Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just started reading this book for the second time and have already found new understandings of the story! Nghi Vo is fantastic! She’s masterful at creating unconventional, complex, magical worlds without overexplaining the mechanics. She teaches us her magic by immersion into beautiful yet ominous realities.
Dark magic is the life force that propels Hollywood’s elite to stardom in Siren Queen by Nghi Vo. Those willing to sacrifice whatever is asked get a chance to burn so brightly they become almost untouchable, immortal in more ways than one. These silver screen stars to be are willing to trade their mortality, and often their freedom, to mysterious forces so that they may rise above their own mundane humanity and the confines society has prescribed them.
Some of my favorite aspects of this novel were the Friday night fires and The Hunt, the world-building, the powerful protagonist, and the LGBTQ+ themes and characters. The magical world built is intricate but not tedious. There are worlds within worlds, subcultures, and secrets. The sex scenes are so well done I found myself gripping my Kindle a bit more intensely.
I felt as though I was an invisible companion standing right next to the protagonist, Luli Wei (her acting name) throughout the book. Her power and ambition, curiosity and passion were tangible. I felt how bright her star was burning before we knew who/what she would become.
“You’d rather be proud than happy,” Tara said, squeezing my hand. When I looked slightly offended at her words, she reached up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind my ear. “It’s part of you. I don’t think you would fight it if you could.”
Luli wanted to ascend, to leave behind what was forced upon her and live a life of her own choice, no matter how fraught with danger. She forged loyal connections with people who had an unusual spark and natural talent and didn’t let fear stop her from confronting even the most powerful players. And when she did, she knew how to stay cool because letting someone know you’re on the run inside is as good as giving them your soul.
Both a sophisticated fantasy novel and intriguing LGBTQIA romance, Siren Queen is my favorite book of 2022 so far. I would definitely recommend this read to fans of the Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, Sorrowland by Rivers Soloman, The Hazel Wood series by Melissa Albert, and The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
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Welcome to my new blog series…
As I learn new things, my ideas and opinions expand. This causes me much anxiety when writing. I’d love to know the depths of every topic I write about from the start, but alas, the magic powers I was born with do not include omniscience or quantum speed-reading capabilities.
This is a list of things I learn weekly that excite me and sometimes lead to the exclamation, “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.” Whether I ditch my admiration for an old idol (of which I already have so few), or I alter my position or beliefs, these tidbits changed the winds in my sails.
I share these mini-revelations and interests
bi-weekly monthly in an effort to squash my own perfectionism and feed your curiosity.
For my first entry, I have some bits and bobs from over several weeks’ time.
Sartre is Sexist & Freud is a Bore – 2/18/2021
Whilst studying the theory of the three levels of the mind by Sigmund Freud, I found this piece of “wisdom” from the infamous cocaine-loving psychiatrist:
[x_blockquote cite=”Forever Yours, Freud” type=”left”]“Elimination of clitoral sexuality is a necessary precondition for the development of femininity, since it is immature and masculine in its nature.”[/x_blockquote]
RIGHT, my stuff is just a bad imitation of your stuff and must be totally useless since you don’t understand my body.
Same day, I was studying up on philosophical theories around authenticity, so I dug into a little Sartre. What an ass!
His examples of bad faith, aka inauthentic behavior, range from a woman acting like she wasn’t having any fun during sex (when the man KNEW she absolutely was) to a woman not acknowledging, and behaving as expected, that a man clearly initiated a date with her solely on the basis he would be sexually gratified.
Yes, Sartre, it’s inauthentic to not relinquish all individuality, choice, and personhood when in the presence of the all-superior man-boy.
Everything these guys write tells me they don’t see women as actual human beings. These are the lauded minds of psychology and philosophy.
As a result of reading Sartre, I Googled “how did Simone de Beauvoir ever put up with Sartre,” and, “how sexist was Sartre.” I found this incredible piece in The New Yorker revealing just how “authentic” both of these existential thinkers were.
Science & Non-Duality – 3/3/2021
I’ve been laboring over a post about intuition lately. Before I can move on with it, I find it necessary to flesh out where science ends and spirituality begins (as you’ll see below, it’s not so black + white). What can we prove, and what doesn’t require proof? In what cases is it irresponsible to claim scientific proof when all we really have are loose ideas based on other wobbly ideas?
