Category Archives: Opinion

Mystic Magic: Ostara

A woman holding 2 rabbits. Photo retrieved from https://www.thegypsythread.org/ostara-2020-seasons-change-and-so-do-we/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Ostara is quickly approaching. The celebration of the Spring Equinox is on Saturday, Mar. 20.

     There are many different cultures over the world that celebrate the coming of spring. According to the website Learn Religions, ancient Romans celebrated the resurrection of a demigod. Persians celebrate No Ruz, or new day, which was an observance of hope and renewal. Mayans had their “Return of the Sun Serpent” for the way the sun elongated the shadows of El Castillo, a ceremonial pyramid.

     Ostara gets its name from the German goddess Eostre. It was a time to celebrate the planting of new crops, and came from the legend of Eostre transforming a bird into a hare that could lay eggs.

     Like many neo-pagan traditions, though, Ostara has become this conglomeration of a lot of different beliefs. There are occasional differences, depending on your chosen mode of neo-paganism, but they are all relatively similar.

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Nerd Factor: Be Careful What You Wish For, Super Ladies

Wanda Maximoff having a really hard time. Photo retrieved from https://www.cinemablend.com/television/2563556/8-big-wandavision-questions-we-have-after-episode-8.

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

     Warning: This column contains spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984 and WandaVision

     In many ways, the superhero genre is about wish-fulfilment. Superheroes have powers and abilities we can only dream of. Additionally, the device of secret identities often encourages us to imagine that inside us all, there exists a great hero ready to emerge.  

     Of course, mythology, folklore, and popular culture have long taught us that wishes can be dangerous things. Not surprisingly, the superhero genre also shows us this dark side. Spider-Man learns perhaps the best-known lesson about great power and great responsibility when his inaction leads to the death of his beloved uncle. Recently, Wonder Woman and Wanda Maximoff ventured into this thematic territory and their stories have led to some controversy. 

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College Life: The End Is Near

 

Pacing Yourself Near The Finish Line – Student Voices
A sign saying ‘Finish Line Ahead’. Image from utica.edu 

Kelli Carter ~ Staff Writer

It is that time of the year yet again… Midterms. They sound really scary because of all the tests that we might have but also checking our grades. At the end of the day we need to just take a step back to see how far we have all come this semester. 

This one goes out to my seniors, we are really on the last leg of our college journey and we tend to be stressed about getting into grad school or even finding a job. We got this even though it tends to be hard and very overwhelming. We have come this far, so let’s not give up now.

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Mystic Magic: The Limits of Manifestation

Hands holding a pink crystal. Photo retrieved from https://www.architecturaldigest.in/content/rose-quartz-crystal-bedroom-improve-love-life/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     As many of our faithful readers know, for the past four years, I have worked at the Girl Scout summer camp I once attended. In the most recent summers, I ran the archery range and helped with various other tasks around camp that did not involve spending a lot of time with the girls.

     I love working at camp. One of my favorite parts was that we would hire a lot of international women to come over and participate in camp life. Because of camp, half of my closest friends live on different continents.

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Why Are Students Still Being Left In the Dark?

Logos for multiple online learning portals. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/learning-and-course-management-systems/

Hunter Epperson ~ Staff Writer

     Students and faculty of the University of Lynchburg have had to adapt to online learning due to Covid-19, but there are still some professors who refuse to utilize Moodle, the university’s course management system, and I argue that this should change. 

     Online course management systems are becoming ubiquitous technologies at institutions of higher education and learning, and they are known to be effective. 

     Professors are supposed to be lifelong learners and scholars in the academic field, meaning they are supposed to be constantly learning and enhancing their knowledge to help students succeed both in and out of the classroom.

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Mystic Magic: St. Patrick and the Snakes

Image depicting Saint Patrick in a stained glass window. Photo retrieved from https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Since the Shamrock shake is back at McDonald’s, and Applebee’s has St. Patrick’s Day drinks, I think it is time I addressed St. Patrick’s Day from the perspective of a neopagan with Irish heritage.

     I grew up celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Since moving to Richmond when I was a kid, I have never missed the Church Hill Irish Festival. My mom makes corned beef and cabbage, and now that I am old enough, we all drink some Guinness.

