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Cauldron and Candle
Issue #32 -- February 2003

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


Return to Cauldron and Candle Archive

C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E  #32 -- February 2003

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

                        SPECIAL DEDICATION
      This issue of Cauldron and Candle is dedicated to the
      Columbia 7:

          Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla,
      Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, William McCool, Ilan Ramon

In this Issue:

[01] Editorial Notes
[02] Poem: The Healer
[03] Cauldron News
[04] Pagan Discussions
[05] Review: Natural Witchcraft
[06] Review: The Forest of Souls
[07] Review: The Fairy Ring
[08] Review: Modern Pagans
[09] Review: Comparative Tarot
[10] Upcoming Reviews and New Releases
[11] Article: Answering Questions From Beginners
[12] Article: Relaxation Ritual
[13] Column: TarotDeevah on the Tarot
[14] Humor: Pagan Definitions for Beginners
[15] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[16] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

  +++ Submission Deadline for next issue: February 25, 2003 +++
     Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

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

January 2003 was a very busy month, both on our message board
(see the Cauldron News section below for more information) and in
the editor's life. January is always a busy month as my
accounting clients get their new tax software in, but I
compounded that by buying a new computer.

I finally have a box that does not freeze solid on common
programs like Internet Explorer due to weird video problems.
However, I spent most of my spare time the last two weeks of
January loading software and setting the system up the way I like
(very "non-standard") instead of writing book reviews and the
like. I will try to catch up this month.

As always, we are in need of your articles for future issues.
This is your newsletter and we need your help to fill it with
interesting articles. The submission bin is empty of everything
but reviews as I write this, so if you have been thinking about
writing an article, now would really be a great time to put those
thoughts into action.

                      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
       try. It has quite a few nice features.

========= THE HEALER
========= A Poem by Alwyn
========= Tales from the Woods: http://alwyn00000.tripod.com/

Walking through the ancient forest with just my aching thoughts
I came across a lady who listened to all I'd brought
I told her of my troubled times and how I'd like to change
She said listen to me my friend for your thoughts are not so
She took me by the hand, which brought comfort to my soul
I unburdened all my anxieties which had recently took their toll
She said now that you have told me of all that feels so sore
You should not feel so troubled as you carry them no more
For when you share a problem with a listening friendly ear
The problem is no longer whole as it is halved you see my dear
I drew strength from her wisdom, as I knew her words made sense
Life was no longer troublesome or such a big wrench
This experience which I received was an awakening that I needed
Others tried before with me with advice that went unheeded
This lady had a special gift that others never had
I wondered how she connected with those thoughts that were oh so
So I asked her how she comprehended such tangled thoughts I gave
She said I am a natural healer and I care for those I save

========= by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum Staff

===== Cauldron Thread Spinners

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is pleased to announce that six
members have volunteered to become Cauldron Thread Spinners.
These members will be assisting the forum staff by helping to
start new threads on our message board -- help that we really
need. The following members have volunteered to fill this
experimental position -- you may have already seen some of them
sporting one of our new "Thread Spinner" buttons in their message
board signature:


Thread Spinners will not moderate members or have other staff
duties. Given this, they remain eligible for our forum's monthly
"Top Poster" award.

===== More Web Site Thread Updates Thanks to Sperran

You may have noticed that there were many more news updates with
interesting threads posted to our web site's main page in January
than there have been in previous months. This is because Sperran
volunteered to take over the job of posting thread links to our
news page. We all owe her a round of applause in thanks for a job
well done.

===== Cauldron Delphi Message Board Top Poster -- January 2003

The top poster on The Cauldron's Delphi Forums message board for
January 2003 was Moonwolf (MOONWOLF23). The Runner Up was Mari
(ELFWRECK), and Rain (RAEVYNXX) were closing in on the leaders at
the finish. (Full Cauldron staff members are ineligible for this
honor and so aren't listed. Thread Spinners are eligible.)

===== The Cauldron's Message Board Sets Record in January

6842 messages were posted to The Cauldron's Delphi message board
in January 2003, surpassing the record of 5767 posts set just
last October by over 1000 posts. Thanks to everyone who
participates in The Cauldron's Delphi message board for making it
such a popular place.


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


========= Recent Discussion Topics on our Message Board

In an average month, over 150 new discussion topics are started
on The Cauldron's message board. Here are a few of the more
interesting discussions from the last month. It's not to late to
join in.

=== Kids and Religious Choices

At what age do you feel it is appropriate for a child (or young
adult) to make a decision about what religion they feel drawn to?
Assume that the parents are perfectly OK with the child making
this decision; there's no issue about going against the parents'
will. Is there a set age? Does it depend on the child? Is it just
whenever they feel called to something?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Can One Be Too Eclectic?

I'm curious what others think about this. I know a lot of Pagans
consider themselves eclectic, as I do, but I'm wondering if there
is a line where "eclectic" becomes "flighty," if you try to
incorporate too many traditions? Also, what are the traditions
that you feel do not work together?

Personally, I feel like there probably is a point where it
becomes ridiculous and a person is practicing with divided
loyalties, but I am wondering if there are definable qualities to
that. How do you tell when someone (or yourself, for that matter)
has gone overboard on their "belief quotient"?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Animal Sacrifice

How many of you have ever killed (and presumably eaten) an animal
as part of a ritual/festival? Have you ever been aware of it
being done, even if you weren't attending? How about hunting
rites--ever gone on a ritual hunt? For that matter--how many have
any experience with killing animals for food at all? Does that
make a difference in how you think about "animal sacrifice?"

