[Cauldron and Candle Illo]

Cauldron and Candle
Issue #28 -- October 2002

A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
message board: http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/start

With a little help from The Witches' Thicket
website: http://www.witchesthicket.com/
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  #28 -- October 2002

           A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
                website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
  delphi forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/start
             newsletter: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/

            With a little help from A Witches' Thicket
              website: http://www.witchesthicket.com/
    delphi forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/thicket/start

In this Issue:

[01] Editorial: Defending Eclectic Neopaganism
[02] Cauldron and Thicket News
[03] Poem: You Didn't Hear
[04] Ritual: Solitary Samhain Ritual
[05] Review: Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft
[06] Review: Color Magick
[07] Review: Astrology For Beginners
[08] Review: The Complete Book of Numbers
[09] Review: The Moon and Everyday Living
[10] Review: Soul Purpose Astrology
[11] Review: Tarot For Self Discovery
[12] Column:  TarotDeevah on the Tarot
[13] Article: Wiccan Self-Dedication Explained
[14] Dragon Clan Witchcraft Course: September Lesson Index
[15] Humor: The Lesser Known Gods And Demi-Gods Of Greece
[16] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[17] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

  +++ Submission Deadline for next issue: October 25, 2002 +++
    Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

[01]
=========
========= EDITORIAL: DEFENDING ECLECTIC NEOPAGANISM
========= by Ben Gruagach
=========

    [Editor's Note: This guest editorial was written as a
    counterpoint to Sannion's "Defending Reconstructionism"
    editorial published in the September 2002 issue of this
    newsletter. If you missed it, you can find it in our
    archive: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/cnc02sep1.php]


There is a trend among some Reconstructionist Neopagans to
dismiss Neopagans who are admitted Eclectics in their religious
practice and philosophy. Recently, Sannion wrote an editorial
titled "Defending Reconstructionism" to address the conflict and
to present some of the arguments from a Reconstructionist's
viewpoint. Sannion's editorial can be found on the web at
http://sannion.bravepages.com/Defending_Recon.html and has been
reprinted in the September 2002 issue (#27) of the Cauldron and
Candle email newsletter, available at http://www.ecauldron.com/.

Sannion begins by saying that those who challenge
Reconstructionism are "fluffy." It must be pointed out that
Neopagans who are not following specifically Reconstructionist
paths are not necessarily "fluffy" by default. The term "fluffy"
has come to mean Neopagan practitioners who are largely ignorant
of their own religion's history, sources, and often core issues.
"Fluffy" Neopagans are thought to be involved in alternative
religions for shock value or as a fashion statement rather than
out of a desire for spiritual understanding and discipline.
"Fluffy" Neopagans are those who accept any claim at face value -
apparently lacking critical skills to distinguish objective
reality from fantasy. "Fluffy" Neopagans generally lack
credibility except amongst other "Fluffy" Neopagans, because they
often can't provide any evidence to support their claims. By
clarifying what "fluffy" Neopagans are, it's easier to recognize
that there are indeed Neopagans who aren't Reconstructionists who
are also not "fluffy." Doreen Valiente, Janet Fararr, Vivianne
Crowley, Margot Adler, Starhawk - are these Neopagans "fluffy"
because they aren't specifically Reconstructionists? They are
all Wiccans, and Wicca is outside the Reconstructionist category
by most determinations.

There are undoubtedly some individuals who are new to
Reconstructionist traditions who pick up a single book and then
declare themselves "experts," which easily puts them firmly
within the "fluffy" category. And likewise, there are Neopagans
who do not belong to Reconstructionist traditions who are
thorough scholars, who are realists, who can provide extensive
evidence to support claims they make. Being a Reconstructionist
does not make you immune from being "fluffy," and not being a
Reconstructionist does not make you "fluffy" automatically
either.

Let's clarify the issue more by making clear distinctions between
the two groups that Sannion describes as being at odds, and give
them general labels: Reconstructionists and Eclectics.
Reconstructionists are those who are basing their religions as
closely as possible on a specific historical model. Eclectics
are those who do not limit themselves to one specific historical
model, but are apt to select influences from a wide range of
cultures and historical periods. Eclectics are also just as
likely to invent new concepts or practices for inclusion as they
are to draw from established systems.

Sannion presented five main objections that Reconstructionist
Neopagans hear from Eclectic Neopagans, and attempted to refute
each of these. Let's start by looking at those five objections
and Sannion's arguments and see where they take us.

1. "All Reconstructionists do is study; they don't actually live
the religion." Sannion argues that Reconstructionists do tend to
be predominantly book-based, but this doesn't mean they don't
pray to their deities or perform rituals or devotions.

The argument comes across as based on a rather shallow taunt -
"my religion is better than yours because we do more ritual than
you do." It also misses the perhaps more subtle point - that a
religion is a way of life, a living and breathing part of
existence that isn't experienced primarily through the study of
the written word. Study of mythology and history can help us get
a better understanding of our ancestors, and hopefully will shed
light on ourselves. Eclectics acknowledge that things change,
that the things written down in the history books are just the
start of the story. The present and the future are just as
important as the past. Perhaps the Eclectic complaint is that
Reconstructionists are not focusing enough on the present, on
their individual and current relationships with the Divine, in
favor of focusing almost exclusively on what people did long ago.

It doesn't really matter who is doing more ritual or more
devotions as part of their religion. It doesn't really matter if
the religious practices are strictly individual and private, or
public and communal. It does matter if you are living in the
present or sacrificing the present for a mythical idealized past.

2. "Reconstructionism is too restrictive and doesn't allow for
personal expression." Sannion argues that Eclectic Neopagans are
uncritical, that they accept everything without distinguishing
good from bad. It is also pointed out that within specific
Reconstructionist traditions (for example Greek paganism) there
is a lot of room for creativity: Greek Reconstructionism includes
Minoan, Myceneaean, Homeric, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman
periods spanning roughly from 1500 BCE through 400 CE. "And yet
[Eclectic] Neopagans still want more freedom," Sannion says.

Eclectic Neopagans mostly work under the idea that they use what
works for them. It's something that varies from group to group,
and often from individual to individual. If something doesn't
work for an individual or group, they'll drop it or ignore it.
That does not mean that individuals or groups are not selective,
that they do not hold some standards against which philosophies
or practices are measured. Eclectic Neopagans, individually and
as working groups, can be just as critical as any
Reconstructionist. The standards might be different, but
different does not mean one standard is necessarily better or
worse than another.

Eclectic Neopagans as an entire group can be said to accept
everything, because if you look you'll surely find an Eclectic
Neopagan who does believe whatever specific idea is brought
forth. The same can be said of Reconstructionists as a whole -
pick an idea, and you're sure to find a Reconstructionist
somewhere who believes that particular idea.

