Monday, December 31, 2012

Future: for you, is it predestined?

I'd like to hear your oppinions about the future. Is there any predestination, in your oppinion, to what will happen? Or does destiny really exists, but it changes as our behavior and actions changes? Or is it completely inexistent? You can tell other things related to your belief about it too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Can't Find the Right Deity?

I wasn't really sure if this would fit better in the 'Gods/Goddesses' section, but since I'm a beginner to this, I chose to post it here.

So, as the title says, I can't find the 'right' deity. Actually, I can't contact any deity at all.

I'm all new to this, and I have no one to ask but you (people on this forum). That being said, I hope that someone more experienced can help me. I'm having a hard time over here.

I was really interested in Greek mythology, because from an early age I loved to read about these deities and their myths. Plus, I'm Greek with a passion for anything ancient (and from that period), so it seemed right.
But, I don't know where to start from! I mean, I feel that some deities appeal to me more than others, but is this enough? For example, I have a strong feeling for Dionysus. Is it because my name's Ariadne? Is it because my favourite musician was compared to Him? I don't know. But there's also Aphrodite, and I feel drawn to Her as well. As a matter of fact, I tried to build a relationship with Her. I made a shrine for Her, put seashells on it, a pink-redish candle to represent Her and I make daily offers to Her. I also gave Her a little gift, a pair of pearl earrings.

The bad news, though, is that I don't know if all these are being recognised. She didn't give me any signs, didn't contact me in any way. Does that mean that I should be patient and wait, or that she just doesn't like me and I should move on?

Also, what kind of contact should I expect from a deity? Like, seeing them in my dreams talking to me? Seeing them while meditating? And what kind of signs? But what if I only see signs because I want to see them but they're not really there?
I'm so jealous (in a good way) of you who have a strong relationship with your deities.
I'm sorry if this is too big or I have spelling mistakes (I'm still learning the language), but I'd really appreciate your help.

I'm kind of lost and I don't know how to find the 'right' deity for me, nor how to build a proper relationship with them.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Elements Connected With?

How do you find out which element you are connected with? I have done my spiritual journey tarot reading with my faery wicca cards and they mentioned air and water. Anny suggestions of how to find out?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2012 (December 21st)

Hey, what is this thread? The night beginning at sunset on Friday, December 21, 2012, 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]

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Celtic Research Suggestions?

I have been doing a little bit of religion exploration lately and i am leaning heavily towards Eclectic Wicca for its Ethics and Magic views. As far as spirituality goes I'm looking through different pantheons to see what Gods i can associate with/ get general knowledge about. I know Greek/Roman and Egyptian gods fairly well, but when i was researching Celtic Gods (I have heavy Irish/Scotch/British heritage) I seem to have hit a brick wall. Can anyone suggest a few decent books or websites that i can mine for information?

By Blood or by Deed?

Last night my friend said something in passing that made me think. She had been asked why she was so focused on her genealogy and heritage. Her reply was that it gave her something to research and often times she came across cultural details that she found attractive and that she may want to research and get into.

We wound up further discussing the topic and I wound up with the following questions based off her answers:

Do you think that heritage is a determining factor in your practices and actions even down to your religious beliefs?
As in do you think that because you have a lineage tied to a certain practice or belief/system that you should be a part of it?
Conversely does a lack of a blood tie exclude you from that heritage or system?

So for instance could I being a black male with no notable ties to Celts or such practice a Celtic Religious system and be accepted by virtue of my sincerity alone and a belief and adherence to the practices of that system or would such a thing be frowned on?

I am very comfortable with my religious views and spiritual path and I don't think that blood, so to speak, ties a person to a particular path. I am going to go old school and say " By blood or by deed " I concede that an ancestral tie can be a good factor in a choice like that but I think a person legitimately dedicated to and interested in a religion should be just as welcome to be a part of it.

I hear about cultures and people being exploited by outsiders using their ways and traditions and I have to wonder if that his a blanket accusation. On the one hand there could indeed be someone exploiting the culture, on the other they may be people seriously interested and dedicated to following the tradition or practices.

Away from both of these are those who take portions of the practices and adapt them to suit their purposes. They tend to be accused of diluting the culture or perverting it. To me so long as they aren't claiming to be a practitioner of said culture it's all good. For instance an eclectic Wiccan taking a portion of a Druidic ceremony and tweaking or altering it to suit a ritual they are performing is all gravy so long as they admit it and don't claim it is something it isn't.

Whats the consensus on the whole thing? Thoughts, feelings, experiences?

Difference Between Aimless Wandering and Spiritual Discovery

Lately I feel like I've been wandering aimlessly on my spiritual path. I've ended up discarding virtually all of my practices except for Kemetic stuff related to Bast.

I've also started to branch into other religions again, look around, see what there is. Not necessarily a bad thing. Part of learning when you've only been walking for a couple years, but it worries me. A lot of my spiritual practice involves worshipping deities and I, Miss Wildly Flail Through Everything in Life, worry about stepping on some divine toes. I haven't been hit with an unholy shitstorm yet, but I know it's coming if I keep acting a fool.

So I wonder: At what point can you say you're just fooling around and not evolving? What are some possible warning signs that you're wandering without growing?

How normal is it to strip everything down to the barest of bare essentials, then start over? And how do you pass through numerous theistic traditions without stepping on any divine toes?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Pantheists: Why aren't you a Taoist?

I'm not going to elaborate on the question really, other than to point out that (obviously) if you're a Pantheist as a result of belonging to a specific religion/path that ISN'T Taoism, it makes sense that you aren't a Taoist. I'm more interested in what it is about Taoism that fellow Pantheists find irreconcilable with their beliefs.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Incense Brand Experiences?

I'd be interested to hear about peoples experiences with different incense brands, both stick and cone, although I've only used stick so far. The ones I have are made in India so likely to be available throughout the world. Also if anyone knows what about the brands I have tried makes them either have a good scent or have not much scent and give me a headache.

I can't tell what brand the really cheap crap I got with my holder is. It had no scent at all and barely any actual incense on the stick.

Tridev: the stuff I get from my local $2 shop type store. Comes in a hexagonal box. Good scent from the sticks that spreads through the room. Incense on the stick is black and is thicker than the Kamini ones. There are a good range of scents, I especially love the sandalwood.

Kamini: comes in boxes of 8 sticks. Have interesting sounding scents and got from online pagan store here in NZ. Haven't tried all the scents I got but the ones I have tried so far don't give much scent and make my head hurt. Incense coating on the sandalwood and pagan magic sticks are both yellow and thin.

Darshan: comes in boxes of 8 sticks. Got from the same pagan online store. Have tried the Musk and Vanilla scents, both have a thicker coating of incense on the stick like the Tridev do. Incense coating on the sticks are black. I like these ones and they give off a good amount of scent.

Sai Baba Nag Champa. Not sure which is the brand and which is the incense type. Got them from the local $2 shop type place. They give off a good amount of scent, just didn't like the scent, too overpowering for my liking.

KAYA: from the other $2 shop type place in town. I have the lavender one though I saw 2-3 other scents there too. Similar quality to the Tridev, also has black incense coating on the sticks.

I hope this all made sense. I definitely will make sure I order Darshan sticks next time and no Kamini ones if the other sticks disappoint me and give me a headache too. I wonder if some of them having black coating and some having yellow means anything?

What kind of offeings does the god Apollo like?

I have Apollo as my spirit guide and I love him to death. I think of him constantly . I make him food every night and sometimes get him some pretty gemstones. I really want to know what would be a better offering, I still want to make him food every night but i want to know what he likes. I usually give him a plate of food and sometimes something to drink with it. What offering do you give him if you do? I want to know what he likes.

Time to Learn?

