Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Practical Magic: Cosmologies

Since magic is frequently expressed as being the control of subtle energies by the influence of will, the first thing a person must determine is what exactly is the nature of the universe that they are trying to influence? This model of the universe is commonly referred to as a cosmology.

For many years now, I have been studying and practicing a form of Hermetic Magic as it was practiced in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt and throughout the Hellenic world (as near as my researches can determine). To see a detailed explanation of my research and my beliefs on cosmology, refer to http://duttond.topcities.com/Hellenic/Hermetic_Cosmology.pdf

So for those of you who believe and practice magic:

1) What is the cosmology you use to explain how magic works?

2) What does your cosmology say about the relationship between magic and religion? How do you approach and deal with that?

3) What does your cosmology say about death and any sort of afterlife? How does this effect your goals in life?

4) How does your cosmology define love and soul mates (if it does)?

Keep in mind that there are no right and wrong answers as long as you give some thought to what you, yourself believe.

Difference Between Magic and Prayer?

What is the difference between prayer and magic? My religion teaches that magic is evil but prayer is okay. If I pray to God asking for a new motorcycle, it's okay. If I cast a spell to get a motorcycle, however, I could go to hell. Yet I've heard Pagans talking about spells they do and they sound very much like prayers that would I would use. So just what is the difference being praying for something and casting a spell for it?

Why are You a Religious Believer?

Why are you a believer? Note I'm not asking why you believe in your particular religion instead of other religions, but why you believe in religious things at all. Given that there is very little rational reason to believe in deities, spirits, souls, and other unseen and unprovable things, why do you choose to believe instead of remaining skeptical, non-believing, or even not caring?

Favorite Religious Holiday?

Most religions have many holidays (or holy days), some the religion considers very important and some less important. Which of the holidays in your religion is your favorite? Why is that holiday your favorite? How important is your favorite holiday in your religion? Are there any holidays in other religions that you also like and celebrate in some (perhaps secular) way?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Why Do We Create Systems?

The topic is pretty much as the title. I've been musing a lot of late about systems within the occult/ paganism, etc etc. Various systems for working out what is important in life, the proper way to go about doing this or that, etc. Partly because I've never been comfortable staying entirely within one system, it's played on my mind.

It occurred to me the other day that we create systems, partly because we think we've figured 'it' out, and want to share it with others, and partly because we want to leave *something* behind when we're gone.

But that's just my opinion of late... What is your view on the value of systems? Are they good or bad things to have? Good sometimes, bad others? And why do you think we create them?

Liminal Lore?

Liminal places are ones where two or more things intersect - places such as churchyards, which are for both the dead and the living, shores, where sea and land meet, and city limits, the border between the known and the unknown.

What role does myths about liminal places play in your religion? Does the area where you live have stories about them?

Can you think of any modern examples of this? Urban legends or conspiracy theories, for instance?

How Invoked are the Gods in the World?

People -- and different religions -- have different views of how active the Gods are in human affairs. They range from the hands-off views of people like the Christian Deists to those who believe that nothing at all can happen unless some deity causes it (or at least allows it). How do you feel -- and why do you feel the way you do on this question?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What Topics Would YOU Like Discussed? (Future of TC Discussion)

The Cauldron has been around since December 1997 and it seems to many of us who have been around for much of that time that we have discussed every topic of possible interest to Pagans. However, we know this isn't the case -- it just seems like it to us.

We'd like your suggestions for topics to discuss. What topics in Pagan religions, magic, or the like would you like to see us discuss on TC in the future? We are especially interested in ideas for more advanced (aka "Pagan 201") type of topics (one example an advanced discussion: the current discussion of The Odyssey).

Please be as specific as you can with your topic ideas. And please feel free to post multiple ideas!

What Makes a Moral ..

What with all the fussing about morality in the FlameKeeping thread:

What makes a moral religion? Is the question even relevant?