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Unconfirmed Personal Gnosis

Recent threads on unconfirmed personal gnosis have caused me to
stop and think about how I use personal gnosis. For one thing,
we've made a personal choice to alter traditional festival dates
to better align with the seasons in our part of the world. This
is definitely UPG, 'cause there just ain't no conclusive
historical or archeological proof that Celts in different areas
celebrated at different times... and there's also no proof that
they didn't. So, for us, this is a kind of judgement call based
on our own intuition. It's also made me wonder... how do you use
UPG or PG in your spiritual practice? What role does it fill for

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Wishes Come True

What wish items would you love to have in your house/yard that
would be a meaningful part of your magic or
religion/spirituality? And by the power vested in me, you don't
have to worry about your bank balance for this one. (Oh
yeah...and if you've got a link that shows the item, please feel
free to post it.)

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Escape Clauses

Do people regularly use "escape clauses" in their spellwork, like
"with free will to all, and harm to none" or the like? Do you
think they work? Do they even mean anything?

IMO, I think they're probably usually meaningless ... certainly
not a way to be sure nothing *bad* will happen. I mean, of COURSE
when you're CASTING the spell you don't think there's gonna be
anything wrong with it, or you shouldn't be doing it .. there's
no reason to assume that just tossing wording like that in will
*fix* any inherent flaws with the original work.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Pagan Community Centers

If you knew of a Pagan Community Center being built in your area,
what would you want it to include? What services would you want
it to offer? Where would you want it to be built?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:


       If you like The Cauldron and have a few extra
       dollars, please donate via the Amazon Honor System
       and help us pay the web site bills.


========= Reviewed by Mellee

Natural Witchcraft: The Timeless Arts and Crafts of the Country
Author: Marion Green
Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Thorsons
Publication date: February 2002
ISBN: 0007120214
US Retail Price: $16.00
Amazon Link:

Natural Witchcraft presents an alternative form of witchcraft;
not the coven-based occult atmosphere of Wicca, but an
earth-inspired spirituality, especially applicable for solitary
witches. Within the 180-odd informational pages of this book,
Green discusses what she calls the Arts of the Witches -
practical skills, i.e. herbalism; magical arts, i.e.
spellworking; psychic competence; and religious observance. All
of her four "Arts" are based on the powers of Nature. This
witchcraft isn't just earth-inspired, it is earth-obsessed! But
it makes an interesting contrast to the piles of books out there
that talk about the "Wheel of the Seasons" and "Mother Nature,"
yet fail to back it up with actual outdoor work.


* Good, sensible exercises to get in touch with nature are
  scattered through the chapters; visualizations, meditations,
  spells, etc.

* Provides common sense and wisdom that is all too often ignored.
  Quote: "If we dishonor these sacred sites by leaving candle
  ends, burying crystals or damaging the subtle and ancient
  energies by anything we do, we harm not only those special
  places, holy to many people, but we harm ourselves, by showing
  what ignorant and unthinking visitors we are."

* Shows the nature influence of traditional cunning folk type

* Big emphasis on personal experience rather than regurgitating
  other people's ideas.


* Green equates pagan with earth-based. Quote: "If you don't
  perceive your Deities as having anything to do with actual
  Nature, why are you trying to be a pagan?"

* Seems to hint at disdain for the religion of Wicca (the name of
  which she does not capitalize). Quote: "Why would you want to
  scourge your friends who have done you no harm, or bind them
  with cords if they are working with you?"

* In parts, her tone takes on a preachy tinge, which some will
  find annoying.

* Suggests crafts that the reader can take part in, but does not
  give information on how to actually do these things.

* A lot of her suggestions to "seek out the ancient wild places"
  are not valid to those living in countries where such places do
  not exist.

* Occasional contradictions are found; i.e, Green says that
  planetary positions and exact moon times are important in
  magical work, yet these facts would not have been available to
  the historical country witches that she espouses.

This is not a 101 guide to witchcraft, which is good because that
kind of book is no longer needed after the recent influx of such
tomes. This book is a kick in the butt for all those witches out
there who can talk the talk, but forget to walk the walk. And
while this may not be Green's best work, if you also had her book
A Witch Alone, you'd have a fairly comprehensive guide to modern
solitary, earth-based religious  pagan witchcraft.

I paid NZ$26 for this book, whereas the usual US price is a bit
dearer (US$16). If you can get it cheaper then do so, by all
means, otherwise leave it on the shelf if the aforementioned
brand of witchcraft doesn't interest you.

As an aside note, I was interested to see Green label
"pre-written spell books" as useless, since she herself is the
author of one (The Book of Spells II).

           This review is available on our web site at

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

The Forest of Souls: A Walk Through the Tarot
Author: Rachel Pollack
Paperback, 312 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: September 2002
ISBN: 1567185339
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

Most Tarot books talk about the cards: their history, their
design, how to read them, etc. Rachel Pollack's latest work on
the Tarot, The Forest of Souls: A Walk Through the Tarot, goes
down a different and far less well-traveled path: the path of
symbolism and spirituality. In this book, the author draws on
symbols, myths, and folktales to show the spiritual truths she
sees within the Tarot.

In her introduction, Pollack writes, "If we let go of the desire
to define the pictures, or explain them once and for all, or
determine their exact meaning and purposes -- if we simply follow
the images, who knows where this may take us?" The author, a
recognized authority on the Tarot who has published numerous
Tarot books (including the two volume Seventy-Eight Degrees of
Wisdom which is often considered a modern classic), created the
Shining Tribe Tarot, and written award-winning fantasy novels,
proves equal to the daunting task she has set for herself.

