Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using Tarot in Magic?

I've seen pictures on the net where people have put a tarot card in front of, or rubber-banded to, a vigil candle in magical workings. I've seen some where they have candle holders with painted images of the tarot on them. I myself have never tried this, but find it would be interesting to discuss.

Does anyone here use their tarot cards in magical workings?

Personally, it makes me plan to eventually get another deck of tarot cards and use one deck for readings and one for magical workings. It's a pretty neat idea to me.

Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot

I have always used the Rider Waite Tarot. However, Spirit is showing me that it is time for me, personally, to move into a deeper deck. The deck I'm being shown to use is the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot. I was watching YouTube videos on reading and interpreting the Thoth Tarot and knew instantaneously that this deck would be challenging.

Does anyone here utilize the Thoth Tarot? How did you begin with it?

One thing that I'm interested in learning is the Opening of the Key Spread. I've always despised reversed cards and considering the back of the Thoth Tarot is the Rose Cross and would be inverted if I did reversed, it suits me.

Also, the artwork by Lady Freida Harris is just gorgeous, IMO.

Any advice for a new Thoth beginner?

FWIW, I am also going to be getting The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley and Tarot: Mirror of the Soul by Gerd Zeigler. Any reviews on those books?

Review: Reiki Light: Reiki, Buddhism and the Medicine Buddha

I am not a Reiki practitioner, nor am I particularly interested in learning the techniques involved, although I can recognize the validity and usefulness of them. Therefore I approached this book as simply someone who wanted to learn about a topic. Honestly, I was not expecting the Buddhist background and history, although I did appreciate how that information placed Reiki within a historical context. Another thing I appreciated was the attempt by the author to dispel the rumors and falsehoods which have attached themselves to this method of healing. Knowing that the current form is quite a bit divorced from the spiritual underpinnings made it easier to appreciate the information being conveyed.

Review: The Suppressed History of America

The subtitle of this volume "The Murder of Meriwetherr Lewis and the Mysterious Discoveries of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" perhaps sets up a false expectation in the minds of potential readers. The primary focus of the authors is on those unanswered questions which were raised by the encounters of the Corps of Discovery with Native American tribes, which ranged from how the Appaloosa breed of horse was able to be developed in the extremely short period of time between the alleged arrival of horses with the Spaniards and the journey of the Corps to who built the mounds in the Midwest and their purpose.

Review: Atlantis in the Amazon

Unfortunately, like many stories of ancient mysteries, the proof for this book has been taken under the control of the "authorities" which, sadly, means there is no way to verify the accounts contained within the covers of this book. And, although there are copious photographs, including a number in color, there are few details visible in many of them and no sense of scale. For a number of reasons, mostly unstated, a number of the artifacts documented by Mr. Wingate have either "disappeared", been "misplaced", or are available only to "qualified, credentialed" experts to examine. This naturally decreases the chances of dissenting opinions making their way to the popular media.

Review: Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore

The majority of books I encounter on the subject of Witchcraft/Wicca seem to fall into one of two categories. They are written for rural witches, or for urban witches, as though those are the only two options. If you believe the stories of how things were in the "bad old days," witches were seldom found in either of those two settings. They were most often found in the transitional (or "liminal") areas - the last house in the village just before you entered the countryside, or the first house after such a point. They weren't living in the wilds, but they weren't comfortable in the daily to-do of the village center either.

Review: Night of the Witches

This is a book which is dedicated to one specific observance (May Eve). It is not intended for the active practitioner or even for the individual striving to learn about Witchcraft, rather it is aimed at the individual who has no background in folklore. It is set against a backdrop of European custom and beliefs, which makes sense, because of the dominant European derivation of modern witchcraft beliefs.

Review: Ghost Hunting for Beginners

Mr. Newman's previous book (The Ghost Hunter's Field Guide), which I reviewed last year, told prospective ghost hunters WHERE to go for ghostly experiences. This book is designed to help you investigate and document those experiences. Although there are ample anecdotal references, the emphasis is on proper attitude, proper use of equipment, proper procedures, etc. It is a valuable resource for that reason.

