Friday, March 30, 2007

Honoring Chavi on April 1st

If you were a member of The Cauldron any time from about 2003 to early 2006, you will remember Chavi (aka Storyteller Cat and, in offline life, Cathlene Patricia McKenna) and starting in early 2005, her ever positive reports on her battle with a rare form of cancer. (You can read some of those posts here on our slow 2005 Archive Board.) The odds were against her from the beginning, but that did not stop her from fighting hard to turn to be one of the rare survivors. And for a time it looked like she really might overcome those long odds. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be so.

Sunday, April 1, 2007, marks the first anniversary of Chavi's passing. This board has not been the same without her. We've decided to honor her by asking all Cauldron members who knew her, knew of her, or who did not know her but just want to help honor a wonderful person (and wish to participate) to light a candle in her honor at 8pm your local time on April 1st and let it burn for at least an hour. The object is to have 24 hours of candles burning for her -- one hour at a time around the world. Given things like oceans and the like, this may not be completely possible, but I'll bet we can come close.

The time would be marked in your time zone so it would be like a 24-hour honoring of a wonderful person.

If you want to participate, please post in here. Everyone, regardless of religion, is welcome to participate. If you can't participate at 8pm your time, feel free to pick a different hour, Chavi would not have cared cared.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Review: Circle, Coven & Grove

This book is definitely a "101" book. It is designed to provide basic ideas and structure for a year's worth of rituals. However, unlike many books of basics, this one supplies ideas for New and Full Moons attuned to each month. Of course, the author makes sure to state early that the reader is not bound by the ideas contained in the book. As she points out, she has presented to concept of a "rebirthing" ritual as appropriate for an April Full Moon, but if you feel the need for such a ritual at some other time of the year it may be used whenever you need it.

Review: Wiccan Wisdomekeepers

The Introduction to this book gives some of the basics people should know to have a basic understanding of our religion. The rest of the book, however, is more in the nature (if you'll pardon the pun" of short biographies/philosophies of a dozen different Witches running the gamut from Doreen Valiente to Patricia Kennealy Morrison. Some of them are household names in the Pagan community and some are lesser-known individuals.

Positive Press for Witches and their Kids

I was sent this article by the delightful young woman who works the booth at many of my faires with me. She is running the Spiral Scouts group and the local paper sent out a reporter. It is a bit more in depth than some things I've read, does the usual Witch=Pagan thing but does ask intelligent questions and the quotes are accurate (at least according to my friend, it is what she actually said). A few members of Reclaiming are also interviewed and everyone is taken seriously. Nice to have something decent in the news.

Raising Pagans - When Daddy is Catholic and Mommy is a Witch, what's a couple to teach their children?

The Question of Nisut

Really, the one thing that drives me way the hell into the neo-reconstructionist side of things is the whole Nisut question. (And this isn't just that as one of Set's little minions I have certain kingmaking and king-challenging tendencies.)

The central problem is this: the Nisut is pretty much essential to ancient Egyptian theology. He (and he was always at least iconographically male-gendered, even in the case of female Nisuts), being both of human and divine natures, was the linchpin that straddled the seen and unseen worlds, enabling communication between them. All ritualists performed their work as delegates of the Nisut, not powers in their own right. It was the Nisut's responsibility to perform the rites that kept the universe working, and everyone else's responsibility to support him in this.

Thus, a reconstruction of Egyptian thought cannot avoid the question of kingship; it is flatly impossible to come up with a coherent theology that honestly is rooted in ancient thought without at least poking at the question with a stick.

I do not believe that a literal Nisut is functional in a modern world, for a variety of reasons.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Secrecy/Surprise in Initiations

In paths requiring initiations, is it important that an prospective initiate does not know exactly what will happen at the initiation ceremony? I have this idea that the "element of surprise" is important, but I can't remember where I picked it up, or if I subconsciously invented it, so I'm wondering what you all think. Does "surprise" matter? And if so, why? I would guess it increases emotional impact, but I'm sure there could be other reasons.

Along the same line, if the initiate is not supposed to know the initiation ritual, what happens if they somehow find out early? Does this render them ineligible, or do you create a new one, or something else?

Ritual Purity - Natron, Blood and Others

As I recall the ancient egyptians had some pretty strict notions about ritual purity, and it was pretty important to the religion. So let's have a thread on that ... here are some questions to start.

