Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

If All the Stories are True…

Our imaginations guide us. Our minds offer an escape to the often stressful and overwhelming reality we all face. We sit in our classes day to day and gather knowledge about different society’s and different people all over the world and throughout time. We learn that although so much has changed, we still share similarities to many of the society’s we learn about. Our mind fills with knowledge on a daily basis, so it only makes sense that our imaginations become a source of expression for everything we have learned.

Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices book series has been just as magical as her Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices series! Set in a world where half-angel half-human warriors live among us as the Shadowhunters who protect us (even when we can’t see them) against demon invaders and rebellious Downworlders (witches, warlocks, werewolves, and fairies!). A reoccurring statement throughout all of her works is “all the stories are true.” Her books convey the tragedy of loss and the overwhelming feeling of having the world resting on our shoulders, even if that isn’t the actual case. We can learn about society and the struggles of growing up while becoming immensely entertained by Clare’s fantastic fantasy novels. Imagination is a powerful tool and while it is often far-fetched, there are truths to the stories we create and all the stories that have been created. Ancient mythology stems from societal explanations about that which they did not understand. Why then is it so difficult to realize there is a blending of reality and fantasy?

We box ourselves into societal labels so that we can understand that fantasy is not real while reality is seemingly real. However, reality is not always as we perceive it to be; appearances misguide us and half-truths deceive just as much as lies do. Fantasy, while it may not be real, is based in some notion of observation that reveals a truth about society. It allows us to open our minds to a new perspective without judgment because we view it as entertainment rather than an imaginative outlook on life. Therefore, our imaginations contain the capability of educating us even when we do not realize it, and that is precisely why it is so magical!

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage, Steven's Cosmic Thursday's, Steven's Newest Posts

Flames of Conviction and Disaster


The Flames of Conviction and Disaster is an art piece inspired by Phoenix, a cosmic fire energy that possessed and eventually became one with Jean Grey of the X-Men, and Dark Phoenix, a state of the phoenix force in which it becomes corrupt with power and an infinite hunger for energy. The title of my photo referenced when Jean first became Phoenix, and when she eventually lost control of the cosmic entity, which caused it to become corrupt with the sensations it experienced as her. For this edit, I took a transparent image of fire that’s shaped somewhat like a wing, and positioned it onto the original image on my right as well as change the filter of it to better blend with my original photo. I then flipped the photo and added the same transparent image on to my left before flipping it back to it’s original direction. I also downloaded a transparent image of a flame shaped like a round explosion, and used it as my eyes. For the first image (Left), I shrunk and positioned the round flame where my eyeball would be, erased the entire thing once it’s positioned, and colored along my dark brown eyes, leaving enough of my real eye color on the outer rim of my eyeball to make it look like a my eyes are a fiery gold with dark brown (or black) rings in the outer part. Then I changed the opacity in order to make the color blend better with the rest of me. I also downloaded a transparent image of a dot (you can also search the period punctuation mark and find the same results), and shrunk and positioned it in the middle of my now fiery gold eye. It took me a few re positions since I used my phone app (where I make all my digital art) to do so. I did the same process for my other eye before moving on to the “eye makeup”. For the eye makeup I downloaded a transparent image of a pair of black wing silhouettes, because when you don’t do make up, you gotta be mad extra and photoshop it on yourself ;;D. I positioned it just under my eye and erased the wing that wasn’t under my eye (since they made an obtuse V shape). I then uploaded the same image and repeated the process, but with the wing facing the opposite side in order for the makeup to be as symmetrical as possible. Afterwards I changed the opacity of the wings slightly to make it seem like it’s actually applied rather than photo shopped and changed it’s filtering to further blend it in with my skin. Once it’s blended enough, I saved the photo to my camera roll and uploaded it into a different art app. Using the second app I changed the filter of the overall photo to a sunny ambiance, and changed the filter of that filter in order to better blend it with the photo. The final step was adding my personal symbol to mark my creation. I did the same process for the second photo (right), but left the less visible part unedited because a lock of my hair was blocking it and I like the idea of asymmetry in certain photos. The left image symbolizes the heroic feeling one can get when they’re skilled at certain things. I call that confidence the Flames of Conviction. The right represents the heroic feeling turned to a defeated feeling as a result of one letting their talent get to their heads, thus corrupting them with overconfidence. This overconfidence eventually leads to defeat, causing the said person to become very angry, believing that they weren’t meant to lose or slip up and causing them to act irrationally. This fire, the Flames of Disaster, can hurt not only the people around them, but themselves too. One can have the fire (confidence) to do what they love, but they need to learn to control it and stay humble to avoid situations that lead the loss of control of that fire, and letting it convert to rage.

