Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pagan Podcasts

I've been browsing through iTunes for *Pagan* related podcasts. It looks like there are quite a few, more than I anticipated I would find. So far I listened to a portion of one regarding Tarot; the host was discussing the minor arcana. I didn't listen to the entire thing, but it was done well and she was talking not only about the card's meanings and interpretations but also about the specific meaning some of the cards held based upon their origin (if the case was that the card was representative of an actual king, queen, or other historical figure).

Next one I have ready to play is the show by Deos Shadow -- have you heard of him? Apparently it is a radio show that discusses different general Pagan topics. This one is about Runes... I haven't listened yet, but both of these are of good quality (sound and recording wise).

Does anyone else utilize podcasts for learning tools?

Certain podcasts have to be purchased through iTunes but just as many are free -- the ones I'm browsing now are free.

Close Encounters of the Fundy Kind

Have you ever matched wits with a fundamentalist (of any religion)? Lived to tell about it?

I met my first one quite recently. We're both students at the same university and we even have some courses in common but I never really talked to her until one morning, we just started chatting on the bus. I was reading something for class and she whipped out her Bible.

When we got off to transfer routes, she started asking me questions about what I believe. At first, I skirted the issue and said Protestant, born and raised but then decided to be honest and identified as a polytheist. As we got on our way, she whipped out her Bible again and tried to make me read certain underlined passages aloud, on a crowded bus, and could not accept that I found that vastly inappropriate. So, she put it away and we got to the trick questions portion of the event. "How do pagans get saved?" "What do you think will happen when you die?" and all that Sneaky Deep crap. I was too surprised to be offended and I answered the best I could.

Eventually, we went our separate ways for different classes and that was the last time I talked to her. In hindsight, it was probably Someone's influence that kept me as surprised as I was. Looking back on it now, I'm really irritated with her and anything I say now is probably going to reinforce her negative view of non-Christians. Oh well, I have until September to get past the urge to taunt.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Are Your Gods from a Familiar Pantheon?

For those of you who have had contact with gods in some way: Did your gods come from a pantheon you were already familiar with, or did they come from a completely unexpected direction?

I am much more familiar with the Greek pantheon than any other. Part of this may be that exposure to Greek myth in school might have been more common than exposure to the mythology of another culture. Yet I have always been interested in Greek religion, even before I identified as pagan, from a historical perspective. It’s possible that I just happened to retain the Greek stuff, but I don’t remember learning too much about myth from other cultures.

I’m wondering if my perceived nudges from gods appear to be from the Greek direction because it is the pantheon I am most familiar with, or if I became familiar with Greek religion over the past several years as a result of unrecognized nudges.

Did your exposure to a particular pantheon from an early age push you in the direction of the gods you work with, or did you come across a less familiar pantheon as a result of later contact from a certain god?

Spell Craft and Children

I was flipping around the internet and stumbled onto a discussion between a couple gals who were looking to start working with their young (4-6) children on spell craft.

While this is a pretty common happening as pagan parents go, it got me thinking of some things.

Magic is the art and science of causing change in conformity with will.

We as adults and young adults go through huge amounts of background work to get our will and our visualization on track to increase our possibilities and effectiveness.

With this in mind, is is recommendable, or even possible to teach a child spellwork without a solid background in associations, and the process of raising energy?

I've considered and in the past have let the boys (4/6) participate in some minor workings one was a banishing, and the other a cleansing; but for the most part don't feel that they have the ability to focus for the time frame that I see as required for magical intent. (ten-15 minutes or more of intense purpose related focus)

Is it ethical then, to direct their energy in your own workings that you choose for them? For example one of the suggestions that the gals were going to make use of was making a dream catcher as a spell against bad dreams, or a wish spell that involved the releasing of a balloon.

For me, without putting intention into each stitch, the dream catcher would not be a spell. It would be a craft masquerading as a spell. Same with the balloon. There is no 'process' being taught.

