Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Month of Poetry for Brighid

I am not a Cill member officially, as I do not currently have a shift, but Brighid has claimed me, and here seemed the most appropriate place to put this.

I have come to a decision: I have not been nearly as consistent in actively honoring Brighid as I should be. I have decided that I need something firm and, perhaps a bit drastic to change this, and to reconnect with Her.

I have decided to commit the Month of January to writing poetry. For one month, I will write a poem every single day, leading up to Imbolc on February 1st. I will post them here, and anyone who wants to can join me on this. Feel free to post your own poems here, and be on the lookout for mine, starting January 1st.

Getting over the Hump (of Prior Beliefs)

I was raised to believe that spiritual travels were something to be afraid of. In "born-again" Christianity, it is believed that if the soul leaves the body, you leave your body vulnerable to demonic possession. I was taught that meditation as in deep contemplation and thought was acceptable, but to stay in full control over my mind and not to meditate in the Eastern sense.

I'm 30 years old and I started breaking away about 10 years ago. I understand that Christians feared other paths and labeled other deities to frighten people. In an academic/historical sense, I have complete understanding about how the Old Religions were stomped out... and I truly believe that much of humanity suffers spiritual disconnect. Which is what has enabled us to institutionalize such horrors as factory farming, whaling, oil drilling, strip mining, etc, etc.

I have this intellectual understanding of WHY I'm drawn to paganism. But I can't get over the hump of letting go of fears that were embedded deep within my psyche from 20 years of programming.

I've heard "ghost stories" from people whom I trust to be honest about tools like Ouija boards inviting the wrong sort of spirits in people's homes. And I know that people use sage to cleanse a home of evil spirits.

So... if I want to begin to meditate and commune with other entities... are there precautionary measures to take?

Another embedded fear is that demons communicate in disguise. Christianity teaches that demons mask themselves as such things as spirit guides. I feel conflicted because I've felt disconnected from Christianity for so long for so many reasons... but my spiritual fabric was entwined so deeply in it for so long that I feel it's blocked me from engaging on other paths on anything deeper than an academic level. I know "about" other religions, beliefs, etc. I know "about" meditation, astral projection, spirit guides, etc. But I haven't been able to take the plunge and explore on a personal, spiritual level.

Can anyone relate? Any tips for easing in the waters?

Oh and one last thing... I have tried meditating, astral projecting, and remote viewing here and there. I've gotten as far as feeling my spirit start to detach in that tingly way. But I always pull back in. I guess I sort of gave up, it's been a long while.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Getting my Witchy Groove Back

So, I've been going through a very long phase of evaluating my spiritual life, or lack thereof. I've come to realize that one thing I really need to do is to build a personal spiritual practice that I can rely on every day, rather than constantly looking to a group to meet my spiritual needs.

I wanted to ask folks here... what are the sorts of everyday things you do to keep your spiritual groove? How do you weave your path into, say, your job? Or running errands? I'm looking for simple things I can do, easy crafts I can make, etc. If it's not something simple, it won't happen... a 15 minute daily devotional I could work into my life, but not a complicated, hour long ritual that involves 17 different offerings that I have to make.

I want to put some spiritual touchstones in my work environment, but I'd like them to be fairly unobtrusive so I don't have to answer 500 questions about them (though most people at work know I'm Wiccan). I want to "witch up" my house, but I need ideas that are frugal and cat-proof (altars on every flat surface aren't going to work...)

I'm sort of going back to basics here, but coming back to "square one" after being on the path for 15+ years is different. I'm not getting that newbie enthusiasm back. But at least I have a good idea of what's likely to work for me, and what I've failed at in the past (and why).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2011 [Tonight Dec 21]

Hey, what is this thread? The night beginning at sunset on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 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 yet again resurrecting a modest rhyme I composed specifically for our winter solstice efforts. Tradition dictates that I offer it as invocation 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]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bringing Religion and Ritual into the Kitchen

I've always had a very dynamic connection with food - many wonderful moments in my life can bring me back to a food memory and, conversely, the worst bouts of depression have always contributed to disorded eating and rapid and unhealthy weight loss from unnecessary, non-spiritual fasting.

Lately, I've found myself in a break between jobs (starting work again in late January) and I've been spending several hours a day in the kitchen experimenting with recipes. I no longer cook only for sustenance, but to provide an enhancement for my day to day life. I would like to start incorporating more "mindfulness" into my cooking ritual and I'm very interested in finding out how others have incorporated spirituality and religion into their daily food preparation - I'm always looking for inspiration.

I have looked up the term "kitchen witch" but Google seemed rather cluttered those terrible blogs that only seem to exist to have ads, so I'm having trouble finding any solid info.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Cults": Awareness and Avoidance

As a student of religion, I know that "cult" is a problematic term, in that it is often used improperly to describe religious or spiritual groups that one disagrees with. It can artificially create a sense of fear towards "alternative" religions that is usually unwarranted.

Most members of the pagan community are reasonable, sane people, and I suspect most groups are probably likewise comprised of reasonable sane people. But there are dangerous people out there too. It is possible to run into toxic and dangerous groups, and sometimes people get sucked in before they realize what has happened.

I thought it would be valuable to have a discussion on what to look out for, and how to avoid getting wrapped up in the groups that are legitimately dangerous.

A while back, I made a new friend who was leading a pagan group out in my area, which was a branch of a larger group centered in Escondido. But she left soon, before I could investigate it, and had to move to the coast. She had talked about the center Circle before, but not in too much detail. I decided rather on a whim that I wanted to meet them and at least see what they were like. This past weekend seemed the perfect time, as I had an audition in Escondido anyway. So I met the group, and MOST of them were lovely people.

Then I met the leader, and by the gods, this guy scares me. His energy seemed to thrust violently into the room when he appeared, he ordered people around, and seemed to suddenly flip a switch from anger to ingratiation. Add to that references by group members to his "not letting them leave," a plan for a castle with a 20-story underground bunker attached, that he is credited with knowing "everything there is to know about the occult," and the fact that he has fathered children by at least 3 members of the group had me all but running scared.

Later a friend and I discussed all that had happened, and rated the group as 70-80 range on the Bonewits Cult-Danger Evaluation Frame.

So primarily I want to start a discussion as to what to look out for and how to handle dangerous groups? Are there other qualifications besides Bonewits' frame that you use?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Worship Without Altars

I've been thinking about what I'm doing for my deities, and I've realised that I'm notoriously bad at holding rituals regularly, and even quite bad at organising for the big ones (Beltaine, Samhain, Oimelc...), and I was thinking about how I'd go about getting myself to work properly.

I began to think about what I *can* do - I'm quite good at memorising things, especially words, and I love the old mythology and stories, and I'm about to start learning the harp (as soon as I have the money to get one). I thought, what if I practiced with these things - telling stories and playing songs for other people and my deities instead of or as well as performing rituals.

Does anyone else practice like this - with performance specifically, or with another, similar, activity?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" 2011 edition, coming December 21st

Get Ready! "Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" 2011 edition, coming soon...

And some of you may ask: What the heck is this "all-night technopagan" thing he's talking about??

It's an annual tradition here at the Cauldron; it started when a bunch of us realized that we like to pass the December solstice--for the northern hemisphere, it's the winter solstice and therefore the longest night of the year--by staying awake all night long. (Or trying to stay awake all night long!) We thought: Why not do it together? Why not use the magic of the Internet to connect us into one global pagan party for the night, and stay up together?

And so, with Randall graciously offering to host us, "Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" was born.

It's really simple: A dedicated thread will start here in "Holidays and Festivals" right before nightfall on the night of the solstice, to which everyone is welcome to come and go and contribute as they please. Some of us go the distance for an all-nighter; some people drop in just for part of the night; some lucky sonuvaguns in the southern hemisphere rub our noses in the the warmth and daylight they're basking in (since it's they're summer solstice, the sun-kissed devils)...just about anything goes (within the usual board rules, of course).

In previous years, we've done "non-themes": sharing recipes one year, sharing stories around our "virtual campfire" the next, sharing the night's photos/images last year, etc. Non-themes are, as the name suggests, non-binding--just a starting point to get ideas going. (Recipes always seem to come up no matter what the non-theme...chocolate mug cake, anyone?) Any ideas for a non-theme for this year? Chime in, please!

