how to deal with ghosts, according to ninth house

Small confession: I’ve been trying to read NINTH HOUSE for the past two months. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Every time I try to read it, I end up putting it aside again. I read a post about it that said you kind of have to sit with it and read it a while to get into the mystery, so that’s probably what’s happening for me, but I’m so annoyed at myself for not having read this yet.

ANYWAY that is not the point of this post.

The point of this post

is

ghosts

GhOOoosssTttTtsSSSsssss

why are we talking about ghosts in November, the month AFTER spooky season is over?

I’ll tell you why.

  1. I am a witch. Therefore, every season is “spooky season.”
  2. There is a ghost in my apartment complex. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably seen me mention this ghost in my building that LAUGHS and also has screamed a couple of times. My boyfriend and I narrowed down who could be laughing, but they’ve all left and moved out, ergo: GHOSTIE. It seems to be a friendly ghost so far, minus the two screams. That was a little too spooky for me.

 

BUT as I have been slowly drudging through NINTH HOUSE, I’ve actually picked up a few tips on dealing with ghosts from Queen Bardugo. This should not surprise me, because she is Goth AF and probably a secret witch, plus the book is about scary occult secret society things. The MC, Alex Stern, has always been able to see ghosts, and is offered a place at Yale for free if she helps monitor the activities of the secret societies at Yale, which involves preventing supernatural calamities with ghosts (this is not a spoiler, it’s revealed in chapter 1).

Within the first chapter, we learn a lot of ways to handle ghosts safely, and since I am having a ghost problem, I wanted to share some of those methods with you:

  • Don’t make eye contact with the ghost. Ghosts attach themselves to people very easily, and eye contact can be the beginning of an intimate bond for ghosts.
  • Don’t learn their names or their history. If you don’t know the names of the ghosts haunting you, you won’t be tempted to say them and invite them to latch onto you.
  • Use salt for protection. Sprinkle salt over a space or create a salt circle when you are performing magic of any kind to protect yourself from spirits or demons.
  • Cleanse a space with bone dust. Ghosts hate reminders of death, so using something like bone dust will deter them from entering a space. Do I know where you would find bone dust? No. But apparently it works.
  • Caramels distract them. At this point in the book, I do not know why this is the case, but if Darlington said it, it must be true.

 

This all may make it seem like ghosts are Bad News, but in reality, at least according to Queen Bardugo, most ghosts are harmless if you keep your distance and don’t attract them in any way. So basically, I just have to ignore my ghostie friend and stop trying to find out if a man died in my apartment. Having a ghost may be annoying, but I suppose it’s vaguely comforting that Queen B doesn’t think they’re a big deal.

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how book blogging has changed my reading habits

Since reaching the 500 follower milestone, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my time as a book blogger and how my reading and bookish habits have changed over the past 7 years while I’ve been blogging. I definitely read and approach bookish things differently because of blogging than I did when I was just an avid reader who didn’t blog, and today, I wanted to reflect on some of the ways I’ve changed my reading habits because of blogging.

 

  • Reading for quantity. This is not to say I don’t strive to read great books, but I do feel for the past few years I’ve been much more focused on reading to be able to say I’ve read a certain amount vs. focusing solely on the quality of what I’m reading and just focusing on enjoyment. I admit I feel A LOT of pressure to read a lot of books per year, and it’s been hard for me since my reading pace has slowed the past couple of years to not read 100+ books a year.
  • Being more aware of new releases. Book blogging has made me really good at researching upcoming titles in a variety of genres, though I’m probably mainly a YA expert still. I am always on top of new releases in YA and can probably tell you what month an upcoming book you name is coming out in because of blogging.
  • Access to more books. One of the biggest perks of book blogging is the ARCs, not gonna lie. I love having access to titles before they release and having publishers be open to sending me books that I want to read.
  • I’ve become kind of a book snob, honestly. When I was younger, I mostly found out about books by going straight to the new section of the library every time I went in. Now, if a book isn’t on my TBR for the year, I’m a lot less likely to spontaneously pick up a title I’m interested in. I’m much more skeptical about books I haven’t heard of, and this is something I’d like to change about my reading habits. I do really miss the joys of discovering new books by browsing the library shelves or a bookstore.
  • I feel more pressure about reading. Sometimes book blogging can make reading feel like a bit of a job. I think I used to take breaks from reading more often before I started book blogging, whereas now I feel like if I don’t read for a month or two, I worry about not having enough material to create content for my blog. I think a lot of book bloggers struggle with guilt when they don’t read for whatever reason, and that’s something I’d definitely like to work on within myself.
  • Being influenced by the hype monster. This can be good and bad, but I have read quite a few books because of book community hype that I’ve really liked, such as GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE, which I don’t think I would have picked up on my own. Sometimes it’s really fun to read a super popular book with everyone else, because you feel like you’re part of something bigger. So while the hype monster can increase our expectations unrealistically, it can also make reading a book more fun and connect you to other readers.

