Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Article: Dreams about Water

Having water in your dreams is a very common occurrence. Whether you are dreaming of an ocean, a pond, or even a glass of water, it seems everyone dreams of water at some point in their lives. And in your dreams, water alludes to the most basic parts of ourselves - emotion. Water most always represents our waking emotion. Think about the dreams of water you have had...was the water crashing ocean waves? Then chances are your waking emotions were pretty rocky and heavy as well. Was the water dark, murky, and stagnant? Then you may well have been depressed or worried before you went to sleep.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sensing Magic?

Do you think it's possible to 'sense' magic and spells? Does it matter if you're trying to detect the magic of someone who uses a different magical system than your own?

If anyone has any suggestions on how to detect magical influences, I'm all ears!

How Do You Pray?

Do you pray*? If so, is there a set structure you follow, or do you just sort of say whatever's on your mind? Are there specific existing prayers that you use sometimes, or do you come up with a new one each time?

W/R/T the structure part, I'm particularly interested in how people end their prayers. "Amen" doesn't feel right to me, because it feels like a specifically Christian ending. Variations on "so mote it be" have a similar problem; they feel so Wiccan, and while I respect Wicca and all, it's not what I am. Nothing wrong with either one, they're just not me. I haven't yet come up with something more fitting, though, and just kind of saying what I have to say and not adding any kind of closing feels so incomplete.

(*=I'm aware that there are many, many definitions of the verb "to pray", so I will specify that for the purposes of this thread, I mean it in the most strictly traditional sense, with the words and the addressing deity and all that. Dear God, such and such and such, amen. By so specifying, I do not mean to invalidate or ignore other kinds of prayer; I simply want to address this particular kind specifically and could not think of a way to differentiate other than by using the word "pray" and adding a somewhat lengthy footnote explaining myself.)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Should I Take a Class?

Alright...I read the post about teaching and how important do you think it is to teach and are you drawn to it. But now what I want to know is about being the student.

I have been a solitary wiccan for about 4 years or so now. I have recently come across a place that has Wicca classes. I am very interested in taking the classes just to learn how other people do things. I know a lot through reading books and the internet and practice, and accomplish a lot on my own...but I love hearing other ways of doing things and I love to keep my mind open to new ideas. I also don't meet too many people that I know are wiccan and I thought it would be a great way to meet with others and chit-chat.

Do you guys think that the classes would be worth my while? Do you support the classroom-type learning experience? To me...I always feel that there is something else to learn...and I will find any way I can to learn more about something that I love.

Does Being Pagan Imply Being Religious?

Lately I've been wondering whether I 'count' as a Pagan. According to the definition given in the TC's Pagan Primer:

quote: "A Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan."

I fit this in that I'm not JCI, and often consider myself to be Pagan. My problem centres around the word 'religion' - I'm not actively religious, I perform no ritual or prayer. But I do follow a philosophy (Stoicism) that derives from a Pagan culture, and which gives me a definite conception of the Divine.

I was wondering what people's views are on this? Is it enough to have a Pagan philosophical understanding, or must a person be actively religious to count as Pagan?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why Is Your Religion Making You Happy?

I have a question. Why is your religion making you happy?

I realise that this might be a stupid question for many. But I'm not religious and I honestly don't understand.


1) Why is your religion making you happy?
2) Has it changed, you think? Or has it always been the same thing that makes you enjoy your religion?
3) Is continued enlightenment an important part of this? Or do you think that you can get to a level where you don't think you need to understand or learn more, and still be content?
4) Do you think that you'd stick with your religion even if it didn't make you happy? Or do you think that that is an oxymoron. A religion always makes you happy.

Necessity of Teaching?

In another thread here, Everfool posted something that got me thinking: "I've met all too many people who practice magic that I don't think should be allowed to. I'm not inclined to try and teach *more* people about it."

I found this interesting because I often end up teaching people magic, originally without thinking about it. I became aware of it and have been working on it consciously since then. It's one of the things I do in devotion to my gods.

