[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #54 -- December 2004

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


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C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E  #54 -- December 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
     * TRIPLE Bandwidth December Sale At TC's Web Host
     * Cauldron and Candle Submissions Issue Revisited
     * New Column: Kitchen Witchin
     * Happy Holidays
[02] Cauldron Challenge: December
[03] Cauldron News
     * CauldronMUX Is Now Our Main Chat Area
     * Message Board Menu Changes
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Reviews
     [05-1] Sabbat Entertaining
     [05-2] Witching Culture
     [05-3] A History of Pagan Europe
[06] First Glance Comments (Received for Review)
[07] Articles:
     [07-1] Cleansing and Charging Stones
     [07-2] Crystal Grids
     [07-3] "Christmas" Cards for Pagans
     [07-4] December -- The Tenth Month
     [07-5] The Nine Worlds
     [07-6] WCOT's Pagan Chat
[08] Columns
     [08-1] Kitchen Witchin
     [08-2] Humor: A Field Guide to Wiccans
     [08-3] Cheap Web Hosting Report: December 2004
[09] Around the Planes: Notes from All Over
     [09-1] Fostering A New Generation Of Blood Donors
     [09-2] Coral Reefs
     [09-3] Tips To Ensure Pets' Safety During The Holidays
     [09-4] Family Caregiving... It's Not All Up to You
     [09-5] Ten Tips That Will Alter Your Life
[10] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[11] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

  +++January Issue Submission Deadline: December 20, 2004+++
   Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

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

===== TRIPLE Bandwidth December Sale At TC's Web Host

I don't usually plug businesses in my editorials, but Dreamhost,
the web host ecauldron.com uses (and perhaps the best low cost
web host around), is having a great bandwidth sale this December.
All new accounts created during December 2004 will receive triple
bandwidth for as long as the account exists. Their lowest priced
"Crazy Domain Insane!" plan normally provides 40 gigabytes of
monthly bandwidth -- this will be tripled to a whopping 120
gigabytes for people who sign up this month. The good folks at
Dreamhost also tripled the bandwidth for all their current
customers as a Christmas present so ecauldron.com will probably
not need to worry about bandwidth for years to come.

If you are looking for a low cost web host without a lot of weird
content restrictions, with great tech support and no weird
clauses in their user agreement that actually make it impossible
to use  many of the features they offer, Dreamhost is worth a
look. (Dreamhost will not host porn or hate sites, but their
general attitude toward other controversial material is that if
it is legal in California, they will host it. This makes it great
for Pagan sites -- you don't get your account canceled because
some fundie complains about your review of a book that mentions
sex or your image of a classical statue.)

Here's the major features you get on their lowest cost $9.95 a
month plan: 120 gigabytes a month bandwidth (normally 40), 800
megs disk storage, up to 600 email accounts, up to 75 shell/ftp
accounts, POP3/IMAP/Web access to email, spam filtering, host 3
domains and 15 subdomains, announcement and discussion lists,
php4, crontab, perl/cgi, ssi, webdav, daily statistics, and more.
A new feature was added this month that will appeal to bloggers:
automated installation of Wordpress blog software.

If you sign up be sure and say rssapphire referred you.
Referrals help support The Cauldron!

For more info, visit the Dreamhost site at:

===== Cauldron and Candle Submissions Issue Revisited

My editorial last month upset several readers, one of whom
dropped their subscription because I dared to state that readers
needed to contribute articles and reviews or this newsletter
would have to cease publication. Apparently this person thought
the editor should just write all the articles himself if that's
what it takes to keep the newsletter going. 

Fortunately, most members did not feel this way and a number of
members contributed articles and reviews. In fact, this issue has
more contributions by more members than any other issue to date.
I also have almost enough articles for the next (January 2005)
issue of the newsletter. After that the submission pile is bare.

I'd really like to thank everyone who submitted at article in
November. I hope that Cauldron and Candle will continue to
receive at least that many submissions every month, because
without them it will fade away and die.

Remember, we even make it easy for you to submit items with a
couple of handy forms on our web site:
Handy Article Submission Form:


Book Review Submission Form:


===== New Column: Kitchen Witchin

Several readers submitted recipes in November. These submissions
were very welcome as they allowed us to start a new column of
recipes and kitchen ideas, Kitchen Witchin. If you like this
idea, please submit your recipes that you think other Pagans
might like. This column can also use quick reviews of cookbooks
and short kitchen and cooking hints.

===== Happy Holidays

The staff of both Cauldron and Candle and The Cauldron: A Pagan
Forum would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.
Whatever you celebrate, we wish you a very merry one and a very
happy 2005.

Bright Blessings to all. And to all a good night,


                      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

This time of year is stressful for a lot of people, so I thought
this month a good challenge would be to... RELAX! That's right,
all you have to do in December is set aside some time to unwind
and de-stress. Use it as an excuse to pamper yourself, or just
sit around doing nothing -- whatever you prefer.

How are you going to relax this month?




       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

===== CauldronMUX Is Now Our Main Chat Area

CauldronMUX, opened late last month, has proven so popular with
our members that we have made it our main chat area. Scheduled
chats are now held in the Cauldron Lounge on CauldronMUX. This
means that guests are not able to attend our moderated chats.

Our Java Chat Room remains available for registered members of
our message board, but is no longer being used for moderated
chats. In fact, it has not been used much at all since
CauldronMUX opened.


===== Message Board Menu Changes

Members of our message board have seen some changes to the top
menu on our message board in November. Several new menu items
have been added and one standard menu item has been moved to a

Three new menu items have been added. The "Chat" menu item
provides easy access to the Java clients for our chat areas
(CauldronMUX and the Java Chat Room). The "Rules" menu item
provides easy access to rules and FAQs for The Cauldron --
hopefully making it much harder for new members to miss them.
Finally, we've added and "Extras" menu item which provides access
to all sorts of extra features such as the links item that used
to be on the top menu, member weblogs, and other interesting
places (other forum, online web games) and more.  Watch this menu
item as links to additional features should be appearing in



        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.

=== Guardianship of Someone Else's Kids

If your beloved sibling/friend were to die and name you the
guardian of his or her very young children (4 and 6, let's say)
with the stipulation that you must raise them in the faith of
their parents, and the faith of their parents was antithetical to
yours (or simply very different from yours), would you do it?

You can pick and ponder different faiths as you will - I, for
example, think I would have less trouble raising a child Jewish
than raising a child free evangelical or Southern Baptist.

Under what circumstances would you be able to follow those
wishes, and under what circumstances would you feel you had to
either turn down the guardianship, or take the children but
ignore the request?

(And assume, for the purposes of this question, that you are
willing and able to take on the kids. It's a hypothetical, after
all. You may imagine that you are quite wealthy, a healthy 30-
year-old, and like children, if it helps.)

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Ghosts vs. Reincarnation

Ok folks, I have run across this quandary a few times now and
after thinking about it myself I still have no good answer. I
find that I believe in ghosts and yet I also believe in
reincarnation. I question how I can believe in two things
simultaneously that seem to be in direct conflict of each other.

A ghost, in my understanding, is a soul that has "stayed behind"
for whatever reason, which is different from the images or
"memories" some places seem to have. You know, the ones where
there is no variation or actual being there, the same image walks
down the stairs to the pantry and disappears every full moon or

So my question to everyone interested is: How do you explain it?
or What are your thoughts and opinions about the conundrum?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Offerings?

I recently started burning incense as an offering at my altar.
I've been using sandalwood, vanilla or dragon's blood so far, b/c
that's all I've been able to get a hold of in cone form (I don't
really like stick incense on my altar). I was wondering, if any
of you burn incense as an offering, what kind (or scent, or
whatever you'd call it) do you use and why?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Christmas For Pagans? Bah! Humbug!

Someone got a bit upset at our thread on Christmas/Yule/Midwinter
Preparation and asked "Why are you talking about celebrating
Christmas? Christmas isn't a Pagan holiday. It's a Christian
holiday. Is this a forum full of closet Christians? Lots of
people calling themselves 'pagan' seem to be closet Christians."

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Patron Deities and Monotheism

I've recently heard someone claim that the tendency among many
modern Pagans to adopt a patron deity is a result of the
inability to leave monotheism behind, and completely embrace

Do you think there is truth in that claim? Do we really adopt a
patron god or goddess because it's hard for us to handle the idea
of multiple divine forces? Does a "real" polytheist have to
actually worship, not only recognize, more than one deity?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Dealing with a Dark Night of the Soul?

The dark night of the soul... periods of your life when you are
having a spiritual crisis - whether it's the general unfairness
of life, or suddenly your cherished beliefs seem like a big pile
of thingy, we all have times when religion either doesn't cut it,
or ceases to interest us...

To make things slightly different, my question is not 'have you
ever experienced this?' but is instead this:

When you suffer a crisis of faith, what do you do in response?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Private Schools for Pagan Children?

With all the changes in public education I have been looking into
alternatives for my children. Not being someone with the
temperament to homeschool I started looking into private schools.
Unfortunately most if not all the private schools I have found
are Christian.

This and an article on start up schools got me wondering if there
are any private schools for pagan children. It also got me
wondering what it would take to create one.

I would love to see a school where children are taught things
such as shielding and grounding along side secular subjects
taught from a global perspective.

Does anyone know of any such schools already in existence? What
would you want to see in a pagan private school?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Swords/Wands Issues in Tarot

Okay, I'm playing with the tarot again... trying to get a more in
depth feel for it. One of my problems has always been the
wands/swords/air/fire mess in the minor arcana. I don't like
swords as air, but simply transferring the meaning of wands to
swords doesn't work either.

Thoughts on it? Suggestions for good websites/books? Anyone want
to defend swords=air? I'm not looking for particular decks that
switch it around visually. I'm looking more for... hrm... the
"philosophy" or metaphysics of changing it around.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== How to Introduce Wicca to Children?

As I have been studying and reading a lot about Wicca, my 10 year
old has also become interested in it. I would like a book to help
her understand Wicca, no so much casting spells, but the history,
what it is all about, something written so she can understand it.
She reads at an adult level, but I don't want her to read an
adult book. I was thinking of getting Teen Witch by Sliver
Ravenwolf, but I am not sure yet.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
=== An Ye Harm None?

Quick question, but why the saying, "an ye harm none"? Why can't
a spell harm someone, I mean, generally if you want to curse
someone wouldn't that mean some harm would be involved?

I know, I know, the rule of three, or the golden rule, karma,
what have you. But who says there aren't ways to avoid it?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Running Effective Rituals

What are your suggestions for running effective rituals,
especially open and larger rituals? I'm not talking about
esoterics or magic, just about simple logistics.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:



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

========= Reviewed by Christine Moonflower

Sabbat Entertaining: Celebrating the Wiccan Holidays with Style
Author: Willow Polson
Trade Paper, 224 pages
Publisher: Citadel Press
Publication Date: September 2002
ISBN: 0806524227
US Retail Price: $24.95
Amazon Link:

This book is not your traditional, everyday Sabbat book. It is
full of fresh new ideas on how to celebrate without confining
them to rituals and the very well known foods, oils, and crafts
that many other authors mention over and over again. It is
innovative and personal. And meant to be read by someone who
already knows and appreciates the Sabbats.
The book starts out with a very small preface, that does not go
over the "basic" "let's hurry and get this out of the way," info
on magick, Wicca, or paganism in general. It contains no in depth
Sabbat information or rituals it just gets down to the simple and
fun stuff. Each chapter of the book contains around 30 pages for
each Sabbat. Each chapter starts off with a personal anecdote for
the Sabbat them goes into activities, games, decorating ideas,
crafts, recipes (the recipes are all vegetarian,) and finally a
cross stitch pattern with instructions for each Sabbat. Most of
the crafts and recipes are such that you would not find them
anywhere else.
My only compliant with this book is with the recipes, some of
them needed further explanation especially on some of the weird
vegetarian ingredients like Ives, just what is this and were do I
find it. Otherwise, it is a great resource for anyone who
celebrates the Sabbat.

           This review is coming to our web site soon!

