Wednesday, December 30, 2009

hat Religious Projects Are You Working On?

It seems like it's been awhile since this was asked: what are you working on, religiously? What things are you struggling with, what issues are you facing? What's going really well for you?

Myself, I have a bit of a laundry list of things I'm working on. I'm working out ritual structure for some weekly, some monthly, and some yearly rituals; I'm writing hymns for said rituals (for lack of a better word for "stuff I say during ritual"); I'm preparing for a major altar move and redesign; I've got a book reading project going on my religious blog; and I'm researching for a hands-on religious symbolism project. It seems like a lot, but it's coming together pretty well, especially since my social and working lives are in a state of limbo, and school hasn't restarted yet.

So what's going on for you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life After Death?

Merged photos depicting a copy of the Ancient ...Image via Wikipedia

So, we come inevitably to the question of life after death. Is there something else out there waiting for us? Is it heaven? Hell? Reincarnation? An alternate universe? Or do we simply cease to exist? This is a question worthy of several weeks worth of discussion. Even then one would probably come to no solid compromise or agreement with others.

This has probably come up before, but I have a few questions that may or may not have been addressed.

First of all: Do you personally believe in a life after death? If yes, what do you see the afterlife being like? Where do we go?

Secondly: If there isn't anything else, what is the point of a moral system and/or why hold back from pleasure? Shouldn't we all be major Epicureans?

And: What is the point of religion?

Finally: Why do you believe/not believe in an afterlife of some sort? Furthermore, why do you think humans in general cling to this notion?

Vodou (Voodoo) and Lwa

New Orleans - French Quarter: New Orleans Hist...Image by wallyg via Flickr

Does anyone here, specifically those who do NOT consider themselves members of a vodou tradition, have personal experience with the lwa? I am not a vodouisant, and I don't intend to become one. Nevertheless, I have recently experienced some things that (to me) strongly suggest one of the lwa is actively and inexplicably interested in me, a possibility that makes me a tad bit uncomfortable. Anyway, I was wondering if there were any non-vodouisants here who have worked with lwa and how their presence has affected your religious practices.

Dance in Pagan rituals?

Not too long ago, I was involved in my first pagan/Wiccan ritual ever (it was part of an educational program for another, non-religious, subcultural group). The woman who had been one of the main mentors of the program was a Dianic/Am Trad High Priestess, so she incorporated some of her experiences into a not-really religious ritual tailored to our program. This was very special to me as around the same time I began to explore paganism in earnest and that experience helped me keep momentum in my exploration. Anyway, the end of the ritual involved dancing, to get in touch with our bodies and dissipate the energy raised. This was very hard for me to do. I don't feel I am a good dancer and therefore feel very self conscious dancing. However, the experience left me curious about the use of dance in ritual. So, my question to the board is: do you use dance in ritual? How do you use it? Is it comfortable for you to do so? Any tips about dance in this context for a newcomer? Books/DVDs? Thanks!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dedications, Professions, Oaths, Oh My!

This was inspired in part by the Jump Starting Your Faith? thread, but thought it worthy of a new discussion. There is also a similar, excellent thread here from a few years ago. I don't claim to have read it all yet, but it seems a bit different than what I'm thinking here...

* If you have dedicated yourself (professed, sworn an oath, et. al.), how did you know you were ready?

* More specifically, I'm somewhat interested in if anyone has dedicated to a specific path or religion, rather than a specific god/dess as appears more common on TC. (I'm thinking more like an Asatru profession or Christian confirmation.) How did you come to that decision? If you like, feel free to share what you did or what that entailed.

* Alternately, if you have NOT professed or dedicated yourself, why not? Do you think you would in the future, why or why not?

I'm curious because I don't think I am, and haven't really ever thought I was, currently in a state to dedicate myself to a patron deity. I just have a hunch like that's not something I would do. And there is lots of other discussion around here about doing that. On the other hand, I could see myself professing or making an oath with Asatru or the Aesir and Vanir more generally. I'm also interested in how people make such a decision, how you knew it was time.

Don't hesitate to add anything else, of course. Thanks in advance!

Seeking Advice on Finding Gods and Paths

I'm not going to ask "What path should I choose?" because no one can answer that for me, but I am asking for some advice on how to choose, and how to get started.

I first started thinking about paganism back in high school, but it was a very general kind of thinking. It was the realization that the traditional Christian worldview and structures weren't fitting me and trying to fit them was making me miserable. The issue went dormant for a while, but it's stormed back a good deal stronger and a little more focused. I've seen people here refer to being thwapped by a deity, but I'm not so much being thwapped as I am incessantly tugged at, and I don't know who's doing the tugging. I'm pretty sure it's from the Norse or Celtic areas, and I'm also pretty sure it's not just one, either, since there's a definite male and female kind of feel. Ancestrally speaking, I have both of these cultures in my background, though the Germanic is a bit more prevalent. I think a lot of the smoke will clear if I can figure out who's bugging me.

Has anyone else had this kind of experience? Being nagged at by gods who feel like playing hide and seek instead of being thwapped by them? Are there any ways for finding out who they are? Any tips on meditation would be nice, too, since I'm not very good at it.

New Book: Brigid - Goddess, Druidess and Saint

As has been mentioned in a couple other threads, there's a new book out, Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint, by Brian Wright.

I'm wondering if anyone else is reading it -- or plans to -- and whether anyone would be interested in a book discussion thread.

So far, I've only just started chapter 2 (I read very slowly now and don't retain well, thanks to a brain injury), but I have some issues with what I've read so far.

F'ex, the author seems to be a proponent of the Great Universal Mother theory, although I could be drawing incorrect inferences on that. He also posits that the Irish goddess Brighid was a deliberate, first-century AD creation specifically designed by Brigantian druids who fled to Ireland when Britain was romanized. His theory is that they made Brighid up -- as the daughter of two pre-existing Irish deities, the Daghda and the Morrigan -- as a way of uniting the Celtic tribes in the hope of resisting the Romans.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Was Your 101 Book?

So, if you started out on your path by reading a book, what was your '101' book, so to speak?

Looking back on it, was it a good beginner book for your path? Would you, or do you, recommend it to people who are just starting out? Why or why not?