The selection of a specific culture and period in history as the
basis for a religion is itself artificial and forced. For
example, the Celtic peoples were varied and far from homogeneous,
yet Reconstructionists will just as happily blend different clan
or regional deities, myths, and practices. Ancient Greece, as
another example, was a land made up of very independent
city-states, each with its own set of deities and religious
practices. Rome, on the other hand, did its best to institute a
"state religion" or collection of religions, and to do this it
consciously absorbed and adopted various tribal religions from
Italy, Greece, Egypt, and elsewhere. The idea of a "pure
culture," "pure religion," or "pure ethnic group" is very
artificial and arbitrary. Cultures adopt ideas and mythology
from each other all the time. To pretend that a religion or
culture is "pure" is rather načve.

Many Eclectic Neopagans (although not all, of course) also work
under the philosophy that "all gods are one God, all goddesses
are one Goddess," and often also believe that God and Goddess are
merely two gender aspects of a single, all-pervasive Divine that
is beyond human understanding as a whole. They believe that we
approach and interact with the Divine through distinct "aspects"
that appear to human perception as independent individuals. To
expect an Eclectic Neopagan who believes "all gods are one God"
to limit themselves to an arbitrary group of deities (whether
selected by geographic region, historical period, or whatever
criteria) is an artificial and unnecessary limitation. Eclectics
allow themselves the right to decide how to approach the Divine,
which names they feel most comfortable using when speaking with
Them, and usually assume the same right to others whether they
are Eclectic or not.

Sannion presented an analogy of two musicians to reinforce the
idea that limiting study to one cultural and historical period is
best. Of course, there are other analogies that can be presented
to argue to opposite.

Imagine that there are two chefs. One chef limits herself to
just twelve ingredients, selected because they were native to one
geographic area and period in history. She also combines and
prepares those ingredients only in ways that are historically
supported for the time period and location selected. She becomes
highly proficient and is satisfied with her achievements in the
kitchen. Perhaps she becomes famous for a particular
"specialty" dish.

The second chef, however, does not limit herself to a specific
set of ingredients, methods of combining, or methods of preparing
those ingredients. She feels free to explore other cultures, try
new dishes, and incorporate what she likes best into her own
familiar menu. Because she is able to explore and test, she
invents some new dishes and methods of preparing ingredients that
become new delicacies. Those experiments that didn't work out are
discarded in favor of those that succeeded. She learns from her
mistakes and sees exposure to new ingredients and methods as a
starting place, not the final destination in her culinary life.

Reconstructionists probably do see themselves in the analogy of
the two musicians - they are the ones who apply themselves to
learning one instrument, immerse themselves in the established
understanding of that instrument, and strive to master it.
Eclectics, however, probably see themselves in the analogy of the
two chefs - they are the ones who allow themselves the freedom to
explore, borrow, and invent, and strive to contribute something
vibrant and new.

Is one right and the other wrong? Or are they just different
approaches for different kinds of people?

3. "Reconstructionists are mean." Sannion argues that Neopagans
who are not part of Reconstructionist traditions are not
critical. "And they [non-Reconstructionist Neopagans] tend to
believe that everything is subjective and just a matter of
opinion."

Religion is a subjective thing - it's far from objective in any
sense. Reconstructionist traditions are working from historical
opinions that are based on interpretations of archaeological and
textual evidence. Religion, like history, is always open to
interpretation. New evidence is always being discovered, new
circumstances arise which force us to re-evaluate and reconsider.

We humans can rarely agree about absolute determinations of "what
really happened" in current events, so what makes us think we can
do so for past history where we are often working from fragmented
evidence?

There does appear to be a larger emphasis on scholarly standards
within the Reconstructionist traditions than in the Eclectic
community at large. This does not mean, however, that there are
no Eclectic scholars, and that statements made by Eclectics are
never critically examined. Religions that are more popular will
invariably have more "fluffy" followers. There is a growing push
within the Eclectic community as well towards critical
scholarship such as the growing attention given to Ronald
Hutton's work, among others. To label a whole group "uncritical"
while ignoring the increasingly more prominent critical elements
within that group seems premature.

4. "Reconstructionists are too focused on the past." Sannion
argues that Reconstructionists are not Luddites. They base their
traditions on the best from their chosen cultural group and time
period, ignoring elements such as slavery and animal or human
sacrifice which are incompatible with modern values.

This is one of the strongest arguments for Eclecticism, as it
acknowledges that it is impractical and likely impossible to
recreate exactly what the ancients did. The difference is that
Reconstructionists have chosen to limit their inspiration upon an
arbitrary cultural group and time period (which may or may not be
accurate in its modern assumptions of homogeneity of that
cultural group and time period). This is the gist of this
particular argument against Reconstructionism - that the
limitation to one group at one time period for the basis of a
modern tradition is arbitrary. One group's or individual's choice
in no way invalidates the choices of others to limit themselves
or not in similar fashion.

If Reconstructionists admit, as Sannion does, "_we aren't
pretending to be ancient people_ [w]e are moderns, and gladly
accept the positive things about modern culture" then why do they
condemn Eclectic Neopagans because they aren't pretending to be
ancient people either? If an Eclectic Neopagan isn't claiming to
be carrying on an unchanged tradition from a specific cultural
group at a specific time period, then why should a
Reconstructionist be concerned? Many Neopagans do not feel drawn
to Christianity, Judaism, or Islam specifically because they feel
there is no such thing as a "One True Way" for all people. Why
should Reconstructionists object when other Neopagans choose to
follow their religions with different cultural or historical
sources of inspiration?

5. "Reconstructionists are just making it up." This argument is
the weakest. Sannion attributes this complaint against
Reconstructionists to the "fluffiest" of non-Reconstructionist
Neopagans - those who claim to carry on a tradition when the
historical evidence does not back them up. It becomes an attack
on the poor scholarship of the "fluffy" non-Reconstructionist
instead of an argument addressing the charge that
Reconstructionists aren't really following an undisturbed ancient
tradition, either.

Sannion admitted that Reconstructionists are in fact eclectic in
their careful selection of what to include and what to exclude as
part of their traditions. They include modern ideas and values,
where often the original culture and time period used as the
basis for the tradition would have differed. Even the original
cultures and historical periods selected are not "pure," as
ancient cultures borrowed, adopted, and changed myth and
philosophy from their neighbors the same way modern people do.
Some cultures, like the Roman empire, were quite openly eclectic.
It is puzzling that today's Neopagans, especially ones who pride
themselves on their thorough scholarship such as
Reconstructionists, should try and insist eclecticism should be
sneered at. If the ancients did it, and the ways of the ancients
are clearly good enough for the Reconstructionists to emulate,
then eclecticism should certainly be acceptable for all
Neopagans.

The entire argument appears to really be about scholarship within
the Neopagan community - what constitutes credibility, and how
credible are we to outsiders. There is certainly a problem with
what has been termed "fluffy" behavior, where practitioners
exhibit little or no attempt to critically examine claims. This
is not solely found within the Eclectic Neopagan community
despite what some Reconstructionists would claim. We should be
encouraging critical thought regardless of the tradition (or lack
of one) among all Neopagans. This means that Reconstructionists
as well must critically examine their own assumptions and
challenge their own beliefs that Eclecticism is suspect.

Copyright (c) 2002 by Ben Gruagach. Reprinted with permission.