========= Reviewed by Pitch

Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America
Author: Sabina Magliocco
Hardcover, 280 pages
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 0812218795
US Retail Price: $19.95
Amazon Link:

"Must Have, Double Bag!" is old school comic fandom's term for
things that a fan cannot live without -- and have any fanboy or
fangirl cred in the eyes of her or his fan peers.
And a perfect, to-the-point description of this book. 
Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America is written
by a Gardnerian and Reclaiming practitioner who also happens to
be a skillful folklorist and anthropologist, Magliocco is
presently an associate professor at California State University,
Witching Culture is thoughtful, insightful, fruitful, grounded,
and, maybe, provocative.
Witching Culture is well-crafted and a joy to read. 
Witching Culture is one of the best ethnographies that I've read
in a long time.Magliocco manages to accentuate the participation
in her participant-observations, but sustain a vibrant and keen
postmodern theoretical analysis at the same time. She takes the
reader there to a living experience of an alternative culture.
She addresses a broad range of topics shaping and challenging
Neo-Paganism,especially Craft in the San Francisco Bay Area, from
how magic is envisioned as a working relationship with world and
deities to ritual art and artistry to Neo-Pagan shopping habits
to identity construction and cultural borrowing, and more. Like
the Neo-Pagan bricoleurs she discusses, she takes advantage of
theories and insights borrowed from a number of disciplines and
discourses, putting the mix to good, understanding use.
Magliocco considers Neo-Pagan culture to be oppositional to
dominant culture, postmodern in its world view at a time when the
dominant modern culture offers little beyond materiality,
consumerism, alienation, oppression, and spiritual--if not
economic--impoverishment. She traces some roots of this
oppositionality to sources in the Romantic and European
nationalist movements. And provides a good account of Neo-
Paganism's cultural creativity in shaping magical ritual, even
political action, from these sources, among others.
Her approach to the creative and enculturating role that song
plays in today's Neo-Paganism alone makes the book worthwhile.
Witching Culture is a "Must Have, Double Bag!" book that all of
us should be proud to add to our libraries.
Note: I am Sabina's friend, and the "Pitch" in the book. All I
can assure you is -- as an old-school comic guy--if the book
sucked, I'd say so. Far from it -- Witching Culture shines bright!

           This review is coming to our web site soon!

========= Reviewed by Christine Moonflower

A History of Pagan Europe
Author: Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick
Trade Paper, 262 pages
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 0415158044
US Retail Price: $26.95
Amazon Link:

A History of Pagan Europe is a solidly written and entertaining
reference. It will appeal to those with an academic background,
as it is well-researched and appropriately footnoted. The
bibliography provides ranks of further reading for those who
interested in primary sources. Despite the scholarly polish, its
262 pages are energetically written and engaging.  Included are
63 black-and-white plates of maps, etchings, artist renderings,
and photographs.
At first glance this relatively short book, which covers the
entire history of Pagan Europe, might seem too generalized to
provide insight into any one tradition. I found the book very
concise, however, offsetting quantity with quality. Even in areas
where I felt confident, such as classic Greco-Roman antiquity, I
benefited from the reoriented perspective the authors brought to
their study. Jones and Pennick turned the intellectual map of
Europe upside down, looking southward from the north, thus
revealing the kinship and deep structural unity that underlies
the ancient western traditions from Iceland to the Russian
For instance, instead of presenting classic Greco-Roman religion
as a vestige of Mediterranean civilization, Pennick and Jones
traced it through its earliest pre-Minoan, pre-Etruscan forms,
and in so doing exposed the European core of the religion, as
well as its kinship to northern belief. The European tradition
itself, as it appears in Russia and the Baltic, the Balkans, in
the Celtic and Germanic lands is laid out as a complex, but
unified, fabric. Unfortunately due to the completeness of the
rendition, holes in our knowledge -- areas where the pre-
Christian tradition was all but lost appear in stark relief.
Another strength of the book is its acknowledgement of the
differences between the theory and practice of the modern
European Pagans, versus their cultural ancestors. Jones and
Pennick are scrupulous in their dating of ancient movements, and
dedicate their last chapter "Paganism Reaffirmed" to reemerging
Pagan tradition. The authors begin this chapter with the High
Middle Ages (950-1350), which strengthens the impression of an
unbroken line of Pagan activity from ancient times to the modern.
Jones and Pennick choose to challenge this possibility, however,
demanding solid research rather than simply following the
seduction of the nice-to-believe.
"In 1839 the archivist Franz-Joseph Mone of Baden proposed that
the orgiastic features of the alleged witch cult had in fact been
part of an underground religion derived from Dionysiac worship in
the Greek colonies on the Black Sea and brought back to German by
the returning Goths. (Such) thinkers drew attention to their
regional heritage, but unfortunately failed to demonstrate by
reference to contemporary records that any of the people accused
had actually taken part in either 'witchcraft' ceremonies or
ceremonies of a continuing Pagan religion. As we have seen,
modern research tends to argue against these conclusions." (p
Occasionally Jones and Pennick come off as whiney, or petty, even
when they have a legitimate point, as on page 202 when they
describe the reemergence of Pagan gods into the Christian
landscape in the 17th and 18th centuries: "Whenever a Christian
temple was erected by a landowner, then it is assumed to be
authentic. Yet comparable Pagan temples are not." (pp. 201-201)
A similar note of pique also appears on page 210, where the
authors state: "The romantic interpretation of ancient Druidism
are no more or less valid than the equivalent mythologies of
other hagiographies. Materialist critics of Druidism fail to
apply the same criteria of criticism to the prophets of other
A more significant issue arises when the authors blame early
Christians for burning the Library at Alexandria. This claim is
presented as uncontestable fact and without substantiation, when
most historians today believe the library's loss occurred over
several centuries, and divide the blame between the Romans under
Octavian, the Caliphate, and eastern Christians. An author's
occasional slide from objectivism gives ammunition to those who
would disregard modern Paganism as a rootless, academically
anemic fad. Jones and Pennick seldom step outside their scholarly
demeanor, however, and when they do the material as a whole does
not suffer for it.
In fact Jones and Pennick usually maintain an even hand. They
describe ancient traditions, (or excesses thereof,) which we
might look down upon today. On the other hand, Protestant
Christians are credited on page 204 for reintroducing to civil
life of certain regions the use of their local languages,
including translating the bible into vulgate editions. By
preserving the local languages these Protestant Christians
preserved the local histories, myths, and religion recorded
within them.
The few problems with A History of Pagan Europe are far
outweighed by the many gifts it offers. I have recommended the
book to several friends, and would recommend it wholeheartedly to
anyone in search of a broad view approach to the history of
Paganism in Europe.

           This review is coming to our web site soon!



        Shop Amazon, Catalog City, Abebooks, and other
        stores at The Cauldron Shopping Mall. Every
        purchase from our one of our mall links helps
        support The Cauldron and this newsletter.



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

No new books were received for review in November.

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

========= by Novitiate

===== Cleansing Crystals and Stones

Crystals and gemstones will pick up negative or unwanted energies
over time. They are like sponges absorbing and reacting to the
environment and working to heal even without our direction.

There are two stones that don't absorb energy and never need
clearing- Citrine and Kyanite (My personal favorites). These two
stones are the only stones that I know of that can clear other
stones without needed cleansing themselves.

Crystals and stones that are used for healing should be cleared
and cleansed prior to any healing work. You will also find that
clearing stones makes them more cheerful and positive. List below
are a few methods commonly used to clear and cleanse crystals and
stones to restore their natural vibrant energy.

Some are more complex or take longer, others are extremely simple
and quick. Use whichever suits you and your crystals best.

Salt Water: While this is a popular way to cleanse crystals, it
is recommended to use salt water very carefully, if at all. You
need to know about your crystals to be sure that they are not
porous or soft, so they won't be damaged by water.

Salt water can get into the structure of some crystals and stones
and cause them to break. Some stones that don't do well in salt
water are calcite, carnelian, halite, hematite,
labradorite/spectrolite, lepidolite, lodestone (magnetite), mica,
moldavite, opal, turquoise, ulexite, and there are surely more.
When you do use salt water, do so cautiously and don't leave your
crystals in it longer than absolutely necessary.

Sea Salt: Crystals can be placed in coarse sea salt for up to 24
hours to clear them. They can also be stored in sea salt to keep
them from picking up energies from their surroundings. In humid
areas, using sea salt can sometimes cause the same problems as
salt water. It can also get stuck in the crevices of clusters and
eventually combine with water in the air and split the cluster.

Sunlight or Moonlight: The rays of the sun and moon are very
clearing and cleansing. Placing your stones outside where they
can soak up the sunlight or moonlight for a day/night to a week
is very beneficial. Do be careful though, as some the colors of
some stones may fade in the sun. A few of the stones that will
fade in the sun are amethyst, celestite, opal, and turquoise. If
you have any doubts at all, be sure to use only moonlight

Earth Burial: Burying crystals and stones is very cleansing and
healing to them. You can bury them in the Earth for 3 days to a
week, either in your yard or in a flowerpot. Be sure that if you
bury your crystals in the yard that you mark the spot. You don't
want to have to dig up half the yard to find your stones again.
I feel that if taking soil from the earth to use in a flowerpot,
even in fully burying, you should thank the earth for its
assistance and leave something in appreciation.

Smudging: Smudging is a favorite method of clearing crystals and
stones of unwanted energy for a lot of people. It's a much
quicker way to clear crystals than any of the above methods. To
smudge them, pass you stone several times through the smoke of
burning cedar, sage, sweetgrass, or incense. Commercial incenses
with perfumy smells may not clear as fully or as quickly as sage
or a more basic incense like Nag Champa.

Tap Water - COOL Tap Water: For a quick cleansing, you can also
run your stones under cool tap water. Hot or warm water can
fracture some crystals and stones. Again, as with salt water, be
sure that your crystals are not porous or soft, before putting
them under the tap. Stone clusters and geodes are two types of
stones that do not do well with water, as they may break apart
and crumble. The stones mentioned as not doing well with salt
water may also not do well with tap water. You should also be
aware of any minerals, like sulphur, or strong chemicals like
chlorine that might be high in your water due to  sceptic tanks.

Reiki-Seichim: Reiki-Seichim is another method of cleansing
crystals. In a sense, it's channeling the universal life force
energy to heal the crystal of negativity and unwanted energies.
As a Reiki or Seichim practitioner, just treat the stone as you
would any other being that needs healing, and set your intent to
heal the stone of any negativity or unwanted energies.

Stone Clearing: Some stones will clear the negative or unwanted
energies from other stones, however will then need cleansing
themselves. You can do this with quartz crystal clusters,
amethyst clusters, and selenite. Place the stone to be cleared on
the "clearing" stone, and leave for 24-48 hours.  Citrine and
Kyanite are two stones used for clearing, that never need
clearing themselves.

Flower Water: You can also clear crystals and stones in flower
water. Soak the stone or crystal in water with the petals of
rose, honey suckle, orange blossoms, jasmine or others for 24
hours. Again, the same cautions apply regarding stones that don't
do well in water.

Ask Your Higher Power: This is too simple for most peoples' need
for ritual, but it does work wonderfully. Simply ask
God/Goddess/Universe or whatever your higher power is called to
clear and cleans your crystal for you. You can also simply ask
the crystal to clear itself.

Whichever method you choose, the exact length of time needed for
clearing varies according to personal taste and the state of the
crystal. Trust your intuition and higher self to lead you to the
best methods and lengths of time for you and the stone.

===== Charging a Crystal 

In metaphysical terms, charging a crystal is to store an energy
pattern in a crystal.

The energy pattern programmed into the crystal can be any
thought, color, emotion, sound, or any other vibration. The
pattern is stored in the crystal until it is purposefully cleared
out.  You must keep in mind that after a while, negative energies
can reside in the crystal as well.

This is just one way to charge crystals and stones.  If you have
a different method you prefer, use it. I don't believe there is
one way to do it, but rather many, and you should choose the
one(s) that suit you best.

Needed to Program Your Crystal:

 Clear Intent - Know what you want to program the crystal to do. 
 Focused Action - This method is one focused action. 

Step One - Clear your crystal with whatever method you prefer,
and sit down with your crystal at your personal altar or in a
place that you're not likely to be disturbed while you are
charging your crystal.

