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Cauldron and Candle
Issue #4 -- Mid-December 2000

A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
mailing list/board: http://www.ecauldron.com/fregmb.php

With a little help from The Witches' Thicket
website: http://www.cros.net/soraya/
message board: http://forums.delphiforums.com/thicket/start

Return to Cauldron and Candle Archive

C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E  #4 -- Mid-December 2000
formerly Cauldron News

           A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
                website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
     mailing list/board: http://www.ecauldron.com/fregmb.html

           With a little help from The Witches' Thicket
               website: http://www.cros.net/soraya/
      message board: http://forums.delphiforums.com/thicket/start

In this Issue:

[01] Editorial: Darkness and Light
[02] Poem: Love Needs No Words
[03] Study Guide: A Witches Bible, Part Two, Chapter XIV
[04] Review: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
[05] Review: Origins of Modern Witchcraft
[06] Review: Murder at Witches' Bluff
[07] Review: Pagan Parenting
[08] Magick: Spell to Freeze Someone Out of Your Life
[09] Magick: Luck Ball Charm
[10] Midwinter Night's Eve: Yule
[11] Yule Recipes
[12] Humor: Bush Sues Santa
[13] Software: NetLaunch
[14] New Articles on The Cauldron's Site
[15] New Web Poll
[16] Support The Cauldron When You Buy at Amazon.com
[17] Cauldron Chats: Tuesdays, 10-11pm CDT
[18] Newsletter and Forum Info
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

  +++ Submission Deadline for next issue: January 1, 2001 +++

========= by Elspeth Sapphire

I had my share of darkness and light today.

And it isn't even Yule yet.

You see, we were putting up the Yule tree today. I have been
collecting ornaments since my first year in college. Each has
great meaning to me for each was a gift or bought as a memory of
a special time in my life.

There are the sloppy painted ornaments that adorned the tiny tree
that Alan bought me in my sophomore year. I had been mourning the
fact that I had no tree and missed it so. He promptly went down
and spent his money on a tree for me, then added a kit to
decorate stamped wooden ornaments. They might not be the best
made ornaments I ever crafted, but the love shines from them
every year as I hang them.

There are the ones made from wrapping paper pictures glued to
colored paper and strung with yarn. That was the year we were
living in Germany, almost too broke to buy food. Another wife and
I decided that we wouldn't let that stop us and made what we
could, out of what we could. Our little bit of love lighting up
the darkness.

Ornament after ornament went on the tree, each with a special
story a special reason for bringing love and joy to our current

Then, I pulled out a newspaper bundle and slowly unwrapped it.
The ornament within brought reluctant tears to my eyes. The cause
is not immediately apparent. After all, all that I was holding
was a wooden snowman with his black hat and tiny broom. Nothing
to cry about, right?

I always had a dream to have children. Even as a teenager, I
would browse through the baby aisles and dream of the day I would
cradle my own tightly in my arms. I would fall in love and marry
and have 10 or 12 kids and live happily ever after.

Of course, the gods rarely give us what we want, in the ways that
we want them. They make us work for our dreams. I was 24 years
old and married for 5 years, and only had three miscarriages to
show for our attempts to start a family. I was about to give up
on my dreams when I became pregnant again.

Alan and I had always been ones to discuss what traditions and
family values we wanted to embrace. One tradition that we decided
on was giving each of our children an ornament each year. We
didn't want them to have to start from the beginning like I did.
When they left home, they would take a whole box of ornaments and
memories with them.

Here we were in Germany the home of Yule ornaments. It would be a
shame not to start our child's collection with an ornament from
Germany. So, even though Yule was many months away and the babe's
due date wasn't until Samhain, I picked out an ornament a snow
man. I wrapped it carefully and took it with me on my flight back
to the States the next month. It was already very valuable to me.
It was my first gift to our child.

To make a long story much shorter, my daughter was born on
Thanksgiving Day. She was born not breathing and despite the
best efforts the doctors at the intensive care nursery, three
days later she died. I was holding her at the time, Alan's arms
tight around me. A very sad story.

It took many, many years, but eventually I had living children: a
son and a daughter. They brought joy into my life, and yes, on
occasion tears and anger. We carried on with them the tradition
we started with my poor Catrina and each has a big box of
ornaments to put on the tree each year. Matt will be taking his
box away with him next year as he enters college and builds a
life for himself. And I look forward to having grandchildren
opening boxes from grandma holding that year's ornament.

Still, that is the future, and this is the now and I hold a
small wooden snowman in my hand. For 20 years, I have hung this
ornament, each time reminding me of what this Yule season is all
about. You see, the death of my daughter was a great sadness in
my life. I never thought that the sorrow would completely leave.

However, like this time of year, her death brought a spark of
light into the darkness. I had the wonder of being with her as
she breathed her last, in a circle of perfect love and trust
greater than any I ever experienced in a coven. I learned that to
really appreciate the gifts of the gods we sometimes have to
suffer for them. I grew closer in love to the man who I had
married. And I knew, in the depths of my heart and soul, that
this spirit this soul came into life to teach me what I needed to

So, I hang the ornament, reflecting on those lessons and the
season. The dark is growing, but within the time of the greatest
blackness, there will be a spark of light.