=====
===== About Ben
=====

Ben Gruagach describes himself as an Eclectic Wiccan. You can
find more of Ben's writings on his web site:

  http://www.witchgrotto.com/


       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                      SEND A PAGAN POSTCARD

       You can send a Pagan Postcard from the menu of any
       of our web pages at http://www.ecauldron.com/. If
       you haven't tried our postcard site, give it a
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       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


[02]
=========
========= CAULDRON AND THICKET NEWS
========= by Cauldron and Thicket Staff
=========

=====
===== Cauldron Co-Host In Hospital
=====

As many members of the Cauldron's message board know, Elspeth has
not felt well enough to participate since May. On September 27th,
she was diagnosed with pneumonia and put in the hospital. Her
doctor intends to run a full battery of tests on her while she's
in the hospital in hope of tracking down the cause of the other
problems that have been plaguing her all summer -- or at least as
many of them as they can -- before they let her go home. Elspeth
welcomes prayers and healing from anyone.


=====
===== Cauldron Delphi Forum Top Poster -- September 2002
=====

The top poster on The Cauldron's Delphi Forums message board for
September 2002 was Seasons (SEASONS4). The Runner Up was Mari
(ARIANCRAIDD). There were several members hot on their heels:
Star (STARCR), Trance (RAEVYNXX), and HEARTSHADOW. (Cauldron
staff members are ineligible for this honor and so aren't
listed.)

=====
===== The Cauldron Message Board Sets Record in September
=====

4891 messages were posted to The Cauldron's Delphi message board
in September 2002, surpassing the record set in July by over 100
posts. Thanks to everyone who participates in The Cauldron's
Delphi message board.


=====
===== Cauldron Web Polls
=====

The Cauldron's web polls have disappeared again. Once again our
web hosting provider has changed things so that our poll program
does not work. As we have had more trouble finding poll programs
that will work for us and keeping them working than we have with
anything else on our web site over the past four years, we've
decided to just not bother with them any more. The Fates seem to
be against us when it comes to polls on our web site. We will
still have polls on our message board.


=====
===== Ecauldron Mailing List Closed
=====

As announced in previous issues of this newsletter, our ecauldron
mailing list was closed to new posts by non-moderators at the end
of September. Given the problems with Yahoo Groups and the rapid
growth of our reopened message board during the last few months,
The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum decided to drop the discussion list
and concentrate staff time and attention on our message board.

Due to requests from mailing list members, the list was not
closed completely as originally planned so that people would have
access to the archives of past discussions.


       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                 CAULDRON AND CANDLE WEB SITE

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

                 http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/
       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


[03]
=========
========= YOU DIDN'T HEAR
========= A Poem by Elspeth Sapphire
=========

You didn't hear the words I spoke;
Instead you listened to my heart.
Freeing all the love captive there
No matter the miles we're apart.

I spoke of joy in solitude
Of my quest to need only me.
You heard tales of unspoken pain --
Shared your vision so I would see.

I then spoke words of bitterness.
Yes, I threw them cruelly like a blade.
But you heard the fear hidden there;
Refused to leave -- offering your aid.

And when I spoke of weariness...
Life too much a burden to hold;
You heard the need of comforting
And helped to drive away the cold.

You didn't hear the words I spoke
And I am thankful every day.
You listened to what was important
And what I truly had to say.


[04]
=========
========= WICCAN SOLITARY RITUAL
========= RITUAL: SAMHAIN (WITCH'S NEW YEAR, 31ST OCTOBER)
========= by Moonsongstress
=========

  [Visit Moonsongstress' web site for more of her material:
   http://www.moonsongstress.com]

=====
===== Tools for the Ritual
=====

* Dark brown and russet altar cloths
* Apple in a censer, sharp knife, apple juice (simple feast)
* Samhain incense - myrrh
* Golden God candle
* Silver Goddess candle
* White altar candle
* Quarter candles and corresponding stones
* Matches, taper and snuffer
* Cauldron or fire-proof bowl and small votive candle
* Dark green leaves in a small vase
* Fire proof lantern with a red candle in it.

=====
===== Tools for the Peace Spell
=====

* Blue candle
* Lavender oil

=====
===== Preparation
=====

Before the ritual dress, consecrate and light the lantern candle
and place it in an upper window.

At the beginning of the ritual mentally cleanse and sweep the
area moving in deosil fashion. Set up the quarter candles and
stones symbolizing the elements of the quarters. Decorate the
altar with its cloths, and then the candles. Place the golden God
candle to the right back of the altar and the silver Goddess
candle to the left back. The cauldron goes before the Goddess
candle. Place the votive candle in front of the cauldron. The
white altar candle goes at the center back of the altar between
the Goddess and God candles. Place the items for the simple feast
to one side and the vase of leaves in front of the God candle.
The apple, knife and apple juice should be placed to one side.

Take a shower or splash your face with water for purification.
Sit quietly and meditate for a while, then ground and center.

=====
===== The Ritual
=====

The ritual is begun. Cast the circle, calling the quarters and
spirit center. Invoke the Goddess and God. Bid them all Hail and
Welcome. Say:

  I perform this ritual as the wheel of the year turns to
  complete and re-begin its cycles. The time of cold and dark, of
  frost and fog is upon us and the veil between the worlds of the
  living, the dead and unborn, and the spirits has become as thin
  as the gossamer of a spider's web. On this day I will travel
  through the worlds' veil and invite the beloved dead and unborn
  to come in peace and love to share part of this time outside of
  time with me.

  Hecate, I call to you now in this time
  Of the thin veiling, when the quiet
  Spirits quest and search, reaching
  With long, looking fingers for the still
  Remembered ones as they awake.

  You, whose dark as moonlight cloak
  Envelops the old souls lately resting,
  Cradling them in scrawny armed care;
  I light my lamp to you on this night,
  And for those in need of my signpost.

  Fortressed in our concrete castles,
  And trapped in our high-rise towers
  We let down the silver, supple tresses
  Of our spirits to welcome them back,
  And the light says - "We await you".

  For silently they come on this night,
  Drawn to the friendly flickering flames
  And places that have been set for them
  To once more be with their own ones
  And exchange love giving again tonight.

  It calls in its shining for them all, but
  Also for you, as I watch them enter
  And you let them go with a mother's
  Care. I honor them and you as they
  Return from the safety of your wings.


Observe the Goddess candle's flame. Wait for it to rise and
flicker, then proceed. If nothing happens, silently project your
wish to commune with your loved ones that have passed on and
proceed when the time feels right, saying:

  Pan, I call you. I call to you now
  With my gay laughter and song.
  You, the horned one who makes
  The honey dripped music of love
  And dances with us the tender,
  Wild, passionate dance of life.
  I call to you now, as you greenly
  Answer, softly breathing down
  The sweet calling pipes of freedom,
  Waiting to dance the merry circle
  Round with the Green Lady as she
  Whispers the music of the spheres.

  Come now. I hear you coming
  In the wind as it caresses my brow
  And weaves flowers in my hair.
  And I feel you fleeting as shining
  Raindrops singing in the air and
  Creating the oldest wonder anew.
  Where do you come from and
  Where do you go? I ask, as you
  Stare still with the eyes of the owl
  And the mouse. "I am the male
  Goddess, the feeling, creative
  One who lives and dies." you say.