Step Two - Hold the crystal in your dominant hand (right hand if
right handed) and clear your mind of unrelated thoughts. Start to
focus on your intention for charging your crystal.

Step Three - Focus on your intention for your crystal by saying
descriptive words aloud. For instance, if you want to charge your
crystal to bring peace of mind, start repeating the words "peace
of mind" over and over again. A whisper is fine if a normal tone
of voice would attract distracting attention from others.

Step Four - Repeat your intent verbally into your non-dominant
hand, then place that hand over your crystal to push the
vibrations into the crystal.

Step Five - Continue holding the crystal and repeating your
intention until it feels as though the vibrations have sunk into
the crystal fully. If necessary, repeat step four.

Once your intuition tells you or you have a sense that the
crystal has accepted the vibrations, open your hands and thank
the crystal. The crystal is now charged.

This method can also be used with tumbled stones, spheres,
polished crystals, and natural chunks of minerals, as well as
natural crystals.

To retrieve and use the programming, simply rub the crystal while
asking (silently or out loud) for its charge to be released.

========= by Seren

Crystals can emit or absorb different energies. The way in which
these energies are emitted or absorbed can be manipulated and
controlled in the type of crystal we use, its size and shape etc.
Even the number of crystals, and the way in which they are
positioned is important to get just the right effect.
Crystal grids use the symbolism of the crystals themselves, the
symbology of numbers, and also colors and shapes to help create
just the desired effect, either focusing on a person or a space.
The combination of the crystals laid out then emit a gentle
energy that can be used for a variety of purposes, like
harmonizing a room, encouraging creativity, or a peaceful space
for meditation.
For the most effective crystal grids, you should ideally use
clear crystal quartz points that you are used to, and are used to
you. They need to be cleansed and charged regularly, and left to
rest when necessary. The best crystals to use should emit a
gentle and diffused energy, rather than a zingy and focused one.
For this purpose, medium-sized crystal points are the best
large ones tend to be too grounding and absorptive together,
whereas small points can be too focused, like laser beams.
Experiment to see what suits you, and then try different types of
crystals once you've got the hang of the basics. Start with clear
quartz, then see what amethyst is like, or rose quartz, and so
on. As a general rule, crystal points of any type will direct
energy, whereas tumbled, polished stones will gently reflect.
Rough rocks or massives may act in the same way as tumbled
stones, or else be more absorptive depending on the type of rock.

===== The Grids 

=== Grid One
One -- is the number of the individual, the center of power from
which power is spread. The oneness of divinity. The self.
Method One - the outer: Although not strictly a grid, this is
useful when you are getting used to energies and how they feel,
especially in group work, and this one can be used effectively in
a circle situation when you are developing a "group mind" to help
gel together.
If you are on your own, sit the crystal near you, or in your
palms. A fairly big and chunky crystal is good for this one, as
the energy it emits will be more noticeable and gentle to start
with. In a group, put the crystal in the center, and sit around
it in a circle (or opposite each other if there are only two of
Focus on the crystal, and feel how the crystal radiates its
energy, and spreads it. Try and see the energy, and look at how
it moves around, and plays with your aura, and other people's;
note any images that it makes you think of, whether it draws your
attention into it or around you, and so on. Keep it going for at
least ten minutes, then break and note down or discuss your
Now (or later on) do the meditation again, but with the quartz
point sitting in a bowl of water (that has been cleansed first,
but not with salt). See how different the energy feels and
disperses; note down the impressions, images and thoughts you get
now, but try not to be too self-conscious about it.
Also experiment with different formations of crystals: try
crystal clusters instead of single points, or massives to see how
different each one feels.
Method Two - the inner: This is a useful grid to focus on the
inner with, as it is the number of the individual. Meditate on
the crystal and its energies. Focus on the crystal, and feel
yourself going into it. See the structure of it, and walk around
it like a crystal cave. See who and what you meet, what you think
and where you go. If the crystal were a living being, what would
it be? Experiment with different crystals to explore different
aspects of yourself. Record each meditation, so you can look back
later on.
Method three: This grid is slightly different to the one above,
as it uses a double terminated quartz point, a quartz with a
point at each end, in other words. It is best done alone, rather
than in a group, unless you can find a way of hanging it
perfectly straight. This grid is more to meditate on the oneness
of everything, the idea of as above, so below, and your part in
it. Or else the oneness of the gods, the God in the Sun or God in
Heaven, the Goddess in the Earth etc.
Sit comfortably, with the crystal held vertically, so that one
point points up to the sky, and the other down to the earth. Now
begin your meditation, visualizing a white beam of light reaching
up to the sky, and down into the earth. This is excellent for
grounding and centering yourself, but also as you meditate, think
of yourself as sitting in between the gods, above and below,
think of how it all interrelates and so on. Let your thoughts
wander along the symbology of the number one, and feel how the
energy feels.
This is an excellent way to protect yourself during certain types
of psychic attack, if you feel yourself being pulled out for
example, and you need to ground quickly. Imagine yourself in the
beam of light, stretching above and below your head and feet, and
nothing being able to reach you. Reach your feet into the soil,
like the roots of a tree, your branches reaching to heaven. Here
you are and here you stay.

=== Grid Two

Two -- is the number of polarity, duality, opposites and
relationships. It is a balancing energy, useful for aligning the
yin and yang principles within yourself, for example.
Method one: Useful for practicing raising energy, and energy
flow. This is a good way to charge your crystals, and also
balance your own energies, removing any blockages. Practice this
when you feel a little bogged down and sluggish, or unmotivated
to blow away the cobwebs.
Place a crystal point in each palm, the one in your projecting
hand facing away from you, and the one in your receiving hand
facing into you. Now focus on the quartz points, and their energy
being emitted. Feel it make a circuit with you, moving your own
energies as well as their own. Visualize the energy as being a
bright white-blue electrical light, flowing around your body,
cleansing and balancing, removing blockages as it flows around.
Feel the crystals charging you, as you charge the crystals, in a
mutual exchange. Breathe deeply and slowly, but regularly. Then
swap the crystals round, into the other hand, and continue. Feel
the difference in the energies. Ground and center when you are
Method two: Sit down, comfortably. Place a crystal in front of
you, with the point facing you, and place another crystal behind
you, facing towards you as well, and lined up with the other
crystal. This creates a relaxed, harmonious yet focused energy to
meditate in and do any healing, but you can also use it around
your bed or in your room to create a generally relaxed
Method three: Do the same as method two, but align the crystals
with the north and south poles. Sit in between them, and feel how
different the energy is. It is a very balancing and earthy grid.

=== Grid Three
Three -- the number of creation, creativity, life and self
expression. Three is an excellent number for creative people,
especially artists.

Method: Place the three crystals facing inwards (to the center of
the triangle), laid out in an equilateral triangle in the room,
to create an optimistic and enthusiastic environment to work in.

=== Grid Four
Four -- the number of balance, the material world, the four
elements, stability and order. Four is a very grounding and
balanced grid, being the number of earth, the square.

Method one: Place the crystals facing inwards, diagonally to make
an X shape. Sit in the center, where the energy from all four
crystals meets. Feel the grounded and centered energy, contained
and earthy.
Method two: Place the crystals according to the elemental
quarters on the compass, to make a cross, or an X shape
(experiment with both). Sit in the center again, as before. This
is a very useful grid to meditate on the elements with.
Crystals that relate to the quarters: North: Moss agate, emerald,
jet, salt, halite, black tourmaline East: Citrine, mica, pumice
South: Amber, obsidian (volcanic glass), ruby, garnet West:
Aquamarine, chalcedony, jade, lapis lazuli, moonstone
Place an appropriate tumbled stone at each quarter in circle,
instead of candles or other objects. This creates a very earthy,
yet gentle circle, perfect for meditation. Tumbled stones rather
than points are better when combined with a circle, since the
points might created too much of a grounded and balanced
environment within which to practice.

=== Grid Five

Five -- The four elements, plus the fifth and sacred element,
Spirit (or Akasha). This is balance, but without the limitation
and contained energy of four. It balances, but allows you to go
beyond your own limits, as well as those that others set on you.
Five is the number of quintessence, all that is, and all the
possibilities that could be. The number five allows expansion
through balance of the four. This grid is especially good if you
want to break free of boundaries or limitations you feel have
been placed on you - by yourself or others.
Place the crystals on the quarters, as before, but with the fifth
hanging in the center, point down. If this is difficult, place it
in the center on the floor, point facing up (or experiment with
either). Here the quarters are in balance, with the spirit at the
center like with the Celtic Cross.

=== Grid Six

Six -- one of the best energies to work with, in my opinion. It is
balancing, gentle, refreshing and protective.
The Star of David Grid: This crystal grid is excellent to
meditate in, and do any healing that might be necessary, or to
relax in and just be. Six is the number of spirit in matter, male
and female together as complementary forces. Six is the number of
harmony, and perfection in synthesis.
The Star of David in particular represents the opposing Elements
of Fire (the upright triangle) and Water (the upside down
triangle) in harmony together.
This grid is especially effective to combine with chakra healing,
or auric healing. If you are just using it to relax in, allow at
least 10-15 minutes of undisturbed time to get the benefit, and
feel balanced and refreshed. Place one crystal just above the
head (but not in the crown chakra, above that); place one just
below the feet, and one crystal at each shoulder and each knee.
All crystals should be facing inwards to your body. Visualize two
equilateral triangles formed in white-blue light by the crystals,
like the Star of David.
To combine the grid with a basic chakra cleansing, place the
appropriate tumbled stones on each chakra, or use a generic
crystal like citrine with all of them. Small quartz points can be
placed in between the tumbled stones, pointing up the body to
encourage energy flow, if you like.
The grid, when combined with a lump of amethyst, for example,
strengthens the protective qualities of the grid during psychic
attack. Rose quartz creates a gentle, loving atmosphere. The grid
is best worked with clear quartz, but experiment with other types
of crystals if you feel it is appropriate.

=== Grid Seven

Seven -- is a spiritual number, concerned with the inner and self
knowledge. It is a useful grid for when you are working with your
inner, and introspective meditations, as well as meditating on
past and future lives, being associated with eternity. Seven is
also associated with the number of the traditional planets - The
Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, so the grid
can help you get in touch with these planetary energies, to
encourage harmony.
The grid for this is simple: just place seven crystal points,
evenly spread and facing inwards around yourself. This grid is
known as the seven rayed star. Allow space for movement or lying
down. It is not really a grid to experiment with other crystals
in, just get comfy and think inwards, using the star as a
symbolic gateway; step through and see where it takes you.
=== Grid Eight

Eight -- is the path to wisdom, the awareness of limitations and
the path to move beyond them. Eight relates to material reality
as well. It is only when we grow beyond those things that limit
us that we can truly be free and enlightened. Material greed is
often a stumbling block in the pursuit of these high ideals.
This grid will help us to realize the weight of our actions and
limitations in our physical reality. The grid has a heavy quality
to it, the balancing quality of four doubled into an eternal
path; be prepared for a very honest trip.
Method: Place the crystals pointing in at each quarter, and then
equally spaced in between the quarters, creating a second square.
It may feel claustrophobic at first, but work beyond this to
realize the true extent of your limitations.
=== Grid Nine

Nine -- is the last single number, the number of initiation, and
the number that is opposite to one. It is the number of giving
away power, rather than receiving it, which is a power in itself.
Nine is the number of the mysteries, the self in relation to all
and the number of service, how we may serve the rest of humanity.
Nine is the microcosm of the microcosm, the macrocosm spiraling
into the microcosm, and then out again.
This grid can incorporate the spiral dance, and has great ritual
Place the crystals in a spiral. To focus on the center, the
microcosm (the inner, the self), place the crystals in an anti-
clockwise spiral. To focus on the macrocosm (the bigger picture),
and a more dispersive energy, place the crystals clockwise.
Experiment with placing the crystals facing in or out as well.
The central crystal can point up or hang down. For a more gentle
energy, use quartz massives, rather than points. In ritual, the
spiral is danced into (usually clockwise), with the right foot
forward, the left brought even, the right forward, the left even,
and then vice versa, with the left foot forward, and the right
even, in a kind of skipping shuffle.