So, what about you all? Do you have the urge to teach? Is it a necessary part of your path? What makes a potential student suitable or not suitable in your opinion?

Meditation Weirdity?

Ok, everyone knows I suck at sitting still. So I suck at most meditational practices that involve being still. But, for the last month almost, I have persisted in my efforts during weekdays (weekends are too nuts) to sit down before my hearth for 15-20 minutes of meditation. I light a candle and focus on it, the beauty of it, etc until I can stop fidgeting.

Then I shut my eyes. Now, I flunked the part of all the various seminars over the years on visualization -- so you can imagine how weird it is to me to see things when I shut my eyes after a few seconds of looking at a candle. I told myself initially that it was a sort of after-image effect 'burnt' onto my eyes.

Not too sure of that now. What I get is often the exact image of a candle flame, but reversed -- bulbous end UP, and also, the flame part is a black void surrounded by a sharp deliniation line of incredibly brilliant emerald green. Outside this line is a glowing field that shifts in color, from a luminous gray, to shimmering violet or sometimes a deep red glow. Occasionally the field is turquoise blue or azure. It moves about in my closed-eye 'field of vision'.

I have been considering this some sort of visual hallucination, and pretty much ignoring it, other than, well, it IS pretty and more entertaining than trying to keep my mind off the soaking dishes.

But another thing kind of unnerves me, and this week has been particularly rife with this experience. As I sit, eyes shut, I become very aware of my own suddenly seems so strong and noticeable that I feel as if I am moving with it, as if my body is rocking with it. The sensation is like synchronizing clocks or something, as if what it is... well, is not just my heart, but as if it is striving to achieve a matched rhythm to something outside myself.... the beat of the world? I don't know, but the last couple days, my chest has hurt when I am done with my little experiment in sitting still. Opening my eyes stops the rocking sensation at once.

Anyone with tons of experience have anything to tell me about this current weirdity? Is it going to go away or get worse, for example?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tarot Spreads?

There's been an awful lot of useful information about the cards themselves in other threads.

What about the spreads you use? Which are your favorites and why?

Which one(s) seem to be the most useful to you?

Which ones do you find to be useless?

Article: Potpourri With Herbs And Essential Oils

Potpourri is defined as mixture of dried flower, herbs, leaves, roots, barks and spices providing fragrance. Placed either in decorative wooden bowl, tied in small bags made from sheer fabric or specially designed pot pourri vase, a potpourri can last long if blended correctly. The word potpourri comes from the French meaning "rotten pot".

Its uses are many. You can use it to perfume the air, keep it in closets or drawers, make room decorations with attractive baskets or bowls or make personal gifts to share it with family and friends. Dry potpourri consists of dried, scented, crisp materials concocted for fragrance as well as beauty.

Article: Understanding Dream Archetypes

The word archetype is actually derived from the Latin and Greek languages, but the world of psychiatry, particularly the work of Carl Jung, is what brought the word into common usage. Simply stated, an archetype is a prototype, or an original model. An archetype can also be used to mean the ideal example of a type.

Carl Jung used the word archetype to mean an instinct pattern of thought or imagery that was derived from collective experience. Jung believed in the existence of the collective unconscious -- that is that people are born knowing things learned from their ancestors.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You are WRONG!

Imagine that one day, a deity appears before you. Literally. And you know it, too. There's just a huge sense of power, divinity and absolute authority.

Then the deity tells you: "You're WRONG!" and proceeds to completely demolish your religion. For example, there's no Apollo/Jesus/Freya/whoever you worship. Everything you believed in is dismissed as a sham. And you know this deity is telling you the truth.

Would it affect you at all? Would you be concerned about getting the 'right' religion? Or would you not care?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Visceral Religion?

How important is action in your religion?

By action, I mean in worship .. dance, song, chopping wood, carrying water .. something done that is of the body, not just of the mind.