I've wondered how much time others spend learning and practicing, devoting themselves to the "homework" of spirituality. For very specific reasons, I find it hard to spend time reading about how to do X ritual or Y spellworking, to concentrate on my spiritual life with [insert life here]. Though I know that " a little a day keeps the funk at bay" I feel that if I can't devote full attention to what I'm doing, I shouldn't be doing it. That it'd be an insult to the gods to just "go through the motions" each day. I guess I'm wondering, how do you learn?

Do you sit down for X hours before bed/ in the morning?
Do you read and study your craft, or are you purely hands-on practitioner?
Do you practice your craft nightly/weekly/monthly/holidays-only?
Do you study on nights you practice, or immediately put your studying into practice?
Do you have a teacher to help you? A partner to work with? A group?
Were you raised in a spiritual household, or are you finding your way on your own?
How long have you been on your current spiritual path / working with the system you use today? How long have you been studying your current craft?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mental Illness and Religion

How do those of you with mental illness balance it against your beliefs and religious/spiritual practice?

For example, I also have OCD and my attempt to convert to Catholicism triggered it massively. The combination of the focus on sin, my disagreements with church teachings on things like lgbt issues, my inability to be monotheistic and all the religious ritual made things very ugly for a long time for me, and I'm still trying to undo the damage.

I'm being very, very careful to analyze my OCD and the role it is playing in my spiritual life now, so that I can nip any future issues in the bud, and I don't have the conflict of beliefs anymore, but I'm still incredibly anxious that I will set things off again somehow.

How do you get past these sorts of problems?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Cultural Weave: How to Use It, How to Address Its Weaknesses

Inspired by the ongoing "Celtic Shamanism" thread, I figured I'd take this over into this space for some practical deconstruction.

As I said over there, every culture has its things that it's good at and the places it tends to fall down, and thus everyone has to work through that matrix, learning how to use its strengths and balance its weaknesses accordingly.

So I thought I'd start up a discussion about the contexts of cultures-of-origin, and how to build effective mystical practices that take those contexts into account. I know many people are not coming from cultures-of-origin in which mystical practices are accepted/common/etc., which is one of the common hurdles.

So where are people coming from? How have people utilised that? And where do people tend to run aground? Let's talk about this.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Problem with Qabalah in the Tarot

I've been working with tarot cards on and off, for about a year now. I feel as though I have hit a wall. As much as I believe the tarot could be an extremely effective tool for several reasons, I am simply not responding to them mentally. I recently read The 78 degrees of Wisdom, among other books, and I am starting to think that the tarots qabalistic symbolism is...repelling me...I have a bit of a long and arduous history with abrahamic religions and am at the point where they are "salt to my spiritual slug", so to speak. What I am wondering is this; does anyone else struggle with the qabalistic/jewish symbols that prevail throughout the tarot? I hate to give up, but I am pretty sure you can't force divination to work and gain any true wisdom from it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What do Pagan Religions - or You - Think about Vengeance?

I know that doing the bad for other person is something that most pagan religions despise, or merely says it is dangerous for the pratictioner because all of the karma stuff. But what if someone did something for you, and it's questionless that it was bad and intended, wouldn't Karma 'allows' you to retribute? Like a kind of actual balancing between bad and good, because I believe that if someone did the bad for other person it's perfectly fine for the other person to do something bad back at the first one.

Do you think that if one did the bad and is not actually regretful about what he did, he deserves to be punished? I'm an 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth' kind of person, but I'm afraid of the magickal consequences it could happen to me, so I prefer to keep myself informed, or at least hear other people oppinion about this subject: vengeance. When it comes to justice, is it considerable doing the bad back?

[url=]What do pagan religions - or you - think about Vengeance?[/url]

Deity personalities - check on UPG?

Anyone have UPG about gods who are serious-minded versus gods who are more humorous and self-deprecating?

I've only in the past few weeks started making offerings to my gods, praying to Them, etc. I've been really pleased (and actually astonished, really) with the number of Them I've felt a response from.

One thing I'm worried about, however, is how seriously and formally They want to be addressed. I think I have UPG from two at least that They wouldn't mind being gently . . . joked with, I guess? That they wouldn't mind being drawn in cute or cartoonish ways, referred to with sort of kitsch titles, etc.

I am also terrified that I'm getting the wrong impression and will offend Them something awful.


Both Brighid and the Morrigan come across as awfully serious to me; I can't imagine joking with either of Them.

Bast and Nebt-het are . . . not really serious, but a bit more reserved? Both have been friendly but quiet so far.

But Khonsu and Ishtar both seem a lot more comedic, and it's these two I'm worrying about.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pagan Blog Directory

So while checking my blog stats tonight I noticed that my blog had a referral from the "Spiritually Eclectic and Pagan Blog Directory". I hadn't heard of this website before, nor did I know they had pagan blog directory. I was also quite surprised and flattered to find my blog on it. In fact, there are quite a few Cauldronite's blogs on it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Emotions and The Human Condition

As humans, we're "blessed" with all kinds of emotions. Are they just an anomaly of being human, things that we simply have to overcome or learn to deal with?

Or should we be more Dionysian and explore what it means to be human? Or does being human also mean suppressing parts of ourselves, beyond even what culture demands?

Are all human emotions a gift? I know they don't all make us feel "good," but should they all be explored? Anarchy might ensue, but is cultural stability the goal of human-kind? (It might be, for survival's sake, of course.)

Just wondering why we have all these emotions and if there's a "higher purpose" for them. Is it simply a pain vs. pleasure evolutionary drive for survival purposes?

Or are we selling ourselves short in experiencing the human condition?

Spiritual and/or Deity Evolution?

Do you believe that your soul will always be fundamentally the same? Even if reincarnated? Or do you believe in a transmigration of souls, as Pythagoras did or the Mormons or the Buddhists, say?

Were your deities, perhaps, ever beings other than they are now? Do you think that you have the opportunity to be as your deities are?

Wondering if y'all think evolution happens in the spiritual context, not just in our earthly realm.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

What are your Experiences with Magic/Witchcraft?

I'm totally new to the concept of witchcraft/magic, but I've been itching to begin practicing in solitude. However, I'm kind of wondering what risks I take when starting out for the first time...of course I've done some intensive research, but ultimately, you never know what you're doing until you've mastered it. So my question is, what happens when you mess up, and what are some protective measures you take to prevent disaster? I know it all depends on how/what type of magic you practice, but I'm eager to hear about experiences from different ways of practice.

Recommendations for Herb Books?

I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. Wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

If You Witnessed a Miracle, Would It Be Enough to Change Your Faith?

I'm re-reading Stranger in a Strange Land and it got me to thinking.

If you witnessed a miracle--someone walking on water, changing water into wine, raising someone from the dead, hovering or flying, making things/people disappear, etc. (and you were convinced it wasn't a Criss Angel thing)--would that be enough for you to change your faith and follow that person's path toward enlightenment, heaven, etc.?

If you were promised the same abilities/powers/understanding, would you renounce your current faith and beliefs? Even if you weren't promised that you'd get the same abilities/powers/understanding, would you still follow your beliefs or follow the miracle-worker?

Or would you look more at this person as a mutant X-Man type?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is Peace Possible?

And is it a good thing?

Between individuals, neighbors, religions, countries, politicians, forums....?

Evolution happens because of conflict and peace, I'm wondering, would lead to stagnation...?

I want peace with my neighbors, but I come to this forum because of the conflicts. I want to be challenged (not in a personal, spiteful way), but because y'all make me hone my beliefs.

In My Next Life, I Want to Be....

[What/Who and Why?]

...a bear. I want to eat as much as I want, get as fat as I can, then sleep in all winter during the cold times. And if I'm pregnant, I don't even have to wake up to give birth. When I do wake up, I'm all skinny again and my priority is eating again to get fat and sleep in!

