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?

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