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?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Laziness and the Gods

In the In the "Forgetting" Your Deity thread, Arienwen posted...,

...but my own innate laziness at the moment is barring me from remembering to do my daily or even weekly offerings and such for her. I keep saying "Oh yeah, I know I need to do that, but I will totally do it later" and then "later" never actually comes.

I was just wondering how this affects others and their connection with their gods. I mean, are you lazy? Do you put off your offerings? Did you kick the laziness's ass right out of your system? If so, how did you do it?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What sorts of things do you do magic for?

I have to admit the thought of magic has always intimidated me. I've read up a little on it and my HPS and I have talked about it. But when it comes time to do magic, I'm a bit at a loss.

What do I do magic for?

My personal ethics prohibit love/weather/money spells. And I don't find myself needing anything in particular. I've thumbed through spell books to see what sorts of spells are in there but nothing jumps out at me that clicks so I go "oooh, so that's what I can use it for!"

I just don't think I'm recognizing the uses for magic in my life and I think I would if I just practiced more (or any!). But I don't know what to start on.

Any thoughts or advice would be welcome.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Model Train" altars--how close is yours?

While poking around at the Buddhist forum I've joined recently, I came across a discussion of ritual items and altar setups. One of the longer-term posters commented that he'd once been told to be cautious, lest he fall prey to the "model train" trap: putting EVERYTHING he could possibly ever, ever need or want on the altar, always feeling like something's missing or not quite perfect, constantly looking for "just one more thing" to complete the setup.

With a Tibetan Buddhist altar this is a very dangerous slope, indeed. I find myself doing quite a bit of online window-shopping for various items--and I admit, I don't necessarily NEED anything more than what I have, but I would LIKE to have a set of water offering bowls, and a butter lamp, and another set of prayer flags, and . . .

So, is anyone else familiar with this scenario? Is there a "bare mininum" amount of items that's acceptable (either to you, or to your deities or practice)? Is less better than more? Or, is more More MORE required?

I'm curious. I never felt this way when I was Wiccish. Weird, that.

"Hecate is a Crone Goddess" and Other 'Myth'conceptions...

I wasn't sure whether to put this in "Alternate and Revisionist History" but this is a companion thread to my "What are some doozies you've heard?" over in that section.

What strange/odd/blatantly untrue things have you heard regarding the gods?

For instance, there's the 'Hecate is a crone goddess,' one that seems to annoy Hellenics everywhere, but one I've seen is that Hecate is a goddess of cats, and the story that is cited is when she (or another goddess) turns a sorceress into a cat as punishment for her wicked ways (a variation is that she took pity on the poor animal and adopted it as her own). I was curious to see if this story had any basis in textual sources, so I looked it up at Theoi.com:


Now, what is interesting is that the word that is commonly accepted to mean "cat" is here translated as "polecat", which aren't cats, they're weasels! I guess "goddess of weasels" doesn't sound as glamorous or "witchy" as "goddess of cats".

Off the top of my head, I've heard:

"Freyja is a mother goddess/an earth goddess/a sun goddess/a moon goddess."

Everyone, just because a goddess has children doesn't mean that they are automatically a mother goddess type. I can see Freyja being an earth goddess in a sense, but not say, in the way that Gaia is an earth goddess. It is a stretch to think of her as a sun goddess, IMO, since Sunna already fills that role, but I can't for the life of me connect her to the moon (or celestial phenomena in general).

"Inanna/Ishtar is a goddess of peace." This is one that one of my professors told us about as part of a discussion on feminist interpretations of the Goddess/goddesses in general, and even then it seemed...odd. It sounds almost Orwellian: "War is Peace" and such.

I've also heard variations of "Pan isn't a lustful god." Really? So what was he doing chasing all those nymphs around? Let me guess, it was a friendly game of tag, right?

When deities DON'T like your offerings?

Have you noticed anything when the deities your offering, don't particularly love what your offering? I just noticed this tonight, I was trying to offer some lavender incense that I had just bought to Aphrodite, and after 5 consistent tries it absolutely would not stay lit. I use incense all the time, and this has never been a problem. Perhaps Aphrodite doesn't like lavender incense? Anybody have a similar problem, or a story to share?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pagan Periodicals

I subscribe to ADF's Oak Leaves ($20/year for members & $25/year for non-members) but since it is a quarterly publication (and I am working my way through the archived PDFs of back issues) I am curious as to A. What other publications are out there and B. Any reviews or opinions regarding them.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Advice on how to say a Big thank you to my patrons and those who have helped me.

