Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2010

Hey, what is this thread? Tonight—beginning at sunset on Tuesday, December 21, 2010—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 photos or artwork throughout the evening...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]

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cauldron's Thirteenth Anniversary Today (13 Dec 2010)

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the day The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum opened for posting!

Thirteen years ago -- 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. That's 1000 messages total, not 1000 messages a month.

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 in 2008 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 have stepping up and are donating every month to make continuing this board possible. As the SMF software is have problems, we may be moving to another forum software in 2011 -- at least these time we should be able to take the current messages with us.

It has been a very interesting 13 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 five 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 few years 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 thirteen years. 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. We have great plans for The Cauldron's 13th year and we hope you will join us and help make them happen. With any luck, these plans will work out better than our plans for this last year did. Oh well, you win some and you lose some, but just being around 13 years is a big win. Thanks for being along for the ride!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Consequences, and when things go wrong or not as planned

Has anyone suffered consequences by mixing traditional techniques? Has anyone not quite worded a spell right and had it turn on them?Have you or someone you know messed with or mixed magic that should not have? I know there are somethings that might have certain side effects. Since eclectics and chaotes experiment the most, I figured I would post this here. The purpose of this thread is to discuss consequences and negative reactions to magic not done properly or just wierd consequences to well put together spells.

Any stories, experiences and musings related to the topic are appreciated. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bad luck/curses: personal query and thoughts in general

Well, I'm somewhat new to these forums, (this is my first thread so I apologize if it's bad) but not to Pagan religions and I need some advice and would also like to stimulate a conversation on the topic of "bad karma". My partner and I have been having just about the worst last three years of our lives. I'd type it all up if anyone is curious, but so much has gone wrong that it's best to summarize and just say anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong- basically since we've been together and in all areas of our life except our love life.

But at any rate, do you guys believe in being cursed, jinxed, or just plain horrible, awful bad luck?

I've tried to do some purification, protection and good luck sorts of rituals: protection magic is something I've always been familiar with and utilize often but this time I have had no success it seems. My luck seems to be finally getting better but my life is still a mess for many reasons out of my control and in the last year it has been my partner who's gotten the bad juju. For him, his health seems to be failing for no reason and so many things have gone wrong that shouldn't occur in a healthy 25 year old.

I was just wondering what other people think about bad luck or curses or karma or whatever you dub it. One of my core beliefs is in energy, and the effects of positive or negative energy and I do try very hard to keep my actions and intentions pure and ethical in my life. I believe I certainly haven't done anything to deserve all this and was curious whether you all had advice or input. Any rituals or spells or certain stones and herbs which you find helpful for dealing with this kind of situation would be greatly appreciated but are not necessary.

Differences between Roman and Greek deities

The Romans and Greeks used different names for a group of superficially similar deities. Do you guys think of them interchangeably, or (in your opinions) are there genuine differences between the two? Either from perception/UPG or research.

[For my own part, I know that Aphrodite was allowed to have a lot more fun than Venus. Venus the mother of Aeneas (founder of Rome) and thus grandmother of the Roman Emperors had to be a more stately figure. Anyone else have similar information?

And I feel strangely strongly regarding a recent (possible) deity encounter that it was Diana, and not Artemis. The other name doesn't seem right. Could be subjective though?]

Creative Yule

I'm currently knitting away for the holidays. Gotta finish a lace wrap I'm making for my mom, and a couple pairs of socks (one for my mother-in-law and one for my dad). Oh, and a blanket for my great-nephew. And probably a small handful of knit ornaments. I might also put together a few recipe jars...I'm thinking orange/vanilla scones and some sort of butter cookie. The only thing I'm buying outright is a matcha tea set for my son, who's fascinated with Japanese culture. If I had time to figure out how to make a chasen, I probably would. Wink

So what hand-crafted goodies are you planning this year?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Drawing Down compared with Channeling?

I started this thread to compare the similarities and differences between Drawing Down and channeling. I understand that there are key differences in how they are done. Also, the energy of a Deity is a lot different than the energy of an entity. Both have their risks. Any comments, thoughts, theories and opinions are appreciated.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Spooky Reading

I was opened up as a channel 9 months ago. I worked well with channeling for a while but for me it would have side effects. Afterwards I would have to reground, center. I experienced a strange new side effect recently and was wondering if anyone else has experienced it. I was reading some interesting passages from a book to my husband when energy started charging my voice. I noticed that and took a break to check on my throat chakra. It was opened more than usual but that didn't bother me. Then as I started reading again my husband stopped me, with a confused look on his face and said," Do you realize that you were just speaking with two voices at the same time? One was yours, the others was a male voice." I paused again and checked my energy and it was as if I had just finished channeling. Any information on this would be appreciated, thanks.

The Ouija Board: Good, Bad, Evil, Innocuous?

I've noticed a lot of mixed emotions on Ouija Boards. So, what's your opinion? Good, bad, evil, innocuous?

Mixed Ways?

Lately I have been having individuals in my clan challenging my belief system. I do not mind if they want to ask questions or say that they disagree with me. The problem is that these certain individuals say that I should not be eclectic Wiccan and follow a native path at the same time. I told them that I have developed my own path and it works for me. They say that if I mix these two ways that I will end up spiritually injuring myself. I then told them that they could worship how they wanted and I can how I see fit. Now they are trying to get me barred from Native ceremonies even though I do not use my Wiccan energy while at these gatherings. I talked to the leaders of the ceremony and they said that as long as I only used native traditions while there then I am still welcome. Even though it has caused no permanent damage, it has still had an impact on how my clan views me.Is there anyway I can do further damage control or should I just let things be?

Thank you for reading. Along with advice I would appreciate tellings of your personal experience with issues like this one.

La Madama?

I've looked around on the web for more info about La Madama, but I can't really locate much. Can anyone tell me more or point me to some more info about Her?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In or Out (of the Broom Closet)?

A thread in another subject got me thinking and I am wondering how many people on here are "out of the broom closet" so to speak, IRL?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1st Annual TC WInter Holiday Card Exchange

As has been suggested by a couple of members in the Holidays thread, The Cauldron will be doing a Winter Holiday Card Exchange for the first time this year.

Here's how it works:

Anyone interested in participating should PM or email me by midnight (US Eastern Time), November 30.

Include your mailing address, and tell me if you are willing to be paired with someone in a different country (which will mean you'll have to spend more in postage).

Then I'd take all the names and do a random draw to set each participant up with a recipient. Nobody would receive a card from the same person they're assigned to send to. I will PM the name and address of your recipient to you by December 6.

Cards can be handmade or store bought. They must be sent in time to arrive at their destination by December 18.

If anyone wants to include a small, inexpensive, handmade gift, that is OK, but not required. Enclosures must be something that could fit inside the card and it's normal envelope, and not require any extra packaging. Nothing breakable or perishable. (I'm envisioning something along the lines of origami, pipe cleaner decorations, drawings, poetry, a postcard, a photo, a pressed flower, or something like that. It's important that nobody feels pressured to spend more than a few dollars on this exchange.)

Participation in the card exchange is strictly voluntary. By contacting me with your address, you are acknowledging that The Cauldron is not responsible for any problems that might result from participation in the exchange.

(Forum membership required for participation)

The Cauldron's Annual Winter Solstice Celebration--2010 Edition?

I think it may actually have become a tradition: the annual "Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" celebration here at the Cauldron! With Randall's blessing (thanks, Randall, for giving us a home), it's time to start planning ahead for this cyberfest's 2010 edition.

For those who don't know, a bunch of us try to stay awake all night to mark the winter solstice, the longest night of the year...and we use a special thread at the Cauldron to touch base with others all over the world doing the same thing. We share thoughts, recipes (most infamously Folksymama's chocolate microwave mug cake), encouragement,...just about whatever pops into our heads.

Via posts from Cauldronites scattered across the globe, we watch the spread of darkness as it marches across the Northern Hemisphere, or bask vicariously in the sun and warmth of members in the Southern Hemisphere marking their summer solstice. The celebration is, quite simply, whatever we make it.

So what do we want to make it this year? Last year we had a loose, optional theme of sharing recipes. Any ideas for a new "non-theme"?