1. Natron. What is it, how do we make it (ie recipes), how do we use it.

2. Blood -- in particular, menstrual blood, for those of us of the female persuasion. I vaguely recall someone once mentioned they'd come up with a work-around so that they could do rituals during "that time of the month", but they didn't elaborate and I forget who said it.

3. Theologically speaking, what does purification *do* -- what are we removing? Sin? distractions? mundane life? what?

Defining Celtic?

I think the first order of business is to define what, precisely, we mean by "Celtic". Generally, Celtic refers to a group of related languages, and the cultures that developed in the communities that spoke those languages. So, being Celtic would have nothing to do with genetics or blood, but by being part of this cultural grouping.

The CR FAQ lists the languages considered Celtic, which is a much longer list than most people consider Celtic. So, what Celtic cultures do we want to focus on here? Irish, Scottish and Welsh are the big three I hear mentioned often- who else?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Do you have an altar in your house?

I love to hear about other Witches' altars! Tell me about yours.


I assume the consensus is that no one can KNOW what will happen after we die... so do you just accept this, or do you have a BELIEF?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Learning about Religions?

If you were a total newbie to any religion/spiritual path, what questions would you be asking? What would be the basic questions that you'd need answered to feel like you had a pretty decent, if not general, idea of what the religion is all about? (This can be for any religion or path, not just pagan.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Circles: When, Why and Where?

I'm having some issues with circle-casting as of late, more specifically, when to cast them (for all spells? for simple rituals? etc), why I cast them (protection? a receptacle for raising energy? other?), and what part location plays in my circle casting (do I need to cast a circle at my normal altar, which is already cleansed and consecrated within an inch of its life from constant use?).

I thought it might be helpful to hear how other people who cast circles decide when to cast them, why they cast them, and if location plays a part in the decision. I'd love to hear anything y'all are willing to share.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What Correspondences Do You Use?

When designing a spell or ritual, do you use color/crystal/herb/ect associations you've found somewhere (books..internet), or do you make up your own, using "what seems right to you"?

It seems to me that the purpose of these things is to attune our own mind to the purpose of our ritual, which should allow us to use whatever color(or herb, or stone..) we want, so long as it holds some kind of meaning and association to our purpose. However, I've heard that using correspondences that have been used by others for long periods of time can be more powerful, as there might be some kind of divine or universal connection to them.

What are your thoughts?


I'm looking to try some new incense.

Currently the one I use most is Boswellia/frankincence resin. I also use Pine and Blue Spruce collected from the trees in my yard though not as much. I've collected what I can from existing wounds but don't want to create anymore. I can't use cone, stick, or charcoal incense that creates smoke. It just irritates the eyes and lungs a little too much. I find if the resin is warmed by a flame and not burned it has the best scent.

Does anyone out there use Oak resin? I can't find very much info on Oak as incense. Would anyone advise against using it?

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Environment Affecting Your Practices?

I was reading over this topic and it brought up some issues I have been working through. Even though this relates to the topic I thought it would be better as a separate thread. Gwynyvyr asked if one's path influenced one's environment. I am wondering about the opposite: how does one's environment affect his/her path?

For instance, I recently moved from the mid-Atlantic region to Miami Beach. My personal practice is heavily nature-based with the honoring of local land-spirits and attunement to the climate and environment making up the bulk of it. Naturally, this has caused me to have to overhaul most of my daily practices. I grew up with four well-defined seasons and a major difference between winter and summer. The spirits I worked with seemed to follow the turn of the seasons and the death and rebirth that occurred between fall and spring was a major influence on how I worshiped.

Everything is so different down here! Instead of four seasons there are really only three: high summer and low summer, both overlaid at opposite ends by hurricane season. Crops are grown and harvested year-round. Everything is green and lush even when my body is telling me it should be the dead of winter. I am extremely close to the ocean and get the chance to interact with it daily, something I've never done before. And the local land spirits, the few I have encountered so far, are wild and unfamiliar.

I still honor my Gods and ancestors the same way I did before, as they are not in any way limited by location, but my internal sense of place and connection with the land around me is all out of whack and I have had to rethink how I do things.

I know that this does not apply to everyone, since many of you do not follow a nature or earth-based path/religion, but for those who do: have you ever experienced this? How have changes in your environment affected your practices and/or beliefs?