People with better chat skills than I also do a MUX chat here that night. (I'm going to have to learn how to do that, so I can participate in that aspect...I missed a lot of the best chatter last year by being MUX-clueless.)

My favorite part each year is vicariously watching the march of darkness across the globe, via various Cauldronites' posts. It makes the anticipation of sunset absolutely delicious!

This year, the solstice occurs at about 5:30 AM Universal Time on December 22, so we'll be celebrating the night before, beginning at nightfall on Wednesday, December 21. Watch for the "Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice" thread to appear right around then.

For an idea of what goes on, you can see last year's all-night gabfest on the old board, here:

So...who's up for it this year?

Isis and Ra associated with Yule?

I was doing some reading about Yule, (here http://www.wicca.com/celtic/akasha/yule.htm ) and saw a section in the reading that mentioned gods and goddesses associated with it. In that section, Isis and Ra are mentioned. What exactly is their association with Yule? What kinds of offerings would be presented to them to honor them on this holiday? I don't work with them, but I'd like to honor them somehow during Yule.

22 Card Tarot Decks

Has anyone worked with 22 Card tarot decks? I've seen the Medici Expanded Tarot deck and love the artwork. As I've only worked with the 78 card decks, I'd like to have feedback (positive and/or negative) about the smaller decksize. And if you've had chance to work with this particular deck, I'd love to get your opinion on it (and where you could get it at a little more reasonable price).

Peter Pan

I was reading some articles about Peter Pan, one of my favorite stories ever, and some very interesting things were brought up. The fact that Peter may be based on Pan or that he has attributes similar to Psychopomps. But the Lost Boys are able to be killed so the idea of them being dead is contradicted. Also, there are a lot of similarities between Peter Pan and Totenkindergeschichte "Tales of Dead Children".

I find it really fascinating. Has anybody ever read any of those types of stories or could you point me to some? And what are your opinions of Peter Pan?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jar Shrines

I found some neat pictures of shrines in jars (like a spiritual ecosystem, as one comment says) and I thought they would be a great idea for those of us who are short on space and/or cash:




Has anyone made anything like this before?

I have a salsa jar that's big enough to use for a craft like this, so I think I'll try it and post some pictures when I'm finished.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I remember there are a few of us here that honor some of the Orisha.

1) Who do you honor?

2) How do you honor them? In an ATR or ADR religion? Within another framework? Something else (other)?

3) If you aren't in an established religion that honors them, how do you do it? What resources do you use to help you honor them?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Buying vs. Receiving a Tarot Deck

I've decided to try my hand at other forms of divination besides the pendulum, and since there are many resources available for tarot, I decided to start looking into getting a deck.

I remember being told years ago, though, that you're not supposed to buy your own deck(s) — that you're supposed to receive it as a gift. I know that from the other threads on this forum, people buy their own decks all the time. Is there any significance behind receiving a deck instead buying your own, or is it just teenage superstition?

Gods as Archetypes

This may be a silly question, but I've heard that some Pagans view the gods/goddesses such as Pan, Demeter, Lugh, Thor, Isis etc as archetypes what does that mean?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Playlist for your Gods

I noticed that a lot of us at some point ends up putting together a playlist for the deities/spirits we have a relationship with.

Part of modern worship I suppose.

I thought it could be fun -and useful - to share. So, what's on your patron-inspired playlist? Or... there's a song that, when you listen to it, always brings you back to a certain deity/spirit?


Books and Resources on the Use of Stories for Spiritual or Therapeutic Purposes

Do you know any other good book or resource about the use of stories for spiritual or emotional growth (for adults)?

I can only think of

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés: Woman Who Run With the Wolves. Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

which I can recommend as an interesting read in relation to this SIG although it focuses on women. It's been a while since I read it, so I don't remember it in much detail, but I think she doesn't only interpret several fairy tales and explains their healing properties, but also talks a bit about storytelling as an art and the responsibilities of the storyteller.


Can anyone else recommend a book to enhance our understanding?

It might be interesting to see how other spiritual paths (maybe Druidry???) use stories to guide people on their spiritual journey or how stories are used in psychotherapy to process emotional issues.

Suddenly Spiritual Moments

Tonight, minutes ago as I was walking home from a Boy Scouts meeting, I was pseudo-meditating. I was mostly thinking about my relationship with the Kami, and what people would think about a Westerner practicing Tao-Buddhist-Shinto, since my Japanese and Chinese blood isn't readily evident. As I was mulling over these things, I stared up into the sky.

At first I thought it was a satellite, but as i watched I realized it was a shooting star. a Big one at that. I watched it soaring across the heavens, set against a beautiful background of stationary stars. The thing had to last for at least seven seconds. It had a beautiful trail behind it too.

It was such a profoundly spiritual experience, I just had to bow and say "Domo arigatou gozaimasu, Kami-sama!"

So what other moments have your Gods revealed themselves in ways you didn't expect?

Spirituality, Where'd you go?!

So I've been battling a pretty bad injury for the past couple years and it culminating to me getting a whole new joint at the ripe ol' age of 32. Anyways, while all this has been going on I've been a good lil' Pagan doing ritual both Esbats and Sabbats but here is where the problem is. Normally, as in when I was healthy, I felt awe-filled and lifted and blessed but recently... NADA. I can't figure if it's from the injury and all the good energy is going there (to the injury) or I'm just not into it because I'm injured. All I can say is that it feels like I'm walking through the rituals instead of experiencing them but when I don't do them at all I feel crappy too.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tarot and Energy Problems

I've done ten readings in the last two days. I'm kind of practicing for utilizing Tarot readings as a quasi-business adventure. (I'm not sure if I want to do that, actually, but I figure practice makes perfect, eh?) Anyway. Yesterday, after the first batch of five, I found myself exceedingly exhausted. I mean, to the point where I ended up in bed by seven o'clock last night. This is entirely unheard of in my house: I'm a ten o'clock to bed kind of person.

Today, I finished up the last five readings and found myself pooped again. I wasn't as exhausted as yesterday, but still felt like I could take a nap for an hour or three.

I've done 'mass' readings before when I was in college (and thereby younger) so I didn't think that the readings or the number of them would impact me as much as they have. It's a little daunting to see this happening since, as I mentioned, I think I might try and do this professionally in the not-too-distant future.

Is it possible that I'm doing something wrong? Devo had mentioned that perhaps I was putting too much of myself into the readings, but I don't see how. My basic premise is shuffle, shuffle with the name/image of the querant in mind, and then get down to the reading. Since that's the gist of it, what the heck can I be doing that's sapping me so much?

What do you believe?

I have been researching Paganism and it's many paths for the past few months and for the first time today I identified myself as a pagan. Now I know finding a path often takes years of research and meditation but I would like to here about different paths from the mouths of it's followers. I'm not asking you to choose my path for me but I am curious as to what paths and beliefs out there especially if you are eclectic or follow a path that is not often mentioned.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Android Apps for Spirituality?

I finally took the plunge. I had to face the fact that my beloved Blackberry -- which has held my life for the last few years -- was on its last legs.

So, out with the Blackberry and in with the Android.

I spent an embarassingly long time browsing through apps today, which made me wonder what sorts of apps y'all might use to assist with spirituality-related things.

I've got a pretty good sun/moon widget. And I know I need to spend some time setting my google calendars up with reminders for my various Cill shifts.

Any other interesting apps out there?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Grounding and Centering Techniques

Grounding and Centering is one of the first things that gets mentioned when someone starts talking about energy work or how they are feeling, but I seldom see (in the wider pagan universe) a conversation on technique.

For me at least, grounding and centering did not at all come naturally and I really struggled with this "first step" on the path. And because I struggled with grounding and centering, my shield work was a complete mess. Which was, at the time, hugely discouraging since it seemed to be taken for granted that these were a skills anyone should be able to do.

Eventually, I had a couple of people walk me through their process step-by-step and we worked out something that I could use. This would likely have taken much less time if I hadn't been so shy about announcing my struggles to the world, but it's hard to admit that you aren't getting something.