The book itself is a well-illustrated trip though the archetypes
and images of the tarot, accompanied by insights from various
religions, the Kabbalah, and other sources. The author plays with
symbols and concepts in a fascinating and enjoyable manner that
provides new insights into the meaning of the Tarot cards. The
first chapter of the book, for example, talks about the many
legendary origins of the Tarot deck, then proceeds to use those
legends to provide a different view of the Tarot deck and even
the divination process. The entire book is like this, a personal
journey though the Tarot with ideas and possibilities tossed out
faster than anyone can absorb in a single reading.

Which brings us to the main problem with The Forest of Souls: it
is not a traditional Tarot workbook. Pollack offers a wide
variety of ideas, suggestions, and insights, but she does not
lead the reader by the hand. Most of her suggestions are just
that: suggestions. They aren't detailed step-by-step outlines
that anyone can follow by rote. Implementing them requires work
and thought on the part of the reader. Of course, this fits in
with the author's obvious purpose for writing this book: to help
people break out of the ruts and use the Tarot as if through new

This is not a book for the Tarot novice. It assumes a good
understanding of the cards and Tarot divination. It's also not a
book for someone who is too conservative religiously. It not only
draws freely from Jewish, Christian, and Pagan religious thought,
but does things that some might consider irreverent -- such as
her reading for God in chapter seven.

The Forest of Souls is the best new "advanced" Tarot book I've
seen in several years. I've read it twice now and have gained a
lot from doing so each time. The wonderful thing is that I expect
I will see more every time I read this book. If you are a Tarot
beginner or do not enjoy being forced to think about the cards in
new ways, avoid this book. If, however, you are ready for a wild
ride through the personal Tarot visions of one of the best Tarot
authors writing today, run to your favorite bookstore and pick up
a copy of this book now.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

The Fairy Ring: An Oracle of the Fairy Folk
Author: Anna Franklin
Artist: Paul Mason
Book and Cards Set
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: August 2002
ISBN: 0738702749
US Retail Price: $29.95
View Sample Cards:
Amazon Link:

The Fairy Ring is a Tarot-like divination deck which features
beautiful illustrations of the fairy folk from the British
Islands. The illustrations are the star of this deck. Paul Mason
has combined photographs with original illustrations via computer
imaging in a truly seamless way. The people the various fay are
based on truly look like they are in the pictures. The effect is
very well done and quite striking. If you collect decks based on
artwork, you can probably skip the rest of the review and just go
buy the deck. Art wise, The Fairy Ring is first class.

If you are looking for a standard Tarot deck, however, be aware
that The Fairy Ring is not a Tarot deck. Each of the four suits
(called "courts" in this deck) is named for one of the seasons
and is indicated by the border surrounding the central picture on
each card. Like a normal deck of playing cards, there are
thirteen cards in each suit: ten numbered cards and three court
cards (Knave, Queen/Lady and King).  Each card depicts a
particular type of fay creature or, in some cases, are particular
fay. For example, the two in the Spring Court is a leprechaun
while the eight in the Winter Court is a bogeyman.

Unlike a Tarot deck, The Fairy Ring does not have a major arcana.
Instead it has eight "fairy festival" cards: Imbolc, Ostara,
Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasa, Herfest, Samhain, and Yule. Four
extra cards describe four of the divination layouts for the deck.
The authors appear as characters in the deck. Anna Frankin is the
Green Lady and the Lake Maiden while Paul Mason is King Finvarra.
The cards themselves are the usual Llewellyn size, slightly
larger than the average Tarot card.

The set comes with a 260 page book, Guide to the Fairy Ring. This
book provides a brief introduction to the world of the Fay, nine
card layouts for use in divination, a sample reading, and a very
brief guide to using the cards for meditation. The majority of
the book, of course, is devoted to descriptions of the cards.
Each card has a large black and white picture, a description of
the card and of the fay being depicted thereon, divinatory
meanings (both upright and reversed).

Many of the cards include a section on "working with" the type of
fay creature depicted. In my opinion, working with faeries
requires more skill and knowledge than this book provides. To the
book's credit, however, the "Working with" entry for those fay
that are known in legend to be hostile or unfriendly is simply
two words: "Not Recommended." The methods given under the
"Working with" heading vary quite a bit: from general info about
what the creature likes to full pathworking suggestions.

I like The Fairy Ring for its art. As I mentioned at the start of
this review, it is a feast for the eyes. As a divination tool, it
was not my personal cup of tea. While the pictures on the cards
were wonderful, they lack the detailed symbolism that I really
like in a deck I'm going to use for divination. It was not nearly
as hard for me to read with as a Tarot deck with nothing but pips
in the minor arcana, however. If you collect decks for their art,
this deck is probably one you'll want in your collection. If you
want a deck to read with and don't mind that it is not a Tarot
deck, it's worth a look. Unlike many non-Tarot divination decks,
the book provides more than enough information to learn to use
the deck in divination.

A final note: the sample card scans do not do this deck justice.
You really need to see the cards full size to appreciate the art.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Sperran

Modern Pagans: An Investigation of Contemporary Pagan Practices
Author: V. Vale
Trade Paperback, 212 pages
Publisher: RE/Search Publications
Publication date: October 2001
ISBN: 1889307106
US Retail Price: $19.95
Amazon Link:

If you are looking for a scholarly, well-organized insightful
discussion of modern paganism, Modern Pagans isn't for you.
However, if you are looking for a quirky collection of interviews
with a variety of well-known Pagan figures, this is the book for
you. Unlike the title suggests, this book is not really an
investigation of modern pagan practices so much as it is an
investigation of modern pagans. While the book seems to regard
itself in places as a Pagan primer of sorts, it is more
accurately a "who's who" of the Neo-Pagan scene in the United
States. It is definitely not a book that I would recommend
someone beginning research into Pagan religions. There is little
accurate, accessible information about Neo-Pagan religions and
many of the interviews are with figures that would be unknown to
you unless you are well read about the U.S. Neo-Pagan world.

