Friday, December 30, 2005

What Do You Call Yourself?

What do you call yourself (As far as religion is concerned)? Does your religion have a specific name for its followers, or did you create one yourself?

Familiars and Totem Animals: Are They Necessary?

I have a question about familiars and totem animals. Are they that necessary?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Don't Like That God So I'll Change Him?

Anyway I was sitting here looking at a train wreck of a thread in another forum and I began pondering how some people want to change what some gods do. It isn't all gods, I mean I don't think I've ever run into anybody claiming that Aries was really a smith and cattle god and didn't practice war at all.

Is it gender stereotyping? Is it being uncomfortable with some facets of life? Is it trying to make those particular gods more in line with one's own thoughts of "goodness" and "rightness"?

Now I realize that I don't resonate well with some gods. Most Asian, Hindu, and African gods don't even show up on my radar so to speak. (except once for Kali Ma who wanted the festival of colors from a self proclaimed devotee)

Maybe I don't have the right mind set being chosen instead of doing any choosing on my own. If you choose your gods do youget to change their job description? I correct mis-information as I can, but why does it persist in the first place?

Is it really as simple as not liking a god and wanting them to change to suit the individual?

Why Body Modification?

To those who have piercings and tattoos: why do you get them? Why permanently change/decorate your body? Is it just for the appearance, or is there a deeper reason?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Are False Things Real Too?

Yes, that makes no sense. follow the logic, though ... (and this really only makes sense, I think, for people who are at some level pantheists/panentheists/that sort of thing).

But everything that exists is part of the universe. (of God, of the Divine .. pick your noun and follow it through). This includes us. Now, false things can only exist in the minds of something thinking about it .. it's pretty useless to say that a flitterdigibbet doesn't exist unless someone was thinking about it before. (but now, of course, it applies to the analogy. it just didn't until I said it. lost yet? I think I am ...)

But now that I (And perhaps you) are thinking about this flitterdigibbet, it exists in our minds. and since our minds are part of the universe, doesn't that make a flitterdigibbet part of the universe too? Or did I get hopped up on existentialism instead of tryptophan from my turkey last night?

Visitations from Deities

When a deity comes to you, is it usually in meditation, during rituals, in dreams, or ???

Saturday, December 24, 2005

How Important is the Wording?

When casting a spell involving words, how important is it that the words are absolutely precise?

Is intent more important than wording? Would it be OK to have a more loosely worded spell but a firm idea of what I want? Or would that bite me in the butt?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Celtic Calendars?

I have an odd question for those who practice specifically Celtic Traditions.

Several years ago, a sort of more New-Age than pagan pal of mine was going on to me about the date Dec. 23rd being one of those odd days that is "outside" the normal this case, the so-called Celtic Tree Calendar. Admittedly, I don't know as much about Celtic practice as I probably should---with as much Celtic ancestry as we have, but I can't find anything really impressive that tells me such a calendar ever existed.

So, why am I even asking? Well, being the nutcase I can be, lol, I got curious this morning---it being the 23rd. I woke up early and as I sat up to check the clock, the lobster-claw clasped necklace I was wearing slithered down my chest. I've never had one of those un-hook itself before, it wasn't broken or 'stuck' in open, either. Forty minutes later, I woke up again and my "Kybele" bracelet...which has a intricate "storybook" clasp popped off my wrist.

Being 'stripped' of my jewelry usually is some kind of hint of something significant for me. Sooooo....I am just wondering.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Your Experience with On-Campus Pagan Organizations?

I'm considering starting a pagan organization for my campus, which has none. I was wondering if those of you who in the past have been or presently are involved in a pagan organization would mind answering a few questions about your experiences? Thanks in advance!

Please feel free to give plenty of detail; your answers will be immensely helpful!

What is the purpose of the organization you are/were involved in? Is it for learning and discussion, spellwork, or...?

Is/was your experience in the organization overall positive or negative?

How long have you been/were you involved? How active are/were you? Any officer positions, and if so, what are/were your duties?

Did the organization hold any memorable events during your involvement?

Is the organization an active force on the campus or in the greater community? What do they do to stay involved with people outside the organization?