So, since I am once again exploring various pieces of my belief system and practices - I'd like to go back to this "first step" and see if I can learn something new. (And maybe help other people who find themselves similarly stuck.)

When you find the need, how do you ground and center? Are the certain motions you make? Images that you keep in mind?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Matter of Mysteries

This is one of those subjects that comes up a lot and is hard to talk about because Mysteries are hard to talk about and a lot of people are unclear on what they are, why they're important, and so on.

From a religious witchcraft standpoint, most formalised Craft traditions have Mysteries, and this is the core of the practice; generally speaking, what training is done in the tradition prior to initiatory work is intended to prepare people to receive those Mysteries without damage, establish a basic language for those Mysteries, or otherwise lay groundwork. When there are multiple degree systems in those traditions, the additional degrees seem to come with additional Mysteries.

From a reconstructionist standpoint, Mysteries are controversial. THere is evidence for their practice in many ancient cultures, often as distinct sects on the edges of mainstream religious practice. However, because Mysteries were either secret (oathbound) or difficult to discuss, the tangible evidence for how they were conducted is pretty thin on the ground and the procedures for bringing people to the Mystery have been largely lost. We have hints, but not full stuff, and when we have full stuff (way way back on Delphi there was a thread Loreley started about a major ritual that might have been a full description of how to go about a Mystery initiation) we don't necessarily know if we have all the components. (If something required a full town's participation we're not too likely to recover that.)

Anyway. So: What are Mysteries?

Celtic History & Spirituality Books

Are there any new books on Celtic History that anyone would recommend. Also are there any good spiritual Celtic books that anyone would recommend as well. I have been away for a while from this site and I'm getting back into Celtic Paganism.

Favorite Stories From Mythology

This was a thread on the old board and I thought it'd be fun to continue it. Maybe we'll hear some new stories.

What are your favorite stories from myth?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Divine Communication: How Common is It?

This morning, I was reading various pagan blogs when I came upon this post by Elizabeth at Twilight and Fire. In this particular entry, she maintains that divine communication is not as common as others would have us believe and that the gods pick and choose to whom they will communicate with.

Honestly, I've never thought about the types of communication (or lack thereof) that may or may not go on with other pagans. But, in reading the post, I felt a strong disagreement with her sentiments. I appreciate her opinion, but I don't think it's particularly true.

...I don't know. I could be wrong, of course, but I've never found that there are only a select few who communicate with the gods. Perhaps there are a select few who speak with particular deities at a given time, but I've come across too many pagans who have communicated, in some form or another, with their deities.

What's your take on all of this?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?

This one's had my brain tied in a knot for a while.

It kind of goes without saying that each person's set of magickal tools and ritual items is unique. I've heard of folks using anything from free stuff they've found on the street to something they had specially made by a skilled craftsperson. And as for materials, wood to plastic, natural to synthetic, luxurious to inexpensive... it's all across the board.

Disposable things like candles, or permanent fixtures like statues, and even storage places for all of your things very in material, but I want to know how much do you think the type of material used governs your tools efficacy? For instance, would a glass cup be any less potent than a silver chalice in a ritual? Is a steel athame better than one made from bone? Does or can consecration trump any properties innate in material your tool is made from, or can material seriously hinder use?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gods are all individuals?

For me I am a polytheist, I believe that all Gods and Goddesses and completely different beings. I know there are totally different views on this, I would just like too know what you believe.

Dieties of the Hunt

My friend is starting out on a pagan path, and he is interested in gods of the hunt. I'm familiar with the most common dieties out there, but do you guys have any suggestions?

I just want to help him research this a little bit. And I've found that you all a great resource. =) Thank you so much.

A note: he feels strongly connected to Native American spirituality, especially Lakota Sioux.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Building religious acts from the ground up

So, I semi-jokingly refer to myself as a henotheist without a god. More or less, I accept most-to-all gods to be real enough... but none of the ones I've come across are MY god/dess, more or less. There are ones that I'm drawn to, but none that quite fit right. (I'm worried that I'm looking for a god that is me writ large. I hope to all the rest of them that no such god exists. )

Despite this, I have a frequent underlying nagging need to hie forth and get me some ritual in my life. The problem is, there aren't a lot of secular (or able-to-be-secular) rituals that I can think of; most of the ones I can think of involve the demarcation of time (birthdays, to a lesser extent anniversaries) or significant life milestones (weddings, funerals, graduations). And performing a ritual to a specific god I don't worship feels OK to me.

Possibly you could add seasons to that, but as I said to a friend, really we only have two; winter and road work. And while I could make offerings to the spirits of the orange pylons, I don't even know what that would look like.

I'm not much of a nature-type, either (heresy, I know), so a more earth-based tradition wouldn't work for me. The closest thing I've been sort of looking at is kitchen witchery, but that seems also awfully short on the ritual part I'm looking for. (And also doesn't fit with any of the gods I've tried hanging this stuff on, until I stopped trying for above-mentioned wrongbad-ick.)

So... I have no idea where to go from there. Keep looking for gods? OK, I can do that, but until then there's this big ritual-shaped space in my brain intruding and waiting to be filled. Find secular rituals? I am so open to this idea if anyone has suggestions that move beyond events that happen once or twice a year at most. Any suggestions for how to style ritual without an underlying religious belief system to set it up?

And I understand if it's hard to make sense of. It's take me several months to even be able to verbalize this much.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Reconciling with two different pantheons

How do you reconcile when you have two pantheons, who control similar things?

For example, let's say someone here is Hellenic and Ásatrúar: who is the "king of the gods"? Are they king of their pantheon of gods, or is one supreme, or something else?

How do you know to offer thanks to Thor, as opposed to Zeus, for example, if you honour both?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Samhain, Halloween, All Souls Day, Día de los Muertos

At the end of October/first days in November comes a collection of holidays themed around the Dead/Spirits/etc: Samhain in Celtic Paganism, All Souls Day in the largest form of Christianity, Día de los Muertos in Mexico, and Halloween in the US. Which (if any) do you celebrate? Why (and how) do you celebrate it?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How did your deity(ies) first make themselves known to you?

So, how did your deity(ies) first come into contact with you? How did he/she/they make their presence known to you?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Using Stories to Process Spiritual/Emotional Issues

A group of us are interested in investigating the ways that we can use stories to process (and progress through) spiritual and emotional issues. To that end, we will be using Starhawk's Twelve Wild Swans as a jumping off point for discussion. Please let us know if you are interested in joining us. Discussion will start in about a week so that everyone has a chance to get their books.

The Glamoury of Love Spells

As happens with me quite frequently, I find that some old lesson has been triggered from the depths of my mind by something I read on the web. Tonight that trigger just happens to be centered on love spells.

Buy nearly any pagan book today and there is almost without a doubt a section that talks of love spells. Not only talks of them but some pretending to actually teach the novice how to cast one and bring the love of their lives to them. If not bring it to them then how to save an existing relationship or reignite a love grown cold.

Yet of all the lessons that float around in the corridors of my mind none seem to trigger faster than that of the supposed love spell. No spell more mis-stated than that of attracting or bringing love to oneself.

In the movie Aladdin there is a scene where Genie tells Aladdin there are three provisions to his magic. The facet I wish to address is that "He cannot make someone love you!"

In my youth this little Old Italian Lady taught me that Love Spells are nothing but glamouries. Well glamouries and the foundations to be used for the most critically weaved curses and hexes. The easiest spell or intent to weave and the most dangerous to the caster in practice and application. Danger derived mostly from stupidity on the casters part and an assumption of what a love spell is or can do.

It was through her instruction that I came to understand that a love spell does nothing in regards to bringing love to the caster. In essence all it really does it cause a glamour to appear over the eyes of the person who the love spell is directed at. To cause them to see the caster in the reflection of their deepest sense of love and connection. But the critical facet always being it is not the caster that is seen in the eyes of the enchanted person but the reflection of their own sense of love and emotion. In essence those under the spell do not even see the real person beneath the glamour.

