[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #50 -- August 2004

A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
message board: http://www.ecauldron.net/


Return to Cauldron and Candle Archive

C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E  #50 -- August 2004

           A Publication of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
                website: http://www.ecauldron.com/
              message board: http://www.ecauldron.net/
             newsletter: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/
            shopping: http://www.ecauldron.com/mall.php

In this Issue:

[01] Editorial Notes
[02] Cauldron Challenge: August
[03] Cauldron News
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Reviews
     [05-1] Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration
     [05-2] The Rebirth of Witchcraft
     [05-3] Paganism: A Beginner's Guide
     [05-4] Circle of Isis
     [05-5] Out of the Shadows
[06] Received For Review (with Mini-Reviews)
[07] Articles:
     [07-1] What's a Hellenic Pagan Parent To Do?
     [07-2] August -- The Month of Augustus
     [07-3] The Horse-Shoe as a Favorite Anti-Witch Charm
     [07-4] How To Recognize an Essential Oil?
     [07-5] Shamanism in a Nutshell
[08] Columns
     [08-1] Humor: A Pagan at the Pearly Gates
     [08-2] Poem:  Rite at the Crossroads
     [08-3] Cheap Web Hosting Report: August 2004
[09] Around the Planes: Notes from All Over
     [09-1] Helping Kids Make Smart Food Choices At School
     [09-2] Scientists Sing Praises of Bird Brains
     [09-3] Ask Your Doctor About "Pneumo"
     [09-4] Depression: It Happens To A Lot Of Guys
     [09-5] Helping Save American History
[10] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[11] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

    +++September Issue Submission Deadline: August 15, 2004+++
     Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

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

Welcome to the 50th issue of Cauldron and Candle! Yes, this is
issue number FIFTY. We have published at least one issue a month
for almost 4 full years now. Next month, in fact, will be the
last issue of our fourth year. That's a lot of regularly
published issues -- more than most of the Pagan email newsletters
I subscribe to.

Most publications try to celebrate important "anniversary"
issues by going all out with the issue in question. We really
haven't done this, but you are holding a longer, more meaty issue
than the past few with lots of articles and columns.

As you know if you've been reading recent issues, we haven't been
quite sure what will happen to this newsletter, given that the
editor is now married and has a real life. We have finally
decided to do our best to continue this newsletter. If this is
going to be successful, however, we are going to need your help
in three areas. And two of these areas do not require any writing
skills nor do they require hours of effort.

FIRST: If you have a web page or a blog, please include a link to
the editor's new Cheap Web Hosting Report web site. The more
people who link to this site, the more people will see it and
visit it -- and the more people who visit this website, the more
time your editor will have to work on this newsletter. The url of
the Cheap Web Hosting Report is:


Feel free to visit this site and see what it has to offer. If you
like what you see and think it might be useful to those looking
for affordable but reliable web hosting, please link to it and
tell your friends and associates about it.

SECOND: In 50 issues, we have accumulated just over 1500
subscribers. To be honest, we should probably have at least twice
this number. Unfortunately, your editor is very poor at
advertising (when he even remembers to do it). Therefore, he is
asking your help. Please tell your Pagan friends about this free
newsletter and suggest that they sign up for it at:


THIRD: Cauldron and Candle really needs more writers. With this
issue, we've used up all the non-staff submissions of articles
and reviews. I do have a final Hellenic article coming from
Rebecca, but that's all I know of in the queue. This newsletter
really needs your articles and reviews. We are even open to
regular columns if you have the time, knowledge of an area, and
basic writing skills. While I have lots of public domain material
I can use as articles, chances are these items are not as
interesting and relevant as a reader-submitted article would be.

Here are a few ideas for articles to stir your creativity.
Reviews of books, movies, and videos of interest are always
welcome. Articles on specific Pagan religions or Wiccan
Traditions (similar to the series of articles on Hellenic
Paganism we have run over the past few months) would be
interesting, as would articles on magick, divination, prayer,
Pagan-oriented foods, finding a group or religion, etc. Reports
on Pagan Festivals would be very welcome. However, don't limit
yourself to these ideas, if you have an idea for an article that
you think would fit our newsletter and would be interesting to
Pagans, chances are good that we would at least be interested in
looking at it.

There are forms for submitting articles and book reviews on our
web site that will help ensure that we get all the information we
need to consider your work:

Book Review Submission Form:


Article Submission Form:


Thank you again for subscribing to and reading the Cauldron and
Candle newsletter. With your help we will still be around to
celebrate our 100th issue in a few years.


                      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.


========= by Star

August's Challenge is again a little different from most of the
other Challenges we've had. This time, it's rather specific:
Learn something new every day, and pass it on. I think most of us
are probably actually doing the first part of this
anyway--whether we learn something academically, or a new skill,
or something about ourselves, or even just some random trivia or
someone's name, we're probably learning something each day. The
object of this Challenge is to not just learn something, but also
to realize that you have learned something, and share the

If you want, you can share your lessons and tidbits here, in the
usual update threads. However, I also encourage you to spread
your newfound knowledge among your non-Cauldron friends, family,
communities, and so forth. For one thing, threads might get a
little unwieldy if everyone starts posting everything they learn
here. For another, some of the things you learn might of course
not be relevant to us. And finally, there's no reason why we
should hog all the good stuff! :)




       We use DreamHost because it is affordable and
       reliable, but mainly because its terms of service 
       allow web sites with anything legal: our web site 
       will not be pulled because we review a few books 
       on sex magick or an erotic tarot deck. It's a 
       great host for Pagan web sites. 



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

===== Mari and Koi Move to Cauldron Council

Two of our staff members have moved to Cauldron Council for a
break. Mari simply wanted a break from staff duties and is still
active on the board. Koi has been ill this last month and has
moved to Cauldron Council until she both feels up to the board
and has caught up with how far behind being ill as put her in
real life. She welcomes prayers and good thoughts from all,
regardless of their religion.

===== Delphi to Delete Old Messages On Our Old Board

It looks to us like DelphiForums' April efforts to get people to
pay them more money for their rebundled services did not get
enough people to pay them as they recently announced "...messages
more than one year old in [free] Starter Forums are subject to
deletion." As we are no longer paying for our old Delphi Forum,
we expect its messages to disappear. Oh well, it would be nice to
keep those old messages, but not nice enough to get us to pay for
a Premium Forum (let alone the expensive DelphiPlus account
required to be able to get the necessary Premium Forum).

===== The Cauldron Wants You to Register to Vote Today!

November 2004 is rapidly approaching. For those of us in the
United States, that means we will soon have to decide whether we
want another four years of George Bush as President and wish the
House and Senate to remain in Republican hands. Regardless of
your personal position on these issues, it is important that you
get out and vote. Low voter turnouts generally benefit those
holding extremist positions as a greater percentage of
extremists vote.

US Pagans tend to vote in very low numbers. This is not good.
Please vote in November. In order to vote in November, however,
you must be registered to vote. If you aren't registered to
vote, please do so now. There are several sites on the Internet
that will provide you with the needed forms for your state that
you can print and mail.  Here's one:


The 2000 Presidential election was decided by just a few hundred
very contested votes. This shows that every vote really does
count. Please register and vote in November -- and encourage
everyone you know to do so.

Yes, the above was a repeat of our July editorial. If you think
this must mean we really do want our US readers to register to
vote, you'd be right. We also want you to vote in the November! 

===== Doxy's Bazaar (Our Ebay Store) Grows Again

As mentioned a couple of months ago, LyricFox and Randall have
opened an ebay store with some collectibles and lots of used
Pagan books (most in like new condition and at half price). Our
selection of Pagan books has grown again last month with over 20
new books added. We've sold a number of the books we started
with, but there are still quite a few Pagan books in like new
condition available. Stop in any take a look and see what we have
to offer:




        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 too late to
join in.

Thanks to Bloglet, you can now receive an email every night on
days we post new site news items to the main page of The
Cauldron's web site. These emails contain a link to the new item
and the first couple of lines of the news text. You can sign up
for Bloglet's free news delivery via the form at the end of the
site "News and Updates" section of The Cauldron's main web page.

=== Homage Frequency?

I am curious about how often and for how long we pay homage to
our deities. Paying homage is whatever you do, whether that be
praying, meditating, doing a spell, chatting, etc.

How often do you pay homage to your deities? For how long?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Do You Believe a God Created You?

I just started reading a book to learn about Wicca. I learned
about the core belief that the God and Goddess are our
"creators". I personally feel strongly that I was created by the
forces of nature, not by another being. 

I was just really curious about what everyone's different beliefs
were. Do most Pagans believe in Gods as creators or is that more
specific to Wicca? Does anyone believe the Gods might just be
other creatures that sprung up from nature the same way we did?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== All This Stuff?

So... We have our altars and our tools and our candles and our
representations of Gods. Or, at least, many of us do, and I've
seen several others talk about trying to put something together
as well. We have our Stuff.


What I mean is, is your Stuff there (or potentially there in the
future) because your God(s) want it there, because it helps you,
because you just like it...? How necessary do you believe it is
to have Stuff in a religious context? And if you need Stuff, does
it have to be exactly the right Stuff, or is whatever is handy
and seems appropriate OK?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Changing Fairy Tales With Witches

Do those of you who are witches and who tell fairy tales to
children alter them if they contain witches who are not placed in
a good light?

For instance, Hansel and Gretel's witch was into eating children.
Bar using this as a very scary disciplinary method, do you stick
with Grimm tellings or do you tend to alter them to politically
correct them?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Where Are the New Gods?

Do you think Gods and Goddesses come and go or are they eternal?
Can new Gods and Goddesses come into being and if so, how do we
recognize them? And if we do, how could we convey the existence
of these new Gods and Goddesses without appearing like a total

It seems like we haven't had any new deities show up for a few
thousand years and it seems like it's time. Our culture is unique
now and I think it's rather odd to worship, say, a deer god if
you've never left the city.

Just points to ponder... but what if???

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Roman and Greek Gods The Same?

Are Venus and Aphrodite the same person (for want of a better
word)? I've seen a lot of art of Aphrodite that's very similar
to the birth of Venus.

I believe I've read Venus was originally a Goddess of the
Harvest, however, and I also heard that Aphrodite was originally
of Eastern Origin and the sister of Ishtar.

I think Gaia was also called Terra by the Romans, although I
could be wrong. Are there other Gods that are "the same"?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Birthstones

As a child my mother always told me that the birthstone for
Pisces is bloodstone and she has some very beautiful pieces. 

As birthstones have obviously been becoming more popular
jewelers in the UK now have lists in the window showing your
birthstone and they say aquamarine?

It gets more confusing as i have just read a really interesting
book called E-Witch by Deborah Grey who says that the Pisces
birth stone is amethyst. This interestingly enough feels right
and have a piece of hand made jewelry made for me by a special
family member with a beautiful heart cut amethyst.

So here's the thing are they all right, none right or dependant
on your actual astrological chart, date, time etc.?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== What Makes a Pagan Tradition?

Pagans often distinguish between "traditional" and "eclectic".
I've been wondering lately -- what makes something a tradition?

My basic idea so far involved a certain group or coven that
passes a coherent and mostly unchanged body of practices and lore
from teacher to student. 

But is there more to it? Does it take a certain amount of "group
generations" so that the practices are considered a pagan
tradition? Does it take a certain number of years? Does it take
surviving the death of the founders or them leaving?