Second choice (first choice, really--bear was just for grins and giggles): a raven. Let me fly and enjoy flying. I've watched a lot of birds fly and ravens seem to be one of the few who actually revel in their ability. Ravens can fly and they seem to have a sense of humor. Who needs more than that?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Fear and Trembling

I've been troubled over this issue for the past few weeks and wondering if anybody has any input? The comfort I once felt as a child in the religion of my mother and the explanations given by my father were obliterated once I got a bit older and found the Internet and started consuming non-censored news.

Do you find yourself comforted, in your devotion to the specific Gods or worldview and is this a natural by-product of believing and faith or do you have to continuously work at it? Despite all the bad news we encounter and the struggles of life?

I guess, to put it simply, I'd just like you to explain what it's like to be a theist. And if you were a hard Atheist before, how did you come by to believe in Gods?

Seeing the World Differently

This article on synaesthesia interests me for many reasons, a few concern some divinatory, shamanistic, and magical practices.

I wonder if people are drawn to those three things because they might utilize some synaestetic abilities. And that doing so might be pleasurable on some level even given the difficulties that might be involved.

I also wonder how many who do these things know if they have synaesthesia of some sort or if they don't at all. And how many might have gained it knowingly or unnknowingly by maybe traveling to the uncon frequently. I remember someone on the mystery sig talked about people whose heads are open and was reminded of it reading the article.

The article interests me on a personal level because I have something of this and know I used to have something more too, and I blocked it consciously until I didn't have it anymore. That one is very memorable because it was a public humiliation in fourth grade. Equations were on a chalkboard and we had to go up and solve them in front of everyone four at a time. I'd always just write the answer and not show my work. This was required and I did not understand it, I just knew the answer because I saw it. I was accused of cheating, then of being a smart ass, and then of being insubordinate. So I learned the way they wanted me to put the numbers down. I sucked at that and continued to suck at it through college. Honestly, I didn't even like seeing the answers before being humiliated. I never really thought much of math prior to the fourth grade. Seemed like busy work. I preferred worms, fishing, imaginary friends and considerable amounts of dirt. It was easy even preferable to block.

What do you think about this kind of thing? Do you think misattribution of cause could lead some to think they were/are being given divine information? What if Melody of channeled gem book fame shroomed her way to synaesthesia concerning energies and rocks? What if right brained uncon functions are capable of being affected by synaethesia? Could being a spirit worker, a healer or a diviner one day be a job classification with a general public legitimacy beyond "for entertainment purposes only" in the fine print? (Assuming there would be a way to prove abilities.) How cool would that be? Or how awful?

I know it is a silly game of what ifs, but if you have the time and want to ponder it or share any thoughts, I'd read 'em and appreciate 'em.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Acceptance: Where Do You Draw the Line?

The Pagan community is strong on accepting people as they are and treating them as they wish. In general, I think that's a good idea. However, where do you draw the line?

For example, I think it is fine to treat people as whatever gender they say they are because there is real world "scientific" evidence that physical characteristics do not always map to gender one for one.

However, what about these cases?

1) Person A claims to be of religion X and wishes to be treated as such, but obviously totally ignores the known tenets of that religion. Should everyone treat them as religion X? What about other members of religion X?

2) Person B claims to really be another species even through they are obviously biologically human.

3) Person C claims to be the reincarnation of historical person X and expects to be treated like they were person X (e.g. their statements about what person X believes/knows accepted, etc.)

4) Person D claims to be the current incarnation of an ascended master, demon, angel, deity, etc. and believes he/she should be treated as such.

Where (and why) do you draw the line on acceptance issues like these?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tarot Vs Oracle Cards

I own the Goddess Tarot cards (they are BEAUTIFUL!!) However I was in my local book store looking and I noticed these cards, okay well they fell off the shelf at me, but they are Oracle cards. I know I should have bought them but I got concerned because I am unaware of the difference betweeen Oracle cards and Tarot cards. Can someone help me?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Do Deities Get Lonely?

I was reading someone's blog a couple days ago (can't remember whose, otherwise I'd link to it) talking about how some forgotten or nearly forgotten deities--deities who may have had a large cult back in their day--must be lonely. This person then went on to say that saying a prayer or making an offering to a deity like that would really make his or her day.

My kneejerk reaction was LOLNO, but now I'm not so sure. I doubt a god or goddess experiences loneliness in the same way we humans do, and there are still other deities to hang around with. But to say they don't get lonely at all in any way, shape, or form may be going a little far, at least in my mind.

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?

I sometimes get that impression from Atum--an impression of loneliness. Maybe "loneliness" isn't quite the right word, though. Maybe it's a desire to be contemplated. Dunno. That would be a topic for a different thread.

So, what do you think?

Is it correct to say that all religions have the same goal?

Not sure where to put this. I understand the question to be a philosophical one. Not one of practicing religion.


Oct 17, 2012 The Kansas City Star



A.M. Bhattacharyya, an active member of the Hindu community: From the perspective of Hindu faith, the answer is "yes." Let us explore the purpose of a religion in our lives.
The real purpose of religion is to raise our spiritual awareness, which helps build compassion, kindness, purity, self-control and a sense of service to fellow humans, and it takes us to a higher and higher level of spiritual wisdom, ultimately to the realization of divinity within.

Thoughts, comments?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is Happiness Important?

Just read a Reader's Digest Article on Happiness and it got me to thinking (again!).

Is the emotion of happiness the be-all/end-all of life? If you asked folks 60 years ago if they were happy, I think most would've answered, What does that matter? As my dear departed father used to often say, A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Happiness was a luxury.

Can you be satisfied with life without being happy? Are there other emotions that are just as satisfying as happiness? i.e. in the article, interested, was brought up. I, personally, am a very interested, curious person who has happy moments.

I'm generally a positive person, but I don't think that's the same as being a happy person.

Even our constitution, the Pursuit of Happiness, makes it sound like we're chasing butterflies with a net. Calvin and Hobbes had a a little series about happiness that was spot-on.

Again, just thinking and wondering. I'm an old lady of 47 and I wonder if a lot of younger folk's depression is because they feel they haven't achieved happiness and the opposite of happiness is depression.

This little article was a real eye-opener for me and I hadn't really thought about it before. Pele is my patroness and she definitely never promises happiness, but there is a huge sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that I get working with her.

Maybe happiness is over-rated...?

What If Your God/desses Asked You To Do Something Contrary To Your Nature?

I just ran into a reference of Abraham being told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and it got me to thinking.

If it'd been me, my response would've been, Really? Then I would have removed all symbols of that deity from my house and hired an exorcist to remove all traces of any energy left behind. And when the angel appeared and said, Just kidding! I'd've said, Haha, very funny, and slammed the door in their face.

Now that's extreme but it got me to wondering how far we, as pagans, will go to follow the "laws" of our beliefs in order to please/placate our deities.

Would any of you step outside your normal values if you truly believed your deity was telling you to? Or would you jump ship, like I said I would in my little farce?

Do we only hang with our deities because we think THEY think like us? Or are we true servants and should do as our God/desses bid?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Towards Daily Worship

I'd like to start doing the type of daily morning/evening devotions that I've noticed a lot of people on this forum do, but I have no background whatsoever in this sort of thing and I'm floundering around a bit trying to figure out where I should even start.

Can anyone who does devotions of this sort tell me how you got started? What did you begin doing first? (I'm pretty eclectic at the moment at least, and most of the gods I feel drawn to are either Celtic or Egyptian, but I think this is a general enough question that advice from someone of any path would help)

First I feel like I should buy a small table and an altar cloth and set it all up so that I can have an altar area. But what would be the point in that I still have nothing to put on it and nothing to do with it? Or I could start collecting images of the gods --- but my room is awfully messy, and so I don't want to do that until I have somewhere to put them. I don't want them to sit on my dirty floor and get trampled by my roommate. Or I can start collecting relevant hymns and prayers before objects . . . but not having an altar space and so forth would make it difficult to do offerings, wouldn't it?

