Friday, March 31, 2006

Container God?

In alot of practices, the Gods and ancestors occupy a similar state. In some cases ancestors can act as intermediaries between a living person and deity.

What if it's not our Ancestors per se, but their energy that creates the result. A 'bank' for lack of a better word where the energy that they've dedicated to worship, thanksgiving, service and random bits of self energy that is put into the holding vessel we lovingly call deity.

When we are in a time of need or crisis we can pull that energy back out to a degree with a deliberate mental statement or purpose(we have to ask).

This would be our call out to the universe. The bits and blobs of energy that have been put into god over time- and our perception of how much energy has been put in on our spiritual behalf limits the ammount of energy we can pull from 'god' and what god's name we pull under.

Eg my family is of the Oogedy Boogedy race which worshipped the god Schnargle. In Schnargles name there is the energy of at least ten people related to me spread over 3 generations. I am aware of two generations. Thus I can call upon my ancestors and Schnargle in a time of need to pull that energy back out BUT once that energy is gone it is gone, unless I follow with another act of worship or thanks to replace some of what I've pulled out.

I can also only pull what I am aware of. Two generations rather than three. Maybe why the temptation and taboo of some of the more indigenous paths. We're looking for a place where energy was put into safekeeping in a time of need with our name on it- or at least a name we can connect ourselves to to create the right mental suggestion to allow us access. Whats the password?

People who's families have generations of energy invested in this path don't necessarily want the energy of their path used by people not in their family. I'm going to be pissed if you call on Schnargle and try to pull energy because you are trying to claim jump on my families investment. In this, God is limited.

Over time are we experienceing less of god than our ancestors because we put less energy back into battery god? Because we don't whole heartedly in a belief driven fashion refill vessel god when we have pulled out energy so over time there is collectively less energy to maintain the energy, or the name that it is stored under.

I'm not saying you have to have an ancestral link to draw energy from a belief, but it makes it easier. For people who've had to start anew with a belief system, then there is a period of putting energy into the system before you can effectively pull energy out. You have to drill your own channel so to speak. Then you have to plant your own energy and see if there's a return.

What do you think?

Kathara Healing?

Has anyone heard of Kathara Healing? The masseur/ spiritual healer I am currently working with suggested he would like to use it with me. He showed me a meditation exercise from the system where I draw energy up from the earth's centre to form a personal energy shield. I found this very helpful and energising (I've been feeling really exhausted lately).

But when I got home I did some research on Kathara healing, and it seems to be a load of New Age nonsense. I was wondering whether anyone has heard of the system and thinks there is any value in it? And do you think it is ok to carry on doing the meditation exercise, even though I don't agree with the theory behind it?

Scholarship in Religion

How does scholarship impact your path? Is academic scholarship a formal part of your religious outlook, a supplement to your UPG, something else entirely?

Anti-Neo-Pagan Apologetics?

I often find myself debating my Christian friends on the benefits / negatives of poly and monotheism. As someone who likes to debate, I try to find as much information on "the other side" of the argument as possible.

I often read Christian apologetics (rhetoric used by Christians to defend their faith). There is one question about polytheism that was difficult to come up with a good response...

"If the gods are symbols of a fundamental spiritual reality that transcends the physical world, then it would seem that one is left with a form of fundamental monotheism that is only cloaked with polytheistic symbols.

That being the case, why should one use the symbols? Why not worship the Creator directly and explore the question of whether he cares for and has spoken to man, as monotheism has historically claimed?

In other words, if Pagan Gods are symbols of nature that equal a divine force, then why not worship a creator outside of nature directly?

As a Pluralist, I don't believe in knocking any religion, but as Pagans, we should be able to stand up to these apologetics. I'm having a problem with this one though. I have an answer, but I'd just like some input on how you would all respond.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Weather and Ritual

Are there any weather conditions that would cancel a planned ritual of yours? Not because of comfort (like not getting drenched in a rainstorm) I am talking about canceling because the weather that came in made the ritual either un-needed or ill-advised in some way.

