Thursday, September 18, 2014

There's Trouble Right Here in Front Royal...Again?

Wow. Front Royal, VA, is in the news again, and not for being a top tourist spot. And so soon! I would have thought that after the whole divination thing they would have decided their town had had enough bad press for a while. 

To be fair, this appears to be just a fringe element of the population of that fair city. But now they've gone after a sixteen year-old high school student who has not only started her own business, but who also supports other local businesses and gives money to charity. 



Tiana Ramos has had trash thrown at her--literally--and has been threatened by a local Catholic group for advertising in a local newspaper. The group threatens to boycott the shop. Other people make disparaging comments about the way the employees dress and make the idiotic assumption that they're going to look slutty to attract only male clients. 

There are lots of people in the world that deserve your anger, your ire, your vexation, your pissiness, call it what you will. But this business, "Naughty Girls Donut Shop," does not. If anything, Tiana Ramos deserves your support, your encouragement, and your business. 

The citizens of Front Royal have the opportunity to do the right thing by embracing this local business and stamping out closed-minded people whose parochial views do not reflect the whole of our society. And I certainly hope they will do it. 

I live about an hour from Front Royal, but a number of us in this area plan to make pilgrimages out there to support Tiana's business. If you're out that way, I encourage you to do the same. 

Tiana, if you're listening, YOU ROCK. Keep pushing forward and don't let ANYONE discourage you! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Welcoming the Mann Show to the Web!

If you're in the mood for a good laugh, my dear friend Alex Mann and his partners in crime have started an Internet radio show known as, oddly enough, "The Mann Show." 

I can already tell that this show will attract a loyal following, and hope you'll also get on the bandwagon and enjoy the hilarity! 

Below is the astrological event chart of the Mann Show:



I'll make a few comments here about it, and save the rest for a future post!

Moon in Cancer: The Moon's in a very strong position here and even accidentally dignified in the 4th house, the house that it naturally rules. There's a strong emotional connection here between the hosts, who think of each other more like family than friends. It will be most successful when recorded in a home. 

Pisces Rising: The show will likely be very imaginative and go places that you don't expect. With one of its ruling planets in the first house, Neptune, it will touch on its share of deep, serious issues as well. 

Mercury vs. Uranus: Mercury is the ultimate communications planet and rules radio transmissions. Uranus is abrupt change. Translation: Try to stay on topic and transition smoothly between them for best results. The occasional tangent, however, will keep things fresh. 

Mars: The ultimate MALE planet, Mars is elevated and occupies a prominent position in the chart, which shows the focus on generally male concerns. 

Venus: Venus is not comfortable here in Virgo, in its fall; it's treated like the red-headed stepchild of this chart. Women who are discriminating will follow the show, but many women may not, writing it off as crude and/or immature. 

I appreciated the shout-out from the hosts last night, and look forward to additional episodes! I'm quite sure Alex is the right Mann for the job. :)

Their information:

www.themannshowonradio.com
www.blogtalkradio.com/themannshow

Please also follow them on Twitter @mannshowradio and Facebook as well! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Astrology, Arrogance, and Assholes

I recently saw this article on Jezebel.com (one of my favorite sites, by the way!), which talks about the obsession that some fans have with astrologer Susan Miller's work. They get extremely upset when their monthly horoscopes are late. That's actually being kind; if you read some of what they comment and tweet, you'll see that they seem to lose their ever-fucking minds.

Susan has been struggling with medical issues for the past 18 months or so; she's not out on vacation in her yacht in the middle of the Caribbean. She takes immunosuppressants and struggles with her health daily. And people are sitting there accusing her of being unprofessional and just, generally speaking, being nasty and not compassionate at all to her situation.

I'll be the first person to tell you that astrology is an amazing tool and can be applied to so many areas of life with great effectiveness. Being a professional astrologer is a challenging job in and of itself, but think about if a monthly forecast you did went out to millions of people who expected you to be right, who made life decisions based on what you said. If you're not a little intimidated by that prospect, perhaps you should re-think what I just said.