Also - if a single coven/group has a unique coherent and mostly
unchanged body of lore and practices, with specific deities and
solid relationships with them - can that be called a tradition?
Or do they need more covens, and more generations until it
becomes so?

And further - if an individual has such a unique body of lore and
practices that he or she keeps through many years, without
eclectic jumps and adding something new every other week - can
that be a tradition?

What do you think?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Curses, Hexes, etc...

If you do NOT follow a Wiccan type path that has the "3-fold law"
and the "Harm none, do what thou wilt" caveats this question is
for you:

Would you ever consider attacking someone with whatever power,
charms, whatever that is known in your path? NOT for
self-defense, but because you had personally judged that person
and felt they *deserved* it.

If so, does your path have any punishments that could come onto
YOU for this act, or if you would never consider such an act,
does your path make any exceptions when such an act is deemed
appropriate and no punishment is meted out?

Does anyone follow a path where the ethics or rules EXPECT you to
occasionally attack someone for whatever slight/injury/insult?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
=== What is Worship and is it Bad?

I was reading a book recently that made me stop and think... The
author was talking about the difference between being Pagan and
Christian was in the whole subject of worship. Unlike Christians,
he did not worship his gods. He saw this as a good thing, since
he thought that worship had the effect of distancing deity from
the worshiper. He saw Paganism as bringing deity closer because
it didn't raise any walls between the gods and mortal.

I hadn't thought about it until then, but I realized that I
didn't use the term worship either. 'Cause I don't. My
relationship with my Lady is wildly complex, but worship it
isn't. If I knelt at my Lady's head, She would probably drop kick

Even if asked what I worship, I normally answer that I 'look' to
a warrior goddess.

Is this a fairly universal Pagan thing? Or is it just me?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:



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       or PayPal and help us pay the web site bills.

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============    BOOK AND DECK REVIEWS

========= Reviewed by Brock

Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration: 
   Gerald Gardner and the Modern Witchcraft Revival
Author: Philip Heselton
Publisher: Capall Bann Publishing
Publication date: August 2003
ISBN: 1861631642
US Retail Price: Only in UK
Amazon Link:

Some time ago I wrote for this site a review of Philip Heselton's
book Wiccan Roots: Gerald Gardner and the Modern Witchcraft
Revival. At the time, I felt that Heselton had done a great deal
of extremely useful research, but that a number of his
conclusions had been called into question by his evident
inability to examine the evidence developed by his researches
without first filtering the material through his preconceptions.
I noted at the time that I hoped that he might avoid such
problems in the future. I recently purchased a copy of Mr.
Heselton's latest book: Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of
Inspiration - an Investigation into the Sources of Gardnerian
Witchcraft (2003, Capall Bann Publishing, ISBN 1861631642), which
book is intended as a follow-on volume to Wiccan Roots. 

The new book is a detailed look at Gerald B. Gardner and his
contacts and interactions with various members of England's
naturist, occult, and esoteric communities from the time of his
retirement from the British Colonial Service in 1936 until his
death. In many respects it recapitulates much of the material
contained in Gerald Gardner: Witch (formally attributed to Jack
Bracelin, but which seems to have actually been written by Idries
Shah,) but with the addition of information which was not
available in 1960 when the earlier book was published. This is
not really a bad thing, given that the earlier work has been out
of print and difficult to find for many years. But it is
problematic in the sense that the latter three-quarters of
Heselton's book do not really provide us with much information
about Gerald Gardner that a knowledgeable student of the man
would not already possess from having read earlier works on the

What real meat there is in Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of
Inspiration is contained within the first quarter of the book. At
the end of Wiccan Roots, Mr. Heselton acknowledged that his
research had left unsettled the question of the source or sources
of the knowledge possessed by Edith Woodford-Grimes and her small
coterie within the Crotona Fellowship that caused Gerald Gardner
to accept them as being a surviving coven of Margaret Murray's
"witch-cult." Heselton indicated that he intended to continue his
researches into this subject, and that he hoped to be able to
publish further results at some point in the future. Those
results make up the contents of the first four chapters of Gerald
Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration. 

Heselton begins by acknowledging that Dafo/Edith Woodford-Grimes,
Gardner's initiator and principal magical partner in the early
days of Gardner's involvement in witchcraft, was almost certainly
not the High Priestess of the so-called "New Forest Coven."
Heselton examines several different women then residing in the
area of Highcliffe and Christchurch who might be plausible
candidates for the office of High Priestess. He eventually
manages to build a case for believing that the High Priestess was
one Rosamund Sabine, who, it turns out, had at one time been a
member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and who had
contributed articles to that body's journal of occult studies. He
goes on to outline one possible means whereby the New Forest
Coven might have coalesced around her. 

In the process of this examination, though, Heselton once again
makes the same grave error of interpretation that he made in
writing Wiccan Roots: he assumes that the presence of allusions
to fairies, Classical deities, and secret societies in the
writings of a well-educated Edwardian lady is prima facie
evidence that the woman was a practicing pagan and witch. On this
occasion, the woman in question is Mrs. Katherine Oldmeadow, a
resident of Highcliffe contemporaneously with Gardner, Dorothy St
Quentin-Fordham (nee Clutterbuck,) and Rosamund Sabine, and the
author of more than twenty schoolgirl novels and one fairly
serious work on the folklore and medicinal uses of herbs. It is
precisely the same error Heselton made in Wiccan Roots when he
interpreted Dorothy St Quentin-Fordham's journals as "proving"
that that lady was a secret pagan. By this reasoning, an
examination of C. S. Lewis' Narnia stories would require us to
conclude that Lewis too was a secret pagan, adhering to the cult
of some dying and resurrected God other than that of the Christ. 

It cannot be said that Mr. Heselton is unaware of this criticism
of his reasoning. He includes in this book a lengthy excerpt from
a communication from Prof. Ronald Hutton which addresses this
specific issue in far more detail and far better form than I am
capable of. Mr. Heselton then dismisses the criticism with a
figurative wave of the hand, saying, in effect, that despite all
of the rational arguments to the contrary, he is simply unable to
believe that all of the paganish allusions in front of him do not
mean something. Mr. Heselton is evidently unfamiliar with Sigmund
Freud's admission that "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." 

A glaring omission in the book is its almost total lack of
discussion of Gardner's relationship with the various members of
the Brickett Wood coven, (the "Mother Coven" as it were, of
Gardnerian Wicca), which Gardner founded in the late 1940's or
early 1950's. Heselton states that this was done out of respect
to those members of the group still living, and there may also be
a question here of Heselton feeling obligated to preserve the
secrecy of matters considered oathbound, given that Heselton
acknowledges that he himself is a Wiccan initiate with a lineage
acceptable to Traditional groups as disparate as the current
coven descended from the Brickett Wood coven and the Wiccan
Church of Canada. While one must applaud Mr. Heselton's sense of
integrity, his decision to exclude this material from the book
precludes any meaningful discussion of the contributions of
Doreen Valiente to the Gardnerian order of ritual, which seems
ludicrous in a book ostensibly concerned with "the Sources of
Gardnerian Witchcraft." 

To Mr. Heselton's credit, in the portion of the book dealing with
Gardner's relationship with Aleister Crowley he does manage to
advance a plausible theory which resolves a number of the
objections to the controversial "Charter," in which Crowley
supposedly granted to Gardner the authority to re-establish the
OTO in Britain. But even with this point and with the new
information Heselton has developed about the New Forest Coven, I
am simply not able to give this book an unreserved
recommendation. It will really be of interest only to those
persons who, like myself, have an overwhelming interest in the
origins of Wicca as a modern religion, or to those who are
interested in obtaining a somewhat more complete understanding of
Gerald Gardner as a person than they have previously had. But it
is still a book that I would far rather have borrowed than
bought. Unfortunately, because of the limited number of persons
likely to have an interest in reading it, it seems unlikely to
show up in very many library collections.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by David

The Rebirth of Witchcraft
Author: Doreen Valiente
Trade Paperback, 239 pages
Publisher: Phoenix
Publication date: 1989
ISBN: 0919345395
US Retail Price: Out of Print
Amazon Link:

The Rebirth Of Witchcraft is a fascinating history of Wicca as
seen through the eyes of Doreen Valiente. Ms. Valiente presents a
view of the early days of Wicca as only one who was there could
give. The book is not a how-to, primer, or a beginner's guide to
Wicca. Rather it is an examination of the personalities involved
in creating Wicca as well as its historical and cultural context
by someone who was actually there.   

Beginning with the last British witch trial in 1944 Doreen
Valiente introduces us to the people at the birth of Wicca. From
Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner to the more obscure
characters such Rosaleen Norton and Jack Bracelin. We are shown
the progression of events that led to the creation of a now well
known practice. Along with the movers and shakers of the movement
the British Press is shown to have played its part by exposing
and inadvertently helping to spread Wicca.   

From the practices and philosophies Gerald Gardner established
differences in opinion and personality bred the growth of new
traditions. These early off-shoots of Gardner's original ideas
are given thorough discussion with emphasis on the people leading
the breakaways. By Valiente's  personal accounts and descriptions
this reader gained a good deal of insight into why and how the
various Wiccan traditions came to be.   

Feminist Witchcraft is described from the historical view point
of the 1970s and 1980s with detailed introductions of its
leaders. Feminist witchcraft was a natural product of the
feminist movement as Doreen Valiente clearly shows. Without
giving questionable ancient history Valiente makes a reasonable
case for feminist witchcraft based on the personalities and
realities of the time.   

What I found most refreshing in The Rebirth Of Witchcraft was the
honesty and directness with which Ms. Valiente deals with her
subject. The descriptions of the characters showed the good, the
bad and the simply human nature common to us all. The Rebirth Of
Witchcraft  may seem dated to some, however it presents a clear
portrait of the times and lives involved in the evolution of
modern Wicca.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Vash

Paganism: A Beginner's Guide
Author: Teresa Moorey
Trade Paperback, 122 pages
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Headway
Publication date: 1996
ISBN: 0340670134
US Retail Price: $11.95
Amazon Link:

Paganism: A Beginner's Guide is part of a series published by
Hodder and Stoughton on their Headway educational imprint. Others
in the series include Chakras: A Beginner's Guide, I Ching: A
Beginner's Guide, Qabalah: A Beginner's Guide, and Tarot: A
Beginner's Guide. This book is intended as a very basic guide for
Paganism to spark the interest of those considering alternative

The book is divided up into 13 chapters, covering subjects such
as "What is a Pagan?" "The Sacred Earth" and "Cycles and
Celebrations" as well as chapters on paths like Shamanism and
Druidry. The chapter on Cycles and Celebrations is very well
illustrated and there are a few other illustrations scattered
through the book. On a more political level, there are chapters
on feminism, the men's movement, and eco-pagans. 

The author takes the position, as stated on the blurb, that
"Paganism is Nature worship." The "What is a Pagan" chapter was
written from that point of view, so we are told variously that
Paganism is "nature-worship" "a fertility cult" "Goddess worship"
and "doing what feels right for you." She also reckons that
people may be pagan without having considered themselves such.
Pagans have no "dogmas, shoulds or thou shalt nots" according to
the blurb, and Moorey adds to this that many "do not follow any
specific tradition." I found these statements to contradict what
many Pagans have told me about their paths, and also to be rather
vague. So, then, what is a Pagan, apart from someone who likes
nature a lot? 