Review: Extreme Paranormal Investigations

Before I had read the first 25 pages of this book, my hackles had already risen, and that (I am sure) colored my expectations of what else I would find as I read the book. I already knew, just from the title, that this was not going to be your average paranormal investigation book. And, I knew that the author was a Witch (I had reviewed Advancing the Witches Craft by the same author last year). But I was not expecting the ATTITUDE displayed by the crew. They say that they use their abilities to punch "...a hole between the worlds of the living and the dead," and to force "...materialization and/or verbal communication with paranormal entities." I cannot express my consternation when I read those statements! The idea of forcing communication is counter-productive. Just think about it...if someone came into your house and demanded that you speak (or interact) with them, how likely is it that you would be on your best behavior? Setting up circumstances to ENCOURAGE such behavior is one thing, FORCING it is something else. In my opinion, such an attitude is irresponsible.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Grimoires: A History of Magic Books

I need to acknowledge right now that I am NOT a Ceremonial Magician, but then again, this book is written for people like me. This is NOT a compilation of Grimoires, nor is it a distillation of those books. It is a broad overview of magick books and books about magick (which are not necessarily the same thing). There is a fairly thorough discussion of the suppression of magick books, which makes it abundantly clear that, although most of us think in terms of the Christian church's efforts in this respect, Christianity was a "Johnny come lately" to that game. There had been suppressions long before the beginning of the Common Era.

This type of book often falls into one of two categories. It is either heavily influenced by the pop culture (unlikely in this case, given that it is published by Oxford University Press), or it is full of erudite, academic attitudes which leave you grabbing your dictionary as you read. This book walks the middle ground quite nicely. It answers questions with easily understood words, and saves the inevitable citations for the end of the book.

Review: Magic Without Mirrors

For a large number of individuals of a certain age, Magic: An Occult Primer was the introduction to the world of magick. At the time there wasn't a whole lot of information about the author available. In the intervening years The Magic of Herbs and Secret Wisdom: The Occult Universe Explored were also produced by the same author, but without (to my knowledge) as much acceptance and fanfare.

This book is essentially Mr. Conway's autobiography. It is filled with amusing anecdotes and enlightening background information. It also contains snippets of magickal information as well, though that is not its primary purpose.

Review: Atlantis Beneath the Ice

This is a revised and expanded edition of When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis (which originally appeared in 1995). In the intervening 15 years there has been a lot of interest in both the subjects of Atlantis and climate change. This book addresses both of these topics in a thought-provoking manner.

For those who dismiss either (or both) of these topics as being unscientific, there is nothing here which will change their minds. The evidence which is laid out will be seen as happenstance, coincidence, or simply hand-picked to fit the theory of the authors. Those who support their theory will be seen as inconsequential or deluded (hard to do, in my opinion, when one of them was Albert Einstein). So they will gain nothing from this book, and may safely leave it on the shelf of the bookstore.

Review: The Bridge: Human Ascension Into Divine Understanding

Ascencionism is one of those topics which tend to engender very firm positions. You believe it to be the next great step in planetary evolution; you think it is all New Age hogwash; you know nothing about it, and have no desire to learn about it. It suffers from all the maladies common to newly emergent philosophies including over zealous converts and jargon which is incomprehensible to many who are on the outside.

Ms Jent, to her credit, is very clear about her beliefs while not attempting to "convert" anyone else. This book is about her journey on her road to accepting ascensionism as reality.

Review: Incense Magick

This is NOT a book about creating incense (see his previous work: Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents from Llewellyn © 2003 for that information). This is a book about the use of incense. "What's the big deal?" I hear you say. "You burn incense for the smell." That is very true, but...what type of incense do you use - rolled, dipped, loose, self-combusting? In what type of censer? With or without a fill? Where do you buy your incense, or if you are an incense maker, where do you buy your ingredients?

