Friday, September 30, 2005

Soundbiting Your Religion

We all complain that religion isn't a soundbite; but if you had to make a soundbite out of an important part of your religion, what would you say?

It doesn't have to sum up everything, but pick something: ethics, gods, something.

Mine would be "We are the eyes and hands of the Divine".

Reconstructionists and Priesthoods?

I have a question for the reconstructionists in the forum. Whether it's Celtic, Greek, or Egyptian, historical records indicate an established priestly caste that the common people relied on for their spiritual needs. Undoubtedly, there was the village wise person that could be called upon for assistance, but major religious observances were conducted by the temples.

That being the case, if it's an accurate discription, the people performed prayers, devotions, and offerings for themselves and their families. So when reconstructing these belief systems and ancient traditions, how do the reconstructionists go about creating a full, working belief system?

If working in a group, would you have members that performed as the priestly caste, and the rest as "lay people" so to speak? If working as a solitary, would you be a priest, or like the common person, performing small acts of devotion and offerings?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kahil Gibran?

I was wondering what people's thoughts were on Kahil Gibran - specifically his work 'The Prophet' (as that's the only one I have) but in general, as well. I've loved the book since I found it on my mum's shelf, and refer to it often. It has a place of honour on my bookshelf.

I even used a portion of it (On Eating and Drinking) in my Autumnal Equinox ritual:

And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
"Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons"

So, naturally, I was curious - how many of you have read any of his works? What do you think of them?

Do Souls Have A Gender/Sex?

I'm in the process of reading a fictional story about Ceasar's life and there was a scene where Socrates is being quoted about how all souls are not only the image of God, but are female.

Well, that made me stop and ponder: Do souls have a sex? I guess I've always just took it for granted that because I'm female, then my soul must be is me, after all.

How do you feel? Is your soul the same sex as your body is, no sex at all (a nice ball of light), or could it even be a hermaphrodite?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Webcrafting: Add a Search Engine to Your Site

When visitors arrive at your web site you want them to find the information quickly otherwise they will lose patience and move on. A great way achieve this is to add a search engine or search box to your web site. Since most visitors are already familiar with using search engines such as Google, they can easily use the search feature on your site.

In this article I will discuss: A. The benefits of adding a search engine B. Types of search service providers C. Where to place a search box on your site D. How does the search engine work.

What Religion Are You?

Periodically I come here and browse through some of the posts... After reading a number of posts, a few times I've come across the statement that most people here are not Wiccan. (Which seems a little odd at a site called "e-cauldron"!)

I'm curious about what you (anyone who cares to reply) would catagorize yourself as. Wiccan? Pagan? Druidic? Native American Shamanistic? Cerimonial Magician? Qabbalist?, Etc.? And what, in brief, does that mean to you? (A summary of what you practice.)

Guilt and Magick

Something that I am interested in a the moment is guilt. It is powerful emotion that can cause people to do many things they would not noramally do (e.g. give money to causes, adopt dogs from adds in newspaper). Is guilt Magick?.

What Is "The Astral"?

I find descriptions of astral projection, astral work, the astral plane, and other such things all over the place, but I find them very confusing and conflicting.

I'm looking for a solid description. I'm uncertain as to how astral projection or visiting the astral plane differs from imagination, for example. How do you know when you've achieved work in the astral, as opposed to simply on a mental level?

All thoughts are greatly appreciated. This one's been puzzling me for a while.

Challenge Suggestion Thread

When I volunteered to run the Challenges (what, almost two years ago now? time flies), I originally had assumed that I would be responsible for thinking up new ideas every month. This worked out pretty well for about a year, I think, and then I started falling behind. I've been constantly asking the staff for new ideas and feeling bad about it because I felt like I was asking them to do stuff I'd promised to do. Finally, I made a decision: the way the Challenges work just has to change. My brain has just run dry on ideas. I can't keep up any more. So I'm asking y'all to help me out with ideas from here on out. If you've got an idea for a Challenge you'd like to see, or one from the past you'd like to request be repeated, please post it in this thread!

