Saturday, March 31, 2012

Does Tarot Invite Spirits (Good or Otherwise)?

feel silly asking this question, but since I'm fixing to buy myself a tarot deck (Rider Waite, most likely) sometime in the next week, I'd like to know.

All my life, I've heard people say that using tarot (and other forms of divination, for that matter) invites entities into your life. Depending on who you talk to, these entities could be angels, neutral spirits, malevolent spirits, demons, etc. You get the picture. Is this accurate in any way?

In using tarot, I intend to call upon gods/goddesses who might be interested in helping me out, so I guess I'd open myself to visits whenever I used the cards. . .

If tarot can attract entities of any kind, then what's the protocol for dealing with them? I've read about cleansing the cards before each reading. Is that good enough?

Assignments from The Gods?

What are some of the things a deity has ever asked or expected of you?

Did you do it?

Why or why not?

If so, were you rewarded (for lack of a better word)?

If not, were there repercussions?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why do you have a religion at all?

Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

(Full disclosure - I was told in a dream that I should ask people that question. While it felt more like brainspam dream than a genuine encounter, I've spent the morning thinking it's an interesting and important question and one I'm not sure I have an answer to.)

And trying to answer it:

I list my religion as bokonist - from Kurt Vonnegut, where it is a religion invented purely to fulfill social functions. For me, that's a structure for awe and being grateful for the natural world, and a reminder to have quiet "sacred" time. I'm researching chaos magic because it seems to contain that self-referential playfulness that allows me to keep my skepticism and explore magic at the same time. But all the ideas I've had are things it brings me, not things my having religion gives to gods, community or the wider world.

Which makes me think:

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wiccan Creation Myth?

Hello everyone. As I was skimming through some Wiccan books searching for sacred texts (the Rede, the witche's rune and such) I found the Wiccan Creation Myth in Silver Ravenwolf's "The complete Book of Shadows for the Solitary Witch". I'm not too fond of her, and as I read along the text that I already knew I found some things that I don't feel too comfortable with, so I'm looking for other creation myths within Wiccan cosmology, or other versions of this same myth to analyze different authors approach.

Do you know where may I find them?

This version is quite long, (about two pages) and states angels, and dialogue between the Gods and humans.

Tarot Traditions???

So I've dabbled in reading tarot on and off and I want to really immerse myself and become fluent in Tarot. I have a problem though. I had 3 different books with very different information. An example being that one book might say that card x is the first card in a spread and the other would say card y is the first in the same spread. Or a position in a spread will represent something different in each book. Then of course there is the card interpretation.

I have had good results despite the differences as long as I know from the start which way I'm following, but that isn't really conducive to learning and being a self-sufficient reader. I'd rather not depend on books for the rest of my life.

So what I'm asking you all is this: Can anyone tell me about the different traditions. I assume the differences in these books come from following different traditions (for instance one is very heavy on Cabala) I think the only way I'll be able to learn is if I know what the traditions are, and can choose the one that makes the most sense to me then start from there.

Also if you could suggest beginner and intermediate level books following the different traditions I would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Audiobooks on the Elements?

Anybody know of any audiobooks on the 4 elements? could be either western (earth, air, fire, water) or oriental version (which is actually 5 elements I think). I've got a person is blind and trying to be a fantasy author.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Honoring Chavi and Elspeth on April 1st (2012)

The sixth anniversary of one of the saddest days in the history of The Cauldron is almost upon us. If you were a member of The Cauldron any time from about 2003 to early 2006, you will remember Chavi (aka Storyteller Cat and, in offline life, Cathlene Patricia McKenna) and starting in early 2005, her ever positive reports on her battle with a rare form of cancer. (Some of these posted used to be available on our 2005 Archive Board -- but the software it ran on does not support modern versions of PHP.) The odds were against her from the beginning, but that did not stop her from fighting hard to try to be one of the rare survivors. And for a time it looked like she really might overcome those long odds. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be so.

