Friday, June 30, 2006

Can We Get Some Testosterone Here, Please?

I’m not Wiccan, but my neopagan worldview is virtually the same. As a guy, I have no problem with Wicca’s strong feminist leanings; and as a gay guy, I’m probably less threatened than most men about appreciating my own feminine side. Yet, like the guy who wrote the article referenced in a recent thread (whose Wicca experiences tended towards the “You’ve got a penis, so you’re wrong” type), I find myself wondering about the role of men in Wicca and its neopagan relatives.

I’m not concerned with individuals who reject all things male; their problem, not mine. But I’m curious if others have found anywhere in Wicca or its close relatives an embrace of “hypermasculinity”: the competitive drive, athleticism, unbridled promiscuous sexuality, a tendency towards directness, etc.

The nearest I’ve found is the Wiccan concept of the God as hunter, which seems of limited value to most of us whose nearest experience to death-dealing is ordering a burger. Ancient pantheons have a wealth of hypermasculine archetypes—Herakles, Zeus, Achilles, and a ton of other Greeks; Thor and Odin; and that’s just naming the most obvious. Yet in Wicca-related neopaganism, we seem to be defined solely in relation to the female: the Consort; the rape-fighter. (My sole purpose in life is to run around preventing rape? Great.)

As a gay guy I understand better than most just how damaging the hypermasculine can be when it’s improperly channeled: bullying, violence, war, patriarchal domination, and yes, rape. But maybe because my own embrace of my hypermasculinity was hard won, it seems a shame that so many Wiccan types cut themselves off from it. A nature-centered religion shouldn’t have so much trouble appreciating what’s beautifully obvious from every fantastically plumaged male bird belting out his song at the top his lungs. And a feminist religion risks diminishing its women if they’re not given the opportunity to embrace their masculine side (seen the legion of girls on suburban soccer fields lately?) just as we Wiccan-type guys get to embrace our feminine side.

So shoot me down. Am I totally off base here? In Wicca and its neopagan relatives, where’s the testosterone?

How Did Humans Come to Be?

How do you believe we came into being? I guess this is coubld probably part of a far greater question about creation in general and how the earth came to exist but what I was really thinking of when the question came to me was on a more personal level I think.

So less how did humans come to exist and more how did your soul (or equivalent) come to exist?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Developing Religious Structure?

Forgive me if this is long and/or rambling, and let me know if you need clarification.

I've been what I call an armchair pagan for awhile- all thought, no action- and my Gods have decided that they have had enough with the wishy-washy indecisiveness. I spent some time searching for groups that matched my beliefs, but I was constantly met with the thought that I have to do it myself. I've also come to the conclusion that I should be designing this path to be walked by more than one person.

The problem is, I have no real experience with organized religion. My mother chose to raise me without religion so I could decide for myself- unfortunately, I was never really exposed to anything. I know virtually nothing about the Abrahamic religions. I'm pretty well versed with mainstream wicca, but it's so contradictory to my beliefs that tweaking would be a severe understatement. The closest thing to my beliefs is Celtic Reconstructionism, but I haven't been able to find much in the way of structure as that particular path is still in a major growth period.

Darkhawk said in 332.21 "Then I thrashed around like a beached trout until I managed to find and establish actual structure that I could work with. Without structure, I was trying to carve with a spoon made out of Jell-o." It's very fitting for the place that I'm currently in.

So my question (sorry this has been so long in coming!) is this: How does one develop any kind of religious structure or framework when they're in my kind of position? I feel very much adrift, and I'd try to get back to the shore if I knew what it looked like.

The Gods

I am having a very hard time conceptualizing the Gods. I see them as "big" spirits and that's about all. (Maybe it's because I work with a lot of spirits that does this to me? I don't know.)

I don't see us all as being part of the Gods, I don't see myself as rep. of the Goddess, or anything like that. To put it simply, I really have no internal makeup towards the Gods that I recognize. The ideas of "the goddess is the ground and the god is the sun" mean very little to me, if anything that all. Don't get me wrong, I do feel spiritual in the wilderness, etc., but it isn't something I stick the label of "God" onto.

I am trying to read a book on the MMC concept but again, I just see that as a process rather then anything internally. I always hear the "once you accept the God/dess within, you can start working that energy" but how do you accept something you don't have a frame of mind to? I'm starting to go crazying trying to understand this concept.

Any thoughts and ideas, any personal stories, anything at all would be lovely.

