Sunday, April 30, 2006

Trusting a 'gut instinct'?

What are you views on so called 'gut instincts'? When deep inside you just know the truth behind something, even if it leads you to be called crazy by other people.

I am not so much talking about faith or religion, more the deep seated knowledge that, despite all indications to the contrary, and despite the fact that friends and family may ridicule you and/or want you to be committed, you just 'know' that your truth is THE truth... I would be interested in knowing your views on the value of 'gut instinct'.

Gods: Local or Universal?

Some folks believe that gods are bound by geography (e.g. having dominion over a particular mountain or stream). Some folks believe that gods are universal, that is to say, they can reach and interact with followers all over the world.

What do you think? Are gods local or universal? Or are some local only, and some universal? Do some universal gods hold special powers related to geography?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Number of Muses

Do you think that there are more muses then the basic nine (or three or five, whichever version you follow)? What if the nine famous Muses gave birth to a race of spirits that have the same function as their mothers? For instance (drawing from aforementioned thread), was Erato the mother a group of spirits that specialized in inspiring writers to write erotica? Do you think there are male Muses?

Being a Good Steward?

Part of most Christian paths is the idea of being a good steward of what God has given to you. For our members that are part the Judeo-Christian tradition, what does being a good steward mean to *you*? How do you implement that as part of your daily life?

For our members of other faiths, is there a similar concept as part of your belief system? If so, how do you implement that concept in your daily life?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Beginner Mistakes

This is a thread for people to discuss what mistakes they made when they first started out on their paths. Or maybe it wasn't at the beginning, but the situation made you go "oops" anyway.

Everyone has done something...

Anyway, one for me was I bought reed divining mat for Oya. I thought I'd create my own system with it. Um...yeah.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Empathy and Movies?

I don't really like watching movies very often. Lots of times when I watch a movie, I really do like it. I watched Garden State last night, and it was cool. i love thought-provoking movies when I can be convinced to sit through them, but sometimes I can't sit through a movie because I don't like having my emotions tinkered with, and I wonder if I'm getting an empathic reaction from watching movies.

I already know that I am an empath as other people's emotions, good, bad and otherwise, rub off on me easily. The only movies I can easily be convinced to watch are comedies, although on the rare occasion that I sit down to watch a serious film, I often enjoy it immensely. Even if my family is sitting down to watch a movie together, I usually leave the room and try to stay away as long as the movie is on. Does that sound weird to you?

Vengence and/or Revenge?

We had a thread about forgiveness and I thought we should flip the coin a bit and look at our views on vengence... revenge... payback. Call it what you will, some folks are good at it, some people never do it.

My current faith-path does not prevent me from taking revenge/vengence on someone who has grieviously injured me.
Sometimes I feel it is necessary. I guess I am of a basically violent nature, but also I know that actual violence is not always necessary to exact revenge. Sometimes a well-timed phone call can do the deed.

There is the question of righteous vengence... which seems to be the mindset of most national governments when they go to war -- or the mindset of religious extremists when they strap on a bomb and wade into a crowded restuarant.

What's your take on revenge/vengence/payback? Is it prohibited by your own beliefs or your faith? Is it okay (up to a point)? How do your personal feelings/thoughts on it conflict or agree with your faith-path?

Monday, April 24, 2006

One Wish?

If you had one wish you could use today, what would you wish for? (And no, wishing for more wishes will not work.)

Spectacularly Bad Religious Analogies

I was reading CS Lewis's Mere Christianity and got to the section where he tries to argue that modern society has an unhealthy obsession with sex. He tries to support his argument with the following analogy to food (which I have paraphrased since I don't have the book with me):

[comparing to a striptease] If a porterhouse steak was placed before an audience and slowly uncovered, and the audience stared so raptly at it, one would conclude that they were either starving or overly gluttonous. If the people in question are not lacking for food, they must therefore be gluttons.
Now, Lewis's thesis is highly debatable, but my point here is that this analogy is not valid. We do in fact pay this much attention to the presentation of food (silver domed platters, garnishes, nouvelle cuisine, restaurant decor etc.), and this does not make us gluttons, or even make people think we are gluttons.

This has been bugging me for a while and I just had to get it off my chest. Anyone else have a bad religious analogy to share?