What sort of problems have cropped up while you were involved? How does/did the organization deal with them?

How has the organization contributed to your spiritual education or growth?

What were some of your most positive experiences in the organization to date?

What were some of the most negative?

And if you happen to be the founder or co-founder of any sort of on-campus pagan organization, how did your organization get started? What did you do to help make it successful?

Thanks again for your answers!

Should The World Be Black And White?

Reading through the posts on this board, I'm always struck by how generally tolerant people here are of different opinions. I think it's safe to say that many people here don't see everything in black and white.

But what if things were black and white?

Imagine a world where there were only two viewpoints: right and wrong. In this world, right and wrong are determined just like counting 2+2. Right and wrong are the same for everyone, everywhere, everytime. People live and breathe knowing that this is right and that is wrong and there is nothing in between.

So, no Cauldron in this world. No debates. No sitting around wondering whether this is the right thing to do because you know what the right thing is; you just have to choose whether or not to do it.

No uncertainty. Ever.

i) Would you want to live in such a world? Why or why not?

ii) Since people in such a world always know the morality of their actions, would they be more likely to do the right thing?

iii) Finally, what impact (if any) would such a world have on our humanity? Is diversity of viewpoints in any way part of what it means to be human, and if so, would we be somehow "less human" in this world?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pagan Heretics?

Does your religion have the concept of heresy? What I mean is, if a member of your religion were to deviate from a standard belief or practice, would there be negative consequences for them?

Just curious because it struck me that I've never seen a "heretic" of a Pagan faith. Everyone seems to hive off into their own traditions instead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Creating deity?

Do you believe it's possible for a person, a spirit/entity, or even a thing to be imbued with deification or godlike powers through mankind's reverence or worship? If I started a movement to worship Grelgor, Patron of Socks Lost in the Dryer, and in a year or two's time I had a pretty big group of people all worshipping Grelgor--praying to him, making offerings, and asking for his aid--would that in essence create a deity called Grelgor? What if I started worshipping a dead ancestor? Does my filial piety make them into a god?

A member on another forum I visit believes that gods are human concepts. In other words, they're only gods because we worship them; if no one did, they'd have no power. What do you think of this point of view?

Suggestions for Yule Celebrations

I am still very new to the whole idea and charm of paganism in general. I could use some suggestions on how to celebrate Yule, keeping in mind that I am very new at this and I don't want to go overboard with my husband and boys.

And 1 question, How does a person make a Yule log?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is Magic Real?

I've always been told that magic isn't real. Is it true that it's real? Or is it all made up like in the movies?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Message Board Back -- On New Server

The message board is back and working -- again. Bob's old server died completely (probably the motherboard, but Bob hasn't had time to carefully check yet). So we are up on a temporary server until Bob can move us (and associated sites -- Asatru Lore, Ta Hiera, etc.) to a new, permanent server.

Bob said in a post in the message linked below: "Sorry for the ups and downs guys, but when hardware craps out, there ain't much I can do about it." The hosts think Bob has gone well beyond the call of duty here and believe he deserves our thanks -- and a keg of his favorite.

Remember, not everything is back, and probably will not be until well after the move to the new permanent machice given that this is the height of the holiday season (Yule, Christmas, Kwanza, New Years). But the board appears to be back. And that's the main thing as the backup board just remindeed the hosts of why we dislike "drill-down" boards.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Back to the Backup Message Board

The repaired server worked fine for a while, then died again. Bob says he will take another look at it tomorrow. (Hopefully when he is rested and feeling better before he has to drive back into town to look at it.) Until then, we do have a backup board, so please go there, register with the same id you use on the regular board, and put it to use.

Message Board Back

Our Message Board is back -- and has been upgraded to Beehive Forums 0.6.2 in the process.

For those who do not know what happened. Our server's hard drive started have problems yesterday. Fortunately, Bob had been planning to upgrade the drive after Christmas. Unfortunately, it elected to have problems while Bob was home sick.

He dragged himself into work today mainly to fix this server. It took most of the day to fix -- get a fresh backup of the database, install the new hard drice, install a new version of the system (hey -- it's a great chance to upgrade the OS -- the server's already down), restore files and databases, etc.