So... for many years my husband and I have rented and we have wished to own our own home. We had been very hard up financially, could only afford to rent a very small and unsuitable housing commission house and had less than desirable neighbours. Let's just say things have been hard. We wanted to own our own home, to provide stability for our young children, 2 of whom have autism, to have a place for our own.

This year a house went on the market at a very cheap price, that was within our budget and not something that would be available again in the foreseeable future. The house was for sale through a Government funded program to help low income earners to buy a property. There are not many of these houses available and not many would ever be suitable for our family. The way I saw it, this was going to be our only chance for a long time.

So, I discussed this at length with my patrons and asked for their help. I also performed what I personally consider for me, a big ritual, asking for help to purchase this house, how it is perfect for us, why it is so important to us etc. etc. I asked everyone who I had ever had help or advise from and the angels and patrons whom I work with regularly and my deceased relatives and ancestors. I was open and honest about my needs and feelings.

I was granted the home loan and the application to purchase the house was successful. I knew in my heart it would be, but it was a long and drawn out process, there were a few problems along the way, but they were all sorted out. I know how hard 'they' worked to get my family this house. I know what a big deal it is. I have never asked for anything like this before and it was a big ask.

So, my point is. I have been given a Huge gift. And, it is Very important to me to say thank you in the right way. Yes, I have said thank you many times, but I want to do something special. This deserves something special. I am planning on a big ritual when we move into the house to say thank you. I'm just not sure about how to go about it and what things I can be doing to say thank you.

I do not follow a specific path as such. I believe in a God and Goddess, separate from others and also the existence of many other Gods and Goddesses. I also believe in an all encompassing universal "one" or "Almighty" (but I don't mean God and I don't really understand it, just that it is there). My main patrons are Artemis, Dionysus and Aurora. I have also been touched and helped by many others, not just Greek. I also have regular contact with many Angels and Nature spirits have been known to show up too. I do not choose who I work with, they have always chosen to come to me. So my thanks is very important in that they have gone out of their way to be a part of my life. And. I have asked them for something huge and they have granted me my wish.

What I am asking advise about is how do I say thank you for such a huge involvement in my life from everyone. I would like to hear your experiences. How do you say thank you for Big things you have been granted? What offerings, rituals etc do you use? What ways other than a ritual do you say thank you? Are there specific ways of thanking that might be expected or preferred? I am open to anything, any suggestions and would love to hear from others' experiences. UPG is important.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


I know, I know; everyone's going to say there's hardly any thing known about him in regards to rituals and worship and such like. Or at least, there's nothing like that found and documented by academia.

Thing is, I'm not looking for for that. I've already researched most of it - been at it for months since he smacked me, and smacked me hard. Actually he's sort of been around since I can remember, I just never really noticed or paid attention, and I guess he got tired of it?

Anyway, I'm looking more for UPG. What other people have done for rituals/worship, how it worked, what happened, experiences with him in general. Anything would be awesome, really!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Heathen Druid...is it possible?

Okay, I'll try not to ramble, but it's been an issue of late. Ever since I've know that I was Pagan, I followed a pretty hard core Celtic Path. A few years ago, I found ADF and realized I'd been following a druidic path as well, without knowing it. Everything felt right, spiritually. Then a few weeks ago as I pondered why I had not ever felt connected with any of the Celtic Deities, I started reading on Norse Gods. And I felt that connection. That moment kind of rocked my 'lil world, to say the least.

Anyway, the core of my post is I'm caught betwixt and between. There are a few things I don't really agree with within the Heathen community, well at least with what research I've done online and there's things from the druidic path that I really am stuck on that differ from what I've read on the Heathen sites. Is it possible to be a Heathen Druid? I know I've had a few folks tell me to just honor the Norse Gods instead of the Celtic Gods, but for me that can be like having a party for a Vegan friend and serving nothing but meat. *shrugs* As well, I know my path is my own, but even within Paganism, there are things that just do not mix well. Maybe I'm too much of a Traditionalist for my own good.