Special Topic: FlameKeeping

[Vieva is probably familiar to most of our members. She is a writer, SAHM and... founder of her own religion. Those of you that have been around TC for some time have likely heard of FlameKeeping, and there are even some converts to be found among TC membership. But what is FlameKeeping, really? What is it about, what do FlameKeepers do? This is your chance to ask all you want to know, and get answers from the one person who should know best. -- Chabas, Special Topics Coordinator]

What is FlameKeeping?

FlameKeeping is a religion that I am writing. It is a pantheistic faith: the Universe is Divine, and It is more than the sum of Its parts. It is also polytheistic: there are gods that are intermediaries between ourselves and the Divine. Being closer to the Divine nature, They can see more clearly what's going on and what needs to be done. Being individual, though, They can act in ways that appear to conflict with each other.

What is FlameKeeping to the individual? It is a calling to improve the Universe, both by improving oneself and by improving the world around us. Because we are of the Divine, improving ourselves improves the whole. But we're only a small part of that Divine. We must also reach out and improve the world around us, or we are neglecting our abilities.

To be a FlameKeeper is to be aware of our inner Divine Flames. There is the Bright Flame, that which is what we show to the world around us and which guides us to others. And there is the Dark Flame, the inner darkness that renews and heals us.

Joining FlameKeeping is a two-step process. The first one is deciding FlameKeeping makes sense and studying it. The second, and the one that makes you a "full" FlameKeeper, is adding to the religion. This can be with another essay (as it has been so far), with artwork, with action, or anything else that shows that the ideas have been incorporated and added to. If it adds and shows understanding, then that too is added to FlameKeeping and the person is considered a full member.

I'm more than willing to answer questions. Also, everything is at my website,

Monday, March 19, 2007

Writing Prayers/Hymns

Do you write prayers, hymns, etc. to the deities you honor? If so, do you have any particular method or structure you usually use, or do you just use whatever you're inspired to say?

I was a Pagan Wack-Job

Pagan wack-jobs. They troll our boards and steal our TV time, living in their own little worlds. We all like to pass around a good story about self-proclaimed witch queens and Atlantean Dolphin Masters. But I sometimes wonder exactly how many of us have been there.

I say this because I myself was once totally, completely, straight up batshit crazy. Ok, well, maybe that's a harsh way of saying it, but I was definitely living in my own little world, designing personal epics to make myself feel special. Just like the "what if this is all a dream?" or the "what if I'm gay?" question, I think there comes a time in every person's life when they ask themselves, "what if I'm the second coming of Christ?" Only for me, it was, "what if I'm the last incarnation of Vishnu? Vishnu's much cooler than Jesus..." And my self-esteem was just low enough that I decided to go ahead and run with that. It didn't matter that I was female, raised Catholic, and Puerto Rican. I needed to believe.

I did constantly question this belief throughout, which I guess could mean that I wasn't deluded in the traditional, clinical sense - and that might be the difference between someone like me (who eventually came to her senses) and someone like the Heaven's Gate leader. But still, it was a bad place to be in.

So I wonder how many here may have been in a similar place, and how they got themselves out of it. Was it an adolescent thing that you grew out of? Did someone, mortal or divine, snap you out of it? Does anyone have any similarly ridiculous stories to share? I mean...I can't be the only one, right? ::laughs nervously::

(Pre-emptive Note: This isn't meant as a criticism of the Pagan community...however, I do think that certain New Age ideas (like how everyone has a spirit guide and everyone has a special purpose on earth) can have a tendency to feed our egos in the worst ways, producing countless ex-Cleopatras and Second Comings. Not that other religious systems don't have similar traps to fall into. Tibetan monks must be willing to "risk madness and death" to follow the Buddha...and I think the same might be true for the rest of us.)

Resources About Specific Deities?

I know there are some good general mythology sites and books wandering around out there, and every once in a while they get dug up and suggested to someone who's asked a question. But there are also plenty of resources dedicated to the mythology and/or worship of just one or two deities, which I think (I would hope, at least) tend to go a little more in depth. I also know that many of us have a particular interest in one or two or a small handful of deities, and thus have run across these resources concerning the deities we're interested in (or vice versa), so I thought... Why not start a thread and see if we can collect some of those in one place instead of them just kind of showing up in bits and pieces as people express an interest in learning about particular deities?

Are there any deity-specific books or links you would recommend?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vegetarianism? Hunting? Why (or Why Not)?