I keep going around in circles like this, and it's really frustrating to me because I do feel like this is something I should be doing, but I can't figure out how.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Entering Meditation

Meditation has always fascinated me. Partly because there are so many different ways, and partly because it's so hard for me to get to that state.

Some people clear their mind of all thoughts, others let the thoughts run wild, and still others create an entirely new place.

I'm curious what/how it's like for some of you folks get to your meditative state. For the purpose of this thread, I'm not interested in "this one time" type of things. Rather, I'm more interested in how things normally tend to go.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Are Gods Prejudiced?

Are the Gods (in general) prejudiced about things like race, sex, place of birth or are these generally things their human followers have projected upon them? Why do you believe as you do?

Note: while I am sure there are some exceptions no matter which side of the question you come down on, I am asking about what you believe about the majority of deities -- not the exceptions -- here.


I read something about how it's good manners to leave something as an offering when you take something from nature...I like to pick up little stuff like stones, acorns, leaves, etc, and I was wondering what is appropriate to leave behind? I also like to go outside to meditate, especially by a stream or in the forest, and I feel like I should leave something by way of thanks...but again, not really sure what. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Ultimate Purpose or Goal in Your Religion?

Does your religion have an ultimate purpose or goal? If so, what is it? (eg, conversation of your higher self/ escape the cycle/ conquer the world?)

Do you agree completely with this goal? Where do you differ if you do?

If your religion doesn't come with a goal ready made, do you have a goal of your own that you consider to be related to your spirituality or religion?

If you don't have a goal, how do you feel about this? Is it okay to not have goals, or is it something we should strive to have?

Pagan Etiquette Pet Peeves

What bits of Pagan-related etiquette do you wish more people paid attention to, or were better known? I'm thinking things along the line of "don't touch someone else's religious jewelry without asking if it's ok" or "don't pester someone with questions about what their practices are if they're obviously trying to do something else" or whatever.

Pagan Heretics?

Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan religion? If a member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

Are Pagans Interested in "Fictional" Christian Saints?

The proper adjective ought to be "mythological," but I hope you all understand me. If not, I'm talking about saints deemed by historians to never have existed. St. Barbara, for example.

The reason I bring the matter up is that my gnosis tells me these are "new gods," or, as I like to say, to differentiate them from the DC Comics characters, Niwe Godas, in Anglo-Saxon.

Well, I came across an article in an archaeological journal that gives a list of female Anglo-Saxon saints that never existed. There are not that many. Most saints were real people, optimistically, though, maybe ten percent (just whipping it out there, never counted them all yet) don't have enough evidence either way or are pure myth.

I'm wondering if anyone is interested in the list I found, with notes on their legends and name meanings I was able to hunt down. Is this something pagans are interested in?

Book of Shadows: How did you do it?

I recently just stared my Book of Shadows and was wondering about everyone else. When did you start yours, what does it look like, is your categorized or a cluttered mess, did you type it or is it hand written?

Mine is actually more like a field journal. It has a leather cover with a leather strap that wraps around it to keep it shut, and filled with 200+ pages of parchment, I wrote mine out by hand and it is slightly organized by where I get what information: website, book, article etc.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Bringing up Pagan Children?

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?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Relationship Non-Negotiables in Fairytale

Well, this tale might not have actually involved a fairy. I forgot where I read it, since what she was, didn't seem to be the main point. Or maybe there were variations of the tale, one with a hulda, maybe, another with a fairy, maybe another with an undine.

But, the template of the story is something that I've found some comfort in lately.

Once upon a time, this mortal human man proposes to this magical otherworldly person. She presents to her would-be husband, the condition that if he strikes her more than twice? Then she must return to the otherworld. (I'll just call her a fairy.)

She fit in quite well with the people in this world, for the most part. The lesser part that didn't, was demonstrated one day that she and her husband had house guests, and for no discernible reason she halted her hostess duties to just stare out into space. (I remember this detail well, because I do that sometimes and I'm human.) Irritated, her husband struck her to get her attention.

At another time, they were at a funeral, and for no discernible reason she burst out laughing. Humiliated, her husband struck her again, and at that she sadly told him that was the second time he'd struck her. If he struck her once more, as per their bargain, she would have to leave.

And of course he did strike her a third time, although I don't recall exactly what the situation was. Maybe it was that she started weeping for no reason at all or when everybody else was happy-- for which striking her would really paint the human spouse as a capital-a arsehole and I would have left if that were the first strike.

I recently heard of this relationship coach/counselor, David Steele, who proposed (what was news to me, but rung true all the same) that we all innately have non-negotiables. That is, an aspect of another person that, if absolutely everything else in both your lives were utterly perfect, except for that, you would still leave. Most people just never learn to articulate them, or were never challenged into defining them... it's not that across the board people with non-negotiables are just intolerant and arrogant.

And I thought of the fairy woman in the story, how she definitely knew her non-negotiables and could articulate them. Physical violence: non-negotiable at this specific certain point. Perhaps this wasn't magic after all, unless you count the kind of magic from knowing who you are.

So, Steele's idea seemed to be that, everybody has these requirements-- and they're different for everybody, some people actually won't leave if they're abused by their spouse or partner, because it's negotiable for them, and that part of their nature shouldn't be judged harshly-- neither should people who theorize their non-negotiables, but find it negotiable in practice; or those who discover non-negotiables in the course of the relationship that they hadn't mentioned before because they just didn't know it themselves-- But once you know what your non-negotiables are, (says Steele) it's really best to hold out for somebody who is 100% compatible on that level. That was a comfort to me, to believe that we are all under this sort of magickal contract, of our own character and nature, at a vital level.

On another level, though: compromise. What I saw in the fairy tale was that for a time, physical safety seemed more of a need for the fairy than a non-negotiable. Steele defined needs as, an aspect of another person that you won't leave them over... but remains an issue every time they show it. (Actually, I define need as "you'll die if this is not met" whether you want to die or not, or whether somebody else wants you to live... whereas a person can be literally chained up somewhere to literally force them to live with a non-negotiable, so a need is far more basic than a non-negotiable to me. So, any other word for this definition of need, would be welcome.) This must be the "compromise" that folk wisdom says marriage is all about. Or, the "imperfections" that folk wisdom says we must come to terms with in other people-- and in the world we live in.

Those are different for everyone, too, is what I realized. What somebody sees as a "mere" need, can be non-negotiable for somebody else. And, in a good relationship, a relationship based on goodwill, the needs of both parties would be mutually honored. Too often, I see this minimizing somebody else's need: "You're being ridiculous, you're being oversensitive, this is just the way I am-- it's not horrible, it's not perfect but life isn't perfect and people aren't perfect and you're expecting..." blah. If acceptance of your violent impulsive tendencies are your non-negotiable, then... well, surely there must still be somebody out there for you. But if it's somebody else's need, well, there's this thing called "work" and this thing called "communication" that is also part of a relationship... and the fairy woman did give her husband some leeway to work out his violent tendencies.

(At the same time, I kind of can't help making those minimizations at the fictional husband. He married a fairy-- or a hulda, or an undine. They are weird. They are weird! They're... I mean... someone check my thinking on this? I guess I'm saying that he could have, like, learned more about her culture before signing up to have and to hold-- or, I don't know, just been more chill.)

