Sorchia's Universe

Specializing in Bewitchment and Single Malt Scotch

F is for Fortuneteller

Welcome to the first of several A-Z blogs which will serve as shameless promotions for Just Like Gravity, my paranormal romance due out in March/April.  You have been warned!!

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

The protagonist, Anna, is a fortuneteller. She’s skeptical, though, and doesn’t really believe in divination though her mother taught her all the ways to do it.  Then the bad dreams start—dreams so intense they leave her shaken and terrified of what is to come.  She uses tarot cards to tell her own fortune and they lead her to Scotland. The book follows her on her quest to decode and overcome her nightmares, but also visits a couple of her previous lives.

As I did my research, I knew I needed to find a  fortuneteller.  I studied different forms of divination, but there just isn’t anything like the real thing. And I was skeptical, too.  First, it’s not easy to find someone here on the buckle of the Bible belt who will admit to being a fortuneteller–too many people itching to burn a cross on your lawn. Second, even if someone admits to it, how can you be sure he or she is legitimate and not one of the many frauds who prey on desperate people?  The answer for me was easy:  I got lucky.

I found a tarot reader at a writing group—I bet some of you know her.  She was auctioning off a reading as part of the group’s fundraiser and I got it.  The reading was amazing.  I went away with tons of things I used in the book.  She helped me with some nagging issues, as well. My kids are sure I’ve lost my mind and equally sure I was led down a garden path of some sort—you know, leading questions, offering too much info which gives a smart teller all she would need to tell me what I want to hear.  Didn’t happen, but it’s not my job to convince them.

Fortunetelling is illegal in some states—New York, for one, unless the reading is presented as entertainment only. It’s looked down upon by many religious groups who cite passages in the Bible condemning divination, though other passages seem to allow it (Google it). My experience was good and I plan to try it again.

If you get the chance, I would encourage you to try it.  Use your head before and after a reading and remember that the future is not set in stone.  Your own actions today create your future.  Divination can give you a heads up or at least make you consider your choices more carefully.  Anna, the protagonist in Just Like Gravity, followed the cards and found a tall, dark Scotsman—who knows what’s waiting out there for you.

E is for Equinox

I’m writing on spring equinox, March 20. On the equinox, the earth and sun stand straight up in relation to each other.  We are neither tilted away nor toward the sun; we are balanced.  We have two of these; one in the spring and one in the fall and they are magical days indeed. The vernal equinox is really the mid-point of spring which started on February 2—also an old pagan celebration day halfway between the solstice and the equinox.

The equinoxes are both astronomical and spiritual times.  On the equinox, day and night are as close to the same length as they ever get.  The ancients charted this in a variety of ways, the most impressive of which is the construction of giant horizon calendars—Stonehenge for example.  With these and with sundials, they tracked the seasons. Science and religion were very closely twined back in the day.

equinox-StonehengeSo the deal with equinoxes is that on these days, the earth is balanced between winter and summer, death and life.  Cultures in the northern hemisphere celebrate the spring equinox with bonfires and celebrations all with the theme of rebirth. Think eggs and rabbits, both pagan symbols for fertility and rebirth long before Christianity.

Ostara is a pagan goddess ( and let’s be clear here, that pagan gods and goddesses are seen by many not as real physical beings, but as metaphors for different aspects of the Universe which you can call God if you want to. The differences in beliefs are sometimes only semantic ones, it seems to me, and not worth arguing over.) But I’m getting over the flu and probably sound more testy than I should. Ostara is probably the origin of our word Easter and was the goddess of spring, rebirth, all that stuff to ancient Germanic tribes.

The spring equinox is the sun’s point of no return as it moves north in the sky. It reassures winter-weary creatures there really will be a spring—the days really will continue to get longer, the sun will warm the earth, plants will grow, life will regenerate and all will be well. And that is worth a party!!

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

D is for Damn

▶ Rhett Butler – Scarlett O’Hara: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn… – YouTube.