What does morality from a religious perspective mean to you?

Why are you moral? (assuming, of course, that you are. If you're not, why not?)

Do you find yourself judging yourself and others on moral codes that don't match your religion?

Druidry/Celts and Chivalry?

I am curious to know in summary, what do Druids believe in?

Multiple Gods/spirits?

I really enjoy reading books about Arthurian tales/legends as well as historical romance novels/movies, etc.

Which group most closely associates with chivalry, courage, heros, nature, etc. Were these the Celts? Are there any paths that incorporate the Arthurian tales in it, or chivalry?

Did chivalry really exist in the past and did Druids/Celts acknowledge/participate in chivalry?

What beliefs/paths still believe in chivalry?

As you can see, I am completely new, but wanted to learn from others. I enjoy reading Arthurian tales/legends as well as historical romances, so I wanted to learn more about what paths are out there that incorporate some of what I read into my belief system. Any suggestions or comments about this is appreciated. I am trying to learn more about this area of interest.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Role of Pilgrimage?

Morning Edition on NPR has a series they do in conjunction with National Geographic called Radio Expeditions. This week the focus has been on a Tibetan Buddhist's pilgrimage trek around a mountain in Tibet, Kawakarpo. Link to the transcripts, audio, and pictures: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5161424

Pilgrimage plays a large part in many other religions also. This made me curious if there was a tradition of pilgimage in any pagan religions, recon and otherwise?

Coincidences and Synchronicities - What Do They Mean?

ately the synchronicities and weird coincidences are coming to a fevered pitch in my life. before it would happen every now and again but in the past 24hrs its getting to really be alot.

just now i was speaking to a friend and the other line rang (i'm at work) and it was someone with the same last name as my friend.

this morning on my way to work i looked up just as we were crossing a street with the same name as a friend that i was with last night.

last night at a bar a man told me, i know you, we went to school together, i had no idea who he was and dont remember him.

10 minutes ago a man camed into the office and looked at me and said, i know you, we have friends in common and i have partied with you, but i dont remember him.

What is this supposed to mean??????

This kind of stuff has begun happening to me in the past couple years; at first they were the kind of things i could just brush off but now its so pronounced i cant ignore it.

The one event that really made me realize that it wasnt just strange coincidence was when i was watching a film with some friends and there was a scene where a phone was ringing, and while we were watching this my mother called me, then my friends mother called her, and then my other friends mom called him. we were all talking to our moms at the same time while this scene played on with the phone ringing on the tv.

Any insight appreciated!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Members and More Messages (Future of TC Discussion)

The Cauldron's message board has grown considerably since we moved off of Delphiforums. We are now averaging over 10,000 messages a month -- we used to think we were really busy when we hit 5000 messages a month.

We used to average 150-200 messages a day. A 300+ message day used to be a rare busy day. Now they are the norm and we have had several 500+ post days in the last three months. At least once we had over 600 messages in a day. This has changed the way the board feels to many of our long time members.

The hosts and those long time members (staff and otherwise) we've spoken to have mostly been overwhelmed by the high message counts and, at times, upset at how many interesting threads seem to be getting derailed (accidentally or on purpose) by some of our many new members. Don't get me wrong, most of our new members do fine, but a certain percentage don't and as you get greater numbers of new member, the number who do not fit well grows.

To make the problem worse, while TC's software and organization has a lot going for it, it also causes (or makes worse) some of our problems. Here are some of the drawbacks of The Cauldron's forum software with respect to these issues that we have noticed:

* Overwhelming appearance: if there are 500 new messages on a drill down board, you only see a few at a time (those in the folder you are in), on a Delphi-style board, you see them all -- all the time unless you go to great lengths to avoid this.

* No easy way to organize the board: Drill down boards have categories which allow the grouping of related folders. Here folders just are -- and they move around on the list depending which has the newest messages.