Are there any weather conditions that would inspire you to do a ritual?

Would weather cause you to alter a ritual? (Other than the obvious "move it inside") Add a goddess or god to the ceremony you hadn't originally planned? Do you have any personal rituals connected to weather?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Writing Liturgy

Have you ever participated in developing a regular liturgy, either for your own use or for a group? That is, coming up with the form and structure of a religious ritual, particularly one that's done on a daily/weekly/monthly/etc. basis (as opposed to special occasions or holidays)? If so, do you have any tips to offer to others trying to do the same, or resources to recommend?

On the Edge or Border places...

I remember reading... somewhere... may have been a novel or some essay... that at the edges, boundaries or borders of places; strangeness abounds. Towns on the border of another state... neighborhoods *just* outside city limits, borders between countries, etc. Anyplace where there is a close-by well-defined border or boundary... Several authors have noted this and worked it into novels, etc... Stephen King... Clive Barker... a few others...

I live in a *border area*. Joplin is close to the Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas borders. Strange things abound here...not nice strange things.

Do you think borders can make a difference in behavioral patterns, religious choices, etc? Anybody living close to a National border in their it strange there?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Non-Physical Realms

I have recently been reading a book on 'Psychic Protection' and it spoke of a number of non-physical realms which interact with our physical world (for example, the astral and spiritual dimensions).

I'm interested in people's opinions as to whether such non-physical realms exist. If so, what is their function? Are they the homes of the Gods or the spirits of the Dead? Can we access them during life (through astral journeys, for instance) or only after death? How do they interact with the physical world?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Theology -- What Must One Cover?

What do people here believe it is necessary that a theology cover?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Irrelevant Religious Beliefs?

To those of you with religious beliefs, is there anything that often falls into the realm of "religion" that you find *irrelevant* to your path? What, and why? And is this something considered irrelevant by your path as a whole, or by you personally?

For example, my religious beliefs have a big, resounding "no comment" on the questions, "where does the world come from?" "Where do humans come from?" and "What happens to us after we die?" Those issues have not the slightest bearing on my beliefs and practices. This is likely more to do with me, personally; I follow a Greek path, and how relevant those isues are/were to practitioners seems to vary a lot -- mystery cults obviously cared a lot about the afterlife in a way that average practitioners may not have, for example.

Modern Witchhunters?

I have heard rumors that there are modern "witchhunters" in the world today. Is this just the fantasies of paranoid pagans, or does it have a shred of thruth??

And I don't mean the usual Christian stress with the blessing and the saving of souls, but people who trace down certain pagans to kill them, and if possible destroy the pagan comunity they are a part of.

Is this just bull, or what?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What Do You Mean, "Gods"?

Over in the Godly Limitations thread Heartshadow asked about "the gods". Are there "gods" in your belief? What does the term mean when you use it?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Necessary Holidays?

What would you consider "necessary" things to celebrate in a religion? As examples of what I'm thinking of: births, deaths, weddings, birthdays, solstices, God's-days ....

what things are "religious" and need to be celebrated or commemorated inside of a religious context? (my list is totally non-inclusive, btw). What does your religion celebrate or commemorate?

Eclecticism, Just A Phase?

I've heard people say they hesitate to adopt the eclectic label because of the assumptions that seem to go along with it. One of them is that eclecticism is a stage one goes through on the way to finding one's real religion, a phase of the seeker's journey. Staying in it "too long" may even be regarded with a somewhat jaundiced eye, as if it were a mark of spiritual immaturity, or an indication that one was trying to avoid significant decisions.

What do you think of that idea?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Is a Familiar Necessary?

So many folks I know that practice some sort of witch-craft continually wax rhapsodic about their cats, dogs, birds, whatever feathered or furred household member they have and call the animal their familiar...

Got me to thinking...
Do you think it is necessary to your practice (or anyones practice) to have a familiar?

