Video Game: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (front)

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (front)

If you like puzzle games with a strong eerie vibe, then you will probably enjoy the recently released The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana. To make your way through the lonely, imposing mansion, you have to unlock puzzles (many, many puzzles) along the way.

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (back)

Promo Card: The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana (back)

I have long enjoyed the music of Nox Arcana and this game is made by the same artists (Joseph Vargo  and Christine Filipak); it is infused with a wonderfully unsettling vibe. The house’s settings, paintings and decor are beautiful and very detailed, and the traditional Nox Arcana atmospheric music is ever-present. I have only had time to play through about half (maybe?) of the game, so this is not a complete review. But I have been waiting for this game since early this year and happy to get the chance to play it. It seems well worth the wait.

In-game painting from "The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana": Draconis

In-game painting from “The Cabinets of Doctor Arcana”: Draconis

As for puzzle-solving, it is not generally one of my favorite things to do in games, so playing an entire games of puzzles is a new experience for me. But they are not (so far) too difficult for me. You have to stay aware of patterns and anything within the puzzle that changes as you work on solving it. Also, be sure to check your journal for clues that you have picked up already — these clues are needed for many of the puzzles. And look at paintings, statues, etc., as there are often either clues or items involved.

The game is available for Windows or Mac and can be bought from Steam, or it can be bought as a set (the game on DVD, the music CD and a metal token like the one used in the game); this set is available directly from the game’s maker I opted to buy the full set, as I like to have hard copies of media.

I will note that I had some problems installing the game on Windows 8.1. The antivirus gave me several messages that there might be a threat from the software and ran short scans, but all the scans gave an “everything’s ok” result. Then Windows would not install it. The game disk included a file that refers to problems that one might encounter due to the fact that the makers did not register the game with Microsoft. This document itself consisted of code mixed with text, so the recommended solution was not clear to me. What I did to solve the problem was right click on the DVD from Windows Explorer and then clicked the troubleshoot problems selection. Going through the dialogue boxes, it fixed something (but what?) and then it installed perfectly in just a few seconds. And just as an aside, I would have preferred to play the game on Linux, which is what I usually use, but I do keep an older Windows drive just for the occasional game like this.

There was obviously a lot of effort and love that went into this game, and it would be great to see more projects like this in the future from these talented folks.

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My Favorite Heathen Metal

When I first seriously began to explore Northern Heathenry in 2006, there seemed to be a greater quantity of small, interesting, non-political websites related to Heathen subjects than I find now. The sites were not necessarily slick and beautiful (although there was a very beautiful Anglo-Saxon Heathenry site that I can no longer find), but I found much information on those sites and they made the exploration both fun and deep, and always compelling.

On one of those sites, I found a listing of Heathen bands, none of which I had ever heard, and there were MP3’s of a couple of songs for each one. Giving them a listen, one band jumped out at me in a major way: the Dutch band Heidevolk, whose lyrics were also only in Dutch. The two songs on that site had, to my ears, a perfect blend of an arresting folk sound mixed flawlessly with hard-driving metal and clean, masculine vocals. One of those songs was “Krijgsvolk” and someone had made a video (featuring Lego toys) for it on YouTube at the time (the beginning music is actually from the Heidevolk song “Het Gelders Volkslied”):

I was hungry for more, but at the time, I couldn’t find their nearly two-year-old album De Strijdlust is Geboren at any U.S.-based store (maybe I didn’t look carefully enough). I waited a while, but finally decided to order the album from the band directly. Their 3-song EP for the soon-to-come 2nd album (Walhalla Wacht) had just become available, so I was able to order both recordings.

I’ve just got to note that Heidevolk’s customer service was as good as their music. Within two weeks of my order, I received the package from the Netherlands at my home in North Carolina. They had included a small handful of these promo cards:

Heidevolk

Heidevolk Promo Card (front & back)

I won’t even guess at how many times I listened to those recordings, although I found the re-recording of “Het bier zal weer vloeien” on the EP much less pleasing than the original. I do, however, prefer slightly the version of “Wodan Heerst” on the EP to the version on the full LP. The third and last song on the EP, their cover of Normaal’s “Vulgaris Magistralis,” helped to get me through a difficult time, although not in the way most people talk about songs doing that for them. Music can purge as much as console.

When Walhalla Wacht, including the violin talents of Stefanie Speervrouw, came out the following year, I ordered that from the band directly, as well, along with this awesome t-shirt (this is just the back of the shirt):

Heaidevolk T-Shirt, Wodan Heerst

Heaidevolk T-Shirt, Wodan Heerst

Completing Heidevolk’s trio of glorious albums was 2010’s Uit Oude Grond, but it was, in my opinion, the spiritual swan song of the band. Two years later came Batavi, but I never enjoyed the album and it was the last Heidevolk album that I bought. It seemed to me that the folk aspect had been left behind for a middle-ground metal sound with less to make it unique. They also afterwards ended up losing both of the two main original vocalists (Joris and Mark), and this was a great loss, indeed. The band continues in its present form, but I’m just grateful for the early recordings that have brought me so much enjoyment over the years.

And here is the link to a blog post that I made about Heidevolk on the Grundfus blog back in 2011:

https://ungrundfus.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/nehalennia-by-heidevolk/

Red Clouds at Day … Stay Far Away?

