The Raven

Carrots

Carrots are one of my favorite foods. Here’s a great recipe to treat your taste-buds.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bites

Yield: 18-20 balls

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup shredded carrots, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until well mixed.  Using your hands, shape into 1-inch balls.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Serve cold.

Notes

Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Source: Adapted from She Knows

What is a person’s aura?

Auras are thought of as the unseen field of energy surrounding a person’s physical body. They’re affected by our mood and emotional state (and sometimes the states of others), and different colors are associated with different qualities and emotions. 

According to spiritual beliefs, an aura or energy field is a colored emanation said to enclose a human body or any animal or object.  In some esoteric positions, the aura is described as a subtle body.  Psychics and holistic medicine practitioners often claim to have the ability to see the size, color, and type of vibration of an aura.

In spiritual alternative medicine, the human being’s aura is seen as part of a hidden anatomy that reflects the state of being and health of a client, often understood to even comprise centers of vital force called chakras. Such claims are not supported by scientific evidence and are thus pseudoscience. When tested under scientifically controlled experiments, the ability to see auras has not been proven to exist.

The concept of auras was first popularized by Charles Webster Leadbeater, a former priest of the Church of England and a member of the mystic Theosophical Society. Leadbeater had studied theosophy in India, and believed he had the capacity to use his clairvoyant powers to make scientific investigations. In his book Man Visible and Invisible published in 1903, Leadbeater illustrated the aura of man at various stages of his moral evolution, from the “savage” to the saint.

In yoga participants attempt to focus on or enhance their “auric energy shield”. The concept of auric energy is spiritual and is concerned with metaphysics. Some people think that the aura carries a person’s soul after death.

There have been numerous attempts to capture an energy field around the human body, going as far back as photographs by French physician Hippolyte Baraduc in the 1890s. Supernatural interpretations of these images have often been the result of a lack of understanding of the simple natural phenomena behind them, such as heat emanating from a human body producing aura-like images under infrared photography.

You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow with Our Own Form of Bioluminescence

When you hear about bioluminescence, your mind probably jumps to deep-sea creatures like the angler fish, which uses millions of bacteria to make a light appear in front of its head to catch prey and illuminate your nightmares. But what about humans?

According to a study conducted in 2009 by Japanese researchers, human bioluminescence in visible light exists – it’s just too dim for our weak eyes to pick up on.

“The human body literally glimmers,” the team from the Tohoku Institute of Technology wrote in their study published in PLOS One. “The intensity of the light emitted by the body is 1,000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eyes.”

The team made this odd discovery using super-sensitive cameras to monitor five healthy male volunteers for 20 minutes every 3 hours inside a light-tight room for three days straight (in between sleep, of course).

They found that participants ‘glowed’ throughout the day, with the brightest spots appearing around the forehead, neck, and cheeks in the late afternoon. The dimmest bioluminescence was recorded late at night.

And this wasn’t infrared radiation caused by heat – despite how the images might appear. Those signals are actually from photons of visible light (light particles) not caused by heat:

So, what’s going on here? Well, it’s actually a pretty interesting side-effect of our metabolisms.

As Elliot Bentley sums up for The Guardian, human bioluminescence is “the result of highly reactive free radicals produced through cell respiration interacting with free-floating lipids and proteins”.

These excited molecules can then interact with fluorophores, which can emit a photon, and boom, you’re actually glowing.

The team thinks the participants’ heads glowed the most because this part of the body generally sees more sunlight, affecting the melanin inside the skin and triggering the illuminating reaction better than in other areas.

Further backing up the hypothesis that animal bioluminescence is attached to metabolic rates, the researchers suggest that the glow could be linked to the body’s biological clock.

So, in the late afternoon when we’re burning the most energy, we glow the brightest.

The team hopes that in the future, we might be able to scan a person’s body surface to check light levels, indicating possible medical conditions that express themselves in changes in metabolism.

“If you can see the glimmer from the body’s surface, you could see the whole-body condition,” team member Masaki Kobayashi told Charles Q. Choi at Live Science.

So the next time someone tells you you’re glowing, you’ll know they’re speaking the truth.

What To Expect During a Reading

While Kathryn Grace, founder of Aura Shop in Santa Monica California, says that it’s not always possible to see aura colors with the naked eye, we can usually feel them. Think about how certain people give off a super warm and friendly vibe (or really negative energy) even before they say a word; that’s the aura at work. (You can also take a quick aura quiz if you’re curious about your aura color.)

Aura Colors

Red

If you have red in your aura, you are likely an energetic and fiery person, according to aura reader Rachelle Terry. Red auras indicate someone who is “quick at putting thoughts into action” and “doesn’t read instruction manuals.”

Orange

An orange aura is related to the sacral chakra, which deals with creativity and sexual energy. Orange in the aura may then indicate flowing creative energy.  Additionally, if orange shows up in your aura, it might mean you “tend to learn lessons from experience rather than theory” and “often have to learn things the hard way.”

Yellow

As you might have guessed with this cheery color, yellow auras signify someone who is sunny and charismatic. They may also have a magnetic personality that attracts lots of different people.

Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra, which deals with your identity and confidence. Yellow in your aura, then, is a good sign that you’re feeling confident and empowered.

Green

Green is one color associated with the heart chakra, so it relates to matters of the heart: love for yourself and others, compassion, and forgiveness.  If you have green in your aura, you probably love “music, nature, and not being tied down.” Because a green aura indicates a particularly open heart,  there may be a tendency to be easily influenced by one’s environment or other people, making boundaries important for this aura color.

Pink

If there’s pink in your aura (the other color, along with green, associated with the heart chakra), you likely live from the heart. You’re “kind, caring, and loving.” Like green, seeing pink is a sign that your heart chakra is open and receptive. Celebrate your kind and compassionate nature but remember the need for boundaries.

Blue

Blue in someone’s aura is a sign of a powerful mind—but one that might be a bit in the clouds. Those with lots of blue in their aura “operate more in the mental realms” and need to remember to ground themselves. But they can also be very insightful.  Blue is the color of the throat chakra, governing expression, and truth. If your throat chakra is clear and flowing, the blue in your aura would signify the outward expression of the insights you hold inside.

Purple

Purple auras get a lot of attention because this is the color associated with strong intuition and sensitivity, and great mental depths.  Purple is the color of the third-eye chakra, which deals with intuition. If you have purple in your aura, you may have some psychic, empathic, or intuitive abilities.

Indigo

An indigo aura often indicates a highly sensitive and empathic person who absorbs thoughts, feelings, emotions, and traumas of others.  And the darker the indigo aura, the more sensitive the person with darker shades of indigo indicating saturation of this ability and an overwhelm of others’ energies within themselves.

White

It’s a bit rare to see concentrations of white in one’s aura. But if you do it is the sign of a very quick mind—and a tendency for perfectionism and nervous energy.  White is linked to the crown chakra, which connects us to universal energy and oneness. To see it in your aura would mean you have a strong sense of connection to something larger than yourself.

Black

If there are black or particularly dark areas of your aura this isn’t actually the “color” of your aura, per se, but rather a sign that part of you is exhausted or fatigued.  In this case, take some time to ground, heal, and balance your energy levels to brighten up that aura a bit, and bring your energetic field (and chakras) back into balance.

Rainbow

On the slight chance that you have a rainbow aura that displays more than two colors, it’s a sign that you’re going through a super busy period or are in the midst of a change.  You might feel extra energized and confident when your aura is giving off rainbow vibes, so take advantage of it by getting out and meeting new people and doing new things. On the other side of the coin, this busy energy can lead to burnout and overwhelm, so be sure to make time for relaxation too.