Today’s word is Damn—as in “Damn, I can’t find a magic word starting with  D.”  Then again, damn is a common curse word.  It comes from a Latin word which means “to inflict loss on or to judge or to doom” and we still use it that way.

In America, the word was not commonly—if ever—used in print or film until Margaret Mitchell wrote and Rhett Butler said it in Gone with the Wind in 1939. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  And who in their right minds would censure Clark Gable?  Generally, damn is considered a religious expletive. To some Christians it indicates either condemnation of God or at the very least an infringement on whichever commandment tells you not to take the Lord’s name in vain.

I think of it in more traditional curse terms—if you say “God damn you” to someone, you are asking God to send the miserable miscreant before you to Hell for eternity.   In America we use it as a noun “ I don’t give a damn”, a verb “Damn the torpedoes”, an adjective “Where did you get the damn(ed) car?”, an interjection “Damn, that’s good.”  Sometimes we try to soften it by saying darn or writing it dam, but we really mean damn.

A few other usages caught my attention if you are interested.

Tinker’s dam—Tinkers work with molten metal. They use a bit of clay as a dam to keep the molten metal where it’s supposed to be, then the dam is discarded—and so a tinker’s dam is of low value.  Using the phrase I don’t give a tinker’s dam is probably a way to soften the curse damn as well as to indicate the worthlessness of the speaker’s regard for whatever the topic of conversation is.  Tinkers were known for their bad language—understandable when you consider how often a bit of that molten metal would have splashed on fingers, faces, appendages.  from

Hot damn appeared in print in the 1920s in the book Wildcat by Hugh Wiley.  As with many words and behaviors, it may have been familiar long before that. Once it appeared in print and the world didn’t end, other writer’s added it as well. from

As I looked up the etymology of Damn, I came across lots of other profanities and have become convinced that if one studies the use, spread, changes in profanity, one will be able to trace the evolution of human thought, as well.

If you have other insights into the word damn or if you want to tell me what other D word I could have used today, feel free to leave a damn comment.

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

C is for Curses

Looking for magic words eventually led me to the dark side—curses.  What if some jealous jinn or a wandering malevolent spirit saw fit to send snaking coils of evil magic my way?  It seemed only prudent to be ready to zap enemies into green goo if necessary.

Even Pagans don’t encourage curses though it is often argued some people invite curses. The logic is that a curse has to be pretty strong to go against Karma so if a curse works, it’s “meant” to work and is another thread in the fabric of existence. In other words, the bastards get what they deserve.  Wiccans, and other pagans, generally argue that what you send out into the universe will come back to you times three, or times ten.  This would seem to discourage anybody from sending bad feelings off on the wind. The way around that is rooted in semantics.  I’m pretty sure this is what the Wicked Witch of the West meant when she said, “These things must be done delicately”.  Instead of sending evil intentions toward some unsuspecting, but deserving dolt, you can instead phrase your curse to reflect back to them what they send your way.  That way, they do it to themselves and you are blameless and the Universe won’t be unhappy with you. That’s the theory.

But the origination of the word itself is a bit of a dark mystery which leaves my writer brain a lot of leeway.  Maybe it was a word used by alien overlords to subjugate our ancestors or maybe a Druid made it part of a ritual in an oak grove. Who knows?

The word used as a noun—a prayer for evil to befall someone—may have come from the Old French curuz “anger,” or Latin cursus “course.” That puts its first use somewhere in the 11th century when it might have been used as curs.  No similar words exist in other languages related to English.  It’s possible the word is from a Vulgar Latin derivative of Latin corrumpere which means to destroy.  Corrumpere is the root of English words like corrupt.

For better or worse, many heavy duty curses have made their way into legend.  To see full descriptions, take a look at these links. From Tecumseh’s curse on American presidents to the Curse of Tutankhamen’s tomb to the Curse of The Billy Goat, the popularity of casting curses is still going strong.

The 6 Most Strangely Convincing Real-Life Curses |

HowStuffWorks “10 Famous Curses”.

Final Gravity Front (3) (527x800) (422x640) (280x425)

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

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