Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Need Advice on Preventing "Telepathic"/"Sympathetic" Pain

I'm looking for advice about an energy-related health issue. Please bear with me while I explain.

As many of you know, I've suffered from severe migraines since childhood. They've gotten so bad that I can no longer work. My older daughter (I'll call her "D") has also had problems with migraines since she was a young teenager, but hers weren't too bad. She could manage them pretty easily with the right meds.

About 4 months ago, D was in a car accident in which her foot was broken. She was on crutches and strong pain meds for several weeks, which forced her to withdraw from classes for the semester. Since she had nothing better to do, she started hanging around with me for most of the day, virtually every day. After a couple of weeks, we realized her headaches were getting worse and worse. We tried a variety of potential remedies with no luck, so we sat down and thought about what might be triggering the increase and severity of D's headaches. And that led us to our theory of telepathic -- or sympathetic -- migraines. Cheesy

She and I have always had a very strong empathic link, to the point where we can practically read each other's mind. We suspect that D is experiencing some degree of my migraines through this link. (I know how that sounds. But we really do think that's what is happening.)

So, what we think we need to do is to somehow block me from sending the pain to D and shield D from feeling it. But we don't want to damage our link otherwise.

Has anyone experienced anything like this "telepathic pain"? How did you deal with it? Suggestions for establishing a very selective shield? Or a very selective block? We both work well with symbols and amulets, and with all kinds of stones and scents, so we're also very open to ideas for using tools like that to help us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pagan Music?

I listen to quite a bit of Pagan music on my iPod at work. Helps keep me centered. My current favorites are Kellianna, Damh the Bard, Jenna Greene, Blackmore's Night, and Loreena McKennett. Oh, and Wendy Rule

What Pagan musicians can you recommend? Or music that has a pagan feel but isn't necessarily put out by Pagans, or isn't something that's necessarily focused on Pagan topics (like instrumental belly dance music...)?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding That Small Group?

So HypotheticalPagan is looking for a religious witchcraft group. They've checked out WitchVox and similar resources, and don't find anything that resonates yet. Maybe the stuff near them is very big on gender polarity, and they're queer; maybe they'd like to find something with a pantheist flavor; maybe the groups nearby are too ceremonial, or too casual; maybe there are various other incompatibilities.

What Hypothetical wants is not something that's totally outre. It falls within the realm of eclectic Wicca or neo-Wicca or some other flavor of reasonably codified religious witchcraft, so it's quite likely that someone is doing it. However, that someone is not near Hypo, or if they are, they're not advertising their presence on WitchVox and dropping off flyers at the local crystal shop.

What should Hypothetical do? They would like to join rather than found a group, to have someone to share praxis and experiences with. None of the groups that are visibly seeking new blood seem right. There are quite likely more out there that don't advertise themselves, even if they are willing to take on new members, but Hypo has no idea how to find them.

Word of mouth is great ... if one happens to know someone who knows of a group that would be a good fit for Hypothetical.
Reputation is great ... if the groups care to have a public presence. (And that raises the question of whether one would want to pursue a more secretive group.)
Both of these require being a significant presence in a local pagan community, which may be hard to do.

What are some other options or ideas?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Portable Spell Equipment?

I can do spells without material things, but sometimes when I am on the go it comforts me to have simple spell makings with me. For example hotel energy in my experience is not always good so I carry cedar with me to lightly smudge. I used to carry sage but it got mistaken for marijuana for it's smell too many times.

I was wondering if anyone else carries simple spell makings with them and if so what?

What to do about People with Icky Energy?

I am sensitive to energy, and my beliefs require that I use that to benefit the people and Mother Earth. So there have been times where I have ran into good people with really icky energy. I use a reflective shield, so it's not my gift causing me problems in that area. It's just that I want to help these people but have no way to approach some of them with my help.

I can't just walk up to some one and say" excuse me but I can see and otherwise sense auras and yours looks like it needs some cleaning, would you mind if I do energy work on you and teach you how to clean your aura so it doesn't get like this again?" It just would not work.