I had mixed feelings about this book; it has a number of negative
aspects. First, this book has terrible organization. The
interviews are in no particular order that I can discern. They
are not organized by belief system, role of persons being
interviewed (e.g. author, priestess, activist, etc.), or even
alphabetically. The brief index at the end is not much help.
Scattered throughout are random bits of information: a listing of
color scales here, a Yoruba primer there.

Additionally, the book provides random scraps of information that
are at best tangential and at worst, generally embarrassing to
the Pagan community. For example, the "Pagan glossary" at the
beginning includes terms such as "Dungeons and Dragons". Stuck in
the middle of the book is advice on getting diabetes testing.
It's just distracting.

When not concentrating on the interviews, the text tends to bleed
into a very Wiccan-centered view of Paganism, e.g., the eight
Wiccan Sabbats are described as the Pagan Year on an introductory
page. Additionally, some commentary seems a little disrespectful
to Judeo-Christian faiths. It's not bad enough to make me say
that it is offensive, but it is bad enough to make me a little

While I had some obvious problems with the book, it does have
some good aspects. Despite the fact that it is a little
Wicca-heavy, the book does represent a variety of faiths and
trends present in the pagan community, including: Asatru,
Santeria, Reclaiming Collective, shamanism, Druids, traditional
and eclectic Wicca, Church of All Worlds and others. It was
interesting to hear the opinions and voices of folks actively
involved in these religions rather than reading drier,
sociological accounts from more scholarly reading.

The book also does a good job of finding some really important
and interesting figures in Neo-Paganism. The book includes
interviews with Starhawk, Margot Adler, Isaac Bonewits, Diana
Paxson, Anne Hill, and many others. I think the book is unique in
printing in-depth interviews from such a large number of Pagan
authors, activists, ministers and other types of leaders.

I also enjoyed the quirky, uncensored interview style.
Interviewees seemed quite comfortable discussing sex magic,
sacred prostitution, and other adult topics that would probably
not be welcome at a sanitized publisher like Llewellyn. The book
also includes a variety of photos, from photos of authors as
children, to public rituals, to a variety of nude and/or tattooed
bodies. My very favorite part of the book is that many of the
interviewees include resource/reference lists. Would you like to
know Margot Adler's recommended reading list? How about Oberon
Ravenheart's favorite web sites? This is the place to look.

The bottom line on about Modern Pagans is that this is definitely
not a book for beginners, nor is it a book to learn basic
information about Pagan religions. It does provide a lot of fun
information about some of the movers and shakers of the Neo-Pagan
world. This book is not a top pick (unless you really want to see
way too many pictures of Morning Glory Ravenheart's naked
breasts) but if you are able to pick up a used copy, or Amazon is
running a sale, you might consider adding it to your library.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

Comparative Tarot
Author: Valerie Sim
Artist: various
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: December 2002
ISBN: 0738702811
US Retail Price: $19.95
View Sample Cards:
Amazon Link:

The Comparative Tarot is four Tarot decks in one. Each card in
this deck shows four quarter-card-sized images of the same card
in four very different decks. The Universal Tarot card image is
in the upper left. Next to it is the card from the Tarot of the
Sphinx. Below these two images are the card from the Tarot of
Origins and from the Tarot of Marseilles. If you like to read
from a Tarot deck with a large symbol set, you will probably love
this deck. Provided, of course, that your eyes are fairly good.
Each image is only 1 inch wide and 1.75 inches high.

The decks selected for this comparative deck are all very
different from each other. The Universial Tarot is a modern
variation of the the Rider-Waite deck. I know a number of
Rider-Waite deck fans who really like this version. While it is
not my personal favorite, it is very nicely done. The Tarot of
the Sphinx is a deck designed by Silvana Alasia based on an
Egyptian motif. This is my first exposure to this deck and I like
it. The Tarot of Origins is a strange deck featuring primitive
people in a somewhat dreamlike manner. You either love it, hate
it, or just find it weird. I'm in the "just find it weird"
category, but it does add a unique set of symbols to the mix. The
Tarot of Marseilles is a modern deck done after the style of the
Marseilles decks of the 17th century. My usual complaint about
Marseilles decks, the Minor Arcana are just pips, doesn't have
much force in a deck like this.

Unlike many Lo Scarabeo decks I've seen, this deck does not come
with a small foldout flyer. This deck comes with a tiny 64 page
booklet. Of course, only one-fifth of the booklet is in English
(the other languages are French, German, Italian, and Spanish),
so there's not really that much more information than in the
small flyers. This booklet provides background information on the
decks on the cards and five keyword meanings for card: a general
meaning and one for each of the decks depicted on the card.
Unfortunately, there is not much room for instructions on how to
take advantage of this deck, although a brief one card reading
example is provided. The author does have a web site and book
upcoming from Llewellyn on her comparative reading method,

The Comparative Tarot is a wonderful idea for those who like
Tarot cards with lots of symbolism -- or for someone who wants to
get four Tarot decks for the price of one. However, this is not
really a deck for a beginner and the booklet included even admits
this. It is designed for experienced Tarot readers who want to
try a new method of reading the cards: multiple decks at once. I
like this deck simply for the huge set of symbols it brings to a
reading, but I suspect that I will have to read Sims' upcoming
book to really make full use of the comparative reading method
she touches upon in the booklet.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

=== Received For Review

The following books and decks have been received for review in
January 2003 and will be reviewed in future issues. "First Glance
Comments" included with these listings are exactly what they seem
to be: my first impression of the item from a quick glance
through the book or deck. Be aware that these views could change
drastically after a more complete examination. If you are waiting
for a particular review, remember that reviews appear on our web
site as they are finished -- often a good while before they are
published in the newsletter.