And that spark of light is called love.

I wish all of you the happiness of the season. May your homes be
filled with light and warmth and joy, keeping the dark at bay.
And may you, like me, find at the moment of true darkness, that
spark of love that makes it all worth the effort.

A happy Yule to you and yours!


        The Cauldron and Candle now has its own web site
        where we store our back issues for easy reading.


========= A Poem by Elspeth Sapphire

Mother and wife abandoned,
Puts aside dreams of love lost
Keeps her family together
Never wonders at the cost.

A mother's Love needs no words
That aren't spoken by the heart
She will fight like a beast any
Tearing her family apart.

Husband sits by wife's bed,
Her hand held tight in comfort.
Watching her life fade away
Knowing the time is too short.

A husband's Love needs no words
As he watches his wife die.
It is there in his caring
As he waits to say good-bye.

Sisters -- always bickering
Petty quarrels aplenty.
Come together in hard times --
Share each other's agony.

A sister's Love needs no words,
Only a reason to be shown
Unspoken most the years
Still deep within is known.

Friends find friends in strangest ways,
Glowing words of aid on a screen
Giving strength and guidance
By a touch felt but never seen.

A friend's Love needs no words,
For actions speak much longer.
Every bit of ourselves we give
We gain back even stronger.

=========              MYTH, RITUAL, AND SYMBOLISM
========= by Randall Sapphire

  [We are discussing chapters in the latter part of Janet and
  Steward Farrar's A Witches Bible on The Cauldron's message
  board/mailing list, about one chapter every two weeks. See
  http://www.ecauldron.com/bkwbible.html for a review and
  ordering info if you don't already have a copy of this
  excellent book. The third chapter we discussed was chapter
  XIV in the second half of the book entitled "Myth, Ritual,
  and Symbolism" Here is the "study guide" I posted to start
  off the discussion. The Farrars use Jungian terms
  throughout this chapter -- I've generalized them for the
  benefit of those not very familiar with Jung.]

The 14th chapter opens with a discussion of how various religions
treat their myths. The Farrars point out that some religions have
lost touch with the power of myth and (they imply) have lost
touch with the true meaning of their myths in the process: Some
try to cram their myths into factual reality, others try to limit
contact with them except through a rigid orthodoxy, other have
merely eliminated almost all ritual interaction with their
mythology.  Mythology, they claim, has a hard time fitting into
any faith that is little more than a "rigid structure of
conditioned reflexes."

They quote several definitions of "myth" which can perhaps best
be summed up with my definition (without violating lots of
copyrights, at least).  Myths are stories that, while not
necessarily literally true, convey archetypical truths that
provide wisdom and understanding about the nature of perceived
reality.  Scientific facts speak to our conscious mind.
Mythological facts speak to our subconscious and superconscious

In my opinion, those who try to hold myths up to the standards of
science and history are missing the real power of myths by trying
to redirect their thrust from the subconscious and superconscious
to the conscious mind.  It really doesn't matter if the Biblical
flood or the Goddess' decent into the underworld ever actually
happened for the stories to provide wisdom and understanding. The
Farrars go into this in some detail and bring a lot of Jung into

To the Farrars, at the core all ritual is reenactment of myth.
Rituals are powerful because they allow us to experience Myth
directly. When a myth is read, the conscious mind it more likely
to filter it with pointed questions about its truth.  Reenacting
myth as ritual lessens the role of the conscious mind as it
speaks more directly to the subconscious and superconscious.
Reenacting myth also makes a greater impact.

Symbols, in the Farrars' view, are the embodiment of the bare
essentials of a concept. They may take many forms. The Farrars
spent almost a page giving a wide variety of examples. They say
that the essential nature of myth and ritual is their use of
symbols to convey truth. They point out that symbols can be
interpreted in different ways by different people.

The Farrars conclude this chapter with a discussion of the Wiccan
view that the Gods are really just masks laid over Archetypical

1) How important do you believe an understanding of the nature of
mythology is to religion?

2) Do you agree or disagree with the Farrars implication that
religions with have lost touch with their mythological roots are
somehow "defective"? Why or why not?

3) If you are familiar with Jungian thought, do you agree or
disagree with the Farrar's interpretation of it with respect to

4) The Farrars imply that even the rituals of simple spells are
mythologically based.  Do you agree?  Can you find a mythological
base in some of the simple spells/rituals you've done?

5) The Farrars use the tarot as a example of symbolism. Which
Major Arcana from the Tarot do you see as symbols of (the Jungian
archetypes of) Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, and Trickster?

6) Do you believe the Gods are masks over Archetypes, separate
beings, or something else altogether?  Why do you believe as you

                     SEND A PAGAN POSTCARD

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       of our web pages at http://www.ecauldron.com/. If
       you haven't tried our postcard site, give it a
       try. It has quite a few nice features.