  Live within me then, I say as you
  Take my hand and whirl me softly
  Round like fallen leaves through
  The crisp, golden days of pleasure.
  Give me your joy and your sadness
  In full measure and I will live,
  And I will die, over and over the
  Same but ever new. Creating and
  Living and loving and laughing
  And crying once, for all and for
  Ever. For I am green with you and
  The dance of life is ours this time.

Observe the God candle's flame. Wait for it to rise and flicker,
then proceed. If nothing happens, silently project your wish that
your loved ones be kept safe on their journey and proceed when
the time feels right, saying:

  In an upper window my candle lantern burns as a guide to the
  beloved dead. May they find their way back to their earthly
  homes on this night to share in joyful reunion with those who
  still live. I invite you now to come and be with me in peace in
  this ritual.

Stretch out your arms to embrace all of your beloved dead and
unborn. Wrap your arms around yourself with an embrace of love
and acceptance.

Take the votive candle, saying:

  Beloved Hecate, your cauldron is a well-pool of the cycle of
  life, death and rebirth, Horned Pan, your wisdom and strength
  protect your children. I stand before you now as the old year
  ends and the new year begins. I offer this ritual as the
  harvest of my life as it is now, And the learning I have
  received up to this time. As I walk forward into the new year
  with confidence, I ask boldly for your abundant blessings.

Light the candle and place it in the cauldron.
Sit and observe the candle flames.

  Each beginning is an ending, each ending is a new beginning.
  Life and death are but different parts of the same cycle. Watch
  with me, my beloved ones, you who are here now Who have in the
  past departed, who are joined together With me again through
  the gossamer boundary of the thin veil For love giving and
  taking. You are in the fire of my heart. I hold a place open
  for those ones who do not find the time right For their return
  this year - I hold you too in my heart.

=====
===== Self Re-dedication
=====

Say:

  My life is consecrated to the Green Lady my Goddess and her
  consort the horned God. I offer myself once more to your
  service, Green Lady.

Crouch on the ground in a foetal position. Place one hand on the
crown of your head and the other under you feet. Say:

  Everything that is between my hands is yours. I give it freely
  and with full knowledge and forethought. May everything that I
  am always be used honestly, truthfully, wisely and courageously
  in your service, Green Lady.

Uncurl yourself and continue, saying:

  May I listen for and hear you,
  May I look for and see you,
  May I reach for and touch you,
  May I wait for and find you.

  Teach me what I need to know, and what I am now ready to know.

=====
===== Peace Spell
=====

Place the blue candle in its holder and anoint it with lavender
oil moving from the top of the candle to the middle, then from
the bottom to the middle, so that the whole candle has been
anointed, but no part of it has been anointed in both upward and
downward directions. Excess oil may be used to anoint your
breastbone with the triple moon.

Raise energy by visualizing that you are a tree. Extend your
roots into the earth and feel the rich abundance of energy the
earth gives to her children. Draw energy up through your roots,
through your trunk and into your branches. Allow it to cascade in
silver fountains back down to the earth.

Visualize the world as a place of freedom, peace, equality and
plenty. Opinion and belief may be expressed by all people in an
atmosphere of safety, tolerance and understanding. Nationality,
wealth, ethnic and social background are all irrelevant in this
place. Respect for all is the code by which we live. Everyone's
voice is equally heard and relevant. There is no need for
desperate action here because the deep belief in the heart of
each individual is that everyone is equal. There are infinite
numbers of different types of people who naturally band with
others who are similar to themselves, but each one is of equal
worth to the larger group called humanity. Difference is valued
for its role in the survival of the species - a sure antidote for
stagnation and stubborn sameness.

Explore this world, explore the feelings of it and create it in
your mind. When enough energy has been raised, direct it into the
blue candle through your hands. Light the candle. Bind the spell,
visualizing a cord tying around the candle. Address the earth,
saying:

  I bind this spell by power of the three, may it harm none and
  bring good to thee.

Proceed with the simple feast to ground yourself.
Take the knife and cut the apple horizontally to reveal the
pentagram within the fruit. Place one half of the apple in a
censer on the altar. This will be offered to the earth after the
ritual. The other half of the apple and the apple juice are to be
consumed now. Say:

  I consecrate this apple to the love of the earth.
  As I observe the pentagram within, may I remember the elements
    of life.
  As I offer it, may I offer careful nurturing.
  As I plant it, may I plant love.

=====
===== The end of the Ritual
=====

Thank the spirits of the quarters and center, and also the
Goddess and God. Ask them to go if they must but stay if they
will. Bid them all Hail and Farewell. Open the circle. The circle
is open but never broken. Allow the spell candle to burn down
without extinguishing.

The ritual is ended.


       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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[05]
=========
========= REVIEW: BUCKLAND'S COMPLETE BOOK OF WITCHCRAFT
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft (Second Edition)
Author: Raymond Buckland
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: May 2002
ISBN: 0875420508
US Retail Price: $17.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738702048/thecauldron

When Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft first appeared on
bookstore shelves in the middle of the 1980s, it was snapped up
by eager newbies and long time Pagans alike. At the time, it
quickly became a staple: a book that everyone recommended to
those new to Wicca. After 31 printings, Llewellyn replaced this
old standby with a slightly revised second edition in 2002. The
major change to the second edition is larger type. This may not
sound like much, but the larger type and more consistent
formatting make the second edition much easier to read.

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft lost some of its luster in
the 1990s, unfortunately in this reviewer's opinion. The more
traditional forms of Wicca (which Buckland teaches in this book)
went out of style and were replaced by a more sanitized and
politically correct form of Wicca. Worse, while Neo-Wiccan
authors of the 1990s often sound like they are trying to be a
cross between the reader's kindly mother and the reader's best
friend and confidant, Raymond Buckland's reserved and slightly
superior writing style makes it sound at times like the reader
should be ever so grateful to him for writing this book.

If you read the customer reviews at this book's page at
Amazon.com, you will see that its more traditional Wiccan
teachings are apparently offensive to many readers accustomed to
the more sanitized and politically correct Neo-Wiccan teachings
which became common in the early 1990s. Many reviewers there take
the first edition of this book and its author to task for talking
about traditional Wiccan things like skyclad rituals or the
binding and symbolic scourging of initiates and for including a
page or two on sex magick.

Admittedly, this book is not perfect. It tries to cover far too
much and therefore often ends up spending a few pages on material
that deserves a book or two of its own -- in a few cases without
taking the trouble to refer you to those extra books. The history
of Wicca information in the first lesson is woefully out of date.
Buckland gives the now pretty much discredited idea that modern
Wicca is a direct survival a pre-Christian "Old Religion" instead
of being mostly the invention of Gerald Gardner. Unfortunately,
this section was not revised noticeably for the second edition.
Also, Buckland still suggests using one of the better herbals
"such as Culpeper's" Herbal. I don't know what Buckland was
thinking on this point. While Culpeper can be an excellent source
of info on the magickal uses of herbs, it is hundreds of years
out of date on the safe medical uses of herbs.

