Saturday, January 31, 2009

Important Ceremonies/Rituals in Your Religion

Most major religions like Christianity have their sacraments and important holy days. What important rituals and such are in your religion? Why are they important? How important is participating in those rituals to you?


Atlantis has been a stable of the occult world for over 100 years. Does Atlantis play any part in your understanding of the world or your religion? What does Atlantis mean to you? Total fiction, a real city but not the center of culture, something else? What do you think of people who invoke Atlantis (or other supposed no longer existing places like Lemuria or Mu) as explanations or sources for hidden knowledge?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shape of a cast circle?

I've seen people cast a circle just like walls without creating a closed ground and 'ceiling'. Others create a fully closed sphere.

I'd like to know which methods you prefer and why. Would the first method be an incomplete circle or do you think it's necessary to leave it open to the ground and sky for grounding and connection?

To me the fully closed version feels more complete, but also gives me the feeling of being less grounded.


Tarot isn't really working for me as a divination system.

I'm thinking of looking into a type of geomantic divination such as Obi or Dominoes or some other type. What other types of geomantic divination are there?

Are there any recommended books or websites for someone who wants accurate information, but also a how to guide?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Haggling Over Witchy Goods?

I've often come across the injunction that if you have to buy tools, ingredients and so on for magic, you shouldn't bargain over their price. The only explanation I've read is that bargaining is seen to 'cheapen' your will. I don't know. The way I see it, if I successfully knock the price off something, surely that's more like asserting my will? I've never been particularly fussed if I find something witchy in the bargain bin or something either.


The Term "New Age"?

I've experienced a couple of conversations where someone talked about subject x and another person said he/she finds x so very 'new agey'. I wonder what people mean by statements like that.

Is 'new age'/'new agey' a derogatory term like 'fluffy'? If people use it derogatory, what is it they mean by it? What do they critizise about 'New Age' exactly?

What kind of subjects are 'new agey' and what is not? Or is it a specific context that makes a certain subject 'new agey' while the same subject wouldn't be in a different context? So how do you recognize 'new age' stuff?

Do you think everything connected to 'New Age' in any way is bad on principle?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Imbolc/Candlemas 2009

What are your plans for imbolc/candlemas?

Are you celebrating around the 2nd February or around the 9th at full moon?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 Suggestion Drive: How Could We Improve The Cauldron?

It's January, so it's time for our annual "suggestion drive" when we open a topic and request your suggestions for how TC (the forum, the web site, the MUX, forum rules, etc.) could be improved. We make no promises to implement suggestions, but the Hosts and staff do look at and consider them all. (And have implemented a number of suggestions over the last eleven years).

Four items are completely off the table, however:

1) Changing forum software. (SMF has a low server load as well as some features the Hosts can't live without.)

2) Eliminating/weakening our quoting rules. (The Hosts will shut down the board first -- seriously, having quoting with the backlinks to the quoted message is that important.)

3) Eliminating the all the limitations on accounts that have not qualified for Full Membership.

4) Turning the board away from its "Discussion and Debate" orientation.

Suggestions regarding other areas will be considered. Suggestions that take a lot of staff time or that cost money will be considered, but will will be far less likely to be implemented (for obvious reasons).

Staff may not reply to suggestions, but they ARE read.


Quote from BGMarc: "I don't believe in evil. It's not a word that has a practical definition for me."

The above is a quote from BGMarc from my "Atheism: A Religion?" thread, and I found it to be very interesting. What do you guys think? does Evil exist? does it not? is what we call Evil really just a Human creation? or is Evil something that happens and is around in nature? What kinda forms does this Evil take? or if it exists is it even identifiable?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What Do You Expect of Pagan Group Events and Group Work?

What do you personally expect of pagan group events and group work? Which goals would you like to achieve in the group/s?

What kind of group events or group work are you enjoying/looking for? (workshops, open circles, moots, covens, etc.)

Do you have experiences with any Pagan group situations? Have they met your expectations?

Being Alone on your Path?

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately, is the frustration I feel being alone on my path. I'm in the closet (so far back I can see Narnia) with little hope of coming out anytime soon. Health and finances have made it necessary that hubby, daughter and I live with my folks, who would be intolerant of a pagan. They are good people, and I have a good relationship with them, and wouldn't want to risk losing that because I believe differently then they do.