Conversely, looking back, are you embarrassed about it, and do you try to avoid mentioning it, or do you warn people away from it? And once again, why or why not?

(I know it sounds awkward - I was tempted to ask, "What was your first book on Paganism, Wicca, or the occult?", but not everyone here is on a Pagan path, and I didn't want to exclude anyone, lol).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Avatar Design Challenge: Jan/Feb '10

Welcome to the new Avatar Design Challenge! I'm very excited to get this all going again. Smiley Here's how it works:

* Entries will be accepted from January 1 through February 28, 2010. Our theme is Wildlife. Multiple entries are allowed!

* You don't have to register to participate, but letting us know if you're planning on giving it a go is always appreciated so we know what the response looks like.

* When submitting, please upload them to an image hosting service like Photobucket, and then inline them into a reply to this thread (using the [*img][*/img] tags without the *).

* Posting a theme suggestion with your entry isn't required, but is definitely appreciated! Suggested themes will be used for upcoming challenges.

* Voting will take place between March 1st and 15th in a new thread. The winner will be announced on March 16th in the active challenge thread. All members are encouraged to vote.

* Please review the Avatar Guidelines and be sure your entry abides them. Also, please do not use copyrighted images in your entry unless you have permission from the copyright holder.

* By participating in the challenge, you are giving other members of The Cauldron permission to use your entry as their avatar; all entries will be added to TC's onsite avatar selection. If you do not want your entry to be added, you must specify this in your submission post!

Upcoming Themes:
* March/April - Architecture
* May/June - Sanctuary

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2009

SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21:  Solstice...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Hey, what is this thread? Tonight—beginning at sunset on Monday, December 21, 2009—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...sharing recipes for our conceptual meal 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!)

In that spirit, I'm resurrecting a modest rhyme I composed specifically for our winter solstice efforts. I've recycled it here as a sort of dedication to kick things off:


by Altair

Light dwindles, life despairs
A bitter chill is in the air
The sun departs, and with it goes
A fruitful season free of woes
As winter’s icy grip takes hold
The sleeping landscape to enfold
Many hours of dark must pass
Before the sun returns at last
To make its long-awaited climb
With promise of a flowering time

Until that hour, let dark prevail
Greet longest night with strong wassail
Sing and dance, feast and drink
Or solemnly reflect and think
From strange and hidden wells partake
With one rule only: Stay awake!
From dusk till dawn, hear our refrain:
Let the solstice revels reign

[In the last line, swap in the word “vigil” for “revels” if the feeling is more contemplative than festive]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What to do for the Winter Solstice?

Hey, I'm going to celebrate the winter solstice for the first time tomorrow, and I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas!

We're planning to watch the sun rise, to "unplug" (no tv, computer, etc), donate to charity, go for a hike, and do something good for the environment. The theme of the solstice to me is hope, so we're trying to do something good for human kind, nature, and ourselves, to create hope... Maybe that sounds cheesy, I don't know.

I was hoping that maybe people with more experience would be able to give me some ideas, or educate me more on solstice, especially all the beliefs behind yule! Especially what I could do for the environment, because I've had trouble coming up with a really good idea. (Oh, and I'm currently unemployed sooooo... anything inexpensive would be good.)

Preventing Psychic Services Fraud: A Consumer's Guide

Most people today know and understand how to avoid becoming victims of fraud when it comes to obtaining goods or services. For example, if a plumbing problem occurs in a home, and it is above and beyond the skills or know-how of the homeowner, they begin to shop for a plumber. They may contact friends and or family who live in the area. Maybe a friend or family-member might even know how to repair the problem. If friends and family do not know of a good plumber, the homeowner may then turn to the internet. There are numerous websites that offer reviews and ratings for service people and businesses. The homeowner jots down a few phone numbers, gets a few quotes, compares rates and things like hours of operation, free consultations and the cost of parts. In the end, they have a plumber who can fix the problem during hours that are convenient to the homeowner and at a reasonable price. Not too many people would pick up their local phone book, flip through the pages, pick the first plumber they see and hire him or her. However, when it comes to obtaining more intangible services, this is exactly what people seem to do.

Deities labeled as Romano-Celtic

statue of a Celtic goddess, probably Brigid (B...Image via Wikipedia

There are a lot of deities labeled as Romano-Celtic. The questions that come to my mind when I hear this are: If it has Roman influence then would this still be considered CR? Would this be more of a Roman belief system? If I am concentrating on Irish, Scottish, Welsh, British, and Gallic pantheons should I pay attention to anything Romano-Celtic?

"Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (CR) is a polytheistic, animistic, religious and cultural movement. It is an effort to reconstruct, within a modern Celtic Cultural context, the aspects, of ancient Celtic religions that were lost or subsumed by Christianity." - The CR FAQ: An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, "So What is Celtic Reconstructionism (CR)?" pg.17 first paragraph (book version)

According to the FAQ it is the pre-Christian Celts to pay attention to. Can anyone give me some more information so we can clear this up?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Being different from other religions

Science, and particularly geometry and astrono...Image via Wikipedia

I find that in building my own path, there are some things I consciously avoid. Not because I think they're bad as such, but because they remind me too much of other paths. So, for example, I try to avoid saying 'So mote it be.' I'm especially cautious about using terms from my birth religion, e.g. the epithets 'Merciful' and 'Compassionate' together.

So, are there any practices or paths in general that you consciously try to avoid? Do you ever have to specifically steer yourself away from bits of your birth religion (if it's not your current religion)?

How does this affect your path? And especially for eclectics, do you think deliberately trying to go a different way from another path somehow compromises your own?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Few Newbie Questions on Essential and Carrier Oils

Glass vial containing Eucalyptus Globulus Esse...Image via Wikipedia

I'm trying out an idea I had for purification purposes, and I find that I could use some help. The plan was to make natron, and use that in combination with juniper oil in the shower. In my Google wanderings, though, I've found both juniper berry oil and extract, and while I grasp the difference between the two I have no idea which would be better suited to my purposes. I've also come across the tidbit that essential oils shouldn't be used directly on the skin, as it can cause blistering and irritation, and to dilute it with a carrier oil instead. I can't for the life of me find any decent instructions, though.