While I believe in starting small, and breaking things down into simple concepts, I don't see much of a break down of concepts at all. Just 'ask' and 'get'.

What parts of spell work would you see as necessary before starting to teach a child? What kinds of checks and balances would you put in place to give a child a feeling of security against others who might use magical thought against them, or times when they have used their words or directed energy in anger or haste?

Gemstones/Minerals/Crystals: Which are you most drawn to?

Which type of stone, mineral, or crystal would you say you felt most drawn to -- or most useful to you personally? AND... why? (Include a little information about your favorite if you'd like.)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sources of Eclectism

A couple of the recent threads addressing eclecticism and how we self-define has sent my brain down another line of thinking and I'd love to hear what others have experienced and/or think. I'm really throwing this out there at those who self-define as eclectic, but welcome anyone who'd like to weigh in.

One of my favorite dictionary definitions of the word eclectic reads "not following any one system, but selecting and using what are considered to be the best elements of all systems."

Keeping in mind this definition, what are those best elements have you incorporated into your path? What are the sources for your faith? What deities, rituals, schools of thought, etc, have you drawn from?

On the flip side of this, there is an implication of rejecting things that are not the best. What have you tried and found does not work for you? What ideas that you've come across have you rejected? What false trails along the path have been unworkable for you and forced you to backtrack in your journey?

What Do You Meditate On?

I'm looking to raise my meditation ability and have sort of "ran out" of things to meditate on? Any ideas?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why the Numbers Agenda?

In the ADF and FoDLA thread, Gothicdruid said

FoDLA is built largely on face-to-face instruction and worship (though there is a distance learning component to its Druid clergy training program). This is intentional and is a response to the issue I've experienced over more than a decade in practice of the Internet serving as a vehicle for would-be leaders to inflate their abilities (and backgrounds) by being rather different people online than IRL. Consequently, my expectation is that FoDLA is going to be a long time in developing. One of my intentions, frankly, was to avoid the "numbers agenda" that plagues many organizations and focus on appeal to sincere polytheists.

Gothicdruid brings up something I have never understood in Paganism: the "Numbers Agenda" and I'd like to discuss it here.

Many of the Pagans I know seem almost obsessed with the numbers game: how many Pagans there are; which Pagan religion is biggest, which local group is largest, etc. I've never understood this, especially as many of the Pagans with this numbers obsession come from religions that don't actively proselytize. Some of the most numbers-obsessed Pagans I've met come from religions that simple do not allow proselytization.

In its extreme form the Numbers Agenda leads some Pagans to complain about the large number of Pagan religions and loudly wish that all the non-Wiccan Pagan religionss would just come to their senses and become part of Wicca so Wicca would be larger and Paganism would be united. (Note: one gets the impression that if Nose-Picking Paganism were currently the largest Pagan religion, these folks would be demanding that all other Pagans unify as Nose-Picking Pagans instead of Wiccans.)

We had one person come on our old Delphi Board (or maybe it was on The Thicket?) who wanted every Pagan to convert one person to "Paganism" every year so "Paganism" would double in size each year until it would become the largest religion in the US.

In less extreme forms, it the Numbers Agenda leads Numbers Agenda Pagans to judge the "success" of even local Pagan groups mainly (if not solely) by their size: Coven A with 10 members is better in their eyes than Coven B with 7 members even though coven B has been working together for 6 years and coven A formed 3 months ago and has that four changes of leadership in that time. I've known Pagans who were obviously drawn to a smaller non-Wiccan religion decide to become Wiccan instead because it was the biggest Pagan religion and all those people can't be wrong.

Why the Numbers Agenda? Biggest doesn't mean best. Even if all Pagans were members of nice cleaned up form of Wicca designed no to offend conservatives with things like nudity or any hint of sex and there were several million Wiccans, folks like Pat Robertson would still proclaim Pagans as evil followers of Satan. A larger group does not mean better -- the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, is the largest Protestant group in the US, but a few outside that group think that means it is the best.