This book suffers from the great difficulty of having only 122
pages with which to explain Paganism. All of the "A Beginner's
Guide" series are very thin books and are probably kept to strict
word limits. (I suspect that "What is a Pagan" could fill the 122
pages all by itself, never mind the other twelve chapters.) This
means that the book is woolly and generalized in places. There's
never a clear distinction made between Wicca and witchcraft --
the two are seen as meaning the same thing, and though Ms Mooney
subdivides "witchcraft" into Traditional Witches practicing old
family traditions, Hedge Witches who are solo, Open Style Craft
who are new-agey and feminist, and Wiccans, she seems to regard
them all as practicing mostly either Wicca or a form of eclectic
Wicca. No Satanic witches here! 

The reader is informed that the universal Pagan rule is "Harm
None", that all witches follow the Rede, and that all Pagans
worship the Goddess. The figure of nine million dead in the
Burning Times is used, as is the assumption that all witches were
burnt. Moorey does admit that these claims are contested, but she
endorses them because Margaret Murray was a "lucid and scholarly
lady". What's more "The literal truth is not important,
especially to Pagans...." It appears that some of her information
would need to be unlearnt by anyone who used this book as a
starting point. 

Moorey isn't saying that "Pagan = Wiccan" (there are chapters on
Shamanism, Druidry, and Asatru) but she does make the assumption
that all pagan paths are nature-worship based and that they are
all...nice. Reluctant to embrace the darker aspects of history,
she claims "A druid standing by [at a human sacrifice], possibly
trying to advise, console and modify, may have been interpreted
as officiating." Yes, and it's just as likely he actually WAS
officiating. Modern Druids do not use human sacrifice and there's
surely no need to cover up the past. After all, we know many
things nowadays that our ancestors did not, and ancient practices
have not generally survived intact and unchanged. There was also
a smack at the JCI religions which struck me as unnecessary
"...the old pagan ways have been far less blameworthy than many
other religions." 

The chapters on feminism, the men's movement and eco-paganism,
while interesting, weren't hugely relevant, and probably could
have been combined into one chapter. In similar vein, the chapter
on sci-fi and psychology was intriguing but didn't seem to have
much to do with the topic in hand. 

I found this book to be rather fluffy and its insistence that
"the truth doesn't matter" to be disconcerting, but I think most
of its problems were due to the sheer impossibility of explaining
Paganism in 122 pages! When you have only four pages to say what
a Pagan is, and there seem to be more flavors of Pagan than of
ice cream, it's very difficult to be anything other than vague
and general. 

It does provide an overview of some non-Wiccan traditions, and
the chapter on Cycles and Celebrations was fascinating. I would
have liked to see a whole book by the same author on the topic as
it is evidently something she has spent a lot of time
contemplating. Her style is accessible and lyrical, and I
especially liked the fact that she defined Paganism not against
either Christianity or Satanism, but on its own terms -- though I
quibble with her definitions. Having said that, there are far too
many problems with the book to recommend it to another

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Sphinxmuse

Circle of Isis: Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches
Author: Ellen Cannon Reed
Trade Paperback, 312 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: 2002
ISBN: 1564145689
US Retail Price: $14.99
Amazon Link:

Despite the implications of the book's subtitle, Reed's overall
emphasis is not on ancient Egyptian-based spellwork, but on
dedication to the Gods of Egypt's pantheon in Circle of Isis:
Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches. Then again, Reed is
known to me as an author for whom magic and religion are deeply
tied (just read her book The Heart of Wicca). She makes that view
quite clear within the first chapter: "The magic you will find
here is more than ways to cast spells. It is the magic of growing
closer to the Gods, the magic of learning the Mysteries of the

While Reed shows definite consideration to revering Egyptian
Deities in ways conducive to how the ancient Egyptians viewed
Them, she freely acknowledges that she and her coven have no
intentions of reconstructing ancient Egyptian religion; ancient
knowledge is set in the context of modern Wiccan practice, and
she makes no apologies for that. 

Most of this book is dedicated to introducing various ancient
Egyptian Deities to the reader. These introductions are fairly
comprehensive in regards to more well-known Deities, e.g. Osiris,
Isis, Horus the Younger, Ra, Anubis, Amen, etc. and they include
both historical information on how They were perceived and
worshiped in ancient times as well as how these Gods have
personally interacted with Their modern followers. 

What originally caused me to purchase this book was the segment
on Nephthys/Nebt-Het. Although Her name is well-known, most books
say little of Her other than listing Her relationships to other
Gods. I was particularly impressed with the quality and quantity
of Reed's writings about Her. The thing that especially caught my
attention was a song/poem for Her, which, in my opinion,
beautifully captured Her essence. Many of the other Gods she
introduces also have song/poems to illuminate Their natures. Also
included are the names (in English transliterations a nd in
hieroglyphs) of and very brief statements about lesser known

In order to make sure that such knowledge of the Gods does not
remain vicarious, Reed makes sure to have a chapter which gives
information and techniques on establishing a connection with a
specific Deity. This section covers such tried and true methods
as meditation, rituals, songs, as well as recipes for both food
and incenses, all of which come in handy when invoking a God's

Reed also discusses the rudiments of ancient Egyptian language
and includes a chart of alphabetics (i.e. phonetic hieroglyphs
that represent one sound, also called monoliterals) as well as a
list of common determinatives (signs that are tacked onto
Egyptian words to indicate a word's meaning). Other topics the
book covers includes common Egyptian symbols and their potential
for use in magic; a few Egyptian-inspired divinatory methods; a
list of Egyptian names one may choose to adopt upon dedication to
Egyptian Gods; a calendar based on the Egyptian's own; and
instructions for making a wand, sistrum, nemes headcloth, scarab,
and kilt. 

I did not discover a great deal of flaws with this book either in
regards to its faithfulness in depicting Egyptian religion and
culture fairly accurately, or with its presentation of Neo-Pagan
religion. The things I did notice were relatively minor. For
instance, she seems to rely on the work of E.A. Wallis Budge, a
rather prolific writer and museum curator, especially in the
section on hieroglyphs. The only problem with this is that
Budge's work is no longer entirely accurate and up-to-date and so
the information she based on his work is also rather outdated. 

Early in the book she made a point about not claiming to be
reconstructing ancient Egyptian religion and that the Gods were
viewed through an admittedly modern lens, but I think in some
cases adapting ancient Egyptian knowledge too much can be
detrimental. One particular case of this is Reed's addition of a
fourth season (which she labels "Spring" and is symbolized by a
contrived heiroglyph of what appears to be a bloated butterfly)
to Egypt's traditional year consisting of only three seasons. I
think she does this in order to make the seasonal theme work on a
square divination cloth, but she could have addressed that issue
differently by using hieroglyphs that refer to months and days of
the Egyptian calendar that correspond to the duration of our
seasons. In spite of these issues, I would still recommend this
book as a good beginning resource for Pagans seeking to
incorporate ancient Egyptian culture and religion into their

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Sphinxmuse

Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick
Author: John J. Coughlin
Trade Paperback, 262 pages
Publisher: Authorhouse
Publication date: May 2001
ISBN: 158820801X
US Retail Price: $18.67
Amazon Link:

Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick is
almost two separate books within one cover, one on Darkness and
the other on the theory and structure of magic. I will approach
the fist half of the book and then consider the second half for
some clarity. 

The section on Darkness opens with brief introductions to various
"darkside" subcultures including the Gothic scene, forms of
vampires, BDSM, and others. Although I do not feel they
necessarily relate to Paganism (of the Dark or Light variety) it
is an interesting segment nonetheless especially since it seems
quite difficult to find fair and objective overviews of them. In
addition, later on in the segment, he also introduces some other
paths that could be considered Dark aside from Paganism,
including Taoism and modern religious Satanism, and he provides
enlightening information in regard to both. He goes on to discuss
various Dark archetypes, the "Darker" aspects of many Pagan
Deities, the Shadow (i.e. the part of the individual or of
society that one represses and typically denies, in its personal
and collective senses) ethics, blood, pain, and sacrifice. He
also tackles the concept of "evil" in a Pagan context and how it
has the potential to be present within both Light and Darkness. 

This is perhaps the first book which really investigates the
notion of Darkness from the viewpoint of polarity. It is
certainly a wonderful examination of the concept of Darkness
within a non-dualistic worldview, yet I had hoped for more
information on its place specifically within Paganism. At this
point in time, there are very few books addressing Dark
spirituality or Dark Paganism directly, although this is slowly
changing. A more widely available book on a very similar topic is
published by Llewellyn: Nocturnal Witchcraft, which I have read
as well, but I believe that putting in the extra effort to obtain
Out of the Shadows is well worth it. I personally feel that Out
of the Shadows, discusses the concept and meaning of Darkness in
a much more in depth and thoughtful way than Nocturnal Witchcraft
which seems more obviously interested in discussing superficial
aspects or symbols associated with it. I do not think it gives
the uninformed reader as much of a necessary philosophical
background on the nature of Darkness as does Out of the Shadows. 

The section on magic could in fact have been published as a
separate book in and of itself (the author realizes this as
well), but it is still a nice compliment to the first section. It
provides a sound, down-to-earth introduction to the theories
behind magic, yet it is not dry or overly academic in its
presentation, it does not "demystify' magic at all. It is
wonderful to find a resource that truly emphasizes the importance
of personal knowledge and symbolism in magic and as such he
provides guidelines for how a magical ritual or spell is
structured, yet he refuses to supply pre-fabricated spells or
correspondence tables. Instead he addresses various means of
raising energy and directing it. He has some very lucid things to
say about mind-altering substances in magic and ritual. In fact,
he makes a really remarkable comment that I wish more Pagan
authors would make clear (especially in introductory books!): 

  "The only use I have for the spell books I collect is in
  artistic appreciation. Sometimes these spells give me ideas
  for my own spells and rituals, but typically I read them
  merely for the pleasure of reading a type of poetry. A spell
  is a poem in that it should reach inward to the individual
  with its symbolism and touch one's heart and soul. When a
  spell has personal meaning in this manner, if it gives you
  goosebumps or makes you pause in silent reflection of its
  words, that spell has the potential of being effective in
  magic working."

He also briefly delves into Chaos Magic and sex magic. 

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is seeking
to deepen their awareness of Darkness or to flesh out their
particular flavor of Paganism with a greater knowledge of
Darkness. Even if one decides that a Darker Pagan path isn't
really for them, they should have a better grasp and
understanding of those who do after reading this book. It should
also help those Pagans (much like their Christian counterparts)
who still think that modern Satanists are evil people who
actually eat babies, etc. The section on magic should be of great
use someone who wants an intelligent, non-fluffy introduction to
magic. It is much more suited to the novice than is the first
section of the book.

           This review is available on our web site at



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

Due to my move to Waco and marriage, I've received no new books
for review this month.

============    ARTICLES

========= by Rebecca Salek

Any good library or bookstore will carry a host of excellent
academic texts on the ancient world, on myth, religion, ritual,
art, and archaeology. Excellent resources for children are a
little harder to come by. Some are poorly written, others poorly
researched, and still others treat the Gods and Hellenism like an
historical curiosity, not a viable, beautiful faith.

The following, than, are a few of the really good books for kids
and the adults in their lives, roughly broken down by appropriate
age group. Some are picture books, others full prose texts. Some
are fiction, others nonfiction. Some focus on the myth and
religion of ancient Greece, others on the scientists and
philosophers and Everyman/woman of the ancient world. Just
remember: a responsible adult should look over any book before
handing it to a child.