========= by Brhianna Morgaene

Nowadays there are a great many cards available for pagans to
send for our Sabbats, both e-cards and traditional cards that can
be bought online, or perhaps, if you are lucky, in your favorite
pagan or metaphysical store. If you can buy them, I suggest you
do so. Not only do they help support our pagan community, but
many are incredibly beautiful as well. That having been said what
if you can t buy pagan cards? Maybe they are not available where
you are, or maybe, like me, they would cause all kinds of havoc
in your life if you sent them.
I myself am in the position of having a very few open and/or
pagan friends, and a lot of people I love and care about that are
not pagan and might even be alarmed and upset if I sent them a
Yule card.  I have found a few cards to order on line that are
general enough that they might not offend- but they are pricey-
so I will save them for the people I know who will really
appreciate them. For the rest I will engage in a practice I call
stealth carding.
Mind you, I am not trying to convert anyone. I am simply looking
for cards that appeal to my feelings and ideas about Yule, that
have enough common denominators to make their recipients feel
loved and cherished in THEIR season of Christmas. And as we all
know there is a plethora of pagan symbolism to draw from.
I have found cards, reasonably priced in boxed sets; with symbols
of the horned lord, in the form of handsome stags; the lady, in
the form of rabbits; and Father Yule, in the form of the
traditional old world Santa. I have found cards with moonlit snow
scenes, evergreen trees, and with holly and ivy.  I look for
cards with tidings such as: Season s Greetings, or Happy
Holidays. I even once found one humorous card with the Looney
Tunes in a sleigh, that told everyone to have a  Cool Yule !
I also try to employ the technique in reverse, to examine the
cards sent to me. Can I think of the nativity scene sent to me as
the Mother goddess giving birth to the newborn sun?  How many
pagan symbols have crept into each card?  And no matter what the
card says or shows I remember to look behind it to the love that
sent it. For as the popular pagan carol, Share the Light states:
  On this winter holiday, let us stop and recall 
  That this season is holy, to one and to all 
  Unto some a son is born, unto us comes the sun 
  And we know if they don't, that all paths are one 

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

The chief festival of this "tenth" and last month of the Roman
year was the Saturnalia, held on the seventeenth of the month in
honour of Saturn, the father of Jupiter. Saturn, or Cronos, as
the Greeks called him, was one of the Titans, the six giant sons
of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). Uranus ruled before the days
of Man, but he was overthrown by his son Saturn, who became for a
time the supreme ruler of the universe. Uranus, however,
prophesied that Saturn would one day himself be overthrown by his
children, and in order to avoid this, Saturn, when his first
child was born, immediately swallowed him! As other children were
born, he swallowed each of them until at last Rhea, his wife,
succeeded in hiding her youngest son, Jupiter, and deceived
Saturn by giving him a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which,
in his haste, he swallowed without realizing the trick played
upon him. Jupiter was thus saved, and when he grew up he
overthrew his father, as Uranus had foretold. Saturn, having lost
his power, took refuge on the Earth, and became king of a part of
Italy, which, as Virgil tells us in the eighth book of his
Aeneid, he called Latium, since it was there that he lay hid
(Latin: lateo= to lie hidden). "Saturn was the first to come from
heavenly Olympus, fleeing the arms of Jupiter, an exile deprived
of his kingdom. He it was who made into a nation a people
untaught and scattered on the mountain tops, and gave them laws,
and chose that the land should be called 'Latium' because in
safety he had lain hidden in this region."

Jupiter's rule was very soon threatened by the Titans, who
refused to bow to his will, but after a long and terrible
struggle, the giants were overthrown by Jupiter's thunderbolts.
One of the giants was imprisoned under Mount Aetna, where,
breathing out fire and smoke, he still struggles to free himself,
thus causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Another of the Titans, Iapetus, had two sons, Prometheus
(Forethought) and Epimetheus (Afterthought). To these two gods
fell the task of making man, who was to rule over all living
creatures. Prometheus was very anxious to give to the race of men
that he had fashioned a power that would make them supreme on the
earth, and nearer to the gods themselves. The way in which he
could best bestow this power upon them was by the gift of fire,
for fire belonged only to the gods and was jealously guarded by
them. In spite of the terrible punishment which he knew awaited
him should he be discovered, Prometheus determined to steal fire
from heaven, and during one dark night he brought down to the
earth a burning stick from the home of the gods on Mount Olympus.
Jupiter, seeing an unaccustomed light on the earth, discovered
the theft, and his rage knew no bounds. He seized Prometheus,
carried him off to the Caucasus Mountains, and there bound him
with chains to a huge rock. Then he sent a vulture that, day
after day, might feed upon his liver, which grew again during the
night so that the terrible torture of the god should have no end.
After hundreds of years of this ghastly pain and suffering,
Prometheus was rescued by Hercules, who came to him to ask him
where he might find the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. Hercules
killed the vulture, broke Prometheus' chains, and released the
tortured god, who in return advised Hercules to go to the giant
Atlas, who knew where the apples were, as we have seen in the
story of Atlas' daughter, Maia.

Prometheus' brother, Epimetheus, married the beautiful Pandora,
and at first lived with her in great happiness, for in those
early days the earth was free from pain, sickness, and ills of
every kind. One evening they saw Mercury, the messenger of the
gods, coming towards them and bearing on his shoulder a huge box
which seemed to be of great weight. Tired out with his burden,
Mercury begged permission to leave the box to their care,
promising to return for it in a short time. Pandora and
Epimetheus readily granted permission, and Mercury placed the box
in their house and hastily departed. Pandora was at once filled
with great curiosity as to what the box might contain, and
suggested to Epimetheus that, they should just peep inside.
Epimetheus was shocked by Pandora's lack of good manners, and,
replying that they must not think of such a thing, he went out,
calling to Pandora to follow him. But Pandora's curiosity was now
thoroughly aroused, and the temptation overcame her when she
found herself alone. Quickly she undid the cord which bound the
box, and, thinking she beard sounds in the box, she put her ear
close to the lid. To her surprise she heard voices calling, "Let
us out! let us out!" Pandora, filled with excitement, slowly
raised the lid a little, just for a peep, as she said to herself.
But no sooner was the box opened than out flew little winged
creatures, some of which settled on Pandora and Epimetheus, who
had now returned, and stung them so that they knew pain for the
first time. Then escaping into the world, these insects, Evil,
Sickness, Unhappiness, and all the little troubles of life,
became a cause of endless pain and suffering to men and women.
Poor Pandora was broken hearted, and her eyes filled with tears
at the thought of the harm she had done. Then again she was
startled to hear a voice still calling from the box. It sounded
so kind and gentle and pleaded so sweetly to be let out, that
Pandora raised the lid a second time, and out flew Hope, who had
been shut in with the cruel insects, and now fluttered busily
over the earth, healing the wounds made by her evil companions.

This cheery little creature, Hope, may well be associated with
the winter month December, when Ceres and her trees and flowers
mourn for the smiling Persephone, yet cling to the hope of her
return. It is Hope who bids us say with the poet, "If Winter
comes, can Spring be far behind?"

On December 25th, the Romans held a festival of the winter
solstice, the turning point of winter, when the days begin to
grow longer. It was called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the
Birthday of the Unconquered Sun), and it is very probable that
for this reason the Christians chose the 25th of December for the
birthday of Christ. In early times Christmas (the Mass or Feast
of Christ) was kept at different times in the year, but it was
finally fixed on December 25th, since on that day there was
already held this heathen festival to the sun, which had a
meaning in some way similar to that of our Christmas. It was an
easy thing to make the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, which
wakes all nature from its winter sleep, into the Birthday of the
Unconquered Son of God, who brought new life and hope to the

The same thing took place among the northern races of Europe and
in our own islands. The first Christian missionaries found that,
at the time of year we now call Christmas, the Northmen kept a
festival called Yule, the greatest feast in the year. "Yule"
means "wheel", and the festival was so named because the sun was
thought to be like a wheel revolving swiftly across the sky. It
used at one time to be a custom in England and Germany for the
people to gather each year on a hill-top, to set fire to a huge
wooden wheel bound with straw, and to send it rolling down the
hill. The Christians made this festival into a Christian
festival, and we still speak of Christmas as Yuletide. The origin
of Santa Claus is St. Nicholas, who was the patron saint of
Russia. He was famous for his kindness and generosity, and a
festival was held in his honour on the 6th of December.

The custom of giving "Christmas boxes" comes from the Romans, and
in later days these gifts came to be called "boxes", because at
Christmas time boxes were hung up in the churches in which people
might put money, for the poor. On the day after Christmas Day
these boxes were opened, and the day was thus known as "Boxing
Day". Another custom which comes from the Romans is that of
having a Christmas tree hung with toys--a custom which dates back
to the Saturnalia. Virgil, in his book called The Georgics,
describes how the farmers, when holding a festival in honour of
Bacchus, God of Wine, "hang from the tall pine tiny waving masks"
of the god.

December also had two names among the Angles and Saxons:
"Wintermonath", and "Heligmonath", that is, "holy month", from
the fact that Christmas falls in this month.

========= (Chapter II of Teutonic Myth and Legend
========= by Donald A. Mackenzie [1912])

The Asa-gods built for themselves Asgard, the celestial city,
which is set high above the heavens. It stands there in beauty
and in glory upon a holy island in the midst of a dark broad
river flowing from the thunder-vapours that rise through the
great World-tree from Hvergelmer, "the roaring cauldron", the
mother of waters. The river is ever troubled with eddies and
fierce currents, and above it hover darkly thick banks of
kindling mist called "Black Terror Gleam", from which leap
everlastingly tongues of vafer-flame, (lightning) filling the air
and darting like white froth from whirling billows.

Round Asgard is a dark and lofty wall, and the great boiling
river breaks angrily at its base. There is no entry-way save by
Odin's mighty gate. And if anyone who is unworthy, be he god or
giant or mortal, should cross the river unscathed by the vafer-
flames, and seek to open the gate of Asgard, he would be caught
suddenly by a chain which springs from the lock of strange
mechanism, and crushed and utterly destroyed.

In the middle of Asgard was built stately Idavoll, the Court of
Judgment, the High Thingstead of the Gods, in which their own
divine affairs are discussed and arranged. The beauty of the
great hall is unequalled in the nine worlds, for its roof is of
shining silver and it is resplendent without and within with
burnished and graven gold. Therein was set the great golden
throne of Odin, the chief ruler of Asgard, and around it were
placed twelve golden seats for the gods who sit with him in
judgment, and to whom the All-father gave power to rule and to
issue decrees.

When Odin sits on his high golden throne he looks over the homes
of giants and elves and mortals and sees all things. He is silent
and he listens.

Another fair and stately structure did the gods cause to be made
as a sanctuary for the goddesses, and by singers of skalds who
echo its praises it is called Vingolf, "the abode of friends".

In Asgard was shaped a smithy which was furnished with anvils and
hammers and tongs. With these the gods had made for them, by the
cunning elf-smiths, Ivalde's sons and Sindre's kinsmen, every
instrument they had need of. They worked in fine metals, and so
great was the treasure of gold that all movables were made of it.

On a green place in the celestial city were found the golden
tablets with which was played the Game of the Gods. This was in
the Golden Age, which lasted until there came from Jotun-heim
three giant maids, who brought corruption.

To the gods in ages past it became known that there dwelt in
Midgard a race of dwarfs. In the deep, dark mould of Ymer's body
they swarmed as do maggots in rotted flesh, and they went hither
and thither with no purpose or knowledge. All the gods assembled
in their high Thingstead, with Odin seated on his golden throne,
and there took counsel one with another. To the dwarfs they gave
human shape, but their hue was the blackness of earth in which
they had being. Over them the gods set Modsognir, who is Mimer,
to be king. In the mounds of the earth dwell one tribe of these
earth-black elves, within rocks another, and a third have their
habitation inside high and precipitous mountains. Besides these
are the Trolls, who fly hither and thither carrying bundles of
sticks, and have power to change their shape. Now the wonder of
the Universe, which was set in order by the will of All-father,
is the great ash tree, Ygdrasil, the Tree of Existence, which
nourishes and sustains all spiritual and physical life. Its roots
are spread through the divisions of the worlds that fill the
yawning gulf, and its boughs are above the high celestial city of
the gods. It grows out of the past, it lives in the present, and
it reaches towards the future.

