personal, Uncategorized

new moons & fresh starts

Happy New Moon in Capricorn, everyone! I love earth signs; I actually collect Virgos. I strongly subscribe to the theory that people can be affected by the phases of the moon. Not everyone, mind you, but I know myself and several others turn into spontaneous disoriented messes when the moon is full. In addition to that lovely bit of extraterrestrial meddling, Mercury is in hella retrograde and I hate it. Last time when Mercury pulled this shit I was like “Oh, this isn’t too bad” while everyone else was running around me, chased by the flames of Hell. Now it’s my turn to be in a literal nightmare, apparently. My skin is broken out, my grandpa yelled at the mailman (which resulted in me having to go down to the Post Office and apologize on his behalf), my main job has experienced one of the busiest weeks since our last hot mess in August… the list goes on. I’m hoping when the New Year rolls around, it will get a bit calmer. Mercury is supposed to go back to normal on January 8th, which feels like its ten years away. Hear me out, I know a lot of people use Mercury in Retrograde as a scapegoat to be a dick – but I’m not like that, I promise. I’m more like “I’m going to need more naps than I normally do during the next three weeks”.

I’ve been working thirteen hour days, three times a week. What can I say, I’m kind of a hustler. Just kidding, I’m tired all the time and my feet hurt. Half of me is like “Yeah, you’re an independent woman! You work that grind!” and the other half is like “Please stop romanticizing this lifestyle, I forgot what my face looks like without dark cirlces”  I decided to decompress today by taking a lovely stroll through the aisles of Michael’s and setting aside some time for a DIY project.  I have been meaning to make my Aunt a sign as a thank-you for her latest work on my very difficult hair.

I meant to find some wooden plaques that were more on the pale side, so that I could paint over them, but I ended up with these rustic boards instead.

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I definitely prefer the stained coloring more than the bleached variety and these are made for hanging.

tonya board finish.jpgNot a super complex project, just some hot glue and paint! I played with several mediums on the first board to get the kind of text I wanted and ended up with a stencil, a marker, and some glitter. At the end, I was pretty stoked with how it turned out. I love my aunt – she’s an inspiration, a daily reminder to hustle and be myself.

Okay, so I’ve always wanted to do a “What’s in my bag?” post on a blog. I am obsessed with “Whats in my bag?” and I would 100% buy a book that’s just pictures of random junk people carry around. I think it’s like my addiction to personality quizzes and psychoanalyzing everyone I meet – what better way to learn about someone than to look through their shit? My purse is a tangible summary of my personality – dark and edgy on the outside, full of nerd and feelings on the inside.

Without further ado, the contents of my bag…

whats in my bag.jpgFor the record – Yes, my family does hate me. No one wants to carry or lift my purse. I tote around far too many books for someone my size, in all honesty.

I also have my two little zipper bags, which no one understands, but they have the purpose of keeping my shit protected! I put chargers, my headphones, (I’m one of those people who don’t function very well if we can’t work or walk around with music playing; I’m really cranky before Blink-182 and coffee in the mornings), my very cute magnetic bookmarks, and a picture of my grandparents in the Slytherin (I made that!) bag; the Pisces bag gets my Bellatrix planner and the two little “Goals” and “Inspiration” notebooks. The other notebooks get to fend for themselves.

I always carry around at least two books and a Kindle – right now my current read is This Savage Song and my writing project is the 52 Lists of Happiness. 

Other than that, I have some bobby pins, Bath and Body Works spray, crystals, hand lotion, lip-gloss and tarot cards. You know, the essentials.

Please, please share your WIMB with me. I hope that doesn’t come off as creepy. I am just super fascinated by people’s everyday items.

The 30 Days of Book Reviews starts in two days! Check back in on the 1st of January for my review of Carry On! 

Happy New Year

The Book Witch

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Uncategorized

a letter, in lieu of a list

As 2016 comes to a close, I thought a good way to wrap things up would be to write a letter to 16-year old me – the Chandler who existed five years ago. I don’t do resolutions so this seemed like a cathartic, reflective way to end the year.