I can't promise I'll use every idea, because some will be better-suited to the forum in general than others, but I'll do my best to use as many as I can. (With proper credit given to those who suggested them, of course!) Some guidelines to consider which would increase your chances of your idea being used: Keep it general, so that you don't cut out large portions of the forum who can't participate or have little interest in doing so. Keep it simple, so that people can understand what they're supposed to do fairly easily. Challenges should be -- well, challenging -- but not impossibly difficult; you don't want people to get discouraged and drop it halfway through the month. Basically, keep it user-friendly.

If there comes a month when no one has any suggestions and I don't have any stored up, I should be able to come up with something, but if y'all could pitch in a bit it would go a long way to keeping the Challenges up and running smoothly. Any suggestions are much appreciated. Even if you just have a vague direction, go ahead and post it -- maybe it will generate more ideas from other people too. If nothing else, even vague direction is more than I've usually got going right now.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Webcrafting: Learning HTML & HTML Editors

If you'd like to create/maintain a website, having some HTML knowledge is necessary in order to create a standard page on the web. HTML is also very easy to learn, you can learn the basics in about an hour. First you'll need some type of software/editor to create your html pages. Here's a few to try out (or not) and see which you feel most comfortable with.

Hiding Your Faith?

Read about the turmoil in Iraq and you're bound to come up with a reference to Islam's two main factions: the Sunnis and the Shi'ites.

One controversial practice of the Shi'ites is taqiyyah, which basically means hiding or denouncing your faith outwardly when under duress. For example, if you are under threat of torture, Shi'a doctrine holds it permissible to deny being a Muslim, as long as you still believe in your heart that you are.

So what about Pagan religions (and anyone else who wants to reply)? I understand that they face discrimination and there are Pagans in the 'broom closet'.

1. Does your faith allow you to deceive others in such a way? How do your god(s) feel?

2. If your faith doesn't address it, then do your own personal ethics allow it? How do you draw the line between when it is and is not acceptable?

3. Do you feel such an action "damages" your faith in some way?

4. Which is worse (or is there no difference?): denying something you believe in, or professing belief in something you do not believe in?

When Is Magic Warranted?

I was just reading the banishing thread, a particular quote jumped out at me, and I thought it would make a good springboard into a new thread.

Here's the quote: "Please remember to exaust all physical means of the problem solving before you decide to use magick."

Is this considered wise advice in your tradition? If so, why is this generally the best tactic? If not, how do you normally decide when magic is warranted?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Your Opinion On Our Message Board Wanted

The hosts and staff are looking for your opinions on the software used to run our message board: Beehive Forums. (Think board layout, operation, and features if "the software used to run our message board" doesn't mean anything to you.) We'd like to know what you like about this software and what you do not like about it (in comparison to other message boards you use). What improvements or changes would you like to see made to it?

How Real Is Trad History?

The more I look into this question the more confusing it gets. Every now and again I find someone either on the net or off it who claims to be part of an ancient magical tradition which goes back hundreds if not thousands of years.

Occasionally it's a family trad or attributed to a group (witches normally) who come from a specific area or it may be a claim made by one or two individuals who then go on to start a trad.

Initially I rejected most of it as make believe. I know the history of witch trials in the UK and nothing that's mentioned bears any resemblance to BTW. But then I read Doreen Valiente's "The Search for Old Dorothy" as an appendix to the Farrar's A Witch's Bible Complete and it does seem to back up the idea that there was a tradition of some sort in the New Forest before Gardner.

So what documentary evidence do people know of for their trads?

Norse Wicca?

I'm trying to find fairly reliable information about the practice/study of Norse Wicca. I realize that this is a modern day religion and isn't the same as the reconstuctionist religion of Asatru. Most of the sites I've found so far just seem to rehash most of the stuff you can find on introductory heathen sites. I'd also be interested to hear from any Wiccan cauldron members who have successfully integrated Norse elements into their faith as well as Asatruars and any objections or suggestions they may have.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Same Religion by Another Name?

I have a question on a subject where my opinion will probably not be very popular but try to think of it objectively before you answer. Do you think that sometimes pagans practice another religion while worshiping the new one?

In example, there have frequently been requests among my coreligionists for prayers for another. My understanding of the Hellenic Polytheists beliefs are that people fall into three categories: friends, enemies and strangers.