So, does anyone know if extracts or essential oils would be better? If I go with extracts, do I need to dilute it like I would with essential oils? If I go with essential oils, does anyone have any tips on picking a carrier oil, or what ratio of essential:carrier is good? Do I store it already mixed, or separately?

Thanks for your help! I really have no idea what I'm doing.

Considering Loki

A friend thinks she's been contacted by Loki, and she's heard some discouraging personal experiences about following Loki, so she's looking for opinions.

What do the Cauldronites think of Loki?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Your Gods and Their Ethics

Prometheus, by Gustave MoreauImage via Wikipedia

Have any of you ever had the experience that a deity was telling you to do something that went against your ethical principles? Or, have you ever gotten the sense that a God did something wrong, or made a mistake?

How would that "mistake" affect your relationship with that God? Would you still choose to honor Them, assuming this kind of unethical action didn't take place all the freakin' time?

Personally, I have not had the experience that the Gods have told me to do anything blatantly unethical. I have, at one point, gotten the sense of one of them admitting to doing something that may not have been the wisest course of action. I am not certain if that's what was actually said. The message might have not been "I wish I'd done this differently", so much as "I wish I could have done this differently. but given the circumstances, I had no choice" ( The context of this is very personal and I won't go into details. )

I definitely get the sense that Gods are highly evolved beings who have a wider view of reality than we are, and a deeper knowledge of the consequences of their actions. So, I do not believe they would make mistakes very often given that knowledge. At the same time, if the Gods do make mistakes, those mistakes can happen on a cosmic scale (myth of Sekhmet, anyone?). Mythology is full of stories of Gods making mistakes. Perhaps this was part of the process of how the universe formed. Perhaps even the Gods had to learn their lessons before creation could progress forward. I don't know. I'm pulling theories out of my bum, here, but what does everyone think?

If the Gods see things on a grand cosmic scale and do have a greater understanding of cause and effect...does that excuse behavior that hurts beings on a smaller scale? Do you attribute what seems to be "unethical" behavior to a process of them breaking eggs to make a omelet, or is it just plain wrong?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Magic of Words

As an actor and a writer, this concept of the magic of words is very alluring.

I don't just mean magic involving words, but the possibility of magic through words alone. What do people think about the potential for magically charging words? Can words have any power of their own? Do we need to share in them for them to work? Can speech itself be a form of magic, or is it inherently just a component?

Prep for Staying Up All Night for Winter Solstice: What Are Your Techniques?

WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  People gath...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

As hopefully everybody knows, in just under 2 weeks we'll have what's becoming an annual tradition here at the Cauldron--our "Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" online celebration!

My question here, as the date (Mon. night, Dec. 21) approaches, is: How do you do it? When you need to stay up all night, what strategies help you to do it?

Here are some of mine:

1. TAKE A NAP. A quick snooze the day before helps you go into the evening well rested.

2. DON'T LET THE ROOM GET TOO WARM. A warm room is a big sleep-inducer for me.

3. TURN OFF THE TV! If you get drowsy, sitting in front of the tube is like taking a sleeping pill.

4. LIMIT ALCOHOL. If I'm tired, it knocks me out.

5. HAVE A PROJECT. Something specific to accomplish helps focus the mind; I usually pick something pesky that I've been putting off, like wrapping gifts or cleaning out a file cabinet or somesuch.

6. DO SOMETHING ACTIVE. Dance, go to a 24-hour gym...whatever gets the blood pumping. But don't go for broke exercising, or the exhaustion will do you in afterwards. Also, doing something like taking a walk gets me outdoors in the cold air, which helps wake me up.

7. CALL A FRIEND. I use the solstice up-all-night celebration as my excuse to call friends in distant time zones. Good conversation keeps me alert.

What are your ideas?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Setting Up A Shrine

My Household ShrineImage by timtak via Flickr

Well, it took me long enough to find a place for the darned thing.

So now I need to find out what to put on it. I've got a few basic ideas - candles, offering dishes, images of the God/desses I am particularly attracted to, but there's a couple of things I need to ask.

One is: where do I get images or statues of the gods? I'm looking at adding things for Manannan, Aonghus and the Morrigan, but I don't know where to get statues. Ordering online is not preferable, given they will turn up in the mail and that could potentially create embarrassing situations, not to mention I have no way of paying for them without alerting parents. For specific shops, I live in Melbourne, Australia, and for DIY, I have very little craft ability in the areas of drawing or textiles (sticking things together and a bit of woodwork shouldn't be a huge issue), and anything I make myself will probably be an abomination, or at least an embarrassment. I could probably print off images and mount them on something, but if there's any clever suggestions, I need some.

Second is: Are there any decorations, scents, etc. specific to those deities that people recommend I incorporate? I have a fairly small space, so I won't be able to put in a large amount of foliage or anything, but small stones or colour schemes should be about right.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Divide Among Hellenic Pagans

Does anyone else get the impression that there is a lot of in-fighting when it comes to Hellenic polytheism? There always seems to be a huge divide between opinions, interpretations and practices, and certain groups of people who don't get along. It's very frustrating for there to be such a divide in such a young religious movement. It's not very encouraging.

Spiritual books about trees

I'd like to look at the spiritual meaning of trees and working with them from different angles. So if you know a good book trees play an important part in I'd love to hear your recommendation regardless from which path it is coming, but there should at least be some European trees in it.

Maybe someone can give me a suggestion which meaning trees have in different paths? I know there's the world tree in Nordic traditions and there's a tree alphabet in Celtic paths, but that's it. (I consider looking into books about those things, too.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

2010 Ideas and Plans for The Cauldron's 13th Year

[The following first appeared in the December Newsletter. It is reposted here for discussion and comment. All comments and suggestions will be read and considered, but will not necessarily be adopted.]

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum celebrates its 12th Anniversary on December 13, 2009 -- and that marks the start of our 13th year of operation. We have some big plans for our 13th year and want to share some of them with you. Of course, we can't promise that all these plans will become reality, but we are planning for them to become reality.

Web Site Redesign

Our forum has changed greatly over the years as we have moved to different platforms but our web site has not had anything major done to it in about 10 years. While it has received some minor updates over the years (e.g. reorganized left menus, changed from parchment-like background and colors to the current light blue), it hasn't received a complete redesign in a decade. It is badly +in need of a makeover. This will be our major project for 2010. It will be a long term project because over a 1000 pages will need to be converted by hand. Each old page will need to have its content recoded in modern HTML and CSS and placed into our new page template.