And whose up for it this year? As last year, the solstice falls midweek, which will make it tough for some to make the all-night commitment (unless they plan to call in sick to work the next day, like me!)...but note that everyone is welcome, even those who don't plan to stay up all night. (Those of us in it for the long haul are eager for as many folks to distract us from our pillows as we can get!)

So mark the evening beginning at sunset on Tuesday, December 21, on your calendars. Here's further info on the astronomical event (from http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/winter-solstice.htm):

In the Northern Hemisphere, the next Winter Solstice occurs on December 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM ET and 23:38 UTC (Universal Time).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Your SO and Your Religion?

My SO has no belief whatsoever. He's an atheistic agnostic, as he says. I've been slowly teaching our son about the gods and I just bought my son a bunch of various creation myths, as well as historical (children's) books to start him with. My SO thinks I'm being ridiculous since our son is only three. In fact, he doesn't seem very... well, he's not very supportive. Honestly, this never bothered me before but now that I think it's time to start teaching my son, it's starting to bother me.

How many of you have an SO who does not practice the same faith as you? Is it problematic when it comes to discussing faith/religion? Do you think it's harder to have an SO with a Christian background or someone who purports to be an atheist? Is your SO supportive if your choice in religion?

And the last question: For those of you with children and in similar predicaments as me, how do you handle the less than supportive nature of an SO while trying to teach your child about various religions so that (s)he's prepared for the big, wide world?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Worship On Hold: Dividing Time Between Multiple Deities?

I've been a dedicant to Sekhmet for quite some time now. Recently, she introduced me to Hethert and told me that she would assist me, as well. Hethert was at first quite happy and excited, but I'm finding it difficult to divide myself between the two goddesses. I thought about putting Hethert on hold until I am better able to figure out how to do the juggling act, much to Hethert's chagrin. I was wondering if this is common...? Do other find it difficult (especially with it still being new) to divide the time between (multiple) deities?

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Cauldron's Web Site: Is It Time to Just Start Over?

About this time last year, I started talking about how I really needed to update The Cauldron's web site which was hand coded over 5 or 6 years starting in 1998. With no base page design, each of the thousands of pages are just a bit different, so to update the site in any major way requires going though and recoding each page (by hand again). Even setting up a new standard template (which I did) does not help much. The content from each old page has to be manually taken from the old page, it's 2000-era HTML manually cleaned up and recoded, and then made to fit the new standard format. Most pages take about 30 to 90 minutes to convert. Needless to say, I did not get more than 10% of the pages out there converted this year. At this rate, the conversion would be done in 2019 or so -- and little new material would be added during those years as all my "wotk on the TC site" time would be taken up with converting old pages.

A couple of months ago, I decided that it would be better to redo the site as a CMS and convert pages by manually putting them into the new CMS. At least with a CMS, others could add new material while I was spending all my time convering the old material. I set up a CMS and converted the front page. I never got beyond that due to lack of time to convert pages. I reverted to the non-CMS "new" front page I did earlier in the year. Doing a CMS has the advantage of allowing others to add new material to the site, but converting old pages to new CMS pages takes almost as much time as converting pages without a CMS.

I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is time to simply freeze the current TC web site (at ecauldron.net) and restart The Cauldron with a brand new site (at ecauldron.com). The current web site is hard to update and nearly impossible to convert to a more modern form given the limitations of my time, but it still has lots of useful info on it. This would let us keep all this info as is, but let us create a much more modern (and closer to standards) TC web site to put new material on -- a site that others could help maintain and improve without having to sit at my computer to do so.

I've floated similar ideas in the past to a few people and they have always been shot down by those who do not like the fact that, for example, the spells section of the new TC web site would be completely separate from the spells section of the old web site. Sure there would be a pointer to the spells section on the old site in the new site, but there would be two separate areas to check. I'm sorry to say that I can no longer allow this argument to stop this idea. I've spent a year trying to modernize the current site so we could avoid this issue. It is not working. Unless someone wants to cough up many thousands of dollars to pay some company to convert our thousands of pages to modern HTML web standards and a better site design, it never will work because I don't have the time to do it myself. I've tried.

So unless someone cane come up with a better idea, that's what I intend to do. Freeze the web site portion of ecauldron.net and create a new, modern Cauldron site on ecauldron.com. It will be CMS based so that staff members can post articles and updates -- instead of everything depending on me to find time to do it.

I would really like to see what others think, however. Even if someone does not have a better idea, there are many ways to implement my current plans. Note that to be a better idea it has to take no more time effort for me than this idea would. As I said, I've tried to do it the other way and have discovered that there isn't enough time in the day for me to do it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Celebrating Samhain?

I was just wondering since Samhain is coming up how do you guys plan to celebrate it?(If you do celebrate it.)

I'm still trying to think of ideas-particularly 'cause I'm so scatterbrained I nearly forgot-and I wanted to get a broader sense of what some people did.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thoughts on individualism in a group/tradition setting?

I've been doing a lot of thread reading around the Cauldron and I've seen the issued of sex in ritual addressed a couple of times. It sparked a particular thought process and I have a question or two.

From what I have picked up it appears that Deities may ask things of you. I also have picked up the idea that if you say no, for whatever reason, They don't burn your crops and kill your family. That it's okay to say no.

So my question isn't so much about saying no as related to the Gods and Goddesses. It's more about groups, traditions, belief systems, etc. What if you said no to a group? Then what? How much are you allowed to deviate from the 'accepted norm' in order to value certain principles in your life? The biggest reason I ask is that a lot of information I get on a tradition or a specific group in a tradition is really basic stuff. So, there is a wee bit of mystery as to what might be expected of a person if they are initiated and how much 'squirm' room is allowed. Is this something you would know before deciding to ask about initiation?

I should probably explain that the sex in ritual lead me to this thought because I'm in a committed relationship and although we've discussed doing this between ourselves I have no clue as to how he would react if it was something that was expected in a specific ritual. He's solitary and not really inclined to have a specific tradition. And I don't know how I would feel, really, if it was the other way around. I don't really like to share. lol So it got me to thinking about other stuff too and saying no. There's not a whole lot I can think of at this point that might really bother me, and I could probably choke my way through most of it if I had to ... but this particular topic caught my attention because it doesn't involve just me, but someone I love. Sorry if I'm rambling ... but I am very curious how to twine together everyday life and the spiritual if the two are in disagreement?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm absolutely not out to insult anyone ... but I find the whole skyclad thing very hard to deal with. I have only checked on a three of the Wiccan traditions and read a couple of websites on CR and they all have stuff about going skyclad (naked) during rituals or special rituals. I understand the reasons given ... but seriously ... does the general population of certain religions really do this? I admit to it being the main reason I draw back and pass over a tradition. It might fit me everywhere else, but I just can NOT see myself getting naked for a ritual. By myself. No problem. With my SO. No problem. With a bunch of others. No.

So, I'm wondering if maybe I would be better off just being solitary or sharing my circle with my SO and no one else but the Gods and Goddesses?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Exploring Dualism(s)

I never liked dualities because they seemed too pat.

So you can imagine my horror when I realised that my perception of my godforms has gotten increasingly dualistic.

Of course they don't fit together in a neat abstract way. It's just that it's possible to fit the concrete details I have about them into abstractions. So, for example, even though it's more fire/dark, I can fit that into light/dark. Or immanent fire/dehydrating water can be shoehorned into fire/water. Stick figure/female into male/female, you get the drift. Intuitively I feel like this approach can be helpful, if it isn't carried so far as to flatten individual characteristics for the sake of conceptual neatness

I'm curious, how many others here would say they work within a dualistic framework? Is it a part of your path, or simply your own approach to your path, and if so how do you think the dualistic framework contributes to a deeper understanding of your path? How have you developed your framework to take into account the 'textured' nature of reality (as opposed to flattening things out)?

Monday, October 04, 2010

How About Revenge?

Well, what do you guys think about revenge? Sometimes it makes me feel relieved to see a person suffer who made me suffer too. But on the other hand, hate shouldn't consume you entirely. Is revenge justified? Do you turn the other cheek? How far do you go when it comes to revenge, are you actively boycotting that person, or just enjoy when things go wrong?