Yet there in also lies the curse / hex facet of the love spell. It will end, usually do to the enchanted person's view of love and emotion changing over time though the glamour remains stagnate and unchanging. The other facet is that even though beneath a glamour, the person will still sense and see fragments or cracks in the glamour that filter into the sub-conscious. Perhaps not right off, but with time the glamour will come crashing down upon the caster and before the one enchanted. Sort of the notion that an illusion cannot stand before the cold reality of the truth.

Many times with diasterious results happening to both the spell caster and the recipient of the spell. At times without and out violence resulting as the target of the glamour begins to fight and resist the spell. Frequently coming to associate and direct their anger towards the person who was the subject beneath the glamour. Anger frequently fueled because of the sense of deceit and manipulation they were submitted to. Even from the sense of being treated as less than human at best and exploited for some sense of amusement at worse.

Yet still the many books speak of casting the love spell to bring true love to them. Many sites still hold their BOS's with their included love spells for the novice to utilize and bring "Love" to them. Yet never speaking of the danger that such a foolish usage of magic can unleash.

Yet perhaps I once again am out of step with the world in my beliefs and the way I was trained to look at things.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pain as Offering/Ritual Work through Pain

We've discussed, in the past, offerings to deity that involved blood, or sacrifice (human and/or animal) but, as far as I can tell, we've not really delved into the offering of pain to the gods or the use of pain in ritual work.

Most often, pain, whether emotional or physical, is a signal that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. We are conditioned to accept that pain = bad/no pain = good and, for many, this model works well. But for some, pain is a tool carefully applied to bring the user knowledge and growth.

Pain in ritual is accepted, so long as it is done by "outsiders". There's a kind of "your-ritual-is-not-my-ritual-but-it-is-okay" mentality when talking about Kavandi ceremonies, or ball dances, or ritual body modification done in places we don't live. But, when a seemingly "normal" person mentions using pain in ritual context, conversations cease. People are scorned and vilified (see prior threads about Cauldron Farms and/or Raven Kaldera for case in point). The idea that anyone could want to use pain in ritual, or as an offering, is too alien, too "out there"...and yet it happens on a daily basis around the world, and often closer to us than we think.

In order to remove the stigma, the topic must be discussed in an open way so that it can be shown, in the light, for what it is. With that in mind, I am asking the following questions:

(1) If you work with deity, has pain ever been requested as an offering? If so, did you offer it? If not, would you consider it?

(2) Do you use pain in ritual? If so, have you seen a benefit from it?

(3) Is the use of ritual pain something in which you have any interest? Why or why not?

Overcoming Obstacles/Growth of Self

Many of us have mentioned at one point or another that our religious path(s), our work if you will, involves the overcoming of obstacles in order to grow. Some of those obstacles come from outside, but many of them are self-created and to leave them in place would mean stagnation.

Self-created roadblocks are the hardest to overcome, IMO; many of mine are in place for reasons of "safety". To look at each one and determine what needs to be removed is frightening...and to know that I *must* act in order to grow (tear down to rebuild) is overwhelming at times. And the methods by which the obstacles are removed are not easy. I've been shaken to my core a number of times, seen my place in the grand scheme of things and how small I really am, and I've not embraced the journey wholeheartedly yet.

So, for others that may have experienced this need to tear down to rebuild...were you frightened? How did you overcome the fear so you could get down to business? What have you incorporated in your life to make it easier to handle (if that's even possible)?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bringing up Pagan kids

How many of you here have brought, are bringing up, or will bring up your kids up as Pagans?

What have been the issues in day to day life? Were they ostracised or accepting?
What literature did you read to them? When did you take up reading things to them, and when did they start actively performing in worship with you? Did you take your children to any place of worship, even if it's not your own, for the children to make more friends outside of school?

If they are older now, did they stick with Paganism, or change to another/no religion?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Staying in a Spiritual State of Mind

In this day and age, there is always SO MUCH going on. We are given an onslaught of media, information, communication, and drama to deal with on a daily basis. I know it differs from lifestyle to lifestyle, but I feel I can safely assume we all have the same basic things to deal with: work, bills, children (possibly), significant other, friendships, etc etc. Sure, people have been doing this for thousands of years, but they weren't exactly always sitting in a cubicle or standing on their feet in front of a register. With so much that our conscious mind has to filter through and deal with, how do you stay in a spiritual state of mind?

I'm rather young, so I'm just getting into the 'real' world. And sometimes I can keep in mind that the Goddess is nearby, and everything I do is sacred. But not that often. I'm too busy worrying about baking 30 loaves of bread, slicing two pounds of roast beef, and making sure I have enough time to close up properly. I find it difficult at times to remember life is a celebration, and the Deities are always watching over me.

So how do you stay spiritual? Are you like me, struggling to keep up with the world, and only finding time to worship your gods on your days off? (I know, I'm terrible). Or have you mastered mind over matter, and can keep the flame of Divine love alive all the time?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Relationships between gods - going beyond the myth

As hard polytheist, I believe gods evolve and interact with each other over the ages, outside and beyond what our mythologies suggest.

Example - there's little mythology tying Hekate, the goddess I serve, with Dionysos and Hermes, but among Her followers is shared personal gnosis that She is close to both of Them... which is not entirely surprising as they run in the same circles and share a few areas of interest. Often, if you work with Her, Dionysos and Hermes tune in as well- I have a theory about that, on how working with Hekate can come with stagnation phases that necessitate the type of disruption Hermes and Dionysos can easily provide.

At the same ways, I read about at least one Aepheastus follower that remarked about how she was not well-liked by Aphrodite, because marital relationship between Her and her god were hardly smooth- in her upg, Aphrodite finds her husband to be quite boring, while Aephestus much prefers Athene's company over his wife.

In other instances, there are followers of a certain deity that are asked to not seek contact with another certain deity their patron doesn't get along.

So this got me thinking about what we learned in our practices about how our deities interact with each other, about which gods go along (or don't ) with which other gods.

What's your experience or opinion on this subject?

Monday, September 19, 2011

(Pagan) Religion as a Hobby...

So I've come across this comment a few times in different contexts. The basic argument is that a lot of Pagans see their religions as more of a hobby, an important hobby but still sort of a hobby, hence some of the reluctance to invest time and money in 'mainstreaming' or supporting whatever local culture/community is available. I know that some of the reluctance to say, pay for a course or donate to a grove/coven is based around the idea of debasing the practice etc by exchanging money but I have to wonder if the 'hobby' argument doesn't have some merit. I also wonder if part of this lack of fiscal support may be due not only to the economy but to passionate participants already facing cash flow challenges due to volunteering etc already.

Basically, do you think this is an issue? How would/do you approach eliciting participation/support/etc? Do you think it is important that Pagans support and strengthen our various communities? Aside from fiscal support how could other support be offered?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eros, the trickster?

Eros, son of Aphrodite and Ares, more famous in modern age as a bow-armed cherubim than as that more adult, if still youthful, first image of him, is probably last deity I would have expected to see ever mentioned as a trickster.

Yet it seems like this is exactly how his followers see Him... or at least a consistent part of them does.

So my question is: how do you see Eros? have you ever encountered Him? And if you did, how was your experience with Him?

Not Alone?

Do you ever feel when your staring into nature you feel like your not alone. Like when you look at the moon, you feel its special, or when the sunsets? when the waves go on the beach do you feel like someone is telling you something? or when you hear animals it sounds like a choir? or even the most simplest thing, looking at the clouds and it still looks like somone is talking to you? Basically do you ever feel like your not alone, and that its a great mystery that will never be solved. if so share your experience.

Here's mine. Every time I look out the window I feel those things I described and I say to myself "this seems planned. man and woman to populate the earth. The four elements for us to survive. Planets in orbit. Day and night, life and death. The connection of everything, such as for us to live something has to die. The seasons. the balance in our universe"

Resoruces for Building a Practice?

I'm currently engaged in a long-term project to create my own structured practice. I'm not ready to go into any detail yet, but I can say -- to nobody's surprise -- that my path is focused exclusively on Brighid.

The actual beliefs seem to be the "easy part" -- for me, at least. But I'm struggling a bit with how to construct a holistic, coherent, and consistent practice, as well as each of the components, such as simple daily devotionals and more complex festival celebrations (that might or might include rituals).