The new template will be standard across all the pages of our web site. Current plans are for it to have a narrow header bar across the top with a drop down menubar and a "breadcumb line" below that. The dropdown menu will completely replace the current huge left column menu. Just dropping the crowded left side menu will make TC's web site look much cleaner and less "busy". Next will be the content area. Most pages will have a large content area to the left and a right sidebar. A few pages will have both a left and a right sidebar. Other pages -- like the forum -- will not have any sidebars at all. Below the main page content will be the footer area. There probably be a row of three boxes with rss feeds and the like in them, followed by the footer proper with copyright info and the like.

Current plans have the entire site more integrated with our forum. For example, pages on magic will display links to current threads in magic oriented boards on the forum. Pages will know whether you are logged into the forum or not, etc. This will make the entire site revolve around our forum instead of the forum and the web site being two more or less separate things as they are now.

One thing that will NOT be considered at all: a dark page design. Dark letters on a light-color background are FAR easier to read than light-colored text on a dark background -- especially for our older members. And in spite of at least one joking suggestion, the revolving Cauldron graphic from one of our first web site designs back in 1998 will definitely not be making a comeback.

If you'd like to follow progress on the redesign, make suggestions, or even volunteer to help with graphics or the like, you can do so in this thread on our forum:

* Cauldron Web Site Redesign Discussion

Social Networking

We plan to continue to use and improve TCN (The Cauldron Network), our members only Ning social network. We also plan to create a page for The Cauldron on Facebook (and perhaps on a few other social networks). We have already started to use Twitter to announce new threads. Social networking will probably remain low key, but it now has a definite place in our plans for The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum.

We have come a long way since our abortive attempt to use kickapps a year ago. Then the Hosts had no idea what social networking was and selected kickapps solely on its ability to let members post unlimited pictures. In other words, we thought of it as little more than a free photo gallery for our members. We soon learned that our members were thinking of it as a social network and found it greatly wanting for that purpose. We switched to Ning midyear and our members love it. The Hosts still don't understand social networking all that well, but we are trying. With a lot of help from our members, we are apparently doing much better.

SMF 2.0 -- To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

We use Simple Machines Forum software to run our forum. The current branch of the software is 1.1.x, but the new 2.0 version is at release candidate 2 status now. We expect that the new 2.0 branch will go final sometime in 2010. When it does, we will have to decide whether to stay with our heavily modified version of the 1.1.x branch, try to upgrade our current forum to the 2.0 branch, or just close the current forum and open a new 2.0 one.

The easiest thing to do would be to stay with 1.1 -- at least until they stop doing security updates for it. Upgrading the current board and message base to 2.0 would be the best solution, however, it may not be possible as many of the features we use like member blogs come from very old user-written mods that probably will not exist for 2.0 -- ever. I'm not even sure that some of the database changes -- like for the Tinyportal feature or the Donor Subscriptions -- made by mods will carry over to the new 2.0 database if you upgrade it. And this probably will not be known until 2.0 Final comes out. The easiest "upgrade to 2.0" solution would be to make the current read only and start a new board using 2.0 and whatever mods are available for it (as we have done with three previous boards). However, the hosts and staff really do not to lose years of post from the active board yet again.

As you can see, we really have no idea of what the best solution will be, let alone what the best solution that works with the current database will be. However, with SMF 2.0 Final on track for a 2010 release, it is a decision we will probably have to face in 2010.

Do More with CauldronMUX

CauldronMUX is a fun way to chat in a text-based format where you can move around to different rooms, play with items, and even create your own stuff. Unfortunately, we do not do a lot with it. Now that we have a working Java client so that people to not need to download a special client program to use CauldronMUX, we really need to do more with it.

Getting Member Produced Content on the Web Site

Over the years, we have tried several methods for letting members add content directly to The Cauldron's web site: several wikis, tinyportal, Google Sites as subsites for our SIGs, an article section on the forum, etc. None have worked as members just do not use them. It does not seem to matter how easy (or hard) they are to use, they just do not get used. Unfortunately, we really need to come up with a way that people will use as the TC Webmaster no longer has time to manually add material members write to the web site -- and we really need member-written material to grow the web site.

The Hosts aren't sure what the solution is here, but finding one is up there with the site redesign in priority for 2010. We really need more member-produced content -- and members who produce it should not have to wait weeks (or even months) for the Webmaster to find time to manually create a web page for it and link it into the web site.

Book Reviews

This really ties into the "Getting Member Produced Content on the Web Site" problem. Years ago, one of the Hosts used to review 5 to 10 books and tarot decks a month. Then he got married and no longer had time to write reviews. There haven't been many book reviews posted to our web site in the last five years. We know a lot of our members buy and read new Pagan-oriented books, we just need to get some of those members to write reviews of the books they read and have a way they can put those reviews on our web site.

Staff Expansion

Most of our active staff members are currently focused on our message board as TC staff has always been. However, as we expand into things like TCN social networking and the like, we really need to find people qualified and active volunteers to act as staff in these new areas of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum. We have talked about such an expansion of staff before and never really did anything to implement it. The one time we tried to create some non-board staff positions, no one was capable of actually handling the positions was interested in volunteering. This needs to change in 2010. We either need to find qualified volunteers to staff new features like TCN or we need to shut down the new features before we burn out the current staff.

The Newsletter

Our newsletter hasn't had a major change in years, either. As its irregular schedule the last two years shows, the Hosts no longer have the time to actually produce it every month, especially given how hard it is to get submissions for this newsletter. Getting articles out of members and newsletter subscribers is harder than pulling hen's teeth. We need to decide on the future of this newsletter in 2010. We have almost shut it down twice before, 2010 may be the year we actually do.


There you have it, an outline of some of our major plans for (and questions about) The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum in 2010. We've been around 12 years and we would like to be around another 12. What happens with The Cauldron this year may have a lot to do with deciding if that is even possible. If you have comments or suggestions (other than on the Web Site redesign which has it own thread mentioned above), you can post them right here in this thread.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

After the thwap...maintaining the faith

Once you've been thwapped or had some other kind of experience that coalesces and solidifies your faith, how do you keep that faith going?