 

Book blogging has definitely been a majorly positive influence on my life overall, and I can’t imagine not having it in my life. Still, looking at this list has made me realize there are some habits I want to change to make reading more enjoyable for me again, so I’ll probably be writing about that at some point.

In the comments, I’d love to hear from you all how blogging has affected your reading habits!

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the sunday post // 11-24-19

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news about the past week, reading recaps, hauls, and more.

 

weekly happenings

  • I opened up paid tarot readings. I’ve felt very inspired to pursue some witchy business ideas lately, so I decided to start by opening paid tarot readings! You can find more information here.

 

last week on the blog

 

next week on the blog

  • how book blogging has changed my reading habits
  • (yes, i actually have posts planned for next week!!)
  • my witchy holiday wish list
  • dealing with ghosts according to ninth house

 

finished reading

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I decided to be bold and daring and read something I was just in the mood for and not worry about its release date. As soon as I got my request approved on Edelweiss for MY SUMMER OF LOVE AND MISFORTUNE, I knew I’d enjoy it if I read it. This book has A LOT of writing craft flaws, but honestly, the story was so fun and hilarious that I still enjoyed the book overall. It’s about Iris Weijun Wang, a Chinese American teen who’s just spent too much money on her parents’ credit card and failed senior year of high school. In an effort to get her to change her behavior, her parents send her to live with newly discovered family in Beijing, where she discovers her culture, more drama, and romance (of course). There are definitely a lot of problems with how this book was written that I’ll elaborate on in a review posted closer to the release date, but I’d still recommend putting this book on your radars because it’s just so fun.

 

currently reading

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This is my first book by Deb Caletti. None of her other books have interested me, to be honest, even though she’s been around for a really long time, but this one had me intrigued by the synopsis, which talked about a teen girl discovering the pitfalls of beauty and desire through a summer spent with her movie star mother and her dangerous new boyfriend. As I’m writing this post, I’m about 10% in and can say I am definitely intrigued and really want to know what happens. This seems like a really unique YA thriller and I’m excited to find out how it all ends up.

 

book haul

  • A Sweet Mess – Jayci Lee
  • Girl Gone Viral – Alisha Rai
  • Salty, Bitter, Sweet – Mayra Cuevas
  • This is All Your Fault – Amina Mae Safi
  • Cinderella Is Dead – Kalynn Bayron
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5 ideas for your grimoire

I’ve talked quite a bit about grimoires on here I think, but in case you need a refresher, a grimoire, or book of shadows, is basically a witch’s journal. At its most basic it is a book of spells and magical information. Think of the book of shadows from Charmed. That is a pretty good example.

Today, I’ll be talking about some ideas for starting your own grimoire.

Here they are:

  • Draw a ouija board. If you’re a closeted witch, don’t have space, don’t want to spend money on one, etc., drawing your own ouija board in a grimoire is still a great way to do spirit work.
  • Draw a crystal grid. Crystal grids are shapes with crystals at different points used for manifestation and in different kinds of spell work. Personally, I will probably never be able to afford enough crystals to create my own crystal grid, plus if I ever made one, my cats would instantly destroy it, so why not just draw one in your book of shadows? You can open up to the page with the crystal grid when you do your spellwork and keep it next to you on the grid page.
  • Altar map. This is another good idea for closeted witches, or, if you have destructive (but cute!!) cats like mine, for keeping an altar. You could do a two-page spread and either list the items you would use in an altar with their correspondences in the arrangement you would use in real life, or draw the items.
  • Crystal inventory. Something I realized once I started using crystals for my practice of witchcraft was that I had a hard time remembering both which crystals I had, what they were if they were right in front of me, and especially what their correspondences and uses were. A grimoire is a great place to make an inventory of what crystals you own and their uses.
  • Practicing sigils. Something I’ve really wanted to learn more about since becoming a witch is using sigils in my magical practice. Sigils are symbols created from a statement of intent and broken down into lines that create a new symbol. Sigils don’t have to be perfect before they go into your grimoire, and your grimoire pages would be a good place to practice drawing sigils before using them in real life.

