Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Topic: Earth-based Belief Systems vs Other Belief Systems?

Aside from polytheistic tendancies, what makes "earth based" belief systems any different from all the other belief systems out there?

In the so-called 'earth based" ones you have apparently a implied freedom to choose whatever deity suits you and implied freedom to choose what, if any, rituals to perform. However it seems that there is still this seemingly implied requirement to worship and cater to a deity to the point of having your life being run by said it SEEMS.

AS for "magic" it also SEEMS that a disproportionate amount of emphasis is being placed on tools and symbols to the point that it SEEMS that they are being viewed as magic rather than mere tools and intermediaries.

So what makes earth based paganism any different from any other belief system. What is the point of switching when it SEEMS one ismerely making a lateral transition from one method of worship to another?

I am not trying to offend but attempting to understand.

Having a Spiritual "Fling"?

I've been turning this idea around in my head for a while. I'm not sure where the spark came from... perhaps the number of people who try out Wicca before discovering a path that's a better fit. I don't really remember.

At any rate, I thought the concept might be worth exploring. We often look at someone who takes up a short-term interest, be it exploring a spiritual path or learning a practical skill such as tarot, as being flighty or "fluffy"--particularly if they have a series of these sorts of flings. They're just looking for the bright shiny stuff, we moan. Or we gripe that they don't have the dedication to explore something that's really fulfilling.

In some cases, that's probably true. But I think that many times, our spiritual flings do serve a good purpose. We've all had things we've thrown ourselves into headfirst. Sometimes it's a personal relationship. Sometimes it's a hobby. Sometime's it's a diet. Whatever it is, we're convinced at the start that this new thing is wonderful! The best thing ever! And we're totally committed to it!

Then a few months or years down the road, after we've examined all the thing's flaws and annoyances, we may find that this just isn't for us after all. But we've still learned, even if we've learned that we don't like knitting. Or that Norse gods don't truly speak to us.

Have any of you ever had a spiritual fling? If so, what did you learn/gain from it? Or do you think the entire concept is just silly?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pagan Resurrection: A Force for Evil or the Future of Western Spirituality?

Pagan Resurrection: A Force for Evil or the Future of Western Spirituality? by Richard Rudgley

Anyone read this? - it looks interesting but I need another book like a hole in the head. However I can probably squeeze it in somewhere if it's worth it.

Opinions on Magical Pathworking by Nick Farrell?

Just wondering if anyone has any opinions of the book _Magical Pathworking:Techniques of Active Imagination_ by Nick Farrell? I picked it up recently for a few bucks at a used bookstore. I've only gotten a little into the first chapter...

So any opinions?

The Herb Companion & other Magazines

I was wondering if anybody subscribed to this and if so, what are your opinions??

If you don't subscribe, do you have any suggestions for a periodical about herbs? Especially the horticulture part?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What do you use Magic for?

Do you use it only when you need help with a certain situation, or do you use it in everything you do to give things an extra little boost?

Or do you use magic with a long-term goal in mind? Or perhaps you have no goals in mind when you use Magic?

Generally, what is it that you use Magic for? And was it for this reason that you were drawn to practicing Magic in the first place?

How to Connect with Deity?

My question is essentially, what would be a good way to connect with deity(-ies) and maybe interact with him/her/them that I don't have to find a book for? (I'm basically in the category of no-job-no-car-and-nowhere-to-go-get-them-even-if-I-did category at the moment lol) In addition to that, I'm not sure if I'd know when I was in the presence of a deity, so is that something that someone could tell me about or is it in the realm of "You just have to experience it, and once you do you know it" kind of things?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Prefering indoor or outdoor worship/activities on your path?

I wonder what reasons there are for you to worship and do other spiritual/religious activities inside or outside?

* Is there any spiritual/religious meaning for your path to indoor or outdoor activity? Does your path require or favor indoor or outdoor activities for some reasons?

* How do you meet your beliefs/opinions about indoor and outdoor activities practically? How do you deal with logistic, space, time, weather and group issues? When would you decide against the place you favor spiritually/religiously for pragmatic reasons?

* Do different forms of your spiritual/religious activities favor different places? How about ritual, offerings, invoking deities/spirits, devotional shrines, meditation work for example?

* Are you satisfied with how you actually meet your preferences in praxis?

Raising children in your religion?

If you have children, do you plan to raise them in your religion? If so, how much? Will you just tell them about your beliefs, or will you expect them to participate in your rituals with you as well? What are your reasons?

This is something I've been thinking about a lot. I was raised Christian. I was taught that all other religions were "false". I had to go to church every Sunday. My parents read the Bible to each of us individually every night. I was completely surrounded by Christian teachings and didn't meet anyone who believed differently until I was in my late teens, unless it was people I was supposed to try to "convert."

Unfortunately, I found the Christian religion and most of its teachings quite depressing, and I am still struggling with some of the feelings I had because of my religious upbringing.

Now, my parents are strongly pushing their religion on my two-year-old niece. It makes me a bit uncomfortable, because she's only two years old so she isn't old enough to decide for herself. I wish I'd been allowed to decide for myself as a kid, and I don't want her to go through life dealing with some of the things I had to deal with. I don't want her growing up afraid she'll die in the night and go to hell, or thinking she can't stand up to people who bully her because she's supposed to "turn the other cheek" or think she's supposed to be subservient to men just because she happens to be female. (I realize that's probably not what the Christian teachings are intended to mean, but kids can easily get those kids of ideas and then have a hard time shaking them when they're older, which is what happened to me.)

So now that I've decided I want to be a Pagan (even though I don't know which path yet) and I am of the age where I could have children, I sometimes wonder, will I teach them all I can about my path (when I choose one) but still let them decide for themselves when they are old enough? Will I teach them about lots of different religions so they feel comfortable with people with lots of different beliefs but possibly be confused? Or will I just leave religion alone and let them discuss it if they want to, but not bring it up on my own? I think I want them to at least know what I believe, but I don't want them to feel pressured to believe it themselves.

Those of you who have kids, how have you chosen to deal with their religious upbringing? And those of you who don't have them yet but might someday, how do you plan to deal with it?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Strange Sensations While Meditating?

I was meditating last night, and I started feeling really weird. It started out as feeling like I was floating through space, which was cool. But then it started feeling like a combination of floating through space, riding a roller coaster, being drunk, and having an asthma attack. (I have asthma, so I know how an attack feels.) I noticed my heart was beating quite a bit faster. I opened my eyes and it was gone immediately. I wanted to continue what I was doing, so I closed my eyes, and I immediately felt like I was in a meditative state again. But then within a few seconds, the strange sensation occured.

Is that what's supposed to happen. I was hoping to go into a trance, and it almost felt like one. Has anyone else ever had that happen, or did I just happen to have an asthma attack at an inconvenient time?

Taking off for Holidays?

Have you or would you call out of work or school for a religious holiday?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2008

Hey, what is this thread? Tonight—beginning at sunset on Saturday, December 20, 2008—is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. To celebrate the winter solstice (a.k.a. Yule, Midwinter, and probably other things, depending on your tradition), a bunch of us plan to stay up all night and post here in this thread off and on throughout, sharing our experiences or random thoughts...telling stories around our cyber-campfire...or just encouraging each other to stay awake!

So if you’re trying to stay up till dawn, or just want to pop in to converse with those of us who are, this is the place! (Or if you're lucky enough to be in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoying the warmth and sun of summer solstice, tell us what we're missing!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stereotypes I Hate About My Religion

Spawned from the MMC/GUM thread in the Gods & Goddesses board...

One of my HUGE peeves are people who make incorrect assumptions about Wicca... e.g. that Wiccans can't be hard polytheist. Or we all believe in "Harm none". That all eceltic Wiccans are just magpies. That Wicca's just about female fertility and conception. Or that Wicca's just a phase people move through on their way to somewhere else.

What sorts of stereotype peeves bother you guys about your paths? Maybe the "All Asatruar are racist" thing? Or that recons are all academic snobs? Or that perpetual seekers just can't make up their minds?

I think it's important to clear the air about stuff like this from time to time. The more info that's out there on pagan paths (especially online), the harder it gets for newbies and seekers to sift the chaff from the wheat, or to know which BNPs (big name pagans) should be taken with a grain of salt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ultimate Goal(s) of Your Religion?

Does your religion have an ultimate goal? If all was perfect and your religion had succeeded at *whatever* that goal was, what would the world look like? Is this considered a real goal or something to strive for and never reach?

