[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #51 -- September 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  #51 -- September 2004

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

In this Issue:

[01] Editorial Notes
[02] Cauldron Challenge: September
[03] Cauldron News
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Reviews
     [05-1] Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft
     [05-2] A Witches' Bible
     [05-3] Drawing Down The Moon
     [05-4] The Triumph of the Moon
     [05-5] A Witch Alone
[06] Received For Review (with Mini-Reviews)
[07] Articles:
     [07-1] Beyond Troy: Hellenistic and Hellenic Pagan Fiction
     [07-2] September -- The Seventh Month
     [07-3] The Moon Mostly a Male Deity
     [07-4] Questions to Ask a Reiki Master
     [07-5] Imbolc With Barbie
[08] Columns
     [08-1] Humor: Origins of Blessed Be
     [08-2] Cheap Web Hosting Report: September 2004
[09] Around the Planes: Notes from All Over
     [09-1] After You've Quit: Tips For Long-Term Success
     [09-2] Don't Let The Flu Sneak Up On You!
     [09-3] Packing For Fido: Pet Travel & Health Tips
     [09-4] Heartening News About Chocolate
     [09-5] USDA Educating Pet Owners About Bird Diseases
[10] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[11] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

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

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

There's not a lot to report this issue. Your editor has spent
most of his spare Cauldron time working on The Cauldron's web
site. When you check the "Cauldron News" section of this
newsletter, you'll see some of the changes and additions we have
made. More are planned in September, so watch for them.

I'm way behind on book reviews, so the reviews for this month and
next will be reprints. They will be reviews of the top ten
readily available books I often recommend to people interested in
investigating Paganism -- especially Wicca-like Paganism.  Five
this month and five next month. Hopefully, by then I will be back
into the swing of reviewing books. Don't forget that you can
submit book reviews as well!

Book Review Submission Form:

I'd also link to mention that you can get your Pagan-oriented web
site listed in our expanded Web Resources section. Listings are
free, although we do require a link back on your site. For more
information, see our "Get Listed! page at:

As always, we need your articles, reviews, poems, festival
reports, etc. The article pile is just about empty, so please
submit something if you can!

Handy Article Submission Form:

Speaking of articles, I'd like to especially thank Rebecca Salek
for her excellent series of articles on Hellenic Paganism which
have been appearing in this newsletter in recent months. We are
publishing her last article in this series this issue. I'd love to
see similar series of articles on other Pagan religions!


                      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

September's Challenge is to declutter your life. By that, I don't
mean you need to get rid of all the physical objects that are
sitting around your house gathering dust, although if you're so
inclined this would be the perfect month to do so. Rather, I mean
decluttering your time. Take a look at the stuff you do. See a
group meeting that you attend, or a forum you visit, only because
you "always have" and not because you feel any connection with
it? Perhaps there's some chore you're doing more often than you
need to--let's face it, unless you've got very bad allergies, you
probably don't need to dust every single day. Or maybe there's
some useless little habit that's taking up your time--maybe
you're still sorting your glass recyclables even though the
center no longer requires them to be separated. Those things are
clutter. Your challenge is to identify and get rid of them.

What will you do with all that free time, you ask? Well... We'll
get to that part of it in October!




       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

===== News and Opinion Section Updated

We have updated the Word News/Opinion section of The Cauldron's
web site with many new news sources from around the world and
many new columnists. The format of this section has also been
improved with modern browsers showing our news sources as tabs.
Give it a try, we think you will like it.


===== Member Weblogs Page Updated

We have updated the Member Weblogs page of The Cauldron's web
site with a new format. Modern browsers will show each member's
weblog as a tab, making it easy to switch between weblogs. We
also have some new member weblogs linked to this page.


===== Links Section Updated -- Get Your Site Listed

As of August 2004, we have greatly expanded links section of our
web site (now called "Web Resources") with more categories and
subcategories. However, we need your help to fill these fairly
barren lists up. If you are the webmaster of a Pagan-related site
and would link to be listed in our new and expanded section, you
can find out how to suggest your site on our "Get Listed!" page.

Web Resources:
Get Listed!

===== Cauldron Cookbook Revised

We have revised the look of the "Cauldron Cookbook" section of
our web site. In the process, we have made it possible for member
recipes to be added much more easily in the future. There are
some really good recipes in the Cauldron Cookbook now, and we
hope to add more in the near future. BTW, the new "Search
Recipes" feature is quite powerful, for example, you can type
"nutmeg" in the cookbook search box to search for all the recipes
which use nutmeg. Our cookbook section has a new address:




        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.

=== A Brief Theological Biography?

I'd absolutely love to hear about your religious paths -- how you
got there, why you stayed, what you believe and how you practice.
You certainly don't have to answer all of those questions: any
sort of information would be interesting. It needn't be long,
either. Just a few notes, or as long as you want to write -- or
not at all, of course!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Pre and Post Initiation

This is a question for those of you have been initiated into some
kind of magical or spiritual system.

What did you feel like to the build-up of being initiated as in
maybe a few days before? Did you have butterflies, apprehension,
extreme eagerness to get it all over and done with etc?

When your incitation was complete (and yes I know that completion
is a term that is misleading in certain spiritual ways) did you
feel great or disappointed? Or something else?

(I'm hoping most people understand what it is I'm asking - and no
- not trying to extract oathbound information - not that anyone
would ever give it out but I'm just interested in the emotional
aspects and perhaps it would be good to reflect on "back then" to
now and maybe it would help someone who is currently in the
"waiting room".)

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Pagan Pride

Do you go to Pagan Pride? Is there one near you?
(http://paganpride.org/ will tell you, if you don't know.) Have
you gone in the past? Is it something you get things out of?

In more general terms, whether or not you find them useful, do
you think they're useful for other people? Who would you
recommend it for? Do you think they're a good thing for the Pagan
community in general?

I'll answer my own questions eventually, but I'll start with this
- I got reminded I wanted to start this thread by getting the
confirmation email for the class I'm teaching this year at the
Twin Cities Pagan Pride Day (called "Better Pagan Research" which
should give you an idea what it's about). It's my first class
outside of teaching Seeker classes, and the first one I've had to
prepare from scratch.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Your Gods... They Don't Exist!

I was sitting here thinking about General Jerry Boykin and his
statements about how his god was a real god and some of the other
things he mentioned. That segued into a question for Randall and
I decided I'd toss it out to our members...

How would you react if you found out your gods didn't exist? How
would it change you? Feel free to do some guessing here on these
and expand on them.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Do Pagan Religions Need Better Organization and Rules?

Should Pagan Religions become better organized with better rules?
I know there are quite a few pagan groups with stricter
rules/beliefs. But what this questions is for is... What makes
someone a Wiccan... An Asatru... etc. Right now 90% of the pagan
faiths have completely different deities, different names for
items, different rituals, etc.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== What is an "Earth-Centered Religion"?

What is "earth centered religion" and what isn't? This has
probably been addressed in the past, but I'm not sure I've ever
seen a clear explanation. I have been hearing the term for years
and am still confused.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Festival Experiences

I've been reading all summer about friends going to Pagan
festivals, then coming back and saying what a blast it was. I
loved going to summer camp growing up, but I've never been to a
Pagan festival -- my hubby and I are both college students, and
it's hard to scrape up the cash for it, though we've tried I
don't know how many times.

It also seems to me that (especially pre-Internet) festival-going
is a huge part of "the Pagan experience" (Provided there is such
a thing). I get most of my interaction with fellow Pagans online,
so it seems more important to meet at least a few in real life.