So, in the fairy tale, I saw the human guy as actually very immature. He knew that he would lose his wife if he hit her, and he did anyway. This seems to stem from the fact that, unlike his wife, he didn't know what his needs were-- let alone how to express them constructively. "I need you to be fully consciously present when we're keeping the household running and when we're hosting my friends." "Right now I really need you to be sensitive and respectful of our attitudes towards death. If you can't, then I'll take you home right now and won't bring you to funerals in the future." Unfortunately, three strikes is still not enough leeway for him to learn.

So... thoughts? Have you heard a version of this fairytale, any different details that would be worth considering from this angle or another angle? How fluid do you believe these categories of non-negotiables and needs really are, in a relationship? Would you share yours?

Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question

I was hiking in the woods up the hill from my house with my children, and we came across not just one but THREE obvious ritual sites (circles of stones, a makeshift altar that had spills of some sort, candlewax, one had an amethyst crystal left behind). All were fairly close to each other. I'd say about 300 yards apart? (My spatial intelligence isn't perfect though, to be fair.)

While we did nothing to these areas, simply walked around them, it had me wondering my dear little newbie mind...

I was mulling over if they were all from one group or one person. Why were they so messy and obvious? Wouldn't one spot end up being a favourite site that you'd come back to again and again?

And if it was several groups, what sort of protocol is there in regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you? Do you move? How much difficulty do suburban/semi-rural people have with finding locations that aren't elbow-to-elbow? And what sorts of apologies/politeness/respect can one offer on the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?

I know I asked quite a variety of questions all on one thread. My apologies if these were answered elsewhere. I did a search, but alas, my brain only thought of a few keywords to use. Thoughts much appreciated.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Online shrines?

What's the general feeling towards online shrines? (as per sample:

I'm in the very early stages of building a website to house my paganism-related stuff - guided meditations I've written, spirituality-themed art, that sort of thing. I'm wondering about linking to ones that are relevant to deities I work with, or ideally building my own so I've got control over quality and fluffiness. Part of me thinks that'd be a sweet little way to show respect, but another part of me is thinking 'ewww, tacky, tacky! What ARE you thinking?!?!' I'm really undecided.

I'm worried it reduces deities to sparkly .gifs and trivialises the whole concept. But, realistically, I spend more time online than outdoors (don't knock it, it's been freezing here since May) so having little digital worship space makes a kind of sense.

ETA: They'd be in addition to whatever real-world work and tribute I'm doing, not a replacement. I also don't know that a deity would consider an online candle or prayer to count as much as a real one or at all..


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hindering Help

So, I've only one IRL friend who is a practicing pagan for nearly 20 years now. She's been a tremendous touchpoint on taking my initial steps on this path, however I'm approaching some things I'm not sure how to process or handle.

I have young children who explore our woods and creekbed, as children are wont to do - including myself! They bring home treasures (stones, fall leaves, etc), and I am perfectly fine with that as long as they are not destructive in their "taking". My friend gasped in horror at this, especially once she knew that many of the stones were quartz. (We live on a large vein of quartz/rose quartz in granite, very common in our area). I view it as a lovely and positive thing they found such treasures that resounded with them, but my friend said we're disturbing and unrooting things that hold tremendous power I simply do not understand.

I do appreciate my friend for some of what she's helped with, but these are moments where I do not feel apprehension of consequence or feel that any disrespect to the earth has occurred. I don't want to offend and want to be open to guidance, especially since I am newly practicing, and moreso if I am erring.

How do you all handle someone who IS a help, an encourager in the path, but also stirs a second guessing in intuition?

Pagan Children in Public

So, recently I went to Pagan Pride Day in Raleigh and was pleasantly surprised at the number of children attending the festival. There seemed to be more this year than last year, and even though I don't particularly want to ever have children... ever... I do think about things from a semi-parental point of view every once in a while. Seeing all of those pagan children made me wonder... do these children deal with being pagan in a public setting, especially in a school setting? In a perfect world, we'd all be able to go to school and talk about whatever deity we worshiped, or what path we followed, etc, etc, but we all know that it's not always possible to do so, because of ignorance encountered by children, teachers, and parents alike who aren't pagan.

I know that not all pagan kids are raised as pagan-- some parents are waiting to let them choose later on in life when they are able to make the decision on their own, but even they must know that their parents are different and are likely to talk about it in school. "My mommy lights incense and stands at her altar and celebrates Mabon!"

How does a parent instruct their child to speak about their or their parents' faith in public settings?

If a parent says, "Don't talk about it" because of safety issues, do they tell the child it's for safety reasons? Does that impact the way the child sees the path their parents are following? (As in, "Oh, it must be a naughty/bad thing, since Daddy says other people might not like it/will get angry/won't understand if I talk about it".)

Older children have a greater capacity to understand why it might not be "okay" to talk about it in some settings, or why they might get the reactions that they do in school/public if they do talk about it, but what about the younger children who don't know that other people might have problems with what is actually not a problem? How do you say it's okay but "not okay" to be what you are?

Or, if you're fine with a child talking about it in public/non-pagan settings, how do you deal with that?

(And I am not in any way saying that it's not okay for a child to be raised pagan or say that they're pagan, or am I advocating that they should be secretive or silent or fearful about saying they are -- but it's not a perfect world, and sometimes, they might have to be.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Failure to Summon Death

A few days ago, on a lunchtime stroll around midtown Manhattan, I passed a pigeon that apparently had been hit by a car. It was flopping around on the sidewalk in a pathetic and hopeless attempt to right its twisted body. A well-intentioned young woman was trying to reach some humane society on her cellphone to come take the bird away to help it, presumably at some imagined pigeon healing center. (It was hard not to guffaw at her naivete.)

I stood there and knew the only thing that could be done for the bird was to end its suffering quickly. No doubt it was my imagination, but at one point the bird stopped flopping and seemed to look right at me with a plea to do just that. I figured it would be fairly simple: take the bird in my hands, try to calm it, and then give its neck a sharp, sudden twist.

I couldn't do it.

My beliefs say the gods are not only around us, but in us; in a very real sense, they *are* us. But I didn't have the heart/courage to summon the goddess of death, to make my hands Hers for a moment, when clearly that was what was needed.

What would you have done in that situation? What would your beliefs have called upon you to do? And in a very real, practical sense, what role does death play in your daily life? What role do you think it should play?

[Like many nature-based pagans, I also believe in the importance of balance to the natural order, including (especially) the balance between life and death. I think some mainstream religions fetishize life. Maybe because we're coming up on the autumn equinox, a time of balance, this incident and its implications keep returning to my mind...]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting chastised for using a money spell?

I'm on another site and someone asked about doing a money spell. Some guy answered that when someone he knew did it, it KILLED the person relative so she could inherit the death money. A few people there say it literally takes away money from someone else because they consider money finite, and one exceptionally nutty lady think's it's a crime the government should look into because if you create money from thin air, it's counter fitting.

I think it's time to find out the thoughts of people here.

I have no problem with a money spell and I don't believe they kill or take away from anyone. I also don't call others immoral for doing them.

Can we get a poll here? I respect everyone's views either way.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

'Pagan Classics' ...

I'm curious about texts and such that were / are so 'iconic' or classic that they've become a sort of assumed factual aspect of most modern Neo-Pagan experiences or have had a vast influence on same.

I'm thinking things like The Spiral Dance or Drawing Down the Moon etc. Good or bad throw 'em up and let me / us know what you think of them, what impact you've observed / experienced, and whether or not they're still useful texts in and of themselves or now serve as a historical point of interest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So when 2012 ends up being bunk - what's next?

So when the Apocalypse/Enlightenment/whatever doesn't come to pass at the end of this year, when's the next major event scheduled? How do apocalyptic dates get chosen anyway? Is there a bubbling cauldron of end-of-the-world events somewhere that gets dipped into every decade or so?

