Thursday, January 28, 2010

Divination to Communicate with Deity

Just wondering...

Does anyone use divination specifically for the purpose of communicating with deity?

What methods? Are you successful? How do you know? Do certain types of questions work better than other types? What types?

Specifically wondering... Does anyone use pendulums or cards (especially Lenormand cards) for this purpose?

As a Pagan, what do you do in everyday life?

I am an Odinist, and I meditate most days, as well as go for nature walks at least a few times a week, if not every day. I also participate in environmentalism, do daily offerings for the gods, and do lots of reading on Paganism. I was wondering what other Pagans here do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letter to the Pagan Community from Alane Brown, on behalf of Peter Dybing

Looking for a way to help the Haiti earthquake victims? Want to support an emergency medical clinic in Port au Prince that's run by a Pagan priest?

Please consider donating money to Haiti Community Support. This NGO is not itself affiliated with any political or religious group. However, the man running the clinic, Peter Dybing, is a member of the Covenant of the Goddess and a longtime practitioner of the Craft. He was very active in the Albuquerque Pagan community before relocating to the Virgin Islands a few years ago. There he met Mathilde and Bruce, who run Haiti Community Support. Haiti Community Support is a NGO that has been helping Haiti since 2006 through programs in health, education and infrastructure building. Following the earthquake, Haiti Community Support shifted its emphasis to disaster relief. Peter (an EMT) and Mathilde traveled to Port au Prince on January 14th and set up an emergency clinic in a park. They recruited over 30 local Haitians and together they began caring for people who, despite severe injuries, just could not get into the overwhelmed hospitals. They arranged for shipments of medical supplies through a grassroots overland supply route from the Dominican Republic. At first, their medical supplies did not meet demand. They would treat patients until they ran out of supplies, then had to close up and wait for more. But as more donations began to come in, they were able to purchase more supplies, and can now make it through each long and grueling day. They treat wounds that have become increasingly serious because of the delay in treatment. Peter treats unset broken bones, cleans maggots from infected wounds and treats dysentery and other disease spreading through populations living in horrible conditions.

On January 23rd, ten more volunteers joined the clinic. They came from an Oregon rescue unit and from St. Croix Rescue. Now the clinic has a doctor, PA, nurse and several EMTs and paramedics. Together with the Haitian support personnel, they have expanded the clinic. Later this week they plan to go mobile, bringing the clinic to areas of Port au Prince where unmet needs are greatest. As the HCS emergency team looks to the future, their goal is to transition to a clinic run by Haitians, that can continue sustainably into the future. Peter says that the thing that impresses him the most is the dignity with which his Haitian patients face their terrible losses.

The organization is all volunteer, so there is very little overhead. Funds sent to them are immediately converted into relief work -- buying medical supplies, as well as covering the expenses of transporting them and running the street clinic.

I've been talking with Peter by cell phone several times a week. He has asked me to get the word out to the Pagan community about what he's doing. Circle Sanctuary has posted a link on its website and announcements have been passed through Covenant of the Goddess lists. Please spread the word to your pagan contacts: by donating to you can help those who are suffering, through the healing hands of a member of our spiritual community, Peter Dybing.

On a magical level, please take a moment to imagine Peter's hands and send the power of healing into them, and thus on to those he touches in Haiti. And most of all, please donate now! Go to -- donations are tax deductible in the USA.

If you have questions, or want me to pass on a message of support to Peter, please contact me at Please feel free to pass on this message to other like-minded folk. I have donated $100 and I hope you will donate, too.

Alane Brown, elder priestess
Crow Women Circle and Goddess Choir
Durango, Colorado

Monday, January 25, 2010

Naming After a God/dess

I'm really curious about what y'all think about naming a child or oneself after a god/dess.

I know that there is a strong and long tradition in Ireland, f'ex, of naming children after saints, especially Brighid and Patrick. And Mary, of course. And other cultures have similar traditions.

But that seems to be more about honoring *saints* and hopng to imbue children with their characteristics.

What about naming a child after a god/dess? What about naming *yourself* after a god/dess -- either by changing your legal name or by taking a "spiritual" name?

Is it a way of honoring your deity? Or is it disrespectful? Or...none of the above?