Where to start with Feri?

I'd like to learn more about Feri and would appreciate recommendations for the fundamentals. I'd like to get a stronger sense of whether or not it's for me before I seek a teacher or class.

So far, I'm halfway through "The Spiral Path," but the book reads to me like Starhawk's own eclectic blend of Feri and other traditions, techniques, and mythologies. Am I misunderstanding the text, and this is actually the best Feri starter book?

I've also read through feritradition.org site and am beginning to check out the external links one by one. I see a book listing on the site, but would like to start with something straightforward like Cunningham's "Solitary Practitioner," if such a thing is even available, and don't know which (if any) of these books is like that. Is this site (feritradition.org) credible, and/or are there other credible sites I should look at?

Any help with Feri-specific starter resources would be greatly appreciated.

ADF Experiences?

I've been poking about the ADF site and am intrigued. I'm interested in learning more about it and some of the things I've read seem to fit quite well with what I believe.

I know there are a few people here who are members of ADF and I wondered if you would mind telling me a bit about your experiences with them? I might be interested in joining but I'd like to know a bit more first. Any insight would be welcome.

How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?

I'm a master of delicate phrasing, I know (also fond of nice globs of sarcasm) but this is a serious question. How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly? When your job sucks, your parents decide to go crazy, the kids are climbing higher up the walls then normal, hubby's a jerk, wifey's got the super PMS all the time, and living under a rock in Siberia is starting to look like a lovely real estate prospect? When you get the religious blahs, the mystic doldrums, and the gods you used to feel so close to seem to have instituted the Private Bubble Rule?

For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

What books started you on your current path\help support it?

As I recall, we had a thread resembling this on SMF, so I felt the need to respost it with some tweaks. What books started you on your current path or help your practice it. The book that first propelled me to where I am was (promise not to laugh) Caesar: Let The Dice Fly by Colleen McCullough. It was excellent and propelled me to look further into the man and his deification.

The book that aids my practice is: A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith. It has an excellent section on prayers, their history and underlying theology, etc. followed by 200+ pages of prayers. I take all my evening prayers from said book; except the prayer addressed to the Divus Iulius, which I composed myself.

So what about you all?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What do the Gods do for you?

Maybe a bit of an irreverent question! But I've noticed a few threads asking, more or less, "What do you do for your gods, what gifts do you offer them?" So I thought I'd turn it on its head.

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist)?

Creating a "Tradition"?

How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?

I've been turning this over in my head for a while. My own tradition of eclectic Wicca allows for a lot of freedom in creating a personal path... which got me thinking that if I intend some day to lead my own coven, I should be thinking about what makes a good tradition, not just for me, but for a group.

I know Shad's done this with her Flamekeeping... anyone else got any insights to offer?

Discovering What's Missing?

This thread in the Reformed Kemeticism SIG, particularly Devo's first post, got me thinking: Recently, I've been suffering from a spiritual block. I recognize the connection I have with my Gods, but I don't have the motivation to practice as I want to in the typical Kemetic sense. Meanwhile, I have always been incredibly moved by the power and energy I feel around Shinto shrines. After studying in Japan, I returned home with a renewed respect for and interest in the pervasiveness of Shinto in the Japanese culture.

While suffering this spiritual block, I thought that if I forced myself to make offerings and do ritual as I've always done them, I'd break through the block. However, Devo's post made me wonder if following a different path is actually the answer, and if it could help me find what I feel is missing.

I'm not sure what I'm asking in this thread. I guess, if anyone has felt this way before, what did you do? I'm not looking to leave Kemeticism; I love my Gods and my Patron especially. Yet I feel like Kemeticism is not inspiring me to put that spirituality and love into practice.

Hera and the days of the week

As I said in the "What practice looks like?" thread, I'm not doing any religous practice lately. After reading that thread, I thought I should start doing something again, even if it seems meaningless. And I decided to do something weekly or at least monthly for each of the deities I worship.

I want to do something weekly for Hera, but I've no idea what day of the week would be better for Her. Does any of you have a weekly practice in which you include Hera? If so, which day do you dedicate to Her?