The World-ash has three great roots. In the realms below Midgard
is one root, which receives warmth and life in Hela's glittering
plains from the deep fountain of Urd, the goddess of fate and of
death; another root reaches the egg-white well of Mimer, who is
Wisdom and Memory; and the last root is in gloomy Nifel-heim,
where it finds hardening sustenance in Hvergelmer, "the roaring
cauldron", the fount of primeval waters, ice-cold and
everlasting, which springs up on Hvergelmer mountain.

In the realm of Urd, which is Hela, the souls of good men be.
Nigh to it, in the underworld, is Mimer's well in Mimer's grove,
where dwells the race which will regenerate the world of men.
Below cold and darksome Nifel-heim are the nine divisions of
torture in which the souls of the wicked are punished. At
Hvergelmer the watchman of the root of Ygdrasil is Ivalde, who
with his sons contend against the storm-giants who threaten Hela.

The roots of the great World-tree suck up the waters of the three
eternal fountains, and these mixed together give imperishable
life. In the well of wise Mimer the fibres are made white with
the holy mead which gives wisdom to men, and poetry also, and is
the very elixir of life eternal.

On the high branches of Ygdrasil, which overshadow Asgard, sits a
wise eagle, and between its eyes is perched a hawk named
Vedfolner. On the topmost bough is Goldcomb, the "cock of the
north", which awakens the gods from sleep and puts the demons to
flight. From Hela answers the red cock, whose fire purifies what
is good and destroys what is evil.

But the great World-tree bears a more painful burden than mortals
can conceive. In the well of Hvergelmer, in the black realm of
Nifel-heim, is the corpse-eating dragon Nidhog, "the lower one",
which chews constantly at the root; above, four giant harts are
ever biting its buds and its leaves; on its side, Age rots it;
and many serpents gnaw its tender fibres in the dark underworld.
For there never was good to which evil came not, nor growth which
has known not decay and the wasting of time.

The Norns of Hela sprinkle the great ash-tree each morning with
precious mead from Urd's fount of life, so that its leaves may
ever be green. Thence comes the honey-dew, which drips upon the
world and is stored by the bees. And in Urd's fountain are the
two mystic swans which are the ancestors of the swan race in

Up and down the World-tree runs constantly the squirrel Ratatosk,
which bears gossip between the eagle on the highest branches and
the dragon Nidhog at the root, and is thus ever the cause of
strife. Greatly dreaded is Nidhog, who flies to the rocks and
cliffs of the lower world with the bodies of dead men beneath its

The three Fates, who are called Norns, are Urd and her two
sisters--Urd, "present"; Verdande, "past"; and Skuld, "future".
By them are spun at will the fates of men and women. There are
also Dises, who are maids of Urd, unto whom various duties are
assigned. The Hamingjes are those Dises who are guardians of men
through their lives, and appear to them in dreams to give
warnings and noble counsel, and he whom the holy elf deserts for
wrongdoing is indeed lost. The decrees of Urd are executed by the
Giptes, and men who are favoured are suddenly awarded good
fortune and treasure; other Dises attend upon families and even
upon tribes. There are also the sweet elf-maids who have care of
babes unborn in the fair realms of Urd, and find them kindly
mothers in the world of men; and there are maids who conduct the
souls of the dead to Hela's glittering plain.

Now in Hela is the lower-world Thingstead of the gods, where the
souls of the dead are judged, and rewards and punishments are
meted out by Odin. There is but one road thither from Asgard for
all the gods save Thor, and that is over the curved bridge Bif-
rost, "the rainbow", which has its foundation beyond the edge of
the world of men. The southern span reaches to the fount of Urd
in the realms of green verdure that never. know decay. Bif-rost
is built of air and water, and is protected by red fire flaming
on its edge. Frost giants and mountain giants ever seek to
capture the bridge, so that they may ascend to Asgard and
overcome the gods; but its sentinel, Heimdal, is constantly on
guard against them.

The gods set Heimdal, son of the waves, to protect the bridge
forever against the enemy. He is clad in silvern armour, and on
his head is a burnished helmet with ram's horns. Horsed on his
swift steed, Gull-top, he now watches at the highest point of
Bif-rost from his fortified citadel, Himinbjorg, "the ward of
heaven", where his hall is supplied with precious mead. Anon he
crosses over from side to side of the bridge. His sight is so
keen that he can see by night as well as by day the length of a
hundred leagues, and he listens so keenly that he can hear the
grass growing. He sleeps as little and as lightly as a bird. When
the giants and monsters come to assail the gods at Ragnarok,
Heimdal shall blow a thunderblast on Gjallar-horn which is hidden
in the deepest shade of the World-tree. With his great sword he
shall combat with the Evil One in the Last Battle.

Heimdal is loved both by gods and by men, and he is also called
Gullintani because his teeth are of gold. There was a time when
he went unto Midgard as a child; he grew up to be a teacher among
men, and was named Scef.

Every day the horses of the gods thunder over Bif-rost as they
descend to and return from the lower-world Thingstead. Thor, the
thunder god, cannot travel thus because the fire of his thunder
chariot might set the bridge aflame and destroy it. He must needs
wade across the four great girdling rivers in the underworld to
reach Hela's glittering plains.

When the gods come unto Hela they leap from their horses and take
their seats in the Thingstead. The dead are then brought before

A weary way and long these dead men and women have travelled.
Down the valley of thorns they came, and those who were given
hel-shoes in their graves, because they had shown mercy to others
while they lived, suffered indeed little; but the feet of the
wicked were torn and bleeding. Then they crossed a river full of
weapons. The just walked over on boards, but the unjust waded,
and were sorely wounded and covered with scars, so that their
bodies dripped blood.

To the Thingstead come men and women in full attire, with the
jewels and ornaments which those who loved them placed on their
bodies ere they were laid in grave-chambers. Warriors carry their
weapons, and all are clad so that they may be recommended to the
gods as the well-beloved among men. But silent are the dead, save
the happy ones under whose tongues were placed, ere yet they were
laid in their graves, magic runes, so that they might make answer
when accused, and give reasons to justify their deeds. But the
Hamingjes can also speak for the dead, and those who have not
Hamingjes to speak for them are known to have done evil and to be
deserted by their Dises in sorrow and wrath. Those who are
justified pass to the eternal realms of Hela, where joy prevails,
because they have lived upright lives, and have been honourable
and full of pity and have helped others; because they were brave
and feared not to die; and also because they worshipped the gods
and gave offerings in the temples.

But those who are condemned are sent to Nifel-hel, the region of
torture. They are judged to be unworthy if they injured others by
falsehoods or wicked deeds, if they were adulterers, or
murderers, or despoilers of graves, or cowards, or were traitors,
and profaners of the temples.

Those who are to share eternal joy are given to drink from the
horn of Urd, which imparts to them enduring strength. In it are
mixed the three meads from the wells which sustain Ygdrasil, the
World-ash. But the doomed are given a draught of burning venom
which changes them to monsters. Their tongues are then for ever
bereft of speech and they can moan only.

The happy dead disport themselves on the green plains of Hela,
where they meet lost friends and ancestors from the earliest
years of the world. And many beauteous ways they travel, and
wonderful tales they hear. The children are cared for in the
realm of Mimer, "memory", where joy is theirs forever and their
food is honey-dew.

The doomed are fettered and are driven towards Nifel-hel by black
elves, who carry thorny rods with which they lash those who
falter or seek to turn back. Their first punishment is received
when they must needs pass through the regions of eternal bliss,
and behold with grief unutterable the joy of the blessed. Then
they cross the rivers which girdle Hela, and climb towards the
dark mountains of Nifel-hel. The wolf dog barks at them in the
shadowy valley where it guards the borders of Hela, and there is
blood on its breast. And as they climb tortuous paths and tread
the narrow path on the edge of dizzy precipices they hear the
barking of the terrible watchdogs at Nifel-hel's gates. The
dreaded dragon, Nidhog, hovers near them, and ferocious birds of
prey sit on the rocks.

Then they enter the Na-gates and die the second death. Punishment
is given in the nine realms of torture according to the sins that
were committed. Some are seized by the dragon and some by the
birds of prey, according to their deserts. Others are tempted for
ever by illusions of sinful things they sought in life, and there
are those who are torn to pieces by the great wolf.

In the Venom-dale is a river called Slid, and it is full of
daggers and sharp spears. Through it must wade the perjurers and
murderers and adulterers, who are continually suffering new and
fierce wounds. Others sit together on benches of iron, while
venom drips on them, within a hall which is full of stench
unbearable. Traitors are hung on trees, and cowards are drowned
in pools of foulness. Eternal night broods over all.

Naglefar, the "ship of death", lies in the Gulf of Black Grief,
in the outer regions of Nifel-hel, made fast to a dark island
with chains that shall not sever until Ragnarok, "the dusk of the
gods". It is constructed of the parings of dead men's nails--the
wicked men, hated by their kind because of their evil deeds,
whose bodies were cleansed not at life's end, and whose nails
were not pared ere they were laid in grave-chambers. When
Naglefar breaks loose the avenging hosts shall sail in it to
battle against the gods.

The warriors who are slain in battle, or drowned at sea, are
borne to Valhal in Asgard by the maids of Urd, who are called
Valkyries. They are horsed on swift steeds, and first they pass
to Hela, where the gods give judgment and reject the unworthy.
Then they are carried by the Valkyries over Bif-rost, and the
hoofs of their steeds resound in Asgard. In great Valhal the
heroes feast with Odin in eternal triumph and happiness.

Now these are the divisions of the Universe. In the midst is the
earth, Midgard, which is encircled by the ocean. On high, and
above all else, is Asgard, and below it is the realm of white
elves, who flit between the branches of the great World-tree.
Then Vana-heim, the home of the Vana-gods, is in the air and in
the sea; and in the depths of the western sea is the hall of
Aeger, god of Ocean. Alf-heim, the home of elves, is to the east.
In the lower world, below Nifel-heim, are the Nifel-hel regions
of torture, and under Midgard are the Hela realms of Mimer and of
Urd. Far below the path of the gods towards Hela's fields of
bliss are Surtur's deep dales on the borders of Muspel-heim,
where the great giant Surtur, the swarthy sentinel, keeps watch
with his flaming sword. Jotun-heim is to the north and the east,
beyond the world's edge.

Billing is the elf-guardian of the western heaven, and when the
cars of Day and of Night and of the Sun and of the Moon enter the
forest of the Varns, "the protectors", they pass through the
lower-world realms of Mimer and of Urd towards the gates of
Delling, the elf of dawn, in the east. When Nat reaches Hela,
where she must rest, darkness falls around her, and the blessed
are given sleep, and light comes again with Dagr, as Nat covers
the earth above with shadow and deep slumber.

The Descent of the Gods

  . . . the Gods arose,
  And took their horses, and set forth to ride
  O'er the bridge Bifrost, where is Heimdall's watch,
  To the ash Ygdrasil, and Ida's plain;
  Thor came on foot, the rest on horseback rode.
  And they found Mimir sitting by his fount
  Of wisdom, which beneath the ash-tree springs;
  And saw the Nornies watering the roots
  Of that world-shadowing tree with honey-dew.
  There came the Gods, and sate them down on stones.
            --From "Balder Dead", by Matthew Arnold.

========= by Anthony Ford, host of Pagan Chat

Pagan Chat is a radio talk show dedicated to discussing issues
surrounding paganism and other alternative spiritualities.  The
host and guest take questions and comments via telephone, email,
and AIM.  These questions and comments are presented, and then
discussed by the guest, host, and interacting listeners. Also,
the guest and host may write short articles containing hints,
tips, and other tidbits of helpful information to share with the
pagan community.

The goal of Pagan Chat is three-fold.  First, to air the truth
about paganism and other alternative spiritualities.  Second, to
generate discussion about paganism, whereas the listener can be
exposed to diverse and interesting opinions.  Finally, Pagan Chat
also strives to present helpful tidbits of information to the
practitioners of paganism.  Of course, the most important goal of
Pagan Chat is to have fun, and learn while we do so!