Just curious. I've been bored out of my mind with the "Mayan/Aztec Apocalypse" for years. I wanna hear about invasions of crab people or something like that.

How much god-bothering is "normal"?

I think it’s been pretty well established that not being god-bothered is completely okay and probably the default for most people. But…at what point does the pendulum swing too far in the other direction?

It occurred to me lately that I’m practicing my faith outside any living cultural context and that without that I have no one to check these things against and no clearly defined standards for what is the "norm". So when I read people saying things to the effect of “well, even the god-bothered aren’t god-bothered all the time” , even when they don't follow the same path I do... I'll be honest, it makes me feel really insecure about just how often I hear from them.

Are there any general guidelines here or is it so path-specific that guidelines are impossible? Is there a maximum acceptable level of god-bothered-ness in the community at large? In general, is there a line between “wow, you get a lot of contact” and “wow, you should see a therapist”? And if there is, is there any way to know when you’ve crossed it?

How do you do visualisation if you're blind?

How do you do visualisation if you're blind? Almost everything I've read on the subject of magic says that visualisation is essential.

Monday, September 10, 2012

How do you view the Gods and Goddesses?

How do you personally view the God and Goddesses?

Do you view them as mothers and fathers, friends, or just a
God or Goddess (controlling the universe and all that is in it)? I was reading the thread about people treating the Gods and Goddesses like vending machines, and it got me thinking. I used to be a Christian, and most of the people I went to church with treated/thought of Jesus as a friend and God as a father. So are the Gods and Goddesses supposed to be your friends, or like a mother or father?

How to know which deity to worship ?

How do I know which God/Goddess I am supposed to worship? I feel like most on this forum have one or a few select deities that they seem to spend more time worshiping than others. How did you know?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Ancestors Who Don't Deserve Honoring?

I've been making plans to expand my ancestral altar; it currently is small and only represents general family lines, so I want to honor some of the individuals I know of, such as great-grandparents.

But then I realized: my maternal great-grandmother had 14 children. The first seven, including my grandfather, were by a man who simply got up and left her destitute. The next seven were by her next husband, who refused to raise my grandfather (the eldest) because it was a son that wasn't his. My father wandered between two fathers that didn't want him until he joined the army, underage.

The second husband, I am told, made a very heart-felt apology after my grandfather returned, and amends were somewhat made. He was apparently a very hard worker and a good person, and deeply regretted the mistake. This was from my grandmother, who obviously would know, and apparently felt he was honorable. I would be happy to offer him a place at my altar.

But my actual blood-relative? He was a dishonorable person.

I am sure, of course, that my ancestors are a myriad of good, bad, and ugly, but this has struck me profoundly. I don't ascribe to the Christian concept of forgiveness, but I tend to be a lenient person when I don't have all sides of a story, and I believe that sometimes doing bad things may be necessary. But leaving children destitute in the Depression? I have a hard time justifying that.

Ancestor worshipers: how do you deal with this? Opinions? Options?

Your Perspective on the Devil

Quite simply, what it says on the tin. What's your take on the horny red guy (if that's what he even is)? What myths or other literature do you like that pertain to him? Does he fulfill the trickster archetype in Christian mythology or is he something else altogether? What do the names Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Faust or Satan mean to you? What about the Devil in pop culture (tv shows, books, movies, music, even the tarot cards)? What do you know of the history?

Mind you, I'm mostly interested in getting a good discussion going and also hearing a new perspective while I start thinking about a new creative project. Not so much on devil worship or Satanists and how the pagans will see him in Hell stories but what about the purpose and character of the Devil figure?

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Treating Deities Like Vending Machines

Put simply, lately I've noticed that one of my Facebook friends has this habit of treating deities like glorified vending machines. I'm sure you've all seen this, the sort of person who thinks that deities "owe them" something, the kind that decides that "deity X doesn't love me because they aren't around all the time", the kind of attitude that goes beyond reciprocity and straight into hubris (at least, from where I'm standing). Don't get me wrong, I think if a deity shows no signs of responding to you despite your making offerings, maybe you should look to a different deity, it's the 'me me me' attitude that's bugging the crap out of me! And I just want to say: "Look, some of us don't have the luxury of a godphone. Could you please quit whining about how deity X won't call like they're your S.O. and you reeeeeally want to go out on a date with them? Please?"

The thing is, I don't think there's anything I can do about it (myself and several of our mutual friends have tried talking to this person) but I could use some support. Can anyone relate? Maybe it would just be best if I just unfriended this person.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Fae in human life

I've seen quite a few posters lately talk about their unfortunate interactions with the fae. It seems that many people have experience with them. I grew up out in the country and for the past 12 years have lived in a large city -- and I've never had any such experiences. It makes me curious as to why.

Are the fae geographically restricted? Are there none rampaging around Michigan?
Are the people meeting up with them suffering from over-active imaginations?
Am I just so dense I don't notice the one tap-dancing on my head as I type this?

Any other theories as to why the fae are so prevalent in some areas but not others?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do you believe in coincidence?

Do you believe in coincidence?

Personally, I don't. I believe coincidences are a way for other beings to tell us to wake up or for our own self to tell us to wake up.

Either way, I don't think a coincidence should be ignored.

Protective Properties of Iron?

The recent thread about my daughter's night time "watcher" has prompted a couple of questions about iron. I'm hoping someone will be willing to share their knowledge.

Why is iron considered protective against certain entities?

What kinds of entities does it protect against?

How is it used most effectively -- worn/carried on the person, hung on the wall, etc.?

Does the shape of the iron object matter? If so, what shapes are preferred, what shapes should be avoided?

How pure must the iron be? Does steel (iron + carbon, IIRC) have the same protective properties?

Does it matter whether/how the iron is worked -- e.g., cast vs. wrought iron?

If used as a protective charm, does it require cleansing and/or charging? If so, are there preferred methods?

Are there reasons NOT to use iron as protective charm? Any "side effects", do to speak?

Any other interesting or important tidbits?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are Your Deities Local Residents?

How local are your god/desses? Do they stay within a geographical boundary?

I'm just wondering if they find proof of life on Mars--or not--with the rovers, are there different god/desses on different planets? Are there some universal god/desses?

I'm nowhere near Hawai'i, but Pele shows up in my life even here in Texas. However, I think she is earth-centered. I don't think I would find her on Mars. Don't know, of course, just a gut feeling, but then again I wouldn't be surprised to find her on Olympus Mons, either.

Just wondering about different pantheons and how they exist in a universal vs. global context.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blue Moon

What does the upcoming blue moon mean to you? Do you believe that it holds any more meaning than a full moon?

I cannot find much information on pagan ritual or observance, other than for weather omens and calendar markings.

It appears to be a contemporary observance.

It feels very important to me, so I am going to observe it with a bonfire, a poem of thanks and a wish.

I am still not at the point where I feel comfortable with spells or anything complex. I do feel that I now have some connection, but I am still most comfortable expressing gratitude, letting elements of my alter come to me, and wish candle spells for very important things.

Is anyone else planning anything special for the blue moon?

Three Goddesses -- Maybe

This summer I have had 3 separate possible encounters with possible deities under three separate circumstances. I have do not know if they are deities or which ones if they might be (I have inklings but am mostly unsure) and hope that perhaps the descriptions will kick out some recognition here so I can look into them further.

One - Occurred while doing dream work. I wasn't asleep so my mind popped her out but it surprised me and continued on into actual dream. I was on a log at a beach and a rather giant old woman appeared beside me. She was twice my size at first and I grew smaller by the second. She was a crone and had on peasant clothing, a stave and a bonnet. Her hair peeked out of her bonnet and was white.