To myself, at 16 –

The first thing I would like to say to you is that I’m sorry. I failed you in a lot of different ways in your upcoming five years of growth. I encouraged you to hang out with people that bled you dry, I allowed you to be a doormat for everyone to use. I let you stop writing, drawing, reading. You distanced yourself from the people who would one day carry pieces of your soul and I said “Okay, go ahead”. I let you, with with your head full of dreams and a heart overflowing with trust,  give everything I had to someone and then forget who I am. It will take five years for you to come back to yourself. I’m so sorry.

The second thing that I’d like to tell you is that you get resorted into Slytherin. I know, but are you surprised? Remember all the times where you thought “I’m such an oddly selective Hufflepuff, there must be more out there like me!” There are, they’re called Slytherins. The Sorting Hat did say that you’ll meet your true friends here, and he was (hopefully) right. Be yourself, don’t ever be ashamed to be quiet or have a dislike of crowds. Don’t ever feel like you have to trust everyone because it’s in your nature – you are allowed to turn toxic people away.

The third thing we need to talk about is that you don’t marry your first love. Before you get upset, let me tell you: it’s okay. I know it feels like you built a life around this person and then someone took a sledgehammer to all the walls, but that’s okay. You see, in a couple years you’ll end up with a man who you never expected to end up with. You are supposed to marry this person on September 9th, 2017. I’m not going to tell you who it is because you need some more time to learn and to grow. You’re going to get hurt really, really badly and it’s going to be like the world has stopped for a couple months. Trust me, you will continue to hurt some people, too. You, my most empathetic darling, are not without flaws. Here comes the silver lining, the liquid gold they use to fill the cracks – he’s wonderful. You already know him – he’s been so kind to you before. He comes with some problems, he’s had a difficult life, but he’s going to be your best friend. Some days, he’s going to break your heart, it will be good and ugly, and he’s going to propose in the most heart-achingly beautiful way. You will drive five hours to adopt a dog and name her after Mimi, because she is so perfect and you will never have to be alone as long as she’s around.

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The last thing I want to tell you is that you will lose Mimi, your grandma. You will lose your soul-mate, your partner in crime. She will tell you for years that the two of you will open a bakery and then she’ll leave with an unknown condition and one last shuddering breath. Please be kind to her, when she’s gone you will have lost a parent. I know everything is about your friends right now, but who is a better friend to you than her? Bring Sammy over to the house more often, let her hang out with you and Mimi. Get your license and drive them to Dairy Queen. The loss of the person who introduced you to astrology and sewing will completely destroy you. Memories that you don’t want to revisit will haunt you at night and they’ll give you medication for the grief. Do you want to know a secret? I know the cure. Never, ever stop writing. You’re going to be a senior in high school with an English teacher who tells you that you’re one of the best she’s seen. She’s going to invite you back to read poetry that you wrote at midnight during a panic attack. You’re going to go to college (we’ll save that discussion for another day) and have four teachers bring tears to your eyes when they tell you that you should pursue writing. Hang out with Dad and Heather; have them read your work and give you feedback. Tell them that you love them and you’re grateful to be in their lives. Never stop carrying around a book. Bring colored pencils over to share with Jackson. Offer to babysit. You’re going to get over your fear of children when the world brings you Amelia, your niece, and you’ll wonder why no one has ever understood you more than a tiny girl with bright blue eyes.

I know that they say having an old soul is overrated, but its going to help you more than you know. Embrace forgiveness, but never forget. Practice compassion, but stand your ground. Understand now that you are the epitome of change and adaption. You will need to create in order to stop the overwhelming tide of life. Don’t drink and drive, do Mimi’s dishes, and give her a hug every single night.

Carry on, little one

The Book Witch (you, only more badass)

 

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books, Uncategorized

you could rattle the stars

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Hello, my darlings.

I’m really excited to tell you about some upcoming projects that I’ll be working on. Remember when I was like “I’m a jack of all trades!” – I’m fairly certain that in about 40 years I’ll be that little old lady who lives in a cabin, has purple hair, rescues every dog I see, and people will say things like “Oh, you need an embroidered towel but all you have to trade is a vintage necklace made from parrot bones? Come, I’ll take you to… Granny Book Witch!” I’ll have a million varieties of loose leaf tea and invite people over for baked goods and a breath of solitude.