2003 Wicca Almanac
  edited by Michael Fallon (Llewellyn)
  ISBN: 0738702943
  First Glance Comments: A new almanac from Llewellyn aimed at
        Wiccans. It provides almanac information from the Spring
        equinox in March 2003 to the Spring equinox in 2004 with
        the usual assortment of short articles.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Cooking by Moonlight
  by Karri Ann Allrich (Llewellyn)
  ISBN: 1567180159
  First Glance Comments: Learn to cook in harmony with the
        seasons and the phases of the Moon. Over 100 recipes are
        included, none of which seem to use red meat.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Meditation: Practice and Application
  by Jose Lorenzo-Fuentes (Llewellyn)
  ISBN: 0738702560
  First Glance Comments: This thin volume is an introduction to
        several forms of meditation. From a very fast skim, it
        appears to be well written and informative.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Quest Tarot
  by Joseph Ernest Martin (Llewellyn)
  ISBN: 0738701955
  First Glance Comments: This deck has cutting edge art created
        with computer-generated 3D graphics. The images are very
        interesting. The deck has all sorts of "special features"
        such as rune stones, I-Ching, gemstones, letters of the
        alphabet, etc. that can be factored into interpretation.
        It comes with a book that explains it all.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Everyday Tarot Magic
  by Dorothy Morrison (Llewellyn)
  ISBN: 0738701750
  First Glance Comments: The first half of this book talks about
        the Tarot cards and their meanings, the second half gives
        over 125 spells using Tarot cards. Not as well done as
        the author's Everyday Magic but looks interesting and
        useful for those interested in Tarot spells.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

When Someone You Love Is Wiccan
  by Carl McColman (New Page Books)
  ISBN: 1564146227
  First Glance Comments: This is an excellent book aimed at
        introducing non-Wiccans to the beliefs and practices of
        Wiccans (and to a lesser extent Paganism in general) in a
        very friendly question and answer book. Even from a brief
        scan, I can highly recommend this book. It's much more up
        to date than the previous "standard," Scott Cunningham's
        The Truth about Witchcraft Today.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Wiccan Wellness Book
  by Laura Perry (New Page Books)
  ISBN: 1564146235
  First Glance Comments: This book discusses a number of holistic
        health care methods and practices from a Wiccan point of
        view, complete with a few Wiccan rituals to aid the
        process along.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Creating Home Sanctuaries with Feng Shui
  by Shawnee Mitchell with Stephanie Gunning (New Page Books)
  ISBN: 1564145700
  First Glance Comments: I don't know much about feng shui but
        this book is packed full of ideas for creating sacred
        space (altars, shrines, etc.) in your own home. Just
        glancing through the book has given me several ideas for
        my own house.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Exploring Native American Wisdom
  by Fran Dancing Feather and Rita Robinson (New Page Books)
  ISBN: 1564146251
  First Glance Comments: I'm not really knowledgeable enough in
        Native American beliefs to review this book well, but one
        of the authors actually is a Native American. That's
        bound to put this book one up on many of the Native
        American spirituality books on the shelves.
  More Info from Amazon.com:

=== January 2003 Releases

What's Your Wicca IQ?
  by Laura Wildman
  ISBN: 0806523476
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Kitchen Witchery
  by Scott Cunningham
  ISBN: 0738702269
  More Info from Amazon.com:

10 Spiritual Steps to a Magical Life: Meditations & Affirmations
for Personal Growth & Happiness
  by Adrian Calabrese
  ISBN: 0738703117
  More Info from Amazon.com:

12 Magic Wands: The Art of Meeting Life's Challenges
  by G.G. Bolich, Ph.D.
  ISBN: 075700086X
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Golden Bough: J.G.Frazer His Life and Work and the Making of
the Golden Bough
  by Robert Ackerman, et al
  ISBN: 0333985850
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Salem Witch Trials: A Primary Source History of the
Witchcraft Trials in Salem, Massachusetts
  by Jenny Macbain
  ISBN: 082393683X
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Battling Demons: Witchcraft, Heresy, and Reform in the Late
Middle Ages
  by Michael D. Bailey
  ISBN: 0271022264
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Wild Witchcraft: A Guide to Natural, Herbal and Earth Magic
  by Marion Green
  ISBN: 0007145438
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Witches' Almanac, Spring 2003 to Spring 2004: The Complete
Guide to Lunar Harmony
  by Elizabeth Pepper and John Wilcock
  ISBN: 1881098222
  More Info from Amazon.com:

The Wiccan Wellness Book: Natural Healthcare for Mind, Body, and
  by Laura Perry
  ISBN: 1564146235
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Devoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice
  by Judy Harrow
  ISBN: 0806523921
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Seasons of the Witch: Celebrating the Eight Wiccan Festivals of
the Year
  by Gail Duff
  ISBN: 1569753369
  More Info from Amazon.com:

Little Book of Modern Day Spells
  by Lucy Summers
  ISBN: 1931412162
  More Info from Amazon.com:

========= by Jenett (gleewood@gleewood.org)
========= Web Site: http://gleewood.org/

The Cauldron's Delphi forum recently had a discussion about how
to talk to newcomers in a way that was both helpful to them, and
which didn't lead to really strong frustration or burnout on the
part of the people trying to provide information.

