Sunday, June 29, 2008

Message Board Down (Evening June 29)

The Cauldron's message board appears to be down as of 8:15pm CT June 29th. It may be back up soon or it may be down awhile as our Server Admin is in the middle of a cross-country move and may not notice the problem for a while. If the main board is down, we have a backup board at

which you can use. Remember, it does not know anything about your account on the main board. If you have never registered on the backup board, you will need to successfully register there before you can post. Please register with the same id you use on the main board if at all possible.

We apologize for the problem and hope to have it corrected ASAP.

Catalysts to Belief?

I thought of this question while reading some of the other topics. I was wondering what brings people around to believing, or disbelieving certain things. I'm not talking about 'callings' or anything like that, I want to know the sort of life changing events that bring people around to go from one set of beliefs to another. Or from believing in something, then changing their minds.

My own experiences have been a bit odd, mixing what is logical to me with experimentation, and seemingly random experiences. I'm talking about specific beliefs, not just the religous paths. For example, why you believe in magic (or not), rather than why you follow Wicca (or not).

Anyway, my curiosity just happened to get the better of me, and I thought it would be an interesting and possibly lively discussion.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What If No One Claims Me?

I do not believe in picking your own Deity. To me that is like falling in love with someone who has never even noticed you are alive. So what if no Deity ever claims you? What if you have done all the meditating and rituals and introspective journeys and still no one steps forward? I mean like after 15 years? Where do you go? Atheism? I am friends with many spirits and what could be called gods, but no one has ever been interested in my worship or offered their patronage. So what do I do?

Using the Gods?

Often in reading people talk about the Gods I keep finding a prevelant theme. "I dedicate and/or pay homage to whatever God can get me what I need". It seems to put the Gods in a servant to man type of role as opposed to developing a relationship with them. Its like the reversal of the Christian "serve God or burn in hell" concept. Why can't there just be a relationship rather than usery?

Music In Rituals?

Is it OK to incorporate music into your rituals. Music is a big part of my life so I would think it would bring me closer and help me concentrate. (appropriate music of course) What are your thoughts? Also what is some good Pagan music? I haven't really looked into it. I also keep seeing Pagan/Wiccan hymns referenced does anyone know where I could find recordings of these?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Walking your Path

Here on TC, many refer to their religion as their path. For instance, I see the words 'my path' just as often as I see the words 'my faith'.

So I ask those of you that do; why do you refer to your religion as a path?

Is your path linear? Ie; does it have a starting point, and a destination? Or would you say that you are on more of a spiral path? One where there is no beginning, nor end?

Whether or not my path has a destination or not is something that I regularly wonder to myself. Yet I always think that if it does, or if it doesn't, I'm really enjoying the view along the way!

How about you?

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I am vaguely familiar with the concept of shielding but I could use some extra help with what it's purpose is exactly. Any personal information would be awesome! Here are a few questions that I have in mind specifically:

What is your method of shielding? Do you find that you do it constantly, or only when you feel like you need to? Do you have different methods for different experiences/occasions?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Views on the Afterlife?

What are everyone's views on afterlife? Does anyone believe in ascension...? Enlightenment? Reincarnation? Do certain kinds of Paganism have certain views on afterlife? Or is it considered something that will remain a mystery until after death?

If I'm Psychic Why Can't I Win the Lottery?

Here's the thing, I have tried and tried to pick those six lottery numbers using various types of devination. And the closest I ever got was, well, close. Basically my numbers were something like 7, 14, 19, 34, 39, and 20 while the winning numbers were 7, 14, 19, 35, 38, and 2. But that could have been the same with just a random pick.

Why doesn't devination work on lottery numbers? Obviously if it did we would all be rolling in dough by now.

I have my own ideas, but I don't want to influence any feedback, so I will wait for a few responses before I post any of my own thoughts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Automatic Writing?

I have always thought automatic writing was where a medium would go into a trance and a spirit would 'speak' through them through writing. But I know someone who automatic writes a lot, but it's not a spirit it's her subconscious I guess. And today another friend is talking about auto writing too.