The takeaway

Our aura is constantly changing—but for many people, one or two colors will consistently show up. Whether one day you’re blue, yellow, or red, understanding the energy of your aura at any given point can help you approach the day with more ease.

Resources:

HUMANS  By JOSH HRALA

MindBodyGreen

PlusOne

The Guardian

Communities

A community is a group of people who have a shared sense of belonging and identity around which they can coalesce.

Communities can be small, like a neighborhood, or large, like a global community. They may be geographically defined, or, defined by shared interests and beliefs. In general, they are support networks that provide a sense of security and comfort to the members. They can also be important places for networking and resource-sharing.

Examples of Communities

Business Communities

community is a group of people who have a shared interest in the well-being of businesses. This includes business owners, employees, customers, and suppliers.

We might also sometimes call this the entrepreneur community.

The business community can come together to promote the interests of businesses, or to advocate for certain policies. They may also provide resources and support to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

A great example is LinkedIn

City Communities

A city can also be considered a community because all people within the city are united in their shared interest in improving or maintaining their city’s culture and livability.

A city is often administered by an organized political group such as the city council which acts as the decision-making hub for the community. Similarly, libraries, schools, and sporting groups act as meeting points for members of a city.

The great city I live in is a wonderful community and even has a Community Club every citizen is a member of.

Ethnic Communities

An ethnic community is a group of people who share the same cultural heritage. This includes shared traditions, language, and values.

Ethnic communities who are expatriates of their ethnic homeland will often coalesce in a specific neighborhood within a city. The quintessential example of this is the Chinatown neighborhood which emerges in most major world cities.

This is a place where Chinese immigrants often start out their new lives where they can communicate with other expatriates who can help them settle into their new lives.

BlackPlanet: Initially, BlackPlanet was designed as a way for African-American professionals to network. Since then, it’s grown and evolved as a site operating under the principles of Web 2.0. Members can read other members’ blogs, watch music videos, chat with one another, look for new careers and discuss news. Though BlackPlanet is not restricted to any community, this site is more popular amongst African-Americans. This site helped Obama to connect to nearly 200,000 potential supporters.

Farming Communities

A farming community is a group of people who share the common interest of working in agriculture. Small towns whose economies are largely dependent on farming are generally referred to as farming communities. They’re typically very supportive of one another and pitch in to give each other support, but also often skeptical of government regulation and interference.

Hobby Communities

A hobby community is a group of people who share the same interests and hobbies. They often come together to socialize and enjoy their shared activities.

Examples of hobby communities include book clubs, knitting clubs, chess clubs, and collectibles.

People who are passionate about their hobbies often have a great sense of community and camaraderie with other people who share the same passion.

One such community is Collect to Connect; connecting collectors. 

Online Forum Communities

Web-based social networking services make it possible to connect people who share interests and activities across political, economic, and geographic borders.  An online forum is a website where people can have discussions about a variety of topics.

There is a plethora of on-line communities now. The following is a list of the largest social networking services, in order by the number of active users, as of April 2021, as published by Statista:

ServiceActive users (in millions)
Facebook2,853
YouTube2,291
WhatsApp2,000
Instagram1,386
WeChat1,250
TikTok1,000
QQ606
Douyin600
Sina Weibo566
Telegram550
Kuaishou481
Twitter478
Pinterest478
Reddit430
Quora300
Snapchat293

There are also a few unknown but up-n-coming sites:

www.earthlingsconnect.com

www.budtobloom.community

www.tagged.com

www.mybscreator.com

www.myheritage.com

Philanthropic Communities

A philanthropic community is a group of people who are dedicated to promoting the well-being of others, often through charitable work.  Philanthropic communities are often formed around a cause or social issue that members are passionate about. For example, there may be a community dedicated to fighting poverty or one that works to promote education in developing countries.  Members of philanthropic communities often have a strong sense of social responsibility and altruism.  An example of a philanthropic community is the effective altruism movement.

Political Communities

A political community is a group of people who share the same political beliefs or ideology and who have come together to leverage their power in numbers.  Political communities can be local, national, or international in scope. For example, within a nation, a political community may form a political party such as the Green Party, the Democratic Party, or the Republican Party.  Internationally, it may take the form of a bloc of nations such as the Soviet bloc, the European Union, or the Arab League.

An example of a political community is www.truthsocial.com

School Communities

A school community is a group of education stakeholders affiliated with a school, typically students, staff, and parents. The parents and community committees within schools are influential decision-making bodies where the community can come together. The school principal is the executive leader of the community.  School communities might come together to make decisions about the teaching methods the school will use, the teachers they will employ, and the new infrastructure projects that may be necessary.

There is also another type of school community called Classmates where you can reconnect with old friends from your school days. www.classmates.com

Sporting Communities

A sporting community is a group of people who share a love of a particular sport.  Examples include the swimming, golfing, football, and baseball communities.

There may also be close-knit fan groups who feel connected to the players. For example, the fans of the Seattle Seahawks call themselves the “12th man” and consider themselves to be an important part of the team.

Connecting fans with players is walls.io

Tribal Communities

A tribal community is a group of people who identify with a tribe. In North America, these are indigenous tribes who come together to continue their traditional culture, language, and arts.

The largest Native American tribes are the Cherokee, the Navajo, and the Sioux.

One way for tribes to connect is the Facebook group socialdistancepowwow

International Communities

Zorpia  is a social network that has a large international community. Zorpia’s features include profile customization, networking features and an incredibly detailed search. Zorpia has an impressive music section featuring popular artists like Ashlee Simpson, Vanessa Hudgens, Alanis Morissette and more. 

Cryptocurrency Communities

Cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin is the best known example, are decentralized tokens that serve as mediums of exchange and stores of values.

In short, they serve the purpose of subverting conventional currencies in the digital world. They can be used to help people evade taxes and government detection.

Cryptocurrencies first caught the world’s attention in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis that demonstrated the disproportionate amount of power central banks had acquired over the global financial system, and by extension, the lives of billions of people across the world.

To break the monopoly of central banks, software engineers proposed to shift the power to print money away from central banks, and thus to decentralize the global monetary system.

For a long time however, cryptocurrencies were not taken seriously. They were seen at best as a countercultural movement composed of shady, anonymous forum posters confined to the virtual world.

Crypto enthusiasts, however, were more than just another underground internet subculture. They were driven by a desire to disrupt one of the most fundamental pillars of human society – the banking system.

Even today, cryptocurrencies divide the opinion of national policy makers, with the majority still not willing to accept cryptocurrencies as legal tender.

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the different types of communities that exist. There are many more, and new ones are forming all the time.

Communities provide support, connection, and a sense of belonging for their members. They can be an important part of people’s lives and important support networks.

Today, with the rise of the internet, it’s easier than ever to find and connect with people who share your interests, no matter where you are in the world.

Small Business Grants for Women

I’m all about empowering women so here are a few grants for women-owned businesses.

If you’re a woman who has a business or wants to start one, take a gander at these grants.

Understandably, the competition for small-business grants is fierce, and it takes considerable time and effort to win them. But if you’re up for the challenge, grants can be a great way to fund your new or existing business.

If the application window isn’t open yet, set a reminder. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to craft the perfect application and gain a competitive edge.

1. The Amber Grant

WomensNet founded the “Amber Grant” in 1998. The grant was set up with one goal in mind: to honor the memory of a very special young woman, Amber Wigdahl, who died at just 19 years old — before realizing her business dreams.

Today, WomensNet carries on that tradition, proudly giving away at least $30,000 every month in Amber Grant money. In recognition of the diversity of businesses owned by women, we’ve also expanded our grant-giving to include “Marketing Grants,” “Business Category Grants,” as well as two “$25,000 Year End Grants.”