Can anyone recommend resources that might be useful for someone building a practice? Or for the individual components of a path, such as rituals?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Core Family Unit and Faith

I was just curious... For those of you who are pagan parents, how do you incorporate faith into your daily life so that you teach your kids about it? Do you pray? Do you invite them to ritual? Do you have them do special projects during the holidays?

And in that... for those of you with kids who are school-aged, how is that processed when they hit the socialization age? How does it impact you when your kids say those darnedest things about multiple gods and magic?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Heathen Prayer: When? Where? Why? How?

Obviously praying varies from religion to religion, and I assume praying in Heathenry may be different than say...praying in Judaism, or Kemetic Orthodoxy. Thus, here are some questions I have...


When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

How Do You Celebrate Mabon?

Well, well, here it is that the Fall Equinox is nearly upon us. (In my nook of the hemisphere, that is.) I didn't really start celebrating these traditional (may I use this word here? I can't think of anything else to describe it...) wiccan/pagan/insert word here holidays until like, Ostara this year, and therefore I don't have much of a clue what I want to do for Mabon.

So, I've decided to do some research. How do you celebrate this holiday, if you celebrate it at all? What themes come to mind? Do you celebrate it as much as you would Samhain or Imbolc, or do you keep it simple?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

What do you do with spell materials after you're done casting the spell?

I know some spells depend on making or using materials to hold onto, but I feel like that implies keeping the materials is part of what makes the spell continue to work. What do you think of that? I don't want a spell to lose its power if my husband accidentally chucks part of the materials I used in the trash. I'd also end up with a surplus of old spell materials, which we don't have the room for.

And yet tossing everything once the spell is done feels strange too. Does it even matter? Have the objects helped to release whatever energy necessary during the spell, and now they are done?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Using songs in magic

Does anyone else here use songs in their magic? I don't just mean overtly 'pagan' songs, but pop songs, classical music, and so on.

Music is important to me in a lot of contexts, and I've found that certain songs are useful while doing magical work. Usually it's just there in the background, but sometimes I incorporate the song into the work itself by putting the song on repeat and singing along with some of the lyrics while I work as a way to 'say' the spell.

For example, I've used 'Get Out Of My House' by Kate Bush while doing work to keep certain things (not necessarily people) out of my actual or metaphorical home. I've also used 'Night Terror' by Laura Marling while doing a protection spell for a loved one. I find that very few songs lend themselves to being used this way (it's a combination of lyrics and music that happens rarely), but I can usually spot good songs as soon as I hear them these days.

Thoughts? Experiences?

Being Spiritual In A Non-Spiritual Family?

In my household everyone either has no care about the spirituality/divine (my stepfather, sister and brother) or they are religious but they keep their thoughts to themselves (my mother). So as a result my house is very very secular. It has been like this for many years I am afraid to break the atmosphere.

But that puts me in a fix. How am I to express my spiritual side of me without "disrupting the flow"?

Should I just never show my spiritual side and do it when I am alone away from family?

Or should I just do whatever I want? Do my prayers, give offerings, do rituals even if family is there.

Or do some sort of middle path?

Your thoughts?

Ritual aftercare

Discussion else-thread made me start my commentary about how I think many Pagan groups do a lousy job with ritual aftercare, and how we could - by taking some relatively simple steps - do a whole lot better. Then I decided it deserved its own thread.

So, to get started, some questions to get conversation going...

1) What does ritual aftercare mean to you?

2) When is it necessary? (Personal ritual? Group ritual? High-intensity group ritual? Other times?)

3) What bits of ritual aftercare do you look for in a competent ritual leader? Which bits don't matter as much to you?

4) Are there aspects of aftercare that you particularly feel strongly about? Things you think are overdone?

5) And for those of you who've got experience as teachers or ritual leaders: what do you consider your own obligations to appropriate aftercare to be? Do you still feel some obligation if you're a guest at a ritual (say something large and public?) but not in charge?

Please share whatever springs to mind for you: I'll come and chime in with my own thoughts eventually, but I'd love to hear other people's thoughts first, because I'm curious about which of my experiences are more broadly shared.

Questions also totally welcome.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Church of All Worlds

What is the Church of All Worlds and what are their beliefs? Are they Wicca based or are they a more general Neopagan group?

Past lives? Do I really have them?

My mind paces around the thought of actually having past lives. I believe some people have them... Maybe everyone has them. I don't know... I just have no indication that -I- have had them. It's a very interesting topic... I mean, knowing what you were in a past life could greatly impact your spiritual journey in this life.

I feel like I'm rambling, and that I'm a bit depressed at the moment. So many people have experiences with this and I never even had a hint.

When a Teacher is Not an Option

I am in the position where a teacher would be very useful. I can see very clearly who I want to be as a person, and where I want to end up religiously. I am pretty realistic about who I am right now, what my strengths and weaknesses are. I was working on that very stuff with my therapist, but I am pretty sure I have reached a point with her where the secular conversations just won't cut it anymore, and while she knows I am a polytheist, I don't think she really grokks it. A teacher- a group or an individual- would be helpful is pointing out the places to work on, and how to work on them, and as Kiya said in chat, being support during the Times of Great Flailing.

However. Right at the moment, I am not in much of a position to find a teacher. I don't want to get involved with my 'local' community, because the pagan 'scene', as it were, in this state unnerves me. I don't feel safe or comfortable around the people I have interacted with, and from what I can glean, most of the community is much of the same. The internet is also not likely to be of much help, because many teachers don't like to take on students they can't work with face to face, and honestly, that's something I really would want, that face to face connection. And I am not going to be in the financial position to leave this state for a depressingly long while, I suspect.

So: what do you do, when a teacher is the best option but an unavailable option? How do you keep yourself growing and moving and challenged, and not just walking blindfolded in circles over the same ground?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How do your deities let you know that they are there?

Deities can come to people in many different ways. What are the ways that they come into your life and let you know that they are right there with you?

With Vellamo, I feel closest to her when I am floating in the ocean among the sea foam. She seems motherly; letting the waves envelope me.

With Mielikki, I know she is there with every sigh and flutter of the forest leaves. Any small animal that crosses my path lets me know that she's watching out for all of us in the woods.

With Tapio I can sense him near me VERY strongly when I smell the scent of burning wood and also dragon's blood incense. But it's always more intense with wood... It relates back to the first time I ever felt him.

And with Ukko I feel he is closest to me during a thunderstorm...when the thunder shakes my house, when the lightning illuminates the sky, and when the rain pours down with fury.

Other than that, I get visions and feelings throughout the day that let me know they are watching. Like in the shower I had the strangest vision of Tapio just gazing right through me and I literally stopped moving for a few minutes just to watch him.

How about you guys?

Dealing with Family and Differing Religious Viewpoints?

I'll start with a brief background of myself - I grew up in Texas in a quite strict Christian household (specifically Church of Christ). My parents are missionaries by trade (they do most of their work in India, my dad makes 2 trips a year and has since the 70s) and have been utterly and completely devoted to their religion their entire lives. They very much forced this on me and from a very young age I questioned that. I went through the motions of going to church because they insisted upon it and that was quite difficult.

We mostly have avoided the topic of my feelings and beliefs but they are generally aware that I do not believe as they do. I do not like to discuss religion with them as they get very upset; not so much angry but hurt and "disappointed" that I choose not to follow the same path as them. I love them dearly and we get along incredibly well otherwise.

So, to my question. I have recently started down some kind of path (still figuring that out). I currently live in Canada and my parents still live in Texas. They are coming up for a visit soon. I have various things in my home and office that could potentially bring up questions about religion. I have some pictures of Ganesh and a small altar in my office, along with a Wheel of the Year print out. The last time they came to visit, I took them down and put them in my desk so as not to start a debate.

I do not enjoy discussing these types of things with them, if for no other reason than I don't want to upset them. At the same time, it was quite painful for me to have to "hide" those things from them. When they visit this time, I would like to leave my things around and try to deal with questions they might have. I will probably chicken out and put them away.

How do I deal with their questions, disappointment and refusal to hear my side of things?
Invariably, they will ask me to go to church with them while they are here and I will refuse. In the past they have been very hurt by this and said things like, "We want you to do what you know is right."