However, some of the things I'm reading don't exactly inspire me
to attend. I don't especially want to see dozens (hundreds?) of
strangers naked, nor do I want to sleep with anyone I just met,
or party till the wee hours. And I can wear my sarongs any day of
the week, thanks.

So, my questions to all -- have you been to a Pagan festival? Was
it fun, and worth the time and trouble to get there? Do you go to
one (or several) every year? Would you recommend a particular
festival? Has a horror story stopped you from attending when you
used to, or wanted to? (Something else you want to add on the

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Reiki & Magic

I was reading a bit about Reiki and how it can be used to heal
people, not just people who are in the healer's immediate
vicinity, but also at a distance wherever the person being healed
may be (this is possible apparently if you're a more advanced
Reiki practitioner).

Which brought to mind the healing spells you might do as a
Wiccan. It seems to me, though I may be wrong, to be based on a
similar idea - i.e. raising your own energy and then directing it
outside your body in order to heal someone else. However in Reiki
that energy is known as "ki".

So my question is this: has anyone here practiced Reiki and also
healing spells? What are the similarities/differences? Have you
ever mixed Eastern healing practices (such as Reiki) into a
Wiccan (etc) healing ritual - and with what results? Or have you
found one of these types of healing to be more effective than the

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Talking to Gods?

"Talking" to Gods and spirits - I know a lot of people do,
including me occasionally.

How do you suppose this works? And why can't they communicate
information like, for instance, if you asked a Greek Deity to
tell you the Greek word for something? Things like that don't
happen often.

My own opinion is that it's not a voice your hearing, just some
kind of energy your brain is making sense off, and definite
information can't be communicated that way.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
=== Structured vs Unstructured Religions?

In another thread, someone mentioned that they thought a
particular religion was too structured (based on its web page).
I've never understood exactly what makes a religion structured,
let alone why so many Pagans seem to also automatically see
"structure" as bad. Personally, I can't see how one can have a
religious group of more than two or three people without having
some type of real structure to the group. Am I using "structure"
in a different way than the anti-structure Pagans or is it that
my world view is just very different than theirs?

Help me out here: just what do you mean my structure and why do
you think it is bad -- or good or neutral, for that matter?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:



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

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

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft (Second Edition)
Author: Raymond Buckland
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: May 2002
ISBN: 0875420508
US Retail Price: $17.95
Amazon Link:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

           This review is available on our web site at

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

A Witches' Bible
Author: Janet and Stewart Farrar
Trade Paperback, 550 pages
Publisher: Phoenix Publishing
Publication date: July 1996
ISBN: 0919345921
US Retail Price: $23.95
Amazon Link:

If you are tired of "Wicca 101" books aimed at the complete
beginner (or worse, at "fluff bunnies"), the Farrar's A Witches'
Bible might be the book for you. While some of the material seems
dated and even slightly offensive in places (e.g. comments that
imply there is really no place for homosexuals in Wicca), there
is a wealth of information on the Alexandrian branch of British
Traditional Wicca and the early history of Wicca in general.

A Witches' Bible is really two books under one cover: Eight
Sabbats for Witches and The Witches' Way. This is the chief
problem with the book. There are two separate tables of contents
and indexes. The page numbers start over from one in middle of
the volume. Some information is duplicated between the two
volumes included. This doesn't ruin the book, but it does make it
much less convenient to use. Having to look stuff up in two
separate indexes is a pain, for example.

The first half of the book, originally published as Eight Sabbats
for Witches, discusses each of the eight major Wiccan festivals
in detail. The authors examine both the rituals in a fairly
typical Gardner-derived Book of Shadows and how they fit into a
wheel of the year cycle of myths. Like much of early Wiccan
material, there is a somewhat embarrassing reliance on
questionable source material such as Robert Graves' The White
Goddess. This doesn't really ruin any of the rituals, it just
calls into question some of the background material and theory.
This first volume also covers in detail the opening and closing
of circles, the Great Rite, and rituals for Wiccaning,
handfasting, and death.

The second half of the book, originally published as The Witches'
Way, mainly consists of sixteen chapters on Wiccan beliefs such
as reincarnation, ethics, healing, divination, magick, etc. as
seen through the eyes of the Farrars. At times, some of these
essays seem very dogmatic. There is useful knowledge and
information in almost every one of them, even if you do not agree
with all the positions the authors take. Approximately one-third
of this second volume is ritual material, however, presented and
explained with the same detail as the sabbats were in the first
volume. You'll find initiation rituals for all three British
Traditional Wiccan degrees, information on consecration rituals
and various usual rituals. There's also an appendix by Doreen
Valiente detailing her attempts to track down Gardner's "Old
Dorothy" and the "New Forest Coven."

If you are used to 1990's style Wicca 101 books, A Witches' Bible
may come as something of a shock to you. It's not written in a
"here's how to do this, run out and try it" style. It provides
detailed information and opinion that you have to study and think
about to get much out of. As one might expect from any form of
British Tradition Wicca, its rituals are definitely aimed at
group practice. You will not find solitary versions handed to
you. With a bit of thought and effort, of course, many of the
rituals presented could be adapted to solitary use.

While all this material may sound dry and dull, the Farrars
manage to make most of it quite interesting to read. If you are
interested in the origin and history of Wicca, British
Traditional Wicca, or are just tired of Wicca books obviously
written so as to not strain the brain of the average "fluff-
bunny," I can't recommend this book highly enough. I've had a
copy of another publisher's printing for more than fifteen years.
I've read it completely several times, and refer to it at least
once month.

If you are interested in Wicca and ready to move beyond all the
"Wicca 101" books on the market, pick up a copy of A Witches'
Bible as soon as you can. It's not perfect, but it is one of the
few "Wicca 201" books on the market. Even if British Traditional
Wicca doesn't really interest you, you'll learn a lot about Wicca
by reading and studying this book.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and
  Other Pagans in America Today
Author: Margot Adler
Trade Paperback, 584 pages
Publisher: Penguin USA
Publication date: March 1997
ISBN: 014019536X
US Retail Price: $16.95
Amazon Link:

Margot Adler's book is subtitled "Witches, Druids, Goddess-
Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today." Unfortunately,
although the book has been revised and expanded since its
original publication in 1979, the majority of the book describes
America Paganism as it was in the mid to late 1970s. Don't let
that stop you from getting this book, however. It's still the
best overview of American Paganism available and truly does
belong on the bookshelf of anyone even slightly interested in

Unlike many Pagan books published today, Drawing Down the Moon is
fairly scholarly, with footnotes, references, and neutral
viewpoint; although it is not boring or hard to understand. It
also covers a wide range of Pagan religions, not just Wicca.
Therefore, this book is an excellent book for someone trying to
find out what Paganism is all about.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Stryder

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
Author: Ronald Hutton
Trade Paper, 512 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: May 2000
ISBN: 0192854496
US Retail Price: $17.95
Amazon Link:

This is an outstanding and readable scholarly book on the history
of Wicca (Modern Pagan Witchcraft) by a professional historian.
Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at Bristol University, has
previously authored two rather successful books on the pagan
religions of the British Isles (The Pagan Religions of the
Ancient British Isles) and the origins of the English folk
festival cycle (The Stations of the Sun). If you are familiar
with Dr. Hutton’s previous books, you know that he argues rather
convincingly that there was no unbroken survival of the pre-
Christian religions of the British Isles up to modern times (17th
-18th century). From this, he follows the various intellectual
and artistic developments that formed the fertile ground that
would spring forth Modern Pagan Witchcraft.