Elspeth, one of the founders of this board passed over on April 19, 2010, after years of fighting congestive heart failure and other medical problems which kept her offline except for generally brief spells over the last five or six years. She was a major participant here in the early years of this board and her posts can be found on our old Delphi forum. Some of her poetry and other writings can in old issues of our newsletter and in the Samhain section of our web site. The Cauldron would have never started if Elspeth had not wanted a forum to replace a small mailing list, The Grove, which she ran.

Sunday, April 1, 2012, marks the sixth anniversary of Chavi's passing. It's been six years now and TC is still not the same without Chavi. Since the first anniversary of her passing, we have honored her on April 1st with 24 hours of candle burning. Last year, we stated honoring Elspeth on this day as well. We will be continuing the tradition this year. We are asking all Cauldron members who knew Chavi or Elspeth, knew of Chavi or Elspeth, or who did not know either Chavi or Elspeth but just want to help honor two wonderful people who meant a lot to many members of TC (and wish to participate) to light a candle in honor of Chavi and Elspeth at 8pm your local time on April 1st and let it burn for at least an hour. The object is to have 24 hours of candles burning for them -- one hour at a time around the world. Given things like oceans and the like, this may not be completely possible, but I'll bet we can come close -- especially as some of us let our candles burn for longer than one hour.

If you log in on April 1st, you will probably notice that many longtime members of this board have changed their avatar for the day to either an avatar of a hat or their regular avatar wearing a hat. These hats are usually somewhat silly. We do this in honor of Chavi who had a thing for silly hats.

If you want to participate, please post in here. Everyone, regardless of religion, is welcome to participate. If you can't participate at 8pm your time, feel free to pick a different hour, I can promise you that neither Chavi or Elspeth would have been sticklers about the time.

Having to hide being a Pagan?

I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Honoring Your Ancestors

If you honor your ancestors (whether it be simply your blood ancestors or people you are connected to by path, career, etc), how do you do it? What things are they included in and why? What things are offered to them? I'm trying to get a feel for what others might do for them. Personally the only thing I do right now is when I do my herb cuttings I offer some of the best ones to them.

Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids?

Anyone here belong to OBOD? I've been circling around the idea of joining and doing their coursework for some time, but I'd like to get some opinions from regular folks who've done the work (and not just off the website, where of course they're going to sell themselves...)

Folk Magic for Protecting Property?

I'm looking for some folk magic-y, "hiding in plain sight" ways to protect one's home and property. I can and do set energy wards around my place, but I wanted the reinforcement of physical tokens as well.

Note... I live in a rowhouse (like a townhouse, but a bit more lower-class) and don't want to get the neighbors interested in or suspicious of what I do. So burying a witch bottle full of rusty nails and urine in the front yard? Yeah, that's right out. It's not that I'm afraid of the neighbors... I just don't want them up in my business.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Facing the God

I'm a manhater. Perhaps that's a bit harsh... I just don't trust men. Like many others, I've been burned one too many times. I've had no honorable father figures, and romantic relationships have sucked. I'm working on these things, trust me lol. Don't get me wrong, many of my friends are guys and I have a boyfriend. But I keep them at a distance.

And I recently realized that in order to find balance in my life, I need to build a relationship with the God. I'll admit, I'm afraid. I know I shouldn't be, because of all masculine forces out there, the God is the one I can trust. I have a fabulous relationship with the Goddess(es), but I trust women. How do I build a relationship with the God, when I've never been able to build a good relationship with a regular man?

I guess my question is, where do I start? I understand that I'll have to come to terms with my pains and such, but I really don't know where to begin. I know He is waiting for me to initiate, but I"m at a complete loss. I hope there's someone out there like me who understands this problem.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What is your one Must Have Herb?

So we are starting our garden here soon, and have a list of different plants and herbs we want to grow. I am so excited to dig in the dirt. I just feel so alive when I am outside.

I was curious, what is one herb you can not live without? Either for cooking, or ritual? And why this Herb?

I'm just looking for some more awesome things to grow.

I am really big on trying to grow Meadowsweet right now. Has anyone else had any luck or experience with this?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When did you feel comfortable calling yourself a Pagan?