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Recently, I keep getting an image flashing into my mind of an Egyptian Goddess with a disk beetween her horns, and after a little research I've discovered that this is the image of Hathor. This is a bit strange for me, as I've never been particularly attracted to the Egyptian pantheon, and my area of greatest knowledge is the Greek Gods. So I hadn't been thinking about the Egyptian Gods when this image came into my mind.

Could anyone point me in the direction of any good online resources for Hathor? Also, are there any good resources for the Egyptian pantheon in general, as I know very little about them. I've currently banned myself from buying any more books (there's no more room in the flat!), but if you could recommend any books I might be able to buy them in the future.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ritual Madness?

Does your religion have a place for madness? Do you think such a thing is required? Optional? Desirable?

If you do have ritual madness, why and how? If not, why not?

(By ritual madness, I mean things like Baccanalia .. everyone getting drunk and having no rules for the day).

Interpretations in Divination

I gave myself a reading using cartomancy a few hours ago while stuck waiting for a coach. Since I was using normal playing cards rather than my Tarot deck, I didn't have the pretty pictures to remind me what the cards meant.

I ended up just using my feelings and some half-remembered associations as a guide to the meanings. Which of course led me to wonder...(the questions look long, but they're really not :-) )

i) What kind of divination method(s) do you use? If your method has a lot of set interpretations, do you tend to stick to them or use your own?

ii) If you use your own interpretations, are they based on your feelings at the moment or do you have your own system?

iii) Which do you find gives the more accurate reading -- using set interpretations or your own? Why do you think that is?

Tarot Cards and their Accuracy

Do you feel that it is the cards themselves which come up accurate?

Or is it you who subconsciously shuffle them into correct order?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Religious and Ritual Use of Psychoactive Substances

In the last couple of years here at the Cauldron I have frequently seen negative or dismissive comments in relation to the religious or ritual use of psychoactives. Given their well documented and long-standing pre-modern use in these contexts, I was wanting to know if people here feel that the experiences facilitated by these substances are somehow less important/valid/meaningful/real than those brought on by other environmental factors, such as drumming, chanting, meditation, ritual, etc.?

BTW: I realise that these substances are subject to abuse. I am talking here specifically of the use of these substances within a defined and intentional setting. Not where religion is just an excuse for getting high.

Religious Observence of Earth Day

I know that Pagans often get accused of being "tree-huggers" and I know that reverence of nature is an important part many Pagan religions. I just wondered if any of you incorporated relgious observence of Earth Day into your path. If so, how do you celebrate...a special prayer, an offering, a walk in the woods? Please share.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Where did the idea of forgiveness originate?

My first and main exposure to the concept was within the christian paradigm where you forgave everyone whether they asked for that forgiveness or not.

How do you deal with this issue in relationship to your path? To your upbringing?

Helping Karma Along?

Have you ever seen karma do it's job? Have you ever helped karma along? Should you?

Bound by Your Word?

How do you deal with your personal sense of honor?

A personal example: you give your word to do something while in a relationship, then the relationship goes south. Do you feel obligated by your word, or do you feel that in the bounds of a relationship if the other person reneges you are allowed to renege on your word?

Do you allow yourself to justify things like this? Or are you hard on yourself about it?

Using Oils?

I love oils. I have absolutely no idea how to use them. I know you can anoint candles with them, but beyond that I'm lost. I'd love to know how you all use oils either in daily practice or for ritual use!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ritual: Memorization vs Reading

Sometimes rituals, worship, etc. involve just kind of saying whatever feels right, whatever comes to mind. But sometimes one wants to be sure something specific is said in a specific way, or wants to use something someone else has written. Either way, the words are written out beforehand and should be repeated more or less exactly as written when the time comes.

When this happens, do you prefer to bring a copy of the words into the ceremony with you and read it, or do you prefer to memorize? Why do you prefer the method you do? If you memorize, is it important to get every word exactly right or is it enough to simply be sure you're close and retain the meaning?

(And I do realize that not everyone will even ever use prewritten material. These questions are directed specifically at those who do, or might in the future if they don't already.)

How Does Crisis Affect Your Faith?