Names for Nameless Gods

I've just read through the nameless Gods thread, which was very interesting, and it brought a few questions into my mind.

Firstly, if your God/Goddess isnt a 'mainstream' one, how do you refer to them? I mean mostly when you are talking to them rather than when you are talking about them. The God(dess) who seems to have been near me for a few years hasnt revealed much about itself to be, or at least I wasnt listening if they did (only started any serious Pagan reading etc a few months ago, before that it was just general ideas in my head but nothing concrete and nothing I really spent alot of time thinking about). Anyway, I have been saying a nightly thank you, watch over me type thing for a few years but I've never known how to address the deity in question. I used to use a kind of 'To whoever you are' but that felt rather informal, rather vague and it just didnt sit well with me. I've since moved onto a 'Goddesses, Gods..' type of address but that still doesnt feel right. I'd really like something more formal and I guess I was wondering how other people overcame this.

Have you found a name which you can use which they are happy with? How did you arrive at this?

Are their "Opposites" in Faith?

Do you think there can be "opposites" in your faith/religion/path?

For example. a one-time fundamentalist friend of mine considered Catholics the opposite of her faith.
I thought that interesting as I always thought the opposite of ALL Christianity would be... uhmmm Satanism... or would it be Atheism?

Can there be *opposites* in religion at all?

My personal opinion is "I don't think so."

I am not even sure that lack of belief is the opposite of belief when it comes to spirituality. After all, a lack of belief doesn't mean you actively fight against the belief, right? But when you see religions that fight against each other, they frequently have beliefs that are quite they can't be opposites, either.

Anybody else have thoughts on this, or can you help confuse me more!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Article: Spiritual Growth

To grow spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence is a Herculean task. Modern conveniences such as electronic equipments, gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment through television, magazines, and the web have predisposed us to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and wants. As a result, our concepts of self-worth and self-meaning are muddled. How can we strike a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?

Article: How To Make A Dowsing Pendulum

There are commercial pendulums available on the market. Usually they can be bought from shops dealing with metaphysical or new age stuffs. However these shops are quite scarce and can be quite hard to find. Alternatively, pendulums can be ordered online through websites selling them.

This article is about making a do-it-yourself (D-I-Y) pendulum for dowsing. If you want to save some money or commercial pendulums are not available for you, you can opt to make one yourself.

Article: Amethyst

Amethyst gets its name from the Greek word amethustos, meaning "not drunken". The origin of amethyst name and its healing properties come from a Greek legend telling the story of how Dionysus, god of wine and intoxication was angry from one mortal that he swore revenge on all mortals who did not get drunk and celebrate.

Article: Enhance Your Magick Energy

Remember, you don't need anything external to do Magick. The Magick is inside of you. But, especially when you are just beginning, certain things can increase your desired effects of Magick (in very big ways) - such as colors and wicca symbols...

This is because you are able to draw on the energies added by external tools (which each are imbued with their own energies). More importantly, you draw on the added belief these tools add to your subconscious mind.

Let's start with color - one of the most basic of energies that you can incorporate into your Magick.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Meditation and Depression

'm seeking some advice on whether to meditate when suffering from depression.

For about a six weeks, I'd been meditating for 15 minutes daily, and I was really starting to enjoy it, rather than just seeing it as a chore. It gave me a real sense of peace and re-invigorated me, even after a stressful day at work.

But in the last couple of weeks, my depression has got worse, and I've been in a low and tearful mood a lot of the time (I've sought medical assistance and my doctor has increased my medication). When I try to meditate, I just get a horrible feeling of coldness and division around my heart chakra (whereas previously, it felt warm and full of love). The attempt at meditation leaves me feeling worse than when I started.

My question is, do you think I should continue to meditate, even on 'bad days'? Is there some sort of benefit I can gain from doing this - for example, learning something about what it is that makes me feel so bad? Or should I just concentrate on doing things that I know will improve my mood, and leave meditation for my better days?

I would love to hear advice from anyone who has had a similar problem - or just anyone who has an opinion!

Staff Position Open: Flash Chat Contact

The Cauldron has a chat staff position open. Anyone who has been an active, participating member of our forum for three months or longer and feels they are qualified for the position may apply.

Out of Touch?

So last Sunday, my country played in the world cup soccer. My boyfriend was going to watch in the pub with friends, and while I don't care about soccer so much, I like sitting around with friends, a drink and a snack, shouting at the TV, so I joined.