When did you feel comfortable calling yourself a 'Pagan'? Or whatever you call yourself, of course. I'll be using the word Pagan for convenience, but please insert whatever is relevant to you

By my question I mean, how far along your spiritual path (in terms of time, amount of knowledge, or anything else) were you before you felt you were Pagan? I'm quite new to this, but I'm having such intense feelings for this spiritual journey that I'm already thinking of myself as Pagan. Then again, the word feels a bit premature, especially seeing as I've been automatically been answering with 'Catholic' whenever I'm asked for years, even long after I lost faith in it.

I'm not rushing myself, because I'm feeling so fulfilled and wonderful in a way I never have spiritually. I'm doing what feels right, but answering with 'Pagan' feels so right, even this early on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Good Side of Fluff?

In another thread (Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?), Karen said:

Quoting from the original post (View Post) "So I think I'll end this with an argument I made in comment to something else unrelated... while "fluff" of any sort isn't really good for a subculture, how many people utilize that "fluff" as a gateway to the good stuff? Or not even the good stuff... into something they enjoy that doesn't really hurt people."

I think this is an interesting point. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Much Should One Mentor/Guide a Newbie?

Through the course of my online interactions in the Pagan community over the last 15+ years, as well as the interfaith work I've started doing in some of my other hobby groups, and dealing with close friends becoming interested in Wicca, I've noticed a trend that I don't think we've discussed here...

How much should one mentor/guide a newbie? And how much should they be encouraged/forced to figure out on their own?

I started learning about Wicca on my own, and have a spiritual teacher who leads me to ideas to explore and then leaves me to get to it. I've not really taken any sort of "traditional" classes on Wicca where one is spoon-fed a course of information.

And maybe that's the crux of things for me... how much one should expect to be spoon-fed when they are, in essence, striking out on a path to find a new faith. Is it a culture-shift, that folks expect the proper information to always be available under their fingertips if they have the right keywords?

So what do you think? How should seekers and students be approached? Is using a Socratic-type method still valuable today? Or should we just give up and give them whatever tidbits of info they want so they don't just Google it and get 15 dubious answers?

Mythic Stories

What makes a story a mythic story as opposed to a regular story? What is it we need when we are creating and discovering our own myths, and why do we need to do it anyway?

Myths are a truth told in allegory, a truth that isn't necessarily the same as the physical truth of the world around us. Myth is a way to understand the spiritual side of the world and how we relate to it. It speaks to a different reality than the language of science.

That does not mean myth is a lie. A mythic story needs to speak to a truth that the physical world does not. A creation story tells not of how we were made, but why we are here. Stories of hubris, pride, accomplishment and failure – they are not of the literal truth of what happens, but teaching moments of how we are to live and how the world works.

We have the opportunity, right now, to build our own myths. To start with how the world works and go from there to story, to myth. To understand the process and enter it deliberately. We can tell our own stories – but they have to be true. Not literal truth, but true. If they don't resonate with the spirit, they're not myth.

What goes into a myth? There needs to be a reason to tell it – something that cannot be told with scientific fact. Science can tell us how, but it cannot tell us why. It can speak of evolution but not what we should do with our lives.

Our myths tell us how we should try to live our lives. The great American myth at the moment is that of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps – that one can go from poor to rich through personal effort. It is a story that tells us how to live our lives, how to proceed with our goals. We all have stories like this.

It is not enough to have gods and rituals. It is not enough to have rules and pomp. We need stories to tell each other, stories to teach to our children and to share with our families. Stories to bind us together and yet celebrate our individuality.

Without the story, without the myth, we don't know what it is we're doing. We might have a how, but we don't have a why. We don't have reason.

Without story we might as well just go through the motions.

Prompt – what are your stories? What are you trying to say with them? Why?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Your Pagan Path Based off your Cultural Heritage?

I'm just, kind of, taking a poll about the pagans on the site who utilized their cultural heritage to find a path versus those who haven't.


Did you base your pagan path off of the cultures in your family tree or not?

What is the Next Step?

So it's been a while since I first started out on my path. I've read countless books, drawn a more or less rough outline of what I believe and want from my path. Made a regular meditation session, and even put an alter together.