=== Ages Three to Seven

Aliki. "The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus." A classic of
children's literature, Aliki begins at the beginning with Chaos
and Gaea, tells the story of the great war between the Gods and
Titans, Kore's kidnapping by Hades, Aphrodite's many affairs, and
finally ends with Zeus and the Olympians ruling peacefully.
Beautiful, full-page illustrations accompany short biographies of
all the major Deities, such as Apollo and Demeter and even Eros.
Aliki's text is notable in that it doesn't gloss over some of the
uglier aspects of the myths, such as Cronus swallowing his
children or Zeus hanging Hera from the sky.

Leonard Everett Fisher. "Cyclops" and "Jason and the Golden
Fleece" and "The Olympians: Great Gods and Goddesses of Ancient
Greece." Unfortunately out of print, these are great books for
little kids. Brilliant chalk-like illustrations accompany spare,
but exciting text. "The Olympians" offers brief biographical
sketches alongside full-page illustrations.  [Note: the same
illustrator has also produced picture books about the Deities of
the Chinese, Egyptians, Maya, and Norse, as well as books about
the Aztecs, Anansazi, and Judaism, slavery, world calendars, the
Revolution, whaling and anything else you can think of.]

Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca. "Hour of the Olympics." Part
of the immensely popular "Magic Tree House" series, this
adventure follows Jack and Annie has they travel back in time to
ancient Greece to retrieve a lost book. Lots of action combined
with lots of learning (like, what girls could *not* do that boys
could). A companion, nonfiction volume contains all of Osborne's
research along with lots of interesting little trivia facts and a
good bibliography.

Rosemary Wells. "Max and Ruby in Pandora's Box." Max and Ruby are
the two adorable bunny stars of Wells' popular, award-winning
series. When little Max tries to open his older sister's jewelry
box, she tells him a cautionary tale about curiosity. Fun,
slightly skewed, with soft, brightly colored illustrations.

=== Ages Seven to Ten

Margaret Anderson and Karen Stephenson. "Scientists of the
Ancient World." Arranged chronologically, Anderson and
Stephenson's text highlights the lives and lasting contributions
of ten great minds. Among the profiled scientists: Archimedes,
Hypatia, Pliny and Pythagoras. This book is a good place to
begin; hopefully, it will inspire curious little ones to do more
research on their own.

M. Charlotte Craft and K. Y. Craft. "Cupid and Psyche." While
this version makes use of the Roman names of Deities rather than
Greek, I still strongly recommend it -- if only for K. Y. Craft's
glorious illustrations. Need some religious artwork for you walls
or altar? Look no further. Eros, Aphrodite, Persephone (a
personal favorite) and all the Olympians together in celebration;
any are perfect for photocopying and hanging on the wall or
adding to a devotional journal. [Note: the same creators also
collaborated on a retelling of "King Midas and the Golden

Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Auliare. "D'Auliare's Book of Greek
Myths." Lavishly illustrated, this is a classic of children's
literature. The d'Auliares chronicle all the major Deities and
myths, as well as plenty of "lesser" Deities and all the great
heroes. A helpful family tree and a map of the constellations
also accompany the text. Highly recommended.

Doris Gates. "Fair Wind for Troy" (with Charles Mikolaycak) and
"The Golden God: Apollo" (with Ted CoConis) and "Lord of the Sky:
Zeus" (with Robert Handville) and "Two Queens of Heaven: Demeter
and Aphrodite" (with Trina Schart Hyman) and "The Warrior
Goddess: Athena" (with Don Bolognese). Each volume retells the
primary myths associated with each Deity, accompanied by
beautiful, intense line drawings. Sadly, these are now all out of
print. :( I've had to haunt used bookstores and websites in my
search -- but they are worth it.

Kathlyn Gay. "Science in Ancient Greece." The ancient Greeks had
a lasting impact on the fields of mathematics, astronomy,
biology, geography, philosophy and science in general. Gay's book
profiles such philosopher-scientists as Pliny, Pythagoras,
Aristotle, Ptolemy and Hippocrates.

Avery Hart. "Ancient Greece: 40 Hands-on Activities to Experience
This Wonderous Age." Hart's book offers lots of cool activities
for kids ranging in age from about seven to about eighteen. :)
Kids can act out the Trojan War, write their own odyssey, make a
Greek yo-yo, build a labyrinth or a temple, and visit Crete and
Mt Olympus.

Susie Hodge. "Ancient Greek Art." Mosaics, painting, pottery,
sculpture and architecture are all discussed, with plenty of
examples provided for each. A glossary defines keywords and
captions scattered throughout provide interesting tidbits of
information. There's even a handy timeline. :)

Kate McMullan and David LaFleur. The "Myth-O-Mania" books are an
extremely silly, twisted, fractured fairy tales-type series. Hey,
we have to have a sense of humor about our Gods and faith, right?
;) It turns out that Zeus' versions of the myths are all wrong.
Time to set the record straight. Titles include "Have a Hot Time,
Hades!" and "Keep the Lid on It, Pandora!" and "Say Cheese,
Medusa!" and "Phone Home, Persephone!" Brightly illustrated
trading cards of the major characters accompany each book. [Note:
names do a get a little mixed up. Two of the books feature
Hercules and Cupid.]

Claire Martin and Leo and Diane Dillon. "The Race of the Golden
Apples." Martin's sensitive and lyrical text is accompanied by
the Dillons' beautiful, tapestry-like illustrations. The image of
Diana (not Artemis) in her flowing robes and feathered headdress
is one of my favorite. Atalanta is a fully fleshed out character,
and Hippomenes sympathetic, not an ambitious jerk.

Marianna Mayer and K. Y. Craft. "Pegasus." Need a wondrous image
of Athena for your altar or wall? What about the Graces? Look no
further. Mayer's poetic text captures Bellerophon's courage and
fear and determination, while Craft's illustrations make the
chimera a true creature of nightmare. Highly recommended. 

Burleigh Muten and Rebecca Guay. "Goddesses: A World of Myth and
Magic." Brief biographical paragraphs are accompanied by Guay's
amazing paintings. Some are are small, other full-page. Among the
Greek Goddesses profiled are Aphrodite, Artemis (that one's on my
wall), Athena, Britiomartis, Gaea, the Graces, Hera, and Hestia.

Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell. "Tales from the Odyssey." In
between penning more "Magic Tree House" adventures, Osborne has
somehow also found the time to retell the Odyssey. :) Broken down
into smaller, easily digestible chunks, Osborne takes young
readers from the walls of Troy, past the Sirens and Charybdis and
finally home to Ithaca. Titles in the series include "The
One-Eyed Giant" and "The Land of the Dead."

Stewart Ross. "Greek Theatre" and "The Original Olympics." Full
color maps, charts and photographs accompany well-organized text
about two of the most important elements of ancient Greek life.
"Olympics" profiles athletes and traditions, while "Theatre"
presents a hypothetical performance of Oedipus the King at the
City Dionysia -- and all the excitement that accompanies both.

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. "It's All Greek to Me." Part of the
rising-in-popularity "Time Warp Trio" series, this edition
follows Joe, Fred and Sam as their Greek play suddenly becomes
Greece -- for real! Even the Gods are real! And the ugly
monsters! Tongue-in-cheek humor, puns and witty dialogue make a
fun read.

Philip Steele. "Clothes and Crafts in Ancient Greece." Beginning
in Minoan Crete and traveling through time all the way to
Alexander the Great, Steele profiles the crafts, art, pottery,
metalwork, clothing and festivals which filled the lives of
ordinary Greeks throughout the Mediterranean. Color photographs
accompany the well-researched text.

Jane Yolen and Robert Harris. "Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast"
and "Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons" and "Jason and the
Gorgon's Blood" and "Odysseus and the Serpent's Maze." Yolen and
Harris' young adult novels are imaginative "what-if" stories set
during the childhoods of famous Greek heroes. Teenage Hippolyta
has to save her mother and sister Amazons from an ancient curse,
assisted by the God Ares. Atalanta joins the hunter Orion to slay
the monster that killed her father. Odysseus, Penelope and
spoiled Helen must outwit pirates and navigate the treacherous
labyrinth. Finally, Jason and five of Chiron's other apprentices
must save the kingdom of Iolcus from a terrible fate.

=== Ages Ten to Thirteen:

Lloyd Alexander. "The Arkadians." On the run from two corrupt
soothsayers and a very angry king, Lucian meets up with a
pythoness (also on the run), marvelous horsemen, Goat Folk, a
poet who has been turned into a jackass, the Daughters of Morning
and a Goddess. Alexander takes a number of familiar mythological
and historical elements and gives them a twist, creating a
wonderfully exciting, sometimes scary adventure yarn. I first
read "The Arkadians" as a youngster and I still enjoy it as an
adult. :)

Padraic Colum and Willy Pogany. "The Children's Homer" and "The
Golden Fleece and The Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles." Colum's
lyrical, full-length retellings of the major Greek epic cycles
are accompanied by Pogany's gorgeous line illustrations.
Originally published in 1921, the fact that all of Colum and
Pogany's books are still in print is a testament to their
enduring popularity. Jason, Perseus, Atalanta, Theseus, Odysseus,
Hector; they're all here. (Note: the duo also created "The
Children of Odin" for any Asatru out there.)

Caroline Cooney. "Goddess of Yesterday." Kidnapped by pirates at
age six, Anaxandra is raised as a foster daughter by her
kidnappers. When they in turn are killed, she assumes the
identity of Callisto, her murdered foster sister. Taken in by
Menelaus and Helen, Anaxandra/Callisto is witness to the
beginning of the Trojan War, the greed and heartbreak of men and
the mysteries of the Gods -- particularly her own Goddess,
Medusa. Great characterization, solid historical research. Highly

Bernard Evslin. "The Adventures of Ulysses" and "The Greek Gods"
and "Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths." Yeah, okay,
he uses the Roman name in that first one. ;) The point here is
that these are some of the best retellings of the ancient myths
and sagas. Used by schools across the country.

Adele Geras. "Troy." Told from the point of view of the women of
Troy, this bleak, humorous, bloody take explores the effects of
war and love and loss. The men are sick of fighting, the women
are sick watching their men die and the Goddess Aphrodite is just
bored. She sends Eros to ... enliven ... the last weeks of the

Nathaniel Hawthorne. "The Wonder Book: Heroes and Monsters of
Greek Mythology." One of the United States' great contributions
to world literature was the author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Here, he
retells six famous myths in flowing nineteenth century prose. The
Gorgons, Midas, the Hesperides, and Pandora, among others, are
all featured. Highly recommended.

Donna Jo Napoli. "Sirena." A mermaid and a mortal fall in love in
this tragic tale set in the days before the Trojan War. When
Sirena saves Philoctetes' life, they fall in love. But when his
shipmates return and insist that he accompany them to Troy, how
will he choose? And can Sirena let him go -- the man who is not
only her love, but the key to her immortality?

Rosemary Sutcliff and Alan Lee. "Black Ships Before Troy" and
"The Wanderings of Odysseus." Sutcliff's elegant and haunting
prose is accompanied by exquisitely detailed illustrations by Lee
(who has also illustrated Tolkein's work and inspired the look of
the films).  Dramatic, frightening, highly recommended.

=== Books Specifically for Parents

Antoinette Brazouski. "Children's Books on Ancient Greek and
Roman Mythology." The well-researched, well-organized
bibliography lists and discusses children's mythical books
written between the early 1800s and the early 1990s. A brief
history of children's books in the United States precedes the
annotated bibliography. Pricey and out of print, but worth
tracking down; if you can find a copy at the library, even
better. :) Better yet, *donate* one to your local library for all
the other parents out there.