What does it bring that the intellect doesn't? Why do you do it? (if you don't, why don't you?)

Fire and Air... Grumble, Grumble

What got me back on this particular treadmill of thought and grumbling is trying to apply myself studiously to Tarot reading again, but it relates to magical attributions as well.

Most of us are used to seeing Elements linked to directions:

Air=East, Fire=South, Water=West, Earth=North

And some of us have customized this to suit where, for instance, the large bodies of water are with regards to our locations.

Now, the other thing, tools are commonly linked to elements (and directions, on presumes).

What I run into is fire=sword OR fire=wand, the second being more prevalent in many things I read. I really have a hard time with that one. In my experience, lol, fire BURNS wands! But fire helps produce a sword...being cut with a sword burns like fire, etc, etc, etc. I equate wand to thought, etc. And fire to sword to will.

Now, since I really am trying to get myself deeper into the Tree of Life spread and the Qabbalistic link-up with readings (don't ask me why, it just "sticks" for me in a way no other spread does) most of my sources are right back to the Wands=fire and it attributes this to Chokma. I can't get there. Also, it attributes knights to Chokma. For me, Tipareth is the 'saving' sephirah---and knights do the saving, so it makes more sense to me to put knights there. And tho' knights have swords....I put wands and air there in my mind and just can't seem to wrench it out of there.

This keeps screwing me up till I want to chew, throw, and otherwise act like a three year old with the book(s).

My question is, then, how do you reconcile the gut "NOPE, Not working for me." with various source materials.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Religious Transformation

I’ve been thinking lately about the different ways that religion changes people. For myself, I’ve noticed that I’ve been looking at people and situations differently. I recently wrote a blog entry about it and rather than rewriting it, it can be read here: Positive Influence

The questions I have are:

Has your religion transformed you, and in what way/ways?
Does a religion need to promote growth or change to be worth while?

The Religious Left is Back

This is an interesting article on the religious left arising from its years of sleep to begin to counter the positions of the Religious Right.

Religious liberals gain new visibility
Left-winged group no longer overshadowed by Christian right

Long overshadowed by the Christian right, religious liberals across a wide swath of denominations are engaged today in their most intensive bout of political organizing and alliance-building since the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s, according to scholars, politicians and clergy members.
What do you think?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Real Practitioners of Not Your Religion?

Randall's comment:

"Every real Satanist I've known (teen posers do not count) have been self-centered to the point that the community is only important so far as it can aid whatever they want to do."
got me thinking about differentiating between "real" and "not real" practitioners of religions, especially when it's a question of a religion you do not practice yourself and aren't a member/follower of.

Especially the part quoted raise a question on whether the people Randall referred to fit the description he gave because all real Satanists actually are that way, or because people who call themselves Satanists but do not fit the desciption don't get classified as real Satanists... (especially as my personal experiences aren't that, well, negative)

So, how do you (general you!) classify whether somebody saying they are, say, a Wiccan, an Asatru, or whatever actually is one?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Honoring Brigit?

So I've been feeling like an armchair pagan lately, and I've decided I'm tired of it. I've been neglecting my religious duties so long I hardly know where to start, and as I try to get back into the swing of things, I'm finding that I abandoned my old ways for a reason- they just don't feel right. So here's my question, for any of you out there who honor/worship Brigit: what do you do? How do you honor Her? Are you influenced mostly by upg, or a specific source?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Women as Pre-Pregnant Beings?

So what are your thoughts on this? Good idea? Bad idea? Control oriented? Just common sense?

From the Washington Post:

Forever Pregnant
Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

The Cauldron Virtual Picnic

Since it's been about six months since I gathered up recipes for our 12 Days of Holiday Cooking and since the weather is beginning to warm up, I thought now might be a nice time for a virtual picnic.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll post a category every two or three days. Post your recipes and then, when we're all done, I'll be pulling some out to post in the cookbook section of ecauldron. You'll be given credit for the recipe, of course, but if for some reason you'd rather not have the recipe out there, just post it at the start of your recipe posting.