Where do I go from here?

Has Anyone Ever Lost their Gods?

Has anyone ever just felt like they *lost* their gods/goddesses? For years and years I was a faithful Wiccan and I worshipped to the Lord and Lady. Honestly, I'm not sure that was ever quite right for me to begin with, but I just so wanted something I could fit into. So I prayed and chanted, cast circle, called the quarters, worked with my tools -- you name it!

And I just do not feel the presence of the Lord and Lady. Or any lord and lady. I don't feel the presence of deity at all!

I feel a very deep connection to nature: all things earth, air, fire, water, plant, animal, mineral, stone. All things natural. But I just don't know about deity. I think I*want* to connect to and believe in deity, but I just never have. I absolutely believe in Spirit, the Akasha, but I don't see/feel/connect to the idea of deities, and I feel empty when I try to call upon deity. Because of all this, I've sort of stopped referring to myself as Wiccan and just started saying Pagan. For some reason, it seems important to me that I have a narrower definition of what I believe and/or practice.

I'm really hoping that others here can give me some insight and perspective. Thank you so much.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?

Ten or twelve years ago hardly a week went by without some discussion of Silver Ravenwolf and her many books. However, it's been several years since Silver Ravenwolf and/or her books were a major topic of discussion. Perhaps we can now look make on the "Silver Ravenwolf era" with some distance and discuss her influence or Wicca and Paganism.

Silver's books obviously had a great effect at the time, but have they had a long term effect on Wicca? on Paganism in general? What effect(s)? In your opinion, have these effects been good or bad? Why?

How to Properly Celebrate Ostara

What would be some good traditional ways of celebrating Ostara? What foods would we eat? What drinks would we drink? What tales should we tell? Just about anything you can lend would be helpful!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bird-sign/Augury/Ornithomancy Resources?

I've managed to get a general idea of bird-sign since there are so many birds in north California and it would be silly not to learn it. However, my knowledge is still very limited since most of the websites I've found only tell me what the bird itself means.

Occasionally I get specific situations and what it means when they fly south/north or that matter, but the majority of websites limit it to a list of birds + meanings, often in a huge wall of text that makes my eyes glaze over.

Does anybody have books or reputable websites that they'd recommend?

[url=]Bird-sign/augury/ornithomancy resources?[/url]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What Does Your Deity's Assosciations mean to You?

We all know some things. Zeus is god of the sky, Gaea goddess of earth, Thor rules thunder. But the gods are more than "Pray to Him for money, Her for children, and Her to ward off Death"

Do your deities manifest interest outside of their traditional roles? Athena is an intellectual, but is She intrigued by, say, camping?

Or, have you seen anyone take a deity's role too far? For example, one of my patrons, Cernunnos, is known for being a symbol of masculine sexuality. To some of the people I have seen worshipping Him, they treat His sex aspect as the be-all-end-all of the Horned Lord. I have no doubt that to some He manifests this way, but to me He always stemmed liked a powerful, quiet, introspective old man and teacher than a half-stag super rapist.

So how important are your deity's associations to you? I always thought of them more as interests. I am interested in a lot of things, such as healing. So I always thought of Brigida, patroness of smiths, poets, and healers, to be more like a person interested in healing people. She is more than just smashing hot metal with a hammer then healing the burns you get.

Titles and Labels

I've been around here for awhile, usually skulking around and reading--never really commenting. I usually don't even log-in to my account, much less type anything on this forum. But, I have come across an interesting issue among several people of pagan faiths. This has probably been discussed before, but I thought I would bring it up on an account that, perhaps, nobody has ever read.

Of titles, specifically the titles one holds in pagan belief systems. So many titles and labels we put on ourselves: Eclectic, Hellenic, Wiccan, Witch, Thelema, etc... Yet, when one chooses to "place" themselves in a category, can they do so? A lot of people I meet seem to be "searching" for their path still, even from years and years of being pagan. Only many of them meet so much opposition when they feel to follow a path, not saying they go around telling everyone, "Hey I'm Wiccan now!", but in a sense that other people they choose to seek knowledge from put them down, because they are wanting to assume a label.