Pagan Chat is on every Tuesday from 8pm to 10pm EST.  To listen,
go to http://people.sunyit.edu/~wcot/

To contact the show to pose a question, start a discussion,
contribute to a discussion, or generally say HI!!!, you can call
(315)351-7363, email the host at forda@sunyit.edu, or use AIM at
the screen-name WCOTPagan.

Hope to hear from you!!!

You can also discuss Pagan Chat with Anthony on our message board:

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

========= by our readers

=== Kitchen Witch Blessing
=== Author Unknown
=== Submitted by Novitiate

Kitchen Witch Blessing 
Blessed Be this kitchen 
of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. 
Be warmed by the Sacred light of the Goddess 
May all that is Created here 
by means both magickal and mundane. 
Bring nourishment, healing and sustenance, 
and cause harm to none. 
With love and peace, with joy and Magick, 
be now and always filled. 
So Mote it be!" 
(author unknown) 

=== Chasmodai's Magickal Veggie Burgers 
=== Submitted by Chasmodai

These are also known as Valkyrie Veggies 
This recipe takes two evenings or one full day to make, but it's
worth it because it makes about 50 veggie burgers, they freeze
well and reheat beautifully. To make this recipe, I used an
electric rice/veggie steamer, a food processor, and a crock pot.
I also used a very large mixing bowl, a couple of smaller bowls,
a skillet, a pie plate, several cookie sheets, waxed paper, and
freezer bags.
2 bunches of spinach, (washed and stems removed) 
2 packages of mushrooms (cleaned and coarsely chopped) 
1 onion (cleaned and coarsely chopped) 
1 pound carrots (peeled and coarsely grated) 
2 cups whole wheat berries 
2 cups brown basmati rice 
Approximately 5 1/2 to 6 cups of vegetable broth 
1 cup rolled oats 
1 quarter cup bulgur wheat 
1/4 cup parsley stems removed, coarsely chopped 
1 15 oz can white beans (drained) 
1 cup hulled unsalted sunflower seeds 
2 cups toasted slivered almonds, unsalted 
1/4 cup sesame seeds 
2 cups pumpkin seeds 
1 pound of mozzarella cheese (shredded) 
1 8 oz package of Mexican cotija cheese, goat cheese, or other soft cheese 
1/4 cup cornstarch 
1 15 oz package bread crumbs 
Seasonings such as spike, paprika, garlic and onion powders, pepper 
Peanut oil or other oil like canola 
Day one, or in the early morning: Place the two cups of wheat
berries in a crock pot with four cups of vegetable broth. Add
spices such as Spike and garlic and onion powder to taste. Set to
low, for about 8 hours.
Wash the spinach, remove the stems, and steam it until it s
wilted. If you use the type of steamer that allows the vegetable
liquid to collect separately from the steaming water, reserve
this liquid and add it to the crackpot -- it improves the flavor
of the vegetable broth.
While the spinach is steaming, clean and coarsely chop the
mushrooms and the onion. Set the steamed spinach aside, and steam
the mushrooms until they are reduced. Again, if possible reserve
the liquid. The vegetable liquor that forms is a wonderful flavor
enhancer.  Next, steam the onion, and again, reserve the liquid.
Grate the carrots, and either steam them or saute them in a pan
with peanut oil on medium high heat until softened.
Next, steam the brown basmati rice in about a cup of vegetable
broth. (If you don't use a steamer for this, cook according to
package directions)
Combine the vegetables and place them in the refrigerator until
chilled. When the rice is finished steaming, refrigerate it also.
Day two, or eight hours later: Remove the wheat berries from the
crock pot, and drain. Reserve the thick broth -- it makes
wonderful vegetarian gravy -- and test the wheat berries. They
should be chewy but soft enough to eat.
Warm up some vegetable broth (I zapped it in the microwave), and
pour it over the bulgar wheat, just enough to cover it, for about
ten minutes. (I used about 1/2 cup broth for ¼ cup of bulgar
Remove the veggies from the refrigerator, and squeeze them to
remove all extra liquid. You want them as dry as possible. Pulse
them a couple of times in the food processor, along with the
parsley, beans and nuts. Do not over process them, but make sure
there are still large pieces to give your burgers texture. Place
all of the processed ingredients in a large bowl, and add the
Squeeze all of the extra moisture out of the bulgar wheat, and
add the bulgar to your veggie burger mixture. Thoroughly mix all
of the ingredients in the bowl. (At this point you may find it
necessary to use your hands) Add the cornstarch and spices, and
stir it in.
Now here comes the tricky part. The texture of the burger mix
determines the outcome of the burger. If the moisture is too wet
and sticky, the burgers will have an unpleasant mushy texture.
Add in breadcrumbs, maybe 1/2 cup at a time. Mix them in, until
your mixture has the texture of play dough. When enough
breadcrumbs have been added, it won't be dry but it won t stick
to your hands either.
Place some breadcrumbs into a pie pan. Form your mixture into
patties, about 1/4 cup each. Roll each burger in the breadcrumbs,
then fry in hot oil until golden.
As the burgers brown, remove them and cool them on paper towels.
Place the cooled burgers on cookie sheets covered with wax paper
and flash freeze them. Leave them in the freezer about 30 minutes
to one hour, then wrap them for long term freezing -- wrap each
burger in wax paper, then fill freezer bags with burgers.
To warm them up, zap them in the microwave, fry them on a
skillet, barbeque them, or even warm them in a toaster oven.

=== My Mom's Easy After Thanksgiving Pot Pie
=== submitted by Christine Moonflower

The holiday season is upon us and so are the left overs. Here is
something that you can do to get rid of them and clear space in
the fridge.
2 pie crusts 
Mashed Potatoes 
Stuffing (optional) 
Sweet potatoes (optional) 
Cranberries (optional) 
In one pie shell layer the ingredients as you wish. Take the
other pie crust and remove it from the pan, roll it out and lay
it on top of the other. Crimp down the sides, cut slit in the
middle of the pie and bake at 375 for about an hour.
Variations: you can use any left overs from beef or pork roasts. 

=== Greek Avgolemono Soup
=== submitted by Christine Moonflower

This soup is easy simple and delicious it's great on cold nights
and when you are sick. It seems to give me an energy boost every
time I eat it. I see it as a very solar soup; and associate it
with the Sabbats of Yule or Ostara.
4 Cups chicken or veggie broth 
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons 
Zest of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons 
1/2 Cup rice 
4 large egg yolks 
Salt and pepper 
Heat broth until steaming. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Stir in
rice, cook rice thoroughly. Slowly whisk enough of the broth into
the egg yolks to temper them. Then add the egg yolks to the
broth, whisking thoroughly. Heat gently until steaming.
Serves 3-4 people. 

=== Orange Medley
=== submitted by Goaoe

To energize you throughout the holiday season, try some Orange
Medley:  A refreshing "energy spritzer".  Gather 

2 oranges
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint oil or herb
2 lemons
1/2 grapefruit
16 oz of water
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla.

You may substitute oil fragrance but use small amounts as these
are very potent. Some are costly as well.  The basic "natural"
juice is a bit more refreshing than the oils, but either will
Take your fruit and use a processor or just squeeze as much juice
as you can (minus the seeds) and put in one bowl.  Gather your
peppermint oil/and or herbs, vanilla, and water and mix together.
Add the juice from the squeezed fruit and mix well. Pour into a
saucepan and place on the stove to boil.  Boil for 10 full
minutes (no more than that as you don't want the nutrients to
dissolve from the fruit).  Once this comes to a boil, remove pan
and let cool for 10 minutes.  Pour into a small spritzer bottle
(or you can divide into 2 small bottles) and refrigerate.  Keep
this in the refrigerator and spray on first thing in the morning,
for an afternoon "pick me up" or anytime you want to feel
refreshed!!  This should only take about 30 minutes from start to
finish to prepare.  For the more detailed, if you want to keep
slices of orange peel and lemon peel in the spritzer bottle you
can, just make sure they are sliced very thin as this will
enhance the potency and last longer.
You can double the batch, make as much as you want, you can give
this as a Yule gift as well, makes a wonderful stocking stuffer
or to add to any decorative basket.  Blessed Be!!

========= by Roger Tory Pentacle

Gerald Gardner's Witchcraft has undergone many changes due to its
emergence as the favored "alternative religion." As with any
religion that becomes popular, people start adapting it to suit
their own requirements, purposes, and agendas. This leads to the
formation of many offshoots or, if you will, denominations. Most
of those who follow the core values of Gardnerian Witchcraft
either delineate their path by using its name (e.g. Gardnerian,
Alexandrian, British Traditional) or have dropped the Wiccan
label altogether. For those interested in observing the Wiccan
religion, this still leaves a huge number of Wiccans to sort
through and classify. To assist you, I have created this field
guide to the major classes of Wiccans one is liable to run into
in the course of observation. Please note that these are high
level delineations and that Wiccans can belong to several classes
and often drift from class to class. There are also many other
classes that are not prolific at this time that have been left
out of this guide. As these classes become more prevalent, they
will be added. Please enjoy this first edition of The Field Guide
to Wiccans. I hope it assists you in your studies.
- Roger Tory Pentacle

=== Christo-Wiccan 

As the name suggests, the Christo-Wiccan is merely a sheep in
Wiccan clothing. This person has not shaken the fetters of
xianity and does not want to. In fact, they basically have taken
xianity, changed a few nouns (e.g. "Jesus" is now "Goddess,"
"hell" has morphed into "karma," and "sin" has become
"negativity") and reduced the commandments from 10 to 1. They
practice what is called "Xianity with Tits." It is easy to spot
this type. Christo-Wiccans demand to set standards of behavior
for others. They love endless lists of rules, standards, and
requirements. They don't like rudeness, harsh language, or
discussions of bodily functions outside of those related to
having babies. They always sit in judgment of others. The first
thing they tell people who ask about Wicca is "We don't worship
Satan!" Any remarks about past Xian atrocities against Witches
will result in them spouting fire and brimstone against the
speaker for "intolerance" and "bashing xianity." These Wiccans
are universal, you will have no problem finding one. Just walk
into a Pagan group and say "*****." The ones that scowl are FB's
(see below), the one's that tell you that "your negativity is not
appreciated" are Christo-Wiccans. They favor being called
"reverend" and like to hang with FB Wiccans. Both groups are
likely to be the next Witch burners.

=== Crone-ometer

This is a person who thinks that, just because they have managed
to get through several decades without dying, they are somehow
imbued with wisdom and authority. They are almost all DIEanic
(see below) and can cite a different, painful, childhood
experience to excuse each shortcoming they may have. They expect
everyone to treat them with the highest honor and respect because
they have "earned it." These Wiccans can be identified by their
imperial airs. They have everything they need yet never do
anything for themselves. They do not even have to ask for things.
They usually have a court surrounding them that is trained
perfectly to make the proper response to each groan, sigh, and
whimper. They will not tolerate disobedience and expect their
followers to drop any and everything at a moment's notice least
they face the constant threat of being "kicked out of the group."
Crone-ometers can be found in the center of a group of adoring
younger people and they like to lead large, public rituals. In
their favor, these are the folks most likely to conduct public
classes. They prefer to be called "Mother " and they
often take the name of queens or motherly Goddesses.

=== Crafty

Named after the movie, these are the people (usually teenagers)
who are attracted to Wicca by the movie "The Craft." Their first
question is usually "How can I change my hair color?" These wide-
eyed, inquisitive newcomers have been treated horribly by
mainstream Wiccans. Often denigrated for their "simplistic"
mindset and never appreciated for their wide open attitude (they
do, after all, believe that magick works) and great enthusiasm.
This is an endangered species. As the movie gets older, we see
less and less of them, although a few will pop up whenever it is
rerun on late night cable. Most Crafties become Mall Rats (see
below) while the rest simply drift away. Wiccans did themselves a
great disservice by shoving this source of vital energy to one
side. There was a small ripple after the movie "Practical Magic"
but this film was not very popular and those attracted by it are
lumped in with Crafties as are "Charmers" (inspired by the TV
show charmed) and anyone else who is drawn to Witchcraft by works
of fiction. Shunned by the self-righteous Wiccan community, these
folks are usually found around other Pagans only when they make
their initial foree. They are very difficult to locate subsequent
to that. They look like the kids on the front of "Teen Witch"
(which was designed to appeal to them) and are often confused
with Goths. They like to be called vampire names and males will
often take the title "Lord" usually followed by something of an
evil nature.