I had a really great, quiet Christmas. I love quiet holidays. A quiet holiday means hot coffee and sweatpants, which are two main components essential to my sanity. I drove down to Pilot Hill, California on the 23rd – a two & a half hour drive from where I live – to see my family. My mom’s (adopted mom, my other mother) sister lives in this area that could come straight from a Tolkien novel. There had been weather warnings all week about a storm coming through Donner Pass (the highway that California & Nevada residents use to visit one another) but I am the most stubborn person ever and nothing was going to stop me from seeing my family. it took three chain control stops and my makeup practically melting off from stress (I hate driving; I have terrible road rage and whenever my car catches on ice, I die a little inside), but I made it.

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It was a breath-taking drive, both ways. I am so in love with snow and all things winter. I would live in a town of year-round frozen delights if my fiance wasn’t Mr. Heatmiser. Hot weather is unnatural and it makes me cranky. 

I was trapped in bumper to bumper traffic for four hours on the way home, but it was fine. I didn’t kill anyone, I just screamed until my voice went away. My dad and Uncle Jim did me a serious solid and put new tires on my run-down SUV so it had a little more prowess on the black ice (in comparison to how it normally behaves). It was such a kind, generous gesture… I’m really bad when it comes to automobiles and Jason’s been telling me that I need new tires for months – but my extent of mechanical knowledge is limited to the facts that I use my steering wheel to turn, I push on the pedals when I want to go or not go, and blinkers are very, very important.

If it wasn’t snowing, it was raining. It was one of the best Christmas Eve’s that I’ve ever had.

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I had a really great Christmas Eve with my in-laws & my Papa, as well. It was all-in-all a very calm and relaxed weekend. I usually end up going to family parties and hating myself for a few hours on Christmas. I am not an individual who does well with large groups. Big surprise there, huh? But this year was different and I’m considerably less frazzled than I normally am after the holidays.

I’m very, very happy because my family knows me so well, and all their gifts are going to really help me improve as a person. My mother ordered me a camera that’s supposed to be here in late January and I intend on signing up for all the classes that I can possibly squeeze into. Come springtime, prepare yourselves for my book-blogger game to be upped. My sister gave me a candle making kit – so I plan on making bookish candles. I plan on making a Malfoy, Donia (Wicked Lovely), and Simon/Baz (Carry On) candles as soon as I figure out where to buy my scents. I also really want to make custom labels – if anyone has suggestions for software that I should use, please give me a little insight. My mom-in-law gave me a calligraphy kit – I fucking love calligraphy – and I’m stoked to get started on that. Maybe I’ll design my candle labels by hand… because I am a never ending storm of crafting and books. I also received a beginner’s embroidery kit and if I can, I’m going to be taking classes on that, too. My mom made me a beautiful, custom apron that makes me inspired to make shit whenever I look at it.

So, I did! Make shit, I mean.

I went to Target last night – a terrible financially decision, really – in search of a serving tray. I love serving trays and vintage jewelry boxes almost as I love refurbishing them. I found this drab dude on sale – $10 for a world of DIY potential.

stage 1.JPGI took him home, lined the inside with some mermaid fabric, and wrote a quote with a stencil and a fabric marker.

stage-2It took all of 30 minutes to complete & then I filled it up with all kinds of happy things.

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This little project turned out really cute and I’m happy that I stretched my creative wings instead of leaving it and worrying about messing up. Sometimes, you just gotta take that leap.

I also ended up finding a copy of Fangirl, my biography, and it’s a collector’s addition. It matches my new recipe box from my dad and mom!

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I’m goinng to set a schedule of posting every Tuesday and Thursday from here on out AND throughout the whole month of January, I’ll be doing a book review every day. That’s right, thirty book reviews. I’ve read way more than thirty books in my life so that’s not the issue, the issue is articulating how I feel about each novel without sounding repetitive. I’m going to be breaking each book down into specific aspects and giving them an individual rating. One of my 2017 goals is to be way more involved in my Goodreads community & I think that starting here will be a great way to do that.

If you have any advice for beginner DSLR photographers, I’d love to hear what you have to say. I’d love to hear what anyone has to say, I love my readers! You’re the most attractive and intelligent readers in the world.