Nevertheless, Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft is an
excellent beginner book for someone interested in traditional
Wicca, especially if they are interested in practicing their
religion as part of a circle or coven. There is information in
here that is often not covered at all in today's more popular
Neo-Wiccan beginner books. The wide variety of material covered
in fifteen lessons is about what would be covered in a good
traditional coven's first degree training program. This book also
gives you a complete set of generic, but written along
traditional Wiccan lines, coven rituals. While they aren't
specifically for Buckland's Seax-Wica tradition, they are
obviously designed to fit it with simple changes anyone who has a
copy of the Seax-Wica Book of Shadows, The Tree, could make.

This volume has one feature which might make it worthwhile even
for Neo-Wiccans who find traditional Wicca not to their taste.
Those interested in making their own Wiccan-style working tools
will find well-illustrated, clearly-written instructions in
Lesson Three. Buckland is an excellent craft writer. I'd love to
see a Pagan crafts book by Mr. Buckland. He writes this material
well.

Buckland describes the second edition changes in his
introduction. The main change is the layout and arrangement of
material -- which has improved the readability of the book
greatly in this reviewer's opinion. Other changes include more
pictures and illustrations, revised reading lists and revised
information on Wiccan traditions. Buckland says he did not make
major changes to the content as doing so would have been unfair
to those who had purchased the first edition. Unfortunately, a
few parts of this book (such as the history in the first lesson)
really needed to be updated to include the results of more recent
research. To Buckland's credit, however, he did not remove the
small sections that so upset some in the Neo-Wiccan "political
correctness" crowd.

In summary, if you are looking for a good beginner book on more
traditional Wicca and are willing to put up with Buckland's
slightly reserved and superior attitude, you'll probably want to
snap up the second edition of Buckland's Complete Book of
Witchcraft. If you do not find traditional Wicca (with its
emphasis on birth, sex, death, and both the light and dark side
of the universe and life) to be your cup of tea, you'll probably
want to pass on this volume.

           This review is available on our web site at
               http://www.ecauldron.com/bkcbow.php


[06]
=========
========= REVIEW: COLOR MAGICK
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

Color Magick: Unleash Your Inner Powers
Author: Raymond Buckland
Trade Paperback, 223 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: March 2002
ISBN: 0738702048
US Retail Price: $12.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738702048/thecauldron

Color Magick is a slightly revised edition of Raymond Buckland's
1983 book, Practical Color Magick. The only major changes seem to
be better layout and much more professional interior art. I
noticed no major changes or additions to the text. The new
interior art is a major improvement over the original edition,
however. The topic of this book, as the title indicates, is
color-based energy manipulation in magick and healing.

This book takes a shotgun approach to color-based magick with
eight chapters on a wide range of subjects. The only real link is
the use of color. The first chapter talks about using color in
meditation. The second chapter provides color-based exercises
designed to improve one's ESP and other psychic abilities. The
next chapter discusses the use of color in divination. Color
magick itself is discussed in the fourth and fifth chapters. The
fourth chapter covers basic spells while the fifth chapter goes
into "advanced" concepts like poppets and talismans. The next two
chapters talk about the use of colors in healing, briefly
covering using color with a number of different healing methods.
The last chapter provides information on using colors in everyday
life and to achieve your dreams.

Color Magick is a very basic book on using color in magick and
related activities. If one knows nothing at all about magick or
healing, this book would be a fine basic introduction. Unless one
has a very specific interest in color magick, however, the
limited scope of this book may prove frustrating. For more
advanced students -- in this case, anyone who has read a good
introduction to magick -- this book does not offer much likely to
be new or really useful.

           This review is available on our web site at
              http://www.ecauldron.com/bkcmuyip.php


[07]
=========
========= REVIEW: ASTROLOGY FOR BEGINNERS
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

Astrology For Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding &
  Interpreting Your Chart
Author: William Hewitt
Trade Paperback, 300 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: 2002
ISBN: 0875423078
US Retail Price: $12.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0875423078/thecauldron

The second edition of William Hewitt's Astrology for Beginners
does not appear to be all that different from the first edition.
That's probably a good thing as the 1991 edition was a clear,
easy-to-read and understand introduction to what astrology is and
the basics of constructing and interpreting an astrological
chart. As the title states, this book is for beginners. If you
are not a beginner, you should pass this book by and select a
more advanced astrology book from the shelves of your favorite
bookstore.

If you are a new student of astrology, this is one of the better
introductory books. It explains astrology and its basic
terminology from the ground up. It clearly and concisely explains
the essentials of astrology: the signs, the planets, the houses,
charts, aspects, the Ascendant and the Midheaven, the nodes of
the Moon, and the Elements. The first hundred pages (and seven
chapters) is devoted to these basics.

The second section of the book explains how to construct an
astrological chart. As this is a modern astrology book, it starts
by talking about computer generated charts. Unfortunately, this
apparently was not updated for the new edition as it makes this
sound much more expensive than it is with today's inexpensive
computers and the free astrology programs available on the
Internet. This section also describes the traditional method of
creating a chart with a table of houses, an ephemeris and a lot
of math and a less traditional, but fast, method called
"eyeballing," which requires much less math.

The final 125 pages or so of Astrology for Beginners is devoted
to explaining the general meaning of each of the planets in signs
and houses and the meaning of the various aspects. While the
material here is enough to get started, it's a bit too
superficial for regular use. If you find you are interested in
astrology, you will quickly want to pick up a more complete guide
to interpretation. Hewitt recommends The Astrologer's Handbook by
Sakoian and Acker in the references -- a good choice.

I am still not sure what has been revised in this book. As my
copy of the first edition is in a box somewhere in my garage, I
can't easily compare the two. However, it doesn't really matter,
even if nothing but the cover has changed; Astrology for
Beginners is still a good "introduction to astrology" book. If
you are interested in astrology but do not know where to start,
this book is one of few introductory astrology books that is
complete enough to be useful yet easy enough for the average
person to understand.

           This review is available on our web site at
                http://www.ecauldron.com/bkafb.php


[08]
=========
========= REVIEW: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF NUMBERS
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

The Complete Book of Numbers: The Power of Number Symbols to
  Shape Reality
Author: Steven Pither
Trade Paperback, 319 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: July 2002
ISBN: 0738702188
US Retail Price: $19.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738702188/thecauldron

The Complete Book of Numbers is an ambitious book. In his
introduction, Pither says that his book aims to transliterate the
"techniques and terminology" of Pythagorean numerology "into
current mathematical practice." The back cover is a bit more
specific. It talks about "exploring the symbolic and spiritual
meaning of numbers and the mathematical processes of addition,
subtraction, multiplication, and division." Since I've always
been interested in numerology and took more math courses than I
wanted to, I expected to enjoy this book.

Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when much of the book proved
to be written in a turgid and often impenetrable prose. The
author seemed to be trying to write in the style of a college
text without really knowing how. It does not help that sentences
are often long and florid.  Here is a sample paragraph, selected
by opening the book at random and selecting a good example from
the two pages in front of me:

    The ceaseless mixing and reconfiguring of number forces
    swoon the individual into the belief that the Numeric
    Dream is Reality, causing him to forget momentarily
    (that is, during each incarnation) that he is Director
    of his Numbers and Captain of his Soul. This dreamy
    preoccupation is called Illusion, but it appears very,
    very real to the enrapt gaze of mundane consciousness.
    It is a cosmic case of the divine dog chasing after its
    own eternal tail: the dog cannot be made to realize that
    it is rushing its own tail away from its own eagerly
    onrushing mouth. This is a paradox to the dog, whose
    cause and inevitable effect are perfectly clear to
    humans, just as our own cosmic conundrums are obvious as
    self-induced traps to the Eyes of Cosmic Consciousness.
        --- from page 113 (Chapter 6, The Interpretation Process)

Much of The Complete Book of Numbers reads like this. The author
may have some interesting ideas on number symbolism and
numerology buried in his book. Trying to dig them out of his
text, however, seemed more trouble than it was worth. I
eventually gave up. Unless you have more patience with this style
of prose than I do or are a professional numerologist who feels
obligated to read everything in the field, I'd pass this book by.

           This review is available on our web site at
              http://www.ecauldron.com/bktcbon.php


[09]
=========
========= REVIEW: THE MOON & EVERYDAY LIVING
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

The Moon & Everyday Living: Use Lunar Energies to Transform Your
  Life
Author: Daniel Pharr
Trade Paperback, 235 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: April 2002
ISBN: 073870184X
US Retail Price: $12.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/073870184X/thecauldron

The Moon & Everyday Living is the retitled second edition of
Moonwise, originally published in 2000. Astrologically, the
moon's monthly journey through the Zodiac has a great deal of
influence over our lives and over the Earth.  The most obvious
lunar effect is the tides, but many people use the moon to select
the best times to plant, fish, or hunt. Pharr's book presents
astrological information about the moon's effects on personality
and a method of determining how the moon's travels affect the
reader personally.

The first chapter is a short introduction to the Moon and lunar
lore. It's an interesting hodgepodge of anecdotes and facts about
the Moon's effects.  The second chapter presents two methods (a
journal and an energy log) of determining the specific effects of
the moon on you. While this chapter is quite short, actually
following through on it may take several lunar months. The third
chapter, which discusses the effects of the moon's phases, is
also quite brief. The fourth chapter talks about the effects of
the moon as it passes through each sign of the Zodiac and when it
is void-of-course.

The fifth chapter, at over 100 pages, is the major event of the
book. It discusses each natal moon sign and the influence of the
moon as it moves through the Zodiac each month for each
particular natal moon sign. (An appendix presents a method for
determining the reader's natal moon sign if he does not already
know it.) The sixth and final chapter discusses good ways to use
the moon's energy as it moves through its phases and the signs of
the zodiac each month.

The Moon & Everyday Living isn't a bad book, but it really
doesn't stand out among the many other astrology books on the
bookstore shelves. If you need an easy to understand introductory
guide to lunar astrology, this book is not a bad choice. If
you've passed beyond the need for introductory guides, however,
you will not miss anything by passing this book by.

           This review is available on our web site at
              http://www.ecauldron.com/bktmael.php


[10]
=========
========= REVIEW: SOUL PURPOSE ASTROLOGY
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

Soul Purpose Astrology: How to Read Your Birth Chart for Growth &
  Transformation
Author: Margaret Koolman
Trade Paperback, 200 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: May 2002
ISBN: 0738702218
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738702218/thecauldron

Astrology is a complex art and there are a large number of books
aimed at the beginner on the market. Margaret Koolman's Soul
Purpose Astrology is one of those beginner books. Instead of
trying to cover all the details of astrology in one short book,
Koolman has elected to concentrate on the basics of natal chart
interpretation in her book.

The first chapter is devoted to giving a brief overview of
astrology and the information found on an astrological chart. The
second chapter -- about 50 pages -- discusses the signs of the
Zodiac in some detail, complete with occasional exercises
designed to make the reader think about what he is reading. The
third chapter devotes about 70 pages to a discussion of the
planets and how they interact with the signs of the Zodiac. This
book is fairly unique among beginner books I've seen in treating
Chiron, a small comet-like ball of ice in the outer solar system
(which should not be confused with Charon, the satellite of
Pluto), as an astrological planet and provides interpretations
for it. Exercises are scattered throughout the chapter. The
fourth chapter talks about the houses and the Ascendant. The
fifth chapter devotes about 15 pages to the nodes of the moon.
Both of these chapters have thoughtful exercises as well.

This book provides a lot of information on the subjects it
covers, more details than other beginner books I've read in many
cases. On the other hand, it barely mentions important subjects
like aspects and how to interpret them. The book is extremely
easy to read and beginner-friendly. This combination of detail
and omission makes it hard to recommend this book as a first book
on astrology. If one is interested in a detailed overview of the
Zodiac, the Planets, and the Houses, this book is excellent.
Reading this book will allow just about anyone to understand the
basics of how these work in a chart. However, if one wishes to
learn how to read and interpret charts completely, the poor
coverage of aspects in Soul Purpose Astrology is fatal by itself.

           This review is available on our web site at
                http://www.ecauldron.com/bkspa.php


[11]
=========
========= REVIEW: TAROT FOR SELF-DISCOVERY
========= Reviewed by Randall Sapphire
=========

Tarot For Self Discovery
Author: Nina Lee Braden
Trade Paperback, 153 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: July 2002
ISBN: 073870170X
US Retail Price: $12.95
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/073870170X/thecauldron

When I was on the old GEnie Online Service (back in the days
before the Internet was easily available outside of colleges),
many members would encourage fellow member Nina Lee Braden to
write a book on the Tarot. She clearly loved the Tarot, gave
truly excellent readings, knew what she was talking about, and
had a friendly but clear writing style. It's only been ten years
or so, but Nina Lee finally did write a tarot book. I'm happy to
report that Tarot for Self Discovery was worth the long wait.

While most people think of divination when they think of the
Tarot, the Tarot is actually a set of rich symbols that can be
used for many purposes. Tarot for Self Discovery isn't about
reading the Tarot. It's about using the Tarot to better
understand yourself. The introduction is written by Mary K.
Greer, whose book Tarot for Yourself first brought this method of
using the Tarot to the attention of the general public in 1984.

This book is organized simply and directly. The first chapter
explains what the book is about. The second chapter starts off
the actual tarot exercises with easy and generally more
light-hearted ones. The third chapter, the longest in the book,
provides more complex exercises that hold more potential for
personal growth and transformation than those in the second
chapter. The fourth chapter provides special tarot exercises for
special occasions such as difficult relationships, weddings, and
saying goodbye. The fifth chapter provides examples of how others
have worked through some of the exercises. This is a very useful
chapter, especially if this book is your first exposure to using
a tarot deck to explore your thoughts and feelings instead of for
divination or meditation. The last chapter suggests ways to
create your own tarot exercises. Three appendixes follow briefly
discussing the chakras, astrology, and the Golden Dawn.