Posted in Homepage


crystalCrystals have been around for many years on this earth, dating back to at least 6,000 years ago when many ancient civilizations were still in existence. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans just to name a few, all used crystals to help with healing, fulfillment, enlightenment, and protection. People have long since believed that Crystals can enhance psychic abilities and have metaphysical properties.

When looking at how crystals came to be, you have to first look at the minerals and elements that came together to make it possible. Crystals are essentially the DNA of the Earth and hold records of the development of the earth. Some crystals were formed by intense pressure while others were created in layers and some were formed through drips. Regardless of how the crystal is created, all of this goes into the properties and function of each crystal. While many crystals have various shapes and sizes on the external, crystals are classified by a specific “note” in their internal structure which can be seen through a microscope. Crystals are built from one of seven possible geometric forms. These forms are triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, rhomboids, parallelograms or trapeziums. The outer form of the crystal also does not necessarily reflect the inner structure of the crystals core.

Many crystals have different origins like some crystals such as Quartz were formed while some minerals were superheated in the Earth’s core when it was a still a molten rock with a thin layer of crust. They floated up to the surface and as they cooled the crystal was formed. Depending on the amount of time needed to cool down will determine the size of the crystal. If it cools relatively quickly it will form a small crystal while if it takes years or eons to cool, a bigger crystal will form in the end. If the crystal cools exceptionally fast then a glass-like creation such as Obsidian will form instead of a crystal. Tourmaline and Topaz are formed when gases penetrate fissures in rocks, while Aventurine and Peridot are made at high temperatures from liquid magma.

When working with crystals, it’s very important to know as much as possible since understanding them makes them more effective. As crystals are powerful left alone in their own state, they need to be approached with a respectable manner in order to have a full and effective connection. If you do this, they will be just as respondent and pleased to work with you in order enhance your life and well-being. Depending on the type, shape, size, position of a crystal, you can achieve spiritual healing as well as physical healing to an extent, protection from the physical and spiritual realm, help with love matters, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.

Just to name a few and their function:

  • Black Tourmaline crystals are used for the absorption of negative energy and well as protection from potential psychic harm.
  • Clear Quartz is used for healing as well as for clarity of thoughts.
  • Rose Quartz helps with love situations because it works primarily with the heart chakra.
  • Amethyst helps with spiritual growth as well as heightens intuition.
  • Tiger Eyes are good for various emotional disorders.

Taking the time to cleanse your crystals is a very important practice since crystals are efficient absorbers and transmitters of all kinds of energy. One of the many properties of crystals is to cleanse and transmute negative energy. If left alone to do this without having a cleansing performed regularly, they will become saturated with negative energy and will be unable to be as efficient even though some crystals are self-cleaning.

In my future blogs, I’ll be going more in-depth about more crystals and their unique properties. This week’s blog is a brief introduction of what crystals are, their origin, what they’re made of and what they’re capable of.

Author: Neil Omacharan

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

The Stories We Were Told

Hello Obscurians!

When I was a child, my family would often tell me scary stories in an attempt to get me to behave. Most of the time, I would rebelliously prepare to ward myself against the evil forces in their stories by places my toys around the room to keep watch while I slept peacefully. The story I heard most often was that of an evil old lady who would kidnap children in the middle of the night if they didn’t listen to their parents. I doubt my Barbie dolls could have protected me from that! Eventually, we grow up and we realize the stories we heard as children were simply a parenting technique to make us behave. It wasn’t until watching the Supernatural series that I began to acknowledge the mystic legends behind the stories which once caused fear in my childish heart.