What exactly is it? Is what they are doing actually called something else? And what is the point in doing it? The first person puts her auto writing in her blogs. All it does is look like nonsense or sometimes stuff from a very ummmm.....unhinged mind. Strange, disturbing stuff sometimes. So I'm just trying to figure out what exactly they are doing and what the point is.

Does anyone know? Have any experience with it?

Gender of Deities?

How do you differentiate between male and female deities? Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as? Intuition/a certain energy? Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Spell Grimoire Blog

As we are always getting requests to post more spells, we have started The Cauldron's Spell Grimoire Blog. We try to post a few new spells every week in this blog every week. You can subscribe to the full text feed of our Spell Grimoire Blog and receive each new spell we post in your favorite feed reader.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pagan Fiction?

I would say the closest I have gotten to 'pagan fiction' is the Avalon trilogy by Marion Zimmer Bradley (which I absolutely loved). Historial fiction is my favourite genre. Philippa Gregory, Anya Seton and Jean Plaidy are the three authors I have the most regard for.

But I had a recommendation on my Amazon account of a book called Confessions of a Pagan nun by Kate Horsley, and the synopsis sounds fantastic so I put it in my cart. It's about one of St Bridget's nuns in Kildare.

So I decided to search for other books grouped with this one, and have found a few books by Elizabeth Cunningham that sound rather interesting. I'm going to give one a try and see what I think.

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Southern Hemisphere Winter Solstice Plans

For those of us in the Southern hemisphere - what do you have planned for the winter solstice/Yule?

Today I'm baking gingerbread muffins, since gingerbread always reminds me of winter (and I have no mixer so gingerbread cookies are out). I even have gold foil muffin papers!

Since I have to work Saturday and Sunday, I can't stay up all through the longest night, though I'd like to. I think I'll sleep with the blinds open and meditate a little before bed and when I get up Sunday morning, maybe write some thoughts down on the solstice.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Midsummer Solstice Plans?

Does anyone have any plans for the Solstice?

This year, I've found myself thinking about what this festival is really about. Most years I haven't done all that much, just lit a candle and meditated on the sun reaching it's full power, and asking for such fulfillment in my own life.

Yet this year I've been thinking. Why is it that I've always linked this festival to fulfillment? Of course, the sun has attained it's 'destiny' as it were, as it is at the height of it's power. But after midsummer the days are slowly getting shorter. What does this therefore mean about the concept of fulfillment? That it is only a temporary state, and must soon begin to wane?

At Yule, the days are slowly getting shorter and many stay up till dawn to welcome the sun during the Winter Solstice. Does this therefore mean, in the cycle of things, that at the Summer Solstice I should be welcoming the dark? To my mind that therefore diminishes the fact that we are in the midst of summer right now- I love summer.

So, I've decided that this midsummer I am going to concentrate less on the desire to achieve fulfillment, and more on being thankful for the things that have granted me fulfillment. The past 12 months have been really up and down for me; I've got married, I went travelling, I've relocated to a different country. Yet I'm beginning to slowly feel settled. It's mine and my husband's 1 year wedding anniversary in 2 and a half weeks time, and so I'm going to dedicate this Summer Solstice to being thankful for the fact that I'm beginning to feel settled and fulfilled in my new life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Codifying Beliefs?

As I embark on the process of finally putting my beliefs down on paper in a structured format, I have been wondering about about this process and how others here have dealt with it (or plan to). A few questions that initially spring to mind:

* Is it important to your path to put your beliefs in writing?

* What is the purpose does writing it all down serve?

* How detailed is your codification? Do or will you stick to just core tenets or will you expand it out to cover multiple facets of spirituality?

If you have other ideas or suggestions that aren't covered above, please add them as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reincarnation, How Does It Work?

Is it possible to take on a physical form from a previous incarnation, and is it possible to have past lives as animals?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Avatar Design Challenge: Ends August 14, 2008

And after a long break the Avatar Design Challenge is back. The 6th incarnation of the challenge starts now and closes on August 14th (two months from now). After that all entries will be put up as a poll so folks can vote.

The theme for this contest is Sacred Places and the winner of this contest will choose the theme for the next one. So please remember to post a theme proposal when you post your entry.

Here are the rules....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Full Moon Ritual?

I have plans to do a full moon ritual next week and was wondering if you all would give me your imput?