How does a creature such as a cat assist in witch-craft or other practices?

If you have a familiar, do you think your rituals, etc would be lessened if you did not have a familiar?

If you do not have a familiar, but did in the past, what are the major differences in your practice?
And vice-versa..if you did rituals, etc without one in the past and now have a creature giving you an assist...what are the major differences?


I know we've had lots of conversations about what happens to a person after they die, but that's usually discussed in the sense of an afterlife (or lack thereof). Being as I've just come home from a funeral, I was kind of thinking about the other side of the whole death thing, though.

What kind of funeral customs does your religion have? What happens to the remains? Whatever's done, is it done for the benefit of those who still live, or for the benefit of the deceased? (And if the latter, what happens if things go wrong or don't get done?)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Godly Limitations

One of the biggest things told to new Pagans or considering Pagans about gods is "they don't have to be all-powerful", or words to that effect.

So .. how powerful do you think the gods are? Can they do anything? Most things? Anything at all?

What happens to faith when you need (or think you need) something you're not sure the gods can provide?

Stripping Down Magic

First off, because I'm sure the title will worry some people, this thread is not about going skyclad, or being able to watch people get undressed. If you want a thread about that, start your own.

Different systems of magic can vary in how complex they are. Ceremonial Magick, for example, can be pretty damn complex, with the Golden Dawn techniques combining Freemasonry, and many different ideas, cultures, etc.

As a result, I sometimes look at a ritual and think 'that can't be the easiest way to do this surely?'

I had that reaction when I looked at how I planned to invoke certain planetary influences. I was going to go through the CM method, banishing rituals, invoking rituals, etc. In the past I'v managed to influence myself quickly and easily, without all the bother.

An example of which, if I really want to cheer myself up, I draw a golden smily face in my mind, and then absorb it. It's like a nice little happy-dose.

So I tried the same, drawing a planetary symbol for the moon today. I have no idea yet if it's done anything, as I'm looking for rather longer term benefits with this one.

Anyway, enough rambling.

Do you think it's okay to 'strip down' ritual to basics, either to make it easier, mre convenient, etc? If so, how much are you willing/ happy to remove? All of it? Just a little?

If you don't, why not? Because you think it's wrong to do so? (if so, what about it is wrong?) Is it a case of simple preference?

If you do both, at different times, what do you think are the pros and cons of either option (stripping it down, or keeping it wholly intact)?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Creating A Divination System

Lately, I’ve been toying around with the thought of making my own divination system, since I can’t seem to find an existing one that ‘fits’ well enough with me and my path. For years I’ve used Tarot decks, but could never quite get past the Tarot’s origins as a (Italian?) card game. And I've always wanted something more personal and a bit less comercially driven. I always figured, well, if the tarot is really just someone’s elaboration on a deck of playing cards, than there isn’t a reason why I can’t create my own divination system in a similar way. Anyway, my musings got me curious about what others have done.

So my question is, have any of you ever created a divination system before, and if so, how did it go? Were you successful? What sort of problems (if any) did you come across?

For those who haven’t, what do you think of the idea? What basics does a divination system have to have to be usable?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Why Oathbound?

Why are certain things in some religions oathbound? Is it because it is a Mystery or something else? Are there certain aspects of your religion that are oathbound that aren't abstract Mysteries? An example of this could be a concrete method like a certain ritual or divination system or a certain skill that helps you either get to the Mystery or not, but it is still oathbound material.

(I'm not asking anyone to divulge any oathbound material here, so if the answer is, it's oathbound, that's fine).

Astrology -- Does It Work?

I was just wondering what people think of astrology and whether it works? If you believe in astrology, what is your understanding of the mechanisms by which it works (ie, how do the planets have an impact on our lives)? How does your belief in astrology relate to your ideas on whether or not the future is pre-determined?