Do they really not realize that I am doing what I know is right for me?

I sometimes feel as if I am too old to put up with their intolerance, as I am very much an adult, but they still think of me as a child in this regard.

Anyone dealt with this kind of thing in the past?

I would appreciate any insight at all.

Ways to Do Spells?

How would you guys do spells? I know some people do air spells such as taking a feather and using your hands and picture your intention going in the feather then relasing it into the wind. Does anyone have any easy ways they do spells?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are You a God-Slave? Will You Be?

In the book that I've been reading, I've stumbled upon the phrase "god-slave" which both intrigued me and worried me and disgusted me and terrified me. From what I have gathered, the terminology is similar to that of having a patron deity, however, instead of merely having this divine parent, so to speak, loving you and offering you encouragement from afar, you have literally dedicated your every waking second to the patron that has chosen you.

Let me reiterate:

You have completely dedicated your entire life to this god/dess that has chosen you.

At least... I think. I think that's the reasoning behind that terminology.

The reason I stumbled upon all of this confusing morass was because of Galina Krasskova, free range tribalist heathen and the article written on patheos that I've linked here. Specifically, she says:

Spiritual commitment is a very complex thing. I think that many of us come to Paganism and Heathenry not realizing that the Gods are quite real, and that once we enter into the process of devotion, They can sometimes ask for a very daunting level of commitment. I've noticed that for some folks, the Gods are a nice idea but it's a totally different matter when one encounters what scholar of religion Rudolf Otto called the "numinous tremendens et fascinans." We're conditioned in many ways to assume that spirituality should make us feel good, should not inconvenience us, should be about what we want to do, not what might be necessary. Too many times we think that we can control the process.

By consciously using the word "slave" (as Odin directed me to) it brings home the point that sometimes we don't get to do that. It's a troublesome term, but it implies a level of binding commitment more accurately than anything else I have come up with. Part of the problem that people have with the term stems from the terrible abuses inflicted by one group of people on another throughout history, but part of it comes from disrespect for service. I have seen the term "godservant" evoke almost as heated a response.

As to value and honor -- it is an honor to serve the Gods in whatever capacity They determine to be right and proper. There is immense value in knowing and accepting one's place, which in turn allows a person to truly shine. That is not something I think that we should be setting limits on. I think it's for the Gods to define the terms of the relationship and the terms of one's service. I am many things in my relationship to Odin and one of those things is His godatheow, perhaps the core note of my service. It is a very beautiful thing and terrifying and I wouldn't change it for the world, save to learn how to do it better.
I was just wondering... how do you guys feel about all of this?

Personally, I can see my relationship with Sekhmet heading in this direction. So far, she's been the distant parent coaxing me to live my life appropriately. So far, she's been there to pick me up when I'm down and to yell at me when I'm wrong and to give me encouragement when I need it most. That's where she is now: she's teaching me and letting me come to conclusions on my own and I think, at some point, she would enjoy having me become a god-slave.

Honestly, I don't think I'm at all ready for that level of commitment. All joking about commitment phobias aside, it's a really big step. It's ten times more serious, to me, than marrying the significant other that you love. It's thirty times more important than anything else that I could do on this plane of existence. To me, it's important, but I just... I can't even imagine giving of myself so completely to my Hubby. How can I get that way with Sekhmet?

If that is the direction that I am heading, and something inside of me is saying yes very clearly, then I think I have a long way to go before I get there. I'm excited at having something so clearly to look forward to but I'm also... leery. It's... so much. Just. So much.

Do your patron gods test you?

Reading this article today: http://www.squidoo.com/find-a-patron-god-or-goddess

I've grown curious of this passage in particular

Some Gods may decide to "test" you. This isn't to prove your worthiness, far from it. That is a concept conceived in the idea that people are inherently unworthy and must prove themselves otherwise.

These tests are more to make sure that you are capable of handling the energies that particular God may bring into your life by combining His energies with yours.
In my own life, I found myself being tested a lot when Lilith decided she was going to be part of my life. To the point that I finally told her to back off and leave me alone for a while as it was getting way too much for me.

It made me curious because it's not an aspect of patron-devotees relationships I've experienced so far and it's also one i have not seen discussed anywhere else, even if it makes sense as a rational argument as i've noticed that working with a certain deity for a certain time does change your energies.

So my question is:

Do you think it's possible to be tested in some fashion? It has happened to you? If it has, how does it work? If it has not, how do you think it might work?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Money Drawing Spells -- Opinions Please

I have known a lot of people lately who have resorted to money or prosperity spells because of our sick economy and their lack of income. I have never done one myself (despite being in a similar situation as regards finances) because, quite frankly, I can't believe they would work. Here's why...

If a witch or sorcerer/sorceress, etc. had the power to invoke riches, then why wouldn't all of them be rich? I mean, with that kind of power, why do they sell spells on ebay or waste time doing the 9 to 5 routine? Why not, just ask for the winning numbers of the next big lottery or keep using money drawing spells to rake in the bucks? In other words, if they work, why aren't all witches wealthy? (And for that matter, why would they give away the secret by telling others how to do them?)

With other spells -- like love or protection spells, the outcome is sort of arbitrary even after it happens, so you don't really know if it worked or not. But with money, its kind of hard to not know you have it or don't have it. It is not so arbitrary.

What do you think? Do they work? Have you ever had an experience with one of these type spells?

Do Deities Care About People?

I find it very interesting that we all have different ideas about Deities here and how they operate. My question is, do you think that they care about people and what we do?

To answer my own question, I think that they do - maybe some deities more than others though. I believe that I was thwapped by Brighid early this year so I figure if She didn't care about people then why would She bother? Of course it could all be my imagination lol.

So, what do you all think? Do deities care?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deity/Spirit Possession: Where Do You Stand?

I recently bought Drawing Down the Spirits... by Raven Kaldera and Kenaz Filan. Prior to this, I had never really thought about deity/spirit possessions before. I have been possessed by a deity before, but in regards to various pagan religions (from the African diaspora religions to the Neo-Pagan movement), I had never realized that the feelings on this are both strong and diverse.


How do you feel about possession? Where does it fall in your religion? Do you think it exists? If so, why? Do you think that those who have claimed to be possessed are crackpots? If so, why?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Astrology & Jungian Archetypes

This is only a half-formed idea that's bopping around in my head at the moment, so please forgive me if this post is a bit unfocused!

I've been studying astrology for a few months now, using it not as a divinatory tool but as a method of psychological exploration. I'm really intrigued by the idea of how the Jungian conception of archetypes fits into this model.

I'm only familiar with four archetypes directly attributable to Jung himself: the Shadow, the Anima/Animus, the Self and the Persona. But the idea of the archetype has been expanded by various psychologists to include others. The most obvious way this fits into astrology is that each planet represents an archetype within the psyche (Mars -> the Warrior, Venus -> the Lover, etc.). After a visit with my brother recently, he passed along a book by Carol Pearson, who developed a system of twelve archetypes. For each archetype in Pearson's system, there is a "shadow side" and a "shallow side" that seem to roughly correspond to Jung's idea of the Shadow and the Persona.

The number 12 also plays a pretty significant role in astrology, with the twelve signs and the twelve houses, as well as the twelve "planets" (the eight actual planets, plus sun and moon, chiron and the true node). I'm intrigued by the idea of how Pearson's set of twelve archetypes might fit into the astrological approach. In addition to the number twelve, she also divides the archetypes into four groups of three that she arranges along two axes (an axis of Belonging-Independence and an axis of Stability-Mastery) that seem like they might align with the East-West and North-South hemispheres of the natal chart.

So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how Pearson's archetypes might match up with the signs, houses and/or planets? I just wanted to bounce some ideas off of folks to see if my intuitions are confirmed (I'll share my own thoughts once they've settled down a bit more!).

The twelve archetypes Pearson lists are:
- The Innocent
- The Everyperson (Every Guy/Every Gal)
- The Warrior*
- The Caregiver
- The Explorer
- The Lover
- The Revolutionary
- The Creator
- The Magician
- The Ruler
- The Sage
- The Jester

*The Warrior is sometimes called the Hero, but Pearson instead views all twelve archetypes as stages of the Hero's journey.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, August 19, 2011

How do you picture the gods?