The nice thing about this grant is you don’t have to use corporate language or fancy synonyms. Judges look for passionate and heartfelt ideas and businesses — from dog walkers to scientific investors.

Again, the application is straightforward: name, company, and other basics. You just type a few sentences about your business, what you’d do with the money, and any other comments you think will help set you apart.

Note: there is a $15 application fee, but it’s totally worth it if you win.

2. Idea Café Small Business Grants

OK, so this isn’t solely for women-owned businesses, but the majority of the grant winners have been women, so it’s worth mentioning.

For example, the recipient of the 19th Small Business Grant was Angela Pullo, the owner of Mew Haven Cat Café.  Mew Haven cat cafe is a coffee shop with adoptable shelter cats. With an hourly entry fee, people can go in and play with cats. Some people can`t have cats, and this provides a form of stress relief. Some people who want to adopt can get to know the cats` personalities before they adopt. Check them out at http://www.mewhavencatcafe.com/

This $1,000 grant is for anyone who creatively solves an everyday problem. It’s not an astounding amount of money, but it’s a great start, so keep an eye open for when the newest application is posted.

3.  National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

Annually, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) awards numerous grant prizes of $4,000 each to its members. To become a member, you need to pay a $120 membership fee per year. As a member, you receive networking opportunities, mentorship resources, discounts on business products, and legislative advocacy.

In order to qualify for their Growth Grants program, along with being a NASE member, you have to show a specific business need that the grant can help. So, to show how the grant helps your business’s growth and success, you need to include a resume and a business plan.

4. FedEx Grant

The first winner of the FedEx grant was Nicole Snow and even though this isn’t necessarily just for women entrepreneurs, women small business owners are heavily encouraged to apply. Since 2012, the Small Business Grant Contest has awarded more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes to over 100 small businesses. The contest, which awards unique and innovative small businesses, has drawn more than 50,000 entrants—including nearly 18,000 in 2022. We love seeing our winners continue to grow.

5. IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database

IFundWomen is a grant marketplace that specializes in funding and coaching for women-owned businesses. You can submit one application and when IFundWomen adds a grant from an enterprise partner, it will match the partner’s grant criteria to applications within the database.

If your business is a match, you’ll receive a notification and invitation to apply. Previous grant partners have included companies like Visa, Neutrogena and American Express.

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a database of federally sponsored grants, including grants for small businesses. Although these grants are not exclusive to women-owned businesses, this database is a great place to start if you’re looking for free financing.  To apply, you must obtain a Unique Entity ID for your business (a 12-character alphanumeric identification number), register to do business with the U.S. government through its System for Award Management website and create an account at Grants.gov.  To view grants specifically for small businesses, filter the results on the left side of the page under “eligibility.”

You can also look into SBA loans, which are affordable business loans for small business owners. SBA has a number of resources available for female entrepreneurs.

In addition, keep a note of small business trends to ensure you’re on the right track when opening or enhancing your business.

As an alternative to obtaining a grant you can also “Crowdfund”

Creating a fundraising campaign on a crowdfunding platform can help you get financing. 

Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to tap into the power of the internet to raise money for their small businesses. It not only gives business owners a relatively inexpensive way to bankroll a fledgling business idea, it also helps promote a company’s product or service on social media and build a base of enthusiastic customers.

Setting up a crowdfunding campaign is simple: You use a crowdfunding platform to create a profile for your business, project or service, set a funding goal and publish your request online. Interested people can then give cash donations to your cause, often in exchange for company assets in the form of rewards or equity. Sharing links to your listing can generate further interest and more funding.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding?

For small-business owners, the benefits of crowdfunding are twofold: You find funding for your business idea and get the word out about your product or service.

Think of crowdfunding like networking on steroids. Instead of attending events with a limited number people to drum up support for your business, you reach a broader group of potential investors. This often starts within your own social sphere as you share your request with family and friends via social networks.

It’s also more of a grant than a loan, because you don’t have to pay back the funds or worry about interest rates.

Female entrepreneurs tend to have more success with crowdfunding platforms than their male counterparts. According to “Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential,” a report from PwC and the Crowdfunding Center, women across the globe are 32% more likely to reach their financing goals using crowdfunding than men.

The report suggests that crowdfunding levels the playing field for women because it opens financing to investors outside of traditionally male-dominated venture capitalist firms. Women also tend to use more personal language in their pitches, which helps foster emotional connections, while men take a more formal approach, often using business jargon.

Still, as the report found, crowdfunding is not guaranteed cash — just 22% of campaigns led by women reached their financing goals. You don’t know exactly how much financing you’ll walk away with, and if you don’t hit your funding goal, that amount could be zero.

What are the different types of crowdfunding?

The two most common types of crowdfunding for small business owners are rewards-based and equity-based.

Rewards-based crowdfunding

In rewards-based crowdfunding, donors receive a product or service related to the project, with the value depending on the amount donated. For instance, a $5 donation might be rewarded with a handwritten thank you card, while $50 or $100 might bring early access to your company’s product or service.

Rewards-based crowdfunding is a good idea for small business owners looking to get their business off the ground without being beholden to shareholders or weighed down by loan repayments.

Rewards-based crowdfunding platforms: Kickstarter, Indiegogo

Equity-based crowdfunding

In equity-based crowdfunding, donors receive shares in the company; the number is based on the amount of the contribution. Contributors choose to invest in companies they believe will be successful in the future, as the success of the company directly influences the return on donors’ investments.

This method of crowdfunding is a good idea for small businesses with solid growth plans. You’ll be left with investors in your company, which could result in potential hiccups, including increased scrutiny from regulators.

Equity-based crowdfunding platforms: Republic, CircleUp

Fundable, a crowdfunding site specifically for small businesses, allows you to choose between equity- and rewards-based funding.

Keys to crowdfunding success

Your business stands out in a crowd: A successful crowdfunding campaign relies on your ability to capture potential investors’ interest. It means you have a unique product that fills a consumer void and a strong personal or business story that compels investors to give you a chance.

Investors value your reward: You’ll want to make sure you offer either equity or a reward that is compelling enough to capture interest.

You have a wide network: Having family and friends willing to support and promote your cause can amplify your fundraising efforts. Without a strong promotional base, it’s harder to reach your financing goals.

References:

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

https://www.nerdwallet.com

Psychopomp

I recently received an email from a newsletter I subscribe to and in it was this story:

My mother and I took a taxi to visit my father’s grave for the first time the other day.

The graveyard is called Karşıyaka — “the other shore”. The name doesn’t refer to a seashore; Ankara is a long way from the sea. The taxi driver finds the plot for us, or we’d be lost.  He looks down at the little note we gave him, walks along the rows, and finally points out the granite gravestone that has my father’s name carved into it.

When we stood shivering at the same spot, in the middle of winter, this section of the massive necropolis was a patch of muddy, icy ground in the dismal steppe wasteland. We couldn’t see much for our tears and for the falling snow. Now the same patch is tightly packed with graves, built up in stone and bare earth sectioned off by kerbstones.

The taxi driver, seeing us as absolutely useless, takes charge. He calls to a group of gravediggers working nearby to ask them about planting the plot with some evergreen ground cover and winter pansies. He herds the little boys who come to water the flowers, divvies the tip between them, and then shoos them off. When I ask about the little hollow at the foot of the kerb enclosure, he informs me that it’s for the birds to drink from. The birds carry your prayers for the dead. He duly fetches a bottle of water from the boot of his taxi to fill the hollow with water.

On the drive home, he tells us that he’s the head of the taxi stand and that we should call him if ever we need anything. He hands me his card, and I read his name — it’s Hayati, meaning, “of life”, or “vital”.