How would you feel if you were at home sick and people were tweeting at you, calling you unprofessional and telling you to "get over it", no matter what your job is? When you're sick, you're sick and your main job is to be recuperating. It's almost like saying to someone "Your job is to serve me, and you can't serve me when you're sick, so get better." Consider the total arrogance of that statement. You would think that someone would have a lot of nerve to say that to anyone. If anyone said it to me, I suspect that I'd have a Scorpio nuclear reaction so severe that it would take a week for that person to realize how badly I had insulted them. But I digress.

Let's put this in even greater perspective. Susan Miller doesn't owe these people anything. These horoscopes are free online. It's good to keep your fans happy, but when they're greedy, arrogant fucks who lack compassion and expect to come before your HEALTH, there's a serious problem.

If you're afraid to live your life without a monthly astrological forecast, then I would question your dedication to actually living life. In other words, life just happens. If you're worried about what is going to happen, you are one of millions of people on this planet; I can't think of anyone who doesn't worry about the future sometimes. Astrology may help us decide when and how to do things, but there is never any guarantee of success. The future is dynamic; even using astrology, nothing is set in stone.

It sounds like it's time for people angry about Susan Miller's medical problems to get the fuck over themselves. Susan, you're amazing and you deserve the time and space you need to recover. I hope it's soon.

If you find yourself lacking in astrological wisdom without Susan's posts, there are other astrologers out there. I highly encourage you to visit astrologer Elizabeth Hazel's weekly forecast--usually posted on Sundays--at kozmic-kitchen.weebly.com. And if it's a few days late, well, you'll enjoy it when it gets posted.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Things I Have Learned from 150 Hours Playing Simcity

So I recently crossed an important life threshold: my computer told me that I have played SimCity for 150 hours since I bought this version. I say "this version" because the game has been around on one form or another since I was in high school, so 150 hours is a drop in the bucket of how long I have enjoyed the game. 



Anyway, the game has taught me a lot and I'd like to share with you some of what I have learned so far from my virtual tenure as mayor of many cities.

1) People always want more shit. It doesn't matter how much I give my citizens; eventually it is taken for granted and becomes an expectation.

2) People get really upset when the sewage system is not up to par.

3) I have never heard a kid say "I miss going to school" before, but kids in cities without education say that to the mayor. I'm sure you do, but not that much.
4) I am a huge fan of public transit, but let me tell you that shit is expensive. I wish I could raise fares but the game doesn't allow it.

5) As I sit on the subway writing this blog, I am reminded that this version of SimCity doesn't have subways. Commuter blimps, buses, trains, magnetically levitating trains, sure. But no subway. I am stunned, but subways were always the most expensive thing that I would put in too early and bankrupt my city. Maybe it was a positive omission for me personally.

6) Legalized gambling works wonders for the coffers until you see the crime spike. Put police stations near casinos and businesses around them or citizens will complain. (At least it's casinos and not psychics, right, Front Royal, VA?)

7) There is a map view with structure in green--ones citizens want in their backyard--and red--stuff citizens do not want to live near. I can see not wanting to live near a nuclear power plant, but not wanting to live near a train station? There is a slight decrease in land value for living near one. The only explanation I have is that the more wealthy people are in the game, the less they care about public transit or being near it. Having lived near one in the past, it is all about the area around the station.

8) The spiritual part of the city is not as prevalent as it used to be. In earlier versions of the game, for every x number of residents, a church would appear. Now you can add a church if you like at the request of citizens. Destroying a church in the old game was a dick move and you would get the karmic backlash of a disaster like an earthquake thrown at your city. The same still holds true in this version, except that you have more choices of houses of worship. And sadly, there is no sacred grove or circle of standing stones.

9) I love that all the houses, people, and businesses are individually named. You can click on anything--or any person--and it will tell you about them. Are they happy? Do they have a job or money? What do they want? You can follow them around with the push of a button. This is big data taken to an extreme. Wouldn't some big companies love this? (Sounds like the magic bands I got last time I went to Disney World...)