Although there seem to be a high concentration of "thwappees" here on TC, I think we'd probably agree that, even for people who have been thwapped, frequent or constant communication from deity is unusual.

So, how do you keep your beliefs strong? How do you deal with the inevitable questioning -- was it really real or did I imagine it?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Basic Sigil Magick?

SigilImage via Wikipedia

I've been looking into basic sigil magick for a long time but have never delved into it. I understand the basic premise, that being write your intent, cross out repetitive letters, build a sigil out of what remains, then meditate on it. Other than that, though, I've heard some conflicting approaches, such as eliminate vowels all together and destroy the sigil after working with it, before it manifests? In my mind I'm not so sure that eliminating the vowels would have much overall use, but I'm wondering about what to do after the sigil is created. I've heard to masturbate and concentrate on the sigil, meditate, store it in the closet out of the way, create 5 separate sigils at a time to lessen my conscious concentration on a particular sigil, etc. What if I create it, meditate, then burn it? What do you have to say about all of this? Thanks again.

Major and Minor Arcana in Tarot Spreads

Le Chariot, from Nicolas Conver's 1760 deck.Image via Wikipedia

When working with tarot cards, how do you read major vs. minor arcana cards? I have worked with tarot cards sporadically and have always had a few problems with this.

This issue came up recently for me - using the Celtic cross spread - when most of the cards in the spread were from the major arcana. Would this influence your reading of the question itself - i.e. that the issue in question is more significant that you originally thought or that the question is particularly significant in the subject's life? Would you just assume that the question itself is particularly difficult or contentious for the subject of the reading, but not that it is necessarily excessively important in the subject's life? Do you feel that major arcana cards necessarily have more influence than minor cards, or do you feel that it is simply more important to look at the cards' meanings without giving one more importance than another?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Considering Buddhism

Buddha statue, Kamakura, JapanImage via Wikipedia

I'm hoping someone here can help me. I've been studying Buddhism lately and there are a lot of aspects about it that really appeal to me. I'm pretty sure I've seen some folks here that are Buddhist and I was wondering if someone could give me some insight on a few things:

What first attracted you to Buddhism?

How has it changed your daily life?

What school of Buddhism were you attracted to and why?

Were there any concepts or aspects that you found particularly difficult and why?

Do you consider Buddhism to be more of a religion or philosophy?

I guess that's about it for now. Any tips, advice, or resources would be very appreciated as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To What Extent do you Celebrate Christmas?

Thomas Nast's most famous drawing, "Merry...Image via Wikipedia

To what extent do you celebrate the holiday season?

I guess for those who celebrate the Germanic or Wiccan version of Yule, most of the traditions don't differ from the traditional Christmas ones, but do any of us, as pagans, do the whole Santa Claus thing or the excessive commercialism thing with all the gift-giving?

For those of us who don't celebrate Yule, Christmas is mostly only about family obligation and not so much about religion. Regarding Hellenic polytheism, the Rural Dionysia occurs in late December, but it doesn't have much in common with Christmas. A celebration of wine and phallic objects might not be the best thing to celebrate with one's family. (Interestingly, the Rural Dionysia occurs around Christmas, and the City Dionysia occurs in late March near Easter, and Dionysos is often associated with Jesus, as the son of the heavenly father born of a mortal maiden who is killed and resurrected for the salvation of mankind.)

So, do your holiday observances include the typical Christmas traditions, and how do you incorporate them into your religion?

Planning A Cauldron Technopagan Winter Solstice 2009 (Dec 21-22)

WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  A woman dan...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It's that time of year again, folks--time to discuss some holiday insomnia!

For those who don't know, a bunch of us stay up all night to celebrate the longest night of the year (the winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere--and we use the Cauldron as a touchstone for the evening, checking in during the long night, sharing our observations/thoughts/hallucinations, and encouraging each other to stay awake! (Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere are welcome too, to give us a taste of your summer solstice warmth)

Participation will be tough this year, since the solstice falls on a weekday--meaning that many will have to work the following day, making a true all-night fest impossible for them (unless they plan to call in sick the next day, like me!)...but that doesn't mean that folks can't pop in and out anyway, for the time they are awake. Heck, that's the way it's worked out anyway for many participants in the past when we've done this.

I'm proposing we do this on the night beginning Monday, Dec. 21, and ending the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 22 (which by my reckoning is the actual longest night). What do you guys think? Who's up for this? And should we have a theme? Any other ideas?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Offerings for Aine

After long,obsessive research I finally surrendered the attraction I feel for this goddess and decided to make a small shrine for her. I was a bit incredulous at first, since I never managed to connect all that much with any Celtic deity, but this one seems to be knocking on my door since awhile, hinting that She might be walking with me for awhile.

The problem is that I wasn't able to find any correspondences of colours or incenses linked to her. I know that Celts used to burn flowers in Her honor, but this helps little.

She was also strongly identified with Midsummer,so maybe incenses linked to this sabbat might please Her. I found official confirm of this nowhere,but my mind insist on associating her more with the Red colour than Gold or Yellow...possibly because She was also represented as a red mare none could outrun.

If someone of you has a personal relationship -or even a major knowledge than mine-with Her,maybe you could suggest any appropriate offerings?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Useful Bits From Other Religions?

Desk Jesus and BuddhaImage by fuzzcat via Flickr

What are some of the most useful bits of information or concepts that you have picked up from other religions? Although I don't consider myself eclectic, I sometimes borrow or use information from other faiths. One of the most helpful concepts I have found is the Buddhist idea of a Bodhisattva. It gives me a framework for one way of understanding great historical figures like Jesus and Gandhi.

So what are your stray bits? How have you incorporated them into your own worldview?

Friday, November 20, 2009

How are you Celebrating Thanksgiving as a Pagan?

{{Potd/2005-11-24 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

Thanksgiving is one of the most important family holidays in the US. How do you celebrate it it? Does your Pagan religion influence your celebration in any way?

[Note: while this question is mainly aimed at our US members as we celebrate Thanksgiving next week, if your country has a similar "Thanksgiving" type of holiday, feel free to respond too.]