Moon Ivy mentioning in another thread how her vegetarianism did or did not relate to her religion made me wonder:

1. Is vegetarianism a part of your pagan path? If so, what's the underlying philosophy this vegetarianism is based upon?

2. If you're vegetarian and it's *not* religious, what made you decide to be vegetarian?

I'm not vegetarian, and I was speaking to someone who, like myself, follows a nature-based pagan path; I mentioned that I was thinking of taking up deer hunting (I live in NYC, but there's good deer hunting just an hour or two outside the city), and she looked at me as if I had uttered the Ultimate Unspeakable Offense to the Goddess. Considering that the deer hunting would have been for food (not trophies), I had the opposite thought: that this was actually a very pagan thing to do.

I may be conflating 2 issues here -- vegetarianism and hunting -- but I'd be curious about folks' takes on either or both, and how they do or do not relate to their religious views.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Family (Magic-Like) Tricks?

For those of us whose parents and other family members are not pagan or practicing any sort of magical system, can you think of any things that your family does/did that in retrospect could be considered a type of magic?

For example, my mother was always really good at drawing off pain. (Probably a relatively common mother thing.) I can remember getting vaccinations at the doctor; my mum always held my hand and told me to "give the pain to her."

I seem to have inherited this knack. Even though I have very little healing talent, if someone has a headache, I can "take" it from them. Of course this means I end up with the headache, but hey, I can do it. I can also give pain to my partner if I'm not careful. It's a bit embarassing to have someone pointing their finger at you saying "You gave me your hangover!" Ooops, I wondered why I was feeling so good. *hangs head in shame*

Anyway, does anyone else have anything like this in their families? I'm not really thing of famtrads, more like family knacks or tricks.

Daily Religious Practices?

What sorts of things do you do every day (or try to do everyday)? What's their significance?

Added to clarify question: do you pray, or light candles, offer libations, etc?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Frequency of Worship and/or Ritual

My schedule has changed quite a bit since last year at this time, and I'm still figuring things out here (expect that'll continue for quite a while, actually, lol). I had a nice pattern going before I went back to work full-time where I had my candles going daily for both offering/worship and for magick. Now that I'm not home except for maybe one day a week and that's got to be my day for catching up on everything sitting while I'm at work (laundry, groceries, etc), not to mention carving out family time, I'm finding that making an adequate amount of ritual time is far more difficult. I'm still managing my other regular devotional practices at bedtime, but as for the rest, I'm feeling quite lacking.

So, do you manage to put in as much 'face time' for religious practice as you'd like? Or do you just wing it?

Introducing a Friend to Paganism?

Okay.... Well, you see, I have this boyfriend-type person who I'm wanting to introduce to Paganism. Not in a I-think-he-should-become-Pagan sort of way, but more of a I-want-him-to-know-more-about-my-path sort of way. Unfortunately, while we have plenty of good books, they're all from a Wiccan point of view.

I want to show him what Paganism is, itself, and not Wicca. What I'm looking for is a book that will have short definitions of some of the different paths and a description of the term itself. I know the Pagan Primer on the previous website would be useful, but I'm hoping for something on-paper, as that would make it simpler for both of us (and if I emailed him a link, he checks his email once a month or so, so I would have to wait a while to hear back from him on it).

If you have any recommendations (especially ones that might be in the library), I would be much obliged.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is It Time For a "Reformed" Hellenic Paganism?

I'm going to say something that is going to upset a number of people, but after much thought, I've come to the conclusion that Reconstructionism can be a dead end for certain types of religion: specifically more highly organized state religions -- like the religion of ancient Greece.

The main reason should be obvious. The highly organized state religions of ancient civilizations cannot really be recreated without large numbers of people in one location with a lot of money to spend building temples, supporting the priests of the Gods who maintain those temples, and recreating the often lavish, state-supported festivals of those religions.

The Science in Your Religion?

Unsurprisingly, Quantum Mechanics has raised its head in the Free Will thread running in Philosophy and Metaphysics at the moment. The way it's being applied leads me to ask; are there any particular areas of science, or scientific theorums, that underpin your personal spiritual/religious/philosophic beliefs?

I imagine that this might include theorums that you rely on these beliefs to integrate into your world view or it might be ones that you use to support your beliefs; ones that make your beliefs seem reasonable to you.

What are the Basic Principles of Wicca?

What would you consider the basic principles? beliefs? tenets? that define a Wiccan (generic - nothing Trad specific or the like).... What would you consider the important bulletin points, so to speak?

F'ex... Following the Rede, the Law of Return....