* Folders don't have descriptions which makes it hard for new people to know where to post something. (Actually, folders here can have short descriptions -- you have to hover your mouse over a folder name to see them which isn't something anyone will think to do.)

* No way to easily limit new member's access. If new members only had post access to a few folders until they had posted a set number of posts (giving them time to learn the ropes a bit), fewer conversations would be derailed by strange comments. There's simply no way to do this on a Beehive Board either automatically (as you can on most drill down boards) or manually (as there is no way to list members by number of messages posted or even find out what day they joined the board).

The staff and some of our long time members have tried to think of ways to cure the problems we see within the limitations of our message board software, but haven't been able to come up with anything that isn't either very cliquish-looking or far too much work for staff to keep up with.

So, the question is, has the large number of posts impacted your usage of the board? For example, do you find yourself using the board differently, reading few threads, posting less (or more), etc. Has the higher number of serious threads we've had pushed off topic bothered you? Does the changing nature of the threads (a lower percentage the serious threads that have been our mainstay for years) bother you? Etc.

If you do see problems, what (if any) corrective action could we consider taking?

Best Time for Tarot Readings

I have done Tarot reading for going on 15 years now. Using 'The Witches Tarot'. I have always preferred to read close to or on the day of the full moon. My feeling is there is a lot more energy available during that time, than most other's. It doesn't HAVE to be a waxing moon or full moon, just seems to work better for my readings.

Now, someone has said..."NOPE, do it during the NEW moon".

Is that written in stone somewhere, or should I just do my readings when I feel my energy and the surrounding energy is at it's highest?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time Flies

How do you see time? Does it progress linearly, never looping around again? Is it cyclic, nothing new under the sun, always following the same path? or a combination of some sort?

How does it work to view time this way? what does it mean to you?

Board Slowness Problems (Future of TC Discussion)

We have always known that Beehive Forums software (the DelphiForums-like software that makes this board possible) is very database inefficient. It takes a LOT of database activity to display this board. This is the trade-off for the board being so convenient to use (tracking exactly where you are in every thread so it can only show you new messages, for example). It takes a huge number of DB queries and reads to generate the thread pane and quite a few to generate the message pane.

Until Bob's original server died in December, this had not been much of a problem. Things got slower with more messages and more members and forum software updates, but not to the extent that it was annoying. By some miracle, that server could handle TC (although we were outgrowing it slowly).

The new server that Bob has us on now runs other message boards even faster than the old one (Asatru Lore flies since Bob tuned the MySQL db), but TC crawls -- sometimes taking 16 to 20 seconds to display the Thread pane -- even longer is the thread pane is set to display all messages. If you seldom post, this may not affect you much, but if you post a lot it does as the thread pane regenerates after every post.

Sadly, there is not much we can do about this from the fixing Beehive end -- and we've tried a number of things hoping they would help. There are options that definitely would work but they are horrid things like moving to a normal drill-down style board -- which would probably lose at least one host and half the staff (who loathe drill down boards to the point they will not use them regularly) or only somewhat less horrid things like staying with Beehive but restarting the board from scratch (having to create new user accounts and everything) whenever the board gets too slow (which would likely cause mass confusion among users).

So what we need to know to start with is simple:

Have you noticed the board slowness? Has it bothered you? Is like likely to bother you if it continues for a long time?

If the slowness doesn't bother many of our members (with a lot of extra weight given to the opinions of our regular posters as they are the ones most affected by the slowness), then we don't have to do anything. If it is annoying, however, we will need to start considering from among a number of possible solutions/options.

We really want your opinions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Read and Discuss Homer's Odyssey on TC

Eidhos has decided to read The Odyssey properly, from start to finish instead of a few pages here and there. If you feel like joining me in reading and discussing it, we're going to do so online here at The Cauldron. The Odyssy is available online, so you don't even have to buy a book to participate. Click the link below to find out more.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Confused About Wicca

I'm not exactly new to Pagan religions, I've been studying them (particularly Wicca) for about four (4) years, but there's one question that I can never get a clear answer on: Must you be initiated into a coven to be Wiccan?

