I have noticed an improvement in my skin. The texture is smoother, and the brown spots from hormone wackiness are definitely lightening. They're not GONE (yet), but they don't jump out at me whenever I see myself in a mirror.
(I know, I know, probably no one else noticed them.)
So! Putting acid on your face! I totally recommend it!
As you may remember, I spent a not inconsequential bit of the past two weeks having bad nightmares and generally feeling really off-kilter. It felt like there was some sort of sharp, abrasive quality to the air. I am legendarily bad at creating or maintaining wards, so I texted my big brother and let him know I needed him in his role as magical tech support. He came over Friday evening.
"The energy in here feels like static. Really bad static", says he, proceeds to do the whole Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (something I have never managed to completely memorize, but I'm working on it*), then reset the house wards. I stand by and join him in doing this each time, but I always need him to take the lead on it. The weird, abrasive quality went away, and it felt like after a thunderstorm. Inside the house. Yeah, it's a thing.
Today, I finally managed to go do what I'd been intending to do since last week: go to the neighborhood park that includes a beach for Puget Sound. I waded out into the (cold, so cold!) water, stood there for a few minutes, collected some water in a bottle, then came back out and collected sand in a small jar. Both of those things are now sitting on my altar.
* The only part of the LBRP I'm good at remembering is calling on the Archangels, and that is entirely because Kate Bush actually included a version of that in her song Lily. Again, if I'm learning a melody and lyrics, I will remember it forever.
(BUT THE CLUSTER TENSION MIGRAINES HAVEN'T COME BACK! ALMOST THREE MONTHS WITHOUT THEM! MY DENTIST IS AMAZING AND I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.)
Anyway, yeah, horrible migraine. To the point where I just gave in and spent most of the day in bed, listening to Disintegration (which is the best album by The Cure, I will fight you on this) over and over. Which meant that my hopes of Saturday involving going to the spa, then making up a few hours of dayjob work that needed to happen went away.
Today there was also supposed to be a trip to the spa with some friends, but when we got there, the spa was at capacity and turning people away. Well, offering to take people's phone numbers and call them when there was room, but it works out the same. I have never had that happen, but then, I don't go to the spa during the day on weekends. After 7pm and staying until closing, yep! Going in the afternoon during the week, sure! (Working from home is awesome.) But apparently weekends are insane there.
Instead I hung out with friends (not at the spa), and catching up on things. Then I came home, made dinner, edited, built, and uploaded a lot of content for work, and removed a layer of skin on my face with a mild acid. You know, usual Sunday evening things.
- Black velvet: An inky sharpness over the scent of dusty, antique books. There’s a hint of beeswax and a winter sky at night in there, too.
- Red velvet: The tartness of raspberries, the golden glow of amber, and honey mixed with salt. The darker the red, the stronger the honey.
- Purple velvet: Gunpowder tea, sweetened with vanilla sugar, being sipped in a secluded garden.
- Green velvet: A warm summer night, full of night-blooming flowers, and the scent of crushed moss.
- Blue velvet: Blackberries and creme brulee, served on a tarnished silver platter.
As some of you probably know, BPAL makes pretty much all of the scents I wear, with one exception from LUSH, Lord of Misrule. (Patchouli, vanilla, and black pepper.)
From BPAL, I generally wear the (limited edition, long out-of-stock) Blood Popsicle, inspired by the movie Only Lovers Left Alive. Their description is "The scent of frozen Type O Negative". My description, from the review on the Gothic Charm School site: “The good stuff”. Honey and amber and salt, wrapped in blood-red velvet. The perfume version of a shiver of delight." I LOVE this scent, and am very glad I stocked up before it went away.
I *thought* that Blood Popsicle was going to be the only scent I wore, forever and ever, world without end, but then BPAL went and collaborated with one of my favorite jewelry designers, Bloodmilk. Enter Owl Moon (dark, rooty, sweet patchouli swirled with honey), and Silky Bat (sugared patchouli).