Does crisis and intense stress in your life tend to make your faith stronger, or does the pressure harm your relationship with deities (the way it often causes divorces), or does it change your relationship with your deities in some other way?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Why Do We Come to The Cauldron?

I was in another forum and someone asked the question "why do we come here?"

It is a Druid forum, so the responses had similar themes. So I thought about posting the same question here, as there is a much more diverse group of people on TC.

So here it is: Why do you come to TC? What is its purpose in your life, and what do you hope to get out of your visits here?

The Psychology of Empathy

Based upon posts I've read and people I've met I'm sort of seeing patterns in the mental make up of people who work with empathy. There are a few different versions I've seen, but for the most part I'm thinking about the sincere empath, who is for the most part acting from a place of appreciation of others rather than rampant ego gratification.

What I just realized today though, was a big part of the reason it can be so difficult to deal with what we define as empathy is because in the desire to be altruistic we have a tendancy to become either codependant, and addicted to being needed, or we set ourselves up to be psychic vampire food, because we're so busy blocking all emotion coming in from outside sources. This leaves us unable to recognise the signs from behind our walls.

So why does a perfectly logical person do this? Because on some level we equate voyeurism with harm, and what deeper mirror than someones emotions can you really look into? To manipulate based upon gained knowledge is seen as being unethical. People for the most part work really hard to not be perceived as unethical. Makes it difficult for people to trust you and all.

Anyways. In our desire not to be perceived as feeding off of the emotion that we perceive(unethical, and vampiric again) we go too far, and end up on the other end of the scale.

Instead of simply not causing harm, we are giving away large amounts of our own energy supporting and validating the emotion of others through acknowledgement. On a large scale to absorb, asess and respond to the emotion of large groups of people this can be REALLY tiring. We're pollinating, but the seeds we spread are our own energy. Giving little gifts of energy each time we linger.

Is it so unethical to draw energy from those that you are validating and experiencing? Especially when it can be the difference between being able to stay in the cycle of interactions with other people, and hiding under your bed covering your ears.


My question is about correspondences. I'm confused... What I'm reading says North is earth, but beyond that, things seem flexible... I thought fire was in the south but some readings claim east... I thought water was in the west, but... Any advice?

Cauldron News Feed and Email Changes

We have added a Feedburner RSS feed to the native Atom XML feed for these updates. The Feedburner RSS feed will adapt to just about any Feedreader you want to use, so we suggest using the Feedburner RSS feed. We have also moved the email version updates from Bloglines to Feedblitz. Current subscribers should not have to do anything as Feedblitz improrted all the Bloglines subscribers -- you should just get the feed in your daily email from Feedblitz now. Feedblitz is actively maintained and updated, so the emails should be more regular now. If you'd like to subscribe to either the RSS feed via a feedreader and/or to the email updates, scroll down the page to the end of the news and you will find the info you need.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mythology Books for Kids

A friend of mine has asked if I could help him find some mythology books for his 12-year-old son. They've checked the local library but could only find mythology books for adults. I don't have any books for kids or I'd loan him something. I thought I'd ask if anyone has any recommendations.

He is interested in Japanese and Egyptian mythology.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Estatic States and Shamanism

I have recently begun to take an interest in shamanism, the only problem with this is that we have nobody my alternative religions group who has studied it. After talking to a number of hermetics, pagans and thelemites in the group a split of opioion (sorry about the spelling) has occurred that relates to the way of practising it.

The debate ultimately has come down to this: Is it equally valid given the culture and ways of practising magic that western society has given us to undertake shamanism through drum work and pathworking or the more traditional way of practising it through estatic states of drumming, drugs and exposure to extreme conditions?

Mixing Pantheons in Ritual

Now I know we have many people on the boards who pay homage to deities from diverse pantheons. However I have also seen many comments indicating that people feel uncomfortable (for various reasons) with the idea of doing this mixing within a ritual format. I would like to hear people's opinions on this topic.

Also, if it is disrespectful to mix deities that come from diffeent origins, is it also disrespectful to call upon deities with whom you have no connection or affinity simply because they fit into a desired pantheon?

Religious Holidays and Work

Have you ever taken off work for a religious event? If so what did you say? What sort of response did you get? I'm curious because this may be a situation I have to face soon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Would Love to Key That Truck

But I won't.