Are the Gods Real?

This is to an extent a trick question (fair warning up front) and I'm going to engage in a little logical if-then. And this will be slightly oversimplified, but: the question is, do the Gods (my gods, your gods, the Christian God, Allah, Yahweh, Hindu Gods, Aztec Gods, whatever Gods) have, on some level, objective reality, or are they entirely subjective and the product of the believer's mind?

Corrolary question: is religion (any religion) tapping into something objectively real, or is it purely an aesthetic enterprise?

Now here's the if-then.

There's a tendency among Pagans to say that all religious ideas are valid, and to compartmentalize reality for purposes of faith, so that statements can only be true or false within the context of a particular faith or tradition. In accordance with this idea, there are no statements of a religious nature that can be made, which are true or false for everyone.

If this is true, then the answer to my question above must inevitably be NO: the Gods are NOT real. Their existence is entirely subjective, and all we are doing (and the same is true for all other religious persons, not just Pagans) is playing aesthetic games.

On the other hand, if the Gods ARE real -- that is, if there is on any level an objective reality to them (which is not to say that there is nothing whatever about them that is subjective; I'll get to that in a moment) -- then it follows that the idea of all religious ideas being valid is incorrect. Statements CAN be made which are true or false for everyone, not merely within the context of a particular religion or tradition, and it is possible for a religious doctrine to be, not merely repugnant, but objectively untrue.

We may say, I think, with some confidence that not everything about the Gods is objectively real. The human mind, the human imagination, gives them their humanoid qualities, from appearance to personality. The rites by which we choose to worship (or believe that they ask to be worshiped by) are also subjective and variable. This makes deities of different pantheons fundamentally distinct, despite their similarities. For example, the Greek god Hermes, associated with intelligence, communication, and commerce, is not the same as the Egyptian god Thoth, who is also associated with intelligence and communication. The Greeks personified these elements of the universe in one way, the Egyptians in another. Yet the elements themselves, which both Hermes and Thoth personify, are objectively real, and the same in Greece as in Egypt.

Thoth and Hermes are subjective personifications, but intelligence and communication are objectively real. Do Thoth and Hermes tap into or manifest intelligence and communication, or provide the benefits of these things for their worshipers, in any way that is itself real? If so, then Thoth and Hermes are (to that extent) real as well, and one may make statements about gods who manifest intelligence and communication that are true or false for both equally. If not, if Thoth and Hermes are purely exercises in art and theater without any power to actually tap into or provide the benefit of what they symbolize, then no statement may be made about Thoth which, if true, must also be true about Hermes.

One may of course generalize this. All deities are to a degree products of human imagination, but all of them are associated with aspects of reality, up to and including the universe as a whole, which are not products of human imagination. If a worshiper is, through a deity, genuinely tapping into and receiving the benefit of some aspect (or the whole) of nature, then to that extent the deity is objectively real and statements may be made which are true or false for ALL deities. If not, then again, religion is purely an exercise in theatrical art.

So what do you think? Are the Gods real, or not?

Amulets and Talismans

I've been thinking a lot about the power of amulets and talismans. I have a few questions for those of you who use them:

* Do "amulet" and "talisman" have different meanings for you? If so, what?

* For what purposes do you use them?

* What kinds of objects do you use for amulets/talismans?

* Do you charge them (put the power into the object) or do you make use of the object's pre-existing power/attributes?

* If you charge them, how?

* How long do they hold their power?

* How do you use amulets/talismans? That is, do you wear them? Carry them with you? Place them in specific places, like around your house or workplace? Put them on your altar? Something else?

* Do you think it's better to make your own or have someone make it for you?

Innate Rituals

With all of the discussion on structured rituals and ceremonies, I was actually wondering how many here practice innate or instinctual rituals. Performing prayers, rituals, dances, etc. by whatever comes naturally, rather than following a prescribed or planned "script" as you will. I use rituals in a large part of my worship, but I often find the instinctual rituals to be more fulfilling, for some reason. What do you typically do when you perform one of these rituals? Why do you do these?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Randall's Computer Dead as a Doornail. Donations (no longer) Needed

Many forum members and readers may remember that Lyric's computer died last August and it took us four months to come up with the money to get a new motherboard for it (Cancer bills do that to you). My computer (which is 18 months older that Lyric's) died last night and does not seem to be fixable. A new motherboard would not cut it as even the older motherboards like the P4 2.8 ghz board we got for Lyric would not work with any of my cards (sound, video, etc.) or even my hard drive. I'm not quite sure what I will do as without a computer, I can't even do maintainence on this board and web site. The spare (a laptop, 400mhz celeron 256 megs memory, designed for Win98) we have will not even run the software I need to maintain the site.