The book is divided into two halves. The first half traces
various threads that led to the formation of Wicca and other neo-
Pagan religions in the twentieth century. The major groups that
Dr. Hutton focuses on are Freemasonry (and other fraternal
organizations spilt from or inspired by them), the pastoral
language and poetry of the Romantic literary movement, 19th
century study of folklore (Golden Bough, and theories of Great
Neolithic Goddess Cult - note that Marija Gimbutas was hardly
revolutionary in this area), and the predecessors of Leland and
Murray who proposed that the early modern Witch Trials were
related to a real religion of the witches. From there he looks
more closely at authors that most likely directly influenced
Gardner. These include Margaret Murray, Robert Graves, Charles
Leland, Aleister Crowley, and Dion Fortune.

Dr. Hutton's training in methodology for studying history really
comes through in his section on Gerald Gardner. Hutton had access
to a number of private documents (The Toronto papers made
infamous in Aiden Kelly's book Crafting The Art Of Magic and
numerous other personal collections in Great Britain) that made
his analysis even more convincing. Hutton's premise is that
Gardner entered retirement and quickly began looking for an
outlet to his creative energies. After growing tired of
archeology (his amateur work on the history and religion of
Malaysia are still rather highly regarded by scholars) and
volunteering for the war effort, he began studying the occult in
earnest. After a failed attempt to revive the OTO in England
(with Crowley's blessings) he began working on recreating the
Witch religion outlined in Murray’s books. The early work
involved a lot of syncretism of existing materials from
Freemasonry, the Golden Dawn, the OTO, medieval grimoires,
Romantic poetry, etc., but with a new twist. From there, the
inspiration of Gardner and his followers soon took the new
religion in totally new directions.

From here, Hutton traces Wicca's jump "across the pond." He notes
that a "new and improved" Wicca made the jump back across the
pond to England in the early 1980's. Hutton notes that what was
essentially a politically conservative religious movement
(stressing a pre-Industrial "golden age," resistance to
modernity, and a hint of nature conservation) came back as a
liberal/progressive movement of feminist issues, progressive
social policy, and self-help/group therapy. He freely admits that
he doesn't have the resources or the knowledge to adequately
catalog the development of Wicca and Paganism in the US, (and
hints that he hopes scholars in the US will fill in the gaps),
but he does chart some of the cross-pollination of Wicca with the
feminist and ecology movements. He also looks at some of the work
seminal writers in these areas such as Starhawk and Z. Budapest
and examines their innovations to Wicca.

Dr. Hutton also describes the work of other that have preceded
him into this field, from Aiden Kelly and Margot Adler to Tanya
Luhrmann and others, as well as their influences and the
influences of their material on neo-Paganism as a whole. All in
all, Hutton maintains a balanced and objective view of the
history of Wicca, and always remains respectful of neo-Pagan
beliefs. While I don't completely agree with all of his
conclusions, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested
in the actual history of Wicca and the underlying philosophical
and artistic movements that are the parents of neo-Paganism in
all its forms.

Where Margot Adler simply reported on the state and direction of
the neo-Pagan movement in the US as a journalist, Ronald Hutton
offers a thoughtful and critical analysis of the origins of the
neo-Pagan movement from a historian's perspective. This book is a
definite four stars.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic
Author: Marian Green
Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Thorsons
Publication date: August 1991
ISBN: 1855381125
US Retail Price: Out of Print
Amazon Link:

As the number of people interested in Paganism, Wicca, and
Witchcraft continues to grow, so has the number of books aimed at
the new Pagan or Wiccan. In many cases, these so-called "Wicca
101" books are a waste of valuable trees. Some are poorly
written. Others contain the author's opinion and outdated
historical speculation presented as absolute fact. There are,
however, a few truly wonderful books in the "Wicca 101" genre.
Marian Green's A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural
Magic is certainly one of this small handful of excellent books
for the novice Pagan.

A Witch Alone is presented as thirteen lessons in natural magick
and witchcraft, one for each of the thirteen lunar months in a
year. Each lesson ends with a project and a reading list. Unlike
most "Wicca 101" book authors, Green doesn't just fill you with
facts and opinion, she teaches you how to use and trust your own
intuition. Her exercises help you build your own personal craft.
If you do spend a year with this book, by year's end you'll not
only have a good bit of craft training and practice under your
belt but you'll have a much better sense of your spiritual self.

Some more traditional Wiccans may have problems with this book as
its approach is not very traditional. It glosses over -- or
doesn't even mention -- some things that many very traditional
Wiccans apparently consider very important. Of course, most
Wiccans who will have such problems with A Witch Alone do not
really believe one can train and initiate oneself to start with.

I think this is the best of the "Wicca 101" books currently
available. If you can only afford to buy one introductory book,
Marian Green's A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural
Magic is the one I think you should buy. You will not get the
most out of it, however, if you just sit down and read it. To get
the full value out of this book, you really need to work through
it one moon at a time.

           This review is available on our web site at



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

I've recently a few new books for review, but have not even had 
time to glance through them for first glance comments:

Your Magickal Name 
by Phyllis and Debra Vega
New Page Books
ISBN: 1564147231
Amazon Link:
Past Life & Karmic Tarot
by Edain McCoy
ISBN: 073870508X
Amazon Link:
Alchemy at Work
by Cassandra Eason
The Crossing Press
ISBN: 1580911587
Amazon Link:
Magic for Lovers
by Selene Silverwind
The Crossing Press
ISBN: 1580911528
Amazon Link:

The Women's Book of Healing
by Diane Stein
The Crossing Press
ISBN: 1580911560
Amazon Link:
Totem Magic
by Yasmine Galenorn
The Crossing Press
ISBN: 1580911161
Amazon Link:

I suspect I am not receiving review copies from some companies
because they have not updated my mailing address from my old San
Antonio address to my new Waco address. I have updated my address
with these companies several times since I learned in late
February, but it does not appear to be making it into the mailing
database at some. Kudos to Ten Speed Press who seem to have
managed the address update better than most.

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

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

Over the last few months, I've drawn up several lists of books
which I hope will be useful to Hellenic Pagans, Pagans in
general, and the just plain curious. The lists have included
works of mythology, religion, archaeology, anthropology, and
psychology, plus children's picture books and assorted
encyclopedias and dictionaries. (Okay, I missed comic books.
Hopefully, I'll get to those at some future date.)

So, now we turn to fiction. To my knowledge, there are no works
of fiction written by a Hellenic Pagan author with a specifically
Hellenic Pagan theme. (If anyone knows differently, *please* let
me know.) All the works of fiction out there about ancient Greece
or the Gods or various myths have been written by non-Pagan
authors for a (primarily) non-Pagan audience. They are written as
pure entertainment, not works of moving religious sentiment.

Still, they are a start. And some of them are quite good -- even
those about Troy (and there are a *lot* about Troy. Or Amazons.
Or Troy and Amazons.) :) Here, than, are a few of the many many
many fictional novels, novellas, and short stories which feature
Hellenic elements. Some retell ancient myths, such as those of
Heracles. Others retell historical incidents, such as the Battle
of Thermopylae. Some focus on real people, like Alexander the
Great, or set fictional characters in real events, such as the
Peloponnesian War.

My thanks to my fellow members of the HellenicPagan list at
yahoogroups, for their many helpful suggestions in drawing up
this list, specifically Erik, Hector, Jennifer, Joe, Kouros, and
Zoe. :)

Lindsey Davis -- Yeah, yeah, okay. Davis' mystery series is set
in Imperial Rome, not ancient Greece. Still, you get a nice tour
of the Empire, get to see how Greece influenced Rome, and (above
all) the books are just good old fashioned fun. The sixteenth(!)
mystery is due out in September. To get a jump on the series,
check out The Jupiter Myth, A Body in the Bathhouse and One
Virgin to Many.