Half way the second half, I wished I hadn't. The game was *rough*. There were some nasty fouls on both sides, the ref was only making things worse by being overly strict, and every time the game was paused because of a foul, the players were shoving, and damn near hitting each other. The record for highest number of cards in tournaments for national teams was broken: 17 yellow cards (i.e. warnings) were given, 4 "indirect red" (red card get you removed from the game and suspended for the next match. Two yellow cards gives a red card).

I was embarassed beyond words. To me, this had nothing to do with soccer. It was unsportsman-like, dishonorable... It pained me to watch it.

The pub was swearing at the ref for every decision against our team, no matter how justified, and cheering at every decision against the other team, no matter how unjustified. Even afterwards, talking with friends, they didn't see just why I was so appalled, even though they did have a more nuanced view of things meanwhile.

I walked away feeling like a complete alien. My standards and ideas of how to live life seemed miles away from everyone in that pub.

With all of our beliefs being somewhat out of the mainstream, I imagine I must not be the only one who finds herself completely out of touch with the ideas of the majority around her on occasion. Have you had moments like that? Moments when you wondered whether you were even in the same universe as people around you? How do you deal with them?

Hera and Herkles?

I am reading a book that is saying that Hera was once an "all-giving" mother goddess, that she is older then Zeus, that her partner was Herkles, and that the shallow "shrew" side is a recent addition to her.

Does anyone have more info on this? It would be very interesting if this is true, but I can see how it could be propaganda.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Godforms and Magic?

It's very often held in a number of books on Magick, especially Hermetic ones, that the Gods, spirits, demons and so on are "thoughtforms" or parts of your own psyche. The argument being that "the God/demon is a part of your Archetypal make up and thus yourself but even if you can't prove any other type of existance to it that could be said about your neighbur or this computer too".

This is all fine if your an Acosmic Monist or for some types of Dualism, however, there are many world views out there.
I sometimes get the feeling the Magicians writing tries to explain away their own spirituality using a bit of Psychology (and a title ofcourse, another reason to be ashamed to be a Theist).

I would say that most Christians (as an example) take their God literaly. I have never heard one of them refer to God as a Godform, an Arcetype or anything else than God.

Magick today, despite of calling it self "revivalist" is very much built on Rationalism, outer Empirism and so on
and I much ask myself, why bother with Magick at all? I don't reject that view of Magick, i just feel that it's hard to be a Theist and a Materialist simultainusly. There are worldwiews that "allows" a God (or several) to exist after all, and pounding "all in your headism" into an aspiring Magician or Pagan is just limiting them.

What do you think?

Does Magic Really Work?

Does magick really work?

I know if you perform magick and put all your will and energy into it or what not. But, is it just our minds that think that our magic has done something when in fact it hasnt or do we all really believe it actually does do something? I beleive magick works. I just want to know what other people think...

I'm also not talking about "Hocus Pocus I turn your nose into a toad" Or whatever. I'm talking ritual magic, money magic, protection magic etc.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

How to Craft Your Tools?

I have read the tread on the creation of ritual and magical tools. It is something I would like to try, but I really don't know were to begin!

I thought making a wand would be the easiest way to start, and I decided to search for a branch straight and long enough. But what do I do next, after removing the bark? I was thinking of using silver or copper wire, and maybe some stones (how do I have them stayed on the wand?)... I know I should find the right pattern myself, but I would like to have your insights and experiences on this.

For those who have crafted theirs, how did you proceed? What did you use? Do you have several items (ex. several wands or cups) for differents purposes? Is there some good websites that describe how to do it?

Questions about Visualization

After you're done visualizing something, is it wise to leave it "running", or is it better to somehow "exit" the visualization?

I was visualizing my room turning into a garden. Then I decided to stop, but didn't know what to do. Do I just leave and forget about it? Deconstruct the garden? Or just mentally leave the garden but leave the visualization intact? Are there consequences to these choices?

Also, if I leave a visualization alone (let's say I visualize a shield around me then leave it), how long can I expect it to last, if at all? Does it depend on what kind of visualization it is?

The Magical Uses of Salt?

I've always heard of salt having purifying powers. I'm a little confused, though, because I've also seen it written that salt is protective. How can it do both? The way I picture salt is that it cancels magic, thus 'purifying' it, but if so, it should be impossible to add to spells. Yet I see spells that combine salt with other herbs, stones, etc. If the salt is acting as a purifier, then why does the spell still work? Am I totally off base?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Is Religion your Life?

I'm just curious as to whether people's main focus in life is their religion or spiritual path?