Stay tuned for more, best wishes

The Book Witch

 

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poetry, Uncategorized

date a girl who loves the cold

Here is a short essay – poem I wrote spontaneously during my forensic anthropology class (i know, I KNOW). If you haven’t read the poem that this is modeled after go read it now. Here is the link so you have no excuse to not read it. It’s glorious and I want it as a tattoo.

Mine is much shorter, but I hope its enjoyable – nonetheless.

Without further hesitation, here is – date a girl who loves the cold 

“Date a girl who loves the cold

Her whole life is spent waiting in anticipation for endings

A girl who loves the cold understands that the finality of things is not permanent and that patience is ultimately the most important card to play

Like sitting in the window sill during a snowstorm, she can endure long lengths of fragile silences and cold shoulders

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

She will have a perfect remedy for a variety of ailments; she will tell you to drink peppermint tea to soothe a broken heart

To a girl that loves the cold, a warm bath with lavender is the cure-all and you will end up surrounded in bubbles on long days, good days, awful days, cold days, warm days

She has spent her life soaking her bones in sadness and learning to live alongside herself and only herself

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

You will be introduced to oddities and strange collections; she will have crystals in the corner of her home and bones she has collected on walks in the snow

She will cry over the characters from her books and you will realize that if you don’t read her favorites, it will be like ignoring a piece of her soul

She will have thrift store coffee cups and seashells from December afternoons spent away from home

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

When the first Autumn wind blows through the bedroom window, she will come alive

She will take you on trips to pumpkin patches, forests, and cemeteries with stars in her eyes; you will visit the ocean in November instead of July

Halloween and Christmas will be sacred in her home and you will learn to love the duality of ghost stories and stockings

 

Date a girl who loves the cold because she will understand the darkest parts of you and love them anyway

She will encourage you to enjoy the overlooked aspects of life, to stop and see the significance of a snowflake

She will be a storm of shattered glass and broken chords, a moment of truth and blistering honesty in a world that lies under the falsehood of instant gratification; she will uproot the person you thought you were, she will make you show the colors under your skin

Date a girl a who loves the cold, she will show you several different women within a year and you will wonder why a queen is without her crown”

 

Stay tuned for my next post, if you want me to write about anything specific – let me know in the comments. 

Happy full moon in Gemini,

The Book Witch

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Uncategorized

the cards, the cards

Quick Personal Update / Well – Wishes

Before we dive into the world of tarot reading, I wanted to wish you guys a very happy December. I’m half Buddy-the-Elf, half neurotic mess when it comes to Christmas. I have all my presents purchased except one thing for my niece & all my presents wrapped except what is still en route to my house. I even made a trip to the post office to get my packages started on their holiday pilgrimage. Normally, I adore the post office. Weird, I know… but who doesn’t get the warm-fuzzies from sending or receiving happy mail? During the holidays, the post office makes me moderately homicidal. Jason gives me a ton of crap because I spend an unusual amount of time in post offices and library for someone my age.

The festive feelings are abundant in my tiny family because we did our first Christmas cards this year! Jason has no idea why we had to go to the forest and take turn taking family photos with my boss’ family but I think they turned out super cute and I love them so much. When I was picking up my photos from Walgreens (the holy land of 2-hour photos), I noticed there were templates for Halloween family photos, so now we’re going to do that EVERY YEAR.

Otherwise, we’re busy looking for houses or apartments! I’m one of those people who needs my own space to feel content. I don’t mind sharing with family but I want my name on lease and the power to make it mine. I’m also still in the process of switching my majors and I’m taking an even bigger academic leap and switching from the University to the local community college. There’s too many stipulations and surplus charges to going to a University and I’m getting too old to be dealing with people telling me what classes I can and cannot take, within reason. Jason was offered a position at his dream career which is very exciting for both of us. I hope everyone is experiencing some sort of holiday magic and is enjoying the love that comes with this time of year.