========= Reviewed by Diane Verrochi (aka Firefly)

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
Author: Jack Kornfield
Hardcover, 314 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication date: June 2000
ISBN: 0553102907
US Retail Price: $24.95
Amazon Link:

This book seeks to address a question important to anyone
seriously following a spiritual path:  after those moments of
enlightenment, of transcendent wonder, then what?  How does that
fit into day to day life?

In approaching this question, Kornfield comes primarily from a
Buddhist perspective, but makes it a point to include anecdotes
from people following various paths, such as Judaism, Sufism,
Hinduism, and Christianity.

The book is organized into four sections:  Preparation for
Ecstasy, The Gates of Awakening, No Enlightened Retirement, and
Awakening in the Laundry.  Within this progression, he provides
myths from different traditions, particularly Baba Yaga who makes
several appearances, as well as the anecdotes mentioned above.
This provides a basis for comparison and contrast between the
ways various paths lead one to moments of ecstasy or awakening
and then bring whatever is found there back to daily life.

The book's greatest strength is in its presentation of challenges
anyone may face in integrating spiritual discoveries into their
life.  From the workplace to family dynamics, most major classes
of challenges are addressed, and candidly.  This is a welcome
respite in a book market often laden with rosy predictions of
utopian existence if only we would just [fill in the blank with
fad du jour].

Its greatest weakness is that, in the attempt to make it as
accessible as possible to people of all paths, sometimes the
point of any given chapter or section seems to get buried under
an avalanche of anecdotes. Also, there does not seem to be a
substantial difference between the two last sections of the book,
and it is unclear why they are not simply a single, if longer,
grouping of chapters.  With that in mind, it is probably a good
idea to read this book with periodic breaks to consider the
overall pattern and progression so as to keep some sense of where
it is heading.

Despite these drawbacks, I feel this book is well worth the read.
It has definitely earned a spot on my "frequently used spiritual
reference" shelf, with sections flagged for those days the
ecstasy is lost somewhere in the laundry basket.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire

Origins of Modern Witchcraft: The Evolution of a World Religion
Author: Ann Moura
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: October 2000
ISBN: 1567186483
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

Given all the misinformation floating around the Neo-Pagan
community about the origins of Wicca and other Neo-Pagan
religions, I was pleased when the Origins of Modern Witchcraft
arrived for review. Here was a book by the author one of the
better recent series of "101" books (Green Witchcraft I, II, and
III). A book by an author with a masters in history.
Unfortunately, my high hopes for this book were quickly dashed.

Origins of Modern Witchcraft is a readable and enjoyable romp
through historical speculation. I enjoyed reading this book even
as I picked it apart. Ann Moura has an engaging style of writing
and the historical theory she presents is interesting. She is
exploring the theory that there were two major ancient
civilizations in Eurasia, the Sind in the Indus Valley and the
Aryan invaders.  The Sind were peaceful and advanced with a
life-affirming God and Goddess while the Aryans were warlike
invaders with angry, hostile Gods.

My first major problem with this book is the lack of footnotes.
The author makes grand, sweeping claims throughout this book
without providing much -- if anything -- to support them. For
example, the author states that "the people of Sind understood
the concepts of light years and the equivalent of modern
astronomy's 'island universes'...." This is a remarkable claim,
yet no support for it is provided.  This volume is full of such
remarkable claims, most unsupported.

My second major problem with this book is that it is very hostile
to religions, beliefs, and practices it claims come from the
Aryans. I got the impression from reading this book that those
Aryan invaders were directly or indirectly responsible for every
ill in Western and Near Eastern societies. While I suppose this
is possible, it sounds more like scapegoating to me, especially
given the lack of references.

Origins of Modern Witchcraft is unusual in one respect, at least
for a history book; it includes a number of rituals.  Each
chapter has at least one ritual related to the material in the
chapter. The rituals are well-designed and described, but seem a
bit out of place in a history book.

I enjoyed reading this book, but was not convinced by it. It
presents an interesting theory of history. Without references to
support all the statements made, however, the reader has no way
to tell if this theory is likely or unlikely. Given the grand and
sweeping nature of many of the claims made in this book, I
personally have strong doubts. Readers who prefer their history
well-supported instead of declaratory will probably want to pass
on this book as will those who prefer not to blame all the ills
of history and the modern western world on one ancient people.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire

Murder at Witches' Bluff
Author: Silver Ravenwolf
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: October 2000
ISBN: 1567187277
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

I really like a good mystery story, especially those with an
occult twist. Like her earlier novel, Beneath a Mountain Moon,
Silver Ravenwolf's Murder at Witches' Bluff definitely qualifies
as an enjoyable pagan-themed mystery novel.

I picked up this book one evening intending to read just a few
pages to see how well it started, then switch to another book I
was just about finished with.  I was about 75 pages into Murder
before I noticed I had read much more than I had intended to and
would not have time to finish my other book before I went to bed.
This book really sucks you in quickly.

The situation in Murder at Witches' Bluff seems quite
straightforward, but there are deep, darker waters churning just
below the surface.  Siren McKay, a hypnotherapist, returns to her
small town home of Cold Springs, Pennsylvania after being accused
of killing her husband in New York City. Her alibi proved
unshakable, but many in her hometown consider her a murderer who
just barely escaped the death penalty.