When Bob finished that, I updated the board to Beehive 0.6.2 -- which should give us search again (although who nows what else is broken), and turned the board on again.

Let's give Bob three cheers for servce above and beyond the call of duty.

Things to note:

* The board was up briefly this morning. Any messages posted then have been lost. Sorry.

* This modded copy of 0.6.2 has not been tested as much as we usually test things or there may be bugs we do not know about. (Of course, there always are no matter how much we test.)

* Java chat is no more, we'll be using the Flash Chat we have been testing.

* CauldronMUX is temporarily offline. It did not back up for some reason. Bob is gong to attempt to get it off the old hard drive. Considering he is under the weather, however, I doubt it will be his first priority in life (and it should not be).

Message Board Afternoon Update

Bob has the server hardware repaired and is restoring data files. Once everything is up and running, Randall will upgrade the board software to Beehive 0.6.2 -- which should give us a working message board search again. When all this is done, the message board will reopen. There's no ETA at the moment, but the backup board is available:

Board Problems Update

Our message board problems are caused by the server's hard drive dying. Our server admin will be dragging himself out of his sick bed this morning and installing a new hard drive and doing some OS upgrades. He was planning on doing this later in the month, but the hard drive decided it wanted to be replaced now. Our board should be back online later in the day when all of this is done.

Until then, feel free to use our back up board at:

Please register with the same name you use on the regular board. Note that this board has ads that we have no control over. Also note that this board will be closed to posting once the main board returns, so you probably don't want to use the backup board for any important discussions.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Message Board Problems

Our message board has been having server problems on and off today. If you cannot access our message board, that's probably why. We hope to have the problems fixed soon. However, if the problems persist too long, we'll move to our never yet used backup board until they are fixed.


Do you believe that souls exist? If so, what exactly are "souls"? What purpose (if any) do they serve? Are they restricted to certain species, or does everything living have a soul? (Or, for that matter, everything regardless of whether it's living or not?)

I'm interested in both official teachings and personal perspectives here.

Ultimate Purpose or Goal in Your Religion?

Does your path have an ultimate purpose or goal? If so, what is it? (eg, conversation of your higher self/ escape the cycle/ conquer the world?)

Do you agree completely with this goal? Where do you differ if you do?

If your religion doesn't come with a goal ready made, do you have a goal of your own that you consider to be related to your spirituality or religion?

If you don't have a goal, how do you feel about this? Is it ok to not have goals, or is it something we should strive to have?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nature of Gods?

How do you see the gods? As archtypes, separate individuals, human creations, what?

How does that affect how you relate with them?

Is this standard in your religion, or is god-view irrelevant?

Teach the Children?

I'm a Buddhist. Right, we've established that before. I'm finding that I'm leaning heavily toward the Mahayana branch, after reading up on all of them and weighing the "pull" each has for me. That's the one tugging the hardest. Cool.

My daughter, being 8, is at that very curious stage regarding beliefs. I bought a children's book for her called "Zen Shorts," containing three Zen stories within a framework of a larger tale (that of a panda who finds himself in the yard of three children, who each have a turn spending some alone time with him and learning a little about Zen Buddhism to boot). Apparently one of those tales really struck a chord with her.

Without going into huge detail, I'll say this: We had a rather unpleasant experience with a couple of strangers this weekend. I was recounting said experience to our housemate, and DD walked into the room. She looked at me, smiled a little, and said:

"I put her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

I was floored into silence. That's the final sentence in the story about the two monks (one old, one young) and the haughty young woman, who is carried across a stream by the older monk and refuses to acknowledge his help. Hours later the younger one, who's been fuming and steaming about the young woman the whole time, goes off to his elder, asking how he (the elder) could stand being treated that way. The elder answers with that sentence ::points up there::

I've always said to myself (not that anyone else would listen LOL) that I would teach her by example. But I guess a storybook can help, can't it?

(And ja, I explained that I wasn't *really* "carrying her," because I wasn't still upset about the way we had been treated. I was merely recounting the experience to our housemate, who hadn't realized that when I said "we pushed the car out of a ditch," I really MEANT we pushed the car out of a ditch. He thought we just got stuck in a driveway.)