Michael Curtis Ford -- Xenophon, Cyrus and an army of battle-
hardened soldiers and mercenaries come to life in Ford's novel,
The Ten Thousand. When Cyrus is killed in battle near the banks
of the Euphrates, the ten thousand odd Greeks (mostly Spartans)
in his army want only to return to their homeland. But to reach
it, they must cross burning deserts, raging rivers and mountains
frozen deep by winter. Humane, thrilling and well-researched.
(Ford has also written several novels set in early Imperial

Tom Holt -- Fair warning: if you can't find anything humorous
about religion, well, there's something wrong with you and you
should avoid Holt's books. Among those that I *do* recommend to
Pagans who *do* have a sense of humor are The Divine Comedies:
Here Comes the Sun, Odds and Gods (omnibus containing two comic
fantasies; the latter features Thor, Odin, Frey and Osiris, among
other retired Deities) and Ye Gods. Alexander at the World's End
is a more serious story about two men, one a conqueror, one an
ordinary man, and how they change each other's lives. Olympiad:
An Historical Novel tells the story of that very first race,
about which almost no real historical information survives.

Valerio Massimo Manfredi -- An extremely popular author in his
native Italy, Manfredi's works are finally being translated into
English. To date, the Alexander Trilogy and The Spartan have been
made available. The first tells the story of Alexander the Great
(Child of a Dream, The Sands of Ammon and The Ends of the Earth)
from the prophecy made before his birth to his terrible death.
The Spartan follows the lives of twin brothers separated at
birth, one raised to be an aristocratic warrior, the other a
shepherd slave. When Sparta and the rest of Greece are threatened
by Persia, the two brothers find themselves reunited, allies, yet
at war with one another and themselves. (Many of Manfredi's other
books, such as Chimera and The Oracle, have yet to be translated
into English, but are available in Spanish.)

Steven Pressfield -- Though he first came to fame as the author
of The Legend of Bagger Vance, Pressfield has since gone on to
earn critical acclaim with his mythological/historical novels.
The Gates of Fire tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae
from the point of view of its sole Greek survivor, a young
Spartan squire. The Tides of War chronicles the Peloponnesian War
from the vantage of Athenian statesman Alcibiades'
bodyguard/assassin. The Last of the Amazons explores the tragic
love affair between Theseus and Queen Antiope, and the war
between Athens and the Amazons, as related by a little girl
raised by the last of those warrior women. The Virtues of War,
about Alexander the Great, will be available in October.

Burton Raffel -- An accomplished poet in his own right, Raffel
has also won critical praise as the translator of some of the
world's most beloved poems and plays, such as Beowulf, Don
Quixote, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Perceval, and Sir Gawain and
the Green Knight. Now, Raffel turns his attention to the poets if
ancient Greece: Pure Pagan collects well-known and little-known
poems from famous poets, unknown poets, and anonymous poets.
Beautiful, minimalist, imaginative.

Jane Rawlings and Heather Hurst -- Imagine, if you could, the
next chapter in the Odyssey. What happens after Odysseus gets
home? In the case of The Penelopeia, it is Penelope's turn to
have an adventure. Accompanied by her twin daughters (!), the
loyal and patient wife sets out for the oracle at Delphi to learn
what the Gods have in store for her daughters and herself, having
a grand adventure of her own along the way.

Mary Renault -- Author of perhaps the most well-known novels
about Theseus, Renault wrote dozens of novels and nonfiction
works. The Bull From the Sea and The King Must Die retell the
story of Theseus, relying upon both traditional Greek myth and
modern archaeological theories about Crete. Fire From Heaven, The
Persian Boy, and Funeral Games comprise her Alexander the Great
series. Other novels by Renault include The Mask of Apollo (an
unemployed actor carries a mask of the God around Greece and
eventually meets Plato); The Last of the Wine (adventures of two
young friends as they journey around Greece, compete in the
Olympics and battle the Persians); and The Praise Singer (the
poet Simonides). Classics. No library should be without them.

Fred Saberhagen -- Either fantasy or far-future science fiction,
Saberhagen's Books of the Gods series is set on a post-
technological Earth ... and the Gods are coming back. The series
includes The Face of Apollo, Ariadne's Web, Arms of Hercules, and
God of the Golden Fleece. Purists will object to Saberhagen's
portrayal of Hades as an evil God and his mixture of pantheons
(Loki appears, among others). Nonetheless, operatic, escapist
fare, good for a summer afternoon.

Dan Simmons -- If science fiction is more to your taste, than
you'll love Ilium. In the far future, humans have evolved into
God-like post-humans. Their only entertainment is a recreation of
the Trojan War, set on the terraformed planes of Mars. Down
there, below Olympus Mons, reborn ancient humans fight for the
Gods' entertainment. But there is more to this conflict than even
the Gods realize ....

Thorne Smith -- Compared by critics to PG Wodehouse, Smith's
books are rife with witty dialogue and a supreme appreciation for
the absurd. In Night Life of the Gods, eccentric Hunter Hawk
teams up with a nine hundred-year old leprechaun named Megaera
and brings the statues in the Metropolitan Museum to life ...
including Apollo, Bacchus, Diana, Hebe, Mercury, Neptune, and
Perseus. Prohibition-era New York will never be the same again.

Donna Tartt -- A psychological thriller, mythological exploration
and philosophical treatise all rolled into one, Tartt's The
Secret History follows a group of Classics students as they try
to cover up one murder by committing another. Not a happy book,
and not to everyone's taste. A little slow the first fifty page
or so, but it picks up after that and is well worth the trip.

Barry Unsworth -- One of the most recent novelizations of the
Trojan War, The Songs of the Kings focuses on the days before the
siege. With the Greek fleet trapped at Aulis by unfavorable
winds, Agamemnon is pressured to sacrifice his teenage daughter
Iphigeneia. The Greeks are portrayed as narcissistic (Achilles),
lying (Odysseus), Ruthlessly ambitious (Agamemnon) racists. The
only truly sympathetic characters are two slaves, outsiders from
Asia. Unsworth does a fantastic job of getting inside his
characters' heads and exploring their thoughts and motivations in
this deglamorized, unsentimental and gritty portrayal of war.

Gore Vidal -- In Julian, political commentator, historian and
biographer Vidal tells the story of Rome's last Pagan Emperor.
Nephew of Constantine the Great, who legalized Christianity,
Julian sought to revitalize the worship of the old Gods. Had he
not died at the age of thirty-two, he might have succeeded.

A few other books that I recommend: John Maddox Roberts' SPQR
mystery series, set in Imperial Rome; Steven Saylor's mysteries,
staring Gordianus the Finder, set in late Republican Rome; and
Frank Yerby's Goat Song, which sadly out of print. Additionally,
keep an eye out for Sappho's Leap by Erica Jong, which explores
the mind, poetry, loves and life of that ancient author.

The above are just of few of the many terrific works of fiction
available. For other suggestions, just stop by the bookstore or
your local library. And happy reading!