What's Your Winter Holiday Mix?

I have found that a lot of Pagans tend to do some mixing and matching of holiday traditions around the Christmas/Yule time of year. How many of you incorporate customs that don't come from your religion into your winter holiday celebrations? What sorts of things do you do?

I'm not Pagan, but since I live in an interfaith household, there is a bit of mixing here as well. Essentially, we celebrate the religious parts of Hannukah (saying the blessings and lighting the menorah) plus we play dreidel and eat doughnuts. Our decorations and presents are all related to the secular Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

For those who follow specific pantheons

For those who follow specific pantheons (ie Greek Pagans/ Hellenists, Heathens/Asatruar, Egyptian/Kemetic, etc.), do you worship and/or honor ALL deities in your "chosen" pantheon, only specific ones you feel called to, or ?


Why? If you worship/honor all deities do you feel it is an obligation, or an important aspect of your path? If you don't why not?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

PARTY TIME: The Cauldron's ELEVENTH Anniversary Today (13 Dec 2008)

Eleven years ago (on 13 Dec 1997) -- after three frustrating days when only Elspeth, Ann (Empireone), and myself could post -- The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum opened its doors to the general public on the Delphi online service. This was before it was known as Delphiforums and back when user forums, then known as "Custom Forums" had a presence on both the paid Delphi Online Service (in wonderful a pure text/command line like environment) and on their new free Web forum version. The forum was an instant success with 60 or 70 messages posted that December and hitting 1000 messages within six months or so.

The Cauldron was started as a Yule gift from me to Elspeth -- you had to pay Delphi for forums back then (six months in advance). It was staffed by Elspeth, Ann, and myself with an able assist from our friends from the dying GEnie Online Service. We started a web site for the forum in the web space I got with my Delphi account in January of 1998, although we did not get domain name for a couple of years.

Our forum has done well in the years that followed, although TC has had to move around a lot. From Delphi to a mailing list. Then back to Delphiforums (Delphi's new name). When Delphi's poor service and pricing got to be too much to much in early 2004, Bob offered us server space and we moved to our own site. First with Beehive's Delphiforums-like software (two incarnations), then (very reluctantly) to SMF early in 2007 when it became apparent that Beehive software just could not meet the needs of this forum. Bob's server gave up the ghost this fall and we had to move to our own Linode VPS. The first time in our existence that have had to pay a monthly bill for the message board. Fortunately, our members seem to be stepping up and donating every month to make continuing this board possible.

It has been a very interesting 11 years. Sometimes it has been interesting in the "may you live in interesting times" sense of "interesting," but mostly it has been interesting in the good sense of the word. Lyricfox and I met through TC and married over four and a half years ago. We all made many new friends via TC. It's also been a lot of work. Work which has been shared with our staff members -- without them, this forum would not be here today. This is especially true this last 12 months as the hosts have been dealing with cancer and have not been nearly as active on the board as we had been in the past. However, the reason The Cauldron's message board is still here isn't the Hosts or the staff, it's our members: the wonderful people reading this message (and now funding the monthly server costs). Without you, this forum would be a ghostly place haunted by memories of discussions past.

It's been a great eleven years. Today we start our twelfth year. In "Internet time" we are as ancient as the dinosaurs, but we are still here, still doing our thing, and still enjoying ourselves doing it.

Thanks for "listening to the speech." I'll shut up now and let the party begin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Solstice Gifts for Children?

We do gift-giving on Christmas here. It's the holiday our families celebrate, and it's when Santa comes. This year, I'd like to give the kids one gift to open at Yule, though. I don't want it to just be another piece of noisy plastic junk (they'll get plenty of that since my husband has a hand in the shopping). I want something meaningful, but I'm not sure what. My oldest would be old enough for a piece of jewelry, but not the younger ones. They are only 4, 3, and 1.

Any ideas?

At the Start of the Year...

With this year coming down to an end, I think many of us can sit back and go "What the hell just happened?". Not only to our personal lives, but to our friends, family and loved ones both near and far.

This year seems to have been not only chaotic, but historical for sure. Here in the States we have Obama as our first black president. Our Economy blows and our jobs are being lost left and right. Fires still roared on the West, drought still found all around and becoming worse.

It's been a bad year for many of us and I have been curious for my self, and others here on our board what do you plan on doing at the Start of the Year?

Personally for me is to gather once again. Two years ago, near three, a former friend of mind "started" a group of us to get together and speak about magical things. It was nice to have close friends once a month together, laughing, talk and eating. I think that I am going to start this up again, but not necessarily in the magical context as the former.

Many people have become lost in this frenzy we call "Modern Times" where few of us are capable of sitting. Everyone feels this rush-rush-rush here, that there is never enough time to spend with friends,family and loved ones. To that, I say bleh onto you!

I truly feel that it is time that we, as humans, take a step back and recollect our selves. To have our friends come to our home, no matter, and have dinner with them and laugh about stupid things. Not to go out to the movies, to a diner, to a mall. Our world is moving to fast and all of us are becoming more and more fragile to things.

What are you wanting to do to ease what has been done this year?

Using our Gifts/Talents?

Last year I was often told by a member of my family that I was "wasting my talents" by not going to University to do something that they thought I had a special talent for. They also insinuated that this talent was given to me for a reason, and that it was a bad thing for me not to be using it.

Even though things have calmed down now, these words have played in my mind for quite some time. It has gotten me thinking about what I've heard people call a 'God-given talent', and whether I believe these exist or not. Do our talents come from an external force, or from within ourselves? Or perhaps even from both?

In addition, regardless of where these talents come from, do we have a duty to use the talents that we have? Why/why not? Does it depend on what kind of talent it is?

Is there more of a duty to use them if these talents are considered to have been given to us by the Gods/a particular Deity?

What do you think?

MAJOR NEW FEATURE ADDED: TCN - The Cauldron (Social) Network

While it is not MySpace or Facebook, The Cauldron now has its own "social network" for members of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum (and their friends). TCN - The Cauldron Network is a Kickapps-powered "social network" for members of The Cauldron. Its main feature is unlimited storage for your photos and videos, however, it has social network features like blogs, friends, a home page, etc. as well.

You can take a look at TCN (and sign up if you want -- and we hope you will) at If you want to sign up for TCN, please use your Cauldron ID for your TCN account if at all possible. Once you get an account at TCN, please list your TCN account name in your profile (TCN ID in Profile/Forum Profile Information, near the bottom of the list) here on the message board and it will automatically generate a link to your TCN profile. This link will appear on both your message board profile AND in your messages on the message board.

TCN is somewhat limited compared to places like MySpace and Facebook, and we just have to live with those limits as TCN is hosted by and the software is not under our control. We can't rewrite it to make it work as you might like. However, does upgrade the software with new features from time to time.

We hope you will use and enjoy this major new TC feature. Full members got an early look at TCN over the last few days, and generally like what they saw. Over 30 members have signed up during the preview period. Many have created profile pages and uploaded some pictures, so there is already content out there to look at.

You'll also find a link to TCN in the Community Menu part of the left side menu called TCN Social Network.

Unable to Make a Magical Connection Online?

After seeing the "Up all night" thread I was wondering if there's anyone else out there that feels absolutely no "magickal connection" to online gatherings, circles etc? Does that lack of connection extend to electronic tarot or divination?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MMC, GUM, and Other Myths of Neo-Paganism

I said here that I'd do it, and here it is. (There's quite a bit of discussion already; I'd like to see reposting of the substance here insofar as it can be done, but unless-and-until, the link is well-worth following.)

There are some ideas/concepts in (generally Wiccish/Wicca-influenced) neoPaganism that those of us of a more academic bent shy off from discussing, because of how strongly they've become associated with "Pagan fundies", those who insist on casting them as literal truth. But they're useful concepts - as myth, not fact - for many people.

Catja on myths - the long version, or more briefly,

Myths are *sacred* stories -- sometimes the very telling itself will be sacred -- that enshrine the Big Cosmic Truths of a culture: where the world came from, the relationship of humans to the divine, the foundation of sacred institutions like kingship or sacrifice, what happens after we die, and so forth. Myths are making a COSMIC truth-claim, which, depending on the culture and individul believer, can range from "metaphorical/poetic truth" to "literal/historical truth"; however, a myth's PRIMARY function is to convey a cosmic truth, so any historical truth-claim will be secondary.
Two well-known and widespread examples are the Great Universal Matriarchy often associated with Marija Gimbutas (though the form in which it's often found in neoPaganism goes farther than she did), and the Maiden/Mother/Crone triple goddess - I believe others were mentioned in the thread this is spun off from, and there are likely others that haven't been mentioned.