From many people I have heard that the answer is no, it is not necessary. If you have read and studied enough and feel that you do infact have a true understanding of the religion, that it is you who says whether or not you are Wiccan.

Others, however, have said that yes, you indeed MUST be initiated into a coven that can trace it's lineage back to Gerald Gardener, and that you must be at least 21 years of age to do so.

Anyone care to shed some light upon my query?

Which Wicca is Witch?

Ok, I had a little too much fun with the pun there. I'm hopped up on cold meds at the moment, fending off a sinus headache.

I've been thinking a lot these days about the labels for different sorts of Wicca. I'm not sure where to classify myself anymore. I always used to use "eclectic Wiccan", but the meaning of that seems to have shifted. I used to use it to mean "not Traditional Wiccan". Though I am an initiate of a Wiccan tradition, we refer to it as an eclectic tradition. It has elements of Traditional Wiccan practice, but has expanded to incorporate a wider range of practices and ideas.

Now these days, when someone says "eclectic Wiccan", they usually tend to mean "grabs anything bright and shiny and drags it into a circle", which is not at all what I'm doing.

So... that leaves me with two questions... (1) What do you all think about this sort of meaning-shift in labels? and (2) What might be a more suitable label to my path? (I'm strongly leaning towards just "Wiccan")

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Adolescents and Pagan Religions?

What are your thoughts about teenagers and Paganism? This can cover everything from general attitudes towards teenagers in Pagan religions, specific situations relating to teenagers, challenges when dealing with teen Pagans or seekers, opinions regarding Pagan material marketed for teenagers, and so forth.

What Is "Worship"?

Over the years I've noticed that some Pagans say they worship Gods, while others say that worship is definitely not something for them at all - they honor the Gods, "work with" them etc., but not worship. Sometimes it seems like in practice the way people on both sides of this worship fence may not differ that much at all, but they think of quite different things when they hear the word "worship".

So, the question is: how do you define worship? What does the word mean for you?

Input from all members - religious or not, Pagan or other - of TC is more than welcome!

Predictions for 2006?

What do you expect from this year? On a personal level and in the world? Do you do any kind of divination? What will 2006 bring?

Deities Versus Myth And Legend

Ok, some of the conversation on the "Kali" thread got me to thinking, and I wasn't sure whether to put this there, or here, or under the mythology section. I decided the mythology section was too pre-determining, perhaps.

Talking about why my one-time friend apparently got a fly-by from Kali, when it was in no way related to her tradition got me wondering about some other seeming fly-by moments from Gods and Goddesses.

Reconstructionists, in my experience, can be very dogmatic about deities being very much what myths describe...and not a whit more. Not all, of course...in fact many who get that way with me remind of of some of the more simple minded Christian fundies who can quote chapter and verse, but can't interpret a word of it. Anyhow, the question it raised for me is this: does myth and source material determine your apprehension of an experience or only start it?

Friday, January 20, 2006

FlameKeeping Questions

Here's the place to ask all those questions you ever had about FlameKeeping.

come one, come all, ask whatever doesn't make sense or isn't addressed that you saw. (who knows, you might get an essay written just for you!)

Successful Spellcraft Results?

I just thought that TC members might like to post about the times when their magic has worked for the encouragement of everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Belief: How Do We KNOW What Exists?

I've often wondered on what we predicate our beliefs. Frequently (it seems), UPG follows an idea. After all, one can't HAVE a 'UPG' unless one knows what one is G-ing about.

Do we mainly base our beliefs on personal experience of what is 'true' or, on some kind of consensus of what is 'true'.

