jade Emperor or even Chinese Mythology. I did some research and the Jade Emperor to find out more. The author of the deck has assigned the meaning of "order" to this card. The Jade Emperor in Taoist mythology is also called Heavenly Grandfather, and is in charge of ordering the universe. He started as the prince of the kingdom of Felicity and Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments. When he was born, he emitted a light so bright it lit the universe. He spent his childhood doing benevolent deeds and was wise and kind to animals and humans alike. When his father died he ascended the throne, and made sure there was peace and contentment throughout the earth.
One myth tells of how he fought a great evil. That when he came to the throne life on earth was hard and he was saddened by human suffering. He spent time meditating to become more powerful and fought off a great evil demon who wanted to take control of the earth. The demon was defeated and the evil entities army were scattered. Because of this feat he was declared the supreme God in the Taoist pantheon.
There are many stories featuring the Jade Emperor. One tells of how the 12 zodiac animals of Chinese astrology were chosen. The emperor wanted a visit from the animals of the earth to see how things were going. The cat was very excited to go and didn't want to miss it. He asked rat to wake him up. Rat was worried that he would look ugly next to the cat so didn't wake him. The pig went instead. The Jade Emperor was so pleased with the animals that he named each of the 12 years in the zodiac cycle after the animals who visited him. When the cat found out he was furious. That is why cats hate rats to this day.
Twelve is an important number in this diety's symbolism. Besides ordering the zodiac he also had twelve symbols embroidered on his robe - the sun, moon, a constellation of stars, mountain, dragon, pheasant, two goblets, seaweed, grain, fire, an axe head, and the fu symbol which denotes good from evil.
The Jade Emperor is still worshipped by Taoist followers today, and his feast day is part of Chinese New Year. Just before Chinese New Year he sends the Kitchen God to visit each household and report back on how the family is doing. They are then rewarded according to the reports. During his feast day offerings of incense and food are made. While he is a vegetarian, he accepts meat as he might have non vegetarian guests.
It is interesting that I pulled this card for help with being more positive. Looking into the mythology helped me understand why, as he seems to be a benevolent and kind god, who is concerned with serving others and keeping things ordered. Perhaps by helping others, being of service and keeping things organized it will help me to stay positive. The guidebook entry for the card advises organizing one's time and putting your environment in order by de-cluttering. I think this is good advice too.
What are your thoughts about Chinese mythology. If you know anything more, I would love to hear your comments.

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Update - Zoo Trip

It's been a couple of weeks since I did an update for you on what I've been up to. Mostly I have just been enjoying the summer. This past weekend me and the Mr. took the kids to the local zoo for my step son's 6th birthday.

The Assiniboine Park zoo recently received a upgrade as it is over 100 years old, having been started in 1904. It's received updates and has expanded over the years, but it's been a while since it got a facelift.
They have made a new enclosure for the star attraction at the zoo which is the polar bears. In fact they have a whole arctic animal area with new bigger enclosures for the animals, glass windows for unobstructed views and an observatory under the polar bears pool where you can see them swim. There's also seals, musk ox, wolves and foxes in the arctic area called "Journey to Churchill".

The above picture was taken from the underground observatory, while they were feeding the Bears. Hot tip - go there for 11am, that's feeding time. You will not fail to see bears! We went through the tunnels and saw the bears then the seals (in separate pools for obvious reasons). I thought the bears were done, but then one swam down and took a peak at me. It was adorable and I'm glad I got a pic.

I would of taken more photos, but the battery on my phone died. I will definitely take more photos next time.
I would like to go back again as the kids got tired half way through so I missed the butterfly hours and the lions and tigers (on my!) the zoo is also building a new attraction as well - a heavy horse barn. I can't wait to check that out.
Do you still visit zoos? Let me know the last time you went and what your favourite animals to see are.

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Deck Review - The Vintage Wisdom Oracle

This month for my daily draws on Instagram and Facebook I will be using the Vintage Wisdom Oracle by Victoria Mosley. I have been wanting this deck for a while and had the pleasure of receiving it in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I have been working with it a lot recently, and thought I would do a quick review for you all.

This deck is very well packaged, especially for a U.S. Games Systems deck. The box and cards are a good size, the cards are about the size of most Blue Angel decks, though the box and book slightly smaller than BA. The box is very sturdy and can be used to store the cards and book as it is not flimsy. There is also a lovely design with silver gilding on the box.

Companion Book
The companion book is 79 pages which may not seem like it would contain enough info, but it does. Space is saved as it does not include thumbnails or full pics of the cards. The author describes the inspiration for the cards in the first part, then the bulk of the book contains the meanings for each card. Each card gets about a page of info which I think is a good amount. Her thoughts on each of the cards are very insightful and I love that she both made the cards and wrote the book. Usually one person makes the art and one writes the book. It is refreshing to see the art and thought behind it from one person.
Finally the last part of the book includes sample spreads. These are not your typical spreads as she uses Victorian themes like the Penny Farthing spread and the Chatelaine spread.

Above is the card backing artwork. I love the art nouveau design and think it is very luxurious and evokes a sense of opulence.
The cards themselves are matte, which I think also matches with the vintage artwork. There is a simple olive coloured border on the cards. I personally do not think it distracts from the imagery. Though if you don't like borders, you may not like this.
The card stock is okay. I think it could stand to be a little thicker, but it is not the flimsiest I've seen either.

Above are three of the cards from the deck. The cards combine images from vintage postcards, pre-raphelite art, along with ancient and natural settings, and various flora and fauna. Birds, butterflies and flowers feature heavily in this deck. The result is feminine, haunting and nostalgic. For me it evokes thoughts of fairies, summer evenings, Edwardian and Victorian literature and art, and vague dreamy memories. I don't usually enjoy collage, but this work is beautifully done.

The artwork is beautiful and the packaging is sturdy and lovely, but how does it read? I'm happy to say I have had excellent readings from my deck for myself and have used it with clients with great results as well. It is great at augmenting tarot readings as it helps show overall themes. It is also a very gentle and positive deck.
Overall I would highly recommend this deck, especially if you've Victorian and Edwardian artwork.

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A Spiritual Workshop and a New Deck This Week

This week was a quiet one. Above you will find my end of the month mini haul. I picked a few items up at the workshop I attended this past week.  I went to the final instalment of the workshop Connecting With Spirit at Divine Clarity on Saturday.It was great being able to connect with likeminded people and be able to learn about such esoteric topics as the Universal Laws, Ascension, Death, Dreams Indigo kids etc. I love learning about these kind of subjects and integrating them into my practice wether personally spiritually or bringing some of the intuitive skills forth when reading for clients. Plus I find learning about all these kinds of topics fun and interesting.
 This week I also read for some really great clients who were very vibrant and filled with a lot of positive energy. It's great to be able to do something I love and watch my business slowly growing. I can't wait to build it up enough to have it be s full time gig. I'm not there yet, but I am getting there and in the meantime I get to do something on the side I love.
 Also this week, I had a unexpected delivery come by post. I was not expecting it until mid August, but it came super fast! I finally received the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck! I had ordered it in February only to get an email saying it was sold out. Finally I re-purchased it and it came. Below is my Unboxing video. I'll be working with this one in Srptember as my daily draw deck for those of you that follow me on Instagram or Facebook.