If you don't, but you had to pick a fitting day of the week for Her, what day would it be? And if you do or would have to do something for Her monthly, which day of the month would you choose?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Worship? Honor? Venerate? What?

This jumps off from the "Who do you work with" thread elsewhere, which Sage started over the weekend. In my response there I explained that as a Vajrayana Buddhist, I don't "worship" in the sense that most folks use that term. I honor, yes, I venerate, yes--but I don't worship.

I don't supplicate. I don't pray for guidance, or assistance, or what have you. I chant, to align myself more completely with a given emanation of Buddha (be that one of the 21 Taras, or Avalokiteshvara, or Medicine Buddha, or another). I chant, to focus and center myself in a place of calm. I light candles and/or incense, to honor Buddha's gift of the Dharma. I light a candle for HHDL, the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara and the head of Tibetan Buddhists around the world.

But don't tell me I worship. I know what worship feels like--and this ain't it, as they say.

So--what do YOU do? How do you define your interactions with the divine, for lack of a more comprehensive term?

Altar & Shrine Inspiration & Pics

I am in the middle of moving. Everything I own is packed up and will be being unpacked in my new place over the next week or two. My new apartment is much larger then my current one & so I am hoping to make some extra room for my altar & redesign it as more then a small shelf lol.

I would love some inspiration & ideas. So if anyone would love to share pics or descriptions of their altars it would be lovely. I always find it just amazing the beauty & creativity that go into some altars & shrines.

Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

Note the sarcasm in the title.

I was diagnosed with minor depression last October, but I'm fairly certain I've had it at least since the 10th grade if not since elementary school. Because of this, it's difficult for me to trust myself and the spiritual experiences I have. It's also difficult to sense energy or muster the strength to be open (emotionally, mentally) to any sort of connection. For many years I thought I was doing it wrong, but with the diagnosis of depression I understand it's just a stumbling block in my brain. It's not my fault, and it gets better with drugs and therapy, but it is something I have to be aware of.

Also, it's easy for me to "binge" on energy when I am in the mindset and when all that energy fades away... hello seriously bad emotional state.

I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. How does depression (anxiety, etc.) affect your spiritual life? What obstacles do you encounter, and how do you get around them? Do you find much support from your religious community (both on a local and a broader scale), or is support and understanding hard to come by?

Moving Rituals

So, I am moving at the end of the month, across the country, and I am curious about what moving related rituals and traditions people have, think are cool, etc. (I certainly have some plans of my own, but I'm also open to new ideas.)

In my case, I'm interested both in saying farewell to a place I've lived for 12 years (I'll certainly be back to visit, but it's not the same...) and then putting down roots somewhere new. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to start fresh, and build a life that better fits where I am now, in one tidy swoop, and making the most of that opportunity in as many dimensions as I can.

(I plan to discard lots of physical stuff, to help with that - and while I certainly plan to continue within my tradition, and within the Pagan community, one of the things I'm looking at is whether I want to refocus or rebalance where my time and energy goes, and if so, how. )

Making the Mundane Sacred

I've never been good at keeping up with a regular worship, devotional, or ritual schedule. The closest I come to any religious routine is a quick morning petition of "Bless, guide, and protect me on this day and all my days." I also manage to mark the seasonal changes, but hey, those are hard to miss.

In lieu of regularly scheduled practice, I try to find ways to incorporate the sacred (spiritual, divine, whatever-you-call-it) into my day-to-day activities. My daily walk becomes a time less focused on exercise than on connecting with the local land spirits. Stitches in sewing projects are set to the rhythm of chanted prayers and blessings. Specific flowers and plants are put in the garden as offerings. I think you get the picture.

Does anyone else do this? In what ways to you turn seemingly mundane acts into spiritual/religious ones?

Do you think that this sort of multi-tasking diminishes or enhances your spiritual/religious experience? Should religious/spiritual activities be separated from those that are mundane? Or should just the opposite be true - that we should try to integrate our mundane and spiritual/religious lives as much as possible?

Odin and Freyr: One and the same?