She returns to a town plagued again by strange, unexplainable
fires.  Sets of unexplainable fires have occurred in Cold Springs
at intervals of years since the legendary murder of a coven of
witches gathered on All Hallows Eve some two hundred years ago.
Not only does she return to a troubled, edgy town where many
think she is a murderer, but she unknowingly brings trouble with
her.  Someone has hired a really sick serial killer -- Ravenwolf
handles this character well -- to do kill her after finding "the
numbers."  If this wasn't enough, some of her relatives are
involved in something secretive and have been for generations:
witchcraft. I don't want to go into much more detail because
doing so would ruin a good mystery story.

Siren is a strong character in a book filled with interesting
characters, many of whom would be right at home in any small
town. That's one of the strong points of this novel.  Cold
Springs, in spite of all the weird stuff going on around the
area, feels like a real small town populated by real small town

This novel also has one of the best variations on a "grandmother
story" I've ever seen. A "grandmother story" is a tale of how one
was initiated in Wicca or Witchcraft by an elderly relative who
is, of course, now dead and therefore unable to confirm or deny
the truth of the story. Unfortunately, this variation is so good
that I expect that some Neo-Pagans will borrow it, modify it
slightly, and use it to found their own "ancient" traditions.

While I'm not a fan of much of Silver Ravenwolf's non-fiction,
she handles occult mysteries quite well. Murder at Witches' Bluff
is an enjoyable read. What more could one ask of a mystery novel?
If you like mystery novels with an occult flair, you'll probably
enjoy this book as well. I hope Ravenwolf writes another mystery

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire

Pagan Parenting:
   Spiritual, Magical and Emotional Development of the Child
Author: Kristin Madden
Trade Paperback, 312 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: November 2000
ISBN: 1567184928
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

Neo-Paganism has come of age. When I first became a Pagan in the
1970s, very few Pagans I knew had children. This quickly changed,
of course, as people started forming families, both traditional
and non-traditional. Unfortunately, only recently have books
aimed at helping Pagan parents raise their Pagan children been

In her deceptively short book, Pagan Parenting, Kristen Madden
covers the basics of raising a child in a Pagan home. She
provides games, exercises, and rituals for children of all ages
and their parents to help a child develop his or her psychic and
magickal abilities. Most are simple and easy for a young child to
understand (shielding as being inside an egg, for example) and
are designed around a child's attention span.

While these activities are what the back cover blurb stresses,
there is a lot more to this book: material that may actually be
more useful and important to many parents.  The chapter on the
family covers things you will not find in standard books on
families, such as communal and polyamorous families and families
where parents are involved in alternate sexual lifestyles. The
chapter on communities discusses Pagan communities, including
things to consider when going to Pagan festivals with your
children.  This book helps parents answer a number of tough
questions that generally aren't answered -- or even considered --
in mainstream books on parenting.  Unfortunately, some topics
like deciding whether or not to homeschool, are given less
attention than they probably deserve.

One thing I really like about this book is that the author
doesn't try to tell parents what they should be doing. Unlike so
many books I've seen on raising children, the author of Pagan
Parenting doesn't have the one perfect child-raising system to
sell the reader. The author doesn't come across as "The Expert"
lecturing parents on the "proper way" to raise their children.
Instead she comes across as a friend presenting ideas and
discussing methods other Pagans have used in particular

I'd recommend this book to any Pagan with children or thinking of
having children. It provides a thoughtful general overview of
being a Pagan parent and raising a Pagan child in a Pagan family.
It will not give you the answers, but it will give you ideas and
activities. Most importantly, this book will make you think about
your responsibilities and the decisions you are making from a
Pagan perspective. Thinking about such things is something I
think all parents should do.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= A Spell for relationships gone very bad

If someone keeps hassling you and you're having trouble getting
them out of your life then give this spell a try.

8" yellow candle
8" blue candle
8" grey candle
a cheap knife
heavy-duty safety pin

You will need to find a place where there is green grass and
trees growing in one direction and the other direction needs to
be more barren (such as sand or rocks).

Only perform this spell between the hours of twelve midnight and one
in the morning. Start the spell on a sunday night.

Cut seven notches in each candle.

On the base of the yellow candle engrave your name and birthdate
and on the grey candle engrave the name and birthdate of the
person you are trying to get rid of.

Place the blue candle in the middle, the yellow candle on the
grassy side and the grey candle on the barren side. The candles
must be placed 24 inches from the blue candle.

In the middle between the blue candle and the grey candle place
the knife lying with the sharp blade facing the grey candle.
Surround the grey candle with some charcoal.

Draw a dove with your little finger of the left hand around the
yellow candle. With your left hand light both the yellow candle
and the blue candle.

With your right hand light the grey candle. Repeat the following
words three times: "atce atce atce ete el ikaw".

Let all three candles burn one section. On the next night repeat
the same moving the candles another 24 inches apart.

Continue for seven nights in total until the last night you will
have one section of each candle. Bury the grey candle in the
ground with charcoal.

Bury knife with blade facing grey candle. Bury blue candle.