I felt Chapter II of Spectrums of Consciousness by Ken Wilber opening a foundational door with its insights into the duality of most scientific and philosophical theories. The difference between theories with premises in duality and those with premises in non-duality are key to understanding arguments about intuition/consciousness.
What changed for me this week?
I decided to recommit to seeking out the voices of women and BIPOC. These old, white dudes are tiring, and it’s always a good time (and about damn time) to choose better pillars to build upon. I want what I share to be healing to the collective consciousness and to empower those who have been oppressed and objectified.
I’ve also come to accept that I will likely never know any definitives about existence, authenticity, meaning, and much of science too. There are objective truths, but the most complex issues shimmer differently depending on who is holding the torch. All I can do is enjoy the ride and report to you what mysteries I’ve found and the confounding beauty that appears in my viewfinder.
Beliefs and tradition can be a source of comfort and hope. We may adopt rituals and practices from ancient religions or ancestral knowledge to make sense of our current challenges, our environment, our relationships to all within and without. The search for existential meaning is alive in all of us with varying degrees of passion and purpose. These forms of meaning creation don’t originally come from intuition, rather, they become part of our intuitive knowing through repeated stories, traditions, and rituals.
In many cases, beliefs come not from intuition, but from the collective consciousness. Interpretations of the world and its nuances are taken from society, whatever social groups to which we belong (and sometimes from groups to which we do not belong).
What Is Not Ours, Is Not Intuitive
When we take from societies we aren’t a part of, for whatever reason, this borrowing of consciousness, and of ritual, may feel or appear inauthentic because our own experiences and environments are not the same as those who developed these particular perspectives. We may mimic or agree, but we are not of the world where these ideas and traditions were born from. We may share in their reverence, but these are not our inherited stories, nor are they our stories to tell. We may take pieces of their wisdom and align it with our own, seeing connectedness and honoring humanity’s many tender facets, cherishing symbols of the indomitable spirit of our inner Self, but to wear the traditions of another as our own when we are only visitors in their ancestral plane is a spiritual facade or not part of one’s own intuitive ancestral knowledge.
Ancestral Knowledge Comes From Many Sources
Ancestral knowledge can be physical, as in the lineage our DNA passes down or as what Carl Jung refers to as the collective unconscious, a heritage of symbolic knowledge from the beginning of humanity; environmental, what we learn through absorption and experience; historical, the stories, legends, myths, and rituals that are given to generations to come. We hold all of these forms of celebration of the past within our bodies and minds so deeply the information feels intuitive.
For the most part, these things that enrich our life experience are learned, not things we magically arrive at by way of a deep meditative state or channeled from a spirit beyond. Although, meditation and other spiritual rituals can bring us into a state of presence more conducive to unearthing our subconscious wealth.
We Are Tied to One Another By Emotion
Traditions themselves aren’t magical, the way we interact with them is. Our feelings of sacredness, connection, ecstatic revelation, suspension of mundane reality – our emotions are the magic. The wands, cards, dancing, chanting, and other practices and tools are a means to which we create an emotional landscape of reverence and celebration. The stories of traditions and myths create a shared reality that links us to those before and amongst us. They give us meaning in a world where seemingly infinite possibilities overwhelm us in their unraveling.
Beautiful and confounding is this ability we humans hold to craft an entire world within our mind, reinforced by meaning-imbued words and actions. This is the magic I see in spirituality. It’s the magic of consciousness embodied in a form blessed with language and rich complexity. Stories and traditions bring our individual histories and our shared history to life in new ways. We visit each other’s cultures and share experiences this way, and we honor what feels intuitive inside us by making conscious the embedded stories that bring deep meaning to existence.
Life is a practice in letting go.
To immerse ourselves in the present moment, we must let go of control, and let go of stories that no longer hold true.
When we practice letting go without resistance, we allow ourselves to flow with life.
Letting go includes welcoming something new, or something changed.
I made this meditation the morning after I decided to let go of a few things in my business in favor of listening to my intuition, my heart’s calling.
As I observed the smoke leaving its place of origin and becoming its own work of art, I let go of control.
Each day, I remind myself to surrender to my experience. I will allow myself to be guided by the voice inside me that connects us all.
I love the glide of a fine tip, black gel ink pen on fresh textured paper.
Writing this way feels like my heart and mind are pouring out through the ink in slow motion.