Does your path hold you accountable for immoral thoughts or desires, even if you would never act on them? For example lusting after someone not your spouse, or someone elses spouse, or being jealous and wanting to behave in a catty way towards someone even though you know you would be being just that.

Are you required to attone, or elsewise do penance for these thoughts?

Why Only Four Elements?

This might be a silly question, but from what I read it seems that most people practicing some kind of ritual or craft use the four elements as a base, but what purpose do they have? And why aren't other elements that people talk about included-- the world is made up of electricity, magnetic forces, ether... What defines earth, anything that's not wet? Fire I guess is a simple one, but does air include gas? and water ice? Where are the lines drawn?

Honoring the Moon

I am looking for new ways to honor the moon during a full moon, a sort of personal ritual. What do you do? I'm looking for ideas from all paths.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thou Shalt Clean Thy Room

Recently I discovered (or had revealed to me) the concept of "Hearth Pride" as part of my path. Translated into practical terms, this comes out as "Thou shalt clean thy room".

Interestingly, since then I have actually gotten much better at actually cleaning my room. You could almost say I do it ... religiously.

Just wondering, anyone else here been assigned household chores as worship?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Needed Ritual Items?

What *stuff* do you feel you need to worship correctly?

This isn't the "can I do it naked in a snowstorm" question .. more about what's optimal, but leaves out things that are just because you "like" them but don't really have a ritual function.

Monday, April 10, 2006

When is Spellwork Finished?

I was just sitting and thinking today, and something interesting (or at least I thought it was) occured to me. I often don't cast circle when doing spellwork, and thus closing the circle is not how I end my spells. Sometimes the end point is the finishing of a physical object. Sometimes it involves a charging over multiple days. Sometimes it only ends when I stop thinking about it. So basically I got to wondering how other people do this. I'm sure there are many options I have never heard of, and I would like to know what some of them are.

So if you do magic, how do you know when your spellwork is completed?

Deities and Rain

Can you think of any deities identified strongly with the rain? If so I would really like to know. Pantheon is unimportant. Even if you might be the only one who would consider the particular deity a deity I am completely open to your suggestions.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Where Did You Begin?

Ok, so now you have your own take on spirituality. You've worked on it for awhile and have a good handle on what you believe. Still, most of us started out somewhere else, made a transition of some sort, and did a lot of looking before we landed where we are today.

In my experience most people came in looking at a particular belief set before they really learned enough to know what they were looking for. So the question is, when you started on your Pagan path, where did you begin?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where Do The Gods Live?

I was just wondering where, in your beliefs, the Gods live? Is there some particular non-physical realm where they are located? And do they reside with other members of their pantheon?

What about the Gods not in your Pantheon? Do they live in the same place as the ones in your Pantheon, or somewhere else?

Doing Paganism and Magic with Bi-polar Disorder?

I was told on another message board that because I have bi-polar disorder I shouldn't be doing spells. The person said it was because I am mentally unstable and that it could only end badly. They suggested I should leave Wicca and Paganism in general. I think it's a load of crap, but I was wondering as to your opinions on the matter.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Appearance and Ritual

How do you look in ritual? Do you just show up in your street clothes, or do you have an elaborate wardrobe? (or, for that matter, lack of wardrobe!) Do you make up your face in any way?

Why do you do whatever option you chose?

Altar Changes

For those of you who keep one or more altars or shrines at home: Do you ever change how they're set up? Maybe add a new item, or remove one, or rearrange things. I don't mean just putting an offering down and taking it off later, or replacing candles that have burnt down; I'm talking changes to the things that are permanently set on the altar and how they are arranged.

If you do make changes, how do you decide when to do that and what to change?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Religion and the Role of the Sexes?

Does your religion have specific male/female roles? If so, are they equal? Not equal?

Why are the roles separated the way they are? What happens if you're a solitary?

If there's no sex differences, why not?

Answer a Thwapping or Not?

Suppose you have been soundly thwapped by a deity. There is little or no mistake about it (at least in your mind).
However, you are not happy. Or maybe just confused.