By now you are probably wondering just what a "tarot exercise"
is. Generally they are an examination of some aspect of yourself
and/or your life using the tarot deck as a focus. Nina Lee's
exercises usually ask you to go through the deck slowly and
select a card (or cards in some cases) that best represent
something to you. You then examine the card or cards you selected
for insights and record those insights in a journal. There are
many variations on this theme in the approximately 50 exercises
in this book, of course. This probably sounds dry and very boring
from my description, but if you have any interest at all in
finding out why you are what you are, these exercises are far
from boring -- especially as the author goes out of her way to
make each exercise different and interesting.

You do not need to be a Tarot expert to use this book, but some
basic knowledge of the Tarot will help. You'll also probably want
at least one Tarot deck you like with lots of pictorial symbolism
on both the Major and Minor Arcana. Tarot decks which just use
pips for the Minor Arcana will be much less useful in most of the
exercises.

I highly recommend this book to Pagans and Magicians. "Know
Yourself" is a central theme of many Pagan and Magical
traditions. Books like Nina Lee's provide a practical way to
learn about yourself with methods that many people find more
interesting than some of the more traditional methods of
self-examination. Unless you just can't stand the Tarot -- or
have no interest in self discovery -- Tarot for Self Discovery is
a worthwhile addition to your life (and to your bookshelf, of
course).

           This review is available on our web site at
               http://www.ecauldron.com/bktfsd.php

       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                         UPCOMING REVIEWS
       Here are a few of the books we'll be reviewing in
       future issues: SEASONS OF THE WITCH, HEART OF
       TAROT, MASTERING REIKI, NORTHERN MYSTERIES &
       MAGICK, PAGANISM, DECAMERON TAROT, GOLDEN TAROT OF
       THE TSAR, ETRUSCAN TAROT, and THE WITCHES' CRAFT.
       Reviews often appear on our web site first, so
       check there for new reviews if you can't wait for
       the next issue of the newsletter.
       ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


[12]
=========
========= COLUMN: TAROTDEEVAH ON THE TAROT
========= by TarotDeevah
=========

===
=== African Tarot (Journey into the Self)
===

by Marina Romito and Denese Palm
Published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Copyright 1995 by Marina Romito
ISBN 1572810203
See Cards From This Deck:
  http://angelfire.com/la2/tarotdeevah/tarot/africanpics.JPG
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1572810203/thecauldron

This deck is absolutely adorable! It follows Rider Waite style of
order and naming without deviation. The art is bold, colorful and
childlike. Generally, I don't like childish artwork, but I think
the colors in this deck make all the difference.  I love this
deck. Despite it being so cute, it is quite readable. Cards
measure about 2.25 by 3 inches, which makes this deck quite
portable. It is a bit small to handle easily, but it's not
impossible. The deck comes packaged very well in a corrugated
cardboard box.  Quite unique. Card stock is ideal, and I imagine
they will be quite durable.

I recommend this deck for everyone. I can't imagine anyone not
loving it! Beginners will be able to use it as well, as symbolism
is plentiful. Collectors will find it a must for their
collection.

===
=== Albano-Waite Tarot
===

Colored by Frankie Albano
Originally published by Tarot Productions, Inc.
Currently published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Copyright 1968 by Tarot Productions and 1987 by US Games
ISBN: 0880793333 (Miniature Version)
See Cards From This Deck:
  http://angelfire.com/la2/tarotdeevah/tarot/awpics.JPG
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0880793333/thecauldron

This is a recoloration of the Rider-Waite Tarot. Other than the
coloring, it is identical to Rider-Waite. I like these colors
better than the Rider-Waite Tarot, but not as much as Universal
Waite Tarot.

I own the miniature version, but know that other versions are
available, including a standard. These cards measure about 1.75
by 2.5 inches and are too small to handle without practice. With
a little effort and practice, they become usable. Card stock is
very good, and the deck is quite durable.

I recommend this deck for those who use Rider-Waite and are
looking for a fresh perspective. Of course, I also recommend it
for collectors.

===
=== Ancestral Path Tarot
===

by Julie Cuccia-Watts
Published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Copyright 1995 by US Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN: 0880791411
See Cards From This Deck:
  http://angelfire.com/la2/tarotdeevah/tarot/ancpathpics.jpg
Amazon Link:
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0880791411/thecauldron

I really like this deck. It is multi-cultural deck with stunning
artwork.  All cards have pictures, including the pips. Suits are
swords represented by Japanese culture, staves represented by
Egyptian/Nubian culture, Cups represented by European (and
possibly Nordic) culture, and sacred circles represented by
Native American culture. The major arcana consists of a diverse
group, including:  American, Middle-Eastern, European, African,
Native American and Egyptian.

The images inspire creativity and intuition. I find ample
symbolism throughout, and appreciate the new approach to some of
the cards. For instance, the Hanged One is a fetus. How fitting.

The cards are of heavy, durable stock which will stand up to
shuffling well. They are slightly wider than standard playing
card size, which took me a bit of getting used to. However, with
a little practice, they became quite easy to handle.

I recommend this deck for readers from novice to advanced, and
for clients of all walks of life. There are only a couple of
nudes, very tastefully done. For instance, Strength is topless;
however, she is tribal African, so it isn't gratuitous nudity.

All in all, this is a lovely, workable deck.

=====
===== About This Column
=====

TarotDeevah's column will feature monthly articles or reviews
selected from her web site or written for this newsletter.
You can find TarotDeevah's web site at:
http://www.angelfire.com/la2/tarotdeevah/home.html


[13]
=========
========= WICCAN SELF-DEDICATION EXPLAINED
========= by Sorita & David Rankine
=========

Initiation is a process of "death and rebirth" - the old self
dies, and the new and magickal self is born. A rite of
self-dedication marks a serious commitment and dedication to the
path, and should not be taken lightly.

Having followed your path this far, you will have noticed subtle
(or not so subtle) changes in your self, and you may wish to mark
this, and affirm your commitment to the path with a
self-dedication ritual. Initiation is a process which happens
over time, and the rite itself will benefit from being preceded
by a daily practice, building up in intensity as you approach the
day of the rite, with the dedication rite being the culmination
of this ritual practice.

As the rite marks a rebirth, into your witch self or magickal
self, you may wish to obtain a new magickal item or items for it.
This could be a piece of ritual jewelry, such as a pentagram
pendant, or amber and jet necklace (the traditional witches
necklace), or a cord you wear around your waist. Some people
choose to mark their dedications by having a tattoo in a magickal
design, personal to themselves.

It is also good to have a magickal weapon which you will
consecrate at the end of the dedication rite. A ritual dagger, or
athame is the general tool chosen. Self-dedication can be very
empowering, and can produce a feeling of "walking on clouds", and
it is very important to earth oneself afterwards, and then to
have a rest from magickal work for a period of between a week and
a month.

Simple daily meditation may be practiced during this period, but
avoid intense magickal work. Time is needed to assimilate the
experience, and the dedication process should be undertaken at a
time when you do not have too much outside stress, and are able
to take time for yourself.

It should be stressed that self-dedication is not the same as
initiation into a coven, and should you wish to join a coven at a
later date, you would still have to go through a probationary
period and coven initiation, if accepted.