I'll have the categories posted in this thread in the next couple of days. And we'll start with the first category posting on Monday, May 22. Not quite sure how long this will run yet, because I don't have the categories yet, but I'll figure that out post it with the listing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who Gets Thwapped?

I just wanted to ask: when you were thwapped, were you already a Pagan/exploring Paganism? I was wondering whether thwappage by Pagan Gods usually only happens to those who are expecting it/considering it to be a possibility.

(I'm not in any way trying to suggest that your 'thwappage' was self-constructed or false. I'm just curious as to the circumstances in which it occurred.)

Or did you get thwapped out of the blue while you were trying to follow some other religion entirely?

Miserable Pagan Communities?

I see alot of people mentioning how 'awful' their local communities are, how fluffy, how uneducated...

Where are you people stumbling onto these groups?

I've run into some weirdos, but never so out there that I would feel I needed to take measures to distance myself for fear of how someone might perceive me.

I've always gone through the Vox, or Gaias Gateway/ COG for the groups I've hooked up with, as well as a couple of personal recommendations from friends and shop owners.

While I didn't click(que!) with Reclaiming I saw it as a limitation of the path rather than an issue with the individuals - I would still go to their open rituals, and participate in local events book signings etc. I just have no desire to STUDY with them or persue the heirarchy.

I understand the premise/ purpose of their workings, and while I go okay, this isn't a purpose I would come up with on my own it's still a valid one.

So where are all these scary freaky groups? I want to see psycho-pagans.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Drawn to a Certain Type of Deity?

I got to thinking about this over in the XYZ thread. If you're drawn to multiple deities (same or different pantheon), is there a specific type you're drawn to?

For instance, I'm dedicated to Hekate, but I've always been attracted to Osiris. I definitely lean to the earth or chthonic type of Gods. The one exception would be an aspect of Zeus who had nothing to do with the chthonic side of his nature.

Do you find yourself mainly looking to watery deities? Air deities? Storm deities?

Running Back into the Broom Closet

I'm not exactly new to the pagan world, I'm just new to the whole public part. It wasn't always like this, however. Before college I was active in the pagan community and had a good strong faith. What happened leads me to the question.

It wasn't my family or outside pressure that sent me back into hiding, but other the way some pagans were acting in my new community. I didn't want others to associate me with what they were doing and how they were acting. I totally closed myself off and actually started to question my own strengh in my faith. That is until finding this forum and realizing that there are people who believe without being over the top. (I really do feel welcome here, thanks.)

Has anyone else run into this problem in their community or was I being overly sensitive?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Article: How To Meditate With A Mantra

These days whenever a politician repeats a promise over and over again commentators say that this promise has become a "mantra" for that politician. For the journalists, the word "mantra" means a meaningless phrase that is repeated endlessly. For yogis however, a mantra is a word or collection of words, which has the power of liberating a human being from all limitations.

How can the repetition of a word or a few words have the capacity to bring about such miraculous results? It is all based on a simple psychological principle, "as you think, so you become."

Article: Meditation Music

Meditation music can significantly enhance your meditation session. Gentle sounds and rhythms can help you to achieve a deeper state of calm, peacefulness and relaxation. It is well established that sound and rhythm can create mental and emotional environments. As early as the 1920s, researchers were making connections between music, enhanced mental alertness, concentration and imagination.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What is the Nature of Your Contact with your Gods?

I'm looking for specifics here, if anyone would be willing to share them. Do your gods appear before you in full physical form? When they speak, is it a clear audible disembodied voice or more of a whisper in your head? Or something else entirely? Have you physically touched them? Is it more subtle than that? Is it a sense of divine presence? Is it a series of "coincidences" and messages coded in nature or the world around you and your interactions with others?