What myths of this kind are included in, or have influenced, your path, and how do they function in that context?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The History of Modern Yule and Christmas Traditions?

This thread is intended to discuss the common roots and the different development of related traditions in Christianity and Pagan religions. I wonder what we would get if we look at it with a positive attitude, not ask 'who stole what from whom?' but how different religions did inspire each other in the development of their traditions. Smiley

As most of you know Christianity adapted some of its Christmas traditions from ancient Pagan religions. I wonder if Christianity has therefore inspired Neopagan religions in return.

Have modern Yule traditions been derived from historical sources about ancient Pagan traditions or from Pagan-rooted traditions in a Christian context?

So have some ancient Pagan Yule tradition gone through a Christian transitory before they appeared in Neopagan Yule traditions?

How do you think Neopagan traditions are affected by this?

Is there still an influence of each other in celebrating Yule/Christmas today?

Thanks for your answers and thoughts.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What is the Common Pagan View on Satanism?

I was reading on Satanism with some lads I know. It doesn't at all seem the way people portray it to be. Doesn't seem evil all that evil. Just over indulgence maybe? We all are guilty of that, well, at least I am a bit.

I put this here because it doesn't seem in the realm of Paganism, but, I have a feeling in your search through Paganism this must have come up for you.

How Will You Celebrate The Winter Solstice With Your Children?

This year, I'm hosting a Solstice playdate for my local Mom's group. I was very happy (and surprised!) that the coordinator of the group approved a holiday playdate with a theme other than Christmas, and I'm excited to get the kids together and have some fun.

For those of you with kids, how are you going to be celebrating with them? Any ideas for fun crafts for preschool-age children? I was thinking of painting some ornaments shaped like the sun...maybe make pine cone birdfeeders? I'll be reading a little from the book we have here - The Shortest Day (which is a great book, btw).

The other moms are all Christian, so I'm trying to steer more towards just a changing of the seasons theme, rather than get "religious" about it. I might try to explain the science behind it, but I'm not sure...might be a little too technical for the age group...

Friday, December 05, 2008

SURVEY TIME: Why are you at The Cauldron?

I hope everyone with a Cauldron membership (even lurkers!) will take a few minutes and answer the following questions. Thank you very much in advance!

1) Why are you at The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum?

2) What brings you here instead of elsewhere?

3) What do you get (or hope to get) out of The Cauldron?

4) What (if anything) really impresses you about The Cauldron?

5) What (if anything) really disappoints you about The Cauldron?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Doing It Your Own Way?

To those newbies who are not drawn to an individual religion, but rather hold a plethora of beliefs and opinions, I have often seen the advice given; just do what feels right for you.

Generally, I think this is a good thing to say, as it encompasses the idea that you shouldn’t embark on any religious journey unless it sits right with you. Therefore, a lot of thought has to be done beforehand. I’m sure some over-enthusiastic newbies find themselves jumping in at the deep end--for example, undergoing a ritual of self-dedication before they even fully know what it is they’re dedicating themselves to (I think I was one such newbie).

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the advice of doing what feels right for you. I’m wondering whether some may take this to mean ‘you can do whatever the hell you want’, and whether or not some people who give this advice actually mean it this way. Whenever I have given this advice (or received this advice) I have always taken it to mean…within limits. One such limit being the fact that one needs to be aware that it is not appreciated if you call yourself a name in use by another group and yet your practices are completely different. This has been known to cause confusion and anger, on both sides. I’m not saying that therefore said person has no right to this name, but rather they must realize that this term is in usage and should not claim sole ownership of it. I know I’m reiterating here, as this example in particular has come up on TC before.

Basically, I want to ask what you think the dangers (for lack of a better word) are when a person embarks on their religious path with the intent of doing it their own way. When someone wishes to ‘mix and match’ beliefs and practices from various religious traditions it is bound to cause offense to someone, somewhere. How do you think is the best way to try to avoid this?

Also, a more general question, do you think we have the right to such mixing and matching of traditions?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The "War on Christmas" Issue Returns Yet Again

It's back for another year. The War on Christmas. You know, that attempt the more fundie Christians see to stamp out the holiday by wishing people "Happy Hoildays" rather than "Merry Christmas."

"Two things stoked Erin Nash's anger when she trolled the malls last year. First, most stores trumpeted their 'holiday' sales. Second, every sales clerk robotically wished their customers 'Happy holidays.' The word 'Christmas,' Nash felt, had been discarded by the retailers like a wad of crumpled wrapping paper."

What do you think of this annual far right complaint?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Magic and Power/Self-Empowerment?

How do you view the aspect of power in magic generally?

Does practicing magic give you a feeling of being powerful? If so, what kind of power would that be?

Do you think some people are drawn to magic for some kind of power? What do you think about this?

How do you see the relationship between power in magic and power in everyday life (work, family, etc.)/society?

Do you think magic can be a way for people who feel powerless or repressed in their everyday lives/society to empower themselves in a positive way?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Will there be a Cauldron Technopagan Winter Solstice 2008?

Last year, a gaggle of us who pass the longest night of the year by staying awake from dusk till dawn kept in touch via the Cauldron, posting our experiences, thoughts, etc., and generally helping to keep each other awake! (And even folks who didn't do the all-nighter popped in from time to time).

With the winter solstice only a month away (for those of us in the N hemisphere), it's time to ask: Who's up for it this year? (Count me in)

And does anybody have any thoughts on any new twists?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Geasa (Taboos)

Spelling aside, I'm wondering if there's anyone else here at TC who considers him/herself to be under a geis (taboo).

I've mentioned on other threads that Brighid has communicated to me that I'm not to reach out to other deities or to engage in magic. It didn't occur to me until yesterday, when I was mentally flailing about trying to describe how I know I'm not supposed to do those things (in response to a post from Aine), that these two "orders" or whatever seem to be pretty similar to some of the geasa described in the lore.

If there is anyone else out there in this situation, how did your deity communicate it to you? Do you know why you were given this geis? Were you agreeable, or did you try to argue? Have you found it difficult to comply? What would happen if you broke the taboo? How long did your geis last?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Astral Threads

Occur to me this morning, when talking to a TC member, I have been using these and not labeling them as such ... in my mind.

Most of what I have read or others speak of, lean more to use while journey’s, other words/dimensions and so on.
Some on mundane uses.. or staying within this world/dimension...? Viewing real time and space on the mundane. *some RVing stuff out there too*

I'm wondering just how often we use these and for what purpose. What do others see them as looking like? How do you see them? When using them what do you apply them to? Do you send workings/spells through them? do you see them as a channel to move info/energy/images through? a tunnel with a door *or not* that swings both ways? *send receive*

What is your belief, thought, or scholarly studies lead your understandings of Astral Threads, and are there other types of these threads that I have no name for? Or are they all categorized under Astral Threads even when used on the mundane level, and as we look through to the future with our forms of divination?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Combining Religious Holidays -- Right or Wrong?

Right now I have in mind Christmas and Yule/Winter Solstice. What do you think about combining these?

I have known people to combine these holidays before for the sake of family. For example; one person is Christian and the other Wiccan and they want to strike a nice balance between the two. Or the family is one which celebrates Wiccan holidays, and yet the children are so drawn in by the idea of Christmas (because it's everywhere! Cheesy) that they decide to combine the two.

What is your opinion on this? Is it right/wrong?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Favorite Herbs?

What's your favorite herbs to work with and why?

Mine would probably be Sage because of the way I feel when I use it in food and in smudge sticks/incense (although I have bought the ground sage and put it in a glass container with salt and burned it... doesn't smell as great as the sticks/incense). I feel like all the negativity in my life at that moment is leaving and that I'm being restored to a proper state of mind in which I can focus again.

I also like to use Parsley, Basil, and Rosemary in cooking just not sure of how I would use them in magic just yet... I do need to brush up on my herbalism since it's been a while since I remembered their uses.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book of Shadows, Grimoire, Spell Books, Oh My!

Didn't quite know where to post this nor did I know how to label it until a minute ago.

I'm still tossing some options up in the air for magical books and wanted to get some opinions/perspectives on how, if this does, relate to you and why it does or doesn't...