(Hi, my name is Jilli, and I have a patchouli problem.)
But! But! I was noodling around Etsy, looking through scents named or described as Hecate, when I found House of Orpheus. I'd heard good things about them being an especially witchy/magic -focused scent maker, and then I found their Amunet perfume:
Amunet is a natural perfume by house of Orpheus. A classical Oud, made with spicy notes of cassia, black storax extrait, agar wood oil, and made with an antique Egyptian paste of civet and musk. Amunet is exalted with the lunar oils of silver and the alchemical oil of distilled scorpions. Because this perfume is made with antique ingredients it will be limited in quantity. Once it is gone it will be gone forever.
Amunet is the hidden one, the high priestess, a tattooed goddess in human form. A dark feminine divinity, associated with witchcraft and feminine powers of creation and destruction. To wear this perfume is to embody that which is the high priestess in the major arcana of a dark and beautiful tarot deck. As the mysteries of the feminine are also the mysteries of blood the perfume is the color and thickness of blood…
A talismanic perfume for women who embody the divine feminine with authority and perpetuate its mysteries no mater the cost.
Well then. It doesn't have patchouli, but it absolutely sounds like something I should have. I am impatiently waiting for my order to arrive.
Remember those lace-up Olde Skool winklepicker boots I was dithering over? You know, these ones? I contacted the company, and they have RED LEATHER. They can make those boots in RED LEATHER.
:: cackles delightedly ::
No, it's not the burgundy or oxblood leather of my fondest wishes, but red leather will be SO much simpler to dye if I decide I need them darker. (My favorite cobbler is used to such wacky requests from me.) Red leather gothy witchy boots will be mine, yessssss.
I am having a small bout of impostor syndrome with the dayjob at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that it's mostly due to the amazingly poor sleep I've been having lately. Well, that and the fact that oh hey there's a technical preview deadline coming up in a smidge over three weeks. But! It's a super-limited technical preview, and it's not just me working on the documentation! I mean, sure, the documentation will still be still be hellaciously rough and full of "coming soon" areas, but eh. I am far less freaked out about this than I was about the same situation last year.
Halloween tarot: Knight of Bats (Knight of Swords).
Vintage Wisdom Oracle: Gratitude.
Hi, my name is Jilli, and I need to get back to doing things that help me feel balanced and perceptive. Which means more cartomancy and spellcraft.
(Oh man, I think I need to reread Bandpires again soon, too, because that is one of my absolute favorites, and I find it very soothing in times of stress.)
Speaking of things to read, while link-hopping around today, I found out someone wrote some sort of fic for Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series, but it's apparently vanished from the interwebs. I'm cranky about this, because the idea of Tim Burton: Anno Dracula is just delightful. (Note To Self: Check the wayback machine!)
Pankaj Mishra is erudite and compelling as a writer, and yet, I have almost never been more frustrated by his writing or a popular critique of the Enlightenment. Mishra’s critique of globalization goes back to the Enlightenment’s philosophes and the various reactions and ressentiment that it exposes when the promises of development are realized upon. Yes, neoliberal snottiness and whiggish history plays villains, but Mishra wants to see this as a psychological development between modernity and its periphery. He traces 18th and 19th century reactions of Germany, Russia, and Italy as well as the parallel developments in Zionism, then in Iran, India, and among various kinds of Islamism, throwing in overlaps with Timothy McVeigh and Donald Trump. In short, Mishra attempts a grand theory of ressentiment.
Mishra places blame everywhere and nowhere for globalization’s elitism and the nationalism that emerges in reaction. After using Gabriele D’Annunzio as a cautionary anecdote, Mishra starts with the now obviously naive declarations of the end of the history and then jumps backwards to the conflict between Rousseau and Voltaire. Mishra’s sympathies are deeply with Rousseau even though he paints Rousseau as increasingly populist and even conservative in his battle with the philosophes. Mishra then jumps ahead to the Iranian revolution, Ataturk and Hitler, Herzl’s use of social Darwinism and his original liberal German nationalism, and the Mazzini inspired everyone from Hinduvtaists to Jabtinsky.