The friends are the ones you help and they help you (I can possibly see asking the Immortals to aid a friend). The enemies are the ones that work to harm you or your friends (I absolutely cannot see praying for them). The strangers are the ones you don't know and don't interact with (I can see trying to turn them into friends but I cannot see asking the Immortals to help them out until I know them).

So, that being said, can you justify praying for strangers by only using the tenets of your current religion?

Mabon Celebration

So what did everyone do for Mabon? It's sort of my first and I'm curious to see how other people celebrated it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Have The Gods Changed, Or Is It Us?

I'm late (as always) to the thread "Just Say No to the Gods..." and I'm still working my way through the fascinating responses, so somebody stop me if this has already come up. It seems that most folks responding to that thread didn't perceive their gods as "punishing" them per se (again, correct me if I'm mischaracterizing the responses), and it struck me that this is in marked contrast to how folks perceived their gods in ancient times; in those cultures, punishment by the gods was very much possible.

So how do we explain the discrepancy? For those of you who worship the gods of ancient pantheons, are these exactly the same gods? Have they changed their ways? Lost the power to punish? Or have we changed...or has our perception of their ways changed?

It also struck me that much the same shift might be happening in much (but not all*) Judeo-Christian belief. I know little about their bible in detail, but I've heard that their God is more on the vengeful side in the Old Testament, but more on the loving side in the New Testament (again, apologies if I'm oversimplifying or just plain getting wrong). Moreover, where once folks might point to their tribulations as God punishing them for their sins, that mode of thinking doesn't seem to crop up much these days.

*The one exception seems to be when misfortune strikes others, esp. others who are unpopular. Then, some folks seem all too willing to attribute it to God punishing their foes. (Case in point: The right-wing "Christian" group Repent America says Hurricane Katrina and the downfall of New Orleans was God's punishment on that city for hosting the annual gay party Southern Decadence.)

(But don't pagans sometimes indulge in the same kind of thinking? Something awful happens to someone who did you wrong, and you might see it, rightly or wrongly, as your gods punishing them.)

So have the gods changed, or have we changed, or what?

They're Hiding Something from Me, I Swear

I have some questions about magick and secrecy...

1) It seems that many magical traditions have a rule about not revealing magical secrets to the untrained. Why?

2) If you use magic, would you reveal that fact to others? Why or why not?

3) If someone were to ask you to teach them magic, would you? Why or why not?

4) If you were teaching someone magic, would there be some secrets you'd hold back? Why or why not?

Personal Sanctuaries

Does anyone here have a personal spot of sanctuary - a particular tree, a building, a field somewhere - that you just walked into and got a feeling about?

Mine is a cemetery. It's on a hill right next to where I live, and always looks down on me with tall, gnarly trees reaching up into the sky at night. The topmost grove of trees creates a silhouette that can be interpreted two ways - a snarling bear if you look at it one way, and a slinking cat or fox if you look at it the other way. Some people may find using a cemetery as a place of spirituality and magick a bit offensive, but the animals, plants and spirits around the place certainly don't seem to mind. I feel welcomed every time I go there, and I have a specific tree along a trail on top of the hill that is my shrine. I had been thinking for a while about whether it was okay to use the cemetery as my sanctuary, and as if in response, the landscaping team installed a number of huge decorative standing stones all around the cemetery. Does anyone else have a spot like this?

I also know that the Japanese have a long tradition of combination cemetery-Shinto shrines, and people will go to the tombs of great Japanese heroes (or of their ancestors) to pray and give offerings of rice and such.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pagan Children

I'm reading other threads and the concept of children raised in some kind of Pagan religion comes up. I am always facinated by these claims since I too was raised pagan. Truthfully I was half Catholic and half pagan.

First off, I declared myself pagan and dedicated myself to pagan gods when I was nine. This is very early in childhood development. I doubt that I would have found the appropriate gods or the appropriate manner of speaking to them without a helpful adult around. That is why I believe parental involvment in spiritual matters is a very important thing.

Now how can children, smaller kids, be involved in pagan worship? As a child I was taught the idea of reflected honor. What you do reflects onyour gods, youe family as well as yourself. Sometimes honor can be reflected on place of origin or your entire ethnicity. "Her achievments are an honor to Celts everywhere" style of thing.