This may sound confusing, as indeed it's a conundrum I've face for awhile. Here's my example, from my life:
I started interested in being Wiccan, because they were the books most available to me at the time. I currently live in a small town filled with college kids (and I am one of them), among them, mostly Christians (Texas). So, I attempted to find a coven to no avail, no surprise here. I, then, became interested in this denomination of "solitary" and "neo" Wicca. Only to meet with certain opposition from, of course, most people on the internet and the pagan group on my school's campus, of which most are highly eclectic or Asatru. So, I decided not to even mention my path anymore, and to work merely under the title of, "a pagan whose interests include that of witchcraft and occult history." Which fit me dandy for awhile, only to--once again--come into conflict with many people over the fact that "being eclectic," somehow hurts them and there is a "problem" with my spiritual path, since I am not under a label, therefore my spirituality doesn't exist and is being practiced incorrectly.

So, my question, what does the forum think of labels and titles? People assuming a title that you, perhaps, have worked hard to obtain and people coming out of the blue and wanting to assume that title with little work and/or effort. Or those who seek a path, but are met with opposition from the people you believed would help you.

This could pose more of a rant on my end, I respect those who differ in my beliefs, but I don't believe I should be put down, for I am human and therefore a learning individual.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Does Your Deities Assosciations mean to you?

We all know some things. Zeus is god of the sky, Gaea goddess of earth, Thor rules thunder. But the gods are more than "Pray to Him for money, Her for children, and Her to ward off Death"

Do your deities manifest interest outside of their traditional roles? Athena is an intellectual, but is She intrigued by, say, camping?

Or, have you seen anyone take a deity's role too far? For example, one of my patrons, Cernunnos, is known for being a symbol of masculine sexuality. To some of the people I have seen worshipping Him, they treat His sex aspect as the be-all-end-all of the Horned Lord. I have no doubt that to some He manifests this way, but to me He always stemmed liked a powerful, quiet, introspective old man and teacher than a half-stag super rapist.

So how important are your deity's associations to you? I always thought of them more as interests. I am interested in a lot of things, such as healing. So I always thought of Brigida, patroness of smiths, poets, and healers, to be more like a person interested in healing people. She is more than just smashing hot metal with a hammer then healing the burns you get.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Escape Clauses In Spell Work?

Do you regularly use "escape clauses" in your spellwork, like "with free will to all, and harm to none" or the like? Why do you use or not use them? Do you think they work? Do they even mean anything?

For example, if you really hate someone and want to harm them and you do a spell powered by those emotions is adding "and with harm to none" at the end of the spell going to override your emotional power and intent?

How Have the Gods Said, "Thanks but No Thanks," to You?

I was talking with Bastemhet on one of my more recent blog entries about being "brutally rebuffed" by gods when you approach them. She mentioned that she's never heard an instance in which the netjeru have done this (and neither have I, actually). I've heard, however, that some of the other gods aren't quite as polite about things like this at times. So, with that in mind...

1. Have you ever been rebuffed by a god/spirit/OTHER(tm) before?
2. Was it polite or impolite?
3. Would you care to share the experience? If so, please do!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What is the Relationship of Morality to Your Religion/Faith?

It seems to me that morality is intimately connected to some religions but is less apparent with others. I know this is a very broad question, but how is morality related to your faith? Are your moral beliefs guided and sustained by your religion? Or did you pick a deity based on pre-existing moral beliefs? Some combination? Neither? The omnipresent other?

Morrighan in Wales?

According to Proinsias MacCana, the Morrighan is a sort of pan-Celtic goddess: "that they are known throughout the Celtic world is virtually certain." But the name is Irish, and all the references are to Irish stories.

Is there in fact any significant support for the Morrighan as a figure in Welsh mythology and hence, polytheistic practice centered on Welsh culture? In a casual review, I can't really find any.

I wish there were a Welsh Simek.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Magic, deities and atheism/agnosticism

Next month it will have been a year since I found this site and really decided to set off on paganism after studying a bit off and on for several years. I always knew it was a vast landscape but I really had no idea. It's beautiful and I love it.