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

The name of this month means simply "seventh", and so suggests to
us neither god nor hero. We find, however, that there were
several festivals held in the month, and not the least important
of these was one held on the second of the month, and known as
the Actian Games. On this day, in the year 31 B.C., was fought
the great sea battle, off Actium in Greece, in which Augustus
defeated Marcus Antonius and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. On the
promontory of Actium stood a temple to Apollo, and from that time
onward games in honour of Apollo were held on each anniversary of
the victory. It was a common custom among the Greeks and Romans
to hold games or sports in honour of a god, and the most famous
of all, the Olympic Games were held every four years in Greece in
honour of Zeus, the Roman Jupiter. These games lasted for five
days, and consisted of foot-races, chariot-races, wrestling,
boxing, throwing the quoit and the javelin. The first prize was
usually a wreath made from the laurel tree, the favourite tree of
Apollo. A story says that Apollo fell in love with Daphne, a
beautiful wood-nymph and daughter of a river-god. Daphne,
however, did not return Apollo's love, and on one occasion ran
away from him. The sun-god pursued her, calling to her that he
meant no harm, but just as he was within reach of her she prayed
to her father for help. She at once became rooted to the ground,
and found that her limbs were rapidly changing into branches and
her hair into leaves. When Apollo stretched out his hands to
catch her, he found nothing in his grasp but the trunk of a tree.
The river-god had changed his daughter into a laurel. From that
time onward Apollo took the laurel for his favourite tree, and
said that prizes given to poets and musicians--for Apollo was
also god of music and poetry--should be wreaths made from the
leaves of that tree. Thus the laurel wreath came to be more
eagerly sought after than gold or silver.

The Olympic Games which we have mentioned are the origin of the
Olympic Games which have been held in Europe and America every
fourth year for some years past. They are held at the capital of
each of the great countries in turn, and they were held in London
at the Shepherd's Bush Exhibition in 1908. The chief event is the
Marathon Race, which in 1908 was run from Windsor to the Stadium
at the Exhibition, a distance of 25 miles. This race has its
origin in an historical event of the year 490 B.C. In that year
was fought the great battle of Marathon between the Greeks and
the invading Persians. In spite of the far greater numbers of the
Persian army, the Greeks won a glorious victory. Now, in the
ranks of the Greek army was a famous runner named Pheidippides,
who had won many a prize in the Games. When the Persians had been
put to flight, the Greek general sent for Pheidippides and bade
him run with the news of the victory to Athens (the capital of
Greece), distant nearly 25 miles, where all those unable to fight
were awaiting anxiously the result of the battle. Pheidippides,
although tired by his share in the battle, at once set off on his
long journey. In time the strain of the task began to tell upon
him, and it was only by a great effort that he was able to
continue his course. At last, with aching limbs and faltering
step, he came in sight of the city. The Athenians, seeing him in
the distance, ran eagerly to meet him; falling into the arms of
the foremost of them, the runner with his last breath gasped,
"Rejoice, we conquer". Even as the joyful words left his lips,
Pheidippides sank lifeless in the arms that held him, and his
brave spirit went forth on its last journey to meet the Heroes of
the Past.

 "So, when Persia was dust, all cried, 'To Akropolis! 
 Run, Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!
 "Athens is saved, thank Pan," go shout!' He flung down his 
 Ran like fire once more: and the space 'twixt the Fennel-field
 And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
 Till in he broke: 'Rejoice, we conquer!' Like wine through clay,
 Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died--the bliss!"
     ROBERT BROWNING--Pheidippides.

Famous among the very old stories of the Greeks is that of the
swift-footed Atalanta, the daughter of the King of Arcadia. This
king had longed for a son who might succeed him, and on the birth
of Atalanta was filled with anger and disappointment. He ordered
her to be taken away while she was still a baby, and left on a
mountain top at the mercy of the wild beasts. Here she was found
by some hunters, who took pity on her and carried her to their
home. As she grew up, they taught her to hunt, and in time she
became more skilled in running and in the chase than they all.
She took part with some of the great heroes in a famous hunt for
a wild boar, which she finally helped to kill. Her father,
hearing of her skill, welcomed her back, and since he still had
no son, urged her to marry one of the many suitors who came to
the court. Atalanta, however, had no desire to marry, and knowing
that she could run more swiftly than any of those who sought her
hand in marriage, she declared that she would only marry the man
who could outrun her. She also decreed that every one who failed
to win should pay for his defeat with his life. In spite of these
cruel conditions, many eager youths tried to win her, but she
outran them all, and their heads were exposed on the race-course
in order to frighten others who might wish to marry her.

At last there came to the court of the King of Arcadia a young
man named Milanion, who was determined to win Atalanta for his
wife. He had previously sought the help and protection of Venus,
and in answer to his prayer the goddess had given him three
golden apples. The proud Atalanta accepted Milanion's challenge,
and once again the course was thronged with people eager to see
the daring youth. The signal was given, and the runners darted
forward. Atalanta soon passed Milanion, who then threw at her
feet one of his golden apples. She paused a moment, tempted by
the glittering object, then stooping, she quickly snatched it up
and raced after Milanion, who was by this time ahead of her. She
soon overtook him, when he throw down a second golden apple, and
again she stopped to pick it up. A third time the swift maiden
passed the youth, once more to be tempted by the golden fruit.
Sure of her skill, she paused to seize the third golden apple,
but before she could overtake Milanion he had reached the goal.
Atalanta, bound by her promise, consented to marry the victorious
Milanion, and their wedding was celebrated amid great rejoicing.

The Old-English name for September was "Gerstmonath", which means
"barley month", since during September the barley crop was
usually harvested.

========= (Section II, Chapter II of Moon Lore
========= by Rev. Timothy Harley [1885])

We have already in part pointed out that the moon has been
considered as of the masculine gender; and have therefore but to
travel a little farther afield to show that in the Aryan of
India, in Egyptian, Arabian, Slavonian, Latin, Lithuanian,
Gothic, Teutonic, Swedish, Anglo-Saxon, and South American, the
moon is a male god. To do this, in addition to former quotations,
it will be sufficient to adduce a few authorities. "Moon," says
Max Muller, is a very old word. It was mona in Anglo-Saxon, and
was used there, not as a feminine, but as a masculine for the
moon was originally a masculine, and the sun a feminine, in all
Teutonic languages; and it is only through the influence of
classical models that in English moon has been changed into a
feminine, and sun into a masculine. It was a most unlucky
assertion which Mr. Harris made in his Hermes, that all nations
ascribe to the sun a masculine, and to the moon a feminine
gender." Grimm says, "Down to recent times, our people were fond
of calling the sun and moon frau sonne and herr mond." Sir
Gardner Wilkinson writes: "Another reason that the moon in the
Egyptian mythology could not be related to Bubastis is, that it
was a male and not a female deity, personified in the god Thoth.
This was also the case in some religions of the West. The Romans
recognised the god Lunus; and the Germans, like the Arabs, to
this day, consider the moon masculine, and not feminine, as were
the Selene and Luna of the Greeks and Latins." Again, "The
Egyptians represented their moon as a male deity, like the German
mond and monat, or the Lunus of the Latins; and it is worthy of
remark, that the same custom of calling it male is retained in
the East to the present day, while the sun is considered female,
as in the language of the Germans." "In Slavonic," Sir George Cox
tells us, "as in the Teutonic mythology, the moon is male. His
wedding with the sun brings on him the wrath of Perkunas [the
thunder-god], as the song tells us

  'The moon wedded the sun
  In the first spring.
  The sun rose early
  The moon departed from her.
  The moon wandered alone;
  Courted the morning star.
  Perkunas, greatly wroth,
  Cleft him with a sword.
  'Wherefore dost thou depart from the sun,
  Wandering by night alone,
  Courting the morning star?'"

'In a Servian song a girl cries to the sun--

  'O brilliant sun! I am fairer than thou
  Than thy brother, the bright moon.'