So please clue me in on the Numbers Agenda and why it is stressed by so many Pagans.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Levels of Ritual Participation?

What levels of participation are allowed during your religion's rituals by differing levels of members? That is- taking Catholics as an example, those who can or can't accept Communion. Everyone can come to church and listen to the sermon, sing and do the "God be with you" handshaking stuff, but only certain members can go up to the altar and accept Communion.

Does your path have anything like this?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pagan Homeschooling?

I don't have children, but hope to one day have at the very least, a child. I would reeeally like to homeschool this future child and am curious if anyone on his board homeschools their children and how they do it? Are there Pagan places to get homeschooling supplies? ((I have no idea how homeschool really works either! so some of what I say may not even make sense))

I would like to also avoid raising children with the Christian holidays.....I mean I don't mind taking them to grandparents and whathaveyou who do celebrate those holidays during those times....and I want my child to go on their own path.....but I would still like to instill the holidays which I celebrate with them and for them to not think that Christian holidays are the "only" or the "main" holidays and whatnot.

me having a child is way off in the distance, past the horizon.....but I often think of homeschool, as it is the only option I would even want to delve into with concerns to schooling them.

Books on Egyptian Mythology/Pantheon?

Could anyone suggest some good reading about the Egyptian pantheon? And also good books on any Egyptian mythology surrounding them?

I don't know what has recently sparked my interest in the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, but the fire is definitely there and I'm at a loss where to look for good, more advanced books on the topic and don't want to end up buying a poor book for study on the topic (I do most of my shopping online as there aren't too many bookstores nearby that would supply these types of books). History of ancient Egyptian societies, cultures, etc.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Searching for Epona

As some of you may recall I mentioned back in the Prayer beads thread being tapped on the shoulder by Epona. Since then I've been doing some research on Her to learn more about Who I'm dealing with. I've checked out probably a dozen books from the library ranging from colorful coffee table books with very little information to a great doorstop of a book on The Celtic World by Miranda Green. So far these sources have left me feeling puzzled. I honestly had expected more quality information on a goddess that I understood (assumed?) to be more popular. The most comprehensive resource I've found thus far has been The Gods of the Celts by Miranda Green. Rather than the occasional line here or there in the text Green actually devotes a page and a half (pps 86-87) specifically to Epona.

So far what I've learned is (in no particular order):

* Epona is first and foremost a patroness of horses.
* She is worshipped most commonly by those who work with horses.
* Epona is also considered a Mother Goddess and is associated with fertility and the cycle of Life and Death
* Symbols associated with Epona are - Horses, cornucopia, patera, fruits, corn, key (unlocks door to otherworld?)
* Further associated with dogs, birds, travel, and healing wells/springs
* A garland of roses was used as an offering on her altar.
* Epona was adopted by the Roman cavalry as their patroness. She is reportedly the only Celtic deity to be found in a Roman temple (I think I returned the book I found this in to the library. Wish I could cite the source).
* Her Roman holiday is listed as December 18. Another source indicates a second holiday on June 13.
* Frequently listed as a parallel of/related to Rhiannon and Macha
(Personally, I dispute this. It just doesn't don't feel right)

I have to admit, thus far she has been incredibly patient. As I began this quest for knowledge I recalled Her showing up in a doodle of a drawing about ten years ago. I remember thinking, "Where do I know this name from?" She's waited until now to reaquaint me with her presence. A couple of times I've wondered if I was imagining all this. When I do She has reassured me by sending me a quiet sign that is totally unexpected and unmistakable. Just signs though so far, no verbal communication.

The image that she has taken to showing me, quite clearly, is one that I would not have expected: a muscular woman, shoulder length dark hair worn loose, dark eyes, high cheek bones, sleeveless leather vest, leather trousers and boots. She carries a shortsword sheathed on her left hip. A horse stands in the background near a large boulder. This image is completely at odds with what I had expected based on the various iconography available. Not to mention that it suggests a more martial quality than the limited information I've gathered seems to indicate.