Homemade Incense?

am interested in learning to make my own incense, and I was wondering if there were any Cauldronites who do so, and how you do it. Any info (techniques, rituals, anything) you might have would be wonderful!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Astrology for Pets

"Astrology for Cats and Dogs helps you understand your favorite pet"

This was the title of an ad I received from What do you folks think? Have any of you astrology buffs done charts for your furred and feathered friends?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pagan Children, School, and Holy Days

I am doing an essay for school and the topic is "Religious Freedom". For those of you with Pagan children, do you allow them Holy Days off from school? If so, does the school view it as an excused absence since it is for a religious holiday? Do you or your children ever endure religious discrimination from the school board? Anything would help with my research.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Environmental Ethics?

Does the environment have value or do we give it value. (thought experiment: you are the last person on earth, can you treat it any way you like?)


I was browsing in an 'esoteric' store yesterday and I was really drawn to the malachite crystal, even though I don't do any work with crystals. I didn't buy any as I wanted to find out what it symbolises first. So what does malachite symbolise and what is it used for? What are the reasons that I might be drawn to it? Can anyone recommend some good online resources for crystals which would give me more information?

Religion, Happiness, and Movitation

My question to you is this; what about your religious beliefs keeps you going? What are your basic tenements that you follow that allow you to be happy? And if religion isn't your relief, your light in the darkness, your cooling darkness that relieves you from the blinding sun, what have you, what is?

What makes you happy and why does it do that?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wiccan Views on Creationism/Evolution?

I was wondering what Wiccans think about how the world started or evolution? I can't really find much information about it on the web or in the couple of books I've read. Is it something that changes depending on the path you follow?

Putting up With Family Members?

Have you ever wondered why we put up with things from family members that we would never put up with from other people? Why do we continue to visit racist Uncle Carl or vindictive Grandma Betty when we would never deal with that type of person otherwise?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why is 'Religion' different?

For me, the word 'religion' connotates an idea which incorporates a deity/ies of some sort.

If you took out the 'deity' part, what would it be? Even with it in, it is still an 'idea'. Some may say 'no, it's not an idea, it's a fact'. But even if for some it's a 'fact' , it's still an 'idea' , vis. there are 'beings' other than ourselves that play a part in some peoples' lives.

Someone said today that one of the problems is that the word 'religion' is used as a verb, not a noun. It seems to be used to indicate an 'active' phenomenon, over and above 'idea's. Is it? Is it a phenomenon which needs not be taken as an idea, but as a 'process' which exists , a fait accompli?

So, when the question is asked " is one influenced by different religions; why is it, hmmm, left there?

In terms of being influenced in ones' beliefs, one could be influenced by a book on architecture, an ordinary book of fiction, a dictionary or phonebook, a painting, the way the light hits the trees at sunset and generates a thought in one's mind - an idea.

It's hard to articulate, but to me, a religion would be part of one's makeup, not a separate thing, so anything that adds to the person's knowledge and experience adds to their 'religion'.

So why is there this big separation between 'religion' and other 'idea's? Why do we 'change our tone' when we speak of it?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Elspeth in the Hospital

Long time members will remember our third Co-Host, Elspeth. She isn't online much any more due to her health, but long-time members will remember that she was once far more active than anyone else on on the board.

I got a phone call from her husband this morning. Elspeth has been in the hospital for about a week and is not doing well (although she is doing a bit better than when she was admitted). Her failing kidneys caused a great deal of water retention with made her congestive heart failure much worse. She is heavily sedated, has a breathing tube, and some of the best care in the world (according to Alan).

The prognosis is unknown.

Alan is asking for prayers, healing energy, reiki, etc. for her. And I know she would want them as well.

Doxy's Bazaar Updated with 30 New Books

LyricFox and Randall made another pass through the various Pagan and magical books they still have in boxes and found 30 that they have not looked at since they moved to Waco. This is a good sign that they will never actually use them, so these books have been added to the list of books available for purchase on the Doxy's Bazaar web page. (We really need to get these out of here and reclaim the closet floor space from the boxes.)