In other bookish news, it completely escaped my goldfish brain to tell you guys that I make biblio-playlists on my Spotify; if you don’t have Spotify, I strongly recommend getting one. I’m not sponsored to say that but I am the kind of person who gets very testy if I don’t have something to listen to and I have found Spotify to be the best platform to avoiding conversation with strangers. I have a ACOMAF / Wicked Lovely playlist that I’m decently proud of so here’s the link to that: aislinn / feyre playlist

Thank you for sticking with me through that word vomit – let’s get onto the topic of the day – tarot cards!

The History of Tarot 

Contrary to what the uninitiated might think, the meaning of divination cards changes over time, shaped by each era’s culture and the needs of individual users. This is partly why these decks can be so puzzling to outsiders, as most of them reference allegories or events familiar to people many centuries ago. Caitlín Matthews, who teaches courses on cartomancy, or divination with cards, says that before the 18th century, the imagery on these cards was accessible to a much broader population. But in contrast to these historic decks, Matthews finds most modern decks harder to engage with. (Collector’s Weekly)

I learned recently on the Just A Story Podcast: Ouija Board Episode that tarot cards were actually one of the very first spin offs of the infamous spirit board. These cards are dated way back to early Christianity, as the first hand drawn cards had imagery that was strongly linked to biblical messages. Today, we most often see tarot cards being used by gypsies in movies and TV shows. Sometimes, its a scraggly old witch who says that her cards are telling the main character that he/she is about to encounter daaanngerrr… ohhh nooo!

Tarot cards have often been used to contact the other side – specifically, dead relatives or resident spirits. Cards are one of the earliest methods of divination and have been a multipurpose tool for occult members for centuries.

I don’t want to bore ya’ll with the schematic origins of tarot cards, so I’ll give a short little blurb about why tarot cards are important to me. 

The Book Witch & her Tarot Cards

tarot

I was introduced to tarot cards shortly after my introduction to the occult, witchcraft, and astrology. I know almost as much about tarot cards as I do birth charts, so that’s quite a lot. I was given my first spell-book when I was five; if my memory serves correct, I started reading cards at six. My first deck was a Rider- Waite, which most of you have probably seen, whether you know it or not. It was a mini-deck and was actually pretty hard to read since the text was so small. My family, on my mom’s side, is Native American and Romany. Romany (often pronounced Rum-knee) is the politically saavy term for “gypsy”. My family is the side of Romany that deals with horse racing, rather than caravans. Yes, there is a side of gypsy culture that deals entirely with horse-racing. My great-aunt and great-uncle were actually Queen & King of the Gypsies during their lifetime. My mom and my Papa are Triple-Crown fanatics and I got the mysticism. To say superstition and strange hobbies run in my family is the understatement of the century. Long story short, if you’ve ever seen the show “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”, you’ve probably seen one of my relatives.

Since my first deck, I’ve had at least fifteen other decks. I have the Zombie tarot, Fairy tarot, Astrological tarot, Karma tarot, Mermaid tarot.. you get the idea. My current right-hand deck is the Starchild Tarot and it goes everywhere with me. Why do I carry a tarot deck with me at all times? Well, in addition to being the Harry Potter friend, the witch friend, the book worm friend, and the caffeine dependent friend – I am also, the Tarot friend. I cannot count how many times I’ve run into someone at a coffee shop and they’ve asked for a reading. There are not enough fingers and toes on my body to mark the occasions that I’ve gotten a text message from a friend who’s panicking about some circumstance and needs me to read their cards immediately. I carry them with me because I’m afraid that if I don’t have a deck on hand, the world might explode with uncertainty and mass confusion.

How to Learn Tarot

I’ve been reading cards from the time that most kids learned to ride a bike and I’ve taught quite a few people about tarot, as well. There are so many ways to read someone’s cards; essentially, there’s infinite possibilities and more are created every day. I use a traditional three-card spread that focuses on past, present, and future. However, I follow a lot of great blogs with very unique tarot spread ideas and of course, I have books. Most decks come with a small guide book that translates each card and gives some basic spread ideas for novices. Once you get familiar with the meanings of each individual card, reading mostly becomes about intuition. To get started, here are some books that I strongly recommend. Side-note: Most books go off of the traditional deck (ie Rider-Waite) so it’s best to get familiar with a deck that has the standard Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands and the original Major Arcana (The Sun, Moon, Chariot etc). My precious Star Child deck deviates from the norm – I’m personally very happy that I learned on a traditional deck before trying to read something that is a stand-alone. For those interested in learning about tarot, check out Tarot for a New Generation, The Intuitive Tarot, and The Thinking Tarot. Once the basics have been covered and you’re familiar with the meanings, Tarot Spreads is my holy grail and I highly recommend it. There’s a plethora of other books that cover fortune-telling as a whole which can be really helpful for beginners to decide whether they prefer cartomancy or other forms of divination.