 

There are definitely many uses for your grimoire, and lots of ways to personalize it to your own practice of witchcraft. These are just some suggestions on what to include if you’re starting out or looking for more creative ways to use a grimoire, so I hope this post was useful!

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books i’ve requested on edelweiss lately

I have an Edelweiss problem. And a NetGalley problem too, if we’re being honest here, but really, Edelweiss has become much more of a thorn in my side lately because they KEEP ADDING AMAZING BOOKS which means my TBR KEEPS GETTING BIGGER. How dare they? I thought I would torture you all today with some of the amazing books I’ve been requesting on Edelweiss lately, in the hopes that perhaps you, too, will feel my pain.

 

  • The Age of Witches | Louisa Morgan – Rival! Witch! Families! An MC from a long line of witches! Using magic to help women in need! Using magic to get ahead in Gilded Age New York! Do you see why I needed this book?
  • A Song Below Water | Bethany C. Horrow – ASBW is a debut about two magical black girls and includes SIRENS. I will read literally all the siren books to ever exist, please and thank you. So excited to read this one!!!
  • Today Tonight Tomorrow | Rachel Lynn Solomon – I really liked Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut, YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE, but wasn’t interested in this one until seeing her post about it on her Twitter page. TTT is an enemies to lovers romance, aka the BEST kind of romance, and also has some quirky formatting stuff that I always fall for.
  • My Summer of Love & Misfortune | Lindsay Wong – Honestly, the cover really drew me into this one. This book is about a Chinese-American girl struggling to figure her future out after her boyfriend cheats on her and she doesn’t get into any colleges she applies to. Then, her family sends her to Beijing, and also the synopsis mentions DUMPLINGS and have I ever told you how much I LOVE a good DUMPLING??

 

  • Girl Gone Viral | Alisha Rai – OMFG y’all, I am THE MOST EXCITED about this book!!! Its predecessor, THE RIGHT SWIPE, was a favorite of mine this year, and as I was reading it, I was so hoping the sequel would be about the MC’s roommate, Katrina, who has anxiety, and IT IS!!!! The book gods listen sometimes, and when they do, it is MAGIC.
  • Salty, Bitter, Sweet | Mayra Cuevas – Honestly, I was a little hesitant to request this one when I found out it was published by Blink, which is a publisher of “clean” YA and was mentioned during That Twitter Mess, but also it’s about food and Cuban culture?? I have no idea what to expect from this book, but I do hope that I like it because I love foodie YA.
  • Foul is Fair | Hannah Capin – HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS. Okay, so confession: I immediately dismissed this book when I first saw it because I HATED the cover. But. Lessons were learned when I read the synopsis. It’s about a group of popular girls who seek revenge on boys who attack one of them by infiltrating their private school. Y’all. I have learned my lesson about judging books by their covers. I am so psyched for this book.
  • A Sweet Mess | Jayci Lee – This book. Sounds. So good. It’s about a woman who owns a bakery and ends up running into her hot one night stand again when she messes up an order that gives her a bad review and threatens her whole livelihood. Baking? Romance? One night stands that become something more? *swoons*
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that time i drew the tower before starting a new job

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that a) I’m a librarian and b) that back in August, I transferred libraries in the library system where I had been working for over a year to become a children’s librarian. Though I was excited for this change because I’ve been interested in becoming a children’s librarian, I was also very nervous because it was, well, a change. So, being witchy, I decided to consult my tarot cards.

The card I ended up pick was the tower.

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Now, for those who aren’t familiar with tarot, the tower is not one of the more desirable cards. People dread picking the Tower, along with Death, the Devil, and some of the minor arcana like Three of Swords, because the Tower represents a shattering and destruction of a fundamental structure in your life.

So, naturally, I was a little upset about getting the Tower right before making a major life change.