Energy 101

Urbi et Orbi (EP) album coverImage via Wikipedia

I have a few really basic questions about energy. I've been trying a few little energy practices such as creating a "little ball of light", just to get a feel for what this energy business is all about, and I find that I have a few questions that are getting in the way of my practices by confusing me.

Is there a finite amount of energy in the universe? That is, does all energy already exist and it just gets moved around? Or can energy be created or raised out of nowhere? When I raise energy, where is it supposed to be coming from? Am I drawing it from within my body, or am I creating it by my will? Or am I drawing it from the air/earth around me? Or do I borrow it or ask it as a gift from other entities/deities around me?

Also, I'm a little confused about the idea of negative and positive energy. Instinctively it makes more sense to me that energy just is itself, neither negative nor positive, and the only difference is a lack of energy or an abundance of energy.

Another thing: I'm getting the feeling like my energy is "sticky". I have started my little energy exercises by rubbing my hands together, because the physical sensation helps put me in the right mindset, and helps me cease all the usual mental tangents and meanderings. Once I separate my hands to try and form an energy ball between them, I get the feeling that I'm just stretching the energy out between my hands as if the energy is some kind of taffy stuck to my hands. It's hard to get it into a ball when it just wants to stick to my hands. Does anyone have any insight or advice about this?

Finally, I also have a few questions about grounding. Grounding feels very natural to me when I'm lying down. Is this unusual, or does anyone know any reason this posture might be unhelpful? It feels good to me, in part because I have slight back pain and the only time I can't feel it is when I'm lying on my back, but also because it just feels right. Also, from what I've read, grounding involves an interaction with the earth's energies (sending negative/excess energies into the earth and/or drawing energy up from the earth). This question might sound weird, but is there anything the earth wants in return for using her energies in this way? I sounds a bit like taking advantage of the earth's energies, and I want to be respectful and have a reciprocate relationship with her.

I know this is a lot of random questions, but if anyone has any advice or answers or links to good resources, I would greatly appreciate it! I have pretty good judgment on internet sources in fields I'm familiar with, but this whole pagan/magick/energy realm is still very unfamiliar to me and I don't always know who to believe. Thanks!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frequency of Candle Spell Casting?

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...Image via Wikipedia

I'm interested in casting multiple candle spells with the same intent for a number of days with tea lights. Is this ok? Will it simply build on my first spell, do nothing, or negate the intent? There is a major issue in my life which I need to address. I cast one last night with more of a spoken meditation rather than a written incantation, but I blessed my tea light with jasmine and etched symbols in it. So.....would it be safe to repeat the spell? Also, I read something about the moon phases still being active several days in advance after the phase. Right now the moon is newly waxing, so should I still treat the spell as such?

Dualism in Pantheons

I have been thinking a lot about duality in nature and spirituality. I was wondering if anyone had any examples of dual deities. Of course there is Apollo and Dionysos with their opposite qualities. I am very interested to hear some dualist gods in your pantheons! Also, how do you combine the opposing forces of such pairings in your own life?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas for Coven Discussion Evenings

Pita fried on an outdoor fire.Image via Wikipedia

Posting this in here, because I suddenly realised folks around here might have good ideas. So, one of the things no one ever talks about with coven work is how you make the practical details work. In my case, I'm looking at doing evening discussion/class sessions two or three times a month on a weeknight. It obviously makes sense to feed people in the process, but there are some limitations.

- Potluck (which we do for rituals) is possible, but people will likely be coming from work with limited resources for keeping something cold all day, etc. I'd rather provide something main-dish like, and ask people to bring more portable options (crackers and cheese, dessert, etc.) that can be a little more flexible.

- I don't want to be fussing about last minute food prep as people are showing up - i.e. taking something out of the oven is fine, but keeping an eye out to make sure the pasta doesn't overcook is more fiddly than I want. (5 minute flexible range, in other words, is ideal.)

- Likewise, I don't want to wait for food to cook more than 5-10 minutes after people get there. (Heating up soup in a pan, fine. Boiling pasta from scratch and heating a sauce, not so great.)

- I don't want to spend tons of money on this - my own food budget is about $150 a month (for one person), and given that I'll be doing this 2-3 nights a month, don't want any given meal to cost much above $6-10 for 3-4 people.

- My own food habits are meat-heavy at lunch (since work feeds me quite well) and simpler at night (pasta, veggies, etc.) Crockpot meals might make sense in other ways, but I don't want to do anything that's "Take half a dozen chicken legs" or "Take a roast and..."

- I live by myself, and have a smallish fridge (it's a bit smaller than most apartment/house fridges, and usually full with my own stuff, since I grocery shop once a week). I also don't own a microwave (and really have nowhere to put one - 400 square foot house, no kitchen flat space that I can reliably reach safely that will also take a microwave.) Leftovers need to be things I can freeze, and reheat on stovetop or oven.

- I've got a strong preference for avoiding heavily processed foods. (Canned cream of mushroom soup is a comfort food, but I try not to have it too often, etc.) I'd also prefer a bunch of seasonal recipes. (And I've got a budget preference for making from scratch, too, or close to it.)

- I do enjoy cooking, bake my own bread most of the time, etc. but have limited time/energy after I get home from work. (I work a 9+ hour day, so usually need to come home and sit down for a bit first, and there's usually a tad of last minute cleaning or setting up for class that needs to happen too.) Advance prep is possible, but day of prep should involve less than 10-15 minutes.

Foods that have worked so far:
- Soup, bread, and cheese
- Chicken wild-rice stew (made ahead and reheated)
- Homemade pizza (assuming I'm home early enough to get the dough out and let it come to room temp first, which happens about half the time.)
- Cold plates in summer - hummus, baba ganoush, pita bread, salads, etc.

Food limits:
- Currently no major allergies, aversions, or things people don't eat, but I'd like to come up with a range of items that could be adapted if/when we do.
- My one major aversion is that peppers and I don't get along terribly well: I prefer not to cook them.

I don't own a crockpot, but do have somewhere one could go, and am seriously considering it, but would love recipes that don't involved processed foods to start, and that are meat-minimal or meat-free for this particular application.

Gender/Sex Based Mysteries?