"In South Slavonian poetry the sun often figures as a radiant
youth. But among the northern Slavonians, as well as the
Lithuanians, the sun was regarded as a female being, the bride of
the moon. 'Thou askest me of what race, of what family I am,'
says the fair maiden of a song preserved in the Tambof

  'My mother is--the beauteous Sun,
  And my father--the bright Moon.'"

"Among the Mbocobis of South America the moon is a man and the
sun his wife." The Ahts of North America take the same view; and
we know that in Sanskrit and in Hebrew the word for moon is

This may seem to many a matter of no importance; but if mythology
throws much light upon ancient history and religion, its
importance may be considerable, especially as it lies at the root
of that sexuality which has been the most prolific parent of both
good and evil in human life. The sexual relation has existed from
the very birth of animated nature; and it is remarkable that a
man of learning and piety in Germany has made the strange if not
absurd statement that in the beginning "Adam was externally
sexless." Another idea, more excusable, but equally preposterous,
is, that grammatical gender has been the cause of the male and
female personation of deities, when really it has been the
result. The cause, no doubt, was inherent in man's constitution;
and was the inevitable effect of thought and expression. The same
necessity of natural language which led the Hebrew prophets to
speak of their land as married, of their nation as a wife in
prosperity and a widow in calamity, of their Maker as their
husband, who rejoices over them as the bridegroom rejoiceth over
the bride: this same necessity, becoming a habit like that of our
own country folks in Hampshire, of whom Cobbett speaks, who call
almost everything he or she; led the sensuous and imaginative
ancients, as it leads simple and poetical peoples still, to call
the moon a man and to worship him as a god. Objects of fear and
reverence would be usually masculines; and objects of love and
desire feminines. We may thus find light thrown upon the honours
paid to such goddesses as Astarte and Aphrodite: which will also
help us to understand the deification by a celibate priesthood of
the Virgin Mary. We may, moreover, account partly for the fact
that to the sailor his ship is always she; to the swain the
flowers which resemble his idol, as the lily and the rose, are
always feminine, and used as female names; while to the patriot
the mother country is nearly always of the tender sex. Prof. Max
Muller thinks that the distinction between males and females
began, "not with the introduction of masculine nouns, but with
the introduction of feminines, i.e. with the setting apart of
certain derivative suffixes for females. By this all other words
became masculine." Thus the sexual emotions of men created that
grammatical gender which has contributed so powerfully to our
later mythology, and has therefore been mistaken for the author
of our male and female personations. What beside sexuality
suggested the thought of the Chevalier Marini? "He introduces the
god Pan, who boasts that the spots which are seen in the moon are
impressions of the kisses he gave it." That grammar is very much
younger than sexual relations is proven by the curious fact
mentioned by Max Muller that pater is not a masculine, nor mater
a feminine. Gender, we must not forget, is from genus, a kind or
class; and that the classification in various languages has been
arranged on no fixed plan. We in our modern English, with much
still to do, have improved in this respect, since, in Anglo-
Saxon, wif = wife, was neuter, and wif-mann = woman, was
masculine. In German still die frau, the woman, is feminine; but
das weib, the wife, is neuter. Dr. Farrar finds the root of
gender in the imagination: which we admit if associated with sex.
Otherwise, we cannot understand how an unfelt distinction of this
sort could be mentally seen. But Dr. Farrar means more than
imagination, for he says, "from this source is derived the whole
system of genders for inanimate things, which was perhaps
inevitable at that early childish stage of the human
intelligence, when the actively working soul attributed to
everything around it some portion of its own life. Hence, well-
nigh everything is spoken of as masculine or feminine." We are
surprised that Dr. Farrar seems to think German an exception, in
making a masculine noun of the moon. He has failed to apply to
this point his usual learned and laborious investigation.

Diogenes Laertius describes the theology of the Jews as an
offshoot from that of the Chaldees, and says that the former
affirm of the latter "that they condemn images, and especially
those persons who say that the gods are male and female." 124
Which condemnation implies the prevalence of this sexual
distinction between their deities.

In concluding this chapter we think that it will be granted that
gender in the personification of inanimate objects was the result
of sex in the animate subject: that primitive men saw the moon as
a most conspicuous object, whose spots at periods had the
semblance of a man's face, whose waxing and waning increased
their wonder: whose coming and going amid the still and solemn
night added to the mystery: until from being viewed as a man, it
was feared, especially when apparently angry in a mist or an
eclipse, and so reverenced and worshipped as the heaven-man, the
monthly god.

========= by Merridwyn

If you are considering training from a Reiki Master, here are a
few of questions I recommend asking:

What branch of Reiki do they teach? 

There are many branches of Reiki today, some more legitimate
than others. Traditional and Tibetan are the most common.

What is their lineage? Where did they learn?

Anyone who does not know, or is unwilling to reveal, their
lineage is suspect. There should be an unbroken lineage from
themselves back through Mrs. Takata. Ask if you can contact
their upline -- you should be able to. Beware of anyone who
learned long distance, over the Internet, or at a large weekend
'group seminar'.

What do they charge for each Degree? 

Many teach by donation or trade, or pay it forward, as I do.
Some charge only enough to cover costs. If anyone tells you
Reiki 'has to' cost a certain amount, or is charging an
unreasonable sum, run!

How long did they study to become a Master? What was required?
What do they require for Mastership?

I used to say that anything less than 2-3 years is suspect. I'll
adjust that down to a year and half for some. Training should
include repetition of classes at all levels, apprenticeship
teaching of same, and some considerable degree of required
additional research. At a minimum.

How many Degrees of Reiki do they teach?

A properly trained Teaching Master will be able to take you all
the way through to Teaching Master yourself. Anything less is
questionable and will require you to change Masters somewhere in
your training, which may involve you repeating levels of
training you've already done.

How many Initiations at First Degree?

Traditional Reiki has 4 Initiations for first degree. Anything
less (or more) is suspect. I hasten to add, Tibetan only has one
longer one I believe, and some Masters do combine the first and
last two into two. So this is not as hard and fast as I'd like
it to be. However, if you only receive one fast Initiation in
Traditional Reiki, you are probably receiving a temporary
attunement and not a full Initiation.

How often do they teach? What is a normal class size?

A Master should teach fairly often, with a relatively small
class size (no more than 5 or so). Ask if they will teach
individually or if a minimum number of students are required for
classes to be held.

What materials are used to teach?

A Master should have prepared their own original materials. Ask
to see a Reiki One manual. If there are pages randomly copied
from online sources without permissions, or if there is no
manual but they recommend a single book, look elsewhere. If they
recommend Diane Stein's "Essential Reiki" - at least without
several caveats - run.

What are the requirements for each Degree?

There should be at least a 30-45 days between degree levels, and
specific practice requirements should be met between each.
Anyone teaching Levels/Degrees One and Two together should be

How many symbols are taught, and at what levels?

Traditional Reiki teaches the four standard symbols, three at
Second Degree and the Master Symbol at Third Degree. Tibetan
Reiki has added a few non-traditional symbols (which is fine,
in my opinion). Anything more than 7 symbols is NOT standard in either
tradition. A Master should know the origin and history of any
symbol they are teaching. Be suspicious of any teacher including
things like the "ohm", the pentacle, the cosmic spiral or any
other 'common' symbols as Reiki -- they are NOT.

Do they offer a Non-teaching Mastership?

Most teachers today will offer both a Teaching Master and a Non-
Teaching Master certification with different requirements for
each, allowing the student to reach a personal Mastery level
themselves without learning the teaching techniques and
Initiations required to teach others.