I was wondering about the rule of 3. I'm not sure if I should follow it or not, but the people who do, do you think revenge is also part of it, like you hurt me, I can hurt you 3 times as hard? Or do you see it in another perspective?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feri questions

I know there are a few Feri students and/or initiates about the board, and have a few questions for ya.

-Does Feri have anything to do with fairy/faery/however you choose to spell 'em? The only thing I've ever read about it is that Victor believed they were a small race of people from way-back-when.

-Are you/were you charged for training/initiation?

-What are some good (and easy to get a hold of) books?

"Single-Deity" Paths

I've posted a lot about my "path" being focused solely on Brighid, and I'm fairly sure there are others here who have a similar single-deity focus.

For those who do, how do you translate that into a workable system of worship? (I know what I do, but I'm interested in what others do.) Do you draw from the culture of the deity for things like moral guidance, holidays, etc.? How do myths involving your deity inform your beliefs and practice?

Do you ever feel like you want to try to make contact to other deities? Do you? How does that impact your relationship with your "primary" deity?

Do you ever feel like you'd like to find "co-religionists" -- others who also focus solely on the same deity? If you were able to find such a group, what would that bring to your path? Would you want to group rituals? What kinds?

I know that's a lot of questions, but if there's anything else you want to comment on about being a single-deity person, please do!

Celtic Land Spirits/the Fair Folk questions

So I was thinking about this recently - I've been trying to concentrate on Land, Sea and Sky a bit more in the past few weeks, and I've read some stuff that mentions, in passing, the celts worshipping spirits of places, or at least respecting them. There are many gods and goddesses based on rivers, I know that much.

And I was wondering about connections between them at the Fair Folk. Are they of the same genus, if not the same species? Are they similar? Or are they completely different creatures - the Fair Folk being strictly otherworldly folk and spirits of the land being closer to deities?

And finally, how does one incorporate either of them into one's worship? Are there any special ways to address the spirits of the land, as opposed to, say, deities? And is the traditional 'leave-milk-out-for-the-Fair-Folk' going to get me too much attention from beings whose attention I would prefer not to have?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Your Best Ritual Ever?

I have attended, written and performed many rituals over the years and while I'm very clear on the difference between a good ritual and a bad one, I'm less clear on the difference between a good ritual and a great one. It seems like you can't tell which it will be until it's happening. And none of the people I talk to afterwords seem to be able to define that difference either. So I'm wondering, what was the most satisfying ritual event you've ever attended, and what made it stand out to you?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Earth = Ymir

It seems that so much of the time, the Earth is assumed to be some sort of goddess (if deified at all) or seen as Mother Earth; usually female, fertile, nurturing, as well as no-nonsense, powerful and very necessary.

I'm struck by the difference in the Poetic Edda:

"Of Ymir's flesh the earth was fashioned, And of his sweat the sea; Crags of his bones, trees of his hair, And of his skull the sky. Then of his brows, the blithe gods made Midgard for sons of men; And of his brain, the bitter-mooded Clouds were all created." Grimnismal 40-41

What does this verse mean to you? Do you reject the "Mother Earth" imagery, or see that as allegorical? Or do you embrace both concepts as different parts of a greater whole?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Afraid of Trying Witchcraft Stuff?

I want to explore my path as a witch (no religion). But sometimes I'm just afraid of trying stuff, afraid something bad might happen when I do something wrong. I take this very serious and do believe that when you interfere with certain things there can be danger involved.

Are you having, or did you had those problems? What did you do about it? Can fear block your abilities to really achieve something?

How to overcome it?

Deities Associated with Cats?

Besides Bast, what deities are associated with cats? Which ones are particularly interested in supporting the care of cats, stray and otherwise?

Does anyone here have any cat-centered deity relationships? How would you describe it?

Anti-Material Possessions?

I know some religions or spiritual structures (I think Buddhism does), claim you should loosen the connection with earthly things, like possessions, to be able to have a spiritual life. Me personally, I'm a material girl. I love my stuff, and I respect mine and other peoples stuff and threat them with care. Is that so bad? I also was thinking that this might be destructive? If nothing is keeping you here on earth, then it would be easy to commit suicide, I guess, which is not so good.

It is right to enjoy life, isn't it? I think my goal (not really a goal, rather a pathway) is being happy in life. Making others happy, is also part of it, because it gives great satisfaction. I feel my feelings, but I can't without other people, so in theory I might be the most important, but in real life, the others are equally important to me, like family and friends, some are less because we don't share the same opinion, or people who have hurt me,... I do care about world peace, but I wouldn't travel the world to solve it. But sometimes I'm unhappy (I just hate school, but I'm doing the best I can), because I feel I need to do this to become it. Now I need to study and work really hard, that sometimes my head feels like it's going to explode, but I'll be a much happier woman when I graduate at college Smiley. Maybe you can compare it, by walking through the dessert to find an oasis, the question just is, was it worth all the suffering? I hope it is. Anyway, I've heard once, that a road without obstacles leads to nowhere.

What's your opinion about this? Do you agree with this minimalistic way of life or not and why? Who or what is central (your goal/pathway) in you life? Do you think you are the most important person, or you are less or equally to others? Do you handle in function of a God, some spiritual rules, or anything to guide you with the decisions?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jungian Ideas?

I was thinking a bit about Jung today, and even though he was a psychologist, what he said reaches into philosophy and religion. Every now and then someone here may reference something about Shadow People, but otherwise Jungian ideas seem to be a poor fit for many of the belief systems here. Does that sound accurate?

I was wondering what value you find in Jung's ideas of Collective Unconscious, archetypes, etc, if any. Does any of it have meaning for you? Did it at one time, but no longer?

I am mostly asking those who are polytheist, especially hard polytheist, although of course any input is welcome!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Names for Local Spirits?

I was wondering if anyone here had some experience to share or advice to give: working with different spirits is an important part of my path, but there's one group of spirits that I find myself constantly neglecting- my local land spirits. And I know precisely why they've been so neglected, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to rectify it: I don't know their names.

And yes, I've asked. The responses I've gotten have ranged from confusion to bemusement, and the general sense I get is "call us whatever you want." I've tried this, and either I find an "ancient" sounding name that makes me feel silly and doesn't sound right, or I find a modern (or modern-ish) name that makes me feel silly and doesn't sound right. Names are really important to me- having a name is, for me, inherent recognition of importance and significance, and this plug-n-play usename thing just doesn't work for me.

So my questions: have any of you ever encountered this problem? If you have names for local spirits, how did you find them? What do you do when nothing feels right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Magic for Profit?

Is it ever right to charge money to do magic? Why or why not? Would you charge money to perform magic for another? Would you pay someone to do magic for you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wheel of the Year?

What's the eightfold wheel of the year? And what are the holidays/festivals/sabbats/whatever their names are on them? What are the about? Can someone tell me a bit about them?

Do You Consider Yourself a Witch?

Do You Consider Yourself a Witch? (with a witch, for purposes of this question) being defined as someone who practices witchcraft -- either just as magic or as part of a religion like Wicca)

Why or why not?

Things with a purpose... Or not?

So I recently acquired a ring that I have felt, every time I've seen it, an urge of "I Have to get that. Not in the usual sense of "oh that is an awesome game must get, Or Ooo I love that necklace" Or whatever, I keep getting the feel that it might have a spiritual significance, or something. Though when I asked the deity, I thought it was, I got a no so *shrug*. It could just be a cool ring, and that's that. I'm totally ok with that. The reason I'm posting is because it doesn't fit anywhere. It looks weird sitting with my other non-religious jewelry, but doesn't fit anywhere on my Shrine/Altar space. I just dunno what to do with it but wear it, and I'm trying to eliminate all possibilities, so maybe I can just put it with my other jewelry and that be that without that niggling feeling in the back of my head that's saying "nope not quite" (or something along those lines).

Its silver and Has two wings coming form different directions that meet in the middle then the right turns up and left turns down.

I also have a few (other) questions:
have you ever felt the need to buy something for spiritual/Religious purposes, but not know the reason,or its use? In the same vein has it ever turned out to just have been you thinking that it was, but turned out to just be a ring/candle/etc with no other use, and was just you wanting it to be?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do thoughts have power?