     According to Britannica, St. Patrick was a Roman Britain who went to Ireland in 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. The most popular legend about him is that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. While original feasts celebrated St. Patrick himself, modern celebration is all about everything Irish. 

     It was not until I began my witchy journey that I realized that the snakes in the one story were supposed to represent Old World pagans. The first TikTok I saw about it was an apology to neopagans of Celtic descent for being surrounded by people who were celebrating the deaths of pagans, or at least their displacement.

      The theory, as explained by Learn Religions, is that the snakes are an allegory to pagans. St. Patrick did not actually round up and cast out pagans, but his spread of Christianity facilitated animosity towards Irish pagans.

      Paganism existed long before St. Patrick, and has continued to exist long after. Was he successful in driving out all the snakes from Ireland? Literally, probably not, because Ireland is an island and there were not many snakes to begin with. Figuratively, also probably not. Unpopular religions, or those that are persecuted by the religious majority, tend to stick around underground, or they move and continue their practice where it is safer.

     There is an essay on the website Celtic Druid Temple that delves into the story of St. Patrick, and seems to disprove a majority of the claims surrounding him, such as his death at the age of 111 when most people died in their 40s or 50s.

      Of course, St. Patrick is a Saint, so there has to be a grain of salt taken with the parables of the snakes and the clovers. Regardless of if he was actually the spreader of Christianity or if it was one of the other migrant families that moved to Ireland at the same time, St. Patrick’s Day is so far removed from the Saint these days.

      I think it is safe, as a neopagan in a much different time, to continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; not for its namesake, but for my Irish heritage. Also, using it as an excuse to drink some Guinness and unwind is an excellent way to deal with school stress.

Nerd Factor: The Trouble with Alternate Worlds

Marvel’s What-If Poster. Photo retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_If…%3F_(TV_series).

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

     A multiverse appears to offer a variety of options. There are, however, a number of problems that confront the would be probability tourist who wants to visit Elseworlds based upon the simple question of “What If?”

     Some alternate universes just do not work: 

     The basic idea behind alternate universes is that something has changed historically. We tend to think of them as counterfactual tales. What if Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated? What if the Nazis had won World War II? The mind staggers at the possibilities. 

     These worlds become intriguing places to visit or perhaps nightmare worlds to escape. One can understand their appeal to cross-dimensional tourists.  

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College Life: Putting Life Into Perspective

How Jewish traditions can help people through the bereavement process
Two Hands holding a candle. Photo from cjnews.com

Kelli Carter ~ Staff Writer

This week has been a hard week for me because of the passing of my grandma. But one take away that I can take from this week is how we should appreciate every little moment with our loved ones. 

During this week I have done a lot of thinking and I want to make some changes in my life so that I can be the happiest that I can fully be. I feel like taking time off of school and just being with family really helped me just realigned how I see life. 

The first thing that I want to change is admire the little things in life and just cherish them. For example this can be just breathing but it can also just be taking the time out of the day to just admire my surroundings. I tend to be always moving fast especially being from NYC but I would like to change that. 

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Mystic Magic: Ouija Boards

A talking board. Photo retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Ouija-Board-Classic-Design-Planchette/dp/B07DDJ374C.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     If you have been reading my articles for a while, you are aware that I kind of sort of started my journey my freshman year with Tarot cards.

     There is a whole story behind that, somewhere back in our papers, about ghost hunting in Hopwood and whatnot. It is actually what I would like to discuss this week: ghost hunting, and the use of Ouija boards and seances by people who have not done their research.

     I have never participated in a séance, and I have never touched a Ouija board, which is pronounced wee-jee. According to the Smithsonian magazine article on the board, Ouija is actually American in origin. It was first mentioned in Pittsburgh and New York papers in 1891, after Charles Kennard designed a board and joined together with Elijah Bond, an attorney, and Bond’s sister-in-law, a medium.

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Nerd Factor: Other Mike

Photo retrieved from https://whatculture.com/tv/9-most-memorable-alternate-universe-tv-episodes.

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

     Science fiction and superhero fans live in fictional worlds that are awash with alternate realities. The concept is popular enough that it sustains one of the best superhero movies of the previous decade, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

     With Disney developing properties like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and What If?, these alternate worlds appear to be a big part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it moves forward. Nerds are accustomed to encountering multi-dimensional versions of their favorite characters. I am always amazed at how quickly they adapt to this notion. I found dealing with something close to an alternate Mike Robinson somewhat complicated. 