========= by Talutha Bonesinger

[Editor's Note: If this Article seems a bit out of season to many
readers, it is not for the author who lives in the Southern
Hemisphere and just celebrated Imbolc last month.]

Barbie will be in attendance on my altar this year on Imbolc. I
have a complicated relationship with Barbie at the best of times,
but I have decided upon reflection that this year, on my Imbolc
altar, Barbie will occupy prime position in the right hand corner
where my Goddess usually sits. Last week I would have cringed to
even consider it. Barbie? Plastic goddess of body image
distortion and evil corporate postergirl Barbie? Yes, the very
same. But not quite. For me, at this point in time, Barbie is the
perfect image of Imbolc.
As a witch, I tend toward darker crone energy. My usual altar
goddess is a bronze statue of Kali with skulls and arms to spare.
Samhain, needless to say, is a favourite time around at my house.
I just feel so much more comfortable with the dark Underworld
energy than with the bright hard Maiden or the earthier Mother.
Imbolc presents a bit of a challenge for me to fully realize the
potential of the imagery associated with the season - the Maiden,
winter s end, new beginnings and bright energy etc. Who is this
Maiden? I have always felt that all the aspects of the goddess
are in every person, lurking somewhere in their psyche. If that
was the case, where was the little lass hiding within me? I 've
always felt old somehow, as a child raised by older parents.
Finding the Maiden within would prove to be a difficult
Planning to write a ritual, I decided to begin to search for some
kind of inspiration, divine or otherwise, to find the Imbolc
Goddess and what she means to me. I began to approach the task
from a different angle, thinking about the people who would be in
attendance. One of the participants would be my niece, raised
almost as my sister, with whom I share most of my childhood
memories. Antoinette was great Barbie collector from a young age,
proudly boasting multiple dream houses, convertibles and
countless tiny outfits as well as many incarnations of Barbie
herself. I remembered hours and hours spent crouched on the
floor, playing with the dolls. In fact, the more I remembered,
the more I could imagine that I was that child again. I could
remember my own Barbie doll, a little tattered and the victim of
more than one experimental hairstyle. But the more that I think
about her now, the more she comes to symbolize my inner Maiden.
She was never a friendly doll, even to the other Barbies, and
especially not to poor Ken. Sex was something that didn't enter
my Barbie world until much later, when Barbie and Ken went at it
like rabbits under a hankie in Western Barbie s horse trailer.
But my original concept of Barbie, the child / woman through whom
I enacted my desires and fears and hopes for the future, was
entirely different. Cool and heedless and trapped between the
present and the future, the past was not an issue for Barbie. Sex
happened to other people. Barbie had breasts so that she could
fill out her Malibu bathing suit, not to feed a child. Eternal
and slightly aloof, death was never a concern either. Barbie knew
with all the certainty of generations of small girls that she
would live forever, youth incarnate with all the future at her
command. And she could literally do anything with that future -
rock star, babysitter, astronaut, teacher, dental hygienist,
veterinarian, model, gymnast, lifeguard or, my personal
favourite, fairy princess. My Barbie s bridal gown was usually
teamed with homemade wings, veil discarded and feet free of
plastic heels. She wasn't interested in the whys and hows of her
situation, she just wanted to hang pearls in cowslip s ears.
Barbie is the eternal Maiden - forever young, forever loved and
forever free of any complications wrought by adult concerns like
sex and death. She holds the hopes and fears of generations of
little girls in her stiff plastic fingers and faces the future
with them. For me, Barbie has come to symbolize my inner Maiden.
She is who I was then, and whom I can no longer be except through
her. When I asked for inspiration, I was given a memory of
Barbie, and I have come to understand it, both the memory and the
message, a little better. That s why, come August, Barbie will be
serenely surveying her kingdom from my altar, all of my past and
future trapped in her plastic grin.


                        PAGAN SHOPPING

       Earth Spirit Emporium has a diverse selection of
       magickal and ritual supplies,  including athames,
       books, candles, incense,  essential oils, jewelry,
       spell kits, wind chimes, smudge sticks, tarot
       cards and boxes, wands, staffs, and a lot more.
       They have a large  selection of Pagan-oriented
       merchandise. They've been in business for a number
       of years and have many satisfied customers. When
       you visit Earth Spirit Emporium from a link on our
       web site, a percentage any purchases you make
       while you are there comes back to The Cauldron to
       help support our web site.



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

========= Origins of Blessed Be
========= Humor by Mike (ASAHEL)

Actually, this phrase goes back to the ancient Celtic times.
Seems one day there was a Wiccan ritual going on, and the High
Priestess was just getting read to close the rite.

Just then, an enormous bumble bee, perhaps attracted by the
flowers with which she had draped her sky-clad form, swooped in.
Apparently disappointed with the fading blossoms, it rewarded the
hapless High Priestess with a walloping sting.

The Priestess, due to her iron self-control, realized that she
must even then embody the spirit of "harm none," and, letting the
curse spell die out unspoken on her lips, instead screamed out

The other participants, thinking this was an awesome sentiment
with which to close the ritual and not realizing it was merely
the reaction to a sting, shouted back "BLESSED BE!" And a
tradition was born.

Because of this amazingly powerful group blessing, the bee not
only survived the stinging, but went on to provide the best honey
and royal jelly ever tasted for the rest of his hive.

========= Cheap Web Hosting Report: September 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 September 2004

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

=== #1 iPowerWeb

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

=== #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 Lunarpages

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

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

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

=== #4 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

=== #5 Dreamhost

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

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

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

=== Honorable Mention Dot5Hosting

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

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

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

===== Special Needs Cheap Web Hosting

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

=== Fewer Content Restrictions

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

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

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

=== 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.

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.

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

=== Notes

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

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.

========= After You've Quit: Tips For Long-Term Success

As hard as it is to quit smoking, it can be equally challenging
to stay away from cigarettes for good. Here are some tips to help
you or someone you love along the road to permanent success.

Smokers may not know it, but the physical craving for cigarettes
may come back from time to time. One way to deal with these
cravings is to be vigilant about being in places or situations
that can trigger your personal urge to smoke. Think of how far
you've come and how hard it was to make the journey. Then ask
yourself: Is one puff really worth the cost? Giving in to that
urge for just one puff can really set you back.

Support is also critical, especially if you're under a lot of
stress, or feel sad. So don't throw away the phone number to your
support group. And, let your family and friends know that their
continued support for your achievement is also important to you.

As the months roll by and you start to believe you're a non-
smoker, continue to reward yourself for your big achievement.
Rewards don't have to be large or expensive, but they should be
meaningful to you. Consider marking each smoke-free month with a
treat that you really enjoy. It's good to treat yourself,
especially considering the money you're saving by not buying
cigarettes. Here are just a few suggestions:

* Buy a special CD, magazine or book

* Get a massage or a manicure

* Go to a movie or rent one

* Buy new exercise or sporting equipment

* Call a friend or family member

* Buy tickets to a concert or sporting event

* Go out for dinner

* Spend time doing what you really like-a hobby, staying in bed
  late, playing your favorite sport.

You can also bolster your resolve by calculating how much money
you're saving by not smoking. On www.quit.com, there is a savings
calculator that helps you total your savings so you can see the
impact your quitting has on your personal bottom line. All you
need to do is plug in the cost of a pack of cigarettes and how
many packs you used to smoke each day. The calculator then
figures how much you saved in one year of not smoking.

If you follow these tips and remember the reasons you quit in the
first place, you'll soon be able to join the millions of
Americans who are proud to call themselves nonsmokers.

For more tips on long-term success, visit http://www.quit.com/ or
call 1-877-U-COMMIT.