A few weeks ago I posted a pic that reminded me of Freyja. Finding a visual representation for how I view her and experience her personality was a fun and interesting way to understand the goddess. It enabled me to think outside the box and formulate a new understanding of her and her essence, as I focused solely on that individual and her qualities.

I thought asking others to do the same would be a fun, creative, and productive thread. I'm personally very interested in seeing representations of how people see Set- for example, which is a god I know little about but hear of often.

(It probably goes without saying, but the pictures are just interpretations of the gods ...it's like a movie adaptation where one finds an actor that best embodies the character in a book. And it's all in good fun. )

Partners and Paganism

Those of you with partners who do not share your beliefs, how does your partner feel about your beliefs/faith/practices? The reason I ask is that I am new on my path and while my husband supports my exploration in to my spirituality and beliefs, he just doesnt get it. He doesnt understand religion or faith at all and has no time for it. It makes me feel like I need to keep things to myself and not practice anything in his company (which is just a personal thing, its not because of anything he has said or done, I just feel uncomfortable) I have the freedom to explore my path and he supports me it just feels like it could develop in to something of a wedge between us.

The Craziest Thing Someone's Said About Your Tradition?

What's the craziest thing someone's said about your path? For Paganism in general...I'd say anything that can be found in a Chick tract. (My personal favourite is "Dark Dungeons"). For Vanatru, I've heard: "People say they're Vanatru just to get dates." (I've also heard the same thing said about Wiccans, in particular). IMHO, if you've joined a religion, any religion, to get dates, ur doin' it wrong.

How Do You Keep Your Records?

Just a question, how do you keep your records? How do you refer to it (Grimoire, BoS, etc.)? Do you use binders, folders, notebooks, custom-made books, etc.? Do you write it by hand or use computers? How long have you been working on this? Do you have more than one? Does it have any organization? How much would you say you have invested in it? What is contained within it? Do you (or would you) let another copy it/use it? I use an old fashioned three-ring binder with college-ruled, loose-leaf paper and sometimes printed materials. I call it a Grimoire (as that's what I was taught to call it). I do have organization, but I'm trying to separate things and begin using more than one three-ring binder, one for wortcunning, one for spells/rituals, one for meditations/dreams/visions, one for divinations, and one for Deity/Spirit workings/info. I've not been working at it long but I've had it in mind for a while. Also, I do try to write it by hand and then sometimes I will print something out to make it look nicer. I would not let someone copy or use it. I would give them the information they need and then go from there, but I would never let it pass into another's hands.

Favorite Tarot Deck

I know this was done on the old board, but it's interesting to see what everybody says. What's your favorite Tarot deck? Mine at the moment is The Robin Wood deck.

Ghost Experience? Just Out of Curiosity...

Okay, I'm just going to ask this question that has been dying to come out. Has anyone here got a ghost experience they would like to share? I've had an experience or two myself, and have gone through the I'm nuts/ maybe I'm not nuts/ I'm accepting my insanity now ordeal. I also love hearing these stories! So please, share!

Myths and lore about boars?

I've just had a vivid dream featuring a wild boar which could be eaten and grew back. (I know it sounds pretty weird.) So I'm looking for myths and lore about boars. I've found some Greek stuff at theoi.com so far. Does anyone know more stories about boars? I think there must be some in Nordic and Celtic myths as well...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Organizing Your Paraphernalia?

We all have items that we use (regularly or otherwise) that need organization. Herbs, crystals, gemstones, etc. I was just wondering how you organize all of these items?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Familiars anyone?

Hearken back to the days when anyone who wasn't 'normal' was a witch. And said witches all had 'familiars' to do their bidding. If only that were so! I would love if my darling husky would clean up her own doggy stains. How do you feel about familiars? Do you think there is something to them, even if only an animal you feel connected to? Or do you think it's a bunch of silliness?Why? I'll start out. I don't think familiars exist in the sense of critters who are bound to a person and are forced to do their bidding. After all, animals have free will too. Although my pets listen to me, they choose to, and most of the time they choose to have selective hearing. I believe familiars exist in the sense of psychic connections. My pets are too stubborn and silly to be connected to me. They just like food and coddling. And socks. However, I've always felt a connection with crows, ever since they started nesting near my house. Since then, they've followed me everywhere, even to Texas. I'm not saying the same three are tracking me, that's silly, crows have their own agenda. It just seems they always nest nearby, and their cawing soothes me. I know it sounds crazy, and I try not to entertain the thought that I am oh so special and crows love me. I just feel they are here to teach me something. I don't know. Enough of my rambling, please, share your thoughts!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Honouring Irish Gods?

Long story short, many years ago I was very interested in Irish gods and culture, and felt a strong collection with Danu, Dagda and Morrigan. Around this time, I started pursuing a Hellenic Recon path since I felt my connection to the Greeks gods was stronger, however, now that I'm loosening up again when it comes to how I view the universe, the gods and religious practice, I'm interested in honouring these gods again. The problem is I don't really know how. I've read a few books on Irish paganism, but they don't really specify how one actually worships the gods. My first instinct is to honour them like I would a Greek deity, with incense and libations, although I don't think incense would have been used that far north, traditionally. Not that I think it matters that much, but I would like to be as culturally appropriate as possible. Any advice?


I was curious to see if anyone else ever felt intimidated to do a ritual for their gods/spirits/whatever, or otherwise call attention to yourself from such beings? How did you get over or around this? Maybe it's just my upbringing, or the things I've read, but I've always felt intimidated, even during in my Wicca stage. I was always afraid of messing something up, that I'd end up pissing someone off with why a dork like me was bothering them. >.< I always felt that contacting them, especially gods, was Serious Business and not something to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking only makes me nervous and more likely to screw up a speech. Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2011

What is your definition of doing magic (or energy work), and how do you do it?

How do you define making magic, and how do you accomplish it?

If you do energy work, do you feel anything or is it more of a belief that it works therefore it does kind of thing? and.. I hope this isn't going to make the thread too broad but, what methods do you like to use - visualization, dancing, drumming - and why does it work for you?

I'm curious, because I have ceased to use any tools, and even my attempts at using candle magic have left me feeling that something isn't clicking and so it does not work.
It seems my best tool is meditation/visualization of whatever I'm doing, which still doesn't necessarily click with me. So, in the end I am not sure if the fault lies in not choosing a method of working with energy that suits me, or if I simply don't know how to work with energy at all.

While TC has a huge selection of spells on hand, I know it doesn't work that way - going through the motions without anything behind them isn't going to work, just like reading a book in an unknown language isn't going to make you understand the book.

(Maybe I just haven't found it) I haven't really found much on how to center/ground or work with magical energy properly. How you know when you have centered/grounded, and how do you know if/when you can shape/direct your energy/will to what you want to do?

I thought maybe getting a variety of answers of others' experiences might help me identify what I'm doing right/wrong.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Southern Magic?

I was raised in the Southeastern United States, and if you have ever visited or anything, you know how unique it is down here! I've been looking for some time trying to research any Southern pagan rituals or spirituality. So far, nothing! I know much of the South is located in the Bible Belt, but maybe there's something out there? I'm not looking for Voodoo or anything, although I know that's the other biggest practice in the South. Well, if anyone has any information, please let me know! thank you so much!

Reformed Hellenismos

Over the past few years of studying modern Hellenismos, I have come to a personal understanding about Hellenic Polytheism, and the movement that surrounds it.

There are two main interpretations of Hellenismos that I have continually observed:

Traditionalist Hellenismos
Reformed Hellenismos

Traditional Hellenismos takes the most literal, orthodox, and exoteric approach to spirituality within Hellenismos, and as a result is generally unconcerned with practices considered esoteric, mystical, and most especially magical. The tendency of this approach is, as I've heard it put, to focus on "authenticity over inclusion", and is very conservative in the traditional sense (from my experience).

Though I'd like to stress that magical practice is not the only point of contention between the two, it forms much of the basis of the argument in debates I've seen and been apart of. That being said, there are also issues surrounding the implementation of festivals, the structure of ritual, and socio-political issues, just to name a few.