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but my search didn't turn anything up... someone here mentioned that beliefs/ideas only have power if they lead to action. I wanted to discuss that thought a little more because there are so many different ways to look at that.

For instance, some here believe that words have power - not just the power to influence others, but the power to cause effects in their own right. Do thoughts/ideas/beliefs have power in their own right, or only in the actions they inspire?

Is speaking words aloud "doing something" more than thinking those words in your head is? What about casting spells?

I personally do think that thoughts themselves are energetically charged, and therefore do have an effect, even without physical action -- and also that thoughts inspire outward, mundane actions toward outcomes.

I'm interested to hear others thoughts about this topic.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Atheism and Witchcraft

If you consider yourself an atheist - or nontheist - and practice or believe in witchcraft, can I pick your brain a bit? Or if you have some other reason to have thoughts to offer, please share!

Is your atheism simply a nonbelief in the literal existence of deity/ies, but you believe in spirits or Spirit? Do you believe in the supernatural? What is your understanding of how magic works?

I'm really interested in hearing perspectives on this... I think my personal idea of witchcraft would fit pretty well in an atheist framework, but I've never had reason to explore it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Prayer Beads for a Specific Deity

We've had several threads on prayer beads -- how people use them, ideas for creating them, etc.

My question at the moment is: Has anyone made prayer beads that they have associated with a specific god/dess? If so, how did you approach the beads?

I've been thinking about doing a set of prayer beads for several years. But my path is specifically focused on Brighid.

I can think of a couple of ways to design prayer beads for a broader Celtic Recon-type practice. That would incorporate beads to associate with the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky, for example, or beads to represent various Celtic values.

But I'm drawing a blank on how to use beads as a way to tap into Brighid's energy specifically. I'm toying with the idea of somehow representing healing, smithcraft, and poetry/learning. But that doesn't really get me very far. I'd really like to hear how others have designed similar bead sets.

Do you use prayer beads to keep track of the number of repetitions of a prayer, like people use rosary beads? Do you use prayer beads with different kinds of beads to represent different "topics" of meditations -- that would be something like associating a blue bead with healing and a different color bead for healing, etc.? Do you use beads as a simple tool for keeping your hands busy with something tactile, which you focus your brain on something else? Or what?

I'm open to any ideas you'd like to share.

Singing Charms

So normally I'm not a big fan of taking inspiration for my practices from fiction, but I was listening to the Redwall series the other day and there was a part where a character covers up talking to a couple of prisoners by saying he was singing charms.

While the character wasn't serious about it, the idea has kind of stuck in my head and I wondered if anyone here used songs in their magic, specifically in their low magic like home wards and protection and good fortune type spells. The idea really intrigues me. Does anyone know if singing charms were used historically and where?

Even though I'm not much of a song writer, I really want to try this. I've been very interested in Hedge and Kitchen Witchery lately and I feel like this would be a sort of magic that would fall somewhere in that category of magic.

If you have any and wouldn't mind sharing I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Modesty, Headcovering, and Paganism

I recently ran across a couple mentions of modesty and head covering as pagan practices (for instance: http://hubpages.com/hub/Veiled-Pagans). I'm kind of intrigued by this.

Coming from a rather conservative Christian family, modesty in dress was ingrained in me from early on, so much so that even though I've shed almost all other religiously rooted values, I still feel the need to dress modestly. I've also been very drawn to head covering for a while even though I've yet to actually incorporate it into my practice/daily life.

So what are your thoughts on the subject?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding a Religion

I know a lot of people consider deities and religion at least somewhat seperate and I'm becoming more and more of that opinion myself. Also, I've seen a lot of posts asking about how to find patron gods but not nearly as many asking about finding a religion.

So my questions are these:

How did you find your religion?

Did you adapt to your religion or did you find a religion that already had similar ideology that you already held?

Just like there are very important things to look for when searching for a deity to interact with, what are the most important things to you when you were searching for your religion?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paths with Historical Connection to Human Sacrifice?

If you are following a path that has a historical connection to ritual human sacrifice (whether proven or simply probable) - how do you see that in the modern world? Do you enact some sort of symbolic sacrifices (like burning a poppet) to serve a similar purpose in your worship? Or do you feel that it was something entirely for another culture in another time, and not something that is significant to your path?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your thoughts on death?

I have always been very familiar with death, so familiar that I do not differentiate so much between the dead and the living worlds. I think it is all very connected. I have had a lot of death experience sort of. I have been speaking with the dead for as long as I can remember, and I have guided people over a few times before. I have also lost people I love very much and that always feels so different from the other experiences. I have a hard time seeing through the grief. I just sort of felt that I had conceptually come to understand death.

Now however things have changed. One of my best friends will be beyond the breath in 6 months time. I just found out today although I sensed it last night sort of. Now everything I thought I new is in tatters. I know I should not simply abandon all I have learned due to grief but as I said I have a very hard time seeing anything past my sorrow.

What I could use is some different perspectives on death and what comes after. I have always had my own sort of beliefs, perhaps assumptions, on the topic, but now I need more. What do you see death as? How does one deal with death? I mean I guess how do I balance my belief in the everlasting with the incredible sadness I feel? It seems the two should be incompatible. I know that our time apart will be very brief on a cosmic timeline, but if I know that then why am I so upset? How have different pagan cultures dealt with death through time? Are there rituals that help? I know that is a lot of questions.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Living Mythologies: New Myths for Old Pantheons?

Something I've sort of thought about here and there is the outgrowth of "new mythologies" about various pantheons. I'm not necessarily talking about stuff like Disney's "Hercules" (although I am a little, I guess), but about new stories where the authors/filmmakers/etc. obviously did a lot of research and tried to keep the Gods' personalities intact and create stories similar to the myths that inspired them.

For example, the Percy Jackson books. While there are some problematic elements (I've seen a few people unhappy with the portrayal of Kronos and some of the Titans, and I can understand that), it seems like Rick Riordan did a lot of research into mythology and even added in some elements of Hellenism into the books (the kids all burn parts of their meals to the Gods, the Underworld is the one from Greek mythology, not the Christianish one that's in a lot of these things, Athena's demi-god children all sprang from the minds of their human parents when they were inspired by Athena, etc.).

Or some of Neil Gaiman's writing, especially "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys." Or Diana Wynne Jones' "Eight Days of Luke."

I recently read ... somewhere nonfiction (I unfortunately didn't write it down, and it might have even been a documentary and not a book I'm thinking of) that the reason that there are so many different versions of some of the more well-documented myths is that the stories were not meant as dogma, but just to portray the Gods and teach some morals or even just be entertaining. So they kept being added to, even after people became more skeptical. (I think this was specifically about Greek myth.) And I got from that a sense that the myths are in a weird state of true and not true at the same time — they're not factual, but there's truth in them, even when they contradict each other, if that makes sense.

Do you think that stories that are rooted in mythology and history but that portray the Gods and create new stories can "merge" with the traditional mythology as part of a religious tradition? In a few hundred years, will "Eight Days of Luke" join the Eddas and "Percy Jackson" join the Iliad?

Will some of the events in new stories about the Gods become "canon" like Dante's circles of Hell sort of did for Christianity (i.e., it's not given as canonical in the Catholic version, at least, but pretty much everyone knows about the circles of Hell and it's accepted on at least a cultural level)?

Do you think ancient mythologies can continue to expand and grow as ancient religions are reconstructed, or should mythology stay in the past?

(My own opinion on the matter is that the answer to the last question is "yes," but I'm undecided on the first two.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mabon is almost upon us!

I was wondering what some of you do for Mabon? It can be as simplistic or as complex as you want! This thread is just to help give some of us ideas on what to do for the Sabbat that is upcoming in less then a month! Enjoy and let your creativity flow!

How to Worship Different Facets of a Deity....if You're Really a Hard Polytheist?

OK. So, being a hard polytheist, I have a difficult time wrapping my brain around worshipping faceted gods. I am aware of say, the Hindu deity structure, or the gods of Ireland, who "snip" down into different parts of their own being, and I can understand that it's rather like when a human undergoes an enormous stress or change (just for example), and acts differently from the way they normally are in order to handle certain situations, but they're still the same person...