You THOUGHT you were destined to be a devoted follower of the great and powerful tiger god*Snarfy*, however the thwapping clearly indicates you are being told to pay attention to the slug-god *Phlemmy* (yeah, I am making up names here so as not to offend anyone or Anyone, heh)

You try to duck and dodge and Phlemmy just gets more persistent. Snarfy is silent as you light candles, offer libations and utter heart-felt prayers, etc.

Maybe slugs suddenly invade your home, you find slime trails on your bathroom mirror, etc. Everywhere you go, slugs abound. Your cat, named after Snarfy's devoted companion *Snigs* runs away and the beautiful tiger statue you scrimped and saved for cracks down the middle.

You REALLY don't want to be aligned with Phlemmy. But it is getting obvious that Phlemmy wants you. Also, painfully obvious that Snarfy couldn't give a rats ass about you. What do you do?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I know I've heard some of the Recons, particularly of the Greek variety, mention pouring libations as part of worship or to honor a deity. I'm curious about this practice... Is there any sort of structure associated with this, like words that need said or other actions that need done or preparation, or do you just sort of pour at will? And are some liquids considered more appropriate for use as libations than others? (And if so, is there a reason behind that beyond "this is what the ancients used" or "this is what this deity prefers"?)

Responding to Prayer

How do you all respond when someone says "I'll pray for you" or "you'll be in my prayers" when you know what they are really saying is "I'll pray that you abandon your current religion and accept Jesus as your savior"?

I've had this happen to me a couple of times on another board (a Scouting board) where people know that I am pagan, and it seems inevitable that when we get into a religious/political discussion where I disagree with the other person's viewpoint (who is almost always a Christian), they seem to always fall back on the old "I'll add you to my prayer list" type of thing. I'm never quite sure how to respond, because I believe that if someone wants to pray for my general wellbeing, that all those prayers produce positive energy, and are welcome. So, I feel like I don't want to sound ungrateful to someone who might be praying for my general wellbeing, but at the same time, I am uncomfortable with the thought of people prayer for me to abandon my religion (when I'm pretty sure that is what they are really doing). I know if I told any of them that I will pray for them to abandon Christianity and turn to enlightenment, they would be mightily offended! (As they should be)

So would you:

1. Say thank you and respond that you will also pray for them (my general response, and let them read into it what they will about what I will be praying about for them....)
2. Be explicit and say, "if you want to pray for my wellbeing, thank you. If you want to pray for my conversion, no thank you."
3. Just generally say, "no thank you" to all such responses.

Meditative Journeys

I know that in meditation, sometimes people try to keep their minds as still as possible, and sometimes they just try to concentrate on breathing, and sometimes they "meditate on" a topic (which may be its own thread)... And sometimes they do what can be called a guided meditation, take a kind of a journey inside their head. My limited knowledge seems to indicate that this generally involves visualizing yourself moving through an environment and interacting with it -- you might walk down a path and open a door, for example, and see what's behind the door.

Would people who use journeys in meditation (whether guided by others or thought up on their own) be willing to share their experiences in this thread? I'm curious about what kind of journeys people take and how those journeys have affected them. I'm also curious about the source of these meditations -- do you make up your own or find them in books and such? And if the former, how do you decide what to include in them?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Why Don't You Chat At The Cauldron?

Clearly, this doesn't apply to people who do. :)

But if you're at all interested in Pagan chats (or chats with Pagan people), is there any reason you don't join us in chat?

Possible answers, by no means exclusive: there's chat? it's at a bad time. I don't like certain people. all chat rooms are pickup bars. etc.

I'd like to start really getting chat moving again, and I'd like to know what you are/aren't looking for in a chat room. Let's make it a valuable part of TC!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Please Post Your Memories Of Chavi

Chavi's friend Matthew had a great idea that he's seen done on other boards when a beloved member has passed over. Members post their favorite memories of the person, what they meant to them, etc. in a special thread. A copy of this thread is then printed and given to the member's family. Matthew says this is always well-received. He's volunteered to get the thread to Chavi's mother and family if we want to do this.

I think this is an excellent way to pay tribute to Chavi and let her family know how much she has meant to us, so I've started this thread. Any messages posted to this thread (except for off-topic messages or the like) will be forwarded to Matthew and printed copies given to Chavi's family. By posting in this thread, you are granting your permission for this. Please do not post off topic messages in this thread. Thank you.

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