Most of these books look as new as books in a bookstore and are selling being sold at around half price (or less in some cases). Postage will eat up some of that, but book rate is available in the US and is relatively cheap. For example, 10 pounds of books 3-4 average books is about $6.50 book rate postage (including a mailer). The newly added books are marked in the list.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dealing With Empathy

I have the empathic sense. Don't ask me how but I feel the emotions of people around me. I see right into their hearts and often I don't like what I see. How do others with this ability deal with it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"...some religious views are toxic..."

From an article in the Buffalo News: 'In another commentary, R. Joseph Hoffman, a professor at Wells College, writes that, "It is time for the West to live and embrace the secularism it espouses, not to hide behind an outworn creed, a pagan pretense of religious magnanimity, a nutty and defeasible belief that religion is benign and thus should be protected. Expression - instantiated as murder, arson and riot - proves that some religious views are toxic and cannot be tolerated."'

What do you think? It's easy to say that "murder, arson and riot" are not defensible... but where do we draw the line? The article is written by and for secular humanists-- Paul Kurtz, the publisher, also publishes Prometheus Books and the Secular Humanist magazine and is a Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The authors, and their intended base readership, generally hold religion in low esteem, but they are a minority in the world. Religious people appear to dominate.

But what if the atheists are right? Is religion a malign influence on human culture and society? Does the good we associate with our religions mitigate the harm associated with religion (the Crusades, the jihad, etc --I'm sure I don't need to list them all!)?

What would a world without the public and visible presence of religion be like?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

'Not in Kansas Anymore'

Anyone read this book from Christine Wicker called Not In Kansas Anymore : A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America? I heard about it on another forum, and what the reader got from it is that she's making it sound like having a naturalistic worldview is a bad thing. Apparently she also takes potshots at rationalism and science. She also makes the claim that science has destroyed humanity's sense of "enchantment and sense of wonder."

I'm thinking of making a trip to the bookstore and taking a look myself. though after skimming of the pagan books out there, I'm almost not surprised that one such as this emerged.

Personally, i think if you do lose your sense of enchantment with the world, it's not the fault of science really. I'd like to think science can increase that sense of wonder.

How Long is one a "Newbie"?

How long should one expect to be a member of a religion before one's co-religionists should stop considering the person a newbie? Should this be a fixed time? Until one knows certain things? If there isn't a fixed time, what should happen if a person never qualifies under the "non-time-based" criteria?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Purification of Ritual Space

When performing a religious ritual, do you do any kind of purification of the ritual space? If yes, do you feel it's important for the space to be physically clean, or is the purification purely mental/spiritual/etc.? How clean does it have to be -- does it have to be perfectly sparkling and spotless, or is "as good as you can get it in X amount of time" good enough?

Advice Needed for Impending Equinox

’m a pagan guy following no particular tradition, generally practicing solo, who’s keenly aware of the solar cycle. For years I’ve had satisfying ways to observe the solstices—spending the whole day outdoors from dawn to dusk for the summer solstice, staying up the whole night from dusk to dawn for the winter solstice—but I have yet to settle on a good way to celebrate the equinoxes.

Any suggestions?

(Specific activities on the solstices have ranged from the contemplative—quiet reflection, reading, writing, walking for miles—to the active—working out, dancing all night, sex, walking for miles.)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Which Authors Do You Trust?

What (Pagan, religious, magical, etc.) authors do you trust, and why? Are there certain authors that you trust for some things, but not for others? Why?