-=-=-

Copyright (c) 2000 Sorita & David Rankine. Reprinted by
permission of the authors. For more material by David and Sorita,
visit The Avalonia web site, one of the UK's more interesting
Wiccan/Witchcraft web sites, at http://www.avalonia.co.uk.


[14]
=========
========= DRAGON CLAN WITCHCRAFT COURSE: SEPTEMBER LESSON INDEX
========= OFFERED ON THE CAULDRON'S DELPHI FORUM
=========

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is offering an online witchcraft
course in the Dragon Clan tradition on our Delphi message board.
This course is taught by Jet (aka Hawke). While this course
formally began on Monday, May 20, 2002, interested members can
join the course at any time as the course material is in numbered
messages in the Online Witchcraft Course folder on our Delphi
message board. You simply start with the messages with the lowest
numbers in the subject line and work your way through at your own
pace. New lessons will be posted to our message board every week
or two. Here are links to the lessons posted in September:

5.0  Wheel of Air
   http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/messages?msg=6885.1

5.1 Meditations

5.11 Meditation on the Winds
   http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/messages?msg=6886.1

5.12 Meditation on the Solar Cross
   http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/messages?msg=6887.1

5.13 Meditation on the Wand and Air
   http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/messages?msg=6888.1

5.14 Meditation on the Wand
   http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/messages?msg=6889.1


[15]
=========
========= HUMOR: THE LESSER KNOWN GODS AND DEMI-GODS OF GREECE
========= Author Unknown
=========

Listed below is a selected list of many of the lesser-known gods
and demi-gods of Greece that have apparently been ignored or
forgotten by historians for various and sundry reasons. Some of
these gods were obviously important and useful in everyday life
habits, others apparently had no redeeming value whatsoever, but
somehow achieved god- or goddesshood. This list is presented here
in the hopes that it will prove helpful to someone somewhere,
sometime.

=====
===== Egregious - God of Errors
=====

Though he spent virtually all his life with the other gods and
goddesses on Mount Olympus, he is rumored to have left for a
short vacation to the south of France where he met and had an
affair with the French goddess, Faux Pas. Egregious was one of
the smartest gods on Mount Olympus. In fact, many thought he
might be as smart as Zeus, though no one would ever admit this
publicly. However, his unfortunate habit of making so many
mistakes kept him from becoming one of the better-known gods.

When asked how someone so smart could make so many stupid
mistakes, his reply was always "You learn from your mistakes.
Obviously, I've made so MANY mistakes, I've become a genius!"

=====
===== Melanoma - God of Tanning
=====

Often seen away from Mount Olympus and down along the sandy
beaches of southern Greece, Melanoma could have been ranked up
there with the other major gods of his time, He was strong,
handsome, and had a body that attracted all the goddesses. His
only major fault was getting involved with the mortal Macedonian
strip queen, Ultra Violet.

The two of them constantly played naked in the sun along the
Greek shoreline. Zeus, upon seeing Melanoma cavorting with a
non-Olympian, decided to punish him by taking away his
immortality. This didn't seem to bother Melanoma at first and he
continued to associate with Ultra Violet and played in the buff
each day. Soon though, Melanoma started to notice small dark
patches on his skin that eventually became cancerous. He died a
quick, but horrible death, with Ultra Violet at his side till the
very end.

=====
===== Ozone - God of Memory
=====

Ozone was another failed god. Upon attaining godhood, Zeus asked
Ozone to choose the subject for which he would be revered for all
time. He chose Memory. To celebrate his attaining full godliness,
Ozone married his school sweetheart, Amnesia. However, their
foggy relationship soon resulted in the complete loss of all the
records of all the great gods on Mount Olympus.

Zeus retaliated by immediately expelling Ozone to Southern
California, where he was held prisoner in the dreaded "Inversion
Layer" along with the evil nether-world dragon-god of progress
and technology, Smog.

=====
===== Pancreas - Demi-god of Dessert
=====

Father of the sugar gods, Arabinose, Fructose, and Glucose.

Pancreas was a short-lived god who spent most of his time on
coffee breaks eating donuts. His marriage to Diabetes was no help
to him at all and he died soon after they had their three sons.

=====
===== Peristalsis - God of Bowel Movements
=====

Revered for his strength and perseverance, Peristalsis occupied a
special place in the bathrooms of old Greece. Figurines in his
likeness stood next to or near the place of anal evacuation. A
special prayer to Peristalsis often accompanied a trip to the
bathroom in some of the better bathrooms of high-society Greeks.

=====
===== Uvula - Goddess of Swallowing
=====

Uvula was an often unappreciated goddess who spent most of her
time at the back of the room of all the other gods and goddesses
on Mount Olympus. Only when she cleared her throat did anyone
bother to pay any attention to her. She originally came from Rome
and was accepted into the Greek goddess system, but only because
of the promise she showed. She was reported to spend some time
with the god Fellatio (a part-Italian god) who promised to show
her something she could do that would make her one of the most
revered goddesses of all of Mount Olympus (at least by the gods
there). They were to meet one hot and steamy night under an olive
tree where Fellatio would show her what she could do.
Unfortunately, Fellatio never came.

=====
===== Zirconia - Goddess of Costume Jewelry
=====

Often in direct competition with the goddesses Titanium and
Platinum, Zirconia was pretty much always relegated to being
allowed only to attend the lesser parties on Mount Olympus at
which the great gods and goddesses were rarely present. As a
result, Zirconia was subsequently ignored by most historians and
now only shows up on the backs of magazines for really cheap
prices.


[16]
=========
========= Cauldron Info
========= SUPPORT THE CAULDRON BY VOLUNTEERING TO HELP
=========

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum was founded in December 1997 to
provide a friendly but serious discussion area for Pagans on the
Internet. We've grown a bit over the years. We now have an active
message area, a large web site with around 700 pages of
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Here are some of the things members and supporters can do to help
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http://forums.delphiforums.com/CUSTOM7999/start

=====
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We are in constant need of original, well-written and accurate
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Non-Wiccan material is stressed not because we don't want Wiccan
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If you have a web site where linking to The Cauldron: A Pagan
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As The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum uses as many free services as
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The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum also receives a small percentage
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If you purchase a lot of books, CDs, and other items from
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http://www.ecauldron.com/fradambooks.php

=====
===== Have Questions or Suggestions?
=====

If you have specific questions, proposals or other ideas we
haven't mentioned here, please email them to
rssapphire@ecauldron.com. (Unfortunately, Randall has to answer
general "Tell me more?" type questions with a request for a more
specific question. He's not trying to be rude, he just can't
think of anything general and useful to say that isn't said
here.)


[17]
=========
========= NEWSLETTER INFORMATION
========= (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 once a month and often actually succeed in doing so.
We tried to publish it twice a month for a while, but real life
interfered too often.

This issue of Cauldron and Candle as a whole is copyright (c)
2002 by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum. Copyrights on individual
items in this newsletter are retained by their author, please
contact the editors if you need to contact an author for
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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.

=====
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=====

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=====
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=====

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=====
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=====

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You are also welcome to forward a copies of this newsletter to
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=====
===== SUGGESTIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME
=====

Don't forget that your suggestions for this newsletter 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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