But what I want to know is, say you have a deity who has two or three facets (The Morrigan, for example...):

How do YOU worship them?
How do you actually view each facet? Does each facet seem like the same goddess or god but is still somehow different?
When do you call on one over the other?
If you merely suspect that two or more are facets of the same deity and aren't a soft polytheist who already believes all the gods are really one, but don't KNOW the "figurehead", as it were, how do you find that one?

Or any other input you might possibly have would be helpful. I just need a few different corridors to send my brain down I've never known before.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ecauldron Ceramics Support Sale

Welcome to the Cauldron Support Sale!

My name is Erinnightwalker and I make ceramic pieces. Since I have a distinct surplus, and since the Cauldron needs some support, I am offering my pieces here. Once they are gone, they are gone- no commissions will be taken in this thread. All profit will go to the Cauldron.

[Host's Note: There are some very nice pieces here (see the second message in the thread) and they are pieced relatively low so even with shipping they wouldn't be expensive. The Cauldron's Server Fund really appreciates this sale. Thanks, Erinnightwalker!]

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Magic Exercise Suggestions?

Hi! It's been a long time since I've posted much (got distracted by graduating from high school ^_^) but I'm back to working on my magic and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for exercises for controlling magic/energy and keeping consciousness altered. I have done a few impromtu spells recently and have encountered problems with this. I ground and find it very easy to slip into an altered consciousness. One moment I'm thinking normally and then there's a definite shift. But because it's so easy, I have trouble staying there. I constantly feel that I'm about to slip out and so end up rushing my spell work.

The other problem is that I can summon the energy/magic and push it into my hands, but sometimes it gets "stuck" there and I can't push it out of my hands into what ever object I'm working with. I feel this problem using a wand or even just using my hand. I haven't tried with an athame yet. Could this be because I just need more practice, or would a change of tool help with this?

I am not a very visual person, so visualization exercises aren't always effective for me. I tend to focus on the magic as sensation and heat traveling through me instead of light. When I first started I always tried to visualize it as light, but I always lost the light to sensation. So if you have any exercises that involve sensation, I would especially like to hear those, but any exercise would be helpful.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Isaac Bonewits 1949-2010

[According to a post in the ADF Forum, Isaac passed this morning at about 8am. The following was posted to the IBonewits-Announce Yahoo! Group by Phaedra Bonewits.]

Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, founder and Archdruid Emeritus of of Ar nDraiocht Fein: A Druid Fellowship, one of North America's leading experts on ancient and modern Druidism, Witchcraft, magic and the occult, and the rapidly growing Earth Religions movement, died today after a short struggle with cancer.

Mr. Bonewits first came into the public eye when he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Magic and Thaumaturgy (1970). During his tenure there, Mr. Bonewits worked with many renowned professors including Nobel Prize Laureate Owen Chamberlain. The work he did for that degree became his first book, Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Magic (1971).

In 1983, he founded and became the first Archdruid of Ar nDraiocht Fein: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry. In 1995, he retired from a leadership role due to complications from eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. ADF has grown to become the best-known Neopagan Druid group based in North America. At his death, Mr. Bonewits held the title of ArchDruid Emeritus.

During his forty years as a Neopagan priest, scholar, teacher, bard, and polytheologian, Isaac Bonewits coined much of the vocabulary and articulated many of the issues that have shaped the rapidly growing Neopagan movement in the United States and Canada.

Mr. Bonewits was internationally known as a speaker who educated, enlightened and entertained two generations of modern Goddess worshippers, nature mystics, and followers of other minority belief systems, as well as explained these movements to journalists, law enforcement officers, college students, and academic researchers.

His personal papers will become part of the American Religions Collection at the Library of University of California at Santa Barbara.

One of his most influential contributions was the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (the "ABCDEF"), developed in 1979 as a response to the Jim Jones People's Temple tragedy. It has been translated into many languages and used around the world to evaluate how dangerous or harmless an organization might be. It was the first such scale to use theories of mental health and personal growth to judge rather than theological or ideological standards.

His other books include Authentic Thaumaturgy (1979, 1998), The Pagan Man (2005), Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca (2006), Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism (2006), Neopagan Rites (2007), and Real Energy (2007), which was co-authored with his wife, Phaedra, as well as numerous articles, reviews and essays. As a singer-songwriter, he released two albums, Be Pagan Once Again (1988), and Avalon is Rising (1992).

He is survived by his wife, Phaedra, his son from a previous marriage, Arthur Lipp-Bonewits of Bardonia NY, his mother Jeannette, his brothers Michael and Richard, and sisters Simone Arris and Melissa Banbury.

Gods Are Not Religion

Warning: I have my rantypants on.

Quote from: FierFlye on August 10, 2010, 09:50:55 pm
Um, yes. Foundation is what I've been lacking. Mostly because every religion I've encountered is built on the foundation of getting in touch with god/goddess(es), and I'm quite agnostic.

I am getting increasingly frustrated by the general way that religion is taught, honestly.

Here's the thing that I want to rant about: gods aren't actually foundational to most religion, and relationships with them are not foundational either.

You know what gods are, in real practical terms, as put forward in the pagan community at large and treated by most groups that are doing instruction and the like? Advertising for religion. "Do you like the look of our god? Come to our circle/grove/temple and try one free!"

Gods are the flashiest part of most religions - the myths are teaching hooks, illustrations of principles, and so on, and one pedagogic technique is to have one's instructional stories painted really large and in really bright colours. And for all that there are a lot of godbothered people in the pagan community at large, and I think there are sound reasons for that, for most people historically religion is just plain not about "here's what I do about the gods that bother me", because most people are not bothered by gods.

"Personal relationship with one's god" is (to overgeneralise here and I'm aware that I'm overgeneralising) for prophets, devotees, and mystery cults. Most people are not prophets, ecstatics, or members of mystery cults. (Though Christianity is at its core a mystery cult, IMO; the Eucharist is the relevant mystery.) Most pagan religions these days came about because of prophets and devotees because those people have the motivation to do the work, not because that's what the religion is about.

And there's a translation gap. Consider Wicca/neo-Wicca for an easy example: Wicca proper has this whole devotee thing going on inside its mystery cult, and is a fairly exclusive, private thing, because there just aren't that many people who meet the requirements of devotion to the unnamed Lord and Lady. But the bits that leaked out took on this congregational form for people who just want to "believe" and "love the earth" and who aren't specifically called, because that's a normal level for religion to settle at - a framework without calling.

And both sides think the other one is missing the point, because there's a real difference between "called to do the work to build a religion" and "called to practice a religion" that just disappears because lots of the people who are called to the building side don't have a sense of how one can be in the religion without building. (See also: recons who are smug about being 'religion with homework' and don't have any conceptual space for people who just want to follow the religion, not do PhD research.)

Hardly anyone teaches the framework. We get a lot of "How do I find my patron?" questions and not a lot of "How does a practitioner of this religion need to live?" questions, and that corrupts the discourse. Because we talk about the flashy stuff, not the core stuff.

It's subtler than the people who are all "I am a vampire possessed by Anubis, so I know the ancient gods are returning, but I'm worried about them making it back in time for the coming war on the astral", but it's still focusing on stuff that's more flash than substance. (I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP I SAW IT YESTERDAY.)

Speaking as a Kemetic here, this is one of the places that I get frustrated with the established temples. In my current research for the book I'm writing, I've done a lot of digging into the theological underpinnings of Kemetic thought, and occasionally come across things that are very simple, very core concepts that underlie the religion - beautiful things, glorious things. And I'm getting them from Jan Assmann, not from a temple authority, so people who aren't capable of plowing through the neutronium that is Assmann aren't going to find it!

The stuff I learned from temples was mostly framework for ritual to the gods, not framework for life. (And I've had a lot of people thank me for my little essayrant linking ma'at to putting shopping carts away, because that was apparently the first time that the concept had been presented in a way that was easily accessible to them! Shopping carts!)

Religion is about living. Part of one's living is/can be to worship and love the gods - hell, from a Kemetic perspective, most of it is, but that's because in that perspective putting on makeup is worshipping Hetharu, not because it's chock full of formal ritual all the time - but that's not the whole of life. I get obsessive about ordinary-people-did-stuff-in-Egypt because I'm trying to find a way of integrating with the whole of life rather than living in the fringes of temple worship all the time. I know people who left Kemeticism in part because they were looking for the whole of life stuff and weren't called to do the religion-with-homework, and that bugs me. A lot. So I want to frame for the hoers of onions....