1 - Do you use books to write down magical things? What do you call it?
2 - What types of materials do you use?
3 - Do you organize it? Why? Why not?
4 - What information do you include in it?
5 - How did you begin it?
6 - What is some advice you would give on someone beginning their first?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Easy Holiday Recipes Here

So as it gets closer to American Thanksgiving and other winter holidays, I thought it would be nice to share easy recipes that you use for the endless parties, entertaining, and family get-togethers at this time of year. While we all have our elaborate favorites, we also have those last minute invitations where we scramble to put something together while we try to shower, feed the dogs, clean the house, dress the kids, etc. Share your go-to time savers with the rest of us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sacred Space

I've been thinking about the concept of sacred space--whether members of different religions worship in sacred space or not, and what exactly constitutes as sacred space.

I'm sure for many Christians when they walk into Church they feel as though they have entered into sacred space. Likewise, Hindu's no doubt feel that their temple is sacred space. However, on the flip side, Jehovah's Witnesses don't necessarily regard their Kingdom Hall as sacred space; it's more of a meeting place.

Some Pagans (perhaps predominantly Wiccans) create their own sacred space.

How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?

Druids and Curses?

I was talking to a friend at school who is also pagan. I asked her this question that I'm getting ready to ask here...

"Do you think that the Druids used curses as well as cures? Do you think their view of nature was 100% positive or do you think they balanced it with the negative... I don't really think they viewed 'light and dark' since Nature is a combination of the two... What's your opinion"

Her reply was that she felt the same way that I did... That the Druids must have believed that there was a balance and that in worshiping a Deity one must take responsibility for self before asking the Deity to act on their behalf... I do feel that the Morrigan and many others would not put up with childish behavior and hand answers on silver platters... I remember thinking of Her and I had this feeling, "You may be my servant, but don't think it will come easy and don't think I will give you every request... You must help yourself before I will help you." And it truly made so much sense and I really do feel that's how it works.

So, what's your views... Do you think the Druids did curses as well as cures? Do you think they recognized both the positive and negative aspects of Deity and Nature? If so, why? If not, why?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why You Chose or Were Drawn to Celtic Reconstructionism

Just thought this would be a neat little way to get to know other members who follow a Celtic Reconstruction path...

If you reply, state:

* Why you chose or were drawn to the path you are on.
* How you came about studying it.
* How you know that this is the path for you in the present.
* Where you hope your path will take you, and your goals.

These are just basic questions, feel free to go off on a tangent.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Practicing Paganism as an Atheist?

So I'm in a transitional period right now and I've been reconsidering my 'spirituality'. I have been for several years an Atheist and that is unlikely to change. This has left me somewhat empty however. Christianity, through prayer, offered a means of self awareness and reflection which has been lacking. I've therefore been considering taking up the ritualistic and ethical aspects of Hellenismos.

Ritual offers a vehicle for trance (a heightened state of focus) and the Greek Gods represent fundamental archetypes (I don't mean any disrespect to those who worship them as Gods) which combine to form a complete human being. The last while I've been acting out the motions of prayers to them and my psychological state has improved because of it. Its given me a chance to reflect on aspects of my life as if I were speaking to something that represents perfection in that area. So before playing guitar I 'pray' to Apollo beforehand, prior to study I 'pray' to Athena and so forth; as well as at the end and beginning of the day.

This is also giving me the chance to study and practice part of what made Greece such an innovative and important society. Their virtue, love of life and introspective spirit are something that I would love to evolve towards. I feel like I'm connecting to people who were in many ways superior to ourselves and in so doing maybe getting closer to the virtues they possessed.

Are there other Atheists who have found themselves drawn to Pagan practice for similar reasons?

Have any previously non-religious members find they developed belief because of the practice?

If you are reading this as a Pagan, or specifically a follower of the Hellenistic tradition, how do you feel about an Atheist adopting some of your practice?

Also, does this represent a fundamental character flaw on my part? Wouldn't someone who knows himself have no need for this?

Advice on Druidry?

For some reason I've had the urge to look into ADF within the past week or so.

I am looking at ADF's website and trying to figure out what sites are more valid than others...

Is there any advice to give to someone who is looking into Druidry? For example, recommended book lists, recommended authors, what books aren't so good, etc...

Also, for those of you who are ADF's or follow a Druidic path, what drew you to this path?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Modern Hellenic Beliefs Regarding Afterlife

This is spun off from my own thread about the original term for Hell... Mel reminded me of the divisions of Hades' realm: Namely The Elysian Fields (being the place where the most blessed got to go), Asphodel Fields (or meadows) (for most everyone, a sort of wandering about), and Tartarus (where the wrost of the worst were basically punished for ever). Now, following the Greek Gods, and whatever recon or otherwise practices you may have, what do you believe regarding the afterlife?

Do you believe in the above? To what extent? If not, what, if anything do you believe?

Why Altars?

It seems to be a common thing among Pagans to have an altar. Why is this?

I didn't have an altar for quite some time, and then suddenly one appeared without me realizing it. I noticed that the candles I used for ritual were always in the same spot, and if ever I had anything I wished to include in a ritual it was always put on the shelf next to my candles. Plus, it was before this spot that I stood to say a prayer (simply because the candle I would light was sat there). Therefore I would say that I have a rather practical altar. It hasn't been blessed or anything; I wouldn't necessarily regard it as 'sacred space'.

Do you have an altar? If so, what do you use it for? Do you view it as sacred?

Sin, Punishment and Redemption in your Religion?

Got this idea from the original hell-thread:

Is there any kind of sin, punishment and redemption in your religion or beliefs?

* Do you believe people can sin or violate the sacred? What would you call a sin or violation of the sacred?

* Do you believe in punishment by your God/s, Goddess/es, spirits, entities or powers for wrong doings?

* How are those punishments enacted in your opinion? Do they affect your present life or after life?

* Can the wrongdoer be redeemed? If, when does the punishment end?

* Is there any way to avoid punishment in the first place?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Your Gods and Where You Live

I know that there has been a thread at some point discussing whether or not deities are tied to place, but I want to ask a more direct question:

If you moved across the country, to a different country, or even to a completely different continent, do you think you would still strongly feel the presence of your God(s)/Goddess(es)?

Why/ why not?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Turned Around Witchcraft?

Are there any old traditions or customs that you use now that were once anti-craft and if so how did you change them around?

Hex signs were once used to ward off witches and witch bottles were meant to repel harmful spells. Times have changed. Now hex signs are supposed to be good luck for witches by warding off negative energy and I know of many who use witch bottles for just about everything from protection to love spells.

I was just curious as to how others use or feel about using certain customs in their work that were once used to ward off or protect against witches and witchcraft.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What If Your Religious Beliefs Are Wrong?

It's one of those questions that always gets asked by people trying to convert - what if you're wrong.

This isn't an attempt to convert, just a thought-game. Take a good long look at your religious beliefs - and ask.

What if you're wrong? What would change? What wouldn't change? Can you accept the doubt, or is doubt the enemy?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Faith Healing

So, we're talking in chat about a horrible little show on the SciFi channel tonight on exorcisms, and the talk turned to faith healing.

Which got me thinking...

Has anyone ever been legitimately healed by faith healing? And how different is televangelist faith healing from pagan claims of using energy to heal people? Are pagans who heal somehow more trustworthy to the community?

I don't know what I think about stereotypical faith healing, but if I believe that I can raise energy to heal someone, or that my High Priestess can give me Reiki to help my sore knee, then is that really any different?

Instinct -- Is It Energy or the Subconscious?

When we meet someone, why do we instinctually dislike them? How do know when something isn't right? Why are uneducated guesses sometimes really, really accurate?

I've heard instinct described as when the subconscious mind makes logical connection between different events and communicates it to the conscious mind, before the conscious mind can put the pieces together itself. I've certainly experience that: while driving I often know when someone will cut me off well before that person cuts me off. I thought about it and realized there are certain subtle signals given by drivers that they are about to do that: a small veering toward their intended lane, movement of a head in a shoulder check. Now I can consciously figure out when someone will cut me off -- no instinct required.

But then there are the times when I can't explain why I "know" something: I visited a friend who I've had a spiritual bond with for a decade. We sat down on her balcony for a coffee, and I had a vision of violence occuring, which to be is indicative of an out excessive amount of an unhealthy negative emotion (self-loathing, hatred, power-control issues). I knew it came from somewhere behind me, so I checked out the buildings behind me when we headed back in, and focussed on the left side of a green duplex. Inside, I told her about my vision, and she replied, "I bet I know which house it is. It's the left side of the green duplex." I asked if she had seen anything there, and she replied nothing out of the ordinary, she just heard things in the wind.