What confuses me more, perhaps even more so after this stint of research, is that I can't see what I have to offer Her. I'm not an animal enthusiast. Sure, I have several in the house but they were the choice of my wife and kids. I just try to get along with the animals as well as I can. I have nothing against horses but am not overly drawn to them. I can even recall, years ago, making the statement when discussing trail riding with a friend, "Sure, but I prefer a bike. It goes where I want it to and doesn't have a mind of it's own."

So, to you Cauldronites one and all, I invite you to enter here and share what you know of Epona. If anyone has a good resource to suggest I'm all ears.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Plants, Animals, Humans and Souls

I posted the following question in the "Things I don't get about the Pagan Community" thread (down about page 14 or 15):

"Next big question is, and people will hate me for asking, do HUMANS have souls? Or is that taken for granted because we're, well, human?"

What are your thoughts and feelings on this? Also, what are your thoughts and feelings on the question of plants, animals, rocks, etc, having souls?

Besom Buddies

Sounds like a bad pagan chain letter...

Recently I've noticed that there are deities that are a whole heck of a lot more popular amongst pagan circles- or widely followed. I guess widely followed would be a better description.

All questions are open to all comers, I just tried to separate them out into easily used portions. Pick and choose as appeals to ya.

For those who follow more commonly known deity;

Do you feel pressure to tailor your experiences to match others worshiping a deity under the same name as yourself?

Is it difficult not to go along with others perceptions of 'your' deity that you disagree with?

Have you ever been tempted to tell someone that the deity that they are interacting with is clearly not the deity that you are, even though they are speaking the same name?

Do you feel that alignment of perception with others is criteria for validating your practices? Do others who don't see the deity in question as you do, make you question your perception, or whether you're getting it *right*?

For those who worship less widely known deities, or those who are not widely worked with in pagan demographics;

Do you feel pressured to choose a more "socially acceptable" deity?

Do you find that your perceptions of your deity align with others, if and when you do come across others?

Do you feel they(perceptions) should?

What do you do when there is no one to compare notes with, or when those who might otherwise validate, choose not to - for any reason. (too personal, ethics, individuality concerns, etc.)

The Whole of All

I've recently been struggling with the reconciliation of the understanding of "All is One" with the actual physicality of reality that we are presented with through sensory experience (sorry, if this sounds technical, I've been reading Mircea Eliade all night.).

Although I realize that "All is One" can be seen as true on a biological level -- being that all known DNA is inherently made up of the same four base pairs --, and can be seen as true on a Quantum Physical level -- in the sense of non-locality --, and in the sense of Alchemy and Yin-Yang -- in the sense that we are all but one part of the Whole, which is the All of Creation ( and I'm sure that the concept has many other understandings that I've not even come close to uncovering yet), I've not yet figured out how to reconcile that understanding with the fact that it seems reality is divided and classified.

If one takes an image, and creates a grid over that image, and then works out a classification within that grid to explain what is in each little box, no matter how complex that classification system is to explain each individual segment of the grid, underneath the grid still remains "the whole picture". I find this synonymous with the "All" in relation to physical reality, yet I'm not sure if those classifications and divisions exist because we approach the world in a conscious way which creates these divisions, or whether there is something inherent in the process of passing into physicality that creates those divisions.

Any answers or thoughts from others is greatly appreciated.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

This is an interesting one for me, and I have been discussing it at length on another forum I belong to. It started off as a discussion about how should a christian tenet of "your body is your temple" apply to a pagan path. It was posted by a 1st BTW whose HPS suggested they might like to sort themselves out a bit more before they were admitted to 2nd.

Now a few years ago I might have shrugged it off, used the "but it's christian" excuse, but of late I have become totally addicted to "crossfit" see and have the luxury of having one of the first UK crossfit gyms a short jog from my front doorstep.

And all of sudden I have more time for life, for research, for family, for magic. Lol I'm almost evangelical about it as it changed my life profoundly and I'm not talkng just the stone in weight and the 2 clothes size drop I have incurred as a nice side benefit. I still drink, I still smoke although not the the extent I used to do; but what I have done is become very profoundly aware of me.