After discussing this, Lyric and I have decided that we are going to have to have "new computer donation drive" to buy a new low end machine. If we don't, the board and website will likely go down in a few weeks or months do to our inability to maintain it. Please note that we aren't expecting donations to buy a $1500+ high end gaming rig or the like but for a relatively inexpensive emachines home system we can pick up locally, thus saving money on shipping. We hate to have to do this, but cancer without health insurance has left us with no money, no credit, and a huge pile of bills -- and a forum that we've ran since 1997 that needs a lot of work. You can find out more information on the board, but here is a "New Computer" Donation button. Donations of $25 or more will get the spell files and donations of $50 or more will get the spell files and a numerology reading, just like we give for cancer donations. These are optional -- if for some reason you don't want them just say so in the comments. All donors will get a special badge for TC that will appear in your posts (but I may not be able to create this until I have a new machine, same for numerology readings, unfortunately). Please understand that there will be a delay in sending out info on the files as I don't even have working email -- I have to use web mail. But it will be spent out ASAP.

Important Update: As of noon on January 23 we have enough money for a new machine from donations. Thanks to everyone who has donated!

Please Donate to the Computer Fund via Paypal

How Can You Tell When You're Angering a Deity?

I know such a question would seem to have an obvious answer, but I am curious to here what anyone has to say on this issue.

I pray to Freya a lot for guidance, and I often wonder if I am wasting her time or taking advantage of her patience, since sometimes I ask the same questions over and over again. I don't want to be doing that, especially since she has been a great Goddess and has helped me a lot.

Is Physical Fitness a Duty or Part of Your Religion?

Since the New Year, I've begun to incorporate physical fitness back into my life--daily exercise, eating things that mostly don't spend much time in factories, and I've quit drinking. (What a party-pooper I've become, eh? Cheesy) I've tried doing this in the past, but then I was doing it for more aesthetic reasons and invariably failed.

This time I've attached a religious significance to my personal fitness. As an incarnation and aspect of God, I have a responsibility to this physical form in which my mind and spirit reside. I must be a steward to my cells, my kidneys, my brain, etc., so that my spirit and mind can have a fully functioning form in which to move through this life.

It's funny how this mindset has changed my workouts--jumping-jacks and curls are now as sacred as meditation and prayer, which aren't always easy, either.

I know there's yoga and tai chi, and the Pythagoreans incorporated daily gymnastics into they're studies, but I'm curious if anyone else here attaches religious significance to your physical fitness.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crystals/Stones: Do you have a favorite?

The other threads currently going on about crystals/stones got me wondering... It seems pretty well established that different stones "work" differently for different people. F'ex, some people love hematite for stress reduction, while it agitates other people.

So, if you work with crystals/stones, do you have favorites for:
-- general purpose?
-- healing?
-- depression?

Are there crystals/stones you won't touch under any circumstances?

To answer my own questions, I like blue moonstone (true moonstone, not rainbow moonstone -- although I do also like rainbow moonstone) and clear quartz for general purpose work. For healing, it depends on what the problem is, but amethyst is usually a good part of the equation for me. And for depression, I love sunstone, opal, and black star diopside. Citrine is also good, but sometimes individual pieces of citrine seem to be too stressed from the heat treatment most of them have gone through to enhance their color.

And, although I think it's beautiful, I hate touching malachite. It feels slimy to me. I also avoid hematite. Just don't like it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Syncretic Religions?

Does anyone follow a syncretic path? For example Greco-Egyptian, Romano-Celtic, Romano-Egyptian, Greco-Roman, etc. If you follow a path that combines the religious ideas of different cultures and don't consider yourself "eclectic," how do you reconcile the differences?

I just want to start a general discussion on these kinds of paths.