My relationship with the Divine is...intense, but distant at the same time. I don't think I've ever been "thwapped" before nor have I ever physically experienced a particular deity. Still, when they want to speak they seem to be able to get their message across through symbolism and "coincidence", although, I have to admit, I sometimes wonder whether some of these revelations are actually divinely inspired or if I'm just having my own little "a-ha" moments. Not sure if that's ego or self-doubt talking.

Anyway, I've been really curious about this for some time and if anyone would be willing to share some of their experiences I'd be grateful.

Feri and Reclaiming Questions

I've seen a lot of reference to Feri and Reclaiming, so I have to ask: What exactly are they about? I'd look them up but I don't trust my google skills. Is there a reason they're often mentioned together? Thanks in advance!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kitchen Witchery

I'm interested in kitchen witchery in general, but I haven't found many great sources on it. What I like is the concept that magic becomes a part of your daily "mundane" activities and that baking with love like Mom did is actually a magical activity. Most of what I do is sortof intuitive, informed by a broad reading background, but I'd like to hear some ideas and opinions from others who practice this.

So, what I'd like to know is this: Do you consider yourself a kitchen witch or is there any aspect of "kitchen witchery" in what you practice? If so, tell me a bit about what you do? What are some good kitchen witch info sources?

Vegetarianism and Meat-Eating

I've recently started eating meat again for the first time since I was about 4. My whole family became vegetarian for health reasons when I was that age, but now that I've left home it's become more convenient (and yummier) to be a meat-eater. I realised that I had no ethical or practical reasons for continuing to be a vegetarian.

I was just wondering what people's views are on meat-eating and vegetarianism, and how this relates to their beliefs (if at all)? Personally I don't think there is any spiritual/religious merit in vegetarianism, for me at least.

This question is partly inspired by a rather bizarre statement in Denning and Philips' Psychic Self-Defense that meat-eating places girls at the risk of sexual predation. Personally I think this is superstitious nonsense. The only thing that puts girls at risk of rape is men being bastards, and I really don't think that the imputation of 'you brought it on yourself by eating that burger for dinner' is very helpful.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reuse and Recycle and Buy Locally

I know a lot of our members are environmentally aware. Many try to lessen their footprint on this earth and a lot do it by reusing and recycling. A lot of you also try to buy locally produced and grown items.

I thought I would start a thread where you could post your ideas, URLS and thoughts.

Article: Wild-Flower Garden

A wild-flower garden has a most attractive sound. One thinks of long tramps in the woods, collecting material, and then of the fun in fixing up a real for sure wild garden.

Many people say they have no luck at all with such a garden. It is not a question of luck, but a question of understanding, for wild flowers are like people and each has its personality. What a plant has been accustomed to in Nature it desires always. In fact, when removed from its own sort of living conditions, it sickens and dies. That is enough to tell us that we should copy Nature herself. Suppose you are hunting wild flowers. As you choose certain flowers from the woods, notice the soil they are in, the place, conditions, the surroundings, and the neighbours.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Finding Good in the Bad?

Is it feasable? I have a Ravenwolf book I bought before I had much of a clue what I was doing, and I hate to think that everything in it is bunk and fluff. While I'm not really leaning towards Wicca anymore, it's entirely possible I'll discover Asatru isn't my thing and turn 'ecclectic pagan'. Besides which, I have a serious interest in geomancy/stone lore and herbs.

The book in question is Ravenwolf's huge Solitary Witch book. It has a bit of everything in there, from the 'history' of Wicca to what day to empower your toothpaste. I've found a bit in there that rings true (enough), but I'm wondering if it's worth the hassle. Has anyone ever tried to pull the gold nuggets out of a bad book?

How Does Magic Work?

I've been reading Amber K's True Magick, which is possibly the first source I've read that offers any info on exactly how magic works. She purports that magic works when the conscious, the subconscious, and the higher conscious (the divine within) are all working together toward a single goal.