So I suppose I am interested in hearing other people point of view, does your physical wellbeing affect your spiritual and/or magical practises or do you think it doesn't make a jot's worth of difference?

Garden Projects this Year?

I'm starting this thread as a follow-up to Koi's "Garden Plans" thread (Miss you, Koi!), since by now folks in most regions should have weather that's warm enough to do garden projects.

So, what's everyone doing?

I've overdone it, as usual, and I'm going to have to buy more planter boxes to put my peppers and herbs in. On the balcony, I'm growing yellow plum and orange jubilee tomatoes, lobelia, geraniums, marigolds, chives, lavender, portulaca, petunias, nicotiana, bell peppers, lettuce (for our lettuce-eating cat) swiss chard, lemon balm, anise hyssop, peppermint, and some speckledy-leafed plant that I recognize as a common houseplant but don't know the name of.

Down in the yard, most of my perennials made it through the winter. I've added evening primrose, russian sage, pearl everlasting, and valerian (for tea). I've seeded sunflowers, scarlet runner beans, and california poppies. I haven't planted the annuals out yet in the yard gardens, since we're still getting occasional frost, but I've bought "lemon gem" marigolds and snapdragons, and I'm planning to get some impatiens for the shady corner around the hostas. Oh, and I've overseeded the bare bare spots on the lawn. Did I mention that I always overdo things in the garden?

Utopian Goddess Societies

I'd much appreciate a prod in the right direction if there has been a recent discussion on this. Smiley

Today is the first day of a mythology class I'm taking this semester, and our first assignment is to read an essay by Adele Getty in her book Goddess: Mother of Living Nature.

Right off the bat, Getty starts getting into the "Great Mother Goddess" stuff: ancient carvings and the like that must be Goddess symbols, Neolithic societies that knew nothing of war or rape, and deep respect specifically for the "cycles of women."

I really haven't done much research into this area (too much actual homework, lol), but I thought that this line of thinking had been de-bunked in scholarly/scientific circles. If so, does anyone have some good sources I could explore for solid information on why this idea of a Goddess-centric pre-historic utopia doesn't exactly hold water?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Traditional Witchcraft?

I'm seeking to familiarize myself with the traditional side of Witchcraft, the midwifery, herbalist, etc.

I want to follow that path because it describes me and the only boundary is to take responsibility for what you do... (although you should remember Karma can bite butt big time!)

I know most Trad Witches don't include deity in their worship/religion, but I am one who will... so that'll be Raevyn's "Spruced-Up" version of TW.

I wonder if anyone here follows the Trad path and if anyone has any information on such...

Non-Magicians Anonymous

There have been a lot of threads recently about magic, the nature of magic, the source of magic and so on. As someone who doesn't do any magic, I was starting to feel left out. So here's the solution to that. Smiley If you are a pagan who does not do magic/spells, why not?


Hi, I'm Sefiru and I'm a non-magical pagan.

(hi, Sefiru!)

I've read lots about magic. Folk magic, ceremonial magic, divination, kabbalah ... none of it ever clicked. Mind you, I believe in the gods, in spirits, in the possible existence of ghosts (although I don't think this has been proven; same for psychics), in the efficacy of prayer. But I simply cannot grok the mechanism by which, for example, rubbing oil into a green candle and lighting it is supposed to bring you money.
... or how certain kinds of minerals can affect your emotions.
... or how wearing a sachet of herbs brings good luck.
... or how a deck of cards knows the secrets of my personality.
I have heard the explanations; they don't make sense to me.

Kemeticism has the concept of Heka, the power of words, but to me this means actual communication with people, not esoteric incantations. i.e., if I want a raise --> I talk to my boss about it.


Any other non-magicians out there?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Druid Organizations: ADF and FoDLA?

Of these two NeoDruid organizations, does anyone have experience in either? What do you think of them?