Now for a child this can be simple as performing well in competitve sports or some other exertion. I danced. Like many little girls I was in ballet, I spent loads of childish and teen passion into dance, it was in honor of my gods. My skill and effort was an act of worship. All children have something that they can offer as an act of worship.

At my own declaration of faith as a nine year old I made a special meal, offered the best to the gods and the honored dead. This was required, an effort and an offering before making my stand as a member of my religion. Making food items as offerings is another thing that children can really understand on a basic and visceral level. We all like food, we all have to eat.

Dancing and singing songs. Lot of kids like Christmas carols, hymms and other vocal offerings. Teach kids some songs to sing. You may never hear the end of it.

Teach them the myths in child appropriate language. Now-a-days I love the language of Lady Gregory and Lady Guest. Back when I was nine, the New American Standard Myth cycles worked just fine. Using ordinary language to tell the story had more impact on me then any high-brow fancy talk did.

Celebrate the holidays you really believe in. I was no less loved or happy for not having Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I had a warm family that practiced their traditions and gave age relative explanations for why we did things this way. Sometimes the why was merely "tradition", but I knew what had a foundation in myth and what did not.

Anyways I feel I could go on for years on this subject. questions can only make it better. So please, fire away!

When Do You Draw a Line with a Book?

At what point do you draw a line and decide a book isn't worth reading? What about recommending? Different standards? And finally, what just pisses you off in a book or author? (For the purposes of this thread, lets look only at non-fiction.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Don't Attack Silver Ravenwolf

It honestly disgusts me to see people who claim to practice the craft sending judgment upon another. Silver Ravenwolf may not teach the type of magic a coven does but there are many ways and forms to reach the same end. I am a solitary, I focus one what my energy can do, not what other peoples' can do for me. Perhaps it would be wise to think before opening your mouth and inserting your foot and focus on all the facts first.

There are two rules that all Wicca practices that you have broken in this ridicule, the rule of three, and do as you will but harm to none. You have broken these two very vital rules. If teaching a young person, be that a teen or other, makes her a bad person then perhaps you would like to tell generational practitioners that what they do is also bad. Again think before opening your mouth.

The Ethics of Crafting

Crafters? Are there any materials you choose not to work with for ethical reasons - not being environmentally friendly, people mining or making the materials working under bad conditions, disagreeing with the policies of the companies that sell them, et cetera?

Are there companies you choose to get your supplies from because you like their ethics?

Cooks, I'd love to hear your opinions too. Are there ingredients you won't work with because of wastefulness or animal cruelty, or other ethical issues?

Also, where do you draw the line between inspiration and plagiarism?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What Would You Improve?

Some have just found a new spiritual path, others have been following their own for several years, while others are following the path their parents set them on.

No matter how long you've been on your own journey, what part of your spirituality would you like to improve on? Perhaps a daily commitment to prayer/meditation, more study, putting your beliefs into your daily life (practice what you preach, I suppose), observing your religion's holy days?

Empath or Overly Sensitive?

I have only a basic definition of an empath: someone who fairly literally feels the feelings of other.

No offense intended, but when people tell me they are dragon spirits on the astral plain, I basically want to ask them what it feels like to have a tail. I pretty much used to put those who said they were empaths and complained about how consuming it was in the same attention seeking boat.

However, I think either I am having a psychotic break (an option that is still realistic) or I am developing some "empathic" abilities. And guess what it is overwhelming and distressing and freaking me out.

I live in Southern California, nice shelter food family and friends. After Katrina I felt alone and scared and desperate. I am crying constantly and generally not a fun person to be around. When I see someone in need on the street I feel hungry and scared and hurt.

So I ask for honest opinions and advice. If you want to tell me to get a grip I need to hear that as much as anything else. Thanks in advance for all the insightful comments this community always provides.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Web Site Down Time Yesterday

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's web site was down for quite a while yesterday, due to a major power failure in Los Angeles. Our message board kept humming right along as it is on a different network in a different location. Our apologies.

Converting Hymns for Other Deities?

Has anyone been to an evangelical church and noticed that the songs they use for worship could be easily converted to praise for other deities?

For example, Praise "him" could be turned into Praise Her in reference to the Goddess... Voila! " Praise her in the sanctuary, praise her in the mighty heavens, Praise her, all the earth praise her. Praise her in her awesome power, praise her great and holy name, Praise her, all the earth praise her.