This is her view on how magic works... what is yours? When you perform a ritual or cast a spell, what do the gears inside the clock, so to speak, look like?

Monday, May 08, 2006

End of the World?

Alright, I have debated about how to do this, so I'm just going to post what I have heard and see what I get. What I Have Heard:

The Mayan calendar ends on 2013.

The Nordic people predicted something similar to nuclear winter. The legend is that, after Ragnarok, there will be three years of winter... And with the U.S. threatening Iran with nuclear reprecussions...

Finally, I believe that another legend, this one Roman Catholic, I think, is that there will be 150 popes. Not saying that it's going to be the end of the world, but that's all there will be. We are on #149.

So that is what I have heard, and any details that deserve correcting, correct them.

I'm really curious about other views, so let's get them coming!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dead Culture and Its Gods?

If a culture dies out and leaves no records or other sources behind, what do you think happens to that culture's gods?

Religion and Contraception

This article on the Religious Right's new war on contraception is from the NY Times Magazine and well worth registering for if you don't have an account. I'd read a couple of days ago this piece was coming out, but I wanted to link to it directly rather than through a blog.


From the article:

For the past 33 years — since, as they see it, the wanton era of the 1960's culminated in the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 — American social conservatives have been on an unyielding campaign against abortion. But recently, as the conservative tide has continued to swell, this campaign has taken on a broader scope. Its true beginning point may not be Roe but Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that had the effect of legalizing contraception. "We see a direct connection between the practice of contraception and the practice of abortion," says Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, an organization that has battled abortion for 27 years but that, like others, now has a larger mission. "The mind-set that invites a couple to use contraception is an antichild mind-set," she told me. "So when a baby is conceived accidentally, the couple already have this negative attitude toward the child. Therefore seeking an abortion is a natural outcome. We oppose all forms of contraception."

What do you think? Do you think the Religious Right really wants to ban contraception as completely as they want to ban abortion?

Article: Dianism In A Nuit-Shell

Recently, I got back in touch with my teacher after nearly two years and dropped a couple of bombshells on her: I had changed gender identity and had come together with two other women to form a Dianic coven. When the initial shock wore off, Rita sent me a complete run of Protean Synthesis and a solicitation for this article.

Several years ago I subscribed to several stereotypes regarding "those peculiar Dianics". They were thealogically unbalanced, they hated men, they denied that men had souls, they were all lesbians, they couldn't spell (in the orthographic sense; no one has yet accused Dianics of inability to work magick), etc. etc. When I came together with my covensisters, I realized that these notions were at most partially true and some cases were patently false.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

To Question the Nature of Divinity?

Something I read recently raised an issue that struck a chord with me. Is it irreverant to philosophise on the nature of Deity or Deities?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Choosing an Internet Tarot Reader

Things have come a long way since my youth when readings were frequently done by mysterious old women in secluded booths masked by beaded curtains. Divination of all forms and Tarot Card reading in particular has attracted its quota of dubious readers. But how can you tell?

Many readers engage in their work with a genuine desire to help clients sort out life issues and offer the insight to help them do so. Some are in it purely to make money and I think that to a certain extent this has made the public skeptical. There is a need to be careful.

Article: How to Preserve Your Crop of Fresh Herbs

After having taken the time to grow your own herb garden, you will want to make use of them. Following are four ways you can preserve your herbal plants.

Ideal Marriage/ Love-Relationship

What, to you, constitutes the ideal marriage or love-relationship? Why? Is it religiously based? How does your faith influence your ideas on marriage? What does your faith have to say about marriage, and do you agree or disagree?

(NB - "marriage" in its loosest sense - gay, straight, poly, whatever.)

Can Humans Affect the Gods?

In your opinion, what can humans do that will affect the gods? For example, is it possible for us to do things that make gods stronger? Can one shield against or banish a god? Etc.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

How Do You Relate With Your Gods?