1. What do you *personally* do for the ritual

2. What are my options for a ritual?

3. What has been the best full moon experience for you?

What Gender Deity Do You Respond to Most and Why?

I was having a conversation with my friend the other day on Gods and Goddess and I asked her what gender deity she responded more towards and she said Male, she said this was because she liked more of the father figure.

Myself I prefer female, I often gravitate towards Freyja more than Odin or Thor, and even when I was catholic one of the aspects I enjoyed more was Mary more so than Jesus. She asked why and I said I find it easier to communicate about Emotions with a female more so than a male. (You know because we are gruff testosterone guys grr (haha I am just playing around with that part))

This kinda dispells the notion to me that most people gravitate towards thier own sex as neithier of us did (though we may be the exception)

Anyways which do you find more appealing and why?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paganism and Magic?

I've been thinking about the link between Paganism and magic. The two are often seen grouped together in bookstores and the like. But what I find really interesting is that they are often found together in an individual's religious path.

So my question is, why is there a link between the two? What is it about the many different Pagan religions that magic is often an integral part of them? Or even if magic isn't a part of your Pagan path, an outsider may assume otherwise. Why do you think that is?

From my own experience, I've found that a practitioner of a Pagan religion is much more likely to practice magic than a Christian, Muslim, or Jewish person. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on why.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Computer Magic?

Does anyone here incorporate their computer into their magic, or use magic on their computer? I spend enough time on mine that I'd like to start, but I have absolutely no clue how I might go about that. My laptop is warded, in a general this-is-an-entry-point way, but beyond that I don't even know where to start.

An introduction to the subject of magic and the computer is what I'm looking for, I guess, or personal experience with it -- basically just a jumping-off point of any kind.

How Did You Settle on Your Path and Why?

Figured it could spark some interesting questions, so how did you come to the path you currently came to and what brought you to settle on that? Did you take anything through your religious wanderings?

This is partly brought about because I keep wandering and finding new and interesting ideas, but I can't seem to settle, which is part of who I am, I like to explore and that fits into ideas as well.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

How Long Have You Defined Yourself as Pagan?

Clarification for voting
The poll voting is about when have you defined yourself as Pagan - not when you've started to be interested in Pagan stuff (without labeling yourself as one) nor when you came out of the closet with that label (but have seen yourself as one secretly before).

Some points for discussion if you like
What made you decide to define yourself as Pagan as opposed to someone who is just interested in myths, history, nature, meditation, esoteric stuff etc.?

* Have you pondered that label for a while or did you suddenly discover it and had some sort of key experience that just made you think 'Yes, that is it what I was searching all along.'?

* Did it give you a sense of belonging to a community or was it just a label for your own identity and you didn't care if you'd fit into the community?

For those who are longer Pagan and have a lot of experience with the Pagan community:

* Have you experienced a change in what the label 'Pagan' means inside and outside the Pagan community?

* How has Paganism changed itsself since you started practicing?

* Has your own view of Paganism changed over the time?

* How did those changes affect your life and religious/spiritual practice?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Marking Important Life Transitions

Many of my friends have had babies recently. One of my covenmates is starting a new college. I'm almost ready to graduate from night school. Another covenmate is getting handfasted at the end of the month.

This got me thinking... one of the things I think pagan religions generally lack are ceremonies for life transitions. Often, we don't bother thinking about it until we're on the edge of the transition, and then it might be too hectic to even think about designing our own ceremony to celebrate the transition/accomplishment.

- How important is it to you to celebrate life transitions with religious ceremonies?

- Does your religion have an established liturgy for such ceremonies you could draw from, or would you have to write your own?

- And finally, what sort of events would you consider important transitions, besides the obvious ones... birth, death, and weddings? Are graduations important? The onset of puberty? Menopause? Buying one's first home? Paying off a long-standing debt? A child loosing her first tooth? The first day of school?

The Use and Treatment of Plants for Magic?

Is it acceptable to use plants/herbs for magic workings? If yes, do you feel there are any restrictions or limitations on what plants may be used or how these plants should be harvested?

If you grow your own plants, do you treat or handle plants used for magic different than the mundane plants in your garden (such as the way you plant, care for, and harvest them)?