So what I have done is realized that these people are responsible for their own aura and if one day they find out what one is and choose to get energy work done on them they can do so. If I am in a room crowded with people with dirty auras I make a grounded vortex and say if they are in spirit ready to release the negative energy let them do it. Then I close the vortex when I leave.

I was wondering if anyone else has this problem and if so what do you do about it.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Creating a divination technique?

I'm in a sort of grey area where, while feeling the need or will to use a divination technique, especially as a communication instrument with the Gods, I find the most common methods today to have a limited appeal on me. I tried tarot cards or simple game ones, but I had a hard time dealing with the more astrological, esoteric, and Judeo-Christian elements, not to mention that no deck I've seen online resonates deeply with me. I thought about the Mythical Tarot, but the older and, in my view, better version is no longer available; animals are a rich topic, but I'm more of a dog than cat person and there aren't that many dog decks out there; and yes, there are a lot of pagan decks, but mostly Wiccan.

The case is more or less the same for other divination techniques, so, taking the "do it yourself" approach, I decided to come up with my own Mercury-inspired oracle, with letters and animals drawn on glass pebbles. Which brings me to my question.

Has any of you ever created your own divination technique and, if so, what would you suggest regarding testing or experiencing with it? I'm aware that the exact answer may depend on the particulars of the technique and the gods it's linked with (and the directions He/She may give you), but it's always good to ask and profit from others' experience in whatever advises and ideas they may share. If you ever had the experience, what did you do and how did it go?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Beginning magic and exercises?

I've been interested in pagan, eastern spirituality, and magic for a couple of years now. Mostly just been doing a lot of reading up to this point, it's hard for me to put faith in something that hasn't been proven to myself yet.

My question is how did you get started in magic? What are your reasons for practicing it, and what types of things do you do with magic? Such as prayers, spells, energy work etc.

Do you do exercises in order to further develop your magical abilities? One book I've been reading that has given me a lot of interest in getting started is "Franz Bardon - Initiation in to Hermetics" - The reason I'm drawn towards it is because he has you do intense exercises involving a lot of meditation, working with the subconscious, reflecting and developing your character through making a black and white soul mirror. With his system he believes that anything is possible through hard work, dedication, and having good karma (using magic for the right reasons)

I think Bardon's system is great because you can be a Celt, Wiccan, Buddhist, or even just eclectic and still use his system to help train yourself.

To me it just doesn't seem like one could really further develop their magic without having the dedication and devotion towards it in a very serious way. Not to knock on anyone, but wouldn't it be dangerous if anyone could practice magic regardless of their character and intentions?

My last question is - if it's not too personal I'd love to hear you describe your first true magical experience where you knew without a doubt that your spell or magic worked.

Obligation to Community?

What are our obligations to community?

I'm not talking the larger pagan community; I'm talking about our smaller, personal worship communities. Members of established physical churches often have a financial obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the church building and pay staff. They also often have responsibilities that include teaching Sunday school, helping with child care, etc.

So what about us?

My obligations to my worship community are sometimes financial. I chip in for after-ritual feasts. When we have special workshops and gatherings, I chip in my share of the bill. When I run ritual, I help purchase supplies.

My obligations are also responsibilities. I'm required to help run at least one moon ritual and one holiday ritual a year. I've taken on teaching responsibilities (though I don't have any students yet) and organizational responsibilities in my group. I'm also there to help support covenmates through difficult times in their life.

Not everyone in our group takes their responsibilities seriously. There's been a lot of tension in the past year about keeping our Covenstead clean after holiday gatherings, since we're on someone's private property. People haven't been good about cleaning up their own messes, and by ignoring their responsibilities they end up hurting everyone... the folks who own the property get mad, the same folks who live nearby always get stuck cleaning up, and those of us who have taken on "Elder" responsibilities in the group have to hear about it and have to take on the responsibility of cleaning up ourselves.