=== DIEanic

These are the extremely militant followers of Z Budapest's brand
of Marxist feminism disguised as Wicca. Every problem, every
hurt, every disappointment in their lives has come at the hands
of a man. If it has a penis, they hate it but justify this hate
by claiming they have been "deeply hurt" by men. They usually
belong to "Women's Spirituality" (i.e. let's sit around and *****
about men) groups, are lesbian, bi, or, at least, bi curious.
They NEVER mention the God or do even the simulated Great Rite,
and think men's role in religion is moving heavy things and
tidying up. The penis is their enemy. These ladies occasionally
visit gay bars but can usually be found wherever there are no
men. They like to be called "Lady," "Queen," "Mother," or the
name of a death Goddess. NOTE: It is extremely dangerous to
approach these Wiccans if you are male.

=== FB Wiccan

Fluffy Bunny Wiccans are universally known. These people live in
Never Never Land and hang with Faeries. They think the world is a
wonderful place of goodness and light and will not tolerate any
disagreement (also called "negativity"). They have had several
past lives and were always the Queen, the Royal Stud, or some
other person of note. They think magic is in the heart and that
Marion Zimmer Bradley was "the best Pagan author ever." These
Wiccans are, surprisingly, very militant and favor doing battle
with those of the Asatru faith, even thought the result is always
the slaughter of the FB's. They are great fans of passive
aggressive attacks and think that, as long as you don't use bad
words or say mean things, you are "harming none." Lies and gossip
are two more of their favorite weapons. Our furry friends love
the Internet. They (usually allied with Christo-Wiccans) infest
mail lists, news groups, and chat rooms demanding that everyone
heed their message of peace and love. If they don't, these
champions of censorship harass them until they leave or get into
lockstep. Should they still persist, FB's have them banned,
warlocked, shunned, "Sent to Coventry," or otherwise eliminated.
FB's love moderated mailing lists and newsgroups. As mentioned,
they often associate with Christo-Wiccans. Their screen names and
their magickal names are usually one and the same. They also
heavily favor "Lord," "Lady," and names with the word "faerie" in

=== Glam Wiccan

These are the high profile Wiccans, who often see themselves as
being leaders. They have the names we all know. They are always
with the right people, belong to the right group, and are in the
right place. They drop the name of a famous Pagan author they
know at least once every hour. They are never more than one
person away from someone who was "initiated by Ray Buckland."
Fingers in the wind, they manage to flow with every change in
social structure. Always smiling, always your buddy, they will
not hesitate to stab you in the back if it benefits them. When a
Witch War starts (often by a Glam Wiccan seeking favor), they are
quick to choose which side the think will win and doggedly fight
for it. If a Wiccan ever wins a political election, it will be
one of these people. You find Glams anywhere there are Pagans of
consequence, especially at fests. They favor "Lord,", "Lady," or
an NA sounding, Witchlike name that includes a reference to
ravens (apologies to RBB).

=== Green Meanie

Another offspring of the Marxist Socialist movement of the late
60's/early 70's, these are the radical environmentalists, the
militant vegans, and the people who have copies of the Mother
Earth News from * before * they accepted ads for cars and
lawnmowers. These people would belong to ELF, PETA, or Greenpeace
were they motivated enough. Instead, they preach that "saving the
Earth" is what Wicca is all about and recycle aluminum cans. They
often call themselves "Green Witches," but this is a misnomer.
They think "real" Wiccans only vote for Democrats and that George
W Bush stole the election. This breed has found new life in
protesting the war that they feel is the fault of the "evil
colonialist" US government. This group is mostly made up of
(surprise) students and other academics. They can be found on
college campuses and at any rally, protest march, or anti-
globalization riot. This group heavily favors Native American-
esque names.

=== Healy Feely Crystal Weenie

Also called "Crystal Suckers," these are new agers whose world
view leans heavily on Eastern thought. They can name the proper
herb, crystal, color, and sound frequency for every purpose from
whipping up a thunderstorm to healing an infected fingernail.
They love to talk about chakras, mantras, and tantra. They
practice Reiki and they feng shui their houses (even the garage).
They are the most fun to have sex with and often own bookstores.
At first glance, they appear to be heavily sedated. These
particular Wiccans hang at Pagan bookstores, coffee houses, or
anywhere Inya is played regularly. They greet each other with
phrase like "See a rainbow!" or "Thou art God/dess." They call
themselves by Hindu names, the names of Hindu Goddesses, or
anything esoteric.

=== IRAB

I Read A Book (thanks Wolf) Wiccans are very annoying. These are
the Wiccans who have read a single book and are instant experts
on Wicca. Not only that but they don't hesitate to chastise
others who have been at it for years because they are "doing it
wrong." From working with the Gods to making a poppet, this Mr.
Know It All can answer any question you have about the path. An
IRAB will be found in any discussion dispensing their new found
knowledge. They are named according to the instructions in the
particular book they follow.


At the opposite end of the literate spectrum is the I Read A Lot
of Books Wiccan. These are the highly educated, intellectual
Wiccans. They feel that your proficiency at Witchcraft is based
on how many cites you can give for a particular subject. They
know Celtic myth and history, the most ancient origins of every
word in the Pagan lexicon, and what Gardner "really meant." They
often grow frustrated with other, less cerebral Wiccans
(especially IRAB's and McWiccans). They eventually feel that
calling themselves Wiccans is not a proper acknowledgement of
their superiority. Many drift toward the Druid path and the rest
usually start calling themselves "Traditional Witch" which, to
them, means "superior Wiccan." Many of them adopt Celtic or
Scottish personas and like to talk in the dead languages of those
races and laugh when someone does not understand them. They have
very little chance of discovering true Witchcraft. These Wiccan
rocket scientists can be found hovering near the edge of any
discussion ready to pounce with corrections, diatribes, and other
demonstrations of their vast stores of knowledge. They are very
dangerous when they clump together as they take great sport in
ganging up to make outsiders feel stupid. McWiccans (see below)
are their favored prey, but will feed on any species except
DIEanics or Green Meanies. They like to take the names of bards,
people found in the Arthurian cycles, and very obscure characters
from myth and legend.

=== Mall Rat

Another group of predominately teenaged Wiccans (almost all
female), these folks usually start out as Crafties. Shunned and
rejected by mainstream Wiccans, they create their own brand based
on what they know best: suburban American consumer culture. They
love expensive robes, flashy Witch jewelry, Pagan bumper
stickers, and just about anything money can buy. They see Wicca
more as a fashion statement or a way to rebel than a religion.
The average age of an HPS in this genre is around 16 and she is
usually an IRAB (which puts her a step ahead of most of her
peers). There are many "girls only groups" thus they form a
source of future DIEanics. Mall Rats also tend to have strong
Healy Feely Crystal Weenie, FB, and Christo-Wiccan leanings as
this is the predominate theme of the books they can readily
purchase. Mall Rats may be considered to be the "caterpillar"
stage of Wiccans because, as they mature, they are usually
assimilated into one of the above mentioned groups. As their name
suggests, Mall Rats can be found in shopping malls, especially
near the food courts. They also flock in the New Age/Occult
section and coffee shops of the large chain bookstores. It is not
unusual to find an HPS in a training bra holding forth there. The
names they choose cover a wide range as the only criteria for
selection is "something cool."

=== McWiccan

I coined the term "McWiccan" after encountering a person who
asked "What is a Book of Shadows?" and then, less than a month
later, claimed to be an HP initiated by someone who was trained
by Buckland (see "Glam Wiccan"). Unfortunately, this is the most
common form of Wiccan. These are the people who want everything
now and with no more effort than ordering a hamburger through a
drive-up window (thus the name). In fact, this is how they
approach life in general. They will not accept the idea that
Wicca requires a certain amount of study but rather will show up
and say things like "I want to know all there is to know about
Witchcraft. E-mail me at . . ." They are noted for making long-
winded railing speeches (usually their very first communication)
criticizing the rest of the group for not being devoted to
educating them. Although tolerated to an extent by most other
varieties of Wiccan, McWiccans are the natural prey of the
IRALOB's and are almost helpless before them. Getting members of
the two groups together usually results in a severe bloodletting.
A subset of McWiccans, the Spell Beggars, simply demand to know
how to cast spells, usually love spells. This species is noted
for a very brief lifespan. The McWiccan variant has found its
perfect niche in the online environment as it is much too much
effort to seek out teachers or enroll in classes. Their naming
convention varies as they usually take the information on the
first web site someone gives them in response to their demand to
know how to come up with a magickal name.

=== Playgan

This species, also known as "Party Pagans" or "Drummers and
*****," are into to Wicca just for the fun of it. When they
looked up "Pagan" in the dictionary, they never got past
"hedonist." As their name suggests, they are into Wicca for the
all night drumming circles, the freely available sex, and because
they like to go naked in public. To them, Wicca is a fashion
statement, the "thing to be," and a social circle. They could not
care less about religion or ceremony. Absolutely nothing is to be
taken seriously. This species is the natural enemy of Christo-
Wiccans, who consider them to be "toxic," will often boycott any
Pagan event that allows Playgans to participate. They also try to
force event organizers to make Playgans "behave" by having them
add reams of rules for the participants. Strangely enough, this
does not seem to bother Playgans (little does) which are one of
the more prolific species. Playgans can be found wherever there
are two or more Wiccans and a drum, a bottle of mead, attractive
members of the opposite sex, and/or a "peace pipe." They seldom
adopt magickal names but can often be recognized by their common
greeting of "Hey dog! When did you get out of jail?" Look for
vast areas of skin covered in tattoos and body piercings in the
most painful of areas.

=== Wiccan Little

These "Nervous Nellies" are so scared of the Burning Times
returning that they can smell the smoke. They worriedly scan the
news each day and, every time they come across someone wanting to
post the Ten Commandments in a public place, a kid being told
they can't wear their pentacle in school, or Jerry Falwell
blaming sinners for the latest ill to befall the country, they go
into a blind panic as they are sure the sky is falling. Emails
fly and phones ring as they all convince each other that they are
indeed the most persecuted group in the history of mankind. This
is their most cherished idea and they constantly talk about the
need to bravely "come out of the closet." They may even go as far
as mailing postcards or organizing rallies (which are always
poorly attended) but Wiccan Littles are noted for a lack of both
energy and attention span. Soon enough, whatever it was that got
them squawking is forgotten as the next "outrage" comes along.
The very strange thing about Wiccan Littles is that they actually
defend the one group that actually persecuted Witches. They see
the Burning Times as being caused by some nebulous entity and any
direct accusations toward xianity will result in the same "xian
bashing" accusations one gets from Christo-Wiccans. Wiccan
Littles are always found huddled together in flocks. They all
talk at once and seldom hear what anyone else says once an alarm
is raised. They have no standard naming convention however most
of them have stopped using or have even changed their legal
sobriquet in favor of their Wiccan name. .

Note: Maybe you've spotted a new type we shoudl add to the list?
Don't take it too seriously as if you can't laugh at yourself
your inviting other to do it for you.

========= Cheap Web Hosting Report: December 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 hosts 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 -- if you are willing to spend many hours researching
offers and user experiences.

Many 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. We also list several
additional plans that provide special features (such as "root"
access or a Windows server with ASP and an Access database). This
means less work for you.

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

These are the top five general purpose cheap web hosts selected
for December 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 Dreamhost

Price: 1m: $9.95 2y: $7.95
Setup: 1m: $24.95 2y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB (December Sale: 120 GB)
Disk Space: 800 MB
Mailboxes: 600

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. Improvements in their plans in 2004 have
made them very competitive in terms of bandwidth, web space, and
features offered for the price, so they have moved onto and then
rapidly up our "Top Five" list. New and improved features are
announced in the Dreamhost newsletter almost every month. Their
tech support is the best I've seen in the low cost hosting
industry. If you are looking for low cost, high quality web
hosting with truly excellent tech support and very friendly
people, check out Dreamhost. Update: For a December sale,
Dreamhost tripled the bandwidth on all their accounts which
raised the bandwidth on this, their least expensive account, from
40 GB to 120 GB. (This site hosts with Dreamhost.)