We walked past the house and checked out what might be different about it -- maybe a curtain hanging crooked, or some junk outside. Any sign of disarray or excessive order that implies any control issues or lack thereof. There was nothing to distinguish it from the right side, or any of the other duplexes. I don't know why we had the same instinct about the place. About a month later (after many other visits) I went to visit her and realized the duplex felt different. Before I said anything she said "they moved two days ago. It's been quiet ever since." It was a bizaare incident. I think it's instinct based on sensing energy.

Anyway, now that I've wind-bagged enough -- what do you think?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gods and Hierarchy

Does your pantheon have a hierarchy? Are some Gods considered 'lesser' Gods than others? Is there one God that is the head of all of the Gods? Or are your Gods all equals?

Why do you think that there is/isn't a hierarchy in your pantheon? Do you think the hierarchy is/isn't there due to the work of the Gods themselves, or due to the way humans perceive the Gods?

And of a slightly different tone: do you treat any of your Gods with more respect (or show more reverence to) than the others? If so, is this due to hierarchy, or purely because they are your patron?

Moon phases in your magic(k)al practice?

Are you doing specific kinds of magic(k) at specific moon phases?

How serious do you take moon phases? Would you wait for the right moment to do a certain spell, work etc.?

What's most important about the moon in your magic(k)al practice? Waxing/waning or the amount of fullness? Do zodiacal signs of the moon matter for you at all?
For example:

* If you work with the full moon, does it matter to you if it's waxing to the full or waning from the full at the moment?
* If you work more with the waxing/waning aspect, does it matter to you if the waxing moon has just been a new moon or if it is a few hours away from being full?

With what kind of calendar do you work? Do you just look at the day or does it matter to you at all in which hour exactly the moon will be full, new etc.? How do you define full or new for your work? In what time frame is the moon full or new to you?

Are there any moon phases or constellations where you don't perform magic(k) at all?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day of the Dead Ideas?

This year has been pretty full on in more ways than one. Ive had a number of loved ones pass away, and am helping to care for my uncle who is terminally ill.. It was also five years, this may, since my aunt died. All this has made me want to pay tribute by celebrating the day of the dead, but i dont really know how.

I thought i would set up a discreet shrine with photos and marigolds in my bedroom, and i have started some day of the dead skull paintings.. My family is catholic so it wont be suspicious for us to have a nice sit down dinner on all souls day, and i wanted to make some sugar skulls but they look pretty tricky.

Does anyone else have any ideas or want to share how they celebrate this time of year?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Candle Substitution

The candle books say that you can substitute any candle color with white candles if you do not have that color on hand. What is your opinion on that? Also, you can substitute orange candle for black if you do not like black candles. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pagan Poetry?

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for books on poetry or pagan poetry?

I'm going to be filling in a hard-bound book of shadows, my first hard -bound. My other has been a 3-ring binder I've dubbed The Great Big Book of Everything.

I'm asking this because I'd like to put a poem or two on the first page. On the inside of the cover I have a sticker by Nene Thomas. It's a fairy sitting on a crescent moon.

If anyone would like to share poems that's great too. I would also love to find a poem about the moon.

Any help is welcome!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What to Expect at a Samhain Ritual?

There is a small group of pagans that meet in my area. I recently attended their Full Moon Ritual and signed up to also attend the Samhain ritual. The full moon ritual was very Wiccan-ish and I suppose the Samhain ritual will be as well.

My reasons for going are similar to my reasons for being here on TC, to connect and interact with other pagans. I took my teenager who is currently on a path of Druidity exploration, who thoroughly enjoyed it and is looking forward to Samhain.

So my question is, not being Wiccan, what should I expect at the Samhain ritual?

The only clues I was given were that costumes are encouraged (as long as kept PG rated) and there would be a small bonfire and dancing. I always thought that a Wiccan Samhain ritual was more of a solemn event and this seems counter to that notion so any advise/wisdom would be appreciated.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thelema Books

I am interested in learning more about Thelema. I have studied Wicca and Paganism in the past, which led to an invitation to attend a Gnostic Mass, and now I want to find out more about Thelema and the O.T.O. I have looked at some of A. Crowley's works, but they seem a little intimidating to me, at least at first... So, I was wondering what book would be good to start off with? Or what order would you read them in?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spells and Rhyme

Do you feel that spells should rhyme?

I was wondering how others feel about rhyme and spells. I can see how rhyme would give a spell fluidity and life, but I personally rarely use rhyme.

I was reading (and thoroughly enjoying) a nice little book the other day, but I didn't care for the author's spells. They were just too cute sounding to me and I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized it was her rhyme style, which struck me more along the lines of old nursery rhymes. But I suppose nursery rhymes may have been more magically oriented in the first place.

So, I was wondering how rhyme figures into magical work. Exactly how important is rhyme?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I have come across clairvoyance and clairaudience, but what exactly is clairsentience?

Where Have All The Gods Gone?

It seems like back in the olden days, the gods were always hanging around. Whether it was cavorting with mortals, making miracles, or just a good old-fashioned smiting, the older myths are full of the clear and obvious presence of the Divine. Nowadays, the deities seem more subtle, to say the least.

What do you think there is such a big difference between the ancient stories and most modern religions? Is it because the things people used to attribute to Divinity have been explained by science? Is it because the Divine has withdrawn from the earth? Is it because most people just don't know how to listen any more? Is is all of these; is it something else? What do you think?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Philosophical Meaning of "Harm None"....and is It Right?

There is obviously some debate over whether the harm none is a necessary or correct principle of magic, and the different interpretations of the definition. What does everyone think about what it really means? Does it mean that no matter what you do, none of the repercussions can harm anyone? What about spells that return negativity (I hesitate to use the word evil due to the often contradictory opinions on the word) to its source. Wouldn't that harm said source? I know Wiccans adhere to "an it harm none" (as do I, as best I know how), but to what individual degrees or interpretations? And what about everyone else?

What about whether its even a principle that makes sense? Many people think that this is a stupid (or incorrect) principle... that magic contains both positve and negative aspects, and should be performed utilizing both. I can see the logic in this as well, as everything else (as I understand things) contains both good and evil. Yin and Yang type thing. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the matter.

My personal thoughts: I try to make sure that nothing I do harms anything else. Even with banishing type spells, I don't want harm to come to whatever I may be banishing, I just want it/them to go away. I DO know that my personal feelings on this matter have to do with me being somewhat empathic, and I can't stand for anything to be in pain. The exception is in protecting my family. AN EXAMPLE: Walking down a street I might have to beat off an attacking dog with a large tree branch, hurting it in the process in order to protect my children, but I would do it, even as my heart hurt at the sounds of pain coming from the dog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Server Up and Running

The new server for our message board is up and running. When you visit our message board and see a large print message about being on the new server on the board's "HOME" page, you will know that your ISP's DNS records have updated and you are seeing the new server.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

OLd Message Board Server Down

Bob's Server died again Tuesday afternoon, just before the new server was ready. For now, please use the backup message board. We are hoping Bob's server can be brought back up one more time and stay up long enough to get a final copy of the message board database to move to the new server. Otherwise we will lose about 4 days of messages when we move.

One way or another, we should be on the new Linode VPS server in a few days -- with any luck, that will be the end of our server problems.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Which Came First Your Religion, or Your Magic?

Did you practice magic before you found/developed your religious path? Or did you already have your religious leanings before you began to delve into magic?

In your own personal view of things, is the one in direct correlation with the other? Or do you view them as completely separate things? Why?

Outdoor Rituals?

With Samhain approaching, I'm feeling very compelled to have my ritual outdoors. Something I've never done before, but have always wanted to do. I have a really nice chimnea and thought about building a huge fire there and making that the center of my circle. Other than that, I'm not sure what I need. Is it customary to still have candles at the corners? Should I construct an actual circle with stones? What about the incense? Things that are easy to do inside, but in the dark, and with the wind, and no real altar might be difficult, you know?

I always get this (albeit stereotypical maybe) image in my head of happy witches just dancing around a big fire, and that's kind of what I'm going for. Simple, but I still want to be respectful and "proper".

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Worst Spell Poetry

You can give us all a laugh with cheesy love spells out of your teenage BOS? Any abysmal spell drafts in your paper bucket?

Or you've written some bad examples just for fun?