Amber K. "Pagan Kids' Activity Book." Written for kids and adults
this is definitely a Wicca-focused text. But, it's also general
enough for parents in other Pagan traditions to adapt the puzzles,
games and activities -- it might even inspire the kids to invent
activities of their own.

Ashleen O'Gaea. "Raising Witches: Teaching the Wiccan Faith to
Children." Okay, this is another specifically-Wiccan text.
However, it might give Hellenic Pagan parents out there a few
ideas on how to raise their children in their own tradition.
Check your local library for a copy before making an investment. 

William Russell. "Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories
of Greek and Roman Mythology, Specially Arranged for Children
Five and up by an Educational Expert." Exactly what it sounds
like. Great for kids between ages five and twelve. Perfect for
bedtime or a lazy afternoon. Use one of the activity books to
accompany the myth of your choice!

Starhawk. "Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions."
While focused on Goddess Spirituality, the text offers plenty of
songs, chants, crafts, cooking projects and stories which can be
adapted for the Hellenic Pagan household.

*phew* And that's not even a complete list! :) Check out some of
my recommendations, give them to the kids and let me know what
you think. And definitely let me know if you find any other great
books for Hellenic Pagan kids -- I'm always looking for new

Next month: the last article in our series: great works of
fiction for Hellenic Pagans.

========= (Chapter VIII of The Stories of the Months and Days
========= by Reginald C. Couzens [1923])

This month is also named after a great Roman emperor, Augustus
Caesar, but was first called Sextilis, the sixth month. Augustus,
whose full name was Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus--Augustus (the
Majestic) being a title given him after he became emperor--was a
young man at the time of Caesar's murder. Julius, who had no son
of his own, adopted Augustus as his son and heir, in order that
when he died Augustus should become emperor in his place. The
nobles who had killed Julius, however, did not wish Augustus to
become emperor, and it was not until he had fought and won many
battles that he became the head of the Roman Empire. As soon as
he had conquered all his enemies, he returned to Rome, and,
closing the temple of Janus, proclaimed peace throughout the
Empired. During his reign there lived the greatest poets and
writers that Rome ever had, of whom the best known are Virgil,
Horace, Ovid, and Livy; just as in the rein of our Queen
Elizabeth there lived some of England's greatest poets and
writers--in fact the time from Spenser and Sidney in Elizabeth's
reign, passing beyond Shakespeare to Milton in Charles II's
reign, is spoken of as the "Augustan Age" of English Literature.

The month known as Sextilis was chosen as the one to be named
after Augustus, because it was during that month that the most
fortunate events of his life had happened. In that month he had
first become consul, the most important man in Rome; he had three
times entered the city in triumph after his great victories; he
had conquered Egypt and had ended the civil wars. As the month
had only thirty days, and the one named after Julius Caesar had
thirty-one, a day was taken from February in order to make them

We have more than once mentioned the poet Virgil's most famous
work, the in which he describes the wanderings of Aeneas, who
gathered together all that was left of the Trojan army and
escaped from the fallen city, carrying his father Anchises on his
back, since he was old and weak and unable to walk. The fugitives
reached the shore in safety and sailed away from their ruined
country. But the goddess Juno, not satisfied by the death of
Paris and the disaster which had fallen on the Trojans, pursued
Aeneas and his followers with her hatred, and again and again
brought them into misfortune. They wandered from country to
country for many years, seeking a spot where they might settle
down in peace and safety, but Juno gave them no rest. She brought
sickness upon them so that many died, and sent fierce storms
which scattered their fleet and destroyed many of their ships. At
last they reached a harbor on the coast of Africa, and made
their way to a city which they found to be Carthage. Aeneas was
welcomed by Dido, the queen of the city, who listened eagerly to
the story of his adventures. Now, Aeneas had been destined by the
gods to found a new kingdom, when his wanderings finally came to
an end, but the time was not yet. The goddess Venus caused Dido
to fall in love with Aeneas, and the hero, happy in her love and
the pleasant life of her court, lingered on. A year passed, and
the gods at length sent Mercury to remind Aeneas of his destiny.
Aeneas' heart sank at the thought of leaving the beautiful Dido,
and afraid of her anger, he secretly set sail one dark night
while the queen was sleeping. When Dido discovered her loss she
was filled with grief. She ordered her servants to make a funeral
pyre on which was placed an effigy of her lover, and then setting
fire to the pyre with her own hand, she sprang into the flames
and perished.

Aeneas and his companions sailed on till they reached the Island
of Sicily, where they took refuge from a storm. During a festival
which the men then held in honor of Anchises, Aeneas' father,
who had died just a year before, Juno stirred up the women to
revolt against their hard life. Tired of their perilous
wanderings, they gathered on the shore and set fire to the ships.
Aeneas, when he heard of this new disaster, rushed down to the
shore, and cried to Jupiter for help. In answer to the prayer,
the King of the Gods sent a storm of rain, which put out the
destroying flames. The Trojans then left Sicily, and, coming to
Italy, to the mouth of the River Tiber, they followed the river
until they reached the country of Latium. Here they were well
received by the king, Latinus, who offered to Aeneas the hand of
his daughter Lavinia. Lavinia, however, had many suitors, the
chief of whom was Turnus, the prince of a neighboring country,
and Juno once again interfered by stirring up the people of
Latium against Aeneas, with the result that Latinus made war on
his former friend. Turnus led the army against the Trojans, and
performed great deeds of valor, which were only matched by those
of Aeneas. While Juno was assisting Turnus in every possible way,
Venus was not forgetful of her son Aeneas, and she obtained from
Vulcan, the God of Fire, a wonderful suit of armour, which
enabled Aeneas to do even mightier deeds. Turnus and Aeneas at
length met in single combat, and, after a fierce encounter,
Turnus was killed. Peace was made with Latinus, and Aeneas
married Lavinia. He founded a city, which he called Lavinia, and
his descendants reigned in Latium for many years. It was one of
his race, the Vestal Ilia, who marred Mars and became the mother
of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

One of the famous passages in the Aeneid is the description of
the shield given to Aeneas by the goddess Venus. On this shield
Vulcan, knowing the future, had depicted the history of the
descendants of Aeneas, and had foretold the glory of Rome. He
showed the wolf nursing the two sons of Mars and Ilia, the wars
which followed the founding of Rome, and the brave Horatius, who
defended the bridge over the Tiber against the army of Tarquin.
With wonderful skill he pictured the sacred geese giving warning
to the Romans of the approach of the Gauls in the dead of night.
"Manlius stood before the temple and kept the lofty Capitol; a
silver goose flitting through arches of gold gave warning with
its cries that the Gauls were on the threshold; the Gauls were
drawing near through the bushes, and were grasping the Citadel,
protected by the darkness and the favor of a gloomy night. Their
hair is golden and their dress of gold, their cloaks are striped,
their milk-white necks are encircled with bands of gold; each
brandishes in his hand two Alpine javelins, and their bodies are
protected by their long shields." In the middle of the shield
Vulcan had depicted the famous sea-battle of Actium, in which the
Emperor Augustus overthrew his enemies, and finally he showed the
emperor seated at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo, and
receiving the offerings of the conquered nations of the great
Roman Empire.

The Old-English name for August was Hlaf-maesse, that is, Loaf
Mass, or Loaf Feast, because during the month was held a feast of
thanksgiving for the first fruits of the corn, August being the
time when harvesting begins. The first day is sometimes called
Lammas Day, lammas being a slightly altered form of the word

========= (Chapter XIII of The Magic of the Horse-Shoe)
========= by Robert Means Lawrence [1898])

The universality of the use of the horse-shoe as a safeguard
against evil spirits is indeed noteworthy.

It is the anti-witch charm par excellence, as well as the
approved symbol of good luck, and, used for these purposes, it is
to be seen throughout a large portion of the world. The
horse-shoe is most commonly placed over the entrance-doors of
dwellings; but stables likewise are thought to be effectually
protected by it, for "witches were dreadful harriers of
horse-flesh." In William Henderson's "Folk-Lore of the Northern
Countries of England" we read of a Durham farmer who was
convinced that one of his horses had been ridden by hags, as he
had found it bathed in sweat of a morning. But after he took the
precaution to nail a horse-shoe over the stable-door, and also to
hang some broom above the manger, the witches had not been able
to indulge in clandestine rides on his horses. While many an
honest fellow in England and elsewhere is a firm believer in
witches and magical horse-shoes, very few of them can give
plausible reasons therefore.

The Lancashire farmer thinks that mischievous fairies not only
ride horses by night, but drive cows out of the barn, steal the
butter, and eat up the children's porridge; so he, too, affixes
horse-shoes to his buildings.

Any one visiting the hamlets of Oxfordshire can hardly fail to
notice the numerous horse-shoes affixed to the picturesque
thatched-roofed cottages; and the countryfolk in this
neighborhood are not always content with one of these popular
safeguards, for two or three of them are often to be seen on the
walls of a dwelling, invariably placed with the prongs downward.

In Brand's "Popular Antiquities" (vol. iii. p. 19, 1888) may be
found a clipping from the Cambridge (Eng.) "Advertiser," which
relates that one Bartingale, a carpenter and resident of Ely,
suspected a woman named Gotobed of having bewitched him, and of
being the cause of an illness which he had recently had.
Thereupon, at a consultation of matrons of the neighborhood held
in his chamber, it was decided that the most efficient means of
protecting him from the evil influence of the suspected sorceress
was to have three horse-shoes fastened to the door. A blacksmith
was accordingly summoned, and

"an operation to this effect was performed, much to the anger of
the supposed witch, who at first complained to the Dean, but was
laughed at by his reverence. She then rushed in wrath to the sick
man's room, and, miraculous to tell, passed the Rubicon in spite
of the horse-shoes. But this wonder ceased when it was discovered
that Vulcan had substituted donkeys' shoes."

Miss Georgiana F. Jackson says, in "Shropshire Folk-Lore," that,
in the home of her childhood at Edgmond, the stable-door was
decorated with three rows of horseshoes arranged in the form of a
triangle; and the grooms used to say that they were placed there
to exclude witches.

In this region, too, an old horse-shoe placed above the door of a
bedroom is a preventive of the nightmare.

In Shrewsbury, the ancient county town of Shropshire, horse-shoe
talismans are to be seen not only above the house-doors, but also
on the barges which navigate the river Severn.

In quite recent times a case has been reported of a poor girl of
Whatfield, in Suffolk, who had experienced a long illness, during
which she was visited daily by an old woman who appeared to be
very solicitous as to her welfare. At length the girl's family
began to suspect that this old woman was none other than a witch;
they therefore caused a horse-shoe to be fastened to the sill of
the outer door. The precaution was successful, so runs the tale,
for the reputed witch could never thereafter cross the threshold,
and the girl speedily recovered her health.

Aubrey, in his "Remains of Gentilisme," describes the horse-shoe
as a preservative against the mischief or power of witches,
attributing its magical properties to the astrological principle
that Mars, the God of War and the War Horse, was an enemy of
Saturn, who according to a medieval idea was the liege lord of

During the witchcraft excitement in Scotland, one Elizabeth
Bathcat was indicted for having a horse-shoe attached to the door
of her house "as a devilish means of instruction from the Devil
to make her goods and all her other affairs to prosper and
succeed well."