I'm on another pagan forum, and the general consensus seems to be that the gods don't bother to interact with mortals. I was flat out asked once, when asking if the Norse gods are usually aloof at first or was Freyr just enjoying messing with me what made me so special?

So I'll ask it here, for cross reference. How close are you to your gods, and why do you think they interact with you the way they do? What makes you 'special'? Do you think that gods from different pantheons have different views on how gods and humans should interact?

Research Tutorial?

Given the high level of academic religious scholarship here I was wondering if maybe some of the more expert members would be willing to give a bit of a research tutorial.

While the names of resources are freely given, I was specifically looking for perhaps a more general "How to research" that answers questions such as

How do I find sources on my own?

What is an original source and why is this good?

How do I know if my source is good? ie verification.

Methods for assimilating a large amount of research?

Methods to ENJOY reading some of the more 'dry' sources? Such as using the index, and Table of Contents, doing a heading scan to get a big picture b/f focusing in.

Personal research styles: Why do you choose certain sources over others? What is your research process?

My research method is fairly rudimentary and I spend a lot of time in the wide angle phase to get my bearings before I get into the detailed stuff.

I know that I personally would benefit from hearing about other members research methods and styles. I could definately improve my verification and assimilation skills I easlily get overwhelmed.

Article: Black Cohosh - Healing Herb

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa ([Latin]), also known as black snakeroot, bugbane, cimicifuga, and squawroot is an herb that has become synonymous with treating PMS and menopause symptoms, and is now a popular alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Native Americans were the first to use the Black Cohosh root. They discovered that the Black Cohosh root could be used as a healing herb for maladies such as malaria, rheumatism, sore throats, colds, constipation, hives, backaches, and to induce lactation. In the 1800s, early Americans used Black Cohosh as a home remedy for fevers and to bring on menstruation; it was even thought to prevent miscarriage and minimize labor pains.

Article: Elderberry - Nature's Medicine Chest

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra [Latin]), also called elder flower are native to Europe, but have been naturalized to the Americas, and have a long history of medicinal use, particularly in England, where it is commonly used to make elderberry wine and pies, and was once referred to as "nature's medicine chest."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What Are We Doing to Magick?

Have you ever wondered what we're doing to magick? Have you ever noticed we've lost our wonder?

Awe is replaced by "knowledge". Humility is unheard of. Law replaces self-control. The magick of our universe is explained away by "science". Overindulgenced has bread a sick complacency.

Once holy people (magicians,shamans, witches, etc.) fasted and spent much time in meditation before they dared touch the other side. Now we approach everything with a sense of arrogant entitlment.

And we watch those we call leaders destroy our souce of life with politics and agendas. We live with the knowledge that our Great Mother is miserable. We do nothing to preserve Her. She watches Her children kill each other. Every fire set and bomb thrown scars Her precious skin. The heat of war and greed scorches Her. We do nothing.

Some say I'm crazy. They could be right. I say I'm insanely sensitive. I feel Her anguish. I feel the deadness of people I meet. I look at our whole wretched society and I feel sick.

Magick will die if we continue on our current path. What do you plan to do about that?

Cowboys For Christ -- Wicker Man II?

According to an article The Sunday Times, a "sequel" of sorts to The Wicker Man by its original director is in the works:

From The Sunday Times - 30 Apr 2006:
'Now devotees of the offbeat can look forward to more of the same as the film’s director, Robin Hardy, prepares to unveil a follow-up book and a film tie-in, Cowboys for Christ."

The story, which Hardy calls "not quite a sequel", is set in a small Scottish town called Tressock, where a Christian couple from the US settle to take up work preaching to the enlightened. Hardy addresses some of the same themes from the Wicker Man, including religion, paganism, sex, power and sacrifice, but this time an ancient Borders tradition — the annual common riding in which horsemen patrol the town’s boundaries — plays a central role.'

Everyday protection?

Some people make a small ritual to protect themselves every day? I don't think that this is necessary.