Take the yellow candle home and place in bottom draw of your
cupboard on white cloth.

========= Everyone could use a bit of luck

Have a small amount of whiskey on hand as it is necessary to give
this charm a 'drink' as it is being made.

You will also need 16 pieces of white yarn, each 36 inches long
and 16 pieces of white thread the same length. Fold each piece 4
times until it is 9 inches long. Take 4 of the yarn and 4 of the
thread and lay them together ends matching.  Now tie the strands
together making a 4 knotted skein.  Repeat with the remaining
pieces so that 4 skeins are made with a total of 16 knots.

The skeins are then rounded into a nest and a small amount of
whiskey is sprinkled over it.  In the center of the nest is
placed a small ball of tinfoil, some Red Clover herb, and Goofer
Dust (graveyard dirt and mix mullein and pachouli powder with

Wrap the nest and its contents tight with more white yarn and
secure with a tight knot.  When finished it should look like a

Again, sprinkle whiskey on it.  Wrap the ball in tinfoil and then
wrap in red silk. Put the finished ball in a bag and either hide
it or carry it in a pocket. Once a week the ball should be taken
out of the bag and receive its 'drink' of whiskey to keep up its

========= By Mike Nichols

Our Christian friends are often quite surprised at how
enthusiastically we Pagans celebrate the 'Christmas' season. Even
though we prefer to use the word 'Yule', and our celebrations may
peak a few days before the 25th, we nonetheless follow many of
the traditional customs of the season: decorated trees,
caroling, presents, Yule logs, and mistletoe. We might even go
so far as putting up a 'Nativity set', though for us the three
central characters are likely to be interpreted as Mother Nature,
Father Time, and the Baby Sun-God. None of this will come as a
surprise to anyone who knows the true history of the holiday, of

In fact, if truth be known, the holiday of Christmas has always
been more Pagan than Christian, with it's associations of Nordic
divination, Celtic fertility rites, and Roman Mithraism. That is
why both Martin Luther and John Calvin abhorred it, why the
Puritans refused to acknowledge it, much less celebrate it (to
them, no day of the year could be more holy than the Sabbath),
and why it was even made illegal in Boston! The holiday was
already too closely associated with the birth of older Pagan gods
and heroes. And many of them (like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules,
Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus and even Arthur)
possessed a narrative of birth, death, and resurrection that was
uncomfortably close to that of Jesus. And to make matters worse,
many of them pre-dated the Christian Savior.

Ultimately, of course, the holiday is rooted deeply in the cycle
of the year. It is the Winter Solstice that is being celebrated,
seed-time of the year, the longest night and shortest day. It is
the birthday of the new Sun King, the Son of God -- by whatever
name you choose to call him. On this darkest of nights, the
Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth. And
it makes perfect poetic sense that on the longest night of the
winter, 'the dark night of our souls', there springs the new
spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel

That is why Pagans have as much right to claim this holiday as
Christians. Perhaps even more so, as the Christians were rather
late in laying claim to it, and tried more than once to reject
it. There had been a tradition in the West that Mary bore the
child Jesus on the twenty-fifth day, but no one could seem to
decide on the month. Finally, in 320 C.E., the Catholic Fathers
in Rome decided to make it December, in an effort to co-opt the
Mithraic celebration of the Romans and the Yule celebrations of
the Celts and Saxons.

There was never much pretense that the date they finally chose
was historically accurate. Shepherds just don't 'tend their
flocks by night' in the high pastures in the dead of winter! But
if one wishes to use the New Testament as historical evidence,
this reference may point to sometime in the spring as the time of
Jesus' birth. This is because the lambing season occurs in the
spring and that is the only time when shepherds are likely to
'watch their flocks by night' -- to make sure the lambing goes
well. Knowing this, the Eastern half of the Church continued to
reject December 25, preferring a 'movable date' fixed by their
astrologers according to the moon.

Thus, despite its shaky start (for over three centuries, no one
knew when Jesus was supposed to have been born!), December 25
finally began to catch on. By 529, it was a civic holiday, and
all work or public business (except that of cooks, bakers, or any
that contributed to the delight of the holiday) was prohibited by
the Emperor Justinian. In 563, the Council of Braga forbade
fasting on Christmas Day, and four years later the Council of
Tours proclaimed the twelve days from December 25 to Epiphany as
a sacred, festive season. This last point is perhaps the hardest
to impress upon the modern reader, who is lucky to get a single
day off work. Christmas, in the Middle Ages, was not a single
day, but rather a period of twelve days, from December 25 to
January 6. The Twelve Days of Christmas, in fact. It is certainly
lamentable that the modern world has abandoned this approach,
along with the popular Twelfth Night celebrations.