According to an old legend St. Dunstan, the versatile English
ecclesiastic of the tenth century, who was a skilled farrier and
the owner of a forge, was requested by the Devil to shoe his
"single hoof." Dunstan, who recognized his customer, acceded, but
during the operation he caused the Devil so much pain that the
latter begged him to desist. The request was heeded on condition
that the Devil should never enter a place where a horse-shoe was
displayed. The popular belief is that his Satanic Majesty has
always faithfully kept the contract, and quite naturally all
lesser evil spirits have followed his example.

In Scotland, even as late as the beginning of the nineteenth
century, the peasantry believed that witches were able to draw
milk from all the cattle in their neighborhood, by tugging at a
hair-rope in imitation of the act of milking. Such a rope was
made of hairs from the tails of several cows, whose exact number
was indicated by knots in the rope. While tugging at the rope the
witches repeated either the following or a similar charm:--

  Cow's milk and mare's milk,
  And every beast that bears milk,
  Between St. Johnstone's and Dundee,
  Come a' to me, come a' to me.

The only adequate protection from such mischievous pranks as
these was afforded by nailing a horse-shoe to the byre-door and
tying sprigs of rowan with a red thread to the cow's tail. If,
however, these precautions were neglected, the guilty witch might
yet be discovered by placing the "gudeman's breeks" upon the
cow's horns, a leg upon either horn; and thereupon the animal,
being let loose, was sure to run directly to the witch's house.

In many places, certain houses continue even at the present time
to have an evil reputation as harborers of witches and goblins.
In these cases it seems probable that the owners or occupants of
such dwellings neglected to avail themselves of the immunity
afforded by horse-shoes and other safeguards. For no one, we
believe, has ever seriously maintained that evil spirits, who are
once firmly domiciled, can be easily expelled. Familiarity with
their surroundings may breed a contempt for amulets. Certain it
is, however, that an ounce or two of iron by way of prevention is
worth a pound or more of cure. When a dwelling is demoniacally
possessed, the devils must be driven out somehow, and for this
purpose recourse is had to exorcisms, and to religious or magical
ceremonies. In the words of the poet Dryden ("Wife of Bath's
Tale," i. 28):--

  And friars that through the wealthy regions run
  Resort to farmers rich, and bless their halls,
  And exorcise the beds and cross the walls.

In "Antiquitates Vulgares," by Henry Browne (1725), the writer
gives elaborate directions as to the proper mode of exorcising a
haunted dwelling, and says that the house which is reported to be
vexed with spirits shall be visited by a priest daily for a week,
appropriate prayers and scriptural selections being read.
Sometimes magical procedures supplanted religious exercises, and
experts in sorcery were employed to rid a mansion of its
undesirable tenants. The following advertisement from a London
newspaper of 1777 may be appropriately given here:--

HAUNTED HOUSES.--Whereas there are mansions and castles in
England and Wales which for many years have been uninhabited, and
are now falling into decay, by their being visited and haunted by
evil spirits or the spirits of those who for unknown reasons are
rendered miserable, even in the grave, a gentleman who has made
the tour of Europe, of a particular turn of mind, and deeply
skilled in the abstruse and sacred science of exorcism, hereby
offers his assistance to any owner or proprietor of such
premises, and undertakes to render the same free from the
visitation of such spirits, be their cause what it may, and
render them tenantable and useful for the proprietors. Letters
addressed to Rev. John Jones, No. 30 St. Martin's Lane, duly
answered, and interview given if required.

========= by Nitin Jain

A selection of essential oils is now available from health food
shops, chemists and by mail order. When you are buying them, be
careful to choose essential oils, not perfumed oils. Although
these may well smell delicious they are not beneficial for

An essential oil is: 

* Thin and watery rather than oily. 
* Swift to evaporate and it wont leave a greasemark on paper. 
* Overpoweringly scented when neat, which can be quite

Perfumed oils will always smell pleasant whereas essential oils
often have more of the effect of smelling salts. 

All essential oils fall into three basic categories: 

TOP NOTES: These oils evaporate very quickly. They are generally
           uplifting and stimulating, with a greenish, fresh

MIDDLE NOTES: These are used to help with most bodily functions
           and the body's metabolism. 

BASE NOTES: These are extremely relaxing, sometimes sedative and
           generally have a lovely, warm aroma. 

You'll notice essential oils are always sold in tinted glass
bottles (if not, be suspicious). This is because they are
special oils that need a little care. They are damaged by light
and should always be stored in a dark, cool place. Be careful to
keep the lids tightly screwed on your bottles, otherwise you will
be disappointed to discover your oils have evaporated into thin

Here is a very informative chart describing the benefits of
various essential oils:


=== About The Author

Nitin Jain writes for ultimate-cosmetics.com. You can get more
information on aromatherapy and essential oils here:

========= by Triskele

While the subject of Shamanism is too vast to more than touch
upon in this format, I can at least map out a few basics that
will hopefully clarify some things. 

Shamanism is believed to be the oldest spiritual practice known
to humankind. Evidence of Shamanic traditions has been unearthed
globally, with archaeological dating techniques placing the
origins of some items as much as 25,000 years ago or more. 

The word Shaman itself is of Slavic origin, and it I have heard
that it means "Walker between the worlds." I believe it is a
Siberian word, and have also heard from a different source that
the feminine derivative is Shamanka. 

The Shamanic tradition is indeed part of Native American culture,
but at it's core, Shamanism is part of EVERY indigenous culture
yet discovered. It is one of those phenomenal concepts that
appears to have evolved in a unilinear fashion with human beings,
leaving it's mark in every culture, and on every continent. 

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, founded by Michael Harner,
has distilled a great deal of information and cultural variables
down into a core Shamanic practice which they teach world wide at
workshops and seminars. They also have certification programs
available in Shamanic counseling techniques. I received my
initial training from the foundation. 

The concept of "core" Shamanism takes those practices which have
been found as common threads through all known Shamanic
traditions, and forms them into the central focus of practice. 

While this eliminates the essence of cultural flavor, it makes
the learning of foundational Shamanic practice more accessible
for today's seeker. Once the core techniques are learned and
mastered, the individual practitioner is more than free and
welcomed to explore more specific cultural techniques and

At the center of Shamanic practice is the journey. This is a form
of out of body travel, intentionally taking the consciousness
into what is referred to as "non ordinary reality:" that which is
present but unseen by our day to day consciousness. 

The journey is what I refer to as active visualization. Using a
monotonous sound, such as a steady drum beat, rattle shaking, or
chanting, the journeyer places him or herself into a light trance
state. Within the trance state, the journeyer willingly shifts
consciousness and travels into the unseen worlds, using that
monotonous sound as an anchor to this world, and to the body that
has been left behind. Once the journey is completed, the
journeyer consciously and willingly returns to this place and

It has been said that the difference between a Shaman and a
schizophrenic is that the Shaman knows how to consciously travel
back and forth between the worlds. The schizophrenic is stuck in
non ordinary reality, with it's voices and images forever
blotting out the world most of us live in. It's an interesting

In the beginning of practice, the journey is undertaken to become
familiar with the traveling sensations, and with the landscapes
and creatures of non ordinary reality. It is also wise to become
acquainted with power animals and spirit helpers in the early
stages of practice. 

There are certain things to watch for, and certain things to
avoid, but for the most part, early practice is about

Once adept at making the journey, and most importantly, making
the journey BACK to the body and ordinary reality, then the real
journeying begins. This is usually undertaken in order to obtain
information or to do healing for someone. Power animals, missing
soul fragments, and wisdom can all be brought back and

Humans have sought this kind of healing since before any other
religious or spiritual practice we know of, so there must be
something to it! 

Theoretically, any human being is capable of undertaking a
Shamanic journey, but in my experience, I have come across many
individuals who were completely unsuccessful in their attempts to
explore Shamanism from the inside.  

Some traditional ideas are that one is predisposed toward
Shamanic work if one has been through a near death experience, a
serious illness or injury in which death was narrowly escaped, or
if one has a seizure disorder. In other words, if one has been
chosen and touched by the spirits, and called to do this work. 

In my own case, I suffered from petit mal epilepsy as a child. I
would "disappear" in the middle of ordinary activities and seem
to be day dreaming. My niece suffers from the same malady, so I
wonder if some day, she will learn about Shamanism too! 

In Shamanic practice, there is also the concept of the Three
Worlds. There is the middle world, where we live out our days in
ordinary consciousness. Journeys to this world can be undertaken
to find missing soul fragments, to do divination work, and to do
certain kinds of healing. 

Then there is the lower world. This is the world that is
perceived to be inside the earth. Most of us go to this world on
our first journeys, and this is also where the majority of us
meet with our power animals. Most journeys for healing and power
retrieval are done in this world, while divination is also

The upper world is usually used more for learning, with our being
able to access Spirit teachers and higher levels of esoteric
knowledge while climbing the clouds. Upper world teachers usually
take pity on us and appear to us in human form so that we can
more easily relate to them. The upper world also seems to have an
infinite series of "levels" to it. 

Most modern Shamanic practitioners have a place in ordinary
reality that they use to visualize as their portal into other
worlds. For me, this is a tree that lives in a local forest
preserve. It's a burr oak with a large opening at the bottom. For
others, the portal may be a spot behind a waterfall, or any other
place where two worlds or elements seem to meet and meld. In
Celtic terms, a "between place," or something that is but it
isn't. Such as the place where earth and water meet. 

When beginning the journey to the lower world, for example, the
practitioner closes his or her eyes, relaxes, and listens to the
monotonous sound while visualizing the portal. Once inside the
portal, the trick is to find the tunnel that leads down into the
lower world. Usually, this tunnel alternates light and dark, and
takes a couple of twists and turns before opening into the lower
world. I see/feel it as sort of a tube that I slide down. 

I call out to my power animals to meet me when I arrive. 

Different practitioners come into the lower world in different
places, but one thing seems to be commonly seen. The lower world
looks just like our world looked when it was pure, pristine, and

Access to the upper world is often quite different. For me, it
involves visualizing myself climbing my tree, and leaping into
the sky from the topmost branches. Sometimes I call my winged
power animal to help me "go up." 

Rather than a tunnel, the journey to the upper world often
involves the sensation of passing through some kind of barrier,
as if a mist or clouds. You know you have arrived in the first
level of the upper world when you feel yourself pass through this

My spirit teacher meets me about four levels up above the
barrier, which is well above my leaping off point. 

Access to the middle world is yet another different experience.
No portal, per se, is needed, but one can use one if it suits the
purpose. I simply visualize a veil of mist through which I walk
into my middle world destination, with the help of my power

Shamanic practice is different for everyone, and it is not FOR
everyone. The spirits call certain people to do their work in the
world. It's a widely held belief that once a person is called to
Shamanism, the call must be answered or the person will suffer
misfortune, heartbreak, and unhappiness in life. 

Sounds pretty much like the path I have walked, which is why I
have redoubled my efforts to do what I can to include Shamanism
as part of my spiritual practice, to offer help to others through
Shamanic healing sessions, and to teach what I know about this
fascinating and ancient tradition. 


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============    COLUMNS

========= A Pagan at the Pearly Gates
========= Humor by an unknown author

A Pagan died and, much to her surprise, found herself at the
Pearly Gates facing St. Peter. He walked up to her and said,
"Hello, and welcome." 

She stared at St. Peter in complete confusion. "Wait a minute,"
she said. "I was supposed to end up in the Summerlands." 