I made several posts, based both on some experience doing this
with information about Paganism, but also using techniques I've
learned over a long period of being an administrator on various
online role-playing games (where it's quite common for repetitive
questions or issues to come up regularly.) The following is a
revised and somewhat expanded version of my posts to that
discussion, and is focused on online communication more than in
person conversations (although the basic techniques are sound for
both situations)

I have four basic steps to help me help newcomers in a way that's
helpful to them, and as minimally stressful to me as possible.
The basic steps involve documentation of common issues, having a
place to vent frustrations, getting regular feedback on whether
what and how you're writing makes sense, and using a specific
writing format that helps the person reading to find the
information they say they're looking for.

1) I personally try document everything that comes up more than
about 3 times (or save emails or comments where I've already
explained it coherently) This way, when it comes up for the
fourth (or tenth, or hundreth) time, I have several options
available to me as a result of the documentation.

One option is simply to point someone to the information on a
static webpage.  This is particularly suitable for "Why I don't
recommend X book" sorts of answers, where the actual reason may
be quite long and involve several parts.  When I use this option,
I often provide a short (1-2 paragraph) version of my answer in
the reply, but reference the longer page if the person wants more
information and detail.  It also saves me typing it out all over

Pointing someone at documentation (assuming the documentation is
clearly written) also works extremely well for procedural issues
(how to express interest in joining a group, how to do a specific
activity, etc.) It's harder to do well for subjects where there
are a lot of variables.

Another option is to use the documented version as a basis for
the answer. I find this quite handy if I don't feel 'all there' -
if I'm tired, sleepy, grumpy, or anything else that might make me
miss a point or not phrase things as well as I have in the past.
Looking at the older version and writing a new one often helps me
write more clearly.

Third, in some situations, just plain quoting might work.
Sometimes this will work well, and sometimes it won't.  I've
found that generally, there's enough of a new twist on a question
that standardized answers don't quite work - but often, copying a
few paragraphs, and writing a few more to reflect specific
questions in the particular discussion can save me some time and

Finally, I've found that even if I don't actually point someone
at a document, that having it written up makes repeating it
easier.  I find that it's often easier to explain things more
clearly after I've done it a number of times - the words come
more easily, I write more fluidly, and so on.

2) I find it much easier to be patient and repeat myself if I
have some place to vent to where there are people who will be
sympathetic to the venting.  There are different ways to do this,
of course, and there is a line between venting and backbiting or
other nastiness.

However, it can be immensely useful to be able to say "Wow, we
just got X saying Y." and getting a bit of the venting out of
your system before you write a calm post explaining why Y isn't
actually accurate.

What makes a good vent audience?  This depends a bit on the topic
at hand, but in general, I think the people involved should have
a reasonable understanding of the subject (so that they know why
you're venting and why this particular topic is problematic),
they should be able to tell you if they're not up to listening to
venting, and they should be mature enough to not turn around and
make fun of the people you were venting about in a way that could
get back to them, use the information unfairly, or so on.

Obviously, this can be a little tricky to find and maintain - the
places I've found where this works the best are a group of peers
who have similar responsibilities (other game administrators,
other people who have experience doing whatever it is you're

3) Related to the previous point, one other good technique can be
to have other people around who can reassure you that you're
making sense.  This can be particularly useful if you're not sure
if you're misreading someone or if they really are being
flaky/weird/unusually antagonistic.  Obviously, this works only
if it's actually true.  However, having someone say "Hey, I know
you're sort of intimidated by X, but wait, she's contradicted
herself here and here, and these things aren't quite adding up
for me either." has really helped me (including very recently)
say "Ok, I'm not going batty."

4) The final issue is that of writing style.  Most basically,
when I'm trying to explain something that someone is obviously
confused by, I try to use smaller sentences and paragraphs, to be
clear about what I'm saying and why I'm saying it, and to
indicate emotional content clearly.  (I don't do this as much in
general conversation, but I do watch it a lot more carefully when
talking to new folk, or people who are obviously nervous or
uncertain, as well as when I say things that are in clear
disagreement with what someone's said.)

I started doing this because of a comment from a friend (in
discussion about a particular instance of online communication)
that she thought I might come across as somewhat intimidating to
people (especially nervous newcomer types) because I tend to be
fairly precise in my language use.  On consideration, I thought
she had a point, so while I don't worry about this too much in
general conversation, I pay more attention to it when I'm writing
in direct response to a newcomer question.

I try to do write in a format that is fairly easy to skim and
clearly organized.  Here's how I structure that.

a) Restate the question if there's more than one, or if I'm not
   sure what someone's really asking.  (If I'm not sure, I say
   something like "I think this is what you're asking, but if
   not, let me know, I'll try again.")

b) Give the factual stuff first, as concisely and clearly as I
   can, complete with relevant links or other 'stuff you might
   want to look into more'.

c) Only then go on to personal experience, and try to only put in
   the bits that are actually likely to be useful.  (Whether
   they're actually useful, I rarely have any idea, but...)

d) Repeat for subsequent questions.

It seems to work fairly well for anyone who can deal with my
general writing style (and the fact I won't be saying "Do what
you like") and the fact that the responses tend to get long.

I find (and have gotten feedback) that using bolding (where
possible) for section breaks, and lots of blank space also help
(so section header, blank line, short paragraph, blank line,
short paragraph, etc.  is a lot better than long paragraphs.
Online, I try to keep my paragraphs to 4-5 lines.)