For instance, do you use your spare time for spiritual purposes or focus?

If not, how do you find the balance between leading a "normal" life and between your spiritual path and whatever rituals/meditations/dedications/further study etc you may do in regards to this.?

Do you feel you spend enough time and energy towards your spiritual path or would you like to put more in but possibly can't because of other obligations etc?

"Queen of Sidhe" and "Dana"?

This morning when I woke from dreaming, moments before I opened I eyes I heard the names "Queen of (the) Sidhe" and "Dana". Dana seems pretty obvious to me as Danu, but the Queen of Sidhe part is not so apparent.

I've done a search and found that Aine may or may not match both of these. There was a more learned site, however, that says that it's not correct to associate Aine with Dana. Then again, the association has apparently become popular.

What say you all? Can you think of another goddess who matches both "Queen of (the) Sidhe" and "Dana"?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Celebrating the Summer Solstice?

I was just wondering how different people celebrate the summer solstice, what it means to them, etc.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Your Own Mecca?

When Arizona mentioned in her thread about the witch trials that some think of visiting Salem as being a spiritual journey, it got me wondering what places could be considered the equivalents to Mecca or Jerusalem for Pagans.

Given your own beliefs, whether you've mixed up your own little cocktail or follow a path based on ancient traditions and protocol, what would you name as your place(s) of choice? What places, for you, would count as Mecca or a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Salem Witch Trials

There are a lot of pagans who are excited to go to Salem someday and treat it like a religious journey almost, because all of those witches who perished there for there religion. But in all truth...I'm confused... :S

Sure, witches have died over the centuries for their cause. (I say "cause" because I don't know if it was very religion oriented way back when. I thought that was a more modern thing with Wicca.) It is made very apparent that people were not fond of witches and would hunt them down and kill them. However...most of the people in Salem (or elsewhere for that matter) who were hung/killed/died in prison were not really even witches. They were just ACCUSED of being witches! Many of them were good puritan settlers who someone had a grudge with. Some of them not so "good" (like the one tavern owner who stayed open on the sabbath).
Sure there were some who confessed...but many of them did just to be put out of the misery of rotting in jail.

I'm not saying that NONE of them were actually far as it shows...there is no proof that any of them really were.

So when people are so upset/proud of the "witches" that were"martyred" just because they were witches aren't they just being ridiculous? Yes...I think that the actual fact that they WOULD HAVE just hunted down and killed witches is horrible. But that's not really what happened. It was all based on accusations and fear. How do you feel about the whole thing? Does Salem seem like a sacred place to you or do you feel the same way that I do?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Spells Done: Why Shouldn't We Talk About Them?

I can't figure the reasons why we shouldn't talk about the magical works or rituals we have done. Some are saying that we should stay silent on the subject for at least 24 hours, while others just say "Do not talk about it at all."

Why is it so? Will it change the effect? Is it to keep the energy focussed on the goal? Or to help us to concentrate on it? All of the above?

Teenagers and Paganism

What are some of the issues, concerns, questions, or thoughts you've had in relation to teenagers and various Pagan religions? What are your thoughts on potential legal ramifications? How about the increased marketiing of Pagan material specifically for teens? Do teenagers need such specific material? Is the condition of being a Pagan teenager intrinsically different from being a Pagan adult? What do you think are appropriate modes of study for teenagers? Do you see any special responsibility on the part of adult Pagans to help interested teens? Is the issue of teens doing magic related to the broader issue of teens in Pagan religions, or should it be considered separately?

So... Where Did "Harm None" Come From?

I was wondering exactly where the "harm none" interpretation of the Wiccan Rede began. I've read a few of the older books on Wicca (the Gardner, Valiente, and Farrar stuff), and haven't seen it there. I recently re-read Cunninghams "Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" and didn't see it there, either.

So where did this "harm none" misconception get started? Anyone have an idea?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wacky Devotions

I'm curious. What is the strangest thing you have ever done as sacrifice to or in devotion to a God or Goddess? It may have been something intensely personal that was a perfectly valid expression of love/whatever other emotion to you, but would seem strange to others, even those of a Pagan leaning.

Family Paganism?

What age do you think children should be allowed to participate in rituals?

My partner and I have 7 kids, from 18 to 3. Obviously the 3 year old is too small to participate. Our oldest is not interested at all, but the kids between are. I have begun seriously teaching the teens and encouraging them to research their paths.