What do you think of this idea?


Autumn is my favourite season, and has been since I was a squirt. Something about the smell of it - cooling air and fallen leaves - and the golden quality of the sunlight amazes me every year.

So, I'm curious: what kind of things do you like to do in the autumn? What (if any) religious events happen for you in the autumn, and are they harvest-oriented or otherwise? Does autumn mean anything special to you?

How Do You View Change?

Change, it comes into your life even if you have an unlisted number.

Do you see it as something positive, do you scream in rage at it, hide from it, ignore it, never thought about it?

I'm the type of person who hides from it, then when I realize that it finds me anyway, I fight it tooth and nail... until I finally look around and discover that 'change' has won again and I've been assimilated to its evil plan.

Of course, when I want change, such as improving my health habits, or money habits, I never seem to be able to make it come around; apparently I have to meet Change's agenda and not the other way around.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Finding Groups and Teachers?

I got asked if I'd teach a class at our local Pagan Pride (which is October 2nd) on the subject of finding groups and teachers. (Programming chair this year knows our group well, and wanted someone to teach it who has experience with a range of people seeking.)

I've obviously got lots of ideas, but I thought I'd ask here (because anecdotes and other experiences make for a better class!) if anyone here had ideas or stories or whatever they wanted to share.

Stuff I'm curious about (aka questions to get the discussion started: feel free to ramble on the subject in general too).

* Have you searched for a group or teacher? What worked for you? What didn't?

* What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you earlier in your search?

* If you're still in the searching phase, what do you wish you knew more about? What would make it easier for you to search?

* What safety or practical tips do you think are particularly important to pass along? Warning signs of unhealthy groups or situations?

Our metro area has a very active and vibrant Pagan community: I'm not sure how far away people will be coming from, but smaller cities further out obviously have less of a Pagan population base. I'm going to be talking about how numbers influence some kinds of options or may require more flexibility, but I'm also curious if anyone has any particular suggestions on that front.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Paganism and Work

We've had a few threads on Paganism on the job, often about how one deals with being a member of a pagan religion in a predominantly non-pagan office environment. I'm wondering something a bit different: does your religion or path have anything to do with your job itself? How so? Have you been guided by your deities into your present (or hoped-for) job? Is your religion something you integrate into the practice of your job? Is that possible or desirable for you? Does your religion have a particular stance on work itself? How do you view your religious or magical path in relation to your job: a complement, a compettition, an escape, or something else entirely?

True in Form or Spirit?

When attempting to reconstruct ritual, do you focus on form or spirit?

For instance, honoring Hestia was central to ancient Greek religion. This would mean, among other things, keeping the hearth fire alive. Now, some Recons keep a lamp or a candle going at all times, which I would see as being true in form. Keeping your kitchen clean and well stocked so that you can feed your family and guests could be one example of being true in spirit.

How do you balance things? Do you find one more important than the other?

While I expect that Recons will have the most to say about this, I'm interested in hearing other perspectives too.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Pagan Religious Groups: Sheep and Free Radicals?

In my (admittedly limited) experiences with religious groups, I have found that the members fall into three general categories: those who truly believe and work their hearts out to make it work; those who disagree with everything just to get attention; and the ones who believe whatever they are told and have no desire to think for themselves.

Now I count myself as being part of the first type and the other two types cause me never ending frustration and anguish. I keep taking classes trying to figure out how to deal with this and, so far, they have been of little help.

So I have two questions:

1) Am I in a delusional state and people are not really like that?

2) If my experiences are correct, what do you recommend I do about it? Suck it up and take it? Give up and walk away? What?

Mad or Mystical?

I've read quite a number of posts where people have indicated having some form of supernatural experience, be it contact with deities or magic, etc.

I don't doubt whatsoever that those experiences are true; but I am curious as to how you can tell if it's... for lack of a better word... "genuine".

If I had such an experience, how can I tell I'm not just going nuts?

Defining Pagan Religions -- Can It Be Done?

Can Pagan religions be defined? Is it allowed by the "common Pagan consensus"?

Should one draw lines that possibly exclude some people who self-identify as followers of a given religion? Why - why not?