How do you see this? Do you think it's necessary to build up a protectional "wall" before you leave your home, or do you trust that nothing bad is going to happen to you? What kind of protection do you build up and when?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Article: The Basics of Western Astrology Explained

This article covers the basics of Astrology and how they are inter-related. Astrology is defined as 'the art or practice of determining the supposed influences of the planets and their motions on human affairs and human disposition'. From this practice a horoscope can be produced - a diagram (or chart) of the relative positions of planets and signs of the Zodiac at a specific time, usually the time of birth. A forecast can then be produced.

May Cauldron and Candle Available

The May 2006 issue of the Cauldron and Candle newsletter (issue #72) was emailed to 2500 or so subscribers today. If you are not a subscriber, you can read this issue online via the link below.

Invocation -- Blasphemy?

How right do you think it is to invoke a deity? Is it somehow blasphemous to try and call the divine into yourself? Or is it perfectly acceptable, maybe even a regular part of your practice?

Or do you think certain types of invocation are more acceptable than others -- e.g. invocation for divination vs. invocation for personal change, etc?

Edit: I'm taking invocation to mean calling down a deity into yourself, here. Sort of like being possessed or taking on some aspects of them through ritual.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Article: How to Experience a Lucid Dream

Lucid dreaming means dreaming while you know that you are dreaming. The term was coined by Frederik van Eeden who used the word "lucid" in the sense of mental clarity. With practice nearly anyone can experience lucid dreams.

Lucidity is not the same as dream control. It is possible to be lucid and have little control over the dream. However, becoming lucid in a dream is likely to increase your ability to deliberately influence the events within the dream. With practice you may extend the amount of control that you have over dream events. Many lucid dreamers choose to do something permitted only by the extraordinary freedom of the dream state, such as flying.

Article: Reflections on Old Guard Paganism

'Old Guard Paganism'. The phrase started out as a joke, but then caught on. This tells us something. It tells us there is a need for such a term. It also implies its own antithesis, 'New Guard Paganism'. And it indicates that there is some difference between the two -- a 'difference that makes a difference' -- and thus requires differentiating labels. (It should perhaps be noted that the word 'Paganism' is used in the present context -- however inaccurately -- to refer to modern Neo-Pagan Witchcraft , or Wicca. With grave misgivings, I have adopted this usage here.)

The first time I heard the phrase 'Old Guard Pagan' (used as a pejorative, as I remember) was during the organizing of the first Heartland Pagan Festival. It seems that the festival was being organized mainly by 'New Guard Pagans' who felt they were not getting the anticipated support from the 'Old Guard'. Yet, even after such misunderstandings were cleared up, the phrase remained. Why? And what is the line of demarcation? I remember a discussion I had at the time with a long-time High Priestess and friend, in which we laughingly concluded that an Old Guard Pagan was any 'pre-Starhawk' Pagan. (Starhawk's important book, 'The Spiral Dance' was first published in 1979.) Thus, an Old Guard Pagan is any pre-1979 Pagan. And yet, seniority alone couldn't be the difference -- although it might account for many differences. (It is interesting to note that Starhawk's book is responsible for a massive influx of people into feminist traditions of Wicca, and this shift in focus may likewise account for key differences.)

Travel and Religious Practice

I just returned from a week-long business trip. During that time, I found it very very difficult to keep on-track with my religious practice. Mostly, it wasn't that I didn't have materials I felt were necessary, or anything like that--it was just hard to remember to do things. Even little things like saying "good morning" to my Patron.

Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you handle it?

To Found A Religion?

I came across this the other day. The author was speaking of Christianity and Buddhism. I wondered whether it applied to pagan religions.

"To become the founder of a religion one must be psychologically infallible in one's knowledge of a certain average type of souls who have not yet recognized that they belong together. It is he (Or should that read she???) that brings them together. The founding of a religion therefore always becomes a long festival of recognition-" Nietzsche: The Gay Science" Bk. 5 353.

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