I came across a paper recently that made a case for Odin and Freyr being the same deity. The majority of the evidence, though, related to the similarities between Freyja and Odin. Deities of the slain, seidhr, valkyries. Since Freyr and Freyja translate to Lord and Lady, could Odin have been the intended lord?

Also take into consideration the mystery surrounding the connections between Frigga and Freyja.


Who do you work with?

Because I never tire of hearing about people's divine relationships. Which deity or deities do you work with closely or worship? (This can also expand to any type of spirit like a loa or bodhisattva, so don't feel left out if the guy/gal/other you work with isn't technically a deity.)

Primarily I work with Brighid with a few other Celtic contacts (namely Manannan and sometimes Danu). I've also started exploring Buddhism and think Kwan Yin is a pretty neat lady. And though I'm no longer Hellenic in practice, Dionysus will always always always have a special place in my heart as my first Pagan deity - I even think he reached out to me before I figured out Christianity wasn't my home.

What Pagans and Christians Can Learn from Each Other

At the end of June, I had the opportunity to attend the Wild Goose Festival down in North Carolina, a festival of progressive and emergent Christians interested in exploring social justice, peace, art, interfaith dialogue and Celtic spirituality. A friend of mine, the author Carl McColman (who used to be a Pagan and has since converted to Catholicism and studies as a contemplative and lay-monk) was one of the presenters at the festival, and one of the head organizers of the event was Gareth Higgins, who ran a Celtic Spirituality & Peacemaking retreat in Northern Ireland that I attended last summer.

All in all, the event was really amazing, and even laid to rest my anxieties about being pretty much the only Pagan (other than my partner Jeff) among 1500+ Christians. Since getting back home, I've been thinking a lot about my experiences from the festival and what it taught me about the places where Pagans and Christians (especially progressive and emergent Christians) can really benefit from interfaith conversation with one another.

So I decided to write a 3-part essay about the topic! I just posted the first part of the essay to my website, "What Pagans and Christians Can Learn from Each Other." In short, the three things I looked at were:

1. Pagans can share with Christians a deeper understanding of the role of nature, wilderness and wildness in the spiritual life.
2. Pagans can remind Christians to view time as a cyclical dance, and not simply as a linear history.
3. Pagans can help Christians revive and restore a sense of enchantment and value in ritual and religious aesthetics.

I wanted to invite TC folks to check out the essay (here) - hopefully it'll spark some good conversation and discussion! I think it's really important for Pagans to realize that not all Christians are the conservative/fundamentalist type. (One thing that really amazed me, for instance, was that the Publicity Coordinator for the festival found out I was coming, and bragged about it on their Facebook and Twitter pages. You know we're making progress when a Christian festival is excited about being "cool enough" for Pagans to attend. )

Anyway, I plan on writing two more parts, "3 Things Pagans Can Learn from Christians" and "3 Things Pagans and Christians Can Work On Together." I can post links to those parts once they're up, if folks are interested!

Grave Tending as a Ritual

I was wondering if anyone has ever tended graves as a family tradition or has incorporated it into a form of ancestor veneration. What sorts of things do you do at the gravesite? How often and when do you go?

I grew up in a family that doesn't visit graves. They believe that once the soul leaves the body, the place where the remains lay is just an empty spot so there's no point in going. I've been feeling a strong inclination to visit and tend the graves of my recently deceased relatives though as a way to honor them. Something inside keeps insisting that the bones of my ancestors are sacred and if possible, I should go and visit.

I'd really appreciate any experiences folks are willing to share. I've never visited cemeteries except at burials and touring historic ones.

Our New vBulletin Message Board is Open

Our new vBulletin message board is open! Come visit at:


Note: That's ecauldron.com not ecauldron.net.

Our old SMF board is in maintenance mode with a link pointing to the new board. The old SMF board will reopen "soon" in read-only mode so that its 275,000 or so messages are still available: there is a lot of good information there. But for now, please visit our new vBulletin message board is open! Create an account and join our community.

Monday, July 04, 2011

New vBulletin Message Board Open to Current Members

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's new vBulletin message board is now open for current members of our SMF message board to recreate their accounts and start making the new board home.

If you are a current member of our SMF message board, read this message in our private member's board to find out where to go: IMPORTANT: Current Members may begin creating accounts on the NEW BOARD.

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