Contacting Manannan Mac Lir?

im looking to contact Manannan Mac Lir, im just now starting out and i was given a site to go to that has helped me understand him a bit better. the only ways the site teaches to contact him involve mostly group and one solo ritual. i dont really live near a water source i can use for the solo ritual, unless i could use my bathroom or something. i have a small celtic alter, a Libation Dish, an Athame, a love candle, a money candle, 2 crystals and 2 feathers. with what i have, is there any way i can contact Manannan Mac Lir?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Figures for Sympathetic Magick

I'm not a big magick practicioner but I do use sympathetic magick on occasion. I've been using wire to make figurines but I've become a bit fed up with the method. I'm looking for a new substance to use, like clay or wax.

I would like to ask those practicing sympthetic magick what they use for figurines and how long those substances keep. I'm really looking for something which keeps for a while because I want a piece in my portable altar as well. Plus, like I said, I practise magick very sporadically.

Where do you buy the substance you use? I feel I should try out wax anyway but I don't know where to find white wax which you can mold when kneading. Anyone any ideas? Especially those in The Netherlands?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's on your bookshelf?

I'm always interested in snooping around other people's libraries, so I'm curious: what books do you own that are related to your path/religion?

Are there any books that you keep around but never use? Do you feel like there are any glaring patches in your collection that you would like to fill? Do you have any books that you couldn't live without?

It would be interesting to see what books people rely on/recommend the most, and what books show up most often. I have a long list of books I hope to eventually get my hands on, but it's always great to have more ideas.

The Power of Language

In some religions, the word is the building block for everything. There's a lot of discussion of being "true to one's word" or "language has power" in a lot of different religions.

So - what does your religion say about language? Is it important? Are words "just words" or more/different than that?


In FlameKeeping, language has a lot of power. It's what gives us the ability to have abstract thought and communicate it to each other. Just look at the frustration a baby has, and we have with that baby, when s/he cannot express what's wrong. Then language is learned and communication happens.

If language is to be useful, it must be clear. Words have a lot of power. Ask anyone that's crying because of what someone else said, and you can see that power. It might not be a physical power, but words can worm their way into our minds and change the way we see. We judge people by their words as well as their actions, and how well they line up. Language has power.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Your Favorite Mythical Hero?

Seeing as we have a thread for favorite Goddesses and Gods, I thought it only logical to extend the line of questioning to mythological heroes. There are a great many humans or Demigods in mythology that, although often awarded handsomely (sometimes with immortality) for their efforts in assisting the Gods, never rose to the status of Gods themselves.

My favorite mythological hero is Icarus; Daedalus' son who escaped the labyrinth on the island of Crete with wings made of feathers and wax. He was warned not to fly too high because the sun would melt the wax or too low because wet feathers wouldn't carry him. Yet Icarus, too caught up with the marvel of flying, did fly too high or too low and drowned.

Icarus reminds me that, although great risk comes with a leap of faith, it might just be worth it sometimes.

"...but most of all I love Icarus, who knew the wax would melt but still flew towards the sun."
-- 'Ik hou van Icarus' - Tjitske Jansen (translated from Dutch)

So who is your favorite mythological hero?

Do you dress for your service?

I was reading an article about Catholic Nuns not wearing Habits, and got to thinking I do not feel right when I do not wear a suit when I am at the main Sunday service in the sanctuary at my church, (there is no dress code, or expectations of dress for the service).

Other services I may or may not feel a suit is appropriate, it depends on where the service is, (In the Chapel, our Francis White Room, or the Park) and what group is doing the service and what the service is about.

Does your practice have a dress code? Do you have one for yourself during services?
How do you feel if you are not dressed, as you think you should be, for your practice, while engaged in it?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Your Favorite God?

We have a thread on The favorite Goddesses, let's now see who your favorite God is.

Your Favorite Goddess?

Who's your favorite Goddess?

Let's find out which one is the most popular here at The Cauldron.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is the one thing you can't work without?

