Original Outstanding Blogger Award

Lotus Laura has nominated me for the Original Outstanding Blogger Award! I’m so excited to receive this nomination from a blogger who writes such a variety of heartfelt content. Swing by her blog if you want to sample her musings. Thank you, Laura! Continue reading “Original Outstanding Blogger Award”

First Blogiversary!

Photo by Genaro Servu00edn on Pexels.com

Illuminating the Fool’s Mirror is officially a year old! Technically, the anniversary for my WordPress account was a while back, but this marks one year ago that I published my first feature-length article. A couple of my blogger friends have recently posted about reaching that first year milestone, including Kacha and Dragon Warrior. Reading about their journeys brought me back to this post that I read when I first started blogging. Can you believe most blogs don’t make it past to their first year? Congratulations to all of you who have one, two, or more years on your blog. I’m so glad you’re here and so happy to be standing with you! Continue reading “First Blogiversary!”

Questioning Fossils: Problems with Cryptid Dinosaurs in Africa

African cryptid dinosaurs. This simple phrase packs a host of problems. Several mythical creatures from various Sub-Saharan African cultures have been described as “dinosaurs” and later sighted as cryptids. This by itself is not unusual. I’ve mentioned several mythical creatures that became cryptids in the modern era. However, these specific “dinosaurs” are tied to outdated and even harmful ideas about the African continent and the people who live there. Worse, they are popular enough that the cryptid image tends to obscure the original mythical version. It’s time we take a good hard look at why people are still looking for dinosaurs in Africa. Continue reading “Questioning Fossils: Problems with Cryptid Dinosaurs in Africa”

Blogger Recognition Award

Kacha from Food.for.Thoughts nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award! I’d like to thank her, both for the nomination and for being an awesome blogger and blogging friend. Reading her posts has taught me so much about depression and burnout, and about psychology in general. I hope that her record of her journey gives hope to those who are still struggling with their mental health. Thanks, Kacha!

    1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
    2. Write a post to show your award.
    3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
    4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
    5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
    6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

My Blog Story

I feel like the story of how my blog began is so much simpler than the journey I’ve been on since then, but I’ll share it all the same. I’d say it began in college. I have a complicated relationship with academics, as I genuinely love to learn but I hated the pressures of grades and deadlines. I majored in English, which today means looking at literature and sometimes media through various social commentary lenses. I enjoyed that. I enjoyed learning how to apply academic standards to research. Yet I also felt restless. What I wanted more than anything was the freedom to choose my own topics, to talk about stories both old and new and the connections between them.

When I graduated, I was sick of writing papers, but I knew I still wanted to explore the world of ideas out there. There was so much more to think and say! I thought several times about starting a blog to share my ideas so that they would reach the people who found them interesting rather than just weighing down the ears of whoever I found to chat at. Yet I worried it would be too much and I’d end up abandoning the blog after a few posts. Then, as I began to pursue my main dream of publishing my creative writing, I noticed that most would-be authors are encouraged to maintain blogs. I didn’t want to just blog about writing before I had even published anything, however. If I wrote a blog, I wanted it to be about topics that truly interested me. So I decided to go back to my dream of writing about myth and media.

The next step was choosing a name. That’s its own separate journey that you can read more fully about it here, but the short version is that searching for a phrase that connected myth and media led me to come up with “Fool’s Mirror.” There’s a book and a tarot spread that both use that name, so I added “Illuminating” to make it unique, and my blog had a name. I still hesitated. I would work through almost all the steps to create a WordPress account and then backspace it out of existence again. Finally, though, I drew a deep breath and basically booted myself through the last step. Since then I’ve been working my way through post by post while discovering the incredibly supportive and friendly WordPress community. It’s been an amazing journey, and I thank all of you who have made that possible by encouraging me with likes and comments along the way. Illuminating the Fool’s Mirror will reach its first anniversary at the end of this month, and I’m so grateful to still be here exploring!

Advice for New Bloggers

This first one is super nuts and bolts, but it’s something I wish someone had told me earlier: test your theme before you start posting. I chose my current theme, Lyretail, based on overall appearance. I like the clean look with lots of white space around the text and a simple banner on top. However, as I tried to develop my site more, I realized that the way this theme does menus is really confusing. If you didn’t realize my site has menus, don’t feel bad. The only way to access them is to click a little arrow at the top right. I would have preferred sidebar menus that are easily visible, but now I’m stuck until I upgrade to a full-fledged WordPress.org download. So yeah, test out all your potential dreams for your site before you start writing content that could be lost.

Second piece of advice: Follow other blogs because you enjoy them, not because you want them to follow you. This is a common tip, but it’s important enough that I’m saying it yet again. It’s easy to think that a high number of followers equals blogging success. But most people won’t follow back automatically, so using that strategy yourself will gain you little but a clogged inbox. Some of those bloggers might have amazing content, which you won’t notice if you’re wading through a bunch of posts you don’t bother to read. So take the time to read and comment on the blogs you follow. Yes, it takes more time, but the time will be more rewarding if you find people whose ideas inspire you or make you think. You’ll have an easier time writing those comments and you just might make some awesome blogger friends in the process.