Now that I’ve been at the job for a few months, I can say that this card was probably accurate. In some ways, it was accurate in the traditional, negative way. By transferring, I did lose daily in-person contact with my best work friend, who has always been a major source of support for me since starting this job.

But, the Tower also seems to represent in this case a huge change in my life in terms of shattering some old attitudes I had about the job and saying “good riddance” to them. Since starting my recovery journey from depression, I’ve definitely noticed a huge change in my attitude about my job. I’m a lot better at not blaming myself when people, whether it be patrons or coworkers, are negative towards me when it’s not actually my fault. I actually enjoy helping people, and am willing to sit with someone to solve their problem. A lot of my main fears about the job have started to ebb and go away, which has made the day-to-day of the job much less stressful.

The Tower can represent a change in the structures of your life, and a change in PERSPECTIVE. The “structure” that has been shattered the most is my overbearing negativity about my job. I’m sure there will be times when I don’t like it, but my hope is that overall, I’ll be able to remember why I became a librarian in the first place.

In the end, the Tower card ended up being an accurate representation of my experience on this job, though not for the negative reasons I first predicted. Because the Tower came to pass, I’m a lot stronger, both as a person and as a librarian. So, if you get a card like the Tower in a tarot reading, it’s not necessarily a reason to be afraid! Sometimes, a card like the Tower can just mean that you should open yourself up to change and, if you’re lucky, you can still come out on top.

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www wednesday // 11-20-19

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

 

just finished

Ummm…nothing because I’m slow, lol. The last thing I read is still THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD, which is so freaking good, y’all, it does not get NEARLY the hype it deserves. Read. It. And. Give. It. The. HYPE.

 

currently reading

I am currently in the midst of three books, technically. First, I’m listening to the audiobook of AYESHA AT LAST, which has been on my TBR for a while. It’s a Pride & Prejudice retelling featuring proudly Muslim characters, and let me tell you all, I am HERE for this book. The characters are all so interesting and charming and the story is really tugging at my heart in so many ways. The narrator to the audiobook is also just really great?? I’m really picky about audiobook narrators but I really like the woman narrating AYESHA. Also I just love Ayesha writing in her purple notebook of poems during class?? (Though obviously not recommending you go hide in the bathroom to write poems if you are a teacher, please do not do that).

I’m also still reading THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS and GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN. I recently discovered that GALCB is getting a sequel about one of Chloe’s younger sisters, and even though I’m still really early on in the book, I already love both of her little sisters and am praying to all the book deities that we get an Eve book also.

 

reading next

Okay, so first things first, I still GOTTA READ NINTH HOUSE. I’m hoping I’ll be more in the mood to read it soon now that I’m more interested in reading and things in general again (haha, bye depression!). Anyway. I also saw that OverDrive has GIRL GONE VIRAL, which I started earlier in the year and liked, then dropped for some reason, but I think I would enjoy it on audio if it has a good narrator. OMG I just noticed how they wrote the tagline on that book I LOVE IT lol.

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the sunday post // 11-17-19

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news about the past week, reading recaps, hauls, and more.

 

weekly happenings

  • I went back to work. This is really the main thing. I had my first three days back at work this week after being on leave for almost a month. I had a couple weird interactions but overall I felt and feel pretty positive about coming back. I’m much more able to see when something someone says that’s negative is my problem and when it is not, and I’m actually enjoying helping people and am a lot calmer about things that had previously been causing me a lot of anxiety.
  • I did my first tarot reading for another person. I’ve never done a reading for someone other than myself because I’m still learning and still have to look up the meanings of the cards, but I did one for one of my Twitter mutuals and it went really well and I really enjoyed doing it. I’m thinking about offering tarot readings via my tumblr and possibly this blog as well. I really enjoy reading tarot and want to do it more, so this seems like a good idea potentially.

 

last week on the blog

 

next week on the blog

  • www wednesday
  • that time that I drew The Tower before starting a new job
  • books I’ve requested from Edelweiss lately
  • 5 grimoire ideas
  • sunday post

 

currently reading

I don’t know why I’m reading 2 books right now when honestly I don’t even feel like reading 1 book. I’ve just been feeling really apathetic toward reading and haven’t felt like doing it for a couple weeks and keep trying to force myself to read in the hopes that I’ll enjoy something but it’s honestly not happening. I know both of these books are objectively good and I would enjoy them if I were in the mood to read, but really I’m just not in the mood to read at the moment. I don’t know if I should try to keep reading because I do want to have them done or if I should just stop reading for a while.