Season 1 episode 18 of Supernatural referred to as “Something Wicked” inspired a new perspective on the tales I was told when I was younger. The episode features an evil witch, although, he turned out to be a male not an old lady as I was told. He is later identified as a Shtriga, a Albanian witch that sucks the life force out of little children and causes them to become ill and hospitalized, thus becoming separated from their families. As an Albanian-American who was once taunted with a similar story, you can see how I might have found this interesting. While I thought I was the only child to be told this story as a means of parenting behavioral interference, apparently the legends of the Shtriga existed long before my childhood so much so that a television show featured a reference to it! After some research, I discovered many other cultures share a similar story that I’m sure is also used against naughty children. Similar stories include Baba Yaga in Slavic folklore and the Strigoi in Romanian folklore.

A story that I thought was unique to my childhood turned out to be popular among many cultures of the world, and even a major television show! While we think our experiences are drastically different from those around us, as we get older we realize that there are many similarities between ourselves and others. As the new semester starts take a look at the students sitting around you in class. Maybe their parents told them the same stories you were told as a child, and maybe you’ll find that they share many other similarities to you. Maybe, you’ll realize that while you discovered something about a new classmate you also made a new friend. Enjoy learning throughout the semester, both learning new information in class and learning about new people. The semester flies by, so try to make a memorable one, and welcome back!

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage, Steven's Cosmic Thursday's, Steven's Newest Posts

Flames of Confidence



The flames of confidence. They are what appeared upon my death. My death as an insecure person, desperately trying to disappear with the crowd around me. My death as as the one who had to face the reality of their true passions for other men. My death as someone who believed there was only one way to be in a relationship. These very flames transform me again and again. The first time I died one night in 2011, I was reborn into a man, now sure of his sexuality. The second time, I died in 2013, and was reborn into an experimental person, now accepting his feminine side and allowing it to be a part of his masculinity. The third time, I died as an amateur in my style, and was reborn with more secure tastes in clothing. With every “death” I go through, my rebirth brings me back stronger, with new viewpoints and abilities. I died not too long ago in 2017, and came back with a new view on relationships and how to better manage the dilemmas that are presented to me. Of course I can’t say what I’ve learned, considering that not everyone goes through the same situations. But if anyone were to speak to me about what they go through, they’d get similar, but not the same info. I modify it to their situation to avoid close-minded advice. But anywho, back to these flames. For this image, I got four different transparent images of the fire element. I took the original photo of me striking a pose mid air by setting my phone’s camera on timer, which automatically took burst pictures in order for me to pick out the best pose. I then kept the image the same, but added and positioned the fire images in a way that makes me look like I have fire wings spreading from my body.  added another ball-shaped flame over me to make it look like I’m about to make the flames burst all round me. I also used the fire ring image, increased its size, and positioned it around me to make it look like I’m causing a heatwave, which is a symbol of my confidence influencing others. Finally, I added the sunny filter to change the lighting of the entire piece so it looks more authentic. As usual, I put my personal symbol to let viewers know that I created the image. All of my transparent images were found on google images. From my point of view, the elements each represent a certain characteristic. I also see the elements more than just water, fire, earth and air. I see them as more specific kinds, as well as more varied kinds (because pokemon inspired me, so I see water, ice, steel, and electric as their own elements). The final piece is also inspired by Phoenix (Jean Grey), and the Phoenix five (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, and Namor). I found out about marvel characters such as these in 2014, and became inspired by their heroic art ever since. I’ve also always loved the idea of me being possessed by the cosmic flames known as the phoenix force, mostly because of the cool poses and abilities. My dash of heroic characteristics were inspired by marvel heroes and villains alike. The image I made can be loosely connected with my natural body heat, because I heat up fast and am more resistant to the cold than many people I know. And because I’m confident, it along with my warm body connects to the image I made as well. For my next post I want to play more with fire, and symbolize the consequences of too much confidence, giving myself a more “corrupt with power” image where I strike a pose that looks like I’m losing control while my flames run wild, hurting everyone around me. I’m not usually the overly cocky type, but I, like everyone else, have my days where I’m hyped up to the point where I have too much confidence.