Updates, and Second Blogiversary!

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They say time flies when you’re having fun. Recently, I guess I must have been having too much fun posting since I forgot my own blogiversary! After the dry spell of summer, it was nice to get a sudden surge of ideas. I missed the actual anniversary back in August, so I decided to combine my celebratory post with my regular Updates. Anyway, Illuminating the Fool’s Mirror has been around for two years now, and I’m so happy to still be musing with you! Continue reading “Updates, and Second Blogiversary!”

Liebster Award from Nicole

I received a Liebster Award nomination from Nicole! If you’re not familiar with her site, Nicole’s Book Thoughts, head on over and check it out! Nicole reviews a nice variety of books, managing to give key details for those wondering if a book is right for them while still avoiding or clearly marking any major spoilers. You’ll also find fun posts with tags, lists, and general updates about life and reading. I am endlessly impressed with the way she took a school project blog and turned it into this wonderful, personable site. Thank you, Nicole! Continue reading “Liebster Award from Nicole”

Red Thread Reblog: Oh, Maya Gods! — VoVatia

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.

Gods of Jade and Shadows draws inspiration from the Mayan Popol Vuh. In addition to the Mayan creation story, this collection includes a tale where the Hero Twins face off in a game of ball (and tricks) with the gods of death. This post from Nathan of VoVatia will give you a good overview of the Popol Vuh. He also starts off with a bit of history about how this key Mayan document survived into the present day. I’m still exploring the archives and recent posts of VoVatia, which covers a range of topics including video games, current events, mythology, religion, and Oz fandom. Each has Nathan’s characteristic blend of serious reflection and pragmatic humor. I am particularly glad to share his post on the Popol Vuh because it’s one of the few I found that examines the stories in enough detail to really create a sense of the worldview from which Gods of Jade and Shadow grew while handling the topic with a respectful curiosity. And he raises some interesting questions with his reflections on the death gods’ names!

I saw a mention of the Popol Vuh, a Mayan book of myths, at Intelligent Life, as well as a link to an animated narration. Since I haven’t said much about Mayan mythology, I might as well address this. When the Spanish conquered what is now Guatemala, they destroyed most of the artifacts of Mayan […]

Oh, Maya Gods! — VoVatia

Red Thread Reblog: Fall in love with a Maya Death God in Gods of Jade and Shadow — Living in Libros

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.

Let’s start off with a tale of stars and gods, bones and roads. In Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia brings 1920s Yucatan together with the Mayan underworld of Xibalba through the story of Casiopea Tun. Both landscapes are fleshed out in vibrant detail, and I was thrilled to read such a complex portrayal of Mayan cosmology. In addition, Casiopea’s journey passes through several important cultural landmarks in Mexico, showing the nuances each location holds. For more about the book, check out Gaby’s review on Living in Libros! If you’re new to Gaby’s work, I highly recommend exploring her blog and her new YouTube channel. She provides a wonderful level of detail while balancing between calling out important social issues and pure booklove. I read her review of Gods of Jade and Shadow well after reading the book itself, yet I learned so much more from her comments about the cultural side of the story. Now without further ado, let’s meet that death god!

Do you love reading about baddies in lit? We all know I do! What about reading about death gods? Mayan mythology? Road trips? 1920s Mexico? Then Gods of Jade and Shadow is probably the book for you! Gods of Jade and Shadow is an adult fantasy novel set during the Jazz Age and in Mexico. Author of […]

Fall in love with a Maya Death God in Gods of Jade and Shadow — Living in Libros

Sunshine Blogger Award from Lotus Laura, Second

I received my 6th Sunshine Blogger Award nomination from Lotus Laura! It’s always fun to stop by Laura’s wonderful blog and see what she’s pondering and sharing. She recently started her Crystal Aura blog, which pairs with her YouTube and Etsy shop tarot readings. If you’re interested in her insights, stop by and take a look! On her main blog, you’ll also find posts on a variety of topics, including personal reflections, historical and philosophical pieces, and even her original fiction. Thanks, Laura! Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award from Lotus Laura, Second”

Liebster Award from Chocoviv

Chocoviv nominated me for my second Liebster Award! If you haven’t yet met Chocoviv, I encourage you to check out her lifestyle blog. She is a fabulous mommy blogger who posts on a variety of topics with a sunny, can-do attitude. Whether it’s notes and photos from her travels, reviews of books and shows, beauty product and green living advice, or updates on her bearded dragon, you’re sure to find something fun. Thank you, Chocoviv! Continue reading “Liebster Award from Chocoviv”

First Blogiversary!

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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!”

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


Lotus Laura

Average Nicole

The Little Dreamland