I scurried around her and asked if she was a goddess and she laughed heartily. Then she said, "You are one of mine." And she picked me up and swallowed me whole. I went through her innards and held my breath and then she pooped me out whole. She never stopped laughing and then the entire woods behind us started laughing too. Something from the brush said that I smelled like poop as I went to the water to wash off and I said, "Of course I smell like poop. She pooped me out!" But I left with the distinct impression that I was welcome, like I was back home and happy.

Two: This happened during a type of OBE. I felt like I was lifted to a place in the sky very very far away and there I saw an enormous creature that either became smaller or I became bigger because it shrunk to be a part of another creature and that shrunk into a mass of like creatures and then into the crevice of one link in one finger of a woman the size of a galaxy I guess. Bigger maybe.

She was welcoming and kept saying, "I am life. I am everything." And she was brilliant, like with minerals. I first thought it was glitter but it may have been stars. And she was have intercourse at the time and she indicated that with a sweep of her hand as she kept repeating her two simple sentences. She wanted me to see this and that was clear to me. I thought I'd worried about the astral dress code for nothing and she heard me think it and I felt whimsy from her.

For the next several days it felt like she was in my head a bit and showing me things in the world around me. It was so pervasive in my thoughts that I said,"She showed me ..." this or that to others and often during the following days felt as if I was to observe things in nature around me very carefully because I was being taught.

Three: After having a migraine that gave me nausea and kept me awake (very rare for me), I took some ibuprofen or aspirin, don't remember which and went to bed asking that I not be bothered because the pain would prohibit me from learning or behaving in any proper fashion. (Not at all rare for me to talk to whoever might listen.)

I slept peacefully for a few hours but woke in great pain. I tried to go to my circle garden in my head as there I have found peace and energy that seems to heal. But there were trees I had not planted yet there and the rock in the center would not hold me as it kept changing. I stood aside and a young woman appeared there and was working at the rock that had become a stone table for her. She had a chalice and was putting things into it and making motions over it. She did not speak.

She had on a dress, an apron and a kind of half bonnet. Her hair was light brownish and she was fair. When she was done with her chalice she hastend to me and gave it to me by pushing it to my lips. I drank it fully and she seemed satisfied. I sat down on the retaining wall I have yet to build and asked her who she was. She did not answer.

I asked her if she was Hekate and said she didn't look like any image of Hekate that I'd ever seen. Then she morphed into an image of Hekate I have seen on a vase painting. She had two long torches that were unlit and she used them like weapons in her movements which were amusing to me and to her by her expression. She had some good moves. I wiped my forehead and during that wipe she disappeared as did the trees. The stone had returned to a stone and I was sitting in the dirt then back in my bed. I rolled over and slept then. Exhausted.

I woke a few hours later without headache and with a kind of clean slated mindset that I have used to prepare for work. It was quite the revitalizing draft she gave me. I wish I knew who she was or sure. I got an image of a word when I woke that day: "initiation" and it has stuck in my mind and brings about more questions of course.

There have been more strange things that have happened in or around that circle spot too, but too much to go into in full. But one thing might be related is that I buried a candle I'd lit for Hekate there, but after waking that day I went out to examine the spot and it looked like some animal had been digging where I buried the candle under a rock. So moved the rock, dug it up and lit a new one to Hekate inside. Just felt like the right thing to do. But I am still unsure. It was a new moon, and knowing that should firm things up for me, but I am still wonky about it due to the way she appeared at first and her oft reported working form afar. This was not afar. This was friendly and close. All of them were really, friendly that is, even if something strange was going on. They even laughed at my joking.

So this was long. Sorry about that. Anybody have any ideas about any of these entities?

Using Qi Gong, Yoga or other exercises in ritual?

I've kept my Pagan practice separate to my Qi Gong and martial arts practice, but since a friend asked me to provide a little Qi Gong exercise in a ritual I've started to question that separation.

While I understand that both practices can exist as separate 'systems' I also see some merit in including Qi Gong in ritual as a means of achieving a special form of concentration.

Many people do the tree mediation in the opening sequence for grounding which is already a Qi Gong exercise or at least very similar to the Qi Gong exercise called 'standing like a tree'.

For the request from the mentioned friend I chose 'leading the inner fire' (first exercise from the wudang series) which seemed to work well in that particular ritual. I chose that one because it is very simple and helps to focus your own energy very efficiently and also has a slight centering effect.

I wonder if other people have integrated body & mediation exercises in ritual?

Which ones did you choose for which purposes and in which part of the ritual did you use them?

Raising kids Pagan: Are my Fears Normal?

I want to raise my kids pagan, open-minded, accepting, and caring.

The exact opposite of my upbringing.

I have worked hard on not threatening them with spankings, because I would never do that to my kids after what happened to me, and I never followed up on them anyways.
I also don't want my kids to be made fun of for voicing the beliefs I hope to instill, since my town is overwhelmingly Catholic. I also don't want my kids to swing the other way and become uppity brutes who fester ill will toward kids who don't believe the way we do. I was guilty of this as a kid.

Has anyone else worried about this? How did you overcome the fear of not knowing how it all works out in the future?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Actual Meaning Vs. Intuitive Thought in Tarot

So, I'm pretty new to the tarot, and I'm not super psychic or anything, but nearly every time I do a reading with my deck what I feel like the cards should mean pretty much never match what they actually mean. I mean, they aren't polar opposites or anything, my feelings are usually related to the original meaning, but it's always slightly different. Does this happen often to anyone else? How often do you use your own inferences rather than a typical guidebook meaning?

Creation myths and gender polarity

I've recently thought a lot about various circles / wheels / cosmological compasses and the stories they tell about the cosmos and creation.

As most of you know some pagan traditions work with a circle of four elements & directions, which are often put into boxes of male (air & fire) and female (water & earth) attributes.

Some people work with a (neo)wiccan wheel of the year telling the reproductive story of a god and a goddess.

I've recently encountered a newly constructed 'medicine wheel' for European 'shamanic practices' which starts off at the point of 'primordial essence' and then divides the universe into 'primordial god' and 'primordial goddess' as 'primordial polarity' and then tells a creation story of how the elements, the ancestors, the plants, the animals, the humans etc. came into being from the interaction of these two primordial deities...

There are also a couple of ancient creation myths starting off with a god and a goddess...

At this point I wonder if there are any creation myths where the gender polarity isn't the first thing coming out of the primordial soup. Are there any ancient or recent creation stories not starting off with some kind of primordial male and female?

When I look at how science theorizes about the beginning of the universe and the beginning of life the development of sexes seem to be a pretty late step of evolution. Not that I'm an expert, but as much as I know primordial lifeforms where sexless protozoa...and even today there are some lifeforms which don't reproduce sexually.

Maybe the strong notion of primordial male & female is due to the fact that every human child is produced in a sexual way (unless we start to clone people).

But attributing female and male polarities to everything (sun/moon, elements, etc.) seems some kind of overgeneralisation in a human-centric worldview to me.

Does anybody know any non-gender-polaristic creation stories (ancient or recent ones)?

Do you still find gender-polaristic creation stories valid because of most people's 'mun & dad-experience' or would you rather use a creation story for your pagan tradition which isn't gender-polaric?

I was also thinking it would be interesting to write a creation story which adresses different kinds of polarities than sexes/gender and tells the story about men and women in a less binary way, including GLBT+ aspects and also doesn't put gender as the primary boxes everything is sorted into...but at the moment I'm at a loss and looking for ideas and suggestions.

Any thoughts on this?

Friday, August 24, 2012

What the cards tell you (for lack of a better title)

Let's say that you do a reading about what will happen in a certain situation, and the answer is not very good, sorrow, people falling down form towers etc. Now, you manage to avoid this situation. What happens next? I guess the real question is, what can you actually find out through a tarot reading? I'm a fan of the theory that a tarot reading can show you something that can happen at a certain time, but things change, and so you can change the outcome if you change your actions, nothing is static. But, can a situation foretold in a reading still come back and bite you in the ass in the future?