Some people are building religion for devotees, and that's great. But one of the things that I think is freakin' fantastic about what Heartshadow is doing is that she's mostly trying to present the stuff that is core to the religion, not the stuff that's attention-grabby.


Okay. Done now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ending a Relationship with a Deity?

When I started my path, I was drawn towards three main deities: tM, Aenghus, and especially Manannan. I'm still building relationships with Aenghus and Manannan. In fact, Manannan is my patron, really, and I've since begun to develop a relationship with Lugh.

But my relationship with tM is dwindling. I always seemed to get a "your daily stuff is Manannan's job. I'm here if you really, really need me, but you're not really mine" sort of feeling from her. I continued to make offerings anyway, because She was nice enough to at least say She'd be there if I really did need Her. But I haven't talked to Her in ages, nor do I really get much of a connection anymore, especially since I expanded my worship to include Lugh.

Would it be disrespectful to break off the relationship? To just not offer regularly anymore, but make offerings if I ever do need to take her up on her offer of help? Or is that unlikely to happen, especially if my 'worship group' does keep expanding?

I suppose I should ask Her, but I'm a little...well, I don't want to offend her, and my conscious mind has a nasty habit of getting in the way of the responses from deities...

Help, please?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who are your people (spirits)?

Specifically, not deity, but spirit work.

1. Who/ what spirits do you work with?
2. In a few phrases, what would be your best description for those spirits?
3. What are the three most important things you've learned working with specific spirits?
4. What unusual manifestations of these spirits have you noticed after working with them?
5. What spirits are on your list of beings you'd like to work with in the future?
6. What is your 'getting to know you' process for spirit?

Being given a tool by a deity

I've had very few encounters in dreams and spirit journeys with deities who handed me one of their 'tools', all of those encounters were very intense. One was Artemis giving me a bow and an arrow to shoot something, one was Hekate handing me a torch to inflame something.

I'm still a bit puzzled about what it means to be given a tool by a deity. Both those instances had a specific function at that particular moment, they helped me with a step on my life path. But I'm wondering if I'll be working with those tools again...if there's any meaning apart from solving the imminent situation they were presented to me. If there's some 'energy' about the tool that will kinda linger in my hands? (Both experiences are recent enough so I don't know about long term implications if there are any.)

What are your experiences with that sort of thing? - I'd love to have some exchange about this subject.

I've also heard one shouldn't bring anything back from the otherworld and leave it there before returning into normal consciousness. I wonder if that applies here and what others think of this.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Dianic Wicca -- For Females Only?

Alright so after Genevieve told me about Dianic Wicca I decided to look around the forum and I typed //Dianic Wicca// into the search engine and came upon an article entitled: Different forms of witchcraft http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=12766.0. I realize in this article it DOES say that men can be practitioners of Dianic Wicca, but why is it usually JUST women that are Dianic Witches?

Dedication: How'd That Work for You?

All right. So, last night, I was connected and on-target. I did a minor dedication ritual for the Sekhmet, some object dedications, and a re-naming ceremony. All of this was done in the name of Sekhmet. At first, I was connected and one hundred percent on target. And then something happened. I don't know what happened, but at first I felt like I was doing everything she desired, and then it fell apart. I went to bed feeling unhappy and knowing that my atonement isn't going so well. (She's pissed at me, in case you don't know, because I ignored her for over a year.)

I don't know what I did wrong. Maybe the dedication ceremony wasn't what she really wanted? I don't know! So, when you dedicated yourself to insert-deity-here, how did that work out for you? Did you know that the divine entity that is your patron was happy with you? Or, reversed, did you know that s/he wanted more from you? How did you rectify that situation if they wanted more from you?

In other words, I did something wrong and I don't know where I FUBAR'd it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What is the Wiccan Version of Armageddon?

I know Christians have their end of the world and I know that the followers of the Norse Gods do as well....but what do Wiccans believe will happen at the end of the world? What is their version of Armageddon?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blogs: When and Why?

I know we have a list of users spiritual and personal blogs. I have questions, though.

1. When did you decide to start blogging about your spiritual life?
2. Why did you make that choice?
3. Why did you chose the website you did for your blog?

Does the time of day really matter when spell casting?

I used to cast all my spells late at night, however, I am trying to fight insomnia by getting up early in the morning and getting to bed before midnight. This is such a basic question and I feel really stupid for asking, but I have never been faced with it before, so I am wondering if I really need to wait for the light of the moon to do my spell work? Would it be just as effective in the afternoon or early in the morning? Or does time of day have a significant effect on spellwork? I should add that doing spellwork earlier in the evening is not an option because my DP is home, and I just do not feel comfortable doing spells in front of him. We live in a studio-like home, so there isn't another room where I could be alone.

Losing a connection?

The short question: Has anyone ever lost contact with their god/goddess for an extended period of time? What happened? Did you ever get that connection back?

The background, for my specific case: I was first drawn to my goddess about 3.5 years ago. We've had what I can only describe as an incredibly close relationship this whole time. She's always been fantastic about communicating with me, several times a week on average. There are times when we can't talk because she's busy, and it's never really bothered me, since she's really good about following up with me, usually speaking with me a few days after a missed connection. Prior to this year, we've never been incommunicado for more than a month at a time, and we've usually picked up right where we left off.

Things changed this year, though. I was really sick for a while. I wrote my senior thesis. I searched for a job. I struggled through classes. I graduated. I moved. I got my life in order. Through it all, I would send the occasional mental note (tinged with guilt and regret), "Sorry, I've been busy, I haven't forgotten you, and I miss communicating with you. Just give me a little more time." I never seemed to have energy or time for any more than that, and I just hoped she'd bear with me.

Finally, a couple of months ago, I finally was back in a stable place in my life, so I wanted to get back in regular contact with her. So I sit down, reach out, and get nothing. Complete radio silence. I figure she's busy. So, I wait and try again later. Still nothing. Lather, rinse, repeat for the next 8 weeks.

At some point a few weeks ago, I started to get a sinking feeling that maybe something had changed, and whatever connection we had is gone. It's not a thought that pleases me, because I'm not really ready or willing to give this up yet. Usually I'd just ask her, but obviously that's out of the question for this instance. My other methods of divination and answer-seeking have come up with absolutely nothing. I'm really, truly stumped, not to mention a little concerned and confused.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I'd love to hear anything that comes to mind.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting Old - how do you deal with it?

Now yeah, I know there are those of you who go pfffft! 3X-something.. OLD. Ha get agrip girleen, but then again I will point to reframe like this. I can only compare then to now and yeah, there are differences. I know there are twenteens who are like dude, you're over. Deal.

As one of the families on the front lines of an economic situation that hardest hits those who are educated middle class who fell on the tail end of the dot bomb, I can only say sometimes I feel like I'm aging in ratio to dog years. Procreation and being an allergic anemic person has sort of left me a mess after three kiddos. I've got abdominal hernias, need root canals on most of my teeth, have arthritis and circulatory and dietary issues. Some days I really wanna go screw it and fall into the darkness of accepting that it's just the product of a well used life. I try not to do this. I consider it giving up. I push myself with the modeling stuff but times, I get tired. I see myself and know someday is around the corner.

I am both good with this and not.

What do you do to feel you're not ready to be wrung out and hung up?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ideas for a children's Lughnasagh?

I am part of a pagan playdate group and we are designing our first sabbat for our kids, who range in age from 1 month to 5 years (my son will be 6 months at the time of the sabbat).

We have some basic ideas of how to proceed, but most activities designed for kids are aimed at kids at least 2 years old. Anyone with small children have some good ideas for this sabbat for kids?

Starting Over?

For the past few years, I have been feeling a bit stagnate in my current practice....mainly because I haven't been doing much with it. I'm not sure what the cause is. I also know that I have some spiritual beliefs that would probably be more in tuned with other cultures (I know that at least one of them is a hold-over from my Wiccan days). I find the idea of eclecticism more appealing every day so I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice? Has anyone else felt the need to start over?