I began pagan life with strong shamanic leanings, then I discovered the whole neo-pagan phenomenon. I read books on Wicca, on Asatru and hit a range of good, bad, and plain ole' ugly. I got thwapped, sometimes quite repeatedly and clearly --- other times subtle taps that left me boggling over what to do.

The Labyrinth work has taken over large parts of my spiritual life, and while I initially conceived of that as something temporary; that is what I am dealing with now. I don't know that 'temporary' describes it. I am afraid it is a permanent fixture for me and a permanent focus of my spiritual work. Lately, I dream and get cards in tarot layouts that speak of 'death priestesses' a LOT. I laughed off the card in the Barb Walker tarot --- cause ya know, ole' Barbara gets a bit OUT there --- but my own dreams, some meditational stuff that popped up the same sorts of images begin to hammer me.

I know other cultures in times past had official folks for publicly dealing with death, professional crying and the whole bit. I don't think we have that... not in the broader picture of American life.

I am confused and baffled to think that I may need to consider this my actual JOB. What do your various paths say about death and crossings...officially, from a priest or priestess point of view?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mindfulness vs. Multitasking

I found out the secret price of growing up: adults never have enough time, huh?

A lot of the stuff I used to do, like meditating, seems very self-indulgent now. I feel like I could save time by multi-tasking (e.g. do yoga while mulling over yesterday's Cold War lecture), but the trouble is I'm always told that stuff like this has to be done mindfully, with the attention completely on the present. do we balance mindful activities with multitasking? Can it be even done? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Never Taken Seriously When I Say I'm Wiccan

I have this major pet peeve thing with the fact that wicca is very commonly just a "fad religion." So when i mention being wiccan to anyone they always look at me with this look of "'re one of those." And some people who used to be wicca, but are now something "more advanced" have actually said to me that they only see wicca as an "introductory religion."

When I first stepped off the path of Christ...I was lost. (I was about 13 or so at the time) I didn't really have a religion. There were some things I believed and some things that I was still sketchy about. Over about 7 years I looked into several different religions and just kept a personal relationship with nameless gods and goddesses.

When I was about 20...a few celtic gods smacked me in the face one day and I suddenly had these names in my head that I had no idea who they were. I looked them up and figured it out. So I had gods and goddesses, but no religious path yet. Then a few months later I stumbled upon Wicca.
Since it fit all the things I had believed over the past few years I adopted wicca as my religion. I am a pretty avid solitary, but have since been looking into a circle in Philadelphia.

Anyway... I personally know that Pagan does not equal Wicca. And "witch" does not necessarily mean wiccan. I am pretty well educated about the differences between a lot of the different pagan religions. My personal problem is that everyone I meet seems to think I'm in a "phase". That I just haven't been into paganism long enough to know better. I know a lot of solitary witches that basically laugh at me when I say I'm Wiccan. That hurts!

But I am 24 years old...and my mind is made up. I am very happy with my religion and I am very content with how my life is going now. I am at peace. So I suppose I'm asking what you all think of wicca. Do you feel the same way...that it is simply an introductory religion? I just kind of feel like all the young rebelious teens are ruining the name of my chosen path.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Different Groups, Different Gods?

For those who are working within a coven/group, do you worship the same Gods/Goddess on your own, when you are alone? Or maybe with another group?

The reason of this question is that I started to practice with two of my friends. I definitively like the Deities we chose to work with, but, for some reasons, I feel a pull toward another one... She's not really different from the other two, but still.

Do you think one of Them will feel betrayed?

Predators and Con Men in the Community

As has been pointed out we do have predators and con men in the community, such as the child sex abuser in Australia. As Randall pointed out, we have just as bad people here in the States. It is a fact of life, as any community grows, not all the people who become part of it are going to be good people.

So I have a question, what is our responsibility to the Pagan community when we come across such people?

You know the moment you say something, someone will bring up Witch Wars and not being judgmental. But at the same time not doing anything allows these people to continue to do harm to our people. New people are going to be especially vulnerable to the the predators and con men.

Worse yet these people become part of justifying the attack on Paganism as a whole by those that already would like to get rid of us, or restrict our religious freedoms.

How to Not Offend the Deities

I want to pray to certain Gods or Goddesses but I wont do it yet because I dont want to offend, can anyone please explain to me how I do this without offending or do I need to be more specific on the Deity? Also, How do I go about making an offering and can the wrong offering offend?