Some people don't want personal experience - however, I tend to
include it when it's relevant, at least in public discussion, in
the hopes that it might be of benefit to someone who's reading
but not posting.  (And I've been told often enough that this *is*
helpful to keep doing it.)

The combination of these four factors seems to work fairly well -
there are, granted, plenty of people I never hear replies from,
but I've also gotten a fair number of "Thanks, that was really
helpful" sort of responses.

========= by Sperran

Feeling Stressed Out?
Picture yourself near a stream.

Birds are softly chirping
in the crisp cool mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here.
No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion
from that place called "the world."

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall
fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is clear.

You can easily make out the face of the person
whose head you're holding under the water.

It's the person who caused you all this stress in the first

What a pleasant surprise.
You let them up...
just for a quick breath...
ploop!...back under they go...

You allow yourself as many deep breaths as you want.

There now...  feeling better?

========= by TarotDeevah

=== Cosmic Tarot

by Norbert Losche
Published by Vereinigte Munchener Spielkarten-Fabriken
Copyright 1988 by F.X. Schmid
ISBN 0880791837 (US Games Systems edition)
See Cards From This Deck:
Amazon Link:

I love this tarot deck! The art is wonderful, and the people
depicted are quite beautiful. Cosmic Tarot follows the Marseilles
style of order and naming without deviation; however, all of the
pips are fully illustrated. The colors are soothing, generally
soft shades, which give this deck a sort of fantasy feel. The
people and objects, however, are quite realistic and genuine
looking. Symbolism is present and even plentiful in most cards.

Cards measure approximately 4.75 by 2.75 inches and handle
easily. Card stock is slightly thinner than I prefer, but they
seem to be durable enough. They are certainly not flimsy, just
not as thick as I prefer.

I recommend this deck to everyone. I love it! Beginners will find
enough symbolism throughout the deck, and will be inspired by the
art. They will also be able to grow into the deck, as it has
enough meat to be an intermediate to advanced deck as well.
Collectors will love it a well. This deck would make an excellent
primary reading deck!

=== Crow's Magick Tarot

by Londa Marks
Published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Copyright 1998 by US Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN: 1572810688
See Cards From This Deck:
Amazon Link:

From the creator of Londa Tarot comes this Crow's Magick Tarot.
This deck follows Marseilles style of order and naming, except
that the world is now the universe. Pip cards are more
illustrated than typical Marseilles type decks, but I wouldn't
say they were fully illustrated. They show the number of suit
items, and are embellished with decoration rather than symbolism.
The art is very interesting, bold and inspiring; however, the art
doesn't speak of the meanings of the cards ... at least not to
me. Keywords at the bottom of the cards offer assistance.

Cards measure about 2.75 by 4.75 inches and are slightly large
for me. The card stock is very good, almost perfect in my
opinion. I believe it will stand up quite well to regular use.

I don't recommend this deck for beginners, but only because the
art doesn't seem to go well with the cards' meanings. I really
like the art, though. I recommend this deck for those looking for
a bold new Marseilles type deck. Also, I recommend it for

=== Dragon Tarot

by Peter Pracownik
Published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Copyright 1996 by US Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN: 0880791489
See Cards From This Deck:
Amazon Link:

Dragon Tarot is filled with dragons, but these are not your
friendly cuddly dragons. These dragons are stunning,
serpent-like, with ominous pointy wings. The art is exceptional,
and the artist obviously very talented. I'm sorry to say that the
wonderful art doesn't do much to inspire the meanings of the
cards to me. I find symbolism to be rather minimal. The deck is
worth buying just for the art, though.

The deck follows Rider-Waite style of order and naming. The
majors and court cards are fully illustrated; however, the pip
cards aren't what I'd call fully illustrated. Pips show the
number of suit items, plus a dragon or two.

Cards measure about 2.75 by 4.25 inches and handle very well.
These cards are much easier than most on my small hands. Card
stock is also very good, close to perfect. I have no reason to
doubt their durability, although my deck hasn't had much use.

I recommend this deck for dragon lovers who are in the
intermediate to advanced reading range. Beginners will have a
hard time grasping meanings, and the images don't offer much
help. I also recommend this deck for collectors.

=== Enchanted Tarot

by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
Published by St. Martin's Press
Copyright 1990 by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
ISBN 0312050798
See Cards From This Deck:
Amazon Link:

This is one of the few decks that I just plain don't like. The
pictures resemble tapestries and are quite pretty, but I find
them too busy. The deck is full of soft pastel colors and lots of
lace ... even the swords (although not to the same degree). The
suits are wands, hearts, swords and pentacles. The courts are
king, queen, prince and princess. The majors keep their
traditional Rider-Waite names and order. It comes in a deck and
book set, but the cards are not boxed. Once the set is opened,
you will need to have a tarot bag/pouch or box to put the cards

The cards are quite large, 3.5 by 5.5 inches, and too large for
me to shuffle. They are sturdy, but not too stiff, and seem like
they would be quite durable.

The book is very well done. Each card is revealed through three
stages. The Dream tells the story of the card; the Awakening
gives specific meanings; and the Enchantment taps into your
intuitive side to imprint the card on you by use of meditations,
charms, rituals, etc. I like the book very much.

I'm unsure about recommending this deck, since I don't like it.
However, I think it has a preteen/high school girl feel, so might
recommend it for young girls. I know some adults who like the
deck, one who is even a man. Perhaps it's just me that doesn't
like it. :::shrug::: I do recommend it for collectors, and for
anyone who loves pink and lace. =)

===== 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:

========= Author Unknown

1st Degree: A person who gets to do all the work.