That’s when I realize that we’ve been under the care of a “psychopomp”, a guide to the underworld. As I thank Hayati Bey for his help and pay him his fare, I’m thinking about how myths can still help us recognize the patterns in our modern-day lives, and if not ease our passage, then at least give us a diverting story to retell.

So being a lover of words I had to look up “psychopomp”.  The definition is (in Greek mythology) a guide of souls to the place of the dead.

  • the spiritual guide of a living person’s soul.
  • “a psychopomp figure who stays by her and walks in her dreams”

Psychopomps are creatures, spirits, angels, demons, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to guide them.

Classical examples of a psychopomp

The ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the deity Yama in Hinduism, the Greek ferryman Charon and god Hermes, the Roman god Mercury, the Norse Valkyries, the Aztec Xolotl, Slavic Morana, and the Etruscan Vanth.

In modern religion

Heibai Wuchang, literally “Black and White Impermanence”, are two Deities in Chinese folk religion in charge of escorting the spirits of the dead to the underworld.

The form of Shiva as Tarakeshwara in Hinduism performs a similar role, although leading the soul to moksha rather than an afterlife. Additionally, in the Bhagavata Purana, the Visnudutas and Yamadutas are also messengers for their respective masters, Vishnu and Yama. Their role is illustrated vividly in the story of Ajamila.

In the Persian tradition, Daena, the Zoroastrian self-guide, appears as a beautiful young maiden to those who deserve to cross the Chinvat Bridge or a hideous old hag to those who do not.

In Islam, Azrael plays the role of the angel of death who carries the soul up to the heavens. However, he only acts with the permission of God.

A Jewish Psychopomp is the archangel Samael whose role in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore is both as Angel of death and accuser.

In many cultures

The shaman fulfills the role of the psychopomp. This may include not only accompanying the soul of the dead but also helping at birth, to introduce the newborn child’s soul to the world.  This also accounts for the contemporary title of “midwife to the dying” or “End of Life Doula”, which is another form of psychopomp work.

In Filipino culture, ancestral spirits (anito) function as psychopomps. When the dying calls out to specific dead persons (e.g. parents, partners), the spirits of the latter are supposedly visible to the former. The spirits, who traditionally wait at the foot of the deathbed, retrieve (Tagalog: sundô) the soul soon after death and escort it into the afterlife.

In Christianity, Saint Peter, Michael the Archangel, and Jesus are thought of as psychopomps either as leading the dead to heaven or, as in the case of Peter, allowing them through the gates.

The underworld is perhaps the most important motif in mythology and literature – tied up with ideas about life, the afterlife, belief, culture, storytelling, and the psyche, it’s the setting of humanity’s reckoning with the ephemeral nature of mortality.

Psychology

In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is a mediator between the unconscious and conscious realms. It is symbolically personified in dreams as a wise man or woman, or sometimes as a helpful animal.

The underworld is a world of adventure, the underworld is a world of the dead.

In dreams, or in your Mind’s Eye, the “Threshold of Adventure” is when you leave the Ordinary World behind. The rest of your story takes place in this symbolic underworld until your psyche crosses the threshold once again and returns home.

Who are some of the Psychopomps?

Charon

Charon is the ferryman who, after receiving a soul from Hermes, would guide them across the rivers Styx and/or Acheron to the underworld. At funerals, the deceased traditionally had an obol placed over their eye or under their tongue, so they could pay Charon to take them across.

Thanatos

Also known as the Pale Horseman, the same as that of the ancient Greek personification of death, and the only one of the horsemen to be named.  His counterpart in Roman mythology is Mors or Letum. Thanatos is the son of Nyx (Goddess of Night) and brother of Hypnos (God of Sleep).

Anubis

Depicted as a protector of graves as early as the First Dynasty (c. 3100 – c. 2890 BC).  Anubis is a jackal-headed deity who presides over the afterlife as well as the patron god of lost souls and the helpless. When the dead are being judged by Osiris, Anubis places their hearts on one side of a scale and a feather (representing Maat) on the other.

Yama

Yama and Yami are, in some myths, the first humans and creators of the human race, but in other versions, Yama is the first human to die and so the first to pass into the next world.  Yama (Sanskrit: यम), is the Hindu god of Death and Justice and is responsible for the dispensation of law and punishment of sinners in his abode, Yamaloka. Yama is also one of the oldest deities in the pantheon and some of his earliest appearances are found in the Rigveda. 

Mercury

Mercury is a major god in Roman religion and mythology. He is the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld.  He was awarded a magic wand by Apollo, which later turned into the caduceus, the staff with intertwined snakes.

The Caduceus was a mark of professionalism long before there were accreditations to be had. Using the two snakes is a nod to those efforts to make the trade professional and accountable. But if you want to be accurate, it’s the staff with one snake you’re after.

Interesting side note: there is also a snake staff in the Bible: According to the Bible, Nehushtan was a metal serpent mounted on a staff that Moses had made, by God’s command, to cure the Israelites of snake bites while wandering in the desert. The bronze serpent on a rod, whose mere contemplation is sufficient to cure anyone bitten by a snake, symbolizes salvation. The image thus foreshadows Christ’s crucifixion, which brings redemption to humankind and triumphs over the mortal serpent of Original Sin.

Valkyries

A Valkyrie is a figure in Norse mythology depicted as a warrior woman on horseback, a wolf or boar, and armed with a spear. A Valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who guide the souls of the deceased on one of two paths. Selecting among half of those who die in battle go to Fólkvangr, Freyja’s afterlife, and the other half go to Odin’s hall called Valhalla. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar.

Xolotl

In Aztec mythology, Xolotl was a god of fire and lightning. He was commonly depicted as a dog-headed man and was a soul guide for the dead.  In addition, the Aztecs believed Xolotl was the Sunset god; he accompanied and guarded the Sun into the land of Death every night. The world was said to have been destroyed four times before our present age. Xolotl was said to have transformed into a salamander (Axolotls), among other forms, to avoid being sacrificed so the sun and moon could move in the sky. 

Note about Axolotls:  These Mexican amphibians are impressive enough on their own, with the ability to regenerate lost limbs and stay “young” throughout their lives.

Morana

Some medieval Christian sources such as the Czech 13th century Mater Verborum compare her to the Greek goddess Hecate, associating her with sorcery.  Morana has many names: Marzanna (in Polish), Morė (in Lithuanian), Marena (in Russian), Mara (in Ukrainian), Morana (in Czech, Slovene, and Serbo-Croatian), Morena (in Slovak and Macedonian) or Mora (in Bulgarian).  She is a pagan goddess associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and the rebirth of nature. She was imagined either as a black-haired, pale woman with fangs and claws or similar to Baba Yaga – as an ugly, old witch.

Vanth

Vanth is an Etruscan Goddess of the Underworld, perhaps a psychopomp, whose presence indicates recent or impending death. Her character is a little ambiguous—for while She is present at these scenes She does not usually take an active role, and thus some authorities call Her an “angel”, others a “demon”.  She is almost always shown with great arching wings that spread out behind Her and which have probably contributed to the appellation of “angel”. Sometimes Her wings are painted with eyes, perhaps to represent all-seeing and inevitable death. She carries a torch with which to light the dark Underworld. She can also be shown with a key with which to open the tomb or gate to the Underworld; and/or with snakes twined around both forearms, their heads in Her hands.  She is quite frequently depicted as a partner to Charun, the Etruscan version of the Greek Charon, the Underworld guardian whose job it was to ferry souls over the river Styx. One favorite way of pairing them was to paint one on each side of the door of a tomb as if guarding the entrance.