Do you believe that the diety/deities you worship/honor/communicate with will punish you if you offend them? If so, what form will this punishment take? Are there different levels of offense and punishment? Has anyone ever been punished for offending a deity? Would you mind sharing your experience if you feel comfortable doing so?

Monday, June 12, 2006


Over in the holidays thread, Nasty was asking about sacrifices--what do people sacrifice, does it always involve animals, does it ever involve humans, etc. I thought it would be a good idea to move that discussion to its own thread, so--here's the thread. I know this is a discussion we've had before, but I think it's been a while so I hope we'll get some fresh insight and good discussion on the subject.

To kick it off... I noticed that Lyric's response talked a lot about what to offer to the Gods. I was wondering--are "offering" and "sacrifice" necessarily the same thing? What precisely constitutes a sacrifice?

Pagan Days/Dates of Worship

Sabbats, calender worship, festivals, holidays. When I first began posting on the cauldron I commented (rather blindly) about the pagan holidays that mark my calender and was met by many 'if indeed you believe/follow/include those holdiays' from others.

At the time I didn't admit it, but I was rather shocked. Who doesn't celebrate yule? Or Beltain? Or ostara? Or ... well you get my point. so in the interests of never wanting to put my big foot that far in my mouth again I thought i'd simply ask. Who does? Why? who doesn't? why?

I've read over many books/websites and the likes and not come across many that didn't have a basic Q and A page with some or all of these 'wheel of the year' dates on it. Esbats are a little harder to find info on so I guess I just accepted, without too much thinking (my bad) that sabbats were generally accepted, even if you don't go all ritualistic, and 99% of pagans acknoledged them and accepted that they were important. I've since been slapped with the knowledge that this is just not true!

I have included these basic wheel of the year holidays in my life because they are plastered everywhere (like I said most books and websites that just use the word 'witch' or 'pagan' include/mention/provide info on them) and nature is very important to me, personally and spiritually, thus the seasons and harvests etc have come to be important to me. I don't think I would acknowledge these dates if I had not read about them, I certainly wouldn't have tracked them down. so I guess their prominence in the available informaiton has effected me.

What do others do? do you follow the wheel of the year? Why? do you follow a similar wheel to the basic 'Wiccan' (i don't know if 'wiccan' is the right term but I am trusting that it is an effective term and most people will know which wheel I am refering to) wheel? do you celebrate totally different days and why?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Greek Anti-Recommendations

I walk into my local university library and discover that they seem to have quite a lot of scholarly books on ancient Greece and its myths, religion, etc. I figure, it can't hurt to start reading some of this stuff if I'm going to get serious about this Greek thing. Right?

Problem is, I don't know the gold from the crap. I know a few titles that are supposed to be good places to start (which is why I was there in the first place), but the rest of the books there I have no idea.

So. Greek people: Are there any books you would specifically recommend staying far, far away from? Short of that, are there any specific "red flags" you look for that tell you a book is not going to be a reliable source? I figure if there's no reason to avoid these books, it's probably worth reading at least some of them, but I don't want to waste a lot of time on stuff that "everybody knows" is junk anyway, at least not until I get a better handle on what is and isn't good information.

Pagans Converting to Christianity

I've always found it odd that so many Pagans who say that all religious paths are valid for those who follow them seem to get so upset when some Pagan decides a Christian path is more right for them after all. These folks often drop the person from their circle of friends, say nasty things about him/her, etc. -- even if they are adopting a non-fundie Christian faith.

I don't get it. These same people generally have no trouble when someone converts from Christianity to a Pagan religion and even bemoan the fact that the convert to a Pagan religion is treated like dirt by some of their Christian friends. It's an obvious double standard, but I don't understand the reasoning behind it. Anyone have an ideas as to why this is? Should we tolerate this behavior in our Pagan friends?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Roman Empire Information Wanted

I'm interested in reading up a bit on the Roman Empire, and have no clue where to begin. I've never studied it before, so all I know is pretty much snippets I've heard here and there, plus some extra I got from Shakespeare. :)

I know it covers a long period of time, but are there any books that might cover the Roman Empire in general, covering the span of its existence? What books and authors would you recommend, and who wouldn't you touch with a barge pole?

Edited Ten Commandments for the Louisiana Legislature

[Upon reading that the Louisiana Legislature was editing the Ten Commandments in a bill to require the posting of said commandments, one of our members decided to help them by coming up with a edited set suitable for most legislative bodies]

In light of this, I figured I would edit up the commandments for them, as would be appropriate for a legislature.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me, but note, worship of power, money and self-diefication are just fine.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, but 2 ton monuments depicting this list do not count.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain, but using it as poltiical tool is just dandy.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy, but to show we are really keepers of gods law, we won't even work half the year and keep the rest holy.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother; well not as much the father, but definately the mother, so long as she is pumping out babies and preferably barefoot.