     I was in graduate school in Indiana at the time. For many months, I had received late night calls asking for a particular woman. I cannot remember her name, but I do remember the anger of the man who was looking for her. I kept telling this guy that nobody at this number had that name. 

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Watch With Me: The Science of Magic and High School Sports

Image result for the irregular at magic high school
Blu-Ray Cover found on https://www.amazon.com/Irregular-Magic-School-Complete-Blu-Ray/dp/B07JBQ4146

Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor

     Earlier this week, we discussed in one of my classes how in fiction, anything that is outside the realm of known science, specifically in early comic books, is called magic. 

     This got me thinking about an anime I watched where magic is crafted through science in the future. This anime is called Mahouka Koukou no Rettōsei or, in English, “The Irregular at Magic High School.” The show is an adaptation of a novel series of the same name by Tsutomu Satou. This may be a rougher anime for those who are newer to the Japanese animation genre, but I found the show very entertaining if for nothing else than the mechanics of the magic.

     To summarize the show a bit, it follows the stories of Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba, siblings from the powerful Shiba family of magicians. The show starts with their acceptance and beginning as freshmen in First Magic high school, one of the nine magic academies across the nation of Japan. 

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Mystic Magic: Zebras and Horses

73 Essex St. Photo taken on Google Maps.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     Plenty of things go bump in the night. There is a saying among the magical community: “Mundane before magical.” What this means is that one should look for common causes, explainable ones, before jumping to ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things.

     But what if you have ruled out all of the common, mundane answers?

     While I was staying in Salem, MA, with a couple friends and my mother, we noticed that our AirBnB had some very noisy heaters. They were the baseboard kind I had grown up with, in Manassas, and I remembered the creaking and the hissing they would make.

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You Might Really Be Dating a Superspy

Photo retrieved from http://www.007museum.com/.

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

     Trust is an important thing in any relationship. However, some careers require some partners to be less than straightforward about their professional lives. Because the Nerd Factor cares deeply about your emotional well-being, here are some tips for telling if you might really be dating a superspy:

     If your true love seems to have an inordinately high number of tuxedos in their closet, then you might really be dating a superspy. 

     If your significant other has a lot of tape players, then they might just be into vintage audio or high-fidelity music. If a lot of those tape players self-destruct after a few minutes of playing, then you might really be dating a superspy.

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watch With Me: MacGyver

Promo image for “MacGyver” taken from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1399045/

Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor

In 1985, the original MacGyver introduced the problem-solving genius of Angus MacGyver. Now I didn’t watch this show, but I caught glimpses of reruns and heard the references and whispers of titular characters. I, personally, can’t watch old television, just personal opinion, but I was/am still fascinated by the idea of a character that workshops on the fly to solve overly dramatic problems. So, I can’t say how it compares to the original show, but I can say that of what I’ve seen so far, the 2016 MacGyver remake has been pleasantly over the top and buddy cop.

MacGyver (2016) is another one of those NCIS, CSI, LAW & ORDER, “we’ve got a case, let’s solve it,” government special forces show about a discreet government organization called “The Phoenix Foundation.” Phoenix is a special forces organization that is so secret even other government organizations don’t know they exist. They work to solve threats and hazards to America that either can’t be handled by other organizations, illegal investigations, or investigations into other government organizations. Each member of the team has their specific skill. I can’t list every character due to spoilers, but I can list the core members of Phoenix.

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Mystic magic: Water Water Everywhere

Photo retrieved from https://pansociety.net/making-moon-water/.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     If you have a practicing witch as a friend, or are one yourself, then you have probably noticed the sheer amount of jars that contain only water a witch has.

     Personally, I believe that I have about seven jars of water, each of them different. Water is used in countless parts of witchcraft, from cleansing to protection to spellwork. Different kinds of water bring different properties to the mix.

     Sun water is used for protection, healing, clairvoyance, growth, confidence, leadership, creativity, and fertility. Much like moon water, which I know I have talked about before, sun water is made by placing a bowl of water – you guessed it – in sunlight. You can leave it there for as long as you like, but some prefer to move the water to where the moon will not touch it, as they believe it could alter the properties.

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