I was sitting in class today, listening to a speaker drone on about how people who are forced to evacuate will risk their lives in order to save "one" thing. It was interesting to hear that the family Bible was high on the list of the "one" thing to save. This started me thinking on what my children and mother would risk their lives for (and a mental note to always have these items close so they can be thrown into a bug-out bag)...and then I realized that I would risk my life to grab....a rock. That's right. A rock. On my alter are three stones. A piece of Turquoise, Amethyst and Rattlesnake Quartz (ah the irony, since I am terrified of snakes and take extreme measures to keep them off my property). I am not even sure where I got them or how long I have had them. The Amethyst and Turquoise can be missing for some reason, and I will continue what I am doing. If the Quartz is missing, everything stops until it is found.

I am curious to see what others' can't work without...

What makes you so sure about your beliefs?

I've been looking into pagan beliefs for a while now, I am agnostic and just trying to find myself, I do believe in a higher form of power, but I do not accept the more bigger religions like Christianity.

I just have some questions for you all.

1) What makes you so sure about your beliefs? Why do you believe in pagan gods like Thor and or Zeus instead of Jesus?

2) With all these different pagan beliefs, aren't you worried you picked the wrong one and will die in whatever "hell" exists?

3) Why did you pick your belief?

4). Do pagans believe in all the gods? Like could I for instance, have a shrine to Zeus and Thor? Or am I only limited to a specific belief like Greek or Norse?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What is a Magical Circle?

I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anyone else feel too thick-headed to notice God/dess contact?

At this time I'm just going with the flow. I'm not pushing contact, but it'd be nice.

In the past, I've tried to communicate with God/desses I've been interested in, but am always met with silence. I think. I feel like an idiot when I'm offering or talking.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too thick-headed to notice when a God/dess is reciprocating my communication. I am a skeptic at heart (notice the logical Spock as my avatar), though I try to go on faith. It'd be easier to go on faith if I had a specific God/dess I connected with, I suppose.

I don't know, mostly rambling thoughts. If I let my guard down and try to find signs, I'll think everything is a sign. KWIM? But if I'm too skeptic, either I'll miss a sign or won't even be contacted to begin with. Maybe all the God/desses I've tried contacting are saying "thanks, but no thanks" with the silence.


I feel like the Divine would literally have to get in my face and tell me They are listening. That is how skeptical I am at signs. Even then, I'd be checking myself into a mental institution for delusions. I do feel a Presence in my life. There are too many things that have happened in my life to be a coincidence. Sometimes I have a sense of Divine intervention and feel calm. Like I can see my path in front of me and look behind and say "wow, there was Divine intervention there that got me here" But then I wonder if I'm just making it up to feel better.

What's Around Your Neck?

Many people wear a necklace or other piece of jewellery as a symbol of their faith/beliefs. If you have symbolic religious necklace or whatever jewellery that you wear every day or nearly every day - what is it, and how does it symbolise your religion to you?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Spirits of the flowers?

For the past few days I've been listening to "The Song of Purple Summer" (Spring Awakening's final song) and taking a good look at all the flowers I pass by on the way to work/school/home. I know they've always been there, but I keep feeling like couldn't fully comprehend them before.

But I already know that I've "woken up" and I'm passing into a new spring of my life, since I went through about a month of constant epiphany. The weird part happens whenever I get to this line:

"And all shall know the wonder: I will sing the song of purple summer."

Doesn't matter whether I sing it or I listen on my iPod, but when the song gets to that point, I feel something in the flowers surge up with this "YEEEEEES" vibe. They tend to feel louder when I'm actually singing, and if I'm not singing already, I get this "Go for it!" vibe, so... I do. XD

It can't be my imagination because despite no other human being with me, it feels like an audience is responding to what I'm doing, and that's a hard kind of energy to manufacture alone. Also, to confirm my suspicions: I tried singing this song to the peace-lilies at home, budding plants, and the trees near my apartment--nothing "responds" unless it's in full blossom.

It's really nice, don't get me wrong, it's just that I've never actually felt plants' spirits before. I follow the Morrigan from the Irish pantheon, and she's connected to fertility, so would this be caused by her somehow?