What do y'all think? What are your obligations to community? If you're a solitary, how can you apply the ideas of community to your personal practices?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Plans For The Cauldron 4.0 (Comments Wanted)


The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum celebrated its 13th Anniversary on December 13, 2010. We are now in our 14th year of operation.

We had some big plans for 2010. Unfortunately, most of them did not work out:

1) A redesign of The Cauldron's web site: Despite two attempts, that just did not happen. Both attempts failed because there is just too much material on our current web site for one person (me) to ever convert to any new format. There are literally thousands of pages on our web site that each would have to be redesigned by hand.

2) Move to SMF 2.0. We also hoped to move this forum to the new SMF 2.0 by the end of 2010. This did not happen because a final version of SMF 2.0 still has not been released. We have given up on it. They've been working on it for over 4 years now and even when it is released it will still have many of the problems with "modification rot" that the current incarnation of SMF has. Most of the mod community that added much of the functionality to SMF that we use has given up on SMF as well.

3) Better Social Networking: We planned to continue to improve TCN, our social network. It was hosted on Ning and members liked it. Then Ning went from free to pay ($20+/month). We tried running our own social network using the open source Elgg software. It has no real anti-spam features and soon starting getting 50 to 100 spammers registering every day. I had to turn off registration and manually register people. They pretty much killed interest in TCN. Elgg doesn't like our recent server software update much and I can't figure out how to fix it. I'm sorry to report that "It's dead, Jim". I don't expect it to come back to life.

4) Do more with CauldronMUX. We didn't do much. Flashchat took over our chats. Now, of course, Flashchat died in the server upgrade and people are using CauldronMUX again. I've found a nice flash-based web client for it -- which is much better than the old Java client -- and figured out a way to display the names of people in chat on the forum. We succeeded with this one, but only in the last month.

5) Get Member-Produced Content on the Web: This was tied in with the site redesign. We intended to make at least some parts of our site work like a CMS so qualified members could add their articles, fiction, poetry, etc. directly to the website without having to filter it through one overworked webmaster. The site redesign failed. Wikis were set up for some SIGs but were for the most part not used. Wiki-speak is not strong here. The current incarnation of the Wiki software died in the server update. It is fixable, but I haven't bothered do to lack of use. We hoped to get member-written book reviews this way too.

6) The Newsletter: We talked about possibly having to shut it down because of lack of material to publish. We haven't officially done so, but we only produced 2 or 3 issues last year.

We did not do too well. Unfortunately, most of the issues that needed to be addressed in 2010 still need to be addressed. Hopefully, however, we have learned something from our failures in 2010. Here are the....


The Cauldron 1.0 was when we were using DelphiForums to host the TC message board (December 1997 - April 2004). The Cauldron 2.0 was when we moved off of DelphiForums and used Beehive software for The Cauldron's message board (April 2004 - March 2007). The Cauldron 3.0 is where we are now, using SMF 1.1 for our message board (March 2007 - now, May 2011 as of this post). The Cauldron 4.0 is our next stage. Your opinions on these TC 4.0 ideas are welcome -- in fact, strongly encouraged and invited.

TC 4.0 Web Site: Current plans are to leave the vast majority of the material we have on the www.ecauldron.net web site exactly as it is. It will be "legacy material" that we will keep available because it is useful information and well indexed by Google and other search engines. We will not try to update the look and outdated HTML of the pages on this legacy site. We tried that and found it to be far too much work. Instead we will create a new, modern site for new material on ecauldron.com. (Currently, www.ecauldron.com just sends people to www.ecauldron.net). This new site will be site up as a CMS (probably Drupal, but might be Joomla or Wordpress). This will allow me to give accounts to people who can create material directly on the new site using a WYSIWYG editor -- without needing to know HTML or even BBCode. SIGs will have their own areas of the web site where they can create web pages on their SIG. These areas may be set up with Wordpress even if the main part of the site is not as more people are comfortable with using Wordpress than with any other CMS.