Cauldron Donation Drive -- The 2012 Edition

It's time for The Cauldron's Annual donation drive. (We are on time this year, instead of starting three weeks late as we somehow managed to do last year) When we moved to a VPS a few years ago our hosting costs jumped from about $200 a year to just over $800 a year (plus a few dollars more for domain fees and the like). Thanks to a number of members of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum who made either annual or monthly donations, we have managed to pay the server bill every month when it is due on the 1st of the month. It's time to refill the till for our next year of hosting -- the alternative is TC disappearing from the Internet.

Extra Goal: Linode is now offering a backup feature which automatically makes daily, weekly, and monthly backups for $15 a month. If we could raise at least $1000 (instead of $800 and change) we could add this feature. Extra month raised over and above the minimum needed, as always, is used to add new features or otherwise support TC.

We'd really like to thank everyone who gave money for the server bills over the last year. Those who donated have made it possible for The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum to remain on the Internet from September 2011 to now. However, the account is pretty bare and it's now time to raise money for the next server year. We need your donations to keep The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's message board up. There are two ways you can donate.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How long did it take for you to move to your chosen Pagan path?

For you to move to your chosen pagan path? When did you know that you had let go of whatever religion you had prior to your current one?

I know that spirituality is a personal and continuous journey, what I wanted to know long did it take for you to admit (at least to yourself) that you were pagan (substitute what you would like)?

I've been reading, thinking and doing a lot of mediating for two years now. But when someone asks me what I believe in, I don't say anything or if they really press, I say God. I've come to realize I am afraid. My friends are all Christians and some of them are very close-minded. I guess I'm afraid to admit that I don't believe what they believe.

Is this a common feeling to have?

Pendulums -- Suspended Rather Than Held?

Has anyone tried using a pendulum suspended from a hook or stand, rather than held in your hand, for either divination or dowsing? If so, what technique(s) did/do you use? What kind of results have you gotten?

I'm interested in trying this method to rule out my own subconscious movements. When holding the pendulum, I usually get excellent results. But I can't quite trust them, ya know?

Any thoughts?

What's your Least Favorite Pagan Holiday -- And Why?

As a counterpart to our long-running What's your favorite holiday? thread, what is your least favorite Pagan holiday? The (fairly important) holiday in your religion that you just can't get into celebrating like you believe you should? Why is this holiday a problem for you?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Virginity and Religion

I've heard the "virgin until marriage" and "virgin for religious reasons" many times. I know the Christian faith really pushes it, I can remember a youth group lecture or two. Which other religions have a similar concept? Are the various pagan paths the only religions that actually accept sexuality for what it is and don't use teachings of fear, guilt and shame to mask it?

Any other thoughts?

What makes you feel Connected?

What makes you feel connected to: deities, nature, spirits, lwa, fae, your Higher Self, the Universe, Ancestors, etc? I'm trying not to leave anyone out, but alas there's a lot that could be in that list.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ageism in Paganism

Recently we've discussed racism, sexism, fatphobia, and a host of other topics that involve stereotyping, and I figured it was time to bring up another item in the same vein: ageism.

I'm willing to bet that almost all of us have experienced ageism to one degree or another - from "post-menopausal women represent the Crone" idea to "young pagans have no valid opinions", these things pop up over and over with little to no repercussions. In addition, people who don't tolerate stereotyping in other circumstances seem to overlook or ignore ageism.

So, with that in mind:

1. Do you think ageism is an actual issue?
2. Have you experienced it, in either paganism or daily life?
3. Why do you think ageism isn't as hot a topic as other stereotyping?

Is it right to Ancestor Worship non-pagan Ancestors?

Does this bother anyone else?

A number of pagan paths have ancestor-revering, ancestor-offerings, the-thin-veil-between-worlds at Samhain and so on, which in one way or another involves the practitioner's ancestors in either ritual or ceremonial remembrance.

I'm always put off by this kind of thing. It seems, well, non-consensual - I'm the only pagan in my family, and it seems disrespectful to involve the deceased in practices of which they probably didn't approved in life.

This is mostly an academic question - there's no pressure for me to follow traditions I'm not comfortable with - but I'm curious how other people view the ethics of it?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Creature Myths: The True, the frauds, and the Still Debateable

Kust wondering everyone's opinion about which "myth creatures" are true, fake or still in debate? I mean everything from big foot, to mermaids, to hell hounds, to megalodons. Pictures? Sites? Videos? All that good stuff if it could be provided.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Dumbest Thing You've Heard a Pagan Say

Many years ago, a (now ex) friend of mine and I were out, talking about Wicca. I was new to it all and curious, and she'd been into it on a solitary basis for a couple of years or so.

We were in a grocery store parking lot when a young woman walked by us with bright orange hair, wearing all black, sporting tattoos and piercings. I didn't think much of it, but my (now ex for many reasons beyond just this!) friend looked at her and said, "Oh. I bet she thinks she's Wiccan. She can't possibly be; look at her, she's overweight and doesn't take care of herself and she dresses like crap!"

...dumbest thing I've heard a pagan say. Ever.

Your turn.

Paranormal State

Anybody ever watch the show? Sometimes they have episodes where they investigate cases of poltergeists and demons in people's houses (and bodies). This particular episode has a family being tormented by six demons and it's so very dramatic. They're usually a bit dramatic and cheesy, but this is like dialogue is too stiff here, can't tell if it's worth an eye roll or not. The exorcism of one family member and the house failed. They're at a serious disadvantage here though, because they actually believed the six demons gave their real names Azazel, Beelzebub, and Lilith among them. Like really? Those are the most well known demons in Christianity, they have bigger fish to fry than a small suburban family who play with Ouija boards. They ought to know that names have power and demons are liars, so why wouldn't they pick some scary Big Boss names?

What do you think of the show and shows like it? Most of the time the show is kinda amusing and then you get episodes like the aforementioned and you just think "is this for real?"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Are you satisfied?

I have always wondered the deeper aspects of my belief. I wanted to know exactly what I believed in and what I didn't believe in. From that I tried to build a spiritual practice that was fulfilling for me.

At first I used to look for that practice in religions that were already there (Wicca, Ásatrú, etc.). I read about religions and even tried to practice some of them, but eventually I decided I had to create my own. It was back to square one: what exactly do I believe? I kept doing that for some years.

Nowadays, I don't really care about that (the "deep parts of religion/spirituality" I call them). I just do. My practice focuses on two goddesses from different pantheons, and I do my devotions for them. That's it. There's obviously a deeper meaning to this, but I'm not actively looking for it. Right now I'm satisfied with what I do. I'm satisfied with my practice.

So, are you satisfied?
If not, what do you feel you need to be satisfied?
Can you ever be satisfied?
Is the satisfaction part of your spirituality or not at all?

Is it Possible for The Gods not to Love?

I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with. I'm talking about the Main Ones. The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?). I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

The others, though. The ones that you want to love you, you expect and want to love you.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Grounding/Centering/Shielding Guided Meditations

I used to be great at concentrating and working through a visualisation in my head, even if I'd read it from a book. But these last few years I'm finding it harder and harder.

I have so much going on, I just figure to get me on a roll it might be a good idea to start back at the beginning and work on using some guided meditations, cliched as they are. I've some good books to get me restarted on centering, grounding, shielding again, but I just can't make it work in my head right now.

So my reason for posting... Wanted the opinion of a group of diverse people. Does anyone have any idea of some good guided mediations (cd/mp3) for grounding centering and shielding. There are so many possibilities out there it's a minefield and I don't want to end up spending money on something fluffy.

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