Of course, the Christian version of the holiday spread to many
countries no faster than Christianity itself, which means that
'Christmas' wasn't celebrated in Ireland until the late fifth
century; in England, Switzerland, and Austria until the seventh;
in Germany until the eighth; and in the Slavic lands until the
ninth and tenth. Not that these countries lacked their own
mid-winter celebrations of Yuletide. Long before the world had
heard of Jesus, Pagans had been observing the season by bringing
in the Yule log, wishing on it, and lighting it from the remains
of last year's log. Riddles were posed and answered, magic and
rituals were practiced, wild boars were sacrificed and consumed
along with large quantities of liquor, corn dollies were carried
from house to house while caroling, fertility rites were
practiced (girls standing under a sprig of mistletoe were subject
to a bit more than a kiss), and divinations were cast for the
coming Spring. Many of these Pagan customs, in an appropriately
watered-down form, have entered the mainstream of Christian
celebration, though most celebrants do not realize (or do not
mention it, if they do) their origins.

For modern Witches, Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon 'Yula', meaning
'wheel' of the year) is usually celebrated on the actual Winter
Solstice, which may vary by a few days, though it usually occurs
on or around December 21st. It is a Lesser Sabbat or Lower
Holiday in the modern Pagan calendar, one of the four
quarter-days of the year, but a very important one. This year
(1988) it occurs on December 21st at 9:28 am CST. Pagan customs
are still enthusiastically followed. Once, the Yule log had been
the center of the celebration. It was lighted on the eve of the
solstice (it should light on the first try) and must be kept
burning for twelve hours, for good luck. It should be made of
ash. Later, the Yule log was replaced by the Yule tree but,
instead of burning it, burning candles were placed on it. In
Christianity, Protestants might claim that Martin Luther invented
the custom, and Catholics might grant St. Boniface the honor, but
the custom can demonstrably be traced back through the Roman
Saturnalia all the way to ancient Egypt. Needless to say, such a
tree should be cut down rather than purchased, and should be
disposed of by burning, the proper way to dispatch any sacred

Along with the evergreen, the holly and the ivy and the mistletoe
were important plants of the season, all symbolizing fertility
and everlasting life. Mistletoe was especially venerated by the
Celtic Druids, who cut it with a golden sickle on the sixth night
of the moon, and believed it to be an aphrodisiac. (Magically --
not medicinally! It's highly toxic!) But aphrodisiacs must have
been the smallest part of the Yuletide menu in ancient times, as
contemporary reports indicate that the tables fairly creaked
under the strain of every type of good food. And drink! The most
popular of which was the 'wassail cup' deriving its name from the
Anglo-Saxon term 'waes hael' (be whole or hale).

Medieval Christmas folklore seems endless: that animals will all
kneel down as the Holy Night arrives, that bees hum the '100th
psalm' on Christmas Eve, that a windy Christmas will bring good
luck, that a person born on Christmas Day can see the Little
People, that a cricket on the hearth brings good luck, that if
one opens all the doors of the house at midnight all the evil
spirits will depart, that you will have one lucky month for each
Christmas pudding you sample, that the tree must be taken down by
Twelfth Night or bad luck is sure to follow, that 'if Christmas
on a Sunday be, a windy winter we shall see', that 'hours of sun
on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May', that one
can use the Twelve Days of Christmas to predict the weather for
each of the twelve months of the coming year, and so on.

Remembering that most Christmas customs are ultimately based upon
older Pagan customs, it only remains for modern Pagans to reclaim
their lost traditions. In doing so, we can share many common
customs with our Christian friends, albeit with a slightly
different interpretation. And thus we all share in the beauty of
this most magical of seasons, when the Mother Goddess once again
gives birth to the baby Sun-God and sets the wheel in motion
again. To conclude with a long-overdue paraphrase, 'Goddess bless
us, every one!'

(This file contains eight seasonal articles by Mike Nichols. They
may be freely distributed provided that the following conditions
are met: (1) No fee is charged for their use and distribution and
no commercial use is made of them; (2) These files are not
changed or edited in any way without the author's permission; (3)
This notice is not removed. An article may be distributed as a
separate file, provided that this notice is repeated at the
beginning of each such file. These articles are periodically
updated by the author; this version is current as of 9/28/88.)

========= YULE RECIPES


1 pound pork sausage, cooked & drained
1 1/4 cups bisquick
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
12 eggs
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup milk
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon each; pepper, oregano

Layer the sausage, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and cheese in a
well greased 13"x9"x2" baking dish. Beat together the remaining
ingredients in a non-metal bowl and pour over sausage mixture.
Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and set
(about 30 minutes). Cut into 12 3-inch squares. Serves 12, can be


2 thick slices of lemon
2 thick slices of orange
2 slices of peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 small bay leaf
2 cups fresh cranberries
4 pounds boneless loin of venison, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped juniper berries
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef or venison stock
2 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon, orange,
ginger, sugar and bay leaf with 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a
boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the
heat to moderate and boil, uncovered, until syrupy, 10 to 15

Stir in the cranberries, then remove from heat and cool. Transfer
the mixture to a glass container, coer and refrigerate for 1 to 2
days, stirring once or twice during that time.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Rub the venison with the olive oil, 3/4
teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon
of the chopped juniper berries, pressing the seasonings into the
meat. Set the loin on a rack in a roasting pan and roast, basting
frequently with the pan juices, until medium-rare (about 135
degrees F on a meat thermometer), 25 to 30 minutes. Cover the
venison loosely with foil and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes
before carving.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the bay leaf and the lemon, orange
and ginger slices from the cranberries. In a food processor or
blender, puree half the cranberries and half the liquid until

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, boil the wine over high heat
until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and
bring to a boil. Add the cranberry puree, reduce the heat to low
and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10
minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain the remaining whole cranberries and add them to the sauce
with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and chopped
juniper berries. Swirl in the cold butter.