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Does your Tarot Deck Have a Consciousness?

Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet...Image via Wikipedia

I know this sounds like it should be on the divination board but I'm going to turn it into a philosophical debate I hope. So to all you tarot heads out there, here we go. I went to go ask the question of the tarot, what do you really think of me and at first it just gave me overall advice on my current situation. Then I asked it again and got a little bit more along the lines of my question but still offering advice as if it had occ and couldn't help but give advice.

I feel that each deck has it's on style and personality as to how it answers you. When I was asking about my ex situation all of the time a lot of the answers I was getting from the deck was that IT didn't want the info to hurt me. Which shows care and concern and a certain amount of consciousness on the decks part to make that sort of statement.

So my questions are of card ethics and this does the tarot deck have a consciousness of it's own? And if it does would you care to share your experiences with it showing it's personality, or consciousness towards you in any way? How many times should on ask the same question of the deck before they should stop? And feel free to share like I said any experiences you've had with questions like what does the deck think of me or anything along the lines of asking the decks opinion of you, your life, or it's personal opinion of the universe. I don't think too many people think to ask so if you haven't try it out and get back to me on it because I will be and am fascinated by the subject!

Monday, November 16, 2009

2009 Update: Extra Features with Donor Memberships

donateImage by Mindful One via Flickr

As you know, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is no longer on a free server and needs monthly donations to pay for our Virtual Private Server. While we will be happy to accept donations in any amount directly through Paypal, we've noticed that many donations are in the amounts of 5, 10, or 15 US dollars. We have therefore created the Cauldron Supporter and the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Donor membership classes with some minor special benefits for people who make these common donations via the "Donation Subscription" feature in the Profile area (go to your Profile and click on the "Donation Subscriptions" link in the Manage Profile menu).


For those willing to make a monthly donation (or a larger annual donation) we have three levels of "Donor" memberships: Bronze Donor, Silver Donor, and Gold Donor. You have the option to donate once for a month of donor level membership, donate for a full year of donor level membership, or setup an automatic monthly Paypal subscription that will renew your donor status each month in the Donation Subscription area of your profile.

Bronze Donors (US$5.00/month donation) currently get the following special benefits:
  • a Bronze Donor Badge that will appear on your posts
  • access to our private "Donor Board".
  • do NOT see see Forum area ads
  • can see whether their Personal Messages have been read
  • can use use their own avatars (stored off-board)
  • can have larger signatures
  • can have multiple commercial links in their signatures
  • can have an ecauldron email address (and several other ecauldron google apps) -- created upon request

Silver Donors (US$10.00/month donation) currently get the following special benefits:
  • a Silver Donor Badge that will appear on your posts
  • access to our private "Donor Board"
  • do NOT see see Forum area ads
  • can see whether their Personal Messages have been read
  • can use use their own avatars (stored off-board)
  • can have larger signatures
  • can have multiplecommercial links in their signatures
  • an have an ecauldron email address (and several other ecauldron google apps) -- created upon request
  • (available soon) can have a personal Special Interest Board that they moderate (See Personal SIG Rules -- not yet available) on any topic suitable for the board.
  • (available soon) can have a text ad that appears in rotation on the message board -- ad subject to host approval.

Gold Donors (US$15.00/month donation) currently get the following special benefits:
  • a Gold Donor Badge that will appear on your posts
  • access to our private "Donor Board".
  • do NOT see see Forum area ads
  • can see whether their Personal Messages have been read
  • can use use their own avatars (stored off-board)
  • can upload their avatar to our server
  • can have larger signatures
  • can have multiple commercial links in their signatures
  • can have an ecauldron email address (and several other ecauldron google apps -- including a Google Site web site with a ecauldron subdomain) -- created upon request
  • (available soon) can have a personal public Special Interest Board (and a personal private Special Interest Board) that they moderate (See Personal SIG Rules -- not yet available.).
  • (available soon) can have a text ad that appears in rotation on the message board -- ad subject to host approval.

All Donor member benefits last for one month (from the date you donate) -- one year if you elect an annual donation. They can be extended by donating again through the Paid Subscription area of your Profile (or by setting up a monthly donation subscription).


For those unable to give a monthly donation, but who would like to help, we've created the Cauldron Supporter membership. It lasts lasts for three months ($10 one-time donation), six months ($15 one-time donation), or one year ($25 one-time donation) depending on the amount of your donation. Cauldron Supporter members have all the features of Regular Members plus the following features:
  • do NOT see see Forum area ads
  • can see whether their Personal Messages have been read
  • can use use their own avatars (stored off-board)
  • can have multiple commercial links in their signatures without meeting the 75 message minimum.

at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Donor Level
(or to become a Cauldron Supporter)


2012: Just Hype?

Reading between the lines of the Maya calendar
Indigenous spiritual guides see a lesson for humanity in the din over 2012.

Writing From Guatemala City - The world may not end two years from now, despite Internet predictions and this week's blockbuster disaster movie, "2012." On screen, the final day in the 5,126-year Maya calendar brings global destruction, and Los Angeles slides inexorably into the sea.

Here in the cradle of Maya civilization, however, shaman/priest Calixta Gabriel said Mother Earth -- Madre Tierra -- would suffer "hunger, wind and thunder," but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Different genres of music for different Gods?

Musical notationsImage via Wikipedia

For those of us who choose to use music as worship (and of course for those who do not as well!) I have a question. It is a question largely of opinion or maybe UPG so that is expected and welcomed in your answers.

Do you think that specific Gods prefer specific and differing genres of music? I have sort of been thinking this for a while because most would agree that they prefer certain herbs, incenses, and foods in their offerings. Beyond that I notice that I feel the presence of different deities when listening to different genres or even different groups.

What is your take on this be it philosophy, opinion, or UPG experience?

What role should religion play in a modern life?

We often have threads here that centre around how people experience their religion. In particular, it is not uncommon to discuss what role religion actually plays in each of our lives. I am interested in seeing if anyone else is up for a discussion on what role religion should play and why?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pagan Parents: How Do You Discipline Your Children?

How do you discipline your children?

Is your Earth-Based Faith Limited to Earth?

This is a sort of off shoot of the thread about whether you practice ritual per the calendar or the local seasons.