I say generic because I'm looking at dealing with non pagans who have a basic idea of what Wicca is, and what I'm trying to do is get my head around what might constitute a simple list/guide to basic Wiccan principle so that I can make comparisons and differentiate between Wiccan and not Wiccan (and hopefully educate them a little) for a discussion that I've been putting off for far too long. And I guess I just don't want to miss anything important out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Review: Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess

As a general rule, I try to steer away from books which are extremely radical, as I feel that the "average" reader may have difficulty relating to such concepts and the "average reader" in my intended audience. Many strongly feminist works fall into this category (witness the use of "herstory" for "history" and other unconventional terms in the introduction). However, what the author of this book has to say is so relevant, and so important, that I put aside my own personal bias and submerged myself in what she had to say.

Review: And Banish With Laughter

Please understand from the very beginning that Diotima is, among many other things, a chaos magician and that (simple) fact colors her perceptions and her presentations. If you are one of those individuals who have a craving for the logical and "scientific" approach to things, you may find this book difficult to appreciate. Diotima strives, how successfully is for the reader to determine, to make one think.

Evolutionary Witchcraft?

Has anyone read or worked through 'Evolutionary Witchcraft' by T. Thorn Coyle, and if so, what are your opinions?

Just Not Feeling "Pagan" Lately...

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel you are being defined by someone who you have already stopped accepting influence from? (I don't deny the past influence, only that I've stopped defining myself based upon it) I don't adhere to your moral system, or your dogma, but I will use the word that you use to describe me.

I'm kind of feeling this way about the term Pagan lately. While it's used as an umbrella term (yada yada yada) for many earth based, non JCI faiths; and the usage of the term was (correct me if I'm way out there...) from a Christian perspective.

So why am I defining my belief system from a Christian/ Roman perspective? I am neither Christian, nor am I Roman. It's sort of like looking at yourself in the mirror through someone else's glasses. My edges are blurry and undefined, but I don't think it's for lack of having edges. Maybe I'm just not looking at them right?

The other side of this being, I don't know what else I would call myself. I don't really know who I would be talking to when explaining myself, since by habit I don't really go into it. All the same, being unprepared for the question is an uncomfortable place to be.

"A polytheist, dedicated to a single patroness, pursuing a small spectrum of indigenous beliefs with a focus on Aztec and Plains Indian traditions, and a family interest in the Matakeeset tribe" is likely to loose all but the most interested listener, and even then would be met with *hold on, back up, wait a second, explain that???*

So what's an outside the box to do?

Review: Refuge: Tales of Myth and Magick

When was the last time you licked up a book of myths? How about a book which retells myths in a new and novel (although not necessarily modern) way? Well, you've got one in your hands right now. And that's not all. The stories are interspersed with poetry. Both are seemingly simple creations, but they are in actuality much more.

What is Your "Style" of Magic?

I'm curious to know what types or styles of magic people at the cauldron practice. So if you do magic, what do you actually DO?

By styles of magic I mean do you do high ceremonial magic, "low" magic, elemental magic, chaos magic, the magical practices of the reconstructionist religion you follow (say heka in Kemeticism) etc etc.

This is just a short list off the top of my head, and I'm hardly magic-knowledgeable, so these are just labels that I've heard various places.

Once you classify yourself (or declare yourself officially unclassifiable - the eternal "other" of Cauldron polls Wink), what does that actually mean in terms of practice? Are there certain techniques you use, either personally or as part of a larger magical system?

In case a reason is needed for my nosiness, I'm currently not doing any sort of magic, but would like to hear what others here do in terms of different practices, with the hope of finding something that piques my interest for further research.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Free Will?

This one got quite a decent run on the last Beehive board, but we've had a fair turnover of posters and it's still an area that my mind is playing with pretty regularly. So here goes...

Is it possible to make a choice, or an act of free will, today that will change your tomorrow to something other than it was yesterday?

Points worth highlighting might include: what is a choice? What is the nature of time and how does that impact on the answer? What counts as free? What is will?

You get the picture. Anyone up for it?

Nonverbal Magic?

I tend to be quite verbal in magic, with a few gestures and props thrown in occasionally. But having a roommate has kinda put a damper on all that.

I'm thinking of creating spells which are cast in relatively innocuous ways so that it looks like I'm just writing, or sorting through clothes, or smoothing my bedsheets, whatever.