Slice the venison thinly (stir any juices into the sauce) and
serve with the sauce, reheated if necessary.


1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 pound ground ham
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients above and shape into 2 individual loaves. In
a saucepan combine:

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 cup water

Bring sauce to a boil, pour over the loaves, place loaves in a
350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour, basting regularly. Makes
10-12 servings.


3 cups bisquick
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
10 1/2 cups smoked ham
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2/3 teaspoon milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Lightly grease a 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" baking pan. Mix all above
ingredients in a non-metal bowl. Shape mixture into 1" balls.
Place the balls about 2" apart in the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes
at 350 degrees, or until brown. Remove from pan and serve
immediately. Makes 16 servings.


3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon red hot pepper sauce
1 pkg. (8-oz) Neufchatel cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 green onions w/tops, finely chopped
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread out chopped pecans on a cookie
sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until toasted, tossing once. In a
small non-metal bowl, mix the cream cheese, onions, mustard, red
pepper sauce, and garlic with mixer at a medium speed for 3
minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Wrap in plastic wrap and
shape into approx. 4" ball, refrigerate for 15 minutes. After, on
a sheet of waxed paper, toss the pecans and parsley. Unwrap the
cheese ball and carefully roll it around in the mixture, covering
it completely. Rewrap the cheese ball and place in refrigerator
until time to serve. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.
Makes 24 servings.


4 cups cranberry juice
6 cinnamon sticks
5 cups apple cider
1 orange, studded with whole cloves
1 cup water
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix juice, cider, and water in large saucepan or crock pot. Add
cinnamon sticks, clove studded orange, and apple slices. Simmer
mixture for 4 hours. Serve hot. Makes 12 servings.


1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup. flour
1 1/2 cups grated almonds (blanched)
1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 T. water

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add
grated lemon peel, salt, flour, grated almonds, and 1 tsp.
vanilla; mix thoroughly. Place dough in bowl. Cover and chill
thoroughly. When dough is well chilled; or next day, roll out
dough to 1/8" thickness and cut with moon/crescent cookie cutter.
Place 1/2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 375
degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

While cookies bake, combine confectioner's sugar, vanilla and
water. Spread over tops of cookies while still warm, but not too
hot as icing will melt. Thin with additional drops of water if
glaze is too thick.

Allow cookies to cool. Yield: 10 dozen cookies.


1/2 cup Brown sugar, firmly packed
3 Tablespoons Butter or margarine, softened
1 Egg
1 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
Red and green decorator icing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the brown sugar and margarine until
blended. Add the egg; beat until well blended. Lightly spoon
flour into measuring cup; level off. Add the flour, baking
powder, baking soda and spices; mix well. Divide the dough in
half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough with
your hands to make two 10 1/2-inch logs; flatten slightly to 1
1/4 inches in diameter. With a spatula, place the logs 2 to 3
inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip a non-serrated
knife in water; score each log diagonally at 3/4-inch intervals.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until set and no longer moist. Cool
for 1 minute. Remove from the cookie sheet; place on a wire rack.
Cool for 5 minutes. With a serrated knife, cut the logs at the
scored lines.

Cool completely. Decorate each cookie with decorator icing to
resemble a holly leaf and berries.

========= Author Unknown

  [This is the closest thing you will find to a mention of
  the recent US election mess in this newsletter.  Aren't
  you relieved?]

AUSTIN, TX - Dec 15 - Attorneys for Texas Governor George W. Bush
filed suit in federal court today, seeking to prevent Santa Claus
from making his list and then checking it twice. The complaint
seeks an immediate injunction against the beloved Christmas icon,
asking the court to effectively ban his traditional practice of
checking the list of good boys and girls one additional time
before packing his sleigh.

The suit, filed in the Federal District Court of Austin, Texas,
asks a federal judge to "hereby order Mr. Claus to cease and
desist all repetitive and duplicative list-checking activity, and
certify the original list as submitted, without amendment,
alteration, deletion, or other unnecessary modification."

"There are no standards for deciding who is naughty, and who is
nice. It's totally arbitrary and capricious. How many more times
does he need to check? This checking, checking, and re-checking
over and over again must stop now," said former Secretary James

Baker further claimed that unnamed GOP observers witnessed an elf
remove all boys named Brad from the "nice" list, filing them
under "naughty" instead because "everyone knows all boys named
Brad are brats."

Gov. Bush cited the potential for unauthorized list tampering,
and blasted what he called the "fuzzy math up there at the North

"Their security is really awful, really bad," said Bush. "My
mother just walked right in, told 'em she was Mrs. Claus. They
didn't check her ID or nothing."