With that being said, I know I'm still a baby and ill practiced but I feel like I've grown an exponential amount. I know that one can hold the beliefs that they choose and we have a vast array of people on here but I still feel like I'm doing something wrong. I don't know why. I've found that no matter what I try I'm still an atheist in the ways of deities. Not that it's a bad thing and I know there are atheists on here who practice different things. I think there's some sort of "spiritual" energy in ourselves and the world and that's how magic is done. I also think that plant energies, rivers, forests etc..have their own energies that have been seen as fairies and the like. But I can't for the life of me put my head around deities. I find it an interesting concept. I feel like I can't believe in other spiritual forces if I can't believe in deities.

I hold the belief that anything is possible but I don't personally believe it. I don't mock or scorn others for it. I find it highly interesting and informative. I have celebrated the different seasons with little rituals here and there and have practiced some magic. I feel the energy and spirit in the world and I feel a great reverence to it. I always have. I want to continue my magic practices and seasonal observances. I think I'm getting stuck in my own head. I'm sorry if I'm just rambling.

I want to explore other things but I know I'm holding myself back because of my weird hang up but I feel like I would be betraying that culture or set of beliefs if they hold beliefs in deities. Does anybody else feel this way?

This is sort of a side note but I'm also interested in darker magic in a way. Maybe not so many flowers and love to all. I find a hard time connecting to things like that so I generally edit it. I don't mean darker as in death and hexes and such. Well, death in a "circle of life" sort of way. I enjoy the darker side of life and relate to things like that well. Vodou intrigues me but it's a religion in sorts and I don't want to take and not care about where it comes from. If anybody gets this and can help, that would be awesome. Thank you.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

How to develop a practice as a pantheist?

I'm looking for some advice on how any of the pantheists on the forum worship/celebrate their faith. I find myself wanting to borrow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, but not much else from that particular path.

I've read various books on naturalistic pantheism (I consider myself dualist instead), as well as Dianne Sylvan's The Circle Within, but I'm still stumped on how to come up with my own personal rituals and practices.

To me, the universe has a collective soul, akin to a gigantic interconnected web that is at least somewhat aware. I do believe in separate gods and goddesses that live inside the whole of the universe, but function autonomously. Beyond basic things like taking a walk in nature, or maybe setting up an altar, how do you come up with meaningful practices?

Friday, March 02, 2012

Differences between Druid Organizations

I've been interested in Druidry for some time now and have thought about giving an organization's courses a try. However, I'd like to know the differences between these organizations.

*Order of Bardes, Ovates and Druids
*Ár nDraíocht Féin
*Reformed Druids of North America
*Ancient Order of Druids in America

Having had a look at their websites, they all kinda seem the same to me although I know the ADF is more of a Reconstructionist organization. But I'd like to hear what practicing Druids have to say on it. What are the major differences?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Celtic Specific Herbs & Incenses

I am new to the forums, and being an individual learning about Celtic Reconstructionism / Gaelic Polytheism I thought this would be the best place to ask the question I wish to pose. I am hoping someone will be able to answer it or give me places to look. I want to make everything about my practice as Irish Celtic as possible, and that means using Celtic (Irish) specific herbs and incenses. I was wondering what people suggested or knew of. I know some things I probably won't be able to find here in the States, but what I can find I would love to use and incorporate into my practice. I have searched everywhere I could, whether it be on the internet or in what books I can, but I can't seem to find anything Celtic (Irish) specific.

How did you first meet your deity/deities?

So, as some of you may know I'm new to the paganism bandwagon. I have no idea how to approach the gods, or which ones I really want to approach for that matter. So, I was wondering how you all did it? I know some of you had the gods come up to you basically going "wassup! so, you're mine now, let's get going shall we?" but still, I'm sure all of you at some point had to decide which deity you wanted to approach and how to go about approaching them. How did you do this? Any tips for me? Please and thank you.

Good meditation music?

Does anyone have any suggestions for good meditation music?

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