Is it even possible to define Pagan religions, or is it perhaps the other way around ? does a religion actually exist before it has been defined? How can we know what a religion is, before that religion has been defined somehow?

Will the names of different Pagan religions turn meaningless, if one can practice whatever one wishes and believe what one desires under a given name?

Is defining a religion equal to shepherding the members of a religion, or forcing them to rigid forms?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Sound of Magic?

I found that Parabola by Tool to be a very good meditation tool, and that very emotional pieces of music such as Anna Begins by Counting Crows can also help with magic.

I was wondering what people out there like to listen to to put them in the mood when either meditating, praying or performing magic? Or if sounds forms an important part of these acts?

Initiations in Your Religion?

Are you an initiate in your religion? Does your religion have initiations at all? Are they required or optional?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Use of Ancient Sites for Ritual?

I don't really know how to approach this subject so I'll just explain what happened and see what people think.

My wife and I recently attended a handfasting at a very famous stone circle here in the UK. I won't go into detail of the site because I'm going to be critical and I don't want it to get back to the couple involved.

The ritual itself was held by a priest and priestess who are a bit publicity seeking and there was quite a crowd of onlookers, which led to them putting on a bit of a comedy routine, which probably wasn't really appropriate and the attitude of some of the pagans there was a bit offhand (people involved in the ritual lighting cigarettes halfway through, for instance) so overall I'd say there wasn't enough reverence to go with the mirth.

However, the real problem for me was that I was at the west of the small handfasting circle, which placed me at the very centre of the Sacred Site and because of this I was right next to where a very ancient spirit was woken by our activities.

For those who haven't access to ancient sites like we have in the UK; they're a bit like psychic batteries because they represent thousands of years of worship and belief so anyone who's a bit psychic can pick up a lot from them. I can go onto such a site if there aren't too many people around and get a real impression of the people who used it to the point where I can sometimes almost see them.

On this occasion I felt the spirit in the centre of the site wake up as if she was expecting it to be used for its original function, which was celebration and sacrifice (although not human sacrifice as far as I could tell). This was an intensely powerful impression and I felt that I was half in the twenty-first century and half in the second millenium BCE. Then the priest and priestess started calling on Celtic gods, who were foreign to the spirit, and I suddenly felt her getting angry at the intrusion and then extremely sorrowful at the loss of her people. It was probably the most painful spiritual experience I've ever had.

I alerted my wife to what was happening and she sensed her as well. Later when we discussed what had happened we decided that the being we'd experienced was probably a priestess who had officiated at the ceremonies which used to be held at the site.

The biggest thing which hit me from all this was the need for respect. My wife has been to other rituals there without any problems but she though that the attitude of some of those involved, the frank showing off of the priest and priestess, and the general lack of sensitivity defeated the object of the ceremony.

It has certainly made me rethink the idea of holding rituals on ancient sites. I certainly wouldn't want to attend one unless I was sure those involved were committed to respecting the spirits of the site.

Science and Religion

Let's say you happen to pick up a Biology textbook. You flick open the first page of a chapter on bodily movement and support. The first paragraph says:

"The ability to move from one place to another is a gift from God to humans and most animals. Imagine what our daily lives would be like without the capacity to move."

Now you flick through the entire chapter, and you find that it concludes by reminding the reader to be grateful to God and take care of His gift.

a) If the above would provoke a reaction from you, what would it be and why?

Would you think nothing of it? Or say "Amen" and give thanksgiving? Roll your eyes and look for a less preachy work? Demand that the reference to a monotheistic, JCI God be accompanied by the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

b) Would your reaction differ depending on where the textbook came from? Why or why not?

For example, you might base your judgment on whether the country of origin is professed to be secular or not. Or maybe you think science is science wherever it is and hold firm to whatever view you have.

Monday, September 05, 2005

To Love, Honor And Cherish... A Good Faith Estimate

One of our members, Seichi (SEICHIMAT), has a new article up on WitchVox this week.

From the article:

"Okay, um, hon. I'm going to my women?s group meeting; don't wait up. Yup, will drive safe. Why it had to be October 31? No idea... Uh, yeah, come to think of it there was one the exact same day last year. Go figger. Love you, too. I'll be back around 12:30, one-ish at the latest."