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, Gov. Bush's running mate, issued a direct
plea to St. Nick himself. "Mr. Claus, I call on you to do the
honorable thing, and quit checking your list. The children of the
world have had enough. They demand closure now," Cheney said,
adding that his granddaughter has already selected a name for the
pony that she's asked for.

Santa Claus could not be reached for comment, but a spokes-elf
said he was "deeply distressed" by news of the pending legal
action against him. "He's losing weight, and he hasn't said 'Ho
Ho Ho' for days," said the spokes-elf. "He's just not feeling

========= by Randall Sapphire

NetLaunch is a tiny, powerful program that sits in your system
tray and monitors dial-up Internet connections and
disconnections. It can launch programs when a connection is made
and close programs when a disconnect occurs. I use it to launch
Magic Mail Monitor, Get Right, and several other programs every
time I connect to my ISP and to close those programs when I

You can control the order in which programs launch (if you need
to) by setting time delays. NetLaunch provides several options
for closing programs from the friendly (which allows the program
to ask permission to save files, etc. with a dialog box) to the
hostile Quit (close down right now and don't ask me any

If you have multiple ISPs, you can provide separate
configurations for each, starting and closing different programs
in different ways for each ISP if you wish. This program also
provides easy but powerful scheduling, allowing you to
automatically make and break connections to specific ISPs at
specific times.

Finally, NetLaunch provide a method to bypass the "Connect To"
dialog box and redial a disconnected session if you have an older
version of Windows 95 where such things aren't already automated.

You will find this free Win9x program at:


The web site mentions that some people have had problems running
the program under Windows 98. I haven't nor do I know anyone who

========= Cauldron Info

The following book review (included in this newsletter) are
new to the web site:

 * After the Ecstasy, the Laundry


 * Murder at Witches' Bluff


 * Origins of Modern Witchcraft


 * Pagan Parenting


========= Cauldron Info
========= NEW WEB POLL

Our new polls are working nicely and without all the problems we
had when they were hosted offsite. You'll find them on their own
web page at:


Our newest poll, opened December 1, asks:

 * Which best describes your concept of deity? (Atheism,
   Monotheism, Duotheism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Other)


Make your opinion known, take this poll today!

========= Cauldron Info

If you wish to purchase books or other items at Amazon.com, you
can help fund The Cauldron's web site by using this link to
access Amazon.com when you make your purchases:


Just use this link to go to Amazon.com via our web site and
almost every purchase you make that visit will earn The Cauldron
a small amount to help pay for our web page -- at no extra charge
to you. You can also use the Amazon link on the menu of every
Cauldron web page and not have to remember this long link.

Unlike the Amazon link listed in some prior issues of this
newsletter, you can simply visit this site and save the link in
your bookmark list.  If you then use this bookmarked link every
time you wish to visit Amazon.com, any purchases you make while
there will help fund The Cauldron's web site.

========= Cauldron and Thicket Info

   [NOTE: The PaganPaths server has been down the last
   couple of weeks.  Chats will resume when it comes
   back up.]

Cauldron Co-Host Randall Sapphire hosts a one hour general chat
almost every Tuesday evening from 10pm to 11pm Central (Daylight)
Time in our channel (#thecauldron) on the PaganPaths IRC server.
We usually have a pretty good turnout.  Discussions cover a wide
range of topics, depending on what the folks present want to

You'll find all the information you need to connect to our chats
either with your own IRC client or via the Java IRC client
(including images of the various Java windows which pop up) on our
Chats web page at:


You can open a Java chat client directly to #thecauldron by
clicking on the "IRC Chat" link in the menu of any of our web
pages, but we strongly suggest you visit the above page first and
read a few paragraphs on how to use it.  This page is also
available from the "[Info]" link right next to the "IRC Chat"
link on our web page menus.  If you have your own IRC client
program, the address of the main PaganPaths server is:

    madison.wi.us.paganpaths.org  (port 6667)

If you'd like to host a chat for members of The Cauldron: A Pagan
Forum on a regular, weekly schedule, please let us know.

If "Central Time" doesn't mean anything to you, this an online
time converter at http://sandbox.xerox.com/stewart/tzconvert.cgi
might help.  I think Central Time is listed as something like "US
- Central" in the drop down box.

========= (Including how to subscribe and unsubscribe)

Cauldron and Candle is a free publication of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum with assistance from our sister form, The Witches'
Thicket.  The Cauldron and The Thicket aim to publish this
newsletter twice a month and often actually succeed in doing so.

Copyrights on individual items in this newsletter are retained by
their author, please contact the editors if you need to contact
an author for permission to reprint an article and the editors
will do their best to put you in touch with him or her. No one
involved in producing this newsletter has any money to speak of
so suing us if you don't like something we do is a waste of time
and money.


You are receiving a copy of this newsletter because you signed up
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it if you put a link to The Cauldron's web site on your web
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Thanks in advance.


Don't forget that your suggestions for the forum are always
welcome, either posted on the message board or via email to
Elspeth Sapphire (elspeth.sapphire@worldnet.att.net) or Randall
Sapphire (rssapphire@ecauldron.com). Typos are, as usual,
courtesy of the Goddess Eris.

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet again!
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