Does anyone else have an example of how their children have learned about their beliefs from them, or from a book, or from--whatever? This one was just so obvious to me, I felt I needed to ask if it happens to anyone else. It must -- right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What is Magic?

I thought I would toss this out as a discussion topic so that people can share their thoughts on the matter and perhaps some of our less experienced members can learn more about what magic is really all about.

Everyone here has spoken of magic. There have been debates over classifications of it (i.e. the black or white debate). We've spoken about the fact that it isn't the kind of thing that Hollywood likes to make movies about.

But all of these discussions haven't really looked at the heart of the matter. What is magic? How does it work? Where does it come from? Why is it here? does everyone here view magic?

1. Is it a natural force one can shape with will alone?
2. Is it the power of the gods?
3. Or is it simply based upon saying the right words and having the right supplies?

I hope we'll get a good discussion going here. I'll put in my 2 cents a bit later to contribute how I see magic.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Has Paganism Changed How You View The World?

How has the fact that you are Pagan altered the way you view Nature?

This broadly phrased question includes such minor aspects as belief in multiple realities (other planes of reality and creatures that live there, interconnectedness of things etc.)

Could you please include in your answers (if applicable) an anecdote or a reason why you believe as you do?

Learning About Sabbats

Though I am not a Wiccan, I do tend to follow the Wheel of the Year. It is nice to have a coherant cycle of holidays to ground oneself in the seasonal cycles of the Earth. Some of these celebrations have proven more difficult to research than others. While I have a firm grasp on celebrations appropriate to Samhain for example, others such as the Autumnal Equinox are harder to pin down.

So what I'm asking, is where did you learn about Sabbats (assuming you follow this cycle)? Was your primary mode of learning person to person? What insights can you share? What web pages and books can you recommend?

I'm looking forward to expanding my personal understanding of this cycle, and to learning how others celebrate.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stories for Children

I love old stories. Fairytales, myths, legends, etc.

Anyway, now that my younger brother is 6 I've started reading him stories which are a little different than he's used to - specifically, stories about prophets from the Bible and Qur'an.

I don't just plan to limit my stories to those sources, of course. I want to expose him to other stuff I enjoyed at his age, like Greek myths and whatnot. I'm a bit lost as to what to start with, though.

So, any recommendations?

And any sites with a good version of a particular story (my myth books just give skimpy overviews)?

Are Pagan Families That Rare?

My oldest son's wedding is this Sat and it got me to thinking. My son is more or less a laid back Reclaiming type and is marrying a very nice eclectic witch.

My grandson will be the ring bearer, he's only three but his dad (my youngest) is also Pagan in his beliefs. With all my kids it's more of a philosophy of life, their outlook, something they are more than what they do. Although they do not hesitate to ask me for readings or a spell when in need!

Anyway, back on track, I realized there will be three witchy generations present and involved and of course many witches (and non witches, mainly the brides family) there to celebrate with us. Is this that rare?

I noticed in the holiday threads here at TC many people can't admit or disguise their Solstice Rites, or celebrate Christmas so their families are not upset with them. This would never even cross my mind, but then my parents passed over years ago and I am the Old Generation now.

I am curious, first; how many folks do not think twice about telling people they celebrate Yule or Solstice or whatever non Christmas thing?

Second; how many have more or less Pagan families (more than one generation), family celebrations and the like?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bias in Religion

I have been absent for a long while and decided to celebrate my return with a question that has been puzzling me that I have been reading up on at the local (woefully paltry) library.

Do you think that many pagan religions were discounted/ignored/persecuted with the advent of Christianity more from the racial make-up of their believers than from their beliefs?

I have read how many ministers used the Bible to justify slavery and other things we find distasteful. Any dark skinned or other than caucasian person seemed to be viewed as someone to be saved and then treated forever as still *less than equal*, but yet as saved shouldn't they have been considered equal?

Early American missionaries insisted that all Native Americans were Godless Heathens that needed to be saved from themselves. Native children were forcibly removed from their families and packed into Christian boarding schools. This practice continued into the 1970s in the USA and I have heard that it similarly happened in other countries as well (such as Australia with the Aborigines).