My husband is pretty much non-religious, and most of my friends are the same. Not having someone who gets what I'm going through, or looking for is frustrating. I have met one or two people, through random meetings (once in a bookstore in the metaphysical section) but those never really got off the ground. They seemed more interested in shocking people with their "witchiness". Hm.

Anyway, I wondered... anyone else have the same frustration? It's not so much that I want to shout it from the rooftops -- I just would love to go to a public ritual, or buy a book I don't have to keep in a drawer. It would be nice to talk to someone about things that I've gone through in my search.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ouija Boards

Does anyone here use them? What are your opinions on them?

I had a conversation with someone when I went ghost hunting once, and he was telling me about his experience with a Ouija board. He told me that he would never do it again, and that he thought it was similar in concept to "leaving your front door open and letting anyone walk in, no matter what sort of person they are."

I will admit I don't have much interest in using one, but I was kind of curious if other people saw them the same way this guy did. (I like hearing about other people's experiences and opinions)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Atheism: A Religion?

I thought it would be fairly interesting, to have a discussion on whether or not Atheism or any sort of Non-theism could actually be categorized, or listed as a type of religion? I mean it obviously takes some sort of faith to follow Atheism or Non-theism. I even found that their is something called Christian Atheism. I do not believe that to have something as a religion you must believe in a God or God's.... for instance their are plenty to religions out their that mainly focus on spirits or something. What do you guys think?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Attention: Walmart release new line of deities! Get yours now!

Well not really. It's not actually that bad. It's also not about thoughtful ecclectics, syncretists and others who want to stake a reasonable claim to the territory. What it is about is an attitude that seems to me to be increasingly prominent over the time that I have been actively involved in pagan thought and communities (say from 1974) on the east coast of Australia. More and more I see people advocating and practicing an approach to spiritual practice (especially 'choosing' deities) that centres on the extent to which the superficial aspects of the path or deity appeal to the seeker. There is little to no talk of the concerns and practicle considerations of this aspect of life. It often seems like buying the house because the display furniture looked good.

What do others think? Have you noticed it? What do you think of it?

BTW this came out more strident than intended. The softer version I started with was wishy-washy and boring, but it's essentially the same point.

What is the Good Life?

What is the Good Life? What ought a rational being to consider the most desirable state of being? Through what lens does rationality advise that we interpret the world and our experiences in and around it?

These and similar questions have been a concern of not only the western, rationalist tradition, but also woven deeply through the philosophy and spiritual endeavour through place and time. Is the nature of the Good Life a concern to you or your path? Is the concept even meaningful within your world view? Does it matter?

As a Stoic, it is of great concern to me. I seek a state loosely translated as happiness, but not directly associated with immediate plesure or pain. I'm very interested to broaden my perspective on this key point of my philosophy by hearing the experience of contemporary spiritual thinkers. All answers greatly appreciated.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Coming Out Topic

I am guessing most of us here were not born into Pagan families, so most of us have had to face the question of whether or not to tell our families and friends, and if so, how. So, a few questions:

1. Have you told your family what you believe? Why or why not? How much have you told them?

2. If you have "come out," how did you tell your family? How did they react?

3. If you haven't "come out" do you think you ever will? Why or why not?

Ordeals on Your Path

What would be a spiritual ordeal for you?

Do you believe such an experience is demanded by your deity/ies or spirits? Is it demanded by your path, tradition or community? Or if you're on a solitary path, do you think an ordeal is bound to happen along it? How and by whom do you think an ordeal would be provided?

Did you ever encounter one on your path? If you find 'ordeal' too strong an expression for your experiences, was there anything along your path you felt remarkably uncomfortable with? Did you ever experience a very scary or demanding encounter with a deity/spirit? Was there something you felt reluctant to learn, etc?

How did these experiences influence you? What do you believe a spiritual ordeal could do?

(Some people may feel that some things that happen in such experiences may be too private to post on an open forum. I'll be happy about every piece which is shared, even if it means you will answer vaguely or incompletly at some points. Thank you.)

Managing Energy

Over in the Blue Candle Healing spell thread, I promised to come back and get a discussion started about what I (and I hope other people who will chime in!) mean by "managing energy". But starting with some background helps.