Emotions and Self-Responsiblity

Self-responsibility is one of the concepts generally found amongst those that self-identify as Pagan. It is encoded into the 'Craft or modern Pagan Witchcraft and recognized obviously as one of the core beliefs within the Religion of Wicca.

An interesting discussion came up within my Tradition recently. Someone was complaining that someone else kept making her so angry all the time and that there was nothing she could do about it. When it was pointed out that she was the 'self' responsible for choosing to become angry, her reply was that self-responsibility was only about actions and decisions not emotions.

I know how I weighed in on that observation but let me ask those here. Do you think that being self-responsible includes one's emotions as well as one's actions and decisions?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can a Person, by TC's Definition, Be Pagan and Follow the Teachings of Jesus?

I just read Star's article on "Why We're Touchy About Defining Paganism" and I have a question, being new here and not having had time to read all the thousands of back-posts.

Has there ever been a poster here who is pagan and follows the teachings of Jesus, or is that even possible by the Cauldron's definition? And did they have a label for themselves? I understand that a "Christian Pagan" is an oxymoron, but if one believes in Jesus as a teacher and prophet, but not as Christ, then that person isn't Christian.

If you throw out the rest of the bible and just keep the gospels, it seems--to my interpretation--to be a great panentheistic revelation. But according to most churches, of course, that's heretical.

Living Religions - What Qualifies?

We say that a religion is a living religion if it has current adherents (I'm not sure if there are any other criteria, chime in if you think so). What about religions that had adherents then didn't have any (or at least none that we can prove were), but now do? Are they also living religions? Your reasoning behind why/why not would be interesting too.

About Crystals and Rocks?

I was wondering how long a crystal holds your intent. I mean, if you imbue it with a certain trait, how long does it hold that? And how often should you cleanse a crystal?

I was also wondering about rocks. Smiley I've heard people say that they use polished rocks instead of crystals, or along with crystals. I was wondering if you use them in the same way, what's different about them, etc.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do Your Gods Ask You To Do Things For Them?

Reading through a lot of the posts here, it seems like quite a few folks here have God/desses that ask, or require, you to do things for them. I'm just wondering if that's prevalent and what types of things you're asked to do?

With me, Pele's more of a guide and mentor, I suppose. She helps me find my answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Sometimes I'll get gentle insights while meditating on a flame, sometimes She shows up in all her terrible glory to make Her point unequivocally clear. But I'm not really asked to do anything for Her, per se.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Foreign Language Use During Ritual?

Even though I don't live in Hawai'i, I'm learning the language for my spiritual practices. I reason that by using a non-native, non-fluent language, I have to focus and concentrate more on my words and thoughts and thereby imbue them with more energy. Also, because I work alot within the Polynesian pantheon, it just makes sense and shows respect to Madame Pele. Hawai'ian is such a beautiful language and seems very mystical in itself, as words have multiple meanings as well as meanings within meanings.

I'm just wondering if anyone else uses a foreign language in your ritual work and if you find it more effective than using your native tongue.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One Soul or Many?

Perzephone got me thinking about this in another thread, talking about where the soul resides and mentioned souls in cells.

So my question is, if our bodies are made of millions of cells and each cell has a soul, is my soul made up of many souls or is my soul separate from all those little souls? And if we follow that line upward, does a community have a soul? The whole population?

I know answers will vary depending on definition of soul, of course.

Along this same line, ants fascinate me. The ant colony is really the organism, not the individual ants--they're more like cells. So again, it's the one and the many. Do individual ants have souls or the colony?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Cats Wreaking Destruction on My Altar

I walked into my bedroom yesterday to find that the cats had scattered the salt, broken one of my shells, and demolished my big turkey feather (which they of course spread all across my floor). Oh, and one of them was drinking the water in my other shell... despite having a full bowl in their *&#@ $40.00 fountain watering dish. ehem.

So my question is, how can I make my altar either more cat proof or more cat friendly... and indestructible. There's nowhere else to put it in my house, and there's no possible way to keep the cats out of there. (believe me, I've tried. They're very devious.)

What are you doing this Imbolc?

I think I'll craft a candle from beeswax and do a prayer to Brighid.