Maybe you want to nominate any spells from the net, books, serials or movies which weren't according to your lyrical taste?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Exploring Past Lives

I would like some pointers on researching the exploring past lives subject, weblinks would be helpful since I'm not too sure I can shell out for a book at the moment. Thanks for any help.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Designing or adapting spells by yourself

Any general advice what to watch out for? Are there specific phrases to avoid? Or specific contents necessary to include?

Do you self-design spells? (Which kind of or which kind not?)
How do you usually go about it? Are there specific steps you take? Things you prepare or consider first?
Do you work on them over a longer time period? Do you experiment and improve?
Have you ever spontaneously designed a spell?

Do you feel more secure with self designed spells or with ones from a book/teacher/other source?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Published Material from Oathbound Traditions?

What do you think about non-oathbound material published by people from an oathbound path?

* Do you think the given information is incomplete in a significant way, because oathbound stuff is omitted, changed or generalized? So is the material less authentic than material published from a not-oathbound path?

* Do you use such material, for example books by Gardnerians containing non-oathbound stuff (like Deborah Lipp Elements of Ritual?

What do you think about oathbound material published?

* Do you think it is authentic and useful?

* Would you use it or parts of it? Why/why not?

If you're from an oathbound path how does your tradition handle this question or how do you think it should?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Books on "Celtic Spirituality"

Over the last however many years, I've read pretty much all of the academic books on the market about Celtic/Irish mythology, archeology, art, etc. I think I have about as good a grasp on what we know about ancient Celtic religious practice as most lay people have, and, frankly, I'm bored with the histories. I'm tired of reading dry descriptions of archeological artifacts and stuff like that. It's important and provides a critical foundation, but enough is enough.

However, I still feel that I need to keep moving forward and developing my own spirituality or it will stagnate. I think that spirituality is a work in constant progress that is always evolving.

So, with complete understanding that nobody knows how the ancient Celts practiced their religion, I've bought a couple of the more recent books that purport to help the reader to understand "Celtic sprituality", whatever that is.

I'm starting with The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers, by Frank MacEowen, and Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, by Tom Cowan. I'm hoping that these books might help me move my thinking forward in much the same way that deep discussion here at TC does -- by stimulating critical and creative thinking about my own beliefs, ideas, and spirituality.

I'm wondering if anyone else has read these or any other similar books, and if you have any thoughts about them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Awen Symbol?

Since we're about modern practice as much as ancient, I thought we could talk about a modern symbol: the neo-druidic symbol for awen. Awen is a Welsh word/concept for truth and poetic inspiration.

* Do you use the above symbol in your practice?
* What does it symbolize for you?
* If you do not use it, is there a specific reason why not?
* More generally, how do you feel about modern symbols?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Desk Shrines/Altars

We've had threads before dealing with altars in small spaces, portable altars, altars at college, etc., but just now I'm specifically curious about what people have going on at work. I know I've heard of people having small unobtrusive altars or shrines set up in their workspace. Do you have something like that? If so, how is it set up?

I have a little sun-shrine: a Sun tarot card that Hubby picked up for me at Comicon, a printout of more or less the same graphic I use as my avatar here (but minus the flames in the center), a couple of health-cause-related lapel pins, and a copy of this are pinned to my cubicle wall, and an LED pillar candle sits below them.

At one point I also had made an attempt to put up elemental representations on the four walls of my cube--fire is kind of obvious, I think, and then I had an enamel butterfly pin for air and a sticker with the Japanese kanji for "water" that I used for... er, water. I can't remember what I used for earth. I think I did that more for the hell of it than for any particular religious/magical purpose, though, since I haven't done much elemental work for quite a while, and as I've rearranged things most of those representations have gotten shoved into one big group of "personal decorations" (family photos, cartoons, etc.) on one wall. So I guess they don't so much count...

Libation Trivia: Who has to clean that up?

OK, so the other night Hubby and I were watching Troy. And, you know, whole other discussion there, but what I want to ask about is: About the second or third time the characters poured a libation to the Gods before drinking, Hubby says, "Who has to clean that up?"

...And I realize I have no idea. I know if I stood around in my house pouring wine on the floor, the floor would get pretty gross pretty quickly. Do we have any idea how they dealt with that, a-way back when? Were the floors just plain more absorbant (dirt, porous stone, etc.) or covered in disposable absorbent stuff (I'm thinking rushes/straw here) or something that would make it less of a problem than it is now with our carpet and linoleum and whatever? Were libations not poured on the floor indoors? Did they just not care if the floors got gross? Something else I'm completely missing?

I know this is a detail that makes no real difference and probably hasn't got much to do with anything, so it's not something that I'm really that worried about finding the answer to. It's just got me a little curious, and I thought I'd see if anyone here had an answer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

YHVH, INRI & Pagans Doing Rituals?

There are plenty of Ceremonial Magick rituals, where the lines include YHVH or INRI. While the tetragrammaton YHVH may be in the ritual, meaning "Jehova", it can also mean "Father (Y, Yod), Mother (H, Hé/Heh), Son (V, Vau), Daugther (H, Hé/Heh final). INRI can denote Christ - although not necessarily to just Jesus, but an archetype of 'dying and resurrecting God' - but there are also longer tables of correspondences linking elements, planets and what have you to the different letters in INRI.

Do you think Pagans should use rituals including these very Christian-looking elements? Can they be taken from "their original context", or are they somehow off-limits for Pagan ritual magick use?

Why or why not?

Academic Books vs Non-Academic Books?

This thread hit me just now, thinking about the Familiars fiasco about Academic vs Non-academic sources. Is there a time and a place for a Non-Academic source? What should be classed as a non-academic source? (well besides things like Wikipedia)

Myself personally I think academic sources are either direct sources (such as myths, legends, things like that) and indirect sources (writings by scholars on the primary sources). These are useful when discussing general relgious terms and the like.

Then Non-academic sources is either UPG, or perhaps some one writing a book on the source though their profession isn't directly related to it. I think these are useful for when talking about practices, and in the case of UPG, when talking about personal practices. I don't believe they are mutually exclusive either, I think both are needed to have a well founded base.

So what are y'alls thoughts on the matter?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Planning for the Future of The Cauldron's Message Board

Since The Cauldron moved off of DelphiForums in April 2004, we have been hosted for free on one of Bob's servers. This has been great as hosting for a large message board is not cheap. Large, active message boards do poorly on affordable shared hosting because while they may not use much disk space or bandwidth they use a lot of CPU time -- the least available resource on a shared server. Free hosting for the message board has meant our expenses have been low, a couple of hundred dollars most years for hosting the main web site (

Bob's servers are getting old and cranky and he is now half a country away from them (which makes it hard to maintain them and fix problems). As you have probably noticed, the board has probably seen more down time since Bob moved early this summer than it did in the entire previous year. That's an obvious symptom of the problem -- and it is likely to grow much worse with time.

We therefore need to decide what we want to do with The Cauldron's message board -- because we want to decide and implement things before Bob's server calls it quits. I say "we" because most of these options are more expensive by far than our current costs and since the Host's cash supply is non-existent due to all our medical costs (see the Cancer Surgery for LyricFox thread), funding for whatever we decide to do is going to have to come almost entirely from donations from members. I'm going to give a lot of options -- even some that are unlikely to work well (unless we are very lucky). They will be arranged from least expensive to most expensive. Unfortunately, that is also very close to the order from least likely to work well to most likely to work well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What Do You Want From Your God(s)?

There are many characteristics that are attributed to the Gods. Often a God or a Goddess is said to be a God of Love, of War, of Poetry, of Healing. The list is endless.

The novel that I am currently reading, Avalon by Anya Seton, is set in England in approx. 900 CE and it has gotten me thinking about what it is that people actually want from a God. For instance, one character who is a Norseman and has lived in (mostly) Christian southern England has become frustrated with the worship of a God in a religion that is, to quote, "fit only for silly women and puling monks." He goes on to say that he now worships "Thor- The Thunderer." Evidently it is a God of stregth and power that he wishes to worship, and this is shown by his transformation from a manservant, to a warrior.

Consequently this shows that he wishes to worship a God which he relates to. In one respect, he has chosen his God in image of himself. Is this something that many of us are guilty of, do you think?

What is it that you want from your God(s)? Is there any particular quality that, for you, is important for a God to have?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Geography/location in Magic

I have long been fascinated by the way different places affect different people - not only because of something specific (ie the culture, architecture, weather, economy) but rather because of the place's specific energy. I wonder if anyone has any good information in any form - links, books, whatever - about such things. I mean, I know there's lots of stuff about compass directions and ley lines, but those aren't precisely what I'm thinking about. Different places just have different, unique energies - almost personalities. Also, any thoughts/comments any of you have on the topic would be great.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Consequences of Following your Path?