Theistic Satanists?

I'm more familiar with LeVeyan/nontheistic Satanism, but am wanting to have a better understanding of Theistic Satanism.

How do you view Satan? How do you view the JCI God? What role do angels/demons play in your beliefs? Do you believe in other gods?

Monday, July 19, 2010


I was reading a (generic) book on mythology a while ago and came across the Irish bird god Nemglan. The only information on him was that a) he was a bird-god b) the myth about his son Conaire Mor.

So far I haven't been able to find anything about him online - only the same myth I already knew of. There seems to be very little information on him, or perhaps I just don't know where to look.

Does anyone here know more about/work with/worship/whatever else Nemglan? Are there any other myths he features in?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Which decks do you own? Show off here

Inspired by the 'How'd you choose your deck' thread, I wonder what kind of tarot decks and oracle sets do you own?

Stories that go with them?
Little review?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you carry crystals with you?

Just wondering who carries crystals with them during the day?
Do you like to have the with you even when in the house / relaxing (maybe like now)?
What stones do you carry?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pagan Boarding School?

This post is about the prospect of a Pagan boarding school (grades 6 or 9-12), so if this is in the wrong part of the board, please do feel free to move it to the proper place. Smiley

How many Pagan American citizens are there? According to pluralism.org:

"Pagans estimate themselves to be between 768,000 and one million practitioners in the United States. A poll conducted by the Covenant of the Goddess, a national organization, estimates 768,400 Witches and Pagans in the U.S. The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance suggest a 50% margin of error for all of the widely varying estimates on the number of Pagans. The estimates do not capture the much larger population that is interested in Paganism, as evidenced by the book buying audience and presence and activity on the web."

Perhaps if the US Census did not send out a survey asking about the religious preference of American citizens to only 1 in 100 Americans, and actually asked this on the Census, we might have a more accurate number; I bring this up only because if that is the case, and the US population is an estimated 300 million (and probably growing), it is a statistical miracle that I meet so many of them, is it not? Yet, still, 768,000 is arelatively large number of people.

I have been told many stories of the horrors of public school attendees who are Pagan, and have read of Pagan discrimination in public schools.
Personally, I have experienced the following when I was in middle school and high school:

-Called names.
-Had a temporary grade reduction in choir for refusing to sing Christian songs.
-Had objects thrown at me by a crowd of students who were making fun of me, then made fun of me because I cried.
-A teacher made me sit in the front seat of a bus while on a 4/5 hour ride because other students had asked me about spirits, I answered, and another student complained about what I was talking about.
-Close friends of mine were told they could not hang around or talk to me because of my religion.

In a country where religious freedom is a right, it seems as if not everyone is, "on-board," and persecution is the norm, especially against a religion in which there is an estimated 768,000 practitioners.

Teasing is pretty normal in middle and high school, but should such a high degree of teasing normal or healthy? School is a stretched and a bit distorted version of adult social life, in my opinion, and socialization among one's peers is very important in a person's development. However, being Pagan is NOT a bad hair-cut or an ugly pair of glasses, and allowing students, teachers, and school administrators to exercise prejudice against a student for their religious beliefs because it may seem ridiculous and not compatible with the majority of the population is (again, in my opinion) potentially unhealthy. If you grow up in a relatively functional and happy household, why be exposed to such conditions and end up with issues because of prejudice teasing?

It doesn't seem to me that many Christians grow in the same school environment. As a matter of fact, there are many Christian private day and boarding schools around. Students and parents probably have many different reasons for attending these schools (or, having their child/ren attend), some good, some...questionable. What is not questionable is the success of Christian schools, at least in the realm of longevity and attendance.

Have any of you noticed the, of course purely observational unrelated correlation between low academic achievement and subscribers to the Pagan religion? Please don't get angry, and no, I don't know if I can back that observation up with statistics, but I have seen this correlation in the last few years. There is the issue of personal responsibility, but let's just focus on natural reaction. What if this is because these people relate their experience in academia with personal torture, and eventually drop out of school or have no desire to continue on to college, or the amount of depression and anxiety they have causes their grades to fall and they cannot get accepted into college? I have met another Pagan one year in graduate school, but they're tough to come by. Sometimes, the parents don't help this cause either, of course, not through lack of care, but lack of common sense. I know of a woman (I believe she is a high school drop-out) who took her children out of school because of the bad social experience her children have had, and is now, "home schooling." How do you teach your children subjects that you haven't learned yourself? How are you getting a taste of the real world if there are no other peers around at all?

I've brought up a few topics in this post to try to support the main idea of this post: a Pagan private day and/or boarding school. This way, socialization is possible with many different types of people who just happen to share a common belief system for which they may be subject to persecution in a public school. In my opinion, a school of this nature could focus on rigorous academics tailored to each student's potential, prepare students for first tier universities, and also have compulsory classes in Paganism, spanning different pantheons and standard methods of spell casting, learning the history and components of practice and belief. There could be performing arts and sports programs, holidays off from class with celebration, and lots of fun for students.
Why boarding? That way children can attend whether they live close to the school or not. Also, boarding schools can sometimes be an ideal environment for academic focus.

Any thoughts? Would you send your child to such a private school? Do you think this can be done?

How Did You Choose Your Deck?

Or, really, how did the deck choose you? (My mother is a big subscriber to a deck choosing its owner.)

I'll start.

My primary deck (which is all but useless now; traitors... grumble...) was given to me as a gift when I was having connection issues with a previous deck. My esoteric deck fell into my lap at a used book store. It was a deck that I had been looking at online, longingly, for quite some time but since it was out-of-print, all of the used copies were exceedingly expensive. I managed to pick up the entire set for $20.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The One and True Everything

In monotheism, everything is about one. Everything has one ultimate purpose under one ultimate truth and we are all one with everything anyway. There may be gods, but like everything else, they are merely aspects the ultimate unified super deity that rules everything.

Here's a thought... a question, I guess... What if there is more than one thing in the universe?

What if we are not truly one? What if different things had differing origins and destinies? What if things are not all on the same page? In short... what if polytheism is a better way to map the universe than monotheism?

Monotheism and polytheism are more than just choices in beliefs. They are ways of ordering the world. The Monotheist demands that the world conform in its essential identity and be not many, but one.

Polytheism does not require unity... you could say it calls for disunity. There isn't one ultimate creation or creator... so you get some stars that are older than the universe. (an interesting googleable if ever there was one) Polytheism says that things are not "one". There is no one truth about anything... there is no one right way to see things...

...therefore polytheism is libertarian... maybe even anarchy... but there is no single authority... there are many diverse authorities or there is none at all.

I am a polytheist. I don't believe in the one ultimate truth. I believe in many ways and many truths. I am omnisexual and polyamorous. A satyr among fauns.... a minor god with cloven hooves and a name that means "everything".

Polytheism is not a matter of belief. Monotheism is uniquely about belief and faith. Polytheism cannot lay claim to truth, and therefore cannot ask for faith. Believe what you will... the polytheist has a different way to order the world... he does it without truth.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Location and the Gods

1. For you, does general location affect the strength of your relationship with a particular God(ess), or how you work with a God(ess)? For example, would it be easier to connect with Manannan on the Isle of Man, or in Ireland, than places where the God isn't 'native'?

2. Also, does specific location matter? Say, would you only work with a deity in a place or situation relevant to their field? Is this preferable?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Multiple Gods--Handling Relationships and Who Did What?

Having gone from basically being a one-god-girl to someone with two more new deities, I am muddled... One I have definitely been thwapped by, the other... maybe we thwapped each other? At any rate, I've got a few questions.

How have those of you who have relationships with other deities developed those relationships? I find it more difficult to have time to get to know these new goddesses. Do you have any techniques for doing so? What do you do for a deity who is a softer speaker than the other?

I keep being afraid that my subconscious mind is making up personalities to deal with different issues of my own personality, rather than actually having a deity speak to me. Have you had this thought?

And most importantly, when Something Happens-- either something you've asked for or something you just know is out of the ordinary, how do you know who did what? Was it deity A, deity B, deity C, or All of the Above? Do you try and figure out which godly source did the Something, or do you thank them all?