 

book haul

  • the age of the witches
  • a song below water
  • today tonight tomorrow
  • my summer of love and misfortune
  • foul is fair
  • the stars and the blackness between them (library)
  • mooncakes (library)
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artist’s way week 5 check-in

For those who don’t know, the Artist’s Way is a course developed by creative Julia Cameron to restore your creativity. My goal with this course is to feel more comfortable being creative and find my creative voice.

Here are some of the major themes that stood out to me from the week 5 readings:

  • Seeing our creativity as impossible. I definitely struggle with this. Part of the Artist’s Way course does have a spiritual element, and this week, Cameron put seeing our creativity as “crazy or impossible” in the context of believing in a “higher power” and not being able to do so because we have a limited belief in what we can do as humans. Cameron claims that in reality, spiritual beliefs gives as an “unlimited bank account” of creativity. I had a lot of trouble with the spiritual bit in the Artist’s Way the first time around and it made me uncomfortable because I used to identify solidly as an atheist, but since exploring witchcraft, my ideas about a higher power have definitely altered somewhat, and I can more easily fit myself into ideas about spirituality, which I think is making this course more valuable for me.
  • Staying stuck creatively. Another major theme this week was exploring our creative blocks and the payoff for staying stuck. Cameron talked a lot about how many creatives choose being nice and pleasing others over our own creative desires. I definitely fall victim to this, so I really saw myself in this reading. Not creating is safer for our relationships, and we see depriving ourselves of creativity as a virtue.
  • Importance of acknowledging and indulging in forbidden joys. One of the ways we’re mean to ourselves and stay blocked as creatives is by saying no to desires that, if indulged in, would fuel our creativity and fill our creative well. A lot of creatives, and people in general, see our desires as too crazy or selfish, but ignoring our desires is just one of the many ways we are mean to ourselves and stifle our creativity.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you fo your morning pages?

I did the morning pages all but two days since starting week 5. I’m finding I’m actually liking them less as I go on, and have less to say. I go through phases where I have a lot to say, then a week or two where I only write one page instead of 3.

 

2. Did you do your Artist Date this week? Have you had the experience of hearing answers during your leisure time? What did you do for your date? How did it feel? Have you taken an artist date yet that felt really adventurous?

I did not officially do an artist date this week. I think I have had the experience of “hearing answers” during my leisure time though. While organizing materials for my book of shadows, I thought of a small business idea to sell handwritten and hand drawn grimoires that I’m really excited about trying. I have definitely not taken an artist date that felt adventurous, or that would feel adventurous to most people. Honestly, just leaving my apartment for some of these dates has felt adventurous for me because of my anxiety about leaving the house.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? 

I don’t think I experienced any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This week I really started thinking of more ideas and ways I want to experiment with creativity other than writing. I’ve realized through this course that I want to open myself up to creative passions other than writing because I don’t think I actually want to write at the moment. I also started realizing I might need a break from reading, or to find ways to put less pressure to read all the time. Reading is definitely my favorite “creative block,” even though it also fuels my creativity, but I’ve realized I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to and I’ve been exploring in my morning pages why that might be and steps I could take to make reading more enjoyable again and have it be a way to fill the creative well rather than block it.

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positivity check-in | 11-12-19

Hello, loves! Today marks my final day on leave before I go back to work, and as such, it seemed appropriate to do another positivity check-in before I went back to give myself a bit of a boost. So, without further ado, here are some positive things I’m excited about:

  • I REACHED 500 BLOG FOLLOWERS!!! THANK YOU!!!!!
  • I finished Britain’s Next Top Model cycle 10
  • The accents on Britain’s Next Top Model cycle 6 are much easier to understand (I know, I know; I’m addicted to trash TV, what can I say)
  • The Regrettes’ new album is KILLER
  • My cats have been super cuddly lately
  • I started a positivity Tumblr of things I like, affirmations, and self-care posts so I can look at it on bad days or during my breaks at work to keep my spirits up
  • Amelia from BNTM6 is super attractive
  • I got to have some alone time while BF was out o town
  • I’m not as scared to go back to work as I thought I’d be.

 

share with me: what’s going well in your lives? tell me all about it!

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