My Nominees

Geeky Mythology

Den of Dreams

Fun with Philosophy

MiddleMe

Lotus Laura

Average Nicole

The Little Dreamland

Quarterly Bestiary: Unicorns: The Power of the Alicorn

I often focus on more obscure creatures for Quarterly Bestiary, but today I’d like to touch on a mythical heavyweight: the unicorn. Now, before you expect sparkles and rainbows, bear in mind there’s a lot more to unicorns than that. Behind the modern image lies a history full of strange, sometimes dark twists. I couldn’t hope to cover it all in one post even if I limited myself to only the unicorn of Western Europe, so I’ll focus my discussion around the unicorn’s horn, also called the alicorn. Even with that limitation, there’s simply so much myth and media on the unicorn that I’m approaching this a little differently. Instead of going over the mythology in one section and the media in another, I’ll take each topic by topic. So let’s take a look at the alicorn, possibly the unicorn’s source of power and the thing that identifies it as more than a horse. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Unicorns: The Power of the Alicorn”

Sunshine Blogger Award from Lotus Laura

Sunshine

Thank you to Lotus Laura for nominating me for my 5th Sunshine Blogger Award! If you haven’t visited her lovely site, I suggest you take a look. She brings a thoughtful, warm outlook to topics of spirituality, health, and life in general. Articles are often grouped by themes tied to days of the week–Self-Care Sunday, Mythology Monday, etc.–but her adventures don’t end there. Explore her posts and you’ll find personal reflections, supplement reviews, and even her original fiction! Many thanks, Laura! Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award from Lotus Laura”

Sunshine Blogger Award from Anshika and Sakshi

A big thank you to Anshika Shukla and Sakshi Tiwari of The Little Dreamland for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! This young duo together remind us to “Dream it till it comes true,” each striking their own balance between deep reflection and lighthearted whimsy in their posts. They ask pointed questions and frame their posts with breath-taking artwork. If you haven’t visited their Little Dreamland, please do. It’s place of magic and beauty. Thank you again, Anshika and Sakshi!

Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award from Anshika and Sakshi”

Red Thread Reblog: Chinese Dragons — Olivia’s Blog

Red Thread
Artwork by Bridget Sarsen.

Welcome to Red Thread Reblog, a feature that pairs a post about media inspired by mythology with a post about the mythology shown in the media.

The dragons in Eon and Eona are based on Chinese mythology, so an overview of that makes it easier to grasp their world. Olivia’s Blog, maintained by Olivia or olichi19, provides just that in this wonderful post on Chinese dragons. It’s one of the more comprehensive descriptions of Chinese dragons I have found in the current blogosphere. It includes the different types, the symbolism of dragons, and even the dragon as an animal sign in Chinese astrology. Goodman’s dragons are each associated with one of the 12 animal signs from this system, whereas Olivia explains how each dragon year is further associated with one of the five elements.  Whether you’re interested in some context for the books or you just want some cool facts about Chinese dragons, this is the place to start!

The Chinese dragon like the Indian Naga’s, are often associated with water and rain and lakes and rivers. Chinese Dragons are divine mythical creatures that brings with it ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune. The Chinese proclaim themselves “Lung Tik Chuan Ren”, Descendents of the Dragon. Unlike the the negative aspect associated with Western Dragons, […]

via Chinese Dragons — Olivia’s Blog

Red Thread Reblog: Eona: Review — Average Nicole

Welcome to Red Thread Reblog, a feature that pairs a post about media inspired by mythology with a post about the mythology shown in the media.

As promised, here are the dragons! Alison Goodman’s YA duology of Eon: The Last Dragoneye and Eona came out nearly ten years ago, but these books remain among the few I’ve discovered to explore certain details of Chinese dragon mythology for more adult readers. This fantasy world is not based entirely on Chinese culture and creates its own distinct landscape where dragon power is harnessed as a sort of weather control. For more details, I suggest this review by Average Nicole at Inner Confusions. If you haven’t visited Inner Confusions before, I recommend checking it out. Nicole posts both book reviews and personal writing, often piercing reflections on life with the occasional poem. Her review focuses mainly on Eona but also includes a quick summery of Eon. Like many of her reviews, it features a non-spoiler section and a spoiler section. So choose your style and visit her review!

4.0/5.0 Stars Author: Alison Goodman Pages: 637 Published: 2011 After not reading for MONTHS, I decided to finally start again with Eona by Alison Goodman. And I am glad to say I was not disappointed. Eona is the sequel to Eon, and the conclusion in the duology. I read Eon back in I think 2015, […]

via Eona: Review — Average Nicole

 

June 2020 Updates And Beast Suggestions

Hello, everyone! I’m doing my updates post a little early because I’ve got a few special posts coming up this month. First up, Red Thread Reblog is back! If you’re not familiar with this feature, Red Thread Reblog reaches out into the blogging community and ties together two posts, one covering media inspired by mythology and one on the mythology behind the media. I won’t give too much away yet, but I will give you one hint: dragons. Continue reading “June 2020 Updates And Beast Suggestions”