Monday, July 05, 2010

One Pantheon to Represent the Whole

As I posted in a previous post, I believe there may be many gods and goddesses who's work is what we see in nature and the processes of life. However, I feel that their true nature MAY not be easily revealed to people if at all, at least in the sense of their history, interaction with other deities, names, etc. This in turn leads me to be cautious of "revealed" information concerning deities.

Of course, this could simply be due to the fact I've not had many strong interactions with what may be deities-a fact that may be extinguished with time!

That being said, what crossed my mind was following a particular pantheon to represent the "whole". To explain that thought a bit further, the gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon (and I only use that as an example because it is that ancient culture that interests me) can be viewed as "symbols" or "archetypes" for the gods and goddesses who's details may be, in my beliefs, unknown or impossible to find out. I suppose the idea would be that while one does not believe in the gods and goddesses of a particular pantheon, they best represent what may be real (again, the deities who's information may not or cannot be revealed).

Only an idea that crossed my very cluttered, stormy mind. I am interested in other's input. Are there people who follow something similar?

First Books?

I am new to Paganism and am still seeking which path I want to follow. I have been researching for quite some time and have gotten book ideas from the forums and book lists. I would like some opinions on the books and if you think that they are good for a beginner.

Drawing Down the Moon by Alder
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
The Pagan Path by Farrar
Voices From the Circle: The Heritage of Western Paganism by Caitlin Mathews
Paganism: A Beginners Guide by Mathew Moorey

I'm not sure in which order I will/should read this in. Figured once/if I got them that whatever gets my attention first is where I would begin.

Friday, July 02, 2010

What if Paganism were the majority religion(s)?

I'm curious to see what others think of the type of situation we'd be in as a society, as diverse nations, as a planet, if varieties of Paganism/Reconstructionism were to become the "majority" religion(s) of the world, displacing Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam. No one particular Paganism being necessarily predominant, but Paganism as a whole becoming by far the majority practice. What would happen to our political systems? What would happen to our communities and neighborhoods? What would happen on a national or local scale?

Would everything go swimmingly and peace and joy reign on earth, or would new problems be created, new power struggles, perhaps now among Pagan "factions" or different paths, regarding whose was more "correct."? How would you feel if there was no need to "come out" at work, as a Pagan, but rather it was now the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims who had to trepidatiously "come out" and risk the wrath of the Pagan majority?

Do you think you'd see Christians or any of the others of the formerly mainstream religions differently, if they were in a tiny minority, instead of the vast majority in your daily life? (Is it difficult to even imagine such a scenario...?) How would you personally feel if you were no longer part of a minority or a relatively unknown or questionable group, but were identified with a group that most people knew a good amount about, didn't need to ask you anything or treat you as an oddity, and you became just another Joe or Jill Average as a Pagan?

Would Paganism become banal and kitschy when seized by the majority, threatened with loss of meaning , or could it retain its meaningfulness and its numinosity for you? Any other thoughts?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How do you pray?

I apologize if this has been covered, I looked but couldn't find it. I come from a jewish/catholic background where prayers tend to be a bit more formulaic. A prayerful life has always been important to me, no matter what faith I've practiced, though I tend to be still drawn to the prayers that are a bit more formal. I was wondering if others would feel comfortable sharing their prayer style.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Worship is a bad word?

Worship seeing to have a negative connotation to many Pagans. Does worship have a play in your religion? Why or why not?

How Do You Know Your Magic Works?

How do you know your magic is working?

What counts as successful? For example, if you cast a spell for money and you find a quarter in the parking lot, does that mean the spell worked? What if you cast a spell to draw love and you find an abandoned puppy outside your house?

How long to you allow before you stop counting something as a result of magic? For example, if you cast a spell to draw a mate to you and five years later you meet the perfect person for you and you are married within a few months of meeting that person, is that a result of your spell?

How do you tell success from wishful thinking/random chance? Back to the found a quarter example from the first paragraph? Is finding that quarter actually a result of your spell or is it just random chance? How do you know? Does it matter?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Communicating philosophical/spiritual ideas to a wider audience?

I know there are people who post on here who write blogs and perhaps even get books published, and I'm particularly interested in their responses - but I'll be interested in anyone's thoughts on this.

I've got some interesting (at least to me!) philosophical ideas (about the relationships between information, communication, and action among other things) which I don't at present believe I've seen clearly written down by anyone else. I'm not an academic philosopher so I might have missed something (quite easy I suspect) but nonetheless I suspect I have a fairly new position developed through my particular (somewhat interdisciplinary) experience. I think some of the ideas can help people understand things which are useful to them, but the ideas are really difficult to explain clearly - and I'd like to explain them to interested "lay" readers, not just to academics. I think I can explain not only why some things happen the way they do, but also give people a model of how those things work, so people can use it to think about other related problems. I've thought about writing a book then trying to get it published, or writing a blog (but it would probably be like a long series of essays). I'd really like to get my ideas to the most people possible who might benefit from them, but I've been struggling (for many years) to think what the best way to achieve this might be.

I'm not sure how well worked-out all the ideas are (although they've been developing over a number of years, so I hope they are beyond pure beginner's enthusiasm). Also I hope I'm not misjudging the usefulness of my ideas. In both cases, I think I'll only find out by exposing the ideas to lots of other people. I've got some reasonable experience of explaining difficult ideas to people, but I'm sure I could be better. So my question is - how do you think I should set about doing this?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thoughts on a Bio made on Paganism/"Earth-Based Religions"


This is a bio piece my campus group, the Society for Earth-Based Religions, participated in at Ball State Campus. This bio piece was done by a few students (a couple guys I know from a few of my religious studies classes) for their end of the year project. I'm posting this here to gather opinions and feedback about the views put forth in the video by the group. Complaints, Pointing out flaws in arguments, Words of appreciation, all is fine by me.

Big reason behind my bothering in the first place is that I've been in the group for going on four years now (it will be my fourth year in the group come august), and the last group of people in the pagan community that really commented on what we do as a group (we're sort of like a pagan-study/Theological discussion group that is pagan focused), what we represent and such was at the 2009 Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day (which we've been attending for the past two years as a group). So I'd just like to see what the bigger community of pagans, and non-pagans, thinks seeing as you all are varied, and far more capable of an intelligent conversation and feedback than I am.

Friday, June 04, 2010

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010


A friend of mine recently told me that I should never, ever buy books about paganism/occult/anything related for myself. Similarly, I should never buy any magic(k) tools or divination tools for myself. Apparently if you buy them for yourself it diminishes their power. Has anyone heard anything like this, or any other superstitions related to practicing magic(k)?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Your definition of Faith

The point I want to make with this topic is what YOUR definition of faith is. People can use the word "faith" differently.

The usages include:

-Trusting in the outcome of something.
-Faith being defined as religion, as in "Many people have different faiths".
-Trusting that a certain deity

That's all I can really think of at the moment, but I'm sure you guys have different thoughts and definitions about it. Smiley

So what do you think faith is?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Initiation/Coming-of-Age Rituals: Advice, Experiences?

Recently reading a book by Bill Plotkin called Soulcraft (in which he explores various methods of and reasons for wilderness initiatory experiences for adults) got me thinking about my partner's oldest daughter (currently 11 yrs old) and what kind of coming-of-age ceremony might help introduce her in a meaningful and healthful way into adulthood. Plotkin talks somewhat regretfully of how our culture lacks supportive environments for young people going through appropriate initiatory experiences as they enter puberty/adolescence, and it struck me that I have sometimes heard Pagans make reference to holding such ceremonies for their children. My partner's daughter may still be several years away from such a transition herself, but in the meantime I would like to do some research and perhaps build a good set of tools and practical techniques that could be useful for such a ceremony.

So I was wondering if any Pagan parents here at TC have had any experiences with such rituals or ceremonies, and if they have, would they be willing to share ideas or advice? I have heard, only briefly, about rituals that focus on "first blood" and concepts of womanhood, as well as ceremonies more akin to "vision quests" where young people are expected to utilize their own skills and inner resources to find "their own truth" and/or perhaps ask for a new name. For anyone who has done this sort of thing, what was the experience like for you and for the child, what went right, what didn't, what was unexpected? What other techniques or rituals did you utilize (or have seen or heard about from others)?

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