When Is a New Goddess Born?

As a birder, I'm in the midst of the spring songbird migration madness--my equivalent of a holy month of Ramadan. Probably because I'm in total birding immersion right now, on a lark (so to speak) I decided that birders need their own patron deity.

Thus, Avia, goddess of feathered bliss, was born! She's a bird-related goddess, yes, but more specifically she is the goddess of birdwatching: incredibly beautiful but sometimes cruel (as when we birders miss that sought-after sighting), and thus she must be appeased by human sacrifice (a nod to the common locution among us birders of referring to the guy who leaves right before the best bird appears as the "sacrificial birder").

What all this playful musing got me thinking is...when does a deity become a full-fledged deity? Is Avia "real"? Can she ever become "real"? I suspect the answer is going to hinge greatly on the hardness or softness of one's polytheism, but I'm curious to hear others' opinions.

My own thinking on this, as a Carvel polytheist (semi-soft, with a twist), is that right now there's potential in Avia...but she can't become a full-fledged (pun intended) goddess until she exists in story. Right now, she's kind of a placeholder; a loose metaphorical construction. She has to exist in a myth, her flesh filled out by her deeds and relationships, before she can fully take flight.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Advice on Building a Temple

I realize we don't know each other long or well, and that is why this has taken so long to write. I need your help. Last week, I was Called to perform ritual for Hekate / Hecate. I've been Called to do this before, usually in Her capacity as a messenger of the Gods. It always means something life changing is about to happen. This time She delivered to me, in no unclear terms, one short message; "build Us a Temple".

I've been walking around with this idea for at least a month. Subtle hints had been dropped but I had not expected this. Still, these are my Gods and I will obey Their command. With honor. Still, I am terrified. I'm 26 years old and this is a major undertaking. I have a network here, in the Netherlands, I will slowly inform and I will set this in motion but I need a little... courage. And advice or help.

I come to you because I respect your judgment and, honestly, because hard polytheism isn't a very common stance on Deity in the Pagan community. Yet, I do not doubt this piece of UPG. I am not far enough into the process to give you much details but I will share what I can.

I'd like to have one large hall dedicated to the Wiccan God and Goddess because they are most popular here and a large, semi-neutral, indoor space is handy for larger festivals (especially in winter). There should be separate halls dedicated to the Celtic, Hermetic, Greek/Roman, Norse and perhaps some other pantheons at people's request (within reason). I want a large, open, library and a separate study hall as well as one or two lecture rooms which can also double as workshop rooms. There must be a kitchen, toilets and bathrooms as well as a dorm. I also want a meditation room.

I hope to build/buy in the woods so we can make one or two circles there for the Druid and Shaman folk as well as an open field for the festivals. A large vegetable and herb garden is a must. If I can in any way incorporate it, I would really like to build a labyrinth and space for all four of the elements for meditative purposes.

I have felt for years that the Pagan community needs a Temple. To get closer, to reunite. A home base for worship, knowledge, and social and religious activism (activism in the best sense of the word). It this a very positive outlook? Yes, sure, but why can't a Temple be a bridge?

At any rate, overwhelmed by my experience, I told Wickerman what happened, on Sunday and he took my experience to his wife. They have offered advice, support and very, very kindly even volunteered to donate mosaics for the floors of the halls. I have seen the work Wickerman's wife does with mosaics and it is fit for Gods, for sure.

Now, I expect nothing from you. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has ever tried an undertaking like this. Advice on how to get started, pitfalls to avoid. What should I take into account for halls of the pantheon you revere? How would your Gods best be honored? Anything is welcome. If you have any questions for me then feel free to ask. I am an open book and heck, it would be good training for the sponsors and events I will have to start organizing to get this off of the ground.

I want to build this Temple, be it a case of UPG or not. I promised it to the Gods I believe in and I will keep that promise. It will take a good few years, but it will happen. I would like your help getting there, in any way you can.

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