2nd Degree: A person who gets to complain about the 1st degrees
and the High Priestess.

3rd Degree: A person who never shows up at rituals.

Athame: A ritual knife; the bigger the knife, the less power the
bearer has.

Book of Shadows: A messy, handwritten book that contains copies
of everyone else's rituals.

Ceremonial Magician: Someone with bad hygiene habits, who reads
Crowley, takes drugs and practices looking menacing.

Circle: Some assemblage of people standing or sitting in an
uneven, or oval shape.

Coven: A bunch of people who fight like family and get together
several times a month to party.

Crowley: A weird guy whom lots of people worship because he died
a syphilitic drug addict.  (Kinda like Curt Cobain and Elvis).

Full Moon: Any Saturday that occurs sometime close to the actual
calendar full moon.

High Priest: Whoever the High Priestess is sleeping with this

High Priestess: A self-appointed leader; must be bossy,
opinionated and have a large ego.

Initiation: Status that you receive after a big party held in
your honor.

Magick: Any weird result after you do a spell or ritual for
something; may or may not have anything to do with what you were
working for.

Maiden: An ambitious 2nd degree (usually a womyn) who aspires to
be High Priestess, so she can do things right!

New Moon: A chance for the High Priestess to get really drunk and
sleep with (and initiate) a new High Priest.

Pagan: A person who wears tie dye and practices the party

Pagan Standard Time: If a ritual is scheduled for 6pm, people
show up around 9, and the ritual finally gets started at 10:30.

Pagan Daylight Time: If a ritual is scheduled for noon, everyone
usually shows up before dark.

Ritual: A reason to assemble with others, kvetch and eventually
have some sort of ceremony.

Ritual Wear: A flashy dress or outfit that makes the wearer look
like an actor in a bad fantasy movie.

Sabbat: Any Saturday close to the actual day, excuse for a big

Wiccan: Conservative person who wears normal clothes, lots of
jewelry, recycles everything and used to be a witch.

Witch: Someone who wears lots of black and jewelry, reads Gardner
and practices the party religion.

========= Cauldron Info

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
information (including well over 150 book and divination deck
reviews), and a monthly email newsletter. To continue to provide
and expand these services, The Cauldron needs lots of volunteer
help from our members and supporters.

Here are some of the things members and supporters can do to help
The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum thrive:

===== Actively Participate In Our Message Board

While our Delphi message board welcomes readers, we encourage
members to actively participate by posting their comments and
views in our discussions. One of the easiest ways to help The
Cauldron is to actively participate in our message board. The
staff especially appreciates members who start new topics for
discussion based on their own questions, opinions, or interests.


===== Articles! Essays! Tutorials!

We are in constant need of original, well-written and accurate
articles, essays, tutorials, and other written items for both our
web site and for our Cauldron and Candle newsletter. There's no
real limit on length for web site articles. Here are a few areas
in which we always need articles:

* information on the beliefs and theology of the various Pagan
  religions, especially non-Wiccan religions

* information on holidays and festivals of the various Pagan
  religions, especially non-Wiccan religions

* recipes for oils, incenses, and food for the various Pagan

* magick, spells, and ritual information

* herbal information

* positive articles on dealing with other faiths

* information on historical pagan cultures

* editorial/opinion pieces

Non-Wiccan material is stressed not because we don't want Wiccan
material but because good non-Wiccan material has been hard to
find. We have a web form you can use to submit an article for
consideration: http://www.ecauldron.com/persontestart.php

===== Book Reviews

While The Cauldron receives some review copies from a couple of
Pagan publishers, there are many books that can only be reviewed
on our web site if a member has a copy and writes a good,
objective review. The Cauldron is interested in reviews on the
more academic books used by reconstructionist Pagan religions as
well as on the books one finds on the Pagan/New Age shelf in the
bookstore. We have a web form you can use to submit a book review
for consideration: http://www.ecauldron.com/persontestbr.php

===== Graphic Assistance

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is purposely a low graphics site as
we value page download speed over flashy graphics. However, we
are always willing to talk with artists who have ideas for
well-designed small graphics (small in both physical dimensions
and file size) that might enhance a specific article or page.

===== Invite Your Friends

If you have friends or acquaintances who you believe would find
The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum useful, please tell them about our
site. If you are active in our message board and have friends who
might enjoy them or have information to contribute, please invite

===== Link To The Cauldron

If you have a web site where linking to The Cauldron: A Pagan
Forum would be appropriate, simply providing a link to this web
site is a big help. Our Link to this Site page explains how you
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to use: http://www.ecauldron.com/linktous.php

===== Donations

As The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum uses as many free services as
possible, our need for money to operate our site is currently
lower than our need for the many items we list above. However, if
you have a few dollars to spare, we would be honored to have your
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Amazon Honor System button below (we get about 85% of what you


===== Amazon Purchases

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum also receives a small percentage
(usually 5%) from most items purchased from Amazon.com when you
go to Amazon.com from one of the links to Amazon on our web site.
If you purchase a lot of books, CDs, and other items from
Amazon.com as many members do, going to Amazon.com through one of
our links when you are going to make a purchase there is a
painless way to help fund this web site.


===== Have Questions or Suggestions?

If you have specific questions, proposals or other ideas we
haven't mentioned here, please email them to
rssapphire00@ecauldron.GETRIDOFEME.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.)

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

Cauldron and Candle is a free publication of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum. The Cauldron intends to publish this newsletter once
a month and often actually succeeds in doing so. We tried to
publish it twice a month for a while, but real life interfered
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This issue of Cauldron and Candle as a whole is copyright (c)
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