Shinigami

Shinigami are gods or supernatural spirits that invite humans toward death in certain aspects of Japanese religion and culture. The death spirit’s job is to invite mortal humans to death, which sounds much more polite than having your soul reaped by a tall skeleton in a robe. However, just which kami are true Shinigami is not always clear.  The word “Shinigami” is made from two other Japanese words: “shi” and “kami”. These literally mean “death” and “god”.  In Japanese mythology, the world is filled with kami of various sorts. Everything in the world has a spirit that governs it. There are kami of the sky, kami of the rivers, kami of luck, and, of course, kami of death. These are the Shinigami.  Shinigami have been described as monsters, helpers, and creatures of darkness.

Grim Reapers

Despite their Western origin, many people will refer to both the Death Note characters and the folkloric Shinigami using the Japanese name instead of the English translation or even “Grim Reaper”.  Death is frequently imagined as a personified force. In some mythologies, a character known as the Grim Reaper causes the victim’s death by coming to collect that person’s soul.  Death, especially when personified as a man or skeleton, is described with a scythe.  The Grim Reaper has often – falsely – been depicted as an evil spirit that preys on mortals. In truth, however, they are neither evil nor good, merely a force of nature and order.  Death makes its home in the Realm of Death, a dimension normally inaccessible to the living.  Just like other psychopomps, the Grim Reaper’s job is to escort departed souls to the afterlife. The Reaper doesn’t necessarily take a soul to Heaven, Hell, or any other religious afterlife. It simply helps the recently deceased cross the boundary between this life and whatever’s on the other side.

Digital Creatives – Five Great Programs

Being a Digital Creative is a great way to earn an income, either from home as a side hustle or “Gig” or in an office as a team member.  Creative jobs are in high demand right now.  Some of the hottest jobs available are proof that creativity and technology work well together.

What exactly does a Digital Director do? A Digital Creative or “Director” determines the creative vision of a brand or project and manifests that vision through digital, print, and film installations.

Creative Directors can easily make over 100K a year.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that creative jobs could get a major hiring boost in the years ahead, as jobs for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are expected to grow 10% through 2026.

Surveying advertising and marketing hiring managers, research found that creative jobs and tech jobs are becoming even more intertwined, with employers actively seeking expertise in mobile and UX design, along with interactive art direction.

Cool Job Titles … (a little laughter here)

Chief Robot Whisperer.

Director of First Impressions.

Culture Operations Manager.

Software Ninjaneer.

Digital Overlord.

Director of Storytelling.

What is the highest-paying creative job?

Creative director.

Art director.

Senior graphic designer.

Animator.

Game designer.

Web developer.

Marketing designer.

Krita

Krita is another professional-grade drawing program that is completely free and open-source. You can create conceptual art, comics, and complex illustrations using many of its powerful tools.

In case you are not aware, Krita is one of the best Linux apps and many professionals use it for digital painting.

Pros

Free and open-source

Create art and comics

Supports Raster graphics

Advance layers

Cons

Tools can be overwhelming

Download (Free)

Concepts

Concepts is one of the few Procreate alternatives that offers a similar level of touchscreen controls on an infinite canvas. It’s specially optimized for the Surface Pen, Surface Pro X and other ARM64 based Windows 10 devices. The best part is that if you have a touchscreen Windows laptop then you can access unique tools like the color dial. Further, Concepts offers almost zero latency just like Procreate.

You get a huge canvas where you can create illustrations, sketches, and design plans. Besides that, Concepts supports tilt and pressure modes which will help you while sketching intricate details with high precision. And just like other drawing apps, you get many kinds of pencils, brushes, and pens.

There is also this different canvas type where you can select the background from various textures and preset papers. If you are using an active stylus like Wacom (or another Apple pencil alternative), you can leverage its velocity feature for flexible sketching and drawing.

Pros

Optimized for Surface devices

Flexible brushes

Best for illustrations and sketches

Unique Dial

Cons

Experience differs on other Windows laptops

Download (Free, Paid plan starts at $4.99/month)

MediBang Paint

Create Comics and Manga with MediBang Paint. The app offers various tools including over 800 tones/backgrounds, brushes, over 50 brushes, and 20 fonts style. It’s a simple and powerful tool for people who are just getting started with their comics or manga creator’s journey and want a tool that can help them learn and improve.  The app also offers cloud syncing across platforms. To sum up, for budding and professional comic creators, MediBang Paint can be a great tool, more so when it’s completely free to use.

Pros

Best for Manga and Comic creators

More than 50 brushes

Over 800 backgrounds

Beginner-friendly

Cons

None

Download (Free)

Inkscape

Inkscape is on this list mainly because it’s completely free and open-source. You can use Inkscape for vector drawing on your Windows 10 laptop. Plus you get pro tools like flyout, anchor, and smart navigation.  The program is quite advanced and comes with all the controls that you need for creating complex paintings, arts, logos, and more. Further, you have access to tools like Bezier and spiro curves, layers, color profiles, and a powerful text tool. To conclude, Inkscape may not be the very best in terms of raster graphics editing, but it’s a solid program for vector designing.

Pros

Free and open-source

Advance color profiles and layers

Powerful text tool

Cons

Not best for raster graphics editing

Download (Free)

Sketchbook

Sketchbook is a widely popular program for digital drawing, and it’s recommended as the best Procreate alternative for Windows 10. The best part is that this powerful program is now available for free to everyone. You just need to sign up for a free account and you can use the fully-featured version of Sketchbook on Windows 10 without any limitations. It runs phenomenally well in full-screen mode with a huge canvas having multiple tools, and layers.

You can even use an active stylus on this app, and it supports palm rejection too, in case you have a touchscreen Windows 10 device. Simply put, Sketchbook by Autodesk does not need much introduction when it comes to drawing and sketching.

Pros

Free to use

Supports Palm Rejection

Infinite canvas

Supports third-party stylus

Cons

Requires learning curve

Download (Free)

Download (Pro $19.99)

Weatherwax Trail

Hidden in plain sight in the small town of Ocean Shores

Located on the northwest side of Grays Harbor, Ocean Shores is a six-thousand-acre peninsula stretching six miles long and two miles wide. 

It is a mostly flat sandy land with an area where a true forest exists just in the middle of it all.  Roughly in the center of town is a 121-acre parcel known as the Weatherwax property, the Weatherwax nature preserve, or simply the Weatherwax.  

It contains a mixture of temperate coastal forest with old-growth trees, diverse forest vegetation, and habitat; 17 acres of rare mature forested wetlands; part of Duck Lake, and 1.2 miles of looping trails.

The story of the Weatherwax nature preserve started more than 65 years ago when Marian Weatherwax, born about 1909 to Anthony and May Rosmond Abel, became that parcel’s owner.   At that time most of the peninsula was a cattle ranch. Ralph Minard used the area as a cattle ranch from 1929 until he sold it to the Ocean Shores Investment Corporation in 1960 for a reported $1,000,000.  Marian refused to sell her land for the first 30 years after Ocean Shores started to become a community.  It was still 8 more years before the­ first formal discussion about sparing the Weatherwax property from development occurred at a meeting in the home of Lillian and Gordon Broadbent.  Mona and Gary Kohler, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, were also present along with Gene and Jane Swygard, and Ginny Thrupp.  Or so the story goes.

The following year, Mayor Pete Jordan worked out the city’s purchase of the property. For several years, the city looked at a variety of possible uses for the land, including a public park, golf course expansion, an aquarium, or housing.  Preservation vs. development became a political issue in the 2007 city council and mayoral elections. That year, the council voted to surplus part of the property on Duck Lake, with a developer hoping to put 27 houses on it along with a couple of fancy restaurants that people could boat up to. But the Citizens for Balanced Growth, a group started by the late John Clark, a retired marine biologist,­ led suit against the action. Soon after that, a pro-preservation council and mayor were voted in.  The following year, the council placed the issue on an advisory ballot; and that November, Ocean Shores citizens voted to retain all 120 acres.