10) Mayors of the world, you have my respect and admiration. I don't know how you do it. How you deal with all of us motherfuckers wanting things all the time is amazing to me. Thankfully I didn't have to get elected mayor of my SimCity, since that would be an entirely different kind of flying altogether--or all together, depending on if you're a fan of "Airplane!" or not. (If you haven't seen that movie, you need to.)

Well I can't sit here blogging all day. My virtual citizens likely have some concerns they want to bring to my attention. You people want monster trucks now? Fuck me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac

Llwellyn’s 2015 Magical Almanac
ISBN 978-0-7387-2685-4
Llewellyn, 2014
$11.99




Reviewing this work is almost a no-brainer. I say that because there are very few magical books that so many people have to own year after year that are more popular than Llewellyn’s annual magical almanac. I can’t think of one I’ve ever read when I didn’t find at least one of two articles that resonated well with me. I’m happy to report that this year’s was no exception, but let’s take things one step at a time, shall we?

There are those who buy it only for its “informational” value, and if it’s unclear, I’m talking about that section in the middle with the gray pages. Llewellyn calls it the “Almanac Section” in the table of contents. It’s an entire calendar for the year with moon phases and their respective dates, good days for communing with the earth, and the dates for festivals and holidays. I also like the little reminders, like giving a list of astrological correspondences for the days of the week. Sometimes you forget that Friday is Venus’ day, for example.

If you’re only in it for the information in the gray pages, you won’t be disappointed, but I’m not being honest with you if I don’t tell you that you’re missing out on quite a bit if that’s its only purpose on your bookshelf. There are some fantastic articles in here that you won’t want to pass up.

The table of contents is set up by elemental magical themes: Earth magic, air magic, fire magic, and water magic, in that order. In each section, I found at least one article that I really enjoyed.

The earth section’s highlight for me was “The Lure and Lore of the Graveyard” by Susan Pesznecker. As a sun sign Scorpio, graveyards have always been interesting to me, and the Paris catacombs fascinate me. The article gives us an interesting historical perspective on graveyards, catacombs, and mausoleums.

In air magic, I couldn’t choose one; there were two that really hit home for me. The first one was, “Conflict Resolution for a Magickal Community” by Emily Carlin. She presents some practical solutions for spiritual communities when conflict arises. You’ll note that I didn’t say “if” but when; this is a must-read for anyone in a Pagan or Wiccan community. As a professional tarot reader, “The To-Go Tarot Kit” by Deanna Anderson was wonderful as well.

For fire magic, even though I am myself melissophobic—afraid of bees—I really loved the article by Natalie Zaman entitled “The Blessed Bee”. I’m not in a position to create a spirit hive for them in my current living situation, but it’s a great reminder of how important bees are to us. Given the colony collapse syndrome that honeybees are facing now, building a hive like Zaman describes is a fantastic way to address an important environmental need as well as a spiritual one. If you work with the Goddess, you will definitely want to check out this article.

Finally, in the water realm, I have to give major kudos to Lisa McSherry, as both her articles were the tops in my book. “Wedding as Ritual” is an excellent primer for people trying to create their own wedding or handfasting, with plenty of her own experiences woven throughout. As an interfaith minister, I plan to recommend the article to couples I marry, especially the part about creating your own vows. This is definitely a delicate dance, and couples should heed McSherry’s practical advice on the topic.

McSherry’s other article about Brighid’s Well was a great travel story that discusses sacred wells, and gives their locations throughout Ireland. Warning: Do not read this article if you’ve always wanted to go. It will just make you want to go that much more. You have been warned. :)

A close second for me in the water realm was “Tarot’s Crystal Allies” by Lunaea Weatherstone, and explores correspondences between tarot and gemstones. I work with a gemstone altar in my professional tarot practice and understand the powerful link that can be created between these two disciplines. No matter what your experience level with either, I’m sure you’ll find something to take away from this article.