Many pagan/native practices 'blend' into the Christian beliefs and practices with these new converts. In my reading I see little evidence that this disturbed the missionaries much.

Why do you think Christianity took such a view of darker-skinned peoples? Was there/Is there some disturbing thread of prejudice in Christianity that bends the believers of that faith?

Not trying to rile folks up, but after dabbling in Asatru and meeting some folkish folks that left a bad taste in my brain, I got heavy into reading up on race and religion. My insatiable curiousity now wants to know if other folks here have observed this tendency in Christianity. I was raised in a Southern Baptist family (we are talking foot-washers here folks) and I never saw any non-white walk into the churches my parents attended. It was just accepted that "they have their churches and we have ours". The first church I ever walked into that had people of all races was a Catholic church.

So what do you think?

Organ Donation and Religion?

Is there anything in your religious beliefs that encourages or discourages organ donation? Or is your decision to donate or not unrelated to religion?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Drawbacks and Difficulties for Pagans

I have another question for the purpose of my paper, particularly the section in which I compare it to Christianity: What could be certain drawbacks and difficulties for people when being Pagan? I could think of some myself but I would like to hear your opinions first.

Webcrafting: Using .Htaccess

A .htaccess file is a file that works on Apache and other NCSA-compliant webservers. The name is actually a bit of a misnomer due to the fact that hyper-text access is only a small function of what it's capabilities are.

The .htaccess file affects the directory it is located in and all directories below it on the directory tree unless there is a .htaccess file contained within a directory, in which case it will take priority for that directory and all directories located below it in tree. Thus if a .htaccess file is contained within the root directory it will affect all directories on the webserver.

Pagan Contributions to the Modern World?

In the thread about the extra-cannonical Christian writings I mentioned how barbaric humanity have been to each other in the past and this got me thinking.

It could be argued that the recent improvements in human rights etc. have arisen through Christians inspired by the "love your neighbour" message of Christianity into fighting uncompromisingly for the rights of others.

Are there Pagan equivalents to this pro-active imperative that I've overlooked or do we owe the improvements of the last few hundred years entirely to Christianity?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Godless Religions?

Is it possible, in your opinion, to have a religion/spirituality without a God/dess/s? I mean a religion without, say, one god, or many gods. Or one without a deity that is a seperate entity from the universe, where no specific name is prayed to.

This does seem a bit confusing, and I apologize if it is. I have no other words for what I'm looking for.

If it is possible, does anyone know of any such religions?

Webcrafting: Understanding Web Statistics

Most website hosting services offer a stats package that you can study. If you're not sure where this is, call up your hosting service and ask them. Statistics are a vital part of tracking your marketing progress. If you don't have access to website statistics get a package that can help you in this area. Do not get a counter that simply shows how many visitors you've had. You'll be missing out on vital information that can help strengthen weaknesses in your site.

A good website hosting service offers traffic logs that provide an invaluable insight into the traffic being referred to a web site from various sources such as search engines, directories and other links.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sweets (The 12 Days of Holiday Cooking)

The next category in the 12 Days of Holiday Cooking is Sweets (cookies, pies, cakes, desserts, etc). Post your ideas/recipes in this thread. I'll be posting another category in a couple of days, but remember this thread will remain open, so if you don't think of something to post before the next category goes up, you can come back over here and post it later.

Also, I'll be gathering a lot of these recipes (I hope) for inclusion on our website's Cauldron Cookbook section. If you don't want your recipe included there, you'll need to say so at the top of your post. I'll credit the recipe to your name when I put it on the site.

Casting Circle

When practicing alone, do you see calling the quarters and casting the circle as seperate steps?

Personally I often create my circle while calling in the elements and do not do these two things seperately. I have been coming across many people as of late who seem very intent on doing these things as seperate steps. For me it is not necessary. I am curious how many people do find it necessary.

On a side note, please don't respond just to tell me not doing it seperately is wrong, I'm sick of that at this point. It's just personal preference. I have shared my preferences, and I would like to hear yours, not debate which is "better".

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