So, does anyone here have experience in this style of magic? Any tips would be welcome!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Review: The Origins of Psychic Phenomena

To be quite honest, I wasn't sure how to respond to this book when I began to read it for a couple of reasons. First, the title of the book The Origins of Psychic Phenomena seems to promise more than the subtitle, "Poltergeists, Incubi, Succubi, and the Unconscious Mind". The title has far broader implications, since psychic phenomena extend far beyond the narrower limits imposed by the subtitle. Second, I'm not sure I agree with the author's definition of succubi. My copy of the abridged OED does not carry the same definition which the author uses.

Enlightenment - Someone Left the Light On?

Does your path include a concept of enlightenment? If so, would you/your path characterise that state as subjectively or objectively defined?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What Types of Information Interests You?

Say you've recently become a Pagan, like in those very early stages. What information would you be interested in hearing/reading about?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Magic and Religion

How does magic play in with your religion? Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not? If it does, why? Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

Symbols of Masculine/Feminine?

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things? (Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New State Laws would Shut Down The Cauldron

A law was proposed in Connecticut yesterday (and will soon be proposed in up to 20 other states) that would shut down The Cauldron and most other web sites with message boards, chat rooms, comment posting on blogs, shoutboxes or anything that allows users to post any information and have it appear on the web site, The law would require the web sites to verify the age of all members and obtain verified permission from parents of anyone found to be under 18.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Religion and your Physical Environment?

Do you think your particular path has influenced your choice of physical environment?
Specifically, has your faith path been a factor in whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural location, whether you live in an apartment, single family home, etc?

I currently live in a trailer in a semi-rural location, my trailer park is surrounded by woods, but within 5 miles of town. As I have learned more about my path and grown closer to the Aesir and Vanir, I find I need more nature and more open space in my physical environment. When I first got on this path, I lived in an apartment in an urban location. As I have traveled down it a bit, it seems I am being directed towards more rural living space.

So, does your path influence your living space choices?

Favorite Stories from Mythology?

Since I've been doing some digging into a different set of mythologies lately, I wondered if anyone has a favorite story from their reading? I have so many now, I don't know if I can narrow down my choices.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Egyptian Holidays

For those who celebrate by the Kemetic calendar (No matter which version you use), which holidays are most important to you out of the year (If you feel like sharing that)? What do you do? What rituals do you incorporate in your acknowledgment and celebration, if any? And, do you take the most important days off of work, or do you go and celebrate before or after work?

I ask because I've been incredibly lazy in celebrating the holidays, and only recently have started observing them! Unfortunately, most of Set's days tend to fall on Saturdays this year, one of the two days I absolutely cannot get off from work. I feel like a bad worshipper, because usually after work I'm too tired to remember that I should do something. I do usually cleanse, light candles and insense, and share food and drink when I remember. But this is also something I do regularly, so I was wondering if anyone does anything really special, and if they were willing to share!

Food and Ritual

What (if any) role does food play for you in religious ritual and vice versa? Do you offer food? Share it with deities? Why? Do you pray before mealtimes in thanks for your food--to who, and what kind of prayer is it? Do you do anything religious when preparing food, either regularly or on special occasions? Again, what and why?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Morality and Chaos Magic

One of the aphorisms used (read: stolen from elsewhere) in Chaos Magic is 'Nothing is true, everything is permitted.' Now, there has been debate by Chaotes as to what exactly this means. Generally it is seen as a wake-up call to the fact that there's noone judging us, and we're totally free. It has been interpreted as a totally amoral claim (ie: do whatever you want, there's no right or wrong), while others have suggested that because nothing is true, you *can* go out on a killing spree, because nothing can stop you. However, that only means evebn *more* that you have to think about what you are doing, and why.

However, this topic isn't about *that* consideration (although it is still worthy of a debate - if you wish to debate that, a new thread can certainly be started). In Chaos magic belief is seen as a tool. Hence paradigm shifting. However, where does this leave us with morality? If someone (for example) offers you a stack of money to kill someone with magic, it's certainly possible to adopt a paradigm or identity where you no longer object to killing someone. So, if morality can be changed, and Chaos magic embraces experimenting with alternative points of view... How does one decide what is right? How do you accept the arbitrariness of opinion and morality, while still saying 'I'm sticking to *this* point of view'?

In a more simple form: Having embraced the ability to change moral guidelines and rules, what new meta-rules and meta-guidelines must you develop in order to deal with this freedom? Is such a thing even possible?

Moving to Our New SMF Message Board

We are moving to the new SMF message board today (5 March 2007)! Our Beehive board is closed to new posts, so you need to bite the bullet and move to our new board now.