When I need a blank canvas and no constraints, this is where I start. All of my projects, big and small, begin with free-form brainstorms in my Business Grimoire.
Why is it called a Business Grimoire?
A grimoire is traditionally where a witch keeps her spells and invocations, magical instructions.
This book is where I write down my business goals and intentions and make dreams, once ephemeral, come to life on the pages. It contains instructions on how to bring about what I, and those who work with me, most desire.
While I’m a very practical woman, I’m also deeply spiritual. I see magic in all that is. I believe in synchronicity, energy, and the power of focus. What we focus on, or practice regularly, creates our reality. My grimoire helps me focus creative energy and practice birthing the gifts that live inside.
What types of stuff do I keep inside?
Ideas are born in my Business Grimoire. Any newborn thought or conversation is first spoken to those pages, then put inside my main writing drafts container, Scrivener, for further development.
Its pages hold:
- journal entries
- rough drawings
- thoughts and ideas from conversations with kindred spirits and clients
- explorations of my fears and hopes
I review this book monthly to choose the best ideas for the next stage of creation. For example, you’ll soon see a workshop on how to make your own mindmaps to work out problems, and I’ll include a video of how I set up my meal plans in Scrivener in my next online course.
How do you brainstorm? Do you have a system for reviewing your ideas? Is there something from my grimoire you’d like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below.
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[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px 0px 15px;”][cs_text]Have you ever found an online entrepreneur you were really jazzed about only to be bombarded with negativity masked as inspiration?
They tell you the only way to happiness is to run your own business. Maybe they believe if you’re not happy every moment of every day, you’re doing something wrong. They post memes about “ignoring the haters,” and go on defensive rants about people trying to keep them down.
I know I’ve had that experience. It’s disappointing to see someone we admire cling to negativity, seeing the world through the lens of perfectionism and self-judgment. I quickly found my energy drained and stopped following their business.
Critical perfectionism was easy for me to spot because I was doing it too.
When I first started blogging about online business and personal development a couple years ago, I noticed the same negative tone in my writing.
I’m a lifelong perfectionist with a habit of giving myself conditional love based on achievements. The same critical lens I saw myself with, I was using to look at the world.
Know your message and goals, and take action in line with those values.
Seeing someone else give advice based on conditional love was the message I needed to realign my own business with compassion.
How we do one thing is often how we do everything. If you’re rigid and critical of yourself, you’ll see the world with the same perspective.
Before we can deeply understand how to give others the respect and compassion they deserve, we must first give that love to ourselves.
The main purpose of my blog/business is to help women radically accept themselves, know their capabilities and take steps towards their dreams. I dedicated the following year deeply devoted to cultivating self-love and inner peace to make my message strong and clear.
Keep asking yourself, “Are my actions in line with my message and goals?”
If your goal is to connect with others, creating a safe space for learning and growth, practicing non-judgment will be vital to you.
Stay humble. Offer empathy and understanding while making choices in line with your higher self.
Don’t add judgments like, “I’ve failed,” or, “I’m a bad person,” to observations about your achievements.
This will hold you back from moving forward, and that’s the goal here. We need to make mistakes before we can make adjustments.
Emotional work is hard work, but it’s the foundation of a life you love.
There’s a tendency to think of emotions as passive things, things you need to put to the side if you’re really a strong person.
Take an honest look at how you make decisions each day, and you’ll see emotions not-so-secretly run the show.
The more you ignore your feelings, the louder they knock. When you learn to bring awareness and acceptance to them, they have less control over you.
You’ll do great at being non-judgmental one day, and be comparing yourself to others the next.
Emotional work hurts.
It requires a re-learning of how to be with yourself. It’ll feel awkward, and you might not be great at it at first. All new habits are awkward at first.
Everything has an ebb and flow. Keeping bringing yourself back to your mission and goals.
Emotional work is the foundation of all other success in life. It’s the lifelong practice of becoming more “you.” Remember this next time you set goals and priorities.
Inner work takes time and focus. Choose activities, rituals and practices that make you a priority. It’ll improve your focus, creativity, relationships, and sense of who you are as a person, and in business.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;border-style: solid;border-width: 5px;border-color: hsl(55, 100%, 46%);”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_share title=”Share this Post” share_title=”” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true” reddit=”false” email=”true” email_subject=”Hey, thought you might enjoy this! Check it out when you have a chance:”][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]