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

=== #2 midPhase

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

Comments: midPhase is a young hosting company (launched in late
2002). 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. At the
end of August, they switched to unmetered bandwidth for most
sites (60 gig limit for download sites and image galleries).
While unmetered bandwidth sometimes causes hosting companies
problems, midPhase says that they have been planning this switch
for months and do not expect any problems.

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

=== #3 iPowerWeb

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB 
Disk Space: 1000 MB  
Mailboxes: 500

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

=== #4 Lunarpages

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB
Disk Space: 1000 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

=== #5 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

===== 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 (December Sale: 120 GB)
Disk Space: 800 MB
Mailboxes: 600

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

=== 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. They are one of the most affordable and most
popular Windows hosting providers. Customer service reports are
spotty, however. Most people report excellent service but
minority report major problems.

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

=== Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (Root Access)

Price: 1y: $9.95	
Setup: 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 5 GB
Disk Space: 500 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

=== Dedicated Server Hosting

Price: 1m: $29.95	
Setup: $149.00	
Bandwidth: 40 GB	
Disk Space: 200 GB
Mailboxes: unlimited	

A dedicated server gives your site its own physical computer as a
server. The upside is that you have full root access so you can
install whatever software you want on it and have very few
restrictions on scripts (even if they hog CPU time). The downside
is that you have to maintain the system yourself. ServerPronto
has some of the most affordable dedicated server prices we have
seen, although there are many options that can increase the
monthly price or the setup fee. Windows and Windows 2003
dedicated servers are also available at higher prices.  In mid-
September, ServerPronto started a special offer of $80 off the
above listed setup fees on several plans. The length of this
offer is unknown, but it was still going at the end of October,
so check their website for more information.

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

=== Notes

The information in this report was checked for accuracy on
November 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.

========= Fostering A New Generation Of Blood Donors

Each year, nearly five million Americans need a life saving blood
transfusion and 38,000 units of blood are needed daily in this
country. Critically low inventories nationwide frequently result
in public appeals for donations. About 60 percent of the U.S.
population is eligible to donate blood, but only five percent
does. Almost 20 percent of non-donors cite "never thought about
it" as the main reason for not giving. Few people realize that
blood has a shelf life of only 42 days or that eligible donors
are allowed to give blood every two months (or 56 days). As
additional donor restrictions are implemented and the population
ages, the country could lose more and more willing donors, which
could cause an even greater threat to our national blood supply.
The Advertising Council is partnering with AABB (formerly known
as the American Association of Blood Banks), America's Blood
Centers and the American Red Cross to launch the blood banking
community's first national, unbranded public education and
awareness campaign. Geared towards young adults, the public
service advertising (PSA) initiative is designed to raise
awareness about the importance of and need for blood donation in
order to foster a new generation of lifelong donors.

This thought-provoking new initiative was developed to catch the
attention of young adults, especially 17-24 year olds, to
increase awareness of the need for regular blood donation and to
set the foundation for lifelong donor behavior. Created pro bono
by ad agency Euro RSCG Worldwide New York, the campaign includes
television, radio, outdoor and Internet advertising and directs
young adults to visit a new, comprehensive Web site,
http://www.bloodsaves.com/, where they can learn more about the
need for a robust blood supply and obtain information and
resources to help them donate blood in their community.

Titled "Save the World," the new campaign features young adults
discussing the extreme lengths they have gone to try to make a
difference in the world in an effort to show how donating blood
is an easy way to positively and significantly make an impact.
Each PSA concludes with the tagline, "Saving the world isn't
easy. Saving a life is. And just one pint of blood can save up to
three lives." The PSAs are being distributed to more than 20,000
media outlets nationwide and will air in advertising time and
space that is donated by the media.

To donate blood, one must be healthy, at least 17 years old,
weigh 110 pounds or more and meet other donor requirements. Those
interested in donating blood are urged to visit
http://www.bloodsaves.com/ to find a local blood collection site
and to schedule an appointment.

========= Coral Reefs

Rising ocean temperatures caused by global warming pollution
threaten to wipe out many of the world's coral reefs, including
popular reefs in U.S. waters, say leading coral reef scientists.

They project that a majority of the world's coral reefs could be
lost if average temperatures increase more than about 3.5
degrees, a conservative estimate of what is expected in the
coming decades if we fail to curb global warming pollution.

"Many of the most popular reefs for diving are nearing a point of
no return," said Patty Glick of the National Wildlife Federation.

The Florida Keys experienced extensive coral bleaching in 1997
and 1998, which scientists attribute to a half-degree rise in
ocean temperature.

Coral reefs are important nurseries for millions of commercially
valuable fish.

In Congress, Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Joe
Lieberman, a Democrat, have teamed up to push the Climate
Stewardship Act, a plan to reduce global warming pollution.

========= Tips To Ensure Pets' Safety During The Holidays

Holidays can be happier if pet owners follow a few easy tips to
make celebrations both a safe and pleasurable experience for dogs
and cats.

According to Dr. Susanna Hinkle, D.V.M., an emergency room
veterinarian and surgery resident at Tufts University School of
Veterinary Medicine, you can easily "pet proof" your house in the
following seasonal ways:

=== Pets as holiday gifts

"The holidays are too hectic to properly select and introduce a
new dog or cat into your home," said Hinkle. "Regardless of when
you bring home a new companion animal, you both need time to bond
with each other and other people and animals in your household.
Start your relationship off on a good foot by developing a
consistent schedule free of the demands holidays may make."

=== Food

Treats that are delectable to humans can be deadly to pets.

"Never give your companion animals chocolate; rich fatty foods;
or pork, poultry or fish bones," said Hinkle.

Chocolate can be toxic to animals; fatty foods such as turkey
skin and gravy can cause pancreatitis; and bones can puncture
your pet's throat, stomach or intestines. Alcoholic drinks can
also be lethal, especially to smaller animals.

"Don't feed any of these foods to your pets and make sure you
keep the lid on your trashcan closed tightly," said Hinkle.

=== Medications

The holiday season is often flu season and your own medicine is
hazardous to your pets.

"Childproof bottles are not necessarily pet-proof," said Hinkle.
"Ibuprofen tablets can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure in
dogs, and aspirin tablets can do the same in cats. Even your
seemingly safe vitamins and herbal medicines can be lethal to
your pets."

Hinkle warns that the best strategies are to keep all medicine in
secured areas and only give your pets medication approved by your

=== Decorations

"Candles, electrical cords, tinsel, glass ornaments, potpourri,
ribbons and seasonal plants all pose dangerous side effects if
your dog or cat chews or consumes them," said Hinkle. "If you
must use them, keep them out of your pets' reach."

Hot wax from unattended candles can burn pets and can also be
fire hazards if your pets knock them over. Angel hair and glass
ornaments can cut your pets' paws, mouths and intestines; and
tinsel can cause intestinal tears or blockages requiring surgery.
Some pets will try to drink liquid potpourris or rub against
their warming pots, resulting in mouth, skin and eye damage.
Tying bows and ribbons around your pets' necks can strangle them,
so buy standard collars in your favorite holiday colors instead.
Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe leaves and berries can also
cause moderate to severe toxic effects.

=== Other Poisons

"Batteries, rodent bait and antifreeze are common household items
that can cause tremendous physical harm to your pets," said

=== Stress

Humans aren't the only animals that suffer from holiday stress;
companion animals do too.

"Adhere to your pets' regular schedule of feeding and walking,"
said Hinkle. "Remember that visitors, loud noises and a disrupted
schedule can throw your pets into a tailspin."

Make sure your pets' identification tags are up to date in the
event that they slip away from your watchful eye.

========= Family Caregiving... It's Not All Up to You

One out of five adults finds him or herself as the designated
caregiver for a loved one who can't manage alone. In an era when
extended families are supposed to be getting weaker, more
families are moving their aged relatives into their homes to care
for them. Concerns over nursing home placement coupled with the
soaring costs for long-term care are contributing to the trend.
It is not unusual for family caregivers to take on more than they
can realistically handle and many have feelings of guilt if they
ask for help. Yet, asking for help is often the best thing they
can do for their loved one.

If you manage or provide direct assistance to someone who needs
help with day-to-day activities because of a chronic condition,
cognitive limitations or aging... you are a family caregiver.

Acknowledging your role, being open to solutions and
understanding that seeking help is in the best interest of
everyone, are important steps toward re-establishing a quality of
life for all.

You are a family caregiver if you provide Activities of Daily
Living (ADL) such as helping your care recipient with getting in
and out of the bed and chairs, dressing, getting to and from the
toilet, bathing, dealing with incontinence or diapers, and

You are also a family caregiver if you provide Instrumental
Activities of Daily Living (IADL) such as providing
transportation, housework, grocery shopping, preparing meals,
arranging for outside services, managing finances and giving

Recognizing the "symptoms" of burnout, anticipating needs and
getting assistance can help families adapt and enjoy the personal
rewards of family caregiving. Signs that may indicate a need for
help include an escalation in job-family conflicts, family
caregiver exhaustion and stress, the disruption of family
relationships, prolonged feelings of sadness, and loss of sleep.

The National Family Caregivers Association and the National
Alliance for Caregiving can provide new ideas and resources that
can help you get help, feel better and do better. Visit
http://www.familycaregiving101.org/ a non-profit Web site made
possible by the generosity of Eisai Inc.

========= Ten Tips That Will Alter Your Life
========= Dr. Kathleen Hall

Are you overworked, overbooked and overwhelmed? Don't panic, with
a few simple changes you can make a huge difference in your life.

Here are ten tips that will not only reduce stress but will allow
you to find the extraordinary meaning in everyday activities.

1. Stress reduction in a minute. Studies show that during the
   day, as little as five minutes of meditation, deep breathing
   and yoga can lower blood pressure, release healing hormones,
   increase creativity and production and help your ability to
   handle stressful situations.

2. Exercise at least 30 minutes every other day. Walk at lunch,
   set a treadmill up in your television room. Take up Pilates.
   Exercise lowers your risk of stroke, diabetes, arthritis,
   cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

3. Laugh as often as possible. Laughter releases endorphins, the
   body's natural pain killers. Laughter lowers blood pressure,
   reduces stress hormones and boosts your immune function.

4. Play. Playfulness increases creativity and increases disease-
   fighting immune cells.

5. Pay attention. Become aware of emotions (stressors and calming
   forces) and how these affect your choices, relationships, home
   life and work.

6. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast consume less fat and
   have a higher intake of essential vitamins and minerals,
   resulting in lower serum cholesterol and a lower heart attack

7. Get a pet. Studies show that owning a pet can help reduce
   blood pressure. Emotional life savers, pets help people
   experience intimacy and deal with changes in their lives.

8. You need a friend. Friendship is not a luxury, but is
   essential to work-life balance and your health. Studies show
   isolation decreases immune functioning.

9. Maintain an attitude of gratitude. It's impossible to be
   grateful and experience stress at the same time. Studies tell
   us daily gratitude exercises result in higher levels of
   alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy.

10. Altruism and philanthropy. Altruism neutralizes negative
    emotions and makes people feel stronger and more energetic.
    It counters the harmful effects of stress.

Dr. Kathleen Hall is an author, motivational speaker and stress
management expert. Her book, "Alter Your Life," offers solutions
for reducing stress and creating balance in busy lives. More
information can be found at http://www.drkathleenhall.com/ or

========= Cauldron Info

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum was founded in December 1997 to
provide a friendly but serious discussion area for Pagans on the
Internet. We've grown a bit over the years. We now have an active
message area, a large web site with around 700 pages of
information (including 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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by email, please use the web browser method mentioned above.

If you need to change your subscription to a new email address,
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address. Note that you have to make these changes yourself. Yahoo
Groups does not allow the list owner to make them for you.


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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