Tarot Themed YA 

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Hi, I’m Chandler and I take a lot of pictures with my books in baths. Why? Because I need more cute props for book photos, there’s no good lighting anywhere else in my house, and baths are fucking awesome, that’s why.

I couldn’t write a tarot-themed post without mentioning this series. Actually, the whole reason I wrote this post was to talk about Kresley Cole! So now that you’re here, let’s sit and chat for a minute about the beauty that is The Arcana Chronicles. Mama didn’t raise no Slytherin for nothin’!

Normally, I am not a fan of books written from the perspective of the stereotypical high school cheerleader because I identify more with the quirky-but-not-emo (think Cath from Fangirl or Rory from Gilmore Girls) character. Except Stephanie Meyer’s Bella Swan; fuck Bella Swan. I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I know there are fans who can argue the genius of Twilight but like, how do you do it? Anyway, at first I hated Evie (back to Arcana Chronicles, oops) but Cole starts the story off from the perspective of another character, who you can already tell is a deranged psychopath… which was great because the entire time I was thinking “Oh cool, is Evie gonna die?” I wanted desperately to finish the book so I can find out if she lives or not. Then… she evolved. She became this super interesting, powerful character who really should’ve been a quirky girl but happened to fall on higher on the social ladder. Even Jack, the stereotypical bad boy, had some good qualities to him.

For the record, I ship Evie and another very intricate character- who also has stolen a bit of my heart, its very problematic. You meet him in the second book so I’m not going to delve into him, it would be a very mean spoiler. In addition to me switching from “Oh boy, when does she get killed off?” to “YEAH BUDDY, GIRL POWER”, I have to say that the plot of the entire book is amazing. And its an apocalyptic wasteland and that is my shit. Kresley Cole embodies the tarot cards so well. Their traits and nuances are so unique and subtle that it’s hard to catch onto at first. Like the Judgement card, who happens to be an archangel who acts like a 1930’s gentleman.

I love this series, I have absolutely devoured it. I will even admit to loving Evie, she’s too much of a bad-ass to not appreciate. If you have any knowledge (or no knowledge) of tarot cards, I would tell you to go read this series. GO READ THIS SERIES. Then come back & tell me who your favorite card is.

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Current Reads

Dead of Winter – Kresley Cole & Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places – Colin Dickey

See you all very soon; best wishes,

The Book Witch

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Uncategorized

short days, short poems 

If you’ve read and subsequently loved any books about Fey creatures, you’ve probably picked a Court. Whether it be Seelie or Unseelie, a seasonal court, or a time of day – the politics and systems of faeries are intricate & deadly. 

I wrote a little blurb (on the fly) in regards to my court, Winter. I hope you all find a Court that you love as much as your Hogwarts house. I sure did & if writing prose about it isn’t a big enough indication of my pride, I should be ashamed. 

The Winter Court; a land marked by its pervasive love of baths & hot tea 

a deep understanding of death thrives here, as winter itself is the embodiment of rest and endings 

you will find fey with cutting eyes, wings with sharpened tips, & wicked grins 

winter is the yin; the dark side of humanity, the misunderstood, the outcasts 

it takes a long time to melt the guard of a Winter fey but they are warmer on the inside than the dog days of summer 

gain the trust of a winter fey & you’ll never be alone – they live in the shadows of tree branches and come creeping up like snowstorms 

they cherish books, shrewdness, oddities 

let a winter fey into your life and know the ocean on a December night, know the sound of a wolf’s howl and the flight of the raven 

give them poetry & space, draw them baths and swaddle them in their sleep 

the Winter Court has the strangest magic, but one of the strongest. 

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