Now wasn't that awkward? Had he ever asked what a women?s group was, I couldn't have told him.
To read the rest of Seichi's article, follow the link below.

Cauldron Message Board Software Updated

We updated our message board software from Beehive Forums version 0.5 to Beehive Forums version 0.6.1 this morning. Most importan things (like reading and posting messages) work, but there are a number of bugs. Quite a few of them, unfortunately.

A few people are reporting having trouble logging in. It appears to be a cookie problem. If you are having this problem see the "Fix for Login Problem" link below for a step by step method of trying to fix it. Even though the description of the problem in the question may not exactly what you are seeing, following the steps does seem to solve the problem.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Review: 2006 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac

I have to say that this is my least favorite almanac of Llewellyn's yearly offerings. I just don't like the formatting they use in it. On the other hand, the spells, charms, etc., never fail to offer me useful surprise or three. They range from prosperity to protection for the computer; from ideas for making lasting resolutions to blessings for the flying creatures who share this world with us; and from extremely simple to moderately complex. If you can't find a number of useful ideas within the covers of this book, you just aren't trying.

Review: 2006 Witches Datebook

Llewellyn relies on a group of authors to provide the bulk of articles for its annual publications. Despite seeing the same names year after year, the range of topics presented never grows stale. The articles in this year's edition range from "Walking the Path" by Raven Grimassi (on being aware of the moment) to "Forgotten Days of Power" by James Kambos (which covers some other observances besides the Sabbats). This year's edition of the Datebook includes, as usual, an assortment of anniversaries, important events, and half-paged sized articles on a wide variety of topics. There are recipes, rituals, and poetry among the offerings.

Review: 2006 Witches' Calendar

There isn't a whole lot that can be said about a calendar. The old stand-bys are there - Moon phases, astronomical/astrological data and colors for each day. Memorable birthdays and death days (the birthday of Dorothy Clutterbuck on January 19th, the death of Gwydion Penderwen on November 19th, for example) significant firsts, and other memorable events in Pagan history also find a place on the monthly pages (Z. Budapest's arrest for fortunetelling on February 10, 1975 for example), as do the more mundane observances (Groundhog Day, Thanksgiving, etc.)

Review: 2006 Magical Almanac

Thirty four authors contributed seventy five articles which are divided among four basic divisions - one for each season. The almanac section contains all the usual Llewellyn offerings - a color for the day (drawn from the ruling planet), an incense for the day, moon phases, moon sign and a note on observances for the day, both mundane and religious.

Review: 2006 Herbal Almanac

As with previous editions of this annual publication the emphasis is on articles related to various aspects of herbal working, from growing and gathering them to their use in a variety of fields. The monthly data is relegated to the back of the book, covering less a couple of dozen pages. The articles are divided into broad categories: "Growing and Gathering Herbs," "Culinary Herbs," "Herbs for Health," "Herbs for Beauty," "Herb Crafts," and "Herb History, Myth, and Magic," thereby making it easy to find what you are looking for. There are 28 articles by 17 authors, so there are a good variety of viewpoints represented.

Review: The Hermetic Tradition

This work, which is translated form the Italian for the first time, will be of limited appeal due to a couple of items. First, even though it ".is among the clearest works on alchemy ever written" it is heavily annotated, Second, the very subject of alchemy, whether seem "merely" as the precursor to modern chemistry or as an integral part of the overall hermetic tradition, is of limited appeal.

Review: Secret Societies of America's Elite

If you are hoping for an overview of modern "secret societies" in America, you are liable to be disappointed by this book. Although the Skull and Bones, a notorious society claiming such men as former President George H. W. Bush, William F. Buckley, Senator John F. Kerry, and President George W. Bush, flourishes on the campus of Yale, little attention is devoted to this group. The subtitle of this book ("From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones") seems to promise a more in-depth look at current organizations. In this, it fails to deliver. It does provide an in-depth look at Masonic influences throughout American history (and travels some pathways on that journey), and it is valuable for that reason.

Review: Forbidden History

Forbidden History certainly makes a title which will grab your attention; much more so than Unconventional History which this certainly is. This book was produced and edited by the Editor and Publisher of "Atlantis Rising" magazine, with the contributions of over a dozen other writers who have contributed to his magazine. The forty-two articles are broken down into six rather broad categories: "The Old Models Don't Work: Darwinism and Creationism Under Fire"; "Making the Case for Catastrophism: Earth Changes, Sudden and Gradual"; "Exploring the Greater Antiquity of Civilization": "Searching for the Fountainhead"; "Ancient High Tech"; and "New Models to Ponder".