The City of Ocean Shores will preserve, enhance, and operate the bank, referred to as the “Weatherwax Wetland and Habitat Bank,” and will permanently protect the bank site through a conservation easement. “After an advisory vote of the people, the City of Ocean Shores worked for several years to preserve and enhance these wetlands and the associated habitat,” said Mayor of Ocean Shores, Crystal Dingler. “We are very excited about achieving this goal through this collaborative effort with the Corps and Ecology.” 

There are numerous rules and regulations in terms of the use and maintenance of Weatherwax Wetland and Habitat Bank. The city of Ocean Shores is supposedly not allowed to advertise it as a recreation area and dogs must be leashed. If at any time the Trust who owns it doesn’t like what’s going on with it, they can close it to the public. It has been reported “that the community made quite a fuss at the time the bank was established, but the mayor was determined to give it away to make money. The debt was, at the time, quite high. To date, we have sold only a small portion of the mitigation credits.”

If you ever find yourself in Ocean Shores, WA, check out this 1.2-mile loop trail. Note: it is not really a “loop”.  It is generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 20 minutes to complete. This is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of the day.

The signs aren’t clear as the trail also connects with the Power Line Trail. The markers should be better positioned. This little trail feels like a hidden world in the middle of town.  It is very easy, well-worn, and mostly flat. Just watch out for the roots. 

It is easy to be looking around at all the beauty and fall flat by tripping.  Also, beware of wildlife, including bears, cougars, raccoons, and deer.  Note:  It is illegal in Ocean Shores to feed the wild animals … “Keep the wildlife wild”. 

For some people, it just feels great and like “another world” away from the crowds.  There are a couple of lovely benches along the way and some nice look-outs over the water.  

The main trail dead-ends into Duck Lake.  From there we recommend turning around and going back the same way you came in. 

While Weatherwax is owned by the City of Ocean Shores and open to the public, the Coastal Interpretive Center holds a stewardship contract with the City to properly maintain the site. Since part of the Weatherwax area is an official wetland bank, there are specific state and federally mandated stewardship requirements.

Brief History of Ocean Shores

It’s first inhabitants were native tribes of the Washington Pacific Coast alongside tribes occupying neighboring Chehalis valley who used this area seasonally for food gathering, trading, and socializing. In May 1792, Captain Robert Gray, a Boston trader anchored his ship the Columbia in our harbor where the “lone tree,” a spruce, stood sentinel as a landmark for more than a century.

Lone Tree Vista Rock

Matthew McGee, the first non-native to permanently reside on the peninsula settled here around 1860 and was followed by A.O. Damon who settled near present day North Beach High School, in 1861.  Damon built a pier near the southern tip and later built another on the bay side, near Oyhut at the northern end of the peninsula. There, supplies and mail were delivered by boat from Hoquiam and delivered on land north to settlements including Taholah and Quinault.  The north jetty was constructed between 1903-1916 and rebuilt several times; 1941-1945, in the 1970’s and again in 2000. Although no remains exist, During WWII both the Coast Guard and Army had facilities on the southern end of the peninsula, near the Coastal Interpretive Center.

In 1961 construction of the Weatherly Inn, Ocean Shores first hotel, began and it still stands today, behind Sharky’s at the intersection of Chance A La Mer and Ocean Shores Blvd. The marina, a heyday highlight and original home of the famous shipwrecked boatel, SS Catala followed in 1963 as did an airport, shopping, and the PGA golf course. Eventually, in 1970, residents voted to incorporate Ocean Shores as a city; a decision was made official on November 18, 1970.  The Ocean Shores Library applied for and was granted by the Secretary of State – Washington State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services a 1-year grant to orally record the early history of Ocean Shores.

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Secondary Story is about Granny Weatherwax (Not known in Ocean Shores)

Esmerelda “Esme” Weatherwax (also Granny Weatherwax or Mistress Weatherwax) is a fictional character from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. She is a witch and member of the Lancre coven. She is the self-appointed guardian of her small country and frequently defends it against supernatural powers. She is a very powerful witch and is reckoned to be more powerful than the most well-known witch, Black Aliss (real name: Aliss Demurrage), who is responsible for any number of witcheries in fairy tales, such as putting a castle to sleep and getting pushed into her own oven by naughty children. It does seem that her teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher was Black Aliss. (“I learned my craft from Nanny Gripes, who learned it from Goody Heggety, who got it from Nanna Plumb, who was taught it by Black Aliss…” – Granny, in Lords and Ladies). From the triple nature of a coven (maiden, mother, and crone), it has been suggested that she embodies all three, although the crone is the most obvious. In any case, this appellation is tactfully avoided in her presence, with those commenting on the coven’s structure calling her “the other one”.

Granny Weatherwax’s prowess and reputation has led to her being recognized as the leader of the community of Witches in the Ramtops: “Witches are not by nature gregarious, at least with other witches, and they certainly don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.” In Wyrd Sisters, the ghost of the late Lancre King, Verence I, addressed Granny Weatherwax as “Doyenne of Witches” (“Senior Witch of Witches”). Granny Weatherwax’s reputation even extends beyond species barriers – the Trolls of the Ramtops call her “Aaoograha hoa” or “She Who Must Be Avoided”, the Dwarf call her “K’ez’rek d’b’duz” or “Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain, and the Nac Mac Feegle call her “The Hag O’ Hags” or “The High Witch”. Granny also has a reputation for trickery and pushiness among younger witches, although this is either short-lived or unmentioned for obvious reasons.

According to Witches Abroad, Esme Weatherwax was born the younger of two daughters. The books do not indicate whether her mother was a witch or not, but Granny mentions that her father was a hunter, who taught her that “a bad hunter chases, a good hunter waits”.  While Granny was practically still just a bairn, her teenaged, older sister, Lily, was getting into increasingly frequent rows with her parents over her behavior. As Granny reveals to Nanny Ogg, Lily was wanton, using magic for it and not just ordinary magic; she was willful, vain and prideful “always looking in mirrors… Prideful as a cat, she was. Prefer to look in a mirror than out of a window, she would”; and “young men’s fathers used to come round to complain”, culminating in Lily being kicked out of the household at the age of thirteen.

After Granny grew up, she was adamant about becoming a witch; as she reveals in Lords and Ladies, magic did not choose her, she chose it “I never stood in front of no-one… I camped on old Nanny Gripes’ garden until she promised to tell me everything she knew. Hah. That took her a week and I had the afternoons free… No I chose…”. Granny would go on to become a fully-fledged witch, and at some point took responsibility for her own steading, the Kingdom of Lancre as a whole. Granny Weatherwax, as she would later come to be known, also nursed her ailing mother until the time of her death (what became of her father has never been mentioned). While still a young woman, Granny was involved in a summer-long romance with then-aspiring wizard Mustrum Ridcully, but ultimately, they were both committed to their respective paths of witchcraft and wizardry.

Granny Weatherwax, if she can help it, wears a plain black dress, a somewhat battered black cloak, and a tall, pointed witch’s hat, skewered to her “iron-hard grey bun” hairstyle with multiple hatpins. As a young woman, her hair was long, blonde, and unkempt. She is thin, and, while not really that tall, has such a commanding presence that she seems tall. She gives her weight as 9 stone (130 lb). Many references are given to her striking blue eyes and penetrating gaze. In Equal Rites she is described as “handsome”, having an excellent complexion, no warts, and has all her teeth, although it is implied she finds this a bit inappropriate for a witch.