It's not an easy question, but worth asking once in a while.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Review: Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires

Okay, before I even got past the cover I was having doubts about this book, and by the time I finished the Contents listing my reservations had grown. The subtitle of this book is "The Classical Texts of Magick Deciphered". Looking through the contents I saw both the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon on the same page. Excuse me? Oh, I know that there are rituals from these texts throughout the book, but even a brief description of these two seminal works deserves more than a single page.

Review: Book of Shadows

I have read some of Ms. Gonzalez-Wippler's other books (on the subject of Santeria), so when I saw this one, I wanted to see what she had to say. Plus, I am a traditionalist, in a lot of ways, when it comes to Witchcraft and the idea of her being a "self-initiated" witch makes about as much sense as a "self-ordained" Catholic priest. I really felt a need to see what was in this book. In her introduction she acknowledges some of the "great names" in the Craft, even claiming acquaintance with them. Unfortunately these individuals have crossed the veil and can't verify her claims.

Review: Lid Off the Cauldron

The author is a Gardnerian initiate and, consequently, espouses the "It takes a Witch to make a Witch" position. Self-initiation is not an option for this lady. A lot of what she says resounds with what I was taught, although I am not Gardnerian. For instance, her statement on page 53: "Unlike the ritual magician's circle, which is there to keep elementals and hostile forces at bay, the Witches' circle is erected to contain the magical power raised within it." Many modern-day Wiccans stress to protective aspects of the circle, thus betraying their fear of the powers they are attempting to associate with.

Review: The Enchanted Diary

This book is aimed at teenage girls and will have minimal appeal to the average teen male. In this, it conforms to the common perception that the Craft is dominated by females. This isn't necessarily bad, since there are both male and female "mysteries" (mysteries in the sense of needing to be experienced and incapable of being transmitted any other way). Although I, personally, believe that every entity experiences lifetimes as both genders, I do understand that most people can't access their experiences as the opposite gender.

Review: Ancient Pagan Symbols

This book (and its companion Sacred Symbols in Art) has been around for nearly eighty years. It is concerned with symbolism from the Middle and Far East and, due to the early date of original publication (1929) predates many of the more common conceptions of New Age interpretations.

Review: The Ancient Art of Faery Magick

There are some members of the Pagan/Wiccan/Magickal/Witch community who have let themselves drift into the habit of prejudice. They will dismiss a book because of who the author is, or who published it, or because they don't agree with the topic. I've even done it myself. But, and this is a major point, I have finally learned to judge each book on its own merits. I've said in previous reviews that I am not a fan of D. J. Conway's writing. And I'm not terribly impressed with the current state of books on the topic of faery. So, this book had a couple of strikes against it when it arrived unexpectedly in my mailbox.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New School of Magic in Canada

An adult school of magic ios opening in Alberta.

"Advertised as an "adult version of Hogwarts," the Northern Star College of Mystical Studies is now taking applications for its inaugural certification program. Just like Harry Potter's fictional alma mater, the unique Edmonton-based school will teach herbology, potions, astrology and divination, among other magical subjects." -- The Star Phoenix

I wonder if any TC members out that way have heard anything about this?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Afterlife: Why Give It So Much Thought?

There seems to be a lot of discussion about what people believe happens when they die. I don’t usually join in, mainly because I don’t have any good ideas on the subject myself.

I have started to wonder, however, why so many people seem to give it so much thought. My question, to those who think about it, is why. By that I mean, what practical difference does it make in your life? Does belief or non-belief in an afterlife affect the way you live this one?

I can understand that if you believe you will be judged, and that the quality of your afterlife depends on what you do in this one, the belief can impact on your day to day behaviour. But if you don’t believe in judgement, why is the question of life after death even an issue? Is it just a fun or improving thing to think about? Does it give extra meaning to the life you are living? Are there things you do or don't do because of it? If your belief or non-belief were the opposite of what it is, would you behave differently?