I find myself more and more drawn to a NeoDruidic path. I read Bonewits a very very long time ago and so am going to refamiliarize myself with his works since he is respected by so many in the Druid community.

My main problem right now is that I want to attend an ADF grove here in my town but I am ridiculously shy and they seem to be in private homes a lot and I just can't do that. So I want to explore more on my own about NeoDruid societies before stepping out, waaaay out, of my comfort zone.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Magickal Tools?

I am a Witch who is following a Solitary Wicca path (at least until I figure out my basic beliefs before moving onto a Coven-search)... and as I read some things I'm wondering, does everything have to be exactly correct?

For example, I don't want to use an athame, I prefer using an old kitchen knife to substitute. Also, when it comes to casting circles, I prefer to use my index and middle fingers on my right hand (dominant hand) to project energies and my left hand (receptive hand) to draw in energies.

Is there anything wrong with those preferences?

Also, I'm a cheap Witch... I prefer getting the lowest price to save my money as much as possible... I don't go for fancy things as some do... it makes me feel awkward, but is that anything to be ashamed of?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Our Message Board May Go Up and Down

Last Update: 16 May 2007 at 10:50 am CDT

Main Board Currently Up

The area our message board server is in has been having severe storms -- and Bob has discovered that his UPS has quietly died. So The Cauldron's message board may go up and down for a while while storms are in its area. Bob will be replacing the UPS, but that will take a few days and the storms probably will not wait.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oppression and Free Will

Is oppression a natural state? How can our choices be constrained and our will still be free?

Is it possible to have a system which doesn't oppress, or is the question more of the nature of *who* gets oppressed?

Personally, I don't believe in an oppression-free state. If you're going to have a system, someone's going to be in control. When control isn't overt, it's covert and therefore more dangerous. When consensus is demanded, you lose the right of dissent. When obedience is required, you lose the right of choice.

What is oppression? When is it necessary? What does your religion say about it?

Magic vs Prayer?

How do you define "magic(k)"?

As a side question, do you think it's at all related to prayer? Are they similar? The same thing? Totally separate? Sometimes connected? Something else I've forgotten?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mountain Biking Meditations -- Deity in Unusual Places

Mountain biking is an incredible sort of 'communion' for me. I get out on the trails, and am amazed by the whirl of butterflies that seem to spin up from the grass to float and tumble along next to me, the deer crashing through the brush and the hawks that soar above, seemingly racing me as I struggle to remain upright and speeding over the ground often at rates that leave me thinking how badly it would hurt were I to be unseated. An occasional wild turkey startles and confounds.

I hear my Ladys voice the most clearly at these moments, and direct questions are usually answered in animal omens, or through other signs on the trail.

What kinds of unusual places do you find yourself close to your Gods?

Broomclosets and Coming and Being

Darkhawk was quite right that being out and coming out are two different things, and my incoherency aside, I've been thinking about it. The strange thing is that in all honesty, I don't remember ever coming out, but at the same time I know I haven't always been out, certainly not to the degree that I am nowadays. I know it was a relatively gradual process, (but then so was the one that led me into paganism as a whole, ) maybe made easier by always being known for being a little 'eccentric'.

I won't name names obviously, but I know someone who likened her coming out to not only coming out the closet, but blowing the damn door off the thing.... but both of us reached a certain point when we made the decision that we were going to stop pretending not to be who and what we were just because other people didn't like it or couldn't handle it.

I also know that in years past, a certain person was very afraid of me 'coming out' as he saw it, because of how it would reflect on him. That's history. Luckily for me I now have someone who has had no problem learning to live with a witch, and who accepts it when told 'you don't want to know'

Where I am now and the people I'm among now, I've always been out, they've always known, and I don't remember telling them, it just seems as though this is the way it's always been. None of us go around broadcasting it to the general populace (mostly lol)- if it comes up, it comes up, if not, then it's nobody's business, kind of thing.