TC 4.0 Message Board: As I mentioned before, we have given up on SMF. Even if it should finally come out, SMF 2.0 will simply not meet our needs -- especially as the SMF modding community has really shrunk. We have looked at other free and open source message boards and have not found any that both meet our needs and look likely to continue doing so. Unfortunately, after 13 years, your hosts think we have outgrown free message board software. We are now looking at commercial message board software, probably either Vbulletin or Invision Power Board (with Vbulletin having a slight edge at the moment as it has more third party support and isn't moving away from a traditional message board). Moving to commercial software will require a fund drive, unfortunately. We'll need to raise at least $200 to do so and perhaps more if we want additional features (such as an app for accessing the board from a smartphone). We'll also need to decide if we want to try to import all the messages from this board to the new board or leave them in place here but just close the board to posting as we have done in the past. Both Vbulletin and IPB are able to import messages from SMF -- unlike our previous moves from non-standard boards where importing the message base wasn't even an option.

CauldronMUX: will remain our main chat area. We will update the MUX software and try to make the starting areas on the MUX much more like a regular chat room. This may involve restarting the MUX completely from scratch. This will be decided by Darkhawk and those who use the MUX regularly. The Hosts aren't chat people so we'll pretty much go with whatever they want. php-based chat rooms (like the old flashchat) are not an option. They simply use too much in the way of server resources -- resources we will now need to run the CMS web site and a commercial message board.

Newsletter: We'd like to revive the newsletter in some form as TC was much more active when it was published regularly. However, it is a pain to produce when we have to constantly beg people to write articles for it. Reviving it may simply not be possible.

Social Network: A number of our members really like our attempts at a TC members only social network. Unfortunately, probably not to the tune of $240+ a year to run one on Ning (which is the only place that really worked for us). I am continuing to look for usable open source (or even commercial) social network software that is fairly spammer-proof, doesn't tax the server too much, and isn't aimed at running a dating site. I'm not having much luck so far.


As you can see, these plans are not yet fixed in stone, but we are to the point where final decisions need to be made and work started. Your input is strongly requested.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How to write a prayer?

This is a very open-ended question, I realize there is no simple "how-to" answer, but I'm never one to turn away other peoples' insight.

How do you write a prayer?

As a bit of background, I need a bit of structure. Not in all aspects of life, but when it comes to my spirituality, I feel like everything's just SO BIG and thankfully my Deities are patient with me as I figure this out. (a very strange analogy comes to mind...my SO paid for a WoW account so I could play it with him and share that part of his life, and when I first started everything seemed so endless and open with no specific point and it drove me nuts. this is kind of the same way, without the "no specific point" bit; it's so endless and open and I'm so small)

I found a couple prayers written by others for Manannan, my patron, and I wrote them in a small little book that I keep with me throughout the day. I wrote a prayer for my cousin's baby when he was nearly dying from severe asthma, but it sort of felt like that wasn't completely my doing, it just sort of happened. What I want to do is write my prayers in this small little book so I have them with me, and I want them to be my own prayers, my own words to the God/desses, not always echoing someone else. (however pretty someone else's words might be...) I write creatively on the side and am definitely my harshest critic, I find everything wrong with every word I write, and it's the same with prayers when I try to write them. I can't shut off my inner editor-critic-snide-little-voice.

So instead of asking how I should write a prayer, I want to know how those of you that do, do it.

And if I have to sit here and flounder until I figure it out, that's fine. I floundered in WoW but have no out-leveled my SO by reaching level 80 before he did
, I'm pretty sure I'll eventually find a groove for prayer that works. I can almost hear Manannan chuckling that how I write prayers doesn't matter to Him; pretty sure He thinks it's silly that it matters to me.

Strange Encounters with Strange Deities?

Out of sheer curiosity, I was wondering if any of you, at any point in your spiritual journey heretofore, have ever stumbled into an encounter or experience with a deity far removed from your typical sphere of awareness? If so, what omens or signs did they manifest for you to latch onto? Also, who was the deity in question and, as a point of comparison, which pantheon do you find yourself most frequently attached to now in the bulk of your practice?

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