I’ve read descriptions of all kinds of possibilities of what happens after we die. I’m just wondering why this thing that we can’t possibly know until it happens is so important to try to figure out.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Magical Timing

Just some questions related to timing when using magic.

a) When casting a spell, is it accurate to say that it's better to cast it as early as possible (e.g. if I want a job next month is it better to cast a spell now rather than on the 31st of Jan)? Or is there no difference?

b) Do you try and cast your spells at specific times, like dawn or midnight or the full moon? What impact do these times have on the spell?

Too Tired to Circle...

So what do you do when you're commited to leading circle- like months in advance and when the date comes around you're just not feeling it?

My particular excuses being too tired, over commited, double booked for the evening- after circle I have a dance gig, and just not sure I have that extra *oomph* to put on a spectacular event- two spectacular events rather.

I've managed to work it down into a lower key event, focusing on planning, planting and growing qualities within yourself that can be applied to multiple areas of life.

I want to avoid people choosing things like "love" or "money" when choosing what to name the bulb we will be planting to represent this quality. Typically when someone says love in this context they have a specific type of love in mind. When someone says money they've already seen a comic dollar sign flash in their minds eye and any serious comtemplation is out the window.

I'm also torn between not having enough energy to go around, but the more I focus in on what I have to do for the first leg of the evening the more tired I start feeling. I have a tendancy to get caught up in the current though and before I know it dumping myself into it.

So how do you muster up the energy?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Triskaidekaphobic Anyone?

As I was walking to work this Friday the thirteenth, a herd of cats crossed my path (four black and one charcoal grey)...

I?m not particularly afraid of black cats or the number thirteen but such occurrences sometimes make me think one of the Immortals is trying to get my attention.

The ancient Greeks defined superstition as fear of the Gods and, like everything, felt it should be taken in moderation. So, out of curiosity, what superstitions do you believe in (meaning signs that you must pay attention to in order to avoid divine wrath)? What is the strangest superstition that you have heard of (whether you believe it or not)?

Meditation: A Case Of The Swirlies

The other day, while I was in trance, something happened. I had done my chakra cleansing, I had channelled energy... and I was sitting there, relaxed, enjoying the feeling of not feeling... and then, things started spinning.

Have you ever had the feeling, that you -yourself were spinning in one direction and the world was spinning in the opposite, yet you knew that everything was still? I mean, I could open my eyes, see that I wasn't spinning, know that I wasn't moving, but I still had the spiral feeling going on.

Things got so bad that when I did pull out of the meditation (my leg decided to tell my brain that it was getting a cramp) I crashed... I mean literally. I felt like I had been spinning in a circle and suddenly stopped to land on my face. I was even sick to my stomach afterwards.

I grounded myself, caught my breathe, but I was still dizzy for about... 20 mins afterwards.

I wasn't doing drugs, I wasn't drinking, I wasn't even chanting. I was just being still.... ... so what happened to me?

Could someone give me some input please?

A Cauldron Meet-Up?

Chavi is thinking of organizing a Cauldron Meet-Up and is looking for input:

Would you attend a Cauldron meet-up?
Seriously, who would want to travel to a different city to meet other Cauldronites? Who wants to come to the party? What would you want to see at any get together? Classes, food, broad band? Give me some input.

Where would you be willing to travel to for a meet-up?
When would you like to go to a real life cauldron meet-up?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

When Dreams Come True?

What if you dreamt someone before they came into your life- months before even and before you could have possible seen them subconciously in a crowd; in a time sequence with a series of events? The overall outcome was left undecided or unknown, but in a group of roughly 20 major similarities between the individual and the dream were coming together at a rather alarming rate.

Would you feel obligated to tell the other person involved anything about this dream, in particular if the telling would affect the relationship by perhaps creating unreasonable pressure?