I guess I'm just curious about other people's experiences since I don't think I had a coming out moment... now I almost feel deprived.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Just Going through the Religious Motions?

What do you do when religious ritual feels like going through the motions and there's no real point to it?

Have you ever had a "long night of the soul", and what happened when you came out the other side?

Spiritual Beliefs and Career

I've noticed most of the talk about career and belief revolves around those horrible situations where there is a conflict between the two.

What I'd like to hear about is the flip side of this. Are there ways that you've been able to positively integrate your spirituality as part of your work or make it your entire life's work?


Poppets have many uses, but unless things have changed, they always seem to get bad press - probably the link to movie style voodoo dolls, pins and curses. (I know it's all in what you do with it, I'm referring to general perception about 'voodoo dolls' and similar things)

Anyway, I've only used them a couple of times, and no I didn't curse anyone - no pins were involved (ok, I couldn't resist)

I've used poppets a couple of times, but that's all, I'm wondering what other people's take on them is. Do you use them, or not? And do you think they still have that 'bad press' association?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spells just not working...

I've tried magic several times and just can never really feel it or work it. I just don't feel like I'm managing to put anything into my spells, like I'm just going through the motions, even for ones I write myself, simple or ritualized. Any advice?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rose Quartz Alternative

I'm looking for something to use as an alternative to rose quartz. Let me explain...

I adore what rose quartz does for people; it truly draws love and opens the person to love. However, rose quartz does not work for me at all. I can use it when I'm working with or for other people, but never for myself. Someone had suggested that this is because it can sometimes bring about emotional cleansing in a rather violent way and suggested working with other grounding stones. This did not work at all; in fact, one of my favorite pieces of tourmaline split into three pieces in the process and has become "dead'.

Does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative crystal or a way to work around this? Or is this just the crystal's way of saying that I have enough love in my life?

Magical Hiatus?

I've been on a hiatus from magic for the last several weeks, and I'm not sure why.

Yes, there's been a load of crap going on in my life, much of it very negative, but some of it very spiritually positive and empowering. Around the same time that I had a sort of religious epiphany, I got a very strong "stop using magic" vibe. So I did. I'm not sure if it was my self-preservation instinct protecting me from my own negativity (seems pretty plausible), or some divine geasa (no clue why that would be, but who knows).

Anybody else ever find themselves floundering in a magic-free zone for unknown reasons? How did you handle it? Just wait patiently? Or damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Crowley Book Recommendation?

Ok, I'm looking for recommendations for a book on Crowley generally, for a present for someone, not just specifically on his work, but life, works, man, the whole kit and kaboodle.

And since there are so many books out there, I came to ask those who know more than I do about it. All suggestions welcomed.


Do you have a cauldron and what do you use it for?

I received a cast-iron cauldron for a Yule present this year, but I'm almost afraid to use it. I don't want to mess it up. It's so pretty!

Crowley-Thoth Tarot Deck?

I read the favorite tarot decks thread w/ great interest. I've only been reading Tarot about a month but already have come to find it extremely useful and therapeutic. I tend to look on it as a combination of magic and Jungian therapy.

My mother has some serious misgivings about divination and has urged me to be careful what I let 'in' so to speak. This seems like good advice, in many things, actually. She was excited and curious to find out what I was doing w/ Tarot until I mentioned that the deck that really speaks most to me is the Crowley-Thoth deck.

To be completely honest, I knew nothing about Aleister Crowley before I picked up US Games' 'Complete Tarot' box which comes w/ both a CT and an RW deck plus a book by Susan Levitt and various other doodads. When my mother heard that I liked the CT deck a lot, she became very agitated because of Crowley's... er.. dubious reputation.

What I've found out about my mom, recently, is that she isn't the most thorough research fellow. After she expressed her misgivings, I did quite a bit of research and though I probably won't become a disciple of Mr. Crowley's, I could find nothing that gave me a bad vibe of any kind concerning his deck.