6. Try really really really really really really hard not to kill, unless of course they are brown and have oil under their feet, but then its just collataral damage.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery, but f^&*ing your constituants is perfectly acceptable.

8. Thou shalt not steal, we call that campain contributions.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour, but since your political opponents won't likely be neighbours, its perfectly alright to say that they drink the blood of puppies while they howl at the moon.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, cause under eminant domain, it technically belongs to us.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Meditation Problem

I have some problems when I meditate. I can shift on this all-relaxed mode fairly well enough. I can easily let images flow before my eyes if I know where I'm going or if someone is reading/telling me a visualization. I can even start to feel the grass, or the wind on my skin. But that's all.

If I need to "go without the story" (i.e. if I need to wait for someone/god/goddess/spirit/entity to come and ask them a question, or if I need to see what happens in the said-context), then nothing happens. I seem to be unable to go further alone.

Am I too cerebral, for the lack of a better word? Or maybe I'm scared without noticing it... Really, I can't say.

What do you think? Did/do you have the same problem, when you began? What did/do you do (exercises, perhaps?) that helped?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Burning Loose Incense

I'm thinking of trying loose incense instead of the sticks I have been using. (I want to experiment with some scents more than buying commercial incense will allow, and loose seemed easier to deal with in that respect than cones or sticks.) A couple of things I wanted to ask before I do this:

One, I want to make sure I understand the theory before I start trying to do it in practice. You have a charcoal disk in some sort of firesafe container, over which you scatter a mixture of loose herbs and/or resins, correct?

Two, some more depth on the above: can the charcoal tablets be used more than once, or is it pretty much one tablet per burn? And how much incense should one use? And the loose incense is just herbs and resins and whatever mixed together, no special preparation needed, right?

Three, what do you use to hold the charcoal while it's burning? I've heard of special burners, but don't know where to find them--I can buy charcoal tablets around here, but none of the stores that carry them seem to have anything to burn in. I thought of maybe a dish filled with sand or something, but wasn't sure how big it would need to be in order to be safe. (Or where to get the sand, but it does occur to me that in roughly a week I'm going to... the Atlantic coast. For a week... Hmmmm.)

Review: Moon Tides, Soul Passages

As most readers have probably noticed, I haven't reviewed many books since my marriage to LyricFox. Marriage and the growth of The Cauldron have really cut into my time for reading and reviewing. However, when asked to review a copy of Moon Tides, Soul Passages by Maria Kay Simms, I had to say yes. Simms is a professional astrologer and one of the better eclectic Wiccan authors writing today. Unfortunately, her books are often ignored by eclectic Wiccans because they can seem at first glance to have more to do with astrology than with Wicca.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Being Liminal

Since the beginning of this year I've been in a very liminal situation, neither here nor there in a lot of things. And, unless I'm mistaken, I seem to be getting more...unhinged (no, I'm not going psycho yet, just more eccentric and volatile).

Do you think people in long-term liminal situations/roles suffer any adverse effects, or positive ones? Have you ever had any such experiences?

I'm Confused About God(s)!??

I am so confused about all these different Gods and Goddesses. The list is nearly endless. I don't get it! Someone help enlighten me.

I am struggling with the whole thing. I read that God in some religions is all male. Then I read he's all female. Then in another...He's both. A He/ mother and father!??

Where He is father -who overlooks, takes care of, sustainer of all creation and the mother -who is nurturer, teacher, gives birth to life.

O.k I can rap my mind around that. Because I do see (personally) that God is He/She. The great 'I AM'.....kinda thing. And that's coming from a Christian teaching but coming out of it to Pagan. I know...I know confusing... and yes it is. I am an odd one out in the church all together.

But then where do all these other Gods from Greek mythology, the patheon and such come into it?
Are they ment to be just characters of this same God or actual Gods themselves?

A friend of mine said that she believes there must be more than one God because all of creation is far too big to be run by one God. Let alone two.

Or are the other Gods/Goddess ment to be GOD'S children?

Or what?!! I am so confused. I thought that if there are other Gods/Goddess. Then man....some of the traits of these Gods/Goddesses have major personality problems.