I think it's time that a real attempt is made to approach Hellenismos from a more balanced and pragmatic perspective, and although I know of several wonderful people who do indeed implement pragmatic philosophy with regards to Hellenic Religion, very little in the way of exposure to such an idea is really given.

Personally, I think that defining this approach as Reformed Hellenismos, or something similar, will be an important step in the right direction, as will defining Traditional Hellenismos for point of comparison. I believe that Traditionalist Hellenismos is a valid approach, albeit too rigid for my tastes, but there needs to be something solid as an alternative to such an approach for those who desire it.

To me, Reformed Hellenismos is an approach that allows for a diversity of opinions about religious practices, and is less concerned about the "right belief", and more concerned with establishing orthopraxy. Personal interpretations of said orthopraxy are just that... personal - as is what other practices a person does or does not do in addition to their religious ones.

Whatever you think about this idea, I would like to hear your opinions...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bumfuzzled (A Hekate Issue)

Last night when I went to bed, I was pondering about some things.

I usually have a lot of Celtic influence in my Craft, but it hit me last night . . . Hekate's calling. When that happened, I was in total shock. I was thinking about the things in life that are happening and the circumstances when I see lots of crows and how they look at me. I think about how sometimes I'm being guided by the Crossroads even though there are none near me that I'm aware of.

I know I'm an Eclectic, but sheesh, this has caught me off guard.

Now, I would never call upon Deities from other pantheons in a ritual or whatever, but how do you handle the whole "dual-pantheistic" (is that even a word?) practice that may happen?

Most of the time, I usually just refer to the God and Goddess as Lord and Lady and ponder upon all of their names, but I never really use any specific Deity in my practice . . . But Hekate keeps telling me, "I'm She who has called you. Hearken to me. Take control of your life, I can help you. I will guide you. You will be my servant and I will become as your Mother. My power is Ancient, even Zeus himself could not give me that which I did not already have."

I really don't know how to process that because, why would she choose me. The entire time I've been a witch, I've NEVER had a Deity be so blunt and say, "I'm the one."

I can state this . . . I may have some Wicca influence that I will probably have to give up, at least that's what Hekate is showing me . . . Not because She does not want me to use it, but She is telling me there is more than I could imagine in forms of the Craft that She wants to reveal to me that could broaden my mind and abilities.

So . . . any advice for this bumfuzzled witch?

Witch's 10 Commandments

I came across this the other day "The Witch's 10 Commandments" by Marian Singer. They are:

1. Thou art God/dess
2. As above, so below; as within, so without
3. Spirit abides in all things; words & names have meaning
4. Maintain an attitude of gratitude (walk the talk)
5. Honor the ancestors, teachers, elders, and leaders
6. All life is scared
7. All acts of love & pleasure are sacred
8. Whatever you send out returns threefold
9. Love is the law, love under will
10. For the greatest good an'it harm none

If I remember right she wrote a book comparing these to the Christian 10 Commandments.Has anyone read it?
I was wondering what people think of them.

Also I am a little confused by the "love under will" part.

Culture/Worldview and Deities

This thread was inspired by one of my "quietly watch while munching popcorn" threads. How does culture and worldview relate to deities? Is it required to have a particular worldview to fully understand a deity? Is cultural context the only way to understand a deity or just the way the deity was worshiped in the past? Can one worship or understand a deity without the original worshipers' culture/worldview?

Meal Blessings/Prayers

So, I've been thinking on it for awhile and I'd really like to start saying a short blessing/prayer before each meal. The problem is, I can't seem to figure out what exactly to say so I was curious as to what others say/do at mealtime. For one, I'm not sure who/what exactly to address with it. The universe, one or both of my Patrons, a different deity from my Pantheon, the food itself(i.e. the animals/plants themselves)? I'm just not sure and I could sure use some ideas. I've done a google search for Pagan meal blessings but that search yielded mostly Wiccan blessings which isn't altogether helpful since I'm not Wiccan. Anyone care to share what you say/do at mealtime?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Does Ghost Radar App Work?

A friend showed me the app a while back and I bought the pay version so we could compare. Not much difference. I like the free version a bit better actually.

Still has anyone used the Ghost Radar app with any success?

My friend thinks it works, but I have doubts. Stupidly, I didn't look into how much access it has to other information on my phone and every coincidental word that pops up could easily have come from other information on the device.

I am not as in touch with the spirits as I would like to be or as I suspect several here are, but my best guess as to how to check the thing would be to ask a spiritualist where he or she puts it on a scale from possible potential to massive eye roll. And it may take more personal experience with the app than a day trip to Lilydale would allow.

So if any spiritualist here has the app and has an opinion, could you share it with me? Thanks in advance if you can!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moons, their names and meanings

I've only ever picked up on random names and info about specific full moons and their meanings and was hoping someone here has knowledge of the different moons, their names, meanings and that from different cultures or paths.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prayers for Norway

The members and staff of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum wish to express our deepest sympathy to the people of Norway, especially those who lost friends and loved ones in the horrible attacks yesterday. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Question(s) Regarding Donations/Payments

I have currently been asked advice by someone who began to know me through my current job at the local Goodwill (the lady is a customer there). We have become friends and she has asked my advice and I have given such as well as some remedies that may assist her in accomplishing her goals.

As for me, I'm one of those who will invite the client to do the work for themselves since it will be more personal for them, or so I think.

Anyways, so she approached me on the job today which was fine except that she wanted to pay me for my advice and such. I felt so awkward in regards to the fact that someone wanted to pay me for my advice. Also, the company rules state that we are not allowed to take gratuities . . . So that was a big no. She continued to insist and truly wanted to do so. Reluctantly, I took the money but made sure I informed my manager of the situation who gave me some suggestions to prevent it from happening again.

However, has this happened to you? Do you charge? How do you handle situations if you are being offered donations/payments and do not feel comfortable but the client insists?

I grew up with a mother who was big on blessings and she always told me that if someone wanted to bless me that I should allow them because if I didn't, then I will rob them of their blessings which would come from blessing me. So I realized that would apply to this situation.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Speaking aloud in ritual?

I tend to quite enjoy ritual, whether it is something very planned and 'set by the book' or something that I've designed/written myself. I don't perform rituals very often, and when I do they tend to be for either a particular spell or for Wheel of the Year celebrations. I am solitary at the moment, and still beginning the, umm, journey of exploration, so any rituals are only involving myself. I enjoy researching to find out what things would be appropriate to include. I can be a bit of a correspondences geek but I try not to let things get too stilted, either.

However, I have a stumbling block which is quite a biggie for me, and which makes me feel REALLY STUPID: I have real problems saying things out loud.

That looks even stupider written down than it sounds in my head.

What I mean is, I can think of appropriate words for rituals, incantations, spells, prayers, invocations, whatever (either made up or something I've found which fits the bill)... but when it comes to saying them out loud I feel, well, a bit of an idiot really. I have no idea why, because I don't have any problems doing the actions of the ritual, which could seem at least as daft to any external observer! But as soon as I start to say anything out loud, I get ridiculously self-conscious and my focus goes out the window.

I don't have any problems with public speaking / presenting, so I don't think it's just the sound of my own voice that freaks me out *lol*

I haven't seen this mentioned on the old boards or heard it raised as a possible issue for newbies - does anyone else have this problem or am I just weird like that?

Does anyone do their rituals without speaking at all? If so, what's your approach - do you make writing things down into a part of the ritual, perhaps, or do you just make a point of devising your rituals as 'actions only'? I am definitely by nature more of a 'words person' than anything else, so feel I would be losing something important if I tried to make my rituals 'action only', but does this work for other people? Do you just have to get used to feeling silly and override it?

Maybe it's because I feel like it would draw attention to me? I'm very rarely in the house on my own, so perhaps the feeling that I'm being 'overheard' is getting in the way for me, even though my partner is Pagan? (I have never done any rituals with him around, so I'm uncertain as to what his feelings about it would be, exactly...) Sometimes I do rituals outdoors, which tends to be in a bit of a dodgy area so although I don't have any difficulty finding a secluded spot, I also instinctively don't want to draw attention to myself there as the seclusion could work against me.

Or perhaps I'm just being an idiot?

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