He smiled. "Ah, you must be one of our Pagan sisters. Follow me,

Peter gestured for her to follow him down a small path, which
went through the gates and down a bit to the left. They walked
for a short while, then he stepped back and gestured her forward.
Looking past his hand, she saw the verdant fields and forests of
her desired Summerlands. She saw people feasting, dancing, and
making merry, exactly as she expected. 

While shaking her head in wonder, the Pagan happened to glance
over to one side and saw a small group of people a short way away
from the edge of the Summerlands. The people in the group were
watching the revelers, but not joining them. Instead, they were
screaming and weeping piteously. The Pagan looked at St. Peter. 

"Who are those people?" she asked.

St. Peter replied, "Them? They are fundamentalists. They're a bit
surprised to see you all there, so they stand there and carry on
like that all day." 

"Why? Don't they have better things to do?" 

Peter leaned conspiratorially toward her. "They don't really have
a choice. They are actually in Hell. God doesn't like being told
what He thinks!"

========= Poetry by Starwind

At the crossroads we meet 
When the dim shadows fall 
Hail and Welcome we greet 
At dark of the Moons pall 

Gracious Mother Earth 
On your stability we call 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we give all 

Sweet sylphs of Air 
On lights wings we are flown 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we become known 

Guardians of flame 
In your warmth we bask 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we ask 

Well of water so cool to drink 
In your depths we peer 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we hold dear 

Hail Inanna Dark Mother we call 
Teach to us the ways of letting go all 
Shedding the ways of old like the snake 
Letting the Unneeded fall 

Hail Kali, Great Mother of Shadows 
Teach to us to give up all our woes 
Surrendering the cares and sorrows 
Forgiving all of our foes 

Hail Hekate, Great Mother of crossroads 
Teach us to find a path that goes 
To a pathway that brings life 
Starting with ending all strife 

Forward, Onward to life we call 
Teach to us Elder Mothers the way of all 
Magick and summons, the way of the Wyrd 
Tell to us how to make the best of life appear 

The roads we may take are many 
The choices each bring something new 
The pathways may bring with them plenty 
To one who is to themselves true 

True to the heart 
True to the soul 
True to the self 
May we ever be so bold 

Time to clear the heart of troubles 
Time to light the lamps of old 
Time to seek the answers 
In the dark of night so cold 

Light the light 
Evening bright 
Sweet savor on the air 
Hear the drum beat 
Feel the sand beneath our feet 
Mothers children are dancing here 

Feel the heat on summers night 
Bless the breeze for its favor 
Ease the heart of its woes and cares 
Heal the body of its labors 
Release the soul on its vision quest 
The Astral fight a sight to savor 

Free the mind for the answers you seek 
The quest of the mind for its stealth 
Open your heart for a moments breath 
Knowing the truth of the self 

Hold fast to the truth inside yourself 
Hard won and hard fought is the goal  
Hail to the Father who gave you the mind 
To let the secrets of the self unfold 

Through the highways and by ways 
Down life's path we travel 
Holding fast to the truth of the self 
May the souls quest we unravel 

Spend a moment between life and death 
Face down your fears and wit wandering 
Take charge of the soul 
Take charge of the self 
Spend as long as you need  
For your pondering 

Take the time in a place that is timeless 
In a space that is no space 
Hold safe in your heart the knowledge 
Of the Divine ones unending grace 
That by our will alone we stand beside them 
In this space that is no space 

Bright the light at the tunnels end 
The light that is ours alone 
The sliver cord that binds us 
To the world our bodies call home 

Return, return, to the world of Now 
But keep the stardust close at hand 
Feel the cool sliver on your brow 
Of Wisdom's bright band 
Reminder of your faith in the self 
And of your trust in the Mothers hand 

Gracious Mother Earth 
On your stability we call 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we gave all 

Sweet sylphs of Air 
On lights wings we are flown 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we are known 

Guardians of flame 
In your warmth we bask 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we asked 

Well of water so cool to drink 
In your depths we peer 
Be with us now and forever 
Within the circle we held dear

========= Cheap Web Hosting Report: August 2004
========= by Gridspace

With thousands of web hosts to choose from, it can be hard to
find cheap web hosting with the quality and dependability you
want. Many web hosting companies now advertise extremely low
prices and promise more features than anyone could ever want.
Unfortunately, many cheap web hosting offers turn out to be too
good to be true. Either the service is poor or the fine print in
the terms of service make many of the features effectively
useless. Low cost web hosting with excellent service, reliability
and features does exist. However, you can spend many days
researching offers and user experiences of hundreds of hosting

Many web sites offer to help you select cheap web hosting by
listing 10, 20 or even more cheap web hosting companies with
offers they consider good. However, that's still a lot of cheap
web hosting companies and plans to research. We are more
selective in our Cheap Web Hosting Report. We check out the sites
and the user comments and list what we believe are the current
top five general purpose cheap web hosting plans each month. As
some web sites need special features (such as "root" access, a
Windows server with ASP and an Access database, or a hosting
company with fewer content restrictions) also list several
additional plans that provide such special features. This means
less work for you.

===== Top Five General Purpose Cheap Web Hosts for August 2004

These are the top five general purpose cheap web hosts selected
for August 2004. All of the following hosting plans include a web
control panel, a cgi-bin directory, php4, perl, and at least 1
mysql database. Many offer a number of additional features. The
prices listed are the monthly price based on the shortest
prepayment period offered (1m = one month, 3m = three months, 6m
= six months) and for annual pre-payment (1y = annual rate). The
setup fees we list are for the shortest prepayment period offered
and for the annual pre-payment plan.

=== #1 iPowerWeb

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB 
Disk Space: 800 MB  
Mailboxes: 400

Comments: iPowerWeb is only a few years old, but it already hosts
over 200,000 web sites, has won numerous awards for its service,
and has successfully managed rapid growth with only a few visible
customer service hiccups. The company and its offerings are not
perfect, but they provide featureful, reliable, low cost web
hosting -- and do so very well from the point-of-view of the
average customer.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zipowerweb.php

=== #2 Lunarpages

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB
Disk Space: 800 MB
Mailboxes: Unlimited

Comments: Lunarpages has over 5 years experience in shared web
hosting and hosts over 50,000 web pages. While they have not
pushed for the huge growth of some of the other low cost web
hosting companies, Lunarpages customers seem generally very happy
with their service and appear to this reviewer to be more loyal
to their hosting company than the customers of other hosting
companies. This speaks well for Lunarpages.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zlunarpages.php

=== #3 PowWeb

Price: 3m: $7.77 1y: $7.77
Setup: 3m: $20.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 5 GB /day
Disk Space: 1000 MB
Mailboxes: 650

Comments: PowWeb has been in the low cost web hosting business
since 1999. They are best known for their one-size fits all web
hosting plan. They have recently raised their bandwidth limits
from 45 gigs a month to a whopping 5 gigs a day (but you get an
email warning at 4 gigs in a day according to their policy). We
have seen a few more customer complaints over performance and
customer service recently, which has caused this web host to drop
a bit in our rating, but they are still a good choice for many.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zpowweb.php

=== #4 midPhase

Price: 3m: $11.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: Free 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 50 GB
Disk Space: 1500 MB
Mailboxes: 500

Comments: midPhase is a young hosting company (launched in late
2002) and is new to our list. They offer a strong hosting package
with many features at a reasonable, although not super-low,
price. It has grown quickly -- and, thus far, without a lot of
complaints from their customers over service. If they can
continue to provide good service, expect them to rise on our list
in the future. They are definitely worth considering.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zmidphase.php

=== #5 Dreamhost

Price: 1m: $9.95 2y: $7.95
Setup: 1m: $24.95 2y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB
Disk Space: 800 MB
Mailboxes: 60

Comments: Dreamhost has long been -- and still is -- listed as
the best affordable web host for unusual content (as they will
host just about anything legal) in the Special Needs Hosting
section of this report. Recent improvements in their plans have
made them very competitive in terms of bandwidth, web space, and
features offered for the price, so they have moved into our "Top
Five" list. If you are looking for low cost, high quality web
hosting with truly excellent tech support and very friendly
people, check out Dreamhost. (This site hosts with Dreamhost.)

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zdreamhost.php

=== Honorable Mention Dot5Hosting

Price: 3m: $8.00 1y: $5.00
Setup: 3m: Free 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 50 GB
Disk Space: 750 MB
Mailboxes: unlimited

Comments: In late July, one of our readers suggested we look at
Dot5Hosting. We looked and are very impressed with what they
offer for the price. For $60 a year, you can get a fairly
powerful web site. For $120 a year, you can get 1500 megs of
storage and 80 gigs of bandwidth. Although this web host has won
a number of best hosting awards, we need to track it more closely
for a few months before we can add it to our "Top 5" list.
However, it looks like a good enough deal that we are listing
Dot5Hosting as an "Honorable Mention." If you are on a very tight
budget, this might be a host to strongly consider.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zdot5hosting.php

===== Special Needs Cheap Web Hosting

If you have special hosting needs, one of the following cheap web
hosting solutions may meet those needs better than one of the
above plans. While the following companies generally do not offer
as much bandwidth and disk space as the Top Five Cheap Web Hosts
listed above, they provide more than enough of both for most
sites and their special features, if you need them, will more
than make up the difference.

=== Fewer Content Restrictions

Price: 1m:  $9.95 2y: $7.95
Setup: 1m: $24.95 2y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB
Disk Space: 800 MB
Mailboxes: 60

Comments: In an effort to avoid arguments and complaints, most
web hosting companies are fairly restrictive on questionable
content -- to the point that some will terminate a site for
displaying a picture of a classical (but bare breasted) statue
from ancient Greece. Dreamhost not only has an excellent, cheap
web hosting package but is far more liberal than most web hosts
on acceptable site content. Basically, if your content is legal
in the US, Dreamhost will probably have no problems hosting it.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zdreamhost.php

=== Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (Root Access)

Price: 1y: $9.95	
Setup: 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 5 GB
Disk Space: 250 MB
Mailboxes: 75

Comments: Jumpline uses special technology to provide each
account with its own virtual server. You have your own Apache web
server, your own email servers, your own database server, etc.
and you have root access to the virtual machine running them.
These types of accounts can be more stable and provide better
control, but are best used by Unix experts who understand the ins
and outs of running servers. 

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zjumpline.php

=== Windows Hosting

Easy CGI
Price: 1m: $9.95 1y: $7.96
Setup: 1m: Free 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 50 GB
Disk Space: 3000 MB
Mailboxes: 50

Comments: Easy CGI provides Windows 2000 servers instead of the
standard Unix servers. Their accounts come with ASP and one
Access Database.

More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zeasycgi.php

=== Notes

The information in this report was checked for accuracy on July
31, 2004. Web hosting companies, however, can change their
pricing and plans at any time so the information may no longer
be accurate when you read this report. Gridspace is not
responsible for errors nor for what use you may make of this

Looking for even more hosting options or more information on web
hosting? See the Cheap Web Hosting Report web site at


Corporate America (and many large non-profits) keep a small army
of publicists busy writing copyright-free articles that busy
newspaper and newsletter editors can use in their publications.
Many are nothing but shill worthy only of a cartoon version of
used car salesman. Others contain useful information with only a
subtle plug. Your editor has found a good online source for these
and will be including a few that he feels may be of interest to
Cauldron and Candle readers in issues of this newsletter.
Remember that publication of an article in this newsletter is not
an endorsement of the authors' position or any products and
companies mentioned therein.