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Officers of Avalon Collecting Katrina Donations

For those who would like a Pagan connection to donate towards helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Officers of Avalon (a well-respected group of Pagan law enforcement and emergency personel) has announcing "Avalon Cares!":

From the Officers of Avalon web site: Officers of Avalon is collecting funds for those who have lost their homes and livelihood in New Orleans. All monies we receive will be forwarded to charity organizations helping to provide emergency aid to the survivors of this natural catastrophe. Help us make a difference! Give generously!
They collected over $2K in the first 24 hours; the total hasn't been updated

This is the group has a fine reputation. They are passing along 100% to the major relief organizations, so donating through them is efficient and will put on the record that Pagans helped with this dire emergency.

Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

No sooner had I begun to read of the author's concept of the early 19th century's society of magicians than I found myself being swept along on the swell of a well-told story. A story, furthermore, which was both compelling and plausible. A society of magicians? No, a society of those knowledgeable about magicians, knowledgeable about the history of magic, but one whose members could not trouble themselves to exert the slightest bit of energy to actually perform a magical act. After all, they were gentlemen and couldn't be expected to actually do anything.

Review: Red is for Remembrance

Stacey is not a happy college student. She is going to college for the first time and has one roommate who is so perky and fluffy you almost want to gag as soon as you meet her, On to-p of that Stacey's "unusual" abilities have been causing her problems for years. Add to that the fact that her boyfriend disappeared into the ocean during summer vacation, and you get the feeling that this might not be a good year for her.

Review: Sea Switch

Cassie Strange really gets involved in this story - to the extent of finding herself in the body of an undersea inhabitant. And it all started out so well The Strange family was going on a family vacation to the Oregon coast and Cassie's best friend, Rosalie, was coming along as well. Of course, it was a working vacation - Cassie's dad was looking to get some footage for his cable TV show and her mom was taking part in a beach clean-up, but it was still a vacation.

Review: Book of Oceans

This is book eight in the "Diadem Worlds of Magic" series. Score, Pixel and Helaine have been joined by Jenna, a young healer from Helaine's home world of Ordin. This present certain difficulties, since Helaine is from the noble class and Jenna is most definitely of the peasant class. Neither one is comfortable in the presence of the other. In fact, they are so uncomfortable that Score (from Earth) and Pixel (from Colimir) have agreed to seek help from an adult regarding the intricacies of female relationships.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Ethics of Prayer?

We talk here often about the ethics of magic. I've been wondering, what about the ethics of prayer? Is there such a thing as an unethical or an inappropriate prayer? Are there things that we shouldn't pray for? Are there times or situations that are unsuitable for prayer?

Do you think the gods (or whomever one is praying to) would ignore unethical prayers? And if so, does it mean that ethics shouldn't be a concern? (if a request is inappropriate it wouldn't be answered anyway, so no need to worry about consequences...)

Questions about Faeries

I'm interested in the views of others, because I have heard and read thousands of different things related to faeries. So here we go:

What do you think about faeries?

Are they Dangerous? All of them? Most of them? Some of them? none of them?

Where do they reside Astral plane? Their own plane? Our plane? They don't exist?

Can last on our plane forever? A long time. They live here. They come and go. They can't come here.

Are faeries More intelligent then humans? less? They stand in such an incomprehensible gap above humans it's.. well.. Incomprehensible. They are stupid? Some like it hot some like it cold?? (some are smart some are not)

Do they speak? Through pictures and symbols. No. Secret faerie language. Runes. All. English.

Do they practice magick? No, impossible! Yes most definitely, Better than we can. yeah but not very well. Only Faerie magick.

I think this is a good base for discussion but if anyone has anything to add, I know I wouldn't mind.


I've been looking into candlemaking and I'm wondering if any of you do this on a small scale and if there is a particular book or website I should look at. I do plan on making a specific pillar candle for ritual use. It needs to be sandalwood scented. Any advice, links, book recommendations are appreciated.

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