There is so much killing and sleeping with others going on that it boggles my mind to how any of us would want to follow them.

And it boggles my mind as to how anyone would follow the Christian God? Me included. That's why I am struggling.

I read this morning that the Wiccan or Witchcraft person or Wythcrafter doesn't go by Gods in general. They go by the earth, moon, elements and stuff. But then I come to a site and they say they are Wiccan and they do go by Gods. And others by Goddess.

One person told me that she's a Wiccan and she worships the Goddess.
And she explained to her. Goddess is both. Father and Mother. God and Dess!!

Please help explain some truths. It's got me intrigued. But confused too.

And how do people relate to one another in a Coven setting, if one relates to Greek Gods/Goddesses and the other doesn't......but they claim to be both Wiccan?

How do they do rituals together or cast spells when they would be evoking or chanting/praying to theirs different?

Why Do We Feel the Need for Religion?

I have been raised "hard-core" atheist by my dad, my mom is a little more lenient to the idea there may be a "higher force", and I'm pretty sure there is one.

This is because: So many people look for a religion. So many people believe there are higher powers, and it dates back so far in time, that I believe it has to be there (Tried, tested and true?).

By the way, I did say pretty sure. I have not yet had any contact or obvious sign from a diety.

Any other ideas on why we feel the need for a religion?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Bible Stories that Bug You

Even though I'm no longer Christian, I still try to read and be familiar with the Bible. I've found that some of stories bother me...mostly in terms of "Hey, that's not fair!" I think that most people struggle with the story of Job, but what are some other stories that affected you that way?

For the non-Christian members, did this discomfort with the Bible contribute to you moving away from a JCI path? For the Christian members, how do you incorporate this discomfort as part of your faith?

One story that has always bothered me was the story of the prodigal son. It didn't bother me so much that the father accepted the wayward son back into the family. What did bother me was that the other son had stayed and dutifully served the father for all those years and had been promised the remaining birthright. Then, as soon as his slacker brother comes straggling back, the dutiful son loses everything all over again.

Personally, stories like this did not influence my move away from Christianity. It never really bothered me that everything in the Bible did not line up with my personal ethics. But I never saw the Bible as being dictated verbatim by God, either.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

How Do You Make Offerings?

I'm curious to hear about how different people make offerings to their deities. I've never really done this as a practice, but lately I've been feeling as if I should.

Some people might make an offering of an apple by eating it. Others pour libations. Others bury special objects or toss them into the ocean. I've known people who make daily offerings and others who reserve the act for special rituals.

What kinds of offerings do you give? To whom? And how? How do you know if they're accepted?

Money Magic

One of the only two seminars I attended during Heartland this year was Dorothy Morrison's money spell seminar. I liked her work before, but hearing her in person and speaking with her afterwards really settled it that I like her work.

So, I thought I'd share a little of what Dorothy had to say, as well as my own thoughts on the matter.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Candle Substitutes?

I know we've had a bazillion threads on this... and I can't seem to find any of them. I had a little candle at my desk at work that I lit during my short noontime prayer (and kept lit for about half an hour just as a sort of... observance, I guess). It has come to my attention that open flame is not allowed in the building, so I need to find something else.

I'm looking for something inconspicuous, as I don't generally discuss religion at work, and something that is doable in a work environment (I half-remember a suggestion about colored ice cubes and letting them melt, but I have no way to do that here). I would prefer to have it be something that has an "off" state and an "on" state, to mimic the candle-lighting/extinguishing, but I'll take what I can get. And of course it needs to be firey without being an actual fire hazard.

So... any ideas?

I'm not actually 100% certain that I won't just drop the candle-lighting bit rather than have to "settle" for a substitute, but I thought it was worth looking into before just discarding it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What Does Honor Mean to You?

What does it mean to you to be honorable, and do you think being honorable is important?

Message Board Server Move Planned for June 2nd

Our Server Admin is planning on moving the message board server across town tomorrow (June 2nd) to a different network. The move itself should not take much time, but the server's numeric address will be changing. This means that some time may elapse before your ISP's DNS servers update to the new address.

For many people, it will happen within hours. For most it will take 24 to 72 hours. For some lame ISPs, it might take a week or more. Until your ISP updates their DNS records or all their DNS servers, you will have no way to access the board -- you will be told the address does not exist or the server is down. There is nothing we can do about this.

The Cauldron's main web site (you are on it now ) will not be moving anywhere, so it should remain accessible. Updates, if needed, will be posted here.

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