I've thought about it a lot and talked about it w/ a few people I respect and have continued to use the CT deck. My rationalization has been that the deck is a tool, it's not a representation of the person nor does it contain the energy of the person who created it. Furthermore, though again I'm not likely to follow in Mr. Crowley's path, I think a great deal of what my mother read has been exaggerated or misrepresented.

To me, a deck is a tool and I put my own energy into my readings as well as that of any querent I might take on eventually. I might not necessarily agree with everything it's creator did in his life, but that shouldn't preclude my use of a tool he created if it happens to be what works for me. I guess my question is, what do others w/ more knowledge and experience feel about this deck?

Monday, May 07, 2007

"Rise" of Atheism and Paganism

It seems to me that a select few individuals are promoting a "rise" in atheism, or rather a few individuals are becoming more vocal about it. Books seem to be coming out non-stop which attack religion, claiming it to be the worst "human invention" that plagues mankind. The authors focus on religious wars and conflicts, usually ignoring contributions (such as the storage of knowledge by the Muslims; the Catholic Church's contribution by devout Catholics to genetics and Astronomy; etc). They seem to ignore several conflicts promoted by atheists, such as the atrocities of Stalin and Mao.

Most of their arguments are against Christianity. Thankfully, nothing to worry about there. But it seems they feel the three-monotheistic faiths are the only ones worth mentioning. Some mention other religions such as Buddhism, but many polytheistic faiths are ignored.

One article in Newsweek a couple weeks ago (I can find it if needed) had an interview between Rick Warren ("Purpose Driven Life") and an atheist. The atheist claimed "... no one worships other gods anymore, like Zeus..." (paraphrase). Now, of course, anyone reading this can see how he displays his ignorance. I, for one, do worship Zeus.

Richard Dawkins, when he had his 15-minutes (it seems), would constantly constantly, and with much annoyance on my part, claim "[w]e're all atheists to those other gods. Atheists go one step further."

This case of ignorance and perhaps intellectual arrogance probably stems from the fact that modern Paganism is still largely ignored in the academic community. Only recently has it started to become a subject of interest as Paganism grows and matures. Is this acceptable though?

How do you (the reader) respond to this, both emotionally (religion is a very emotionally-driven area of life) and intellectually? I can't help but get a sinking feeling, as well as a feeling of self-doubt, as if my faith is somehow invalid. I get over it, but it is a very psychologically damaging experience. It upsets me a great deal.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spirit Guardians?

Just wondering how many people have had contact with their spirit guardians. I'm not talking necessarily Spirit Guides, but the spirits who guard you on a daily basis.

When Others Pray For You?

I was just wondering how people felt about when people say they're praying for you when you don't ask for it. I think prayer is a very powerful form of spellwork that pretty much every religion uses whether they think of it as a spell or magick or not. I've gotten to the point now where I am ok with it as long as the intent of the prayer coincides with the goal I want for myself, but I have a problem when people say, "I'll pray for you to come back to the Lord," or, "I pray every night that you change your mind," or, "I'll pray for you that you stop doing [insert something I do they don't agree with]". To me it seems like more of a negative thing than a positive thing.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Witch Bottles

I was reading the article on witch bottles and found it very interesting. I have a few comments and questions, though. It says that these bottles often contain bodily fluids to represent you, such as blood and urine. I don't really understand what real affect these substances can have because they aren't really specific to you. Blood can be transfused between people (of the same type) easily, and urine... I don't know exactly what urine is composed of, but I don't think each person's urine is unique. Wouldn't it be more effective to put in a bit of yourself with DNA?

Help with a Ghost?

Anyone out there have any ghostly experience? Have a loved one who has an unwanted guest in her home... Bothers my little nephew.

Summerlands and Winterlands

Is the belief in the Summerlands and Winterlands compatible with reincarnation? I've heard that the soul can stay in the Summerlands to revue what it has learned and has left to learn before it is reborn, but where does that leave the Winterlands?

(I'm asking Wiccans mainly, I don't know whether -or how many- other pagan religions believe in the Summerlands and Winterlands).

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