What are you planning to do?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Spirit Animals

Mine is a butterfly. I recently got a spirit animal card deck and it has given me some good guidence. My boyfriend has Native American beliefs and he found his spirit animal, an eagle, a long time ago through special meditation.

Anyone else have a spirit animal?
If so, how did you find it?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Herbalism - Where to Start?

These past couple of years, I've been getting more and more interested in gardening, growing my own food, sustainability, all that. Last year was my first attempt at my own garden, with some successes and some abysmal failures. Point being, I have a little - even if very little - experience growing things. (one of my greatest accomplishments was starting my own tomato plants from seedlings)

I've become very interested in herbalism and herb lore. I'd love to learn how to grow my own herbs, but more importantly, I want to learn how to use herbs for health. Knowing what I want to learn is the easy part - the amount of information out there on herbs and their many uses is ridiculously extensive, and I don't want to jump in blind. I think finding this group at the start of my spiritual journey would have saved me a lot of money spent on books and resources that turned out to be unreliable, hogwash, and ultimately wastes of time. The amount of holistic healing and natural health books out there is astonishing to me, and I take things with grains of salt, not wanting to follow a red herring, and if I do, at least not very far. Also, most of the herbal encyclopedias or dictionaries I've come across, while undoubtedly useful as references, are pretty much Greek to me because I don't know where or how to start.

So my question...where to begin? I'm a book person, if anyone knows any good, reliable books regarding herbs and/or natural healing practices, I'd love to know them! Also, unlike this last summer, I will be moving into an apartment this spring, so I'll no longer have access to a nice garden plot and will be restricted to outdoor pots and window boxes.

In addition to herbs, I'm very interested in essential oils and aromatherapy. I want to burn essential oils and kind of want to try my hand at making my own oil burner, but out of what? I Googled homemade oil burners and, well, that wasn't very fruitful.

Thank you in advance for any help!

Monday, January 04, 2010

You're WRONG!

What do those words mean to you in a religious sense? Do you ever entertain the thoughts of what you might be wrong about, and what that means to your faith? What's the worst that might happen if you're wrong?

Personally, my religion STARTS at the point of "we're all wrong about something. What IS is a lot bigger than what we can grapple with. So we're going to fall short - and that's okay".

So I'm quite sure I'm wrong about stuff. In fact, with that as a main tenet of my religion, I HAVE to be - if I'm right about everything else, I'm wrong on that!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Questions about Sensing Energy

I was wondering about sensing energy. I've been reading up on sensing subtle energies, and practicing. I think I'm starting to get a feel for it, but It's pretty light, and my skeptical voice in the back of my head keeps trying to tell me it's all in my head.

The reason I decided to ask about it is because yesterday I did my first ever ritual; cleansing my room of negative energy. Before I cleansed it I concentrated and started moving around the room with my hands a few inches from the wall (with my eyes closed so I could concentrate better). Every once in a while I would feel a prickly sensation in my hands and open my eyes. It was always when I was at a place where there had been a bad occurrence (ex; where there was a hole punched through my wall) so I interpreted that as negative energy. Then once I thought I was touching something solid (the wall), but when I opened my eyes I was six inches away from it, so I interpreted that as a "stuck" place, or stagnant energy. After I did the ritual I went around again and it felt "soft", like more fluid.

I asked my best friend, who was in the other room, to come in before and after and tell me if he could feel anything, and afterward he said that his hands suddenly felt warm. (He doesn't believe in sensing energy).

My question was, how are different types of energy supposed to feel? Can they feel different to different people? Do you believe in the ability to sense energy, and if so how does it feel to you? If you don't, why not? Am I totally misinterpreting anything? Do you have any advice on how I could improve on this?

On a side note, what is your favorite way to cleanse stuff (sweeping, salt, smudging, etc.) and can you use more than one technique in the same ritual? (I swept, cleansed my tools with salt water, and smudged myself and my room, lol! Is that silly?)

What's the strangest offering you've ever made?

I was putting together a candle spell, and had an urge to throw in a gel cap of ibuprofen. Thinking about it, it suited my intent, but it had never EVER occurred to me to offer up over the counter medication. What's the strangest thing you've ever had the urge to offer/put in a spell?

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