As an uncommitted newbie I'm curious to hear about what the more experienced members have to tell about spiritual and 'real-life' consequences of choosing their paths or making specific commitments. Also I'd like to hear from those who are at the beginning of a path or commitment, what they think the consequences will be and how that affects their choice.

* Have you ever faced any difficulties or pain for following your path?
* When you choose your path/ choose to make your commitment, what did you think about the consequences and how did it affect your choice
* Have you ever been afraid of the consequences for choosing a specific path or making a specific commitment?

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

How to Learn Working with Energy?

When I read about Wicca and spiritualism in general, I often come across the notion of "energy", and how you're supposed to be able to work with it an feel it. You sometimes read thins like "walk around the room, feeling where the energy is strongest". Well, I don't feel a damn thing. I fear I may be utterly untalented in this field.

How do I go about improving my non-existent abilities with energy work? Are there books I should read, or web sites, or perhaps even some simple exercises I could do? Or should I just go back to being a mundane computer programmer where I do have talent?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wicca Books with a Little More Depth?

During the last four years that I've had this interest in Wicca, I've read a few beginner books about it. Not nearly as many as I would have wanted to read, however. I began with reading Cunningham's "Guide for the solitary practitioner", and "Living Wicca". I've also read Buckland's "Complete book of Witchcraft", as well as a minor smattering of other books on related subjects such as Tarot, divination, magic and the like.

Those books were all mostly good. They were very interesting. But there was very little depth. Being a scientifically oriented person (I'm a programmer by profession), I need something more... convincing. I mean no offense to anyone, but I'm not going to believe that there are actual deities (God and Goddess) just because Cunningham tells me so. I'm not saying there aren't, I believe that there could very well be, but I want to read something with a little more depth about the subject. I want to read a theoretical discussion on the nature of these deities - are they actual sentient beings, or just symbols of natural archetypes? I guess you could argue that "this can't be proven either way, it's a matter of faith". Fine. But then I need way more information before I decide where to put my faith. Cunningham and Buckland provides very little in this direction.

Also, this thing about magic is very confusing to me, given my "scientific" nature. But things I've read about quantum physics lately, and how little of it science understands, who knows what could be possible? I'm sure there are books that deal with this issue from a neutral point of view as well.

So, given what I've said above, can anyone recommend some books or other resources that might help me along?

Fictional Characters in Religion and Magic?

There seems to be some connection between religion and storytelling. Many of histories greatest stories tell about deities and their (mis)adventures. Is it so strange then that characters from stories could become religious figures? If the experience feels real does it matter that the entity with whom you interact (supposedly) isn't? How do you feel about the idea of a whole religion based on such a fiction? Have you ever worked with a fictional character? If so, who and how?

The Ethics of Offerings

Do you make offerings?

Who do you make them to? (Deities/Spirits/Creatures/Ancestors/Locations Etc.)

Are there specific rules about how you make offerings (timing/location/presentation) or what you offer?

Are your offerings only pleasing to the recipient, or are they also appealing to you?

Would you offer something that did not appeal to you if asked?

Do you ever make offerings of meat?

Would you ever (or do you) engage in animal sacrifice?

Do you see a difference between offering purchased meat and animal sacrifice?

Can an offering be considered ethically "wrong" if the offerant believes it is what their Gods want?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Areas of Life Does Your Path Address?

What are the broad areas of life that your path addresses? (I realise that a common answer is likely to be 'everything', but for the sake of discussion, particulars would be good). For example, Stoicism pays special attention to physics, logic, ethics, civic participation, psychology and virtue.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Living Life to the Full?

For some people I'm sure that their religious and/or spiritual beliefs have helped them to appreciate their life and try to make the most of it. I am happy that I am one of those people.

However, recently I've been coming into contact with a viewpoint where religion seems to have the opposite effect on a person: they can't wait for the next life to start, and thus disregard the life that they are living now.

What is your opinion on these two viewpoints?

How have your own religious beliefs affected your outlook on life? Do you feel as if you should make the most of this life you are living now? And if so, is that because you think this life is the only life you'll be living? Or because you feel as though one should make the best of every life they live?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Looking for Slavic Recon Information

I did a search on Slavic Paganism on the board and came up with some great information but I still have a few question(s). I hope that anyone with any information answers my question(s) and not just those into Recon/Slavic Paganism.

When it comes to Slavic Paganism/Recon, a lot of the information out there is based off of folklore. I'm mainly looking for Polish paganism but because that is not widely available, I have also been looking at Russian (we are after all, all bound together by the 3 brothers - Lech, Czech, & Rus for those familiar with the legend).

So, if you are studying this path of paganism, but can not find too much information, do you take comfort in the legends/folklore that is readily available? I guess what I'm getting at is, is that because folklore and legends are supposed to have been based on true events, can one take them as the basis for ones path?

I'm in the process of wanting to make my own personal grimoire containing a collection of Slavic Paganism/Recon beliefs. But without any sort of written word or text to go off of, are legends/folklore an accepted source of information to go off of?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Feng Shui?

The modern practices of Feng Shui involve re-arranging items around your home to break up any stagnant energy that may be present. I have read that by moving objects that have not been moved in the last year, this energy can be broken up. Also, certain things such as wind chimes and crystals hanging in sun spots can have this same effect. Does anybody utilise such aspects of Feng Shui in their own home? Would you say that you notice a difference?

Also, as far as I'm aware, traditionally the practice of Feng Shui had less to do with re-arranging furniture and more to do with living in harmony with the world around you.

Does anybody know of any good books, or even websites, on the history and traditional practice of Feng Shui?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Music in Rituals and Magic

My practice focuses around music (or at least does at the moment), so I was wondering: How important is the origin of the music one uses in rituals? Does a piece of music carry the composer's intent with it even if the musician associates it with something completely different? For example, could a piece originally written in honor of someone (like a monarch or family member) be used as a love song, as long as it sounds like a love song to you? And of course, there's the question of whether it's appropriate to use Christian music (or music from any other religion) in a Pagan ritual.

I guess if you say music is just a tool for the witch or whoever is doing the ritual to go into trance, meditate, or to carry the spell, then it doesn't matter what it was originally intended to be. But, on the other hand, if you consider magic to be part of the music itself, then it would matter. If that is the case, what would you do with music whose origins aren't known?

So, is magic a property of music, or is music whatever you make of it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Casting a Circle?

I've read a few instructions on how to cast a circle (and there are many out there!), however they all tend to be really long... My question is this: Does casting a circle have to take a long time? I mean, it's one of the most basic things out there. Why should it be really long? I understand that it's the process of "building a temple," however, is it not possible to accomplish the same with a short little rhyme?

How Do You Celebrate the Full Moon?

I find myself, over the past few months, celebrating the full moon with a group of like minded individuals. We have been doing simple pagan based activities and rituals. It's been a very nice experience for me thus far. Now I find myself in charge of our next get together. What we have done so far has been very nice, but there is still a lot of experimentation going on, and we aren't yet ready to do the same thing every time.

So I'm wondering, what do you do to celebrate the full moon?

What types of ceremonies and magic do you think the full moon is best for?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chaos Magic Group Work

I have never come across a "Chaos Coven". I loosely define myself as a Chaos Magician, and I enjoy group work from time to time. What's a Chaote to do? While I can certainly perform Chaos inspired rituals and magic on my own, there are certain activities that just require a group. For example, it's pretty difficult to perform a multi-part chant in the round by yourself. So, what do I do? Personally I've chosen to join and work with more conventionally Pagan groups because that's what exists in my area. This doesn't conflict with my beliefs, and for the most part it doesn't seem to bother the people I work with. (The exception being idealogical disagreements.)

So, to my fellow Chaotes, are you willing to work with non-chaos groups, or do you choose to go it alone?

For non-chaotes, does the idea of a Chaos Magician in your circle bother you? Or do you find it acceptable?

English Celtic Pantheon?

I saw another post about the Pantheon of Ireland which was very interesting indeed. And I thought how about The English Celtic gods? I only know a couple and have made journeys to see irish and welsh but I would love to find out about the English Celtic gods if anyone knows.

You Mean That's Not Normal?