If there were events still ahead in the sequence would you take steps to manipulate the outcome, feeling perhaps that you had been given advance notice of something for a reason? Maybe to have time to get used to an idea, or to make a plan? or would you coast along and see if events continued to occur along this time line if they didn't seem to be something that would be detrimental or against your will or moral boundaries?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I've been thinking lately of how life spans have changed. It is no longer unusual for people to live to 100 (not the norm certainly, but not the rarity it once was). Think of the changes they have seen! When I speak with these people, it's facinating. So, 100 years can actually be a 'generatiion' in one sense of the term.

But here is my question. I know there is wide range of ages here, but how do you think you are like your parents, and how are you COMPLETELY different? What have you 'kept' from them (mentally speaking), and what have you disgarded or can not relate to in any way? Is there anything you 'threw away' and now have come back to and/or visa versa?

One Ingredient, Three Meals

We've had a lot of threads where people talk about cooking, having trouble cooking, learning to cook, never having what they want in the fridge, finding it hard to cook economically for two people ...

So my "challenge" to you in this thread is to share one main ingredient that you serve in at least three different ways over the course of a week or so. For example, maybe you make a turkey breast, then a turkey pot-pie, then turkey sandwiches. Or maybe you make a hot bean dish one night, which you then serve cold on a green salad the next night, and toss the end of the leftovers in a soup the third night.

The "ideal" is to have one thing you cook up, and then the "leftover" dishes mostly made with things that are pantry items, freezer items, or common things to have in the house (lettuce, ketchup, etc.) ... so you're not shopping for three gourmet dinners. You're basically shopping for one (and maybe a few add-ons for the later dinners) and using what's in your pantry for the rest.

This is obviously particularly well-suited to meats, since meat is typically much less expensive if you buy a whole turkey or a ham shank or whatever, instead of individual-sized portions or deli-sliced meat, but most of us (especially if you're single or in a small family) would be stuck eating leftover turkey for two weeks off just a turkey breast! Even if you're in a family of eight, it's nice to have some ideas for those leftover scraps.

So give us your recipe sets! They "leftover" days can be complicated, like pot pies and casseroles, or dead simple, like tossing bits of meat on salad or making sandwiches.

And yes, you can do two-meal sets if they're particularly good, but three or more meals is better!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pagan Music - What Do You Like?

Although we have a great list of books, after discovering Laura Powers, and loving Loreena Mckennitt and early Enya, as well as Clannad (not that some of the above are specifically Pagan) - what music do you listen to, if any, during circles, when you practice or just want to get in touch with your spiritual side?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Solitary Vs. Group Rituals

To begin, when I use the term "ritual" in this post I am refering generally to any activities one engages in that they consider to be a religious/magical practice. This includes everything from Catholic mass and saying the Rosary to meditation and fertility festivals. That said, my questions are as follows:

Which are you more likely to participate in, group or solitary ritual?

Given the choice which do you prefer?

How active a role do you like to take in each situation? (Ie. Do you want to plan and control or relax and observe?)

Have there been significant changes in these preferences throughout your life?

Do you feel previous religious practices (Assuming you have some.) have affected these preferences?

University Project: Questions from an Inquisitive Student

I have decided to do a project about the importance of witchcraft/paganism for modern female identity for my university research project and would appreciate if you would answer the following questions:

1. Are you male or female ?
2. What do you believe/practice and what age did you begin?
3. What do you feel is unique about your tradition?
4. Were you a member or have you had any experience in other religious traditions and what did you find them to be like?

Many thanks for your time.

Religion and Your Place in the Universe

One of my philosophy professors in college thought that one of the main purposes of mythology and religion was to teach what what the purpose to existence (why are we here?) and humankind's place in the universe. Not everyone agreed, but most religions do say something about these issues.

What does your religion (or personal spiritual beliefs) teach you about

* Why we are here?

* Our place in the universe

Friday, January 06, 2006


So, what does Atlantis mean to you? Total fiction, a real city but not the center of culture .. what?

What do you think of people that invoke Atlantis? Lemuria? Mu? (it is Mu, isn't it?)

Why do you think people cling to the myths of Atlantis?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wicca in 2106?