Image

This is a photo that I took in the mid-1990’s, probably 1994 but maybe 1995, around 5pm in eastern North Carolina. These ominous-looking red clouds suddenly appeared and were rapidly rolling through the sky. It was one of the most impressive sky phenomena that I’ve ever seen, and just a little scary. As I didn’t have a video recorder at the time, a snapshot was the best I could do to record it.

For a bit of pareidolia, I see a large frontal face to the left of the limb, and another, milder-looking one in profile to its left.

Some Thoughts On Divination

Watch out, lady — there’s a floating spirit head right behind you…

I first saw a Ouija board when I was a very little kid and was fascinated with the images on it. Several years after that, I got one for myself but, despite the enticing promises of the movies and religious folks, the spirits stayed silent for me. It turned out to be the most boring board game that I’ve ever played (even worse than Scrabble). Better pictures than Scrabble, though.

Back then, I dabbled with several other divination methods, including astrology, playing cards, and automatic writing. But I mostly spent time on dream recollection and recording of dreams, and I still find that to be the most effective way to get a glimpse past the surface of the physical world. Whether it’s gaining insight into a problem, meeting new people, visits with loved ones who have passed on, or exciting video game-type adventures, you really can’t beat the first person perspective of the dream world.

When it comes to other forms of divination, I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’m really looking for when I do it. When I was younger, I mostly thought of it as a prediction system, but I don’t think of it in that way any more. Obviously, the idea is to gain answers, but it seems a futile and negative past-time to look for definite answers about the future. At best, a divination method may give some general characteristics of what the future might hold, based on the present conditions, but expecting an exact answer negates the reality that the future might be malleable, at least to a degree.

What I found through practice is that divination can lead me to consider a direction or solution that I hadn’t considered before. An example came a few years ago: I had been waking up much too early in the mornings, unable to get back to sleep, so I was drained later in the day and felt kind of bad every day. At that time, I was reading the book Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change by Master Zhongxian Wu, which offers a unique, shamanic system of the I Ching. I wasn’t putting it to practice, but decided to use it to get some insight into my sleep and health problems. The trigram that resulted was Kun (Earth). Although there are a few body parts that relate to Kun, I sensed that the spleen was the relevant focal point.

Apart from knowing that I had a spleen, I knew nothing else about it or its function. So I looked up information about it from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, and learned that its function is related to the digestive system, and that cold, raw foods are not very good for it. The recommendation was to eat mostly hot foods. Now, a few months earlier, I had cut meat, dairy and eggs out of my diet, and had been eating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, with relatively little cooked food. In light of this information about the health of the spleen, I began eating mostly hot food again. One night later, I began sleeping sounding throughout the night again and felt much better as a result.

I can’t say whether there was anything to the divination itself, or not, but I can say that, by doing it, I found a solution to the problem, a solution that I never would have thought of on my own. Despite my interest in matters of the unseen, I tend to be pretty skeptical about the paranormal, and quick to dismiss it as a factor when a physical, logical explanation is more likely. But I like results that work, and at least in that particular case, whether coincidence or not, there was indeed a working result. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “real” or not; it was real for me.

On Light and Dark

1919_eclipse_neg_pos

The following is not ground-breaking or deep by any means, but just a few observations that I have had about the general concepts of Light and Dark.

Most simply, Dark is described as an absence of Light, but does that then denote an inherent lack of anything that would be considered good or useful, whereas only “the Light” contains those good and useful things? Or is that merely a subjective overlay on what are, in fact, two complementary modes of operation that are each required in measure for life to exist?

Dark appears to be the base of the universe — when we view the cosmos, we see an endless expanse of dark, illuminated by spots of light created by suns and the suns’ reflections on other bodies. All of those suns could potentially be extinguished, and then only dark would exist. Yet the suns do exist, bringing forth the Light and Life that Dark cannot. Light is considered the active principle, the sudden blaze of activity and vibrancy that dispels Dark. So, what can Dark offer? Dark offers rest, and in a sense, we can think of Light and Dark as Radiance and Rest. Each exposes the other and is dependent on the other for survival. Are they mated? Do they give birth to each other? Do they devour one another? Perhaps each acts as the lifeblood of the other, hidden from view as its complement is in the forefront, yet pulsingly present nonetheless.

There is the obvious example of day and night as examples of Light and Dark and how we react to their modalities — we generally radiate activity during the day, and find our rest at night. But here we see something a little more obscure, that the modes of Light and Dark have some overlap. For the day shows the full picture, essentially a completeness in which we see it all, which could be seen as a kind of restful finality, while the night conceals what it yet contains, and in darkness it seethes with potential activity not-yet-born. This is what gives the Dark its mysterious, expectant quality. Dark and Light could thus also be termed Potential and Fulfillment.

During the day, we see the Sun’s light, but if we could observe the Sun and Earth from a great distance, we would see them embraced by the deep darkness of space. At night, we see darkness, and yet the Sun is still there, simply hidden from our vision by the Earth’s position. If you go into a completely dark room, where there is absolutely no light coming in, your eyes can still perceive bits of light before you; you can also be in an environment of overwhelming light and be temporarily blinded by it. I think that these examples illustrate that Light and Dark intersect continuously.

This essay was mostly an attempt to look beyond some of the usual words used for Light and Dark, such as Masculine/Feminine, Positive/Negative, and Good/Evil.

 

Spirit Communication Advice

‘Toys’ such as Ouija boards ought to be avoided; not because the boards themselves are ‘evil,’ but because the spirits that these devices bring through are almost always liars. This comment is based upon personal experience.

quoted from The Red Church: or The Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei, by C.R. Bilardi.