Mishra, however, traces genealogies in ways that link Islamists to Orthodox Christian thinkers, and shows that anti-Western thinkers were deeply schooled in Western thought. He also condemns the “compradors” such as Niapal and Rushie for lacking all nuance in their defense of the Enlightenment. Yet I am giving Mishra more of an argument that he allows. His genealogies are not maintained and often done by jumping between historical moments and movements to traces analogies and letting the juxtaposition stand as argument. By doing this, he is able to conflate different kinds of Enlightenment, modernity, and reactionaries. Religious nationalists and racialists are seen as having some response to the Enlightenment.
Mishra knows that capitalism and secularization have created brutal competitions, but he seems unwilling to go the way of Marxists in dealing with the limitations of capitalism. He condemns Marxism as mirroring capitalist thinkers belief in progress and essentially putting Protestant eschatology into a secular form, but Mishra doesn’t argue this from Marx’s words or even his actions but just asserts it. He, however, oddly defends Leninism, and still even more oddly doesn’t mention Adorno or Horkheimer’s similar critiques about the “Dialectics of the Enlightenment” nor does Mishra talk about the differences of Latin America’s experience of liberal modernity compares and contrasts with India and Iran, Russia and Germany.
Furthermore, Mishra far, far too often just name-drops and uses short hand to stand in for an argument. Take the following paragraph:
After all, Maxim Gorky, the Bolshevik, Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-advocate of “pure” I Islam, Martin Buber, the exponent of the “New Jew”, and Lu Xun, the campaigner for a “New Life” in China, as well as D’Annunzio, were all devotees of Nietzsche. Asian anti- imperialists and American robber barons borrowed equally eagerly from the 19th- century polymath Herbert Spencer, the first truly global thinker – who, after reading Darwin, coined the term “survival of the fittest”. Hitler revered Atatürk (literally “the father of the Turks”) as his guru; Lenin and Gramsci were keen on Taylorism, or “Americanism”; American New Dealers later borrowed from Mussolini’s “corporatism”.
Everything becomes everything else because they seem to rhyme or have overlapping influences even if the answers are diametrically opposed. Mishra has given himself a impossible task: to explain the move from rationalism to ressentiment without completely condemning the “West” or the response to it. Moving the definition of modernity and the precise ways it fails around, Mishra’s anecdotes are often insightful but his conclusions are milquetoast.
He does not explore masculinity and supposed feminization, he condemns Modi and Trump but is sympathetic to the romanticism and populism of which they seem like modern representations. Mishra’s argument that
“The key to man’s behaviour lies not in any clash of opposed civilizations, but, on the contrary, in irresistible mimetic desire: the logic of fascination, emulation and righteous self-assertion that binds the rivals inseparably. It lies in ressentiment, the tormented mirror games in which the West as well as its ostensible enemies and indeed all inhabitants of the modern world are trapped.”
Yet there are better and more coherent articulations of this: Isaiah Berlin’s histories of Russian and Counter-Enlightenment thought, Camus’s critique of revolutionary nihilism, even banal books like “Jihad Versus McWorld” from a decade ago are as insightful and far more sustained in their argument. This doesn’t mean that Mishra isn’t worth-reading: he is, but he ultimately doesn’t maintain his own argument and seems to think his he shows enough rhyming history, the point will be made for him.
In short, I am disappointed because this book starts to show how developing world and the West replicate the dialectic of Enlightenment that plagued “the West” itself, and it can’t keep its focus long enough to prove the point. Instead, one gets bloody-history quick cut with dread, which is justified, but with universal theory of the views of progress in trying to explain everything, doesn’t actually explain things very deeply at all.