Some members with paranormal abilities have stated that they had assumed everyone had the same abilities until they realized that it wasn't the norm. Usually these are people who have had their abilities for as long as they can remember and basically grew up using them along with the standard five senses.

I would like to hear what experiences others may have had upon realizing that their paranormal abilities were not commonplace.

If you have a story to share I would love to hear it, if not perhaps you could answer some of the following questions:

What are your abilities and what made you first realize that you were different from the norm?

Was there one defining moment or was it a gradual realization? or maybe you always knew?

What was your reaction to the realization? Did you feel a need to hide your abilities, to keep your "differentness" to yourself or did you have a supportive environment where you were free to develop and explore your talents?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Future Meditation Garden

I would like everyone's help. I'm working on plans for a future meditation garden. I have no idea when I will start work on it. The space I'm going to be working with will be about 50 feet by 70 feet. The help I would like, what would y'all suggest I put in my garden; trees, plants, flowers etc.

Any help would be welcome.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mundane Uses of Magical Practices?

I have been trying to think of a way to word this for a while. I think I finally found it. (See post title for what I am talking about.)

There are things that we use in magic, or in our religions, that can be used in our everyday activities, outside of spells, and worship. At least I think so. So my questions are:

1. What, if any, magical/religious practices do you use in everyday situations?

2. How do you use them?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Personal Tenets

I've been reading Isaac Bonewits' Essential Druidry and it got me thinking about what my tenets were.

1. Don't believe or do things unless you know why - and "because we've always done it" or "because X does it" is not a reason.

2. Beliefs are not set in stone - experiences or talking with other people may change them.

3. Other people's beliefs may be different from mine. This does not necessarily mean they're wrong.

4. Don't convert people.

5. Scholarship is the backbone of my practice. However, if the scholarship is not used, it is useless.

6. Paganism is not just something to be done at the weekends, it's part of my life.

7. If you don't know the answer, either go away and think about it and then come back to the person who asked the question and answer them or tell them you don't know.

What are your tenets?

Alternatives to the Usual Elemental Representations

In many, if not most, of the books or info that I have read it gives the usual ideas for symbols for the elements (air, incense; fire,candle; etc.) I have used these representations for years now but have started to think of other things that could be used,

I came up with a few myself like instead of incense there could be a feather and for water it could be a shell but I wondered if anyone here has any unusual items they use and wouldn't mind sharing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Religion in Tough Times

What do you do to keep track of your faith when everything in your life seems wrong? What about your faith helps you through trials?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gods and Time

How do you think the Gods perceive time? Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently? Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:

Is time linear or cyclical?

Pantheistic Practice?

I'm having a hard time accepting practices that honor the Gods. I've been looking a little into pantheism, but the two main sites I've found seem heavy on theory and short on practice. I'm wondering what kinds of rituals and daily practices you do, and how you do them. If you'd like to give any specific examples, that would be very helpful.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pagans and the Poverty Level

I come across more pagans who are at the lower end of the pay-scale than I do those who are in high income brackets. Pagans I meet always seem to be just getting by or barely getting by. Granted, the rise in paganism is mostly among younger people yet to make their mark on the world, but even so, the ones I know don't seem to place climbing a corporate ladder or acquiring vast sums in a bank account very high on their list of priorities.

It seems to me Pagans in general (there are always exceptions) place at lot of emphasis on their spirituality and actually living that spirituality, basically, putting into practice what they believe. The professionals I have met, usually have more service oriented careers; teachers, counselors, social workers, etc. Pagan students seem to have similars ideals and gravitate to the arts, human services, or environmentalism.

I would like to ask:

How is personal prosperity measured in relation to your path? Is it important to you to make a positive contribution to the world through a career choice or way of life? How do you balance your spirituality with the materialistic world?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Spirituality and Frustration

Frustration is a common theme in my life. And with spirituality, the theme has yet to falter. I'm really just overwhelmed, with alot of mixed emotions. For as long as I remember, I was a pretty firm atheist. Having any slight interest in any religion would've been a joke to me. But as of earlier this year, for some reason unknown to me, I began thinking differently, with a more open mind. And I've more or less, broken the barrier into spirituality. I now believe that there is a higher power, I just don't know what it is, or where to find it. And if I do find it, will I recognize it?

A couple of my friends introduced me to Wicca. And I've been so intrigued by it since, that it almost hurts to think about. But, the logical, ex-atheist side of me keeps wanting to reject the beliefs. I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my head around all of this God and Goddess business. Sometime's I'll say to myself, "Wow, this has got to be the religion for me.", but I feel like I might be interested for the wrong reasons.

I also have a deep, and compassionate attraction towards nature. And earth-based religions definitely will be my answer, and in my heart I can confirm that. One of my problems also is, though, that I'm not educated enough about Wicca, or Druidism [which I've also had a recent interst in] perhaps to make a more daring leap into either one of them.

I feel very alone, very confused. I want to find the higher powers, but they're playing an awful game of hide-and-seek. Does anyone have any advice for me, any support, or have felt like they've hit a brick wall before? Anything to just ease some of this tension would help me alot. Thanks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Star Magic?

Has anyone used stars for magical purposes such as spells, healing, divination, or anything else?

I would like to try an ancient Egyptian spell using stars for healing. It bascially works in this way: During a new moon a bowl or large cup of purified water is set outside all night to "catch" starlight. Then is supposed to be used in a ritual the next day.

I was just curious to know if anyone else uses stars in rituals.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lay Pagans vs. Clergy?

In traditional Wicca, all practitioners are priests and priestesses. Since there is a general assumption that all Pagans are Wiccan, there is also a general assumption that all Pagans are clergy. This, of course, is not true.

So, my question for everyone is: what makes someone clergy vs. a "lay" pagan?

Is it one's relationship to the community? Is it one's level of involvement or leadership? What if you practice on a deserted island and there is no community? Does anything distinguish you as clergy vs. lay Pagan in that case?

Is it the type of rites you do, or the frequency with which you do them?

Is it an initiation? Can you perform that initiation on yourself? I believe most Neowiccans would say "yes", but what about other traditions?

Is it relationship to a particular deity? If one performs rites every day to honor Kali, are they her priest or priestess? What if they feel Kali "chose" them?

Do you have to be part of a specific tradition or lineage to be clergy? Personally, I think the answer is "no", but you've got to admit that it's hard to know when you're a priestess if there's no guidelines for how you're supposed to do it.

I'm sure the answers to these questions will differ depending on everyone's tradition and personal experience.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tarot Correspondences?

I use different correspondences than most people do for the elements in relation to the tarot suits.

So my question is, do you use "book" definitions for the correspondences (elemental or otherwise), and why or why not?

For myself, I gave up on the books for the elements at least. I'll have to go back and see what other correspondences I have (it's been awhile, several moves and stuff still is not unpacked).

For Cups, I have water. That is the only common denominator between my correspondences and the common ones. My reasoning is pretty obvious, a cup holds water (or other liquids).

For Swords, I have fire. When I think of a sword, I think of the process it takes to make one (forging), which require fire. I also think of the fiery souls of those who wield a sword to anything resembling a decent display.

For Wands, I have earth. Wand from branch, from tree, which grows in... you guessed it, earth. I also associate it with growing things.

For Pentacles, I have air. I had to think long and hard about this, and because of this association, I revamped this several times. I ended up coming back to this. Pentacles, whether seen as a coin, or as a design are something more mental than anything. As a coin, it can show commerce which is a mental design in and of itself. As a symbol, it is based in the ideals of a religion, community, or any group of people in general. Both of these lead back to the mind, which I have always connected with air. (I know other connect the mind to fire, which I always connect to the soul).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Praying With Your Body?

I was thinking today about the was in which some religions incorporate movement into their worship. This could be pronounced (e.g. whirling dervishes) or more subtle (e.g. crossing oneself before prayer). Here are some of the ways our synagogue incorporates motion into our service:

1. During a part of the service called the Bar'chu (call to prayer) we bow when the word "Bar’chu" or "Baruch" is spoken because the word for blessed has the same root as bow or bend.

2. During one of the hymns, it is our tradition to join hands and dance in a circle around the perimeter of the sanctuary. (This is pretty unusual for a reform congregation. One typically only sees this sort of dancing in an Orthodox synagogue. We are an odd mix of very liberal and very observant.)

3. Before the Torah is undressed and read, it is brought out of the ark and carried through the congregation. We either touch it with our hand our prayer book, and then kiss our hand our prayer book as a sign of respect for God's word.

What are ways that you incorporate motion into your worship?

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