Do you feel it is necessary to pay respect to a plant when harvesting it? If so, how is this accomplished?

Are there any guidelines or rules that you personally follow regarding the raising and use of magical plants (religious, ethical, legal, etc.)?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Creating Your Own Divinitory System?

Well this is something I experimented with. It didn't work out as planned (I found that the "Runes" I created are not suited well for Divination at all...but they'd work very well for invoking certain things and for meditation) but it was an interesting exercise. I've been toying with the idea of creating a Tarot deck, but I lack the experience OR free time to embark on such an endeavor.

Has anyone here ever tried something like this? What did you take into consideration? What was your process? How well did it work?

A Child's Right to Not be Religious?

So we've talked about raising children within faith, we've talked about exposing them to other faiths, and we've talked about raising children pan-religious in hopes that they will someday seek and find their own paths, without feeling we have coerced them into believing as we do for fear of parental or social disapproval.

We're a very religiously/ spiritually interested bunch though, and I notice that this isn't the same for everyone. My husband for example has a 'relationship' with 'something bigger than he is' and while he experiences some energy connections and has had some unexplainables occur, he is not what I would call overly religious.

My kids, seem to be following in dads footsteps. They enjoy the high energy of special events, but I can't say there is any real reverence there. It's a game to them. To bring them into sacred situations is to invite disaster, and cause things to be handled carelessly if not downright disrespectfully. When dealing with sacred objects, and things that cannot be replaced, this can be dangerous.

This is pretty much the same result I got when trying to get hubbs involved in some spiritual pursuits. Blatant irreverence. They just don't seem to "get it" nor do they have the desire to slow down to try.

When they do have religious or spiritual needs, they will come to me quietly on their own terms with their questions, but once those concerns are addressed, they are satisfied and don't seek out religious learning the way they seek reading, or music.

Which leaves me asking, if a kid doesn't show any indications of religious interest, is it brainwashing to ingrain religion in them through teaching, creating ritual, habits and creating a psychological reliance on belief? Eg. using religious/ spiritual means as coping strategies for life stress without knowing if other methods would be equally effective for the individual in question.

Why or why not?

Herbs and other Correspondences

I'm trying to expand my correspondences lists so if you have any websites or personal information that you would like to give me to assist me in this manner, it would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I have a question. Why is that some herbs, such as Bay Laurel, have so many magical uses and others only have one or two? Also, how did we figure out what herb was good for what purpose? Just a trial and error method? Any help would be amazing. Thank you!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Deities and Associated Animals

I'm interested in hearing how deities and animals are related in your beliefs and practice:

* Do you work with deities who are associated with animals or have animals which are sacred to them or do you work with deities who are fully or partially animals?

* How are animals related to your deities or in paths you find interesting? Are the animals doing something for the deities or vice versa? What kind of relationship do they have?

* If you have a relationship to a deity with sacred/attributed animals or one that is fully or partially an animal, how is your relationship to those animals or animal characteristics and what role does this play in your religious/spiritual practice?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Folk Magic Systems?

Hey, folks, I was hoping a few of you could help me clarify a few concepts. Over the last couple of months I've come to realize that much of my current path is belief and perspective and not so much practice. While that's not necessarily a bad thing I would like to balance some of this out with a bit more of a regular practice.

After thinking about it some I've come to the conclusion that at this point in my life it would probably be easiest to incorporate some form of folk magic. I've never been all that interested in Cerermonial Magic or it's slightly less descriptive name - High Magic. I'm just not all that interested in pomp and circumstance when it comes to practice. Most of what I do is based on circumstance, need, intuition and what I happen to have on hand.

I'd rather steer clear of religious magical practice such as Wicca as, at this point, I don't want to get confused between the magic aspect and the religious aspect. I'm not saying Wicca has no value, just that it has other aspects that don't work for me.

Partly inspired by Juniper's "The meaning of the word 'witch'" thread I thought I'd jump in here and ask what different folk magic systems folks here knew about and could point me towards. A reliable source to begin looking into would be a real boon, too.