The question occured to me as I'm trying to make up a personal mini-compendium of herb magic for myself, and am reading Scott Cunningham, cat yronwode, and a bunch of folklore texts, and doing lots of cross-referencing. I like Cunningham, overall, primarily because he gives me the sense of having done his homework, even if he doesn't seem to have understood all of it. He tends to report folk material fairly accurately, and to have good suggestions for implementing folk beliefs into something resembling a coherent everyday practice. But his *interpretations*, on the other hand -- oy. He has a few bees in his bonnet, and whenever he starts going on about what some bit of folklore "really" means, watch out: "hoodoo doctors may SAY they use graveyard dirt, but they REALLY mean mullein (because graveyard dirt is evil and We Do Not Do Evil!!"). That's why I think his books where he's primarily just collating information, like the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, are his strongest -- they tend to be thorough and well-researched, and mostly free of his bad history etc. Cat Yronwode, on the other hand, is a top-notch scholar -- I trust her to accurately collect information, and to interpret that information in an intelligent manner backed up by good research -- so when I read her work on hoodoo, I'm confident that I can take her word for it.

What about everyone else?

Truth or Convenience?

In another thread I came upon the quote: "why someone would want to be part of a church who doesn't want them, I can't fathom"

Which echos many many that have gone before it. What I find incongruous about it is the almost consumer economic mentality it brings to religion.

Is it just me, or does this reduce faith traditions that claim to provide meaningful guidance on living and to hold the key to eternal truths underlying the nature and purpose of existence to the level of restaurants - "I don't like that one, the waitrons are surly"? What about the aspect of true belief and faith? I realise most of us have come to our paths from other paths, but have we really reduced faith and religion to a comodity?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Preparing for Death

Does your path lead you to believe that it's necessary to cultivate a certain consciousness or mindset before death? Do you try to maintain that on a daily basis, if so? What things would you do to prepare spiritually for death if you suspected it was imminent? How does your view of the afterlife affect your daily practice and lifestyle? [I don't expect answers to each individual question, just addressing this general topic.]

I was involved in a religion that impressed upon its members the need for a certain frame of mind at the time of death, and I'm aware of others that share this point of view. I am trying to convey some of the diversity of viewpoints to the palliative care team at our local hospital, who didn't understand why Buddhist monks were surrounding the bed of one of their fellows and chanting (bothering him). I think in his mind you've either led a good life and go to heaven or not, so why were all these people in their tormenting him like that instead of leaving him in peace?

All of this led me to wonder what members here think about death, what happens to us, and whether we need to do anything special to prepare for it. I am still affected by the point of view that consciousness is important at that time and have a topic at my forum for former Hare Krishna devotees about it. I also have a list of books about death from a variety of perspectives in that topic that some might find useful.

And may I share your answer with the palliative team if I think they would find it useful? Our town has a sizeable number of pagans and I know they'll encounter these issues sooner or later.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Creating Daily Practices?

For those of you with daily religious practices, how did you start doing them? I've wanted to incorporate daily practices into my life for some time, but I really have no idea where to begin. I wasn't raised with any faith, so doing something as a daily devotional sort of thing doesn't come naturally at all. Did you research a particular deity and see how they were honored? Do you rely on upg? I'm really curious.

Do You Need Permission from Nature?

Do witches or earth-worshippers ask for permission to take something from nature? In Blair Witch 2 there is a girl who asks if she can take a leaf of a plant. Anyone really does that?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Religion, Myth and/or Superstition?

What is the difference between Religion, myth and superstition. Yes, it is a given that they will intersect at some point, but at WHAT point does it become necessary to 'inform' one form with another and why?

I have had it suggested that what separates out 'Religion' is the presense of a/some deity/deities.

But let me ask you something. Do you think that Homer/s intended to write a 'religion' that would last for thousands of years, or a cracking good yarn?

And why aren't some some myths turned into 'Religions'?

Really Right (or Wrong)?

Is there an objective basis for making moral and ethical judgements? Are there some actions that just are right or wrong, inherently? Or are all such yardsticks social and/or personal constructs? Alternatively, are things right or wrong according to whether they conform to divine will?

Whether or not they're objective, are there overarching laws that apply always and everywhere or are all such judgements situational?

And of course, there's always the "other" answer.

Divine Spheres of Influence

A lot of the time when I read myths and posts about various gods, I get the impression that they only deal with the lives of their worshippers.

Do your gods (or any other gods you know of) influence the lives of people who don't worship them? If not, why?

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