You will find our new board at:

You will need to register a new account to use the new board. Try to use your username from the old board (if you have one) as it will make it easier for people to know who you are. Please sure to use a working email address that can receive messages from and (without being blocked by spam filters or other spam-blocking methods) as you will have to receive an email from the board to complete the registration process.

You will probably want to read Star's excellent post on differences between Beehive and the new SMF board:

Intro to SMF: The Bare Bones

SMF's Help is also very useful for introducing the board's features, layout, and what the important little buttons actually do.

You can find a list of all the rules and guidelines posts (including those for special folders) here:

Rules and Guidelines Post List

Once you have registered and looked the new SMF message board over, please post an introduction in the Introductions board -- if you had an active account on our old Beehive Board, please post your intro in the Beehive Board Members -- Introduce Yourself Here topic in the Introductions board. If you have made 25 or more posts in the "Main Forum" on our old Beehive board (check your profile via any message either to or from you on the Main Forum of our old Beehive board for a count), be sure to say so in your intro as that will qualify you for a upgrade to the "Full Member" membergroup without having to make at least 15 posts on the new board (provided you meet the other requirements: age, no long record of rules problems, not a complete newbie).

There are already a number of discussions on the new board, but once you are set up don't hesitate to start new ones or to restart ones that were ongoing here.

They Never Told Me That!

What's the one most surprising thing you've learned about Paganism? Likewise, what would be one thing you'd give a heads-up on to a person just starting out on a Pagan path? (If that's too general for you, as I know it will be for some: assume your particular Pagan path.)

By the way, my intent here is to start a fun, lighthearted thread, though of course it will go whatever direction it will.

Prayer Beads?

There's been a good amount of talk about making or using prayer beads (or at least I'm noticing it a lot), so I was wondering: do you use prayer beads? Do you want to? Did you make your own? If so, what arrangement did you use and why? Do you have a set group of prayers you use with the beads, or are they more of a prayer focus-item? (Does that even make sense?)


I was completely fascinated by the list of self-descriptors that Sunflower posted in the Introductions thread:

Religiously/spiritually/magically, I am:
- Animist
- Pantheist (absolutely not panentheist)
- Medium-hard polytheist
- Agnostic (i.e., I believe all these things, based on the evidence of experience, but I do not know them, and have doubts about whether they can be known absolutely - which doesn't stop me from asking the questions)
- Borderline atheist (depends on definition - I do not believe in a self-aware, volitional, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent creator-of-everything)
- Pagan
- Eclectic Wiccan; Witch. Influenced by many things, including Traditionalist Wicca/Witchcraft and Feri-derived material.
- Libertarian Witch (my trad), and therefore chthonurgist
- Discordian
- Cyberwitch (an aspect of my Craft which I'm making a point of moving forward in of late)
- Humanist (if just one of these is "my religion", this is the one; the others are explanations of worldview and/or descriptors of praxis)

I was particularly interested in that fact that she considers herself a polytheist, agnostic, and borderline atheist all that the same time. This is probably extremely limited of me, but -- to the extent that I've thought about it -- I've always considered those descriptors to be mutually exclusive.

And, moreover, I've personally been struggling with what I've thought of as my own fickleness because sometimes I feel strongly polytheist, other times soft polytheist, other times agnostic, other times just plain ol' confused.

I'd be very interested in how others think about this.

Current Religious Projects?

I don't know if "projects" is really the word I want here... I know that many people here actively work on their religious development, either through exploring ideas and beliefs or by doing research or by developing or integrating new practices. Or of course, less comfortably, through grappling with difficult questions. I thought it might be interesting to see what everyone's doing. What issues are you confronting in your spiritual and/or religious journey? What things are you working on or learning more about?

I'm... kind of working on just maintaining right now. Pregnancy turns out to be a mindfrag on multiple levels, and it's been difficult for me to even just keep going with the old routine, much less do anything new. When I get to the point where I can move beyond that, I really need to do some exploration of how my religious views and beliefs relate to my current life situation (i.e. pregnancy and impending motherhood). And of course just generally continue my exploration of all things Greek, since that seems to be the direction I'm being pulled.

I had been blogging my explorations (see "The Song and the Flame" link in my sig), but lately I've been uninspired to blog much of anything, so the entries have been few and far between. (And watch out for early entries, which contain a lot of angst IIRC.)

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