"Alien-ness" of Gods

I've noticed in reading people's accounts of their deities, and in my own upbringing and practice, that there seem to be distinct 'types' of gods that humans relate to. Broadly, I see three basic categories:

"Evolved' gods - These gods were once humans, or related to or 'born with' humans. Several of the Irish gods, the bodhisatvas (sp?), some of the Greek gods who started out human and achieved godhood through effort or favour.

"Representative' gods - more prominent in indigenous societies, and sometimes not defined as gods by everyone. I'm thinking of Coyote, Raven - actually, all my examples here come from FN culture, but that's because that's what I'm familiar with.

'Alien' gods - again, maybe not the best term. Gods who are outside of time and space, born possibly of the universe itself, having no connection with earth or humanity except by their own choice. I'm not sure if creator gods come into this one or not, but possibly the JCI god does.

What 'type' of god do you follow? Do you think the other types actually count as gods or as something else? What is the actual, way back when, origin of your god, if you know it?

Feel free to rephrase the question or go off into a relevant tangent if I've left out some part of your cosmology.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The meaning of the word 'witch'?

The word 'witch' has a multiplicity of uses.

It can be used to mean some one who practices magic, or it can be used to mean an evil sorcerer of some sort. It is also used to mean, quite simply, a 'hag'.

Religiously, the word 'witch' crops up quite often. But what exactly is a 'witch' when speaking religiously? Does the word ‘witch’ still mean the same thing when putting either cottage, hedge or kitchen in front of it?

'Witch' is also commonly seen with the word 'craft' tagged onto it. But what exactly is Witchcraft? Is it as straightforward as it sounds: the practice of a witch, whatever a witch may be?

And finally, what do you think about a religious group laying claim to the title of 'Witchcraft'? Do you think there is one that has a rightful claim, or do you think it is a practice that anybody can claim?

Cultural Absence?

It struck me today as I was reading that here in North America we have no real cultural deities of our own. That could stem from that fact that we have no real single culture of our own - but thats its own subject.

We borrow. We borrow from the Greeks, Egyptions, Hebrews, various Celtic cultures, Nords, etc. Then we are left with the task of fitting what we know of the ideals, doctrine and belief of these deities into a modern culture that makes little room for the worship of anything but money. Often as not it becomes as tasking as it is rewarding due to our societies structure.

I find it strange that we have in our part of the world no culturally located deities. Is it that they are not there at all or are we simply not seeing them? Or do they manifest themselves as deities that we can understand because they are part of the lore that we already know?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Grounding and Circles and Such

Some time ago I performed a healing ritual. I thought I had grounded myself well with breathing and focus beforehand but ended up basically in shock afterwards. There was a point where I could feel the energy of EVERY thing around me. I always do all my rituals outside so it was quite the flow LOL. I based what I did on a natural ability that I seem to have always had and it was the first time I had used it in a ritual sense.

My questions are these. I obviously did not ground myself well enough so any suggestions on that would be great. I have done all my grounding by instinct for the most part so I am an open book. So where did I go wrong?

Circles. From most of what I have read creating a circle for a ritual is a Wiccan thing, not that I am saying Wiccans are bad - just that I am not a Wiccan. Are circles that important to ritual and how does one go about creating a circle when you are not Wiccan. That may sound hopelessly dumb - but all the info I have found on them is Wiccan.

How Would You Define the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

1) Your beliefs:
Do you see yourself as religious and/or spiritual? In what way/s?

2) Definition:
Do you see a difference between 'religious' and 'spiritual'?
If so, in what way? Maybe...

* Religious as a dedication to (a) specific deity/ies or following a specific path (with cosmological and philosophical underpinnings maybe), but spiritual as an interest in the Other (maybe without dedication, how about cosmological and philosophical underpinnings)?

* Spiritual as the opposite of materialistic? If so, how does this tie to religiousity? Would/does the lack of spirituality make you areligious or would/are you then be religions in a materialistic way?

* Any other idea or definition from any source?

3) Conclusion:
So does

* 'religious' and 'spiritual' just describe different aspects of faith & practice (rather like two sides of a coin, one couldn't exist without the other)

* or are 'religious' and 'spiritual' different characteristics of faith & practice independent of each other (so a person could be spiritual but not religious or vice versa)?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

What's a Hedgewitch?

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
* If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
* Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?

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