========= Helping Kids Make Smart Food Choices At School

Today's kids face a variety of health problems-such as obesity,
diabetes, and high blood pressure-diseases their parents probably
never thought about until adulthood. An article in the Journal of
the American Medical Association says that today's kids may be
the first generation to have a shorter lifespan due to rising
childhood obesity rates and health problems tied to poor diets
and inactive lifestyles.

However, today's parents and educators have a growing opportunity
to help kids reverse these disturbing trends. "Kids can't do it
alone, there are just too many unhealthy temptations at their
fingertips," says Dayle Hayes, a registered dietitian and
president of Nutrition for the Future, a nutrition consulting
firm. "In order to learn to eat right, kids need the support and
involvement of their parents, teachers, and school officials."

Being proactive about your child's health is easier than you may
think. Here are several specific actions parents can take to help
their kids make better food and drink choices when they are at

1. Learn what foods and beverages your kids' school offers - New
   programs have demonstrated that students will make good
   choices when healthy options are tasty and convenient. For
   example, many schools now provide healthier food and beverage
   alternatives in school vending machines. Well known food
   manufacturers like Nestle have quickly responded by offering
   schools Nestle Nesquik, a naturally nutrient-rich low fat one
   percent milk in flavors kids enjoy, making drinking milk and
   getting their daily calcium more convenient. By learning about
   what foods and beverages are available throughout the school
   day, you will be better prepared to help your child make good
   food choices.

2. Involve your kids in planning their lunch and snacks- Like all
   of us, young people like to participate in decisions that
   affect them. Help your kids plan their own lunches, and
   provide a weekly allowance for healthy snacks. Talk about
   specific food options they have at school and help them make
   healthy choices, like buying fruit instead of chips. By
   working together, you can ensure their food choices outside
   the home include healthy foods they will enjoy eating.

3. Talk about the importance of good food choices and
   nutrition-Kids can't make informed decisions if they're not
   informed. Talk to your kids about how foods deliver important
   nutrients our bodies need to grow strong and be healthy. For
   example, explain that the calcium in milk helps build strong
   bones and teeth. By asking your kids about what they eat at
   school, and discussing how those foods help (or don't help)
   their bodies, you'll teach them to consider the nutritional
   value of their food and beverages when they're on their own.

4. Model healthy choices-By preparing good-tasting, well-balanced
   meals and munching on nutritious snacks like apples with
   peanut butter or trail mix, you can show your kids how to
   enjoy fueling their bodies with healthy foods. Plus, by
   stocking the kitchen with the same foods and beverages offered
   at school, like flavored milks, kids will more easily reach
   for familiar foods when they are away from home as you instill
   nutritious, lifelong eating habits.

Educators, health professionals, and child-nutrition advocates
across the U.S. are working to create a healthier nutrition
environment in schools. To learn about what's being done near you
or to help plan healthy menus and vending options in your
schools, meet with your local school leaders, attend a PTA
meeting, contact your Action for Healthy Kids State Team
(http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/), or encourage your school
administrator to learn about low fat milk vending at
http://vend.nesquik.com/. By taking an active role in your
school's nutrition efforts, you can help pave the way for a 
healthier future for your kids.

========= Scientists Sing Praises of Bird Brains

Polly want a cracker? The fact that Polly knows how to talk and
imitate your voice is providing scientists with fresh insights
into how humans learn to sing and acquire language.

According to a new book published by the New York Academy of
Sciences, human brains and bird brains are remarkably alike when
it comes to learning language. Not only do bird and human brains
share similar structures and vocal pathways, they both develop
their vocal skills by listening and imitating the sounds made by
their parents and neighbors. Erich D. Jarvis, professor of
neurobiology at Duke University, says that "Bird brains provide
us with clues on how human language is learned and produced." 

For example, like humans, birds are sensitive to criticism.
Scientists found that birds are receptive to the sound of their
own singing and are affected by how their songs are received by
their peers or potential mates. Birds have been found to modify
their songs in response to the approval or rejection of its songs
by other birds.

By identifying the neural mechanisms that underline song learning
and the circuitry that mediates singing behavior, researchers
hope to further their understanding of brain disorders. Another
study, by Fernando Nottebohm of Rockefeller University, promises
hope to those interested in brain rejuvenation. He found that
adult canary brains showed physiological responses to sounds and
developed new neurons. His experiment suggests that the adult
brain may be capable of producing new neurons throughout life. 

If you want to hear more about our friendly feathered friends,
you can read "Behavioral Neurobiology of Birdsong" edited by H.
Philip Zeigler and Peter Marler. You can also check out Annals
Extra in the Science & the City webzine of the New York Academy
of Sciences at http://www.nyas.org/snc/annals.asp. There you'll
find excerpts from sample chapters, a book review, and audio
containing actual birdsongs. You might find a lot to sing about.

========= Ask Your Doctor About "Pneumo"

With flu season on the way, you may be planning a doctor's visit
to help you stay healthy and avoid influenza this winter. Take
the opportunity to also talk to your doctor about another serious
health issue-pneumococcal disease (pronounced NEW-moe-cock-ul).

"Pneumococcal disease, like influenza, is very common and often
underestimated. Both are more prevalent during the winter months
and may cause serious health problems, particularly in older
adults," according to William Schaffner, M.D., Chair of the
Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center in
Nashville, Tennessee.

=== A look at the facts

Pneumonia is the most frequent form of pneumococcal disease in
adults. Each year in the United States, an estimated 175,000
people are hospitalized for pneumococcal pneumonia. 

When infection spreads to the bloodstream, it is called
bacteremia, a very serious-and often deadly-complication. There
are more than 50,000 cases of bacteremia each year.

Pneumococcal disease also causes 13 to 19 percent of all cases of
bacterial meningitis (a spinal fluid infection) in the United

As many as 20,000 to 40,000 Americans die each year as a result
of pneumococcal disease.

=== Causes, symptoms and treatment

Many healthy people-up to 70 percent-carry the bacteria that
cause pneumococcal disease and don't even know it. The bacteria
are spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Researchers
don't know why some people become sick and others don't, but they
do know that pneumococcal disease increases during winter months.

Pneumococcal disease is usually treated with antibiotics, but
that's not always effective. "Treatment of pneumococcal disease
is getting harder because the bacteria are becoming more
resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics," said Schaffner. 

So remember "pneumo" when you talk to your doctor this flu

For more information about pneumococcal disease, visit

========= Depression: It Happens To A Lot Of Guys

Police sergeant Eric Weaver is what people would call a tough
cop. He walked the beat and even volunteered for SWAT duty. But,
what many of his fellow officers did not know is that not a day
went by that Eric did not contemplate suicide. 

Weaver is not alone. In 2000, suicide was the third leading cause
of death among young males, ages 10 to 24. Although more women
live with clinical depression and attempt suicide, men are four
times as likely to complete the act. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that six
million men in America are affected by depression each year and
many go undiagnosed. 

While women may be more likely to say they feel depressed or sad,
men are taught from childhood that talking about feelings is a
sign of weakness. As a result, men may not be as likely to get
the help they need if they feel depressed.

Men may not even recognize symptoms of the illness-they often
experience symptoms of depression differently than women do and
have different ways of coping. 

They may report feeling tired and irritable, loss of interest in
hobbies and difficulty sleeping rather than feelings of sadness,
worthlessness and excessive guilt. Men also are more likely to
self-medicate with drugs and alcohol or bury themselves in work. 

"Men think they need to put on a false bravado when they're not
feeling well," says Lydia Lewis, president of the Depression and
Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). "They think they can overcome
symptoms through willpower, but they can't, any more than a man
with asthma or hypertension can overcome his symptoms through

Regardless of gender, depression is a serious medical illness
that interferes with a person's ability to function. It isn't
merely something someone can "snap out of."

Fortunately, depression is treatable-as men become more educated
that depression is an illness and not a character weakness, more
may become willing to ask for help. 

DBSA offers educational materials that are written for patients
in easy-to-understand language. For more information on men and
depression or to find a support group near you, call 800-826-3632
or visit http://www.DBSAlliance.org/. DBSA's men and depression
campaign is supported by a grant from the American Psychiatric 

========= Helping Save American History

Is there room in America's future for both smaller cellphones and
the country's largest ball of twine? Fortunately, the answer is
yes. Americana still seems to be near and dear to many people's
hearts, despite their increased interest in gadgets and

Yet studies show that America's national parks are receiving only
two-thirds of the funding they need to stay in good shape. Even
more endangered are the countless smaller landmarks-such as the
unusual patriotic icons that capture America's spirit, like Route
66 or the 42-foot-tall Uncle Sam statue in Michigan.

The good news is that Americans across the country have been
pitching in to help save these treasures-but preservationists say
more work still needs to be done. If you want to help keep
America looking its best, try these tips: 

* Start At Home - Try teaching the importance of history and
  preservation to your kids by showing them not just monuments
  but the places and icons that hold personal memories in your

* Read All About It - Nearby locales may be steeped in history
  you don't even know. Try to find out. Almost every community
  has a book about its history and they're usually available at
  local libraries.

* Shop And Save - Many privately owned stores and boutiques are
  housed in historic buildings. By supporting these business
  owners, you could be saving a piece of history.

* Be On The Lookout - When you see a landmark that looks like it
  needs to be rescued, tell someone. There are a number of
  organizations that recognize the importance of preserving
  America. For example, Hampton Hotels' Save-A-Landmark Program
  has helped restore everything from the "See Rock City" historic
  barn in Tennessee to the National Monument to the Forefathers'
  historic walkway in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The hotel chain
  encourages people to submit landmark preservation
  recommendations online at http://www.hamptonlandmarks.com/.
  Submissions  can also be mailed to Save-A-Landmark, 8730 Sunset
  Blvd., Fifth  Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069. It's an easy way to
  help make a  difference.

* Get Involved - Try joining an organization (or two) dedicated
  to preservation. A good place to start is the National Trust
  for Historic Preservation, where you can become a member online
  and even find out about preservation groups and projects

========= Cauldron Info

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum was founded in August 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 over 300 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 new 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
can do this if you need help or want some simple graphic buttons
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
help in paying for our web site. You can donate by using either
PayPal or the Amazon Honor System links below (we get about 85%
of what you donate).

Donate via PayPal
Donate via Amazon.com

===== 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
too often.

This issue of Cauldron and Candle as a whole is copyright (c)
2004 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
permission to reprint an article and the editors will do their
best to put you in touch with him or her. The opinions expressed
herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily
reflect the views of newsletter, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum, or
its staff. Publication of an article in this newsletter is not an
endorsement of the authors position or any products and companies
mentioned therein. No one involved in producing this newsletter
has any money to speak of so suing us if you don't like something
we do is a waste of time and money.


You are receiving a copy of this newsletter because you signed up
to receive it. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to this
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Or you can unsubscribe via email by sending a blank message to


Be sure to send this message from the email account actually
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If you need to change your subscription to a new email address,
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The Cauldron and Candle web site contains information on this
newsletter and an archive of back issues.



If you have Pagan friends who you believe would be interested in
Cauldron and Candle please invite them to subscribe. You can
either drop them a note yourself or -- better yet -- send them
one of The Cauldron's email postcards with the information.

You are also welcome to forward a copies of this newsletter to
interested friends and associates provided you forward the entire


Don't forget that your suggestions for this newsletter are always
welcome, either posted on the message board or via email to
LyricFox (lyricfox@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com) or Randall Sapphire
(rssapphire00@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com). Typos are, as usual,
courtesy of the Goddess Eris.

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