Where is modern pagan witchcraft going? What will Wicca and other forms of practice look like a hundred years from now? Will they change? If so, how?

Alternatively, what is the most significant challenge (or challenges, if you foresee more than one) that modern pagan witchcraft will face in the next century?

And for those of you who aren't practicioners of some form of pagan witchcraft, substitute what you do do here and make your own prognostications about that.

Important Ceremonies/Rituals in Your Religion

Christianity has its sacraments and important holy days. What important rituals and such are in your religion? How important is participating in those rituals to you?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


How does someone know the diference between a real vision and personal thought?

Science vs Religion?

I'll start off by saying that I'm not a Pagan. I am a sort of universalist Christian, though that's not an entirely accurate description. Since graduating high school (in 2000), I had a very mundane, near-mechanistic view of the world, but have recently discarded it again because it's unsatisfying, doesn't sufficiently explain many reliable (but unscientific) accounts, and is, frankly, depressing.

But my education leaves me with some very unpleasant doubts. God (or gods) and souls are easy enough to reconcile logically - it is, after all, impossible to prove that a system is closed from within the system. But I still have trouble, at a "gut" level, reconciling this with science. Does science simply misinterpret the evidence, due to bias of some kind? Does it "break down" when dealing with such external factors? In short, HOW do people here reconcile things like spirits and gods with science, and explain science's lack of coverage?

A Sense of Age?

I just had a very interesting thought while I was going through the teen refuge folder. While reading, I saw references to teenagers not being taken seriously because they were 14-16 etc years old. It brings to mind for me the question:

When did our sense of age vs. responsibility change?

I know no one on this board is old enough to remember girls being married at 16 in the United States but it happened. Or what about societies (Like the Roma of europe or Moon Mountain People of Africa for example) who still marry their children off at 15 years old? In many cultures a child becomes an adult when they can work and reach puberty. When did America begin viewing things differently? And why did we make this switch? Was it longer life expectancy? Industrialization?

It seems the teen went from being an apprentice/worker and potential mate, to someone to be coddled and babied until they're 21 years old.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Pagan Singles Sites?

Does any one know of any good Pagan Singles/Dating sites? Has anyone had any success with any singles/dating site?

The Wiccan Rede and Annoying Insects

In Wicca, the Rede states "Harm non" - I am assuming this applies to all creatures that are great and small. I was curious, what do Wiccans here do about pests or insects around the house, for example, roaches? Do you catch them and let them go outside or do you spray them with Raid?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ignore A God, Create A Demon?

I heard an expression today that I've found myself returning to and puzzling over: "A God ignored is a demon born."

The context of this was a conversation in which I'd mentioned, somewhat offhandedly, that the Horned One is not really part of my path. I don't disbelieve in Him, or have "issues" with Him, I just have enough Gods and Goddesses Whom I worship already.

I suppose an argument could be made for Pan filling that role in my personal pantheon, but I don't really associate Pan with many of the attributes I frequently hear mentioned with regard to the Horned One in Wiccan parlance. Anyway, that's somewhat beside the point for this question.

This fellow's argument was that if we don't give all Gods Their due, we're somehow imposing negative energy upon Them and turning Them into demons. I can see how some Gods have been demonized in some people's minds, but he seemed to be arguing for the potential to inflict actual damage on Them.

I could see an argument made that in having sufficient fear energy around a particular God, one could create a demonic thought-form to which one had attached the name of that God. But simply "not following" or "not worshipping" a particular God? That seems absurd to me. There are too many of Them.

Has anyone here ever heard that saying? If so, how do you interpret it? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

The staff and members of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum, would like to wish everyone a happy new year! May 2006 be a good year for everyone. Last year was a great year for The Cauldron's message board -- we had 115,186 posts in 2005. TC forum members are a very talkative bunch. If you haven't joined us on the message board lately, you really ought make a new year's resolution to join us soon.

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