Granny Weatherwax has a near-unshakeable belief in her own abilities, which has proven near-accurate, and an extreme distrust of stories. She was intended by nature to be a “wicked witch” but, at an early age, realized she had to be “the good one” to balance her sister, Lily (Lilith). Ironically Lily, who became a fairy godmother, was convinced she was the good one, because she gave people what she thought they should want. Granny Weatherwax, however, gives people what they know they really need. Witches themselves seem hesitant to use “bad” or “good” as descriptors, especially when discussing very powerful witches.  Granny prefers to be respected, and if that is tinged with an element of fear, so be it. And except for those who know her well, such as Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, Agnes Nitt, and Tiffany Aching, people do respect and/or fear her rather than like her. However, very young children seem unintimidated by her because of a reputation that she will not intentionally harm them. People in Lancre know that she will always come when they need her and do her best for them, because that is Right (with a capital R).

Granny appreciates practicality and hard work over the bells and whistles of so-called “magick”. She intensely dislikes witches such as Letice Earwig, who dabble in chants, pendants, and crystals. She claimed she would have liked to have met Tiffany’s grandmother, Granny Aching, likely because she never claimed to be anything more than a shepherd despite commanding all the respect and power of a witch.

Granny Weatherwax feels little need for personal possessions and keeps most of them in a single wooden box. This box is known to contain a few keepsakes, including a bundle of letters (some, or all, of which are believed to be from a young Mustrum Ridcully) a chunk of lodestone from “the dancers” stone circle, a fossil ammonite and a phoenix feather in a glass bottle. However, the citizens of Lancre also believe it contains the secrets of the universe, a never-ending fortune in gold, or a small universe. Granny has done little to discourage these rumors. Aside from those in the box, her only other notable possessions are a clock that she inherited from her mother and a silver tea service (which was later melted down to make horseshoes for a Unicorn during the events of Lords and Ladies), complete with a cream jug in the shape of a humorous cow (which she had planned to leave to Magrat Garlick, per her will, in the event of her death).

The journal Gender Forum has posited that Granny Weatherwax bears some similarities to Sam Vimes and Death. All three are effectively ‘good’ characters, who exert a rigid control over the darkness inside themselves, which they secretly fear but (crucially to their characters) are able to conquer.

She has not known physical love as demonstrated by her ability to capture unicorns, traditionally only possible to virgins, and as she explicitly tells Nanny Ogg “There have, however, been romances” in her life.

Granny’s broom is famous for being old and temperamental. It is a hand-me-down “borrowed” from her colleague Hilta in Equal Rites. It has been repaired so often that none of the original broom remains, having had both the shaft and bristles repeatedly replaced and it often requires the user to pick up speed by running along the ground, making it the only broom that requires bump starting. It is, however, considerably faster than most brooms once it gets going.

In an apparent test to unearth her softer side, Tiffany Aching made her the reluctant custodian of a small white kitten, for which Granny has so far managed to show affection in a completely unaffectionate manner. In keeping with her personality, she christened it “You”, as in “Hey You, get off the shelves!” or “Come inside, You!” As a kitten, You was once discovered sleeping on Granny’s head, underneath her hat; Granny claimed it kept her head warm. Upon reaching adulthood, You relinquished Granny’s hat and was commonly found draped over Granny’s shoulders like a recumbent queen, adding an extra bit of power to Granny’s already-formidable presence. You is the only known cat, though not the only animal, on the Discworld to have intimidated Nanny Ogg’s battle-scarred tom Greebo, who hides in fear whenever You is in the same room; this suggests she may be compatible with Granny Weatherwax in temperament after all.

Despite her power, Granny Weatherwax rarely uses magic in any immediately recognizable form. Instead, she prefers to use headology, a sort of folk-psychology which can be summed up as “if people think you’re a witch, you might as well be one”. For instance, Granny could, if she wished, curse people. However, it is simpler for her to trick people into believing she has cursed them, then letting them assume her responsible for the next bit of bad luck that happens to befall them; given her reputation this tends to cause such people to flee the country entirely. Nanny Ogg has obliquely implied this avoidance of magic prevents Granny from being tempted into becoming a very successful “bad” witch.

Headology bears some similarities to psychology in that it requires the user to hold a deep-seated understanding of the workings of the human mind in order to be used successfully. However, headology tends to differ from psychology in that it usually involves approaching a problem from an entirely different angle.

It has been said that the difference between headology and psychiatry is that, were one to approach either with a belief that one was being chased by a monster, a psychiatrist will convince one that there are no monsters coming after one, whereas a headologist will hand you a large stick and a chair to stand on. The headology approach is also very similar to Susan Sto Helit’s practical approach to children’s problems; since the child already believes in Bogeymen, one may as well go along with it and teach them that they can also very firmly believe in the fireplace poker, too.

Because of her reluctance to openly use magic, other Discworld characters have, at various times, accused Granny Weatherwax of “working by trickery alone”, and of “having little or no real power” (an accusation she shares with Lu-Tze). Both statements are wholly inaccurate. Though preferring not to use magic, Granny Weatherwax has, on several occasions, been seen to display several ‘conventional’ forms of power in abundance; including psychokinesis and pyrokinesis, as well as a number of less conventional forms of power; including the ability to fade into the background of a room, to defer physical injury to a later point in time, and to make people believe they have been turned into animals such as frogs. The ability to do it for real is also in her repertoire but is also more tiring and less entertaining. During a duel with the Archchancellor of Unseen University in Equal Rites, Granny was shown to turn into a great number of different creatures. Regardless, Granny Weatherwax was shown to be a match for the Archchancellor. In Wyrd Sisters, she unleashed considerably explosive magic on a cart after losing her temper for nearly being run over by it and sent the entire nation of Lancre forward in time fifteen years so that the exiled heir to the throne would be of age to liberate the country from its henpecked usurper sooner rather than later, albeit with considerable effort and after much manipulation by Nanny Ogg. In The Sea and Little Fishes, Nanny Ogg claims that Esme has a rather moderate talent, but is an extremely hard worker.

She is also highly adept at ‘Borrowing’ – the art of overlaying her mind on the mind of another creature so that she can see through its eyes and steer its actions without it being aware of her presence – and can tune her mind to the point that she can sense the underlying mood of her surroundings including the mood of plants, animals and the earth; and the presence of ‘stories’ that are trying to play themselves out. She has even borrowed a beehive, considered the most difficult mind to borrow due to it being spread over many bodies, being the only witch ever to do so, and the mind of the Unseen University itself.  While her mind is out Borrowing, her body falls into a catatonic, almost deathlike trance; in order to prevent embarrassing accidents, she has taken to wearing a placard reading “I ATE’NT DEAD” when she does so.

She has even been known to be able to detect the memories of Granny Weatherwaxes living in alternative realities, but only at points in time when the walls between her world and other worlds are particularly thin.

Granny’s relationship with the written word is strained, bordering on combative. Equal Rites mentions that she views reading as similar to and as bad as necromancy: as most authors are dead, the point of both studies is to find the opinions of the dead, and “they have enough to worry about without that.” That opinion is not entirely unlike the views of the Chalk’s Nac Mac Feegles.

A fossil species of Mesozoic ginkgo has been named Ginkgoites weatherwaxiae in Granny Weatherwax’s honor.

The Copper Scorpion

This story interests me because I am a Scorpio and I love rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, and crystals.  So, when I came across this image on RockSeeker.com I just had to expand on his post. 