In light of the recent tourist in space stories, how long will it be before we have pagans in space?

How would your religion be practiced in the vacuum of space, or say, on the moon or Mars etc? Do you think there will be xxxxxxx-ians practicing off world, and how will it look different than what is on world today?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Beginner Incense Questions

I was just informed by email that a friend ordered me some Nippon Kodo Incense and a incense holder for my birthday. So she being sweet as she knows I was looking into Roman Numina and ancestor worship (or she giving me a hint my bachelors apartment could use a air-freshener). So is this brand a good brand? And also is there any hints on how to use or handle the Incense?

Germanic Compared to Norse?

I'm really confused on this. I read the Norse are the Germanic tribes, basically, but then in the same sentence they have Germanic as something separate. Can someone tell me what the differences are? Or was the site just listing bad info? Is there a Germanic pagan religion different from Norse?

Tarot and Non-Tarot Decks?

What do you define as the physical components necessary to call something a tarot deck?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Buy Pagan and Magick Supplies Through The Cauldron

As long time users of The Cauldron probably remember, we had an affiliate arrangement with Pagan Shopping/Earth Spirits Emporium for many years (where things you bought earned TC a percentage). They closed down last year and we have had a hard time finding another supply house with good prices, reasonable shipping, and a large variety of merchandise to replace it.

We have finally found a supply house that meets all our requirements. You can now order from Meta Pot via our affiliate links and get the items you need while helping to fund TC (at no extra cost to you). You can go to this page -- Buy Pagan Supplies -- to start shopping. If you like Meta Pot, please bookmark our Buy Pagan Supplies page and use it to shop from so we get credit for your purchases.

They have a wide variety of Pagan Supplies. (Clicking on any the following links will also give TC credit for any purchases you make on this visit to Meta Pot.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

How Do You Communicate with the Divine?

I was reading a post a few minutes ago, and this question came to me "how do you communicate with the gods or the divine?". This interests me because, the only way I communicate is by meditating and then sending my astral self to them. Another way I use is summoning their presence to my altar and then communicated threw meditation or by simply observing nature and figuring out how they are feeling or what there answers are by the way nature acts around me.

I was wondering if anyone else uses any other way to communicate with the divine? or if any other ways exist to communicate?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Multiple Gods, Multiple Offerings?

Just a question on the logistics of how some of you handle offerings if you are honoring multiple Gods at a time.

Do you feel that your Gods like to "share?" Or do they prefer to have separate offerings?

Do you find that some Gods are more amenable to sharing than others? Are there some that are okay with sharing with certain other Gods, but not others?

If you are offering the same thing to several Gods, do they each need their own bowl?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Philosophy in religion?

What do people here think the legitimate/useful roles are for philosophy within the context of religion? Various ancient and classical Greek and Roman philosophers actively inquired into the nature of the gods and into the role dictated for religion by reason, along with a raft of other religiously-related thinking and practice. So, what are philosophers good for in your religion?

What to call a Wiccan?

We've had various threads here looking at the history and legitimacy (for want of a better term) of different names and titles that get used when talking about paths that derive from British Traditional Wicca and their practitioners. What I am interested in hearing is what the people at TC that fit in that catagory of faiths prefer to be called. Are any particular usages more or less offensive than others? It occurs to me that I use different terms to reflect my concerns and beliefs more htan I use them to reflect the concerns and beliefs of the people that they describe. At least at TC, I'd like to do that less.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evil Is Sent Through Halloween Candy

Who is crazy enough to believe this?

Kimberly Daniels Warns That Evil Is Sent Through Halloween Candy (Updated)

And the actual article:

The Danger of Celebrating Halloween

Do your Gods dictate?

Of the following, which kind of relationship do you have with your God(s)?

-One of command. Your God tells you want to do, and you do it
-A little more courteous than the first; your God asks you to do something and you do it
-Your God asks you to do something and hopes that you do it
-Your God suggests that you do something, and then leaves you to decide
-Your God doesn't tell you anything and leaves you to do what you want.

My answer lies somewhere between the last two. I get the impression that my Gods leave hints as to what they suggest I do, but generally they leave me to make my own decisions.

How about you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What factors do you look for in religion?

When searching for a religion, what factors or aspects draw you in? Do you feel like that is an appropriate approach to take? If not, what approach should be taken? Does anyone here follow a faith because of familial duty?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lapsed Faith

Anyone here consider themselves to be lapsed in their faith? What were the important factors that led to this decision? Do you see yourself ever rejoining your faith or would you consider searching for another faith?

Monday, October 26, 2009


What does your path say about lying -- if anything?

Is honesty valued? Why?

Do you believe lying is inherently bad? Or does it depend on the situation and/or on the lie?

Is lying ever the right thing to do?


I am just REALLY excited for Samhain this year and was just wondering what everyone is planning for it this year.

Any rituals?
Special feast?
Anything at all?

Just curious what everyone else may do for Samhain.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is magic impious?

Funerary stele from the Archaeological Museum ...Image via Wikipedia

First of all, let me inform you that I am a follower of Hellenismos. That being said, I shoukd explain, in the event that anyone does not already know the following:
Hellenic reconstructionism as based on the ancient Greek tradition, has, at its core, certain values and virtues that all Hellenes should try their hardest to subscribe to. One of these fundamental central ethics is that of "eusabeia," which can be safely translated to mean "piety."

That fact lends itself to very strong opinions amongst many Hellenes regarding what is and is not impious behavior. As we can only place subjective observations in such matters, we have many philosophical debates regarding such.

The topic of magic is a rather contentious area of discussion in many Hellenic circles. It is precisely this that causes a lot of people who, in general, share our deities and basic tenets of belief to choose not to identify as recon.

My questions to you all, I hope, should start discussion and healthy debate.

1. Does the use of magic show some degree of impiety?

2. In your religion is it at all arrogant to say that you have abilities stretching out farther than normal human capacuty and thus approaching the divine?

3. If you claim magic is not impious because the power comes from your deities and not from yourself, is it not impious to say you can call down the power and aid of a god/goddess at will?

4. How does your personal use of magic display your piety or honor for god or the gods?

5. In the event that piety is not a significantly important part of your belief system, would you please explain? Why?

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