Here's how I look at it, which is a combination of my personal experience, some bits of my training, and some general discussions in the broader Pagan community (I'm not sure I can break down easily which bits come from where at this point, though.)

Basic principles (Moving from more evidence based to more belief based, roughly.)
1) The universe is composed of energy, and it functions because there are all sorts of energetic things going on.

2) We are part of the universe, therefore we are composed of energy too.

3) I can become aware of the energy flows around me. That means within me, and between me and other people, me and various spaces, and me and events or things I do. All of those things affect me in various ways. This is fairly observable in our lives - you walk into some houses, and you feel instantly at home, you walk in somewhere else, and feel uncomfortable.

4) The body tends towards a point of natural balance, if left to its own devices and not meddled with. (However, many many things throw the body out of balance. Illness. Dieting. Experiences. Stress and trauma. Etc.) Also, tendency is only a tendency anyway.

5) Given all of this, I can take some control (and responsibility) for how I feel. I can't control everything, and there will always be variables I can't directly affect (like the weather, or whether cold or flu germs are around me), but I can do a lot to help my body a) stay in better balance and b) respond to specific experiences, including stress, trauma, exertion, unusual experiences, etc.

Possible options

1) Too much energy
This is the classic one discussed in magical settings - you get rid of it by grounding (connecting to an external source that can absorb it). For me, I start having issues with my health if I have certain kinds of too much energy, or don't get rid of excess adequately. (In particular, I get migraines - partly due to the energy, and partly because lack of sleep is a significant trigger for me, and excess energy makes that harder.)

2) Too little energy
This is the one many of us are familiar with - too little sleep, too much junk food with inadequate nutrition, too many things on our plate. Restoring energy can have many forms - but ones that are actually restorative (sleep, reasonable food, rest, destressing, other self-caretaking) are generally preferable to things that mask the lost energy (like caffinated or energy drinks, ginseng, etc. etc.) You can draw in energy via grounding techniques, but this is not always the best choice (again, it masks the essential issue.)

3) Imbalanced energy
A number of magical systems (including some extremely longstanding ones - Chinese and Indian practices, for example) believe that energy flows within us (through different centers in our body), but that it can also become blocked or otherwise interrupted. A number of techniques can help rebalance - anything from herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, exercise (like yoga), visualisation and meditation, toning, and all sorts of other things.

4) Different attempts to rebalance working against each other.
For example, if I am lacking energy, and I drink a soda with caffeine, and I then go and try and have a nap, I'm trying to rebalance my energy - but it's probably not going to be effective. (The caffeine will make it hard to nap.) There are some energy techniques that can be counterproductive, as well.

5) Less than great decisions and choices.
If you know something's a particular trigger for your body, or you have a history of a particular kind of problem, and you make choices that keep hitting that thing, you're going to keep having that problem. For example, if I am stupid about my sleep habits, I'm prone to a migraine, and it's really my own fault when that happens, because I really do know better. It's still an imbalance - and because I'm already sensitive to this issue, it may be harder to fix in some ways than other things (I often struggle more with the sleep stuff than with, say, eating sensibly.)

Challenges with magical and ritual work
The reason we start talking a lot more about this stuff in the Pagan community is because we're often doing a number of things that affect our internal balance (and in many cases, that's intentional: balanced energy is often seen as static energy: moving energy makes it easier to do magical and ritual work - but that means deliberately unbalancing things sometimes.)

We're not the only people who do this - martial arts, music, dance, theatre, and a number of other things people do in the world talk about many of the same issues. As my covenmate reminded me in conversation about this yesterday, we definitely don't have lock on the One True Way - there are lots of approaches and techniques from these (and other areas of life) that can be tremendously helpful. What is different about the Pagan community is a) that we talk more often about it explicitly (not tied into other things) and b) that we're doing some of it in very specific settings which have some particular demands (Drawing Down, for example, has some specific energy implications for the person Drawing Down, and also for support staff for that work.)

Now, I need to be in bed sometime soon, and therefore will stop here, and let you all ask questions and such and go from here.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Your Relationship to your Deity/Deities?

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

How does that influence your worship?

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you receive from her/him/them?

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