The original post is about how a copper scorpion was on display at the 2019 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and ended up on the AZ MMNRE Museum Twitter page.  But also, about how Scorpion the became entombed and turned into a copper fossil.  Credit: Reddit.com

Pseudomorphism

In mineralogy, a pseudomorph is a mineral or mineral compound that appears in an atypical form, resulting from a substitution process in which the appearance and dimensions remain constant, but the original mineral is replaced by another. The name literally means “false form”

Encrustation Pseudomorphism

According to Tulane University, this phenomenon is known as encrustation pseudomorphism and is defined as, “…a thin crust of a new mineral forms on the surface of a preexisting mineral, then the preexisting mineral is removed, leaving the crust behind, we say that pseudomorphism has resulted from encrustation. In this case the thin crust of the new mineral will have casts of the form of the original mineral.”

Most likely, the doomed scorpion became entombed in the rock. Over time, copper-rich fluids ultimately came into contact with the entombed scorpion, depositing the metal as it evaporated. This process would be similar to how petrified wood is formed.  Another theory as to how the scorpion became a solid piece of copper is simply the result of early and inefficient copper smelting. It’s possible that during the copper smelting process, liquid copper spilled and made its way through the rocks to where the scorpion was entombed.

Other Examples of Pseudomorphs

Pseudomorph of goethite after pyrite – Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.3cm

Goethite, Pyrite Locality: Pelican Point Area, Utah County, Utah, USA  

An unusually large, striking pseudomorph of goethite that has replaced pyrite crystals. This floater cluster has a fine antique bronze patina. Looks like modern art!

In other fields

Pseudomorphs are also common in paleontology. Fossils are often formed by pseudomorphic replacement of the remains by mineral matter. Examples include petrified wood and pyritized gastropod shells.

https://www.irocks.com/minerals/specimen/49412

Fossils

Provided by Factmonster

Fossils are the remains or imprints of prehistoric plants or animals. They are found in sedimentary rock (rock formed from sand and mud), coal, tar, volcanic ash, fossilized tree sap or frozen in ice. Usually only the hard parts of plants and animals, like their bones and teeth, become fossils.

Most animals that became fossils either lived in water or were washed into a body of water. After an animal died, its soft parts, such as its fur, skin, muscle and organs, decomposed. The hard parts that remained were buried under moist layers of mud or sand, where there was no oxygen and bacteria to cause them to decay. The sediment that covered the bones eventually turned into solid rock. Over the course of millions of years, minerals in the surrounding rock partly or completely replaced the original animal material, forming a fossil.

Sometimes, water seeped into the rocks and dissolved the animal remains. When this happened, the outline of the fossil remained intact between the layers of rock, leaving a fossil in the form of a natural mold.

https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/fossil

Paleontologists, scientists who study dinosaurs, use the fossils to learn about the creatures who roamed Earth millions of years ago.

In archaeology, organic pseudomorphs are impressions of organic material that can accumulate on the surface of metal artifacts as they corrode. They may occur when metal artifacts are buried in contact with organics under damp soil.

The image of the scabbard above comes from OF DAGGERS AND SCABBARDS: EVIDENCE FROM ORGANIC PSEUDOMORPHS AND X-RADIOGRAPHY which is an interesting read.

Similar Morphisms

Diamond is a polymorph of the element carbon, and graphite is another. While the two share the same chemistry, C (elemental carbon), they have very different structures and properties. Diamond is hard, graphite is soft (the “lead” of a pencil).

So, diamonds were once pieces of coal that have been transformed under high pressure and temperature, right?

Nope! This is an old wives’ tale, just like “another drink will cure your hangover” or the idea that being out in the cold causes you to catch a cold. Diamonds are actually much older than plants, which are the main ingredient for the formation of coal.  The basic old-fashioned recipe for a diamond calls for:  Carbon deposits, deep within the earth, that are subjected to temperature and pressure.

The exact time that it takes for a diamond to form within the earth is unknown. Some materialize in days, weeks or months. Others take millions of years. Most diamonds are hundreds of millions of years old, with many dating back 1 to 3 billion years. That’s because diamond growth isn’t always a continuous process. A diamond might start to grow, then experience an interruption because of a change in temperature or pressure. It could sit for hundreds or millions of years before growth resumes.

How old are diamonds? A diamond can’t be dated to find out its precise age, but inclusions of other minerals can suggest an estimate. Diamond inclusions that contain specific elements like potassium can be subjected to radioactive dating.

As the diamonds form deep in the earth, they withstand exposure to all sorts of gasses, minerals, and other materials surrounding the ore. Although the budding gem hardens to an unbreakable state, anything it touches during this phase can impact its color. Most diamonds appear white, but upon further inspection, have a yellowish tint or a light, almost imperceptible shade of brown. This doesn’t mean that there is anything “wrong” with the diamonds, just that they’re unique in their beauty.

Natural Diamond is crystal-clear carbon mined from rock called “kimberlite” deep in the Earth.

According to the Journal of Geology Kimberlite, and rocks with kimberlitic affinities, have a relatively wide distribution throughout the United States. They occur in the western margin of the Appalachians from New York to Tennessee; in the central region of the U.S. including Kentucky, southern Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, and in the Western States of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and the Colorado Plateau. However, diamond-bearing kimberlite is currently known to be present in only two areas, Arkansas and the Colorado-Wyoming State Line.

Flan – Secret of the Confectionery! 

I love to cook so when I run across an easy recipe I will share it here on my blog. Most flan recipes seem so difficult but this one looks so easy. I only discovered this one on Facebook this morning so I haven’t tested it yet. Next time we drive into Aberdeen, we shop once a month, then I get the ingredients to test it. Hope you enjoy this one. Let me know what you think.

Recipe

Step 1 – Blend in Mixer the following five ingredients

Cuetara Maria Biscuits, 7 oz (200 g)

6 Eggs

4 Cups of Milk

3 Tablespoons Vanilla

1 Cup of Sugar

Set aside.

Step 2 – In a metal baking dish melt 4 tablespoons of white sugar with 1 teaspoon of water on low heat.  Using low heat means the sugar will take a while to melt, but don’t be tempted to turn it up; sugar will quickly burn when cooked over higher heat. Using low heat gives you better control. Stir constantly until you get a caramel candy texture. 

Note: it is best to use a wooden spoon or a high heat silicone spatula for stirring.

When making the caramel, make sure that all the sugar has completely melted and not gritty.

Using a potholder roll candy, while hot, around the baking dish to coat inside.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to “set” the candy.

Step 3 – Pour in the Blended Mixture.  Cover with foil and secure the edges. 

Place into a larger pot with boiling water. 

Note: Be careful placing into the boiling water bath so you don’t splash the water on yourself.

Turn off heat and cover with lid and let cook for 1 hour. 

Note: Do not lift lid during the 1 hour – this will let out the steam that is “cooking” the flan.

Remove lid and foil to check consistency with a toothpick or wooden stick. 

Step 4 – While warm roll melted candy around and up over flan.  Let cool for at least 2 to 3 hours in the fridge (overnight if you have the time).

Step 5 – Invert flan on a plate and enjoy. Click here for a Tip on how to invert flan:

Enjoy!

Driftwood Art

Each piece of wood tells its own story and has its own movement. A beautiful material to create original new things. I admit I stole this idea from one of my FB friends. It is just too beautiful not to share.

I live on the Pacific North Coast. Our coast line has an endless supply of driftwood. What better way to create beautiful art than by what Mother Nature provides.

I am providing this idea for others to create. However, if you don’t have the time to collect and arrange a piece of art to hang on your wall then feel free to contact me and I will design one for you in any size that fits your empty space(s). The size you need will depend on the price quote I offer. Contact me and we’ll chat. Otherwise enjoy your adventure …

Instructions:

Measure your wall space for the hanging. Purchase a frame (does not need to be square). Collect driftwood and arrange on frame – adjust as needed to get the best effect of each pieces natural beauty. Glue driftwood to frame (I suggest Elmer’s Wood Glue). Let dry for flat before hanging.

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