Speaking personally, I’d love to see a similar offering by Llewellyn on spirit magic. But the Magical Almanac’s byline is “Practical Magic for Everyday Living”. While I believe that spirit is an important part of everyday life, that’s not really the purpose of this particular guide.

One final important note: Many of these articles are sourced, either in the article, in a list at the end, or both. Honestly, that’s one of the ways that the Magical Almanac keeps on giving: If you want more information, the authors have graciously provided you the opportunity to find it.

I’m going to be keeping my copy of the Almanac handy, for many reasons. This one is definitely a big winner.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

There's Trouble Right Here in Front Royal, Part 2

The vote in Front Royal, VA, occurred last night, and this time, the good guys prevailed, 4-2. The ban on fortunetelling in Front Royal was lifted! And there was MUCH rejoicing! WOO HOO!

What's interesting to me is at the last minute, one of the City Councilors tried to amend the law by removing some of the language, including "gypsies", but that didn't fly. 

If you've read anything about this story, however, you probably remember that the last vote was 4-3 in favor of repealing the ban. What happened to the seventh vote this time? I've been looking for an answer but haven't found one yet...

In the end, it doesn't matter, because a ridiculous law has been struck down. I'm so glad it went the way it did. 

If you don't like tarot card readers or other psychics, don't patronize us. But to try to prohibit us from making money with our skills because you don't like us or believe in us is ridiculous and closed-minded. 

I applaud those who stood against what seemed to be a small, vocal minority in Front Royal and defended the rights of fortunetellers to practice. WELL DONE!

Friday, August 22, 2014

There's Trouble Right Here In Front Royal, and the "T" is for Tarot

I've been living in Northern Virginia for over ten years now, and I just love it. By and large it has been a very warm and welcoming place for both my faith and my tarot reading business. But I must admit that this story has me very concerned.

Front Royal, VA, a town maybe an hour west of where I live, is considering removing a ban on fortunetelling, which is how my business is classified by many municipalities. I look at that as a good thing; the bill passed with a small majority (4-3) and will be heard again soon for a final vote. I hope that the members of the City Council decide to push forward and repeal this ban. 

Folks, it's 2014. Do we still have "Witchcraft" mentioned in the same breath as "fortunetelling"? They are two separate activities. Many people use forms of divination as part of their spiritual practices, but they're not the same thing. 


Opponents of the repeal are afraid that somehow crime will increase in their little town if fortunetellers are allowed to practice their craft here. And if it is eventually lifted, then some townspeople are hoping to put regulations in, like that it must be done away from schools and day care centers. This sounds way too much like "The Music Man" and its pool table. "We've got trouble right here in Front Royal" because some people want to make money with their gifts. You've just put tarot readers in the same category as drugs and alcohol. Come the fuck on.

This is ridiculous. I understand that fortunetellers do not have a great reputation and I'll be the first one to tell you that you must be careful who you use. With that said, this is true of any business...I give my psychic the same scrutiny that I do my doctor, my dentist, and my auto mechanic. 

What scares me is that people can be so provincial, even in 2014. It is not going to bring more crime to your community; likely there is tons of it already that is invisible to most people. Or is it just that you find the practice morally reprehensible? 

"Increase in crime" might be a reason to disallow casino gambling, but I've never heard of psychics causing widespread criminal activity. So I'm thinking that it's more of the "morally reprehensible" angle, couched in words that are more acceptable in today's society; who can honestly say they want crime to go up? And that's the angle. The logic is specious to me, but if that's the best argument you have, you don't stand a chance of winning the second time around. 

I applaud all those who are standing up for the right of Front Royal's honest fortunetellers to do business there. 

On a side note, they're also looking at repealing the $400 "license fee" that they charge fortunetellers as well. Considering that here in Fairfax County I pay $500 a year for the privilege of reading cards, I'd love to see that happen here, too, since we're placed on the same level as "bail bondsmen" and "dance halls". LOL.