========= Don't Let The Flu Sneak Up On You!

The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), the nation's
largest community providers of influenza vaccine, has joined
leading health officials in urging all Americans aged 50 and
older to get influenza vaccinations. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults 50 and older are at
increased risk for developing influenza and related
complications, including pneumonia. Nearly 90 percent of all
influenza-related deaths occur among adults 50 and older.

Influenza, also known as "the flu," is responsible for more than
114,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
Among people aged 65 and older, influenza is especially serious;
the illness and its complications are ranked among the 10 leading
causes of death for this population.

"If you are among the 47 million Americans aged 50 and older or
suffer from an underlying medical condition, such as asthma or
diabetes, protect yourself and get an influenza vaccination this
year," says Carolyn Markey, R.N., VNAA president and chief
executive officer. "So often, adults over 50 do not consider
influenza a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or
even death."

In addition, it is common for adults aged 50 and older to help
care for their young grandchildren who are at serious risk for
contracting influenza. Recently, the CDC issued a new
recommendation to vaccinate all household contacts and out-of-
home caregivers of children less than 2 years of age, which can
include grandparents and other family members who also may be at
high risk for complications from influenza.

"Adults 50 and older may not realize the dual benefit of
vaccination, which helps protect them from serious influenza-
related illness and stops the spread of infection to others at
high risk, such as infants and young children," says Markey. "It
is important for those 50 and older to understand that an annual
influenza vaccination is the best way to protect themselves and
their family from this very serious disease."

=== Who is at High Risk?

The CDC recommends the following high-risk groups receive an
annual influenza vaccination:

* Persons aged 50 years and older

* Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities 

* Persons with chronic medical conditions (e.g., asthma or diabetes)

* Children and adolescents receiving long-term aspirin therapy 

* Women pregnant during influenza season

* Children aged 6 through 23 months

* All household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children
  younger than 24 months (e.g., parents, grandparents, etc.)

Anyone who wishes to decrease his or her risk of influenza
infection is also encouraged to seek annual vaccination.

=== What are Symptoms of Influenza? 

Many people mistake a cold for influenza; however, influenza
symptoms are more severe and last several days to weeks. Common
symptoms include high fever, chills, dry cough, headache, runny
nose, sore throat, extreme fatigue and muscle and joint pain.

=== About Influenza Vaccination

The injectable influenza vaccine is safe and effective. The most
common side effect is soreness at the vaccination site that can
last up to two days. Some people may have mild fever or feel
tired for a day or two after being immunized. The injectable
vaccine is made from killed strains of the viruses predicted to
be the main causes of influenza in the coming season. Because the
viruses are dead, it's impossible to get influenza from the
injectable vaccine.

The nasal vaccine is a safe and effective alternative made from a
live, "attenuated" influenza virus, and is only available for
healthy children and adults 5 to 49 years of age. Ask your health
care provider if this vaccine is appropriate for you and your

=== When Should You Get Vaccinated? 

The best time to schedule an influenza immunization is in October
or November to ensure protection before the season begins.
However, it is not too late to be vaccinated in December or
beyond because the influenza season often does not peak until
January or later.

=== About VNAA

The VNAA is the largest community provider of influenza
immunizations in the nation, and the official national
association for nonprofit, community-based Visiting Nurse
Agencies, who care for and treat approximately four million
patients each year. The nation's network of 415+ Visiting Nurse
Associations employs nearly 150,000 health care professionals,
and shares a nonprofit mission to provide home health and
community wellness care to some of the nation's most vulnerable
individuals. The VNAA's award-winning Web site contains a wide
range of home health care resources and things to ask about when
considering home health care. Visit http://www.vnaa.org/ to
locate a VNA nearby.

========= Packing For Fido: Pet Travel & Health Tips

Pet owners are hitting the road with their four-legged friends.
According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA),
pet travel is growing and 14 percent of all U.S. adults (29.1
million) say they have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles
or more in the past three years. In fact, many establishments now
accommodate travelers with pets.

"The first step for pet owners planning an escape with their
furry friend is to plan ahead," said Dr. Jeff Werber,
veterinarian and award-winning pet health reporter. "Just as they
prepare for vacations by packing medical necessities and mapping
out activities, they'll need to do the same for their pet." To
guarantee a safe trip, here are a few tips.

=== Pet Prescription

Prior to departing, pet owners should visit their veterinarian to
refill any prescriptions their pets require. Make sure all
vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a current health

Additionally, pet owners must be aware of potential health risks
in certain regions, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain
spotted fever, and take the proper precautions beforehand. Before
traveling, pet parents should protect pets from fleas, ticks and
mosquitoes with products such as Advantage flea control for cats
and dogs or K9 Advantix, flea, tick and mosquito control for

=== Puppy Packing

Pet owners should pack all pet necessities-collar, leash, comb,
food, water, and a first-aid kit. IDs should be up to date, and a
recent photo is helpful in case Fido wanders off.

=== Road Trip

Never let pets stick their head out the window-sudden stops can
cause injury and a seat harness or well-ventilated crate may be
advisable. Also, because pets can become overheated and ill,
never leave them in a parked car when the temperature is high or
near freezing.

=== Sky Tails 

When traveling by plane, pet owners should check airline
policies. Smaller pets often can be placed in a crate under a
seat in the passenger cabin. Pet owners may be able to store
larger animals as cargo, but they must indicate the upright
position of their pet's crate with arrows and clearly label it
"Live Animal," also noting name, home address, where they're
staying and a contact number.

Once the family arrives at their destination, keeping an eye on
their pet is important because unfamiliar surroundings can be
overwhelming. When settled, pets offer great company-they can
have fun anywhere! For more travel tips visit www.petparents.com.

========= Heartening News About Chocolate

If you're like most chocolate lovers, one thing better than a
sumptuous bite of rich chocolate is the news that it may even be
good for you. A recent study suggests a link between eating
certain kinds of chocolate and improved heart health.

The independent study, conducted at the University of California
at San Francisco (UCSF) and published in the Journal of the
American College of Nutrition (JACN), suggests a potential link
between compounds in cocoa, called flavanols, and improved blood
vessel function. Blood vessel function is believed to be an
important indicator of cardiovascular health, much like
cholesterol levels or blood pressure.

Researchers compared the effects of eating a specific type of
chocolate bar (Dove Dark Chocolate; Mars, Incorporated) known to
be high in flavanols with a flavanol-poor chocolate bar. Every
day for two weeks, 21 healthy study participants consumed 46
grams of either the flavanol-rich bar or the flavanol-poor

First, researchers tested the participants' blood at the
beginning and end of the study to track flavanol absorption and
found that the flavanols in the flavanol-rich chocolate were
indeed absorbed. They then examined participants' blood vessel
function by measuring how well the inner lining of the blood
vessel is able to relax in response to increased blood flow by
using a blood pressure cuff on the forearm.

The researchers found that those who ate the high-flavanol
chocolate showed improved blood vessel function two hours after
eating the chocolate. This kind of blood vessel elasticity is
important to maintaining healthy blood flow and a healthy
cardiovascular system.

"The exciting news here is that blood vessel dilation increased
in subjects who ate this high-flavanol, commercially available
chocolate product," said head researcher, Mary B. Engler, Ph.D.,
RN, professor of the Department of Physiological Nursing,
University of California at San Francisco. "This is consistent
with previous research suggesting that certain chocolates do
contain enough flavanols to support cardiovascular health."

Even better news is that high-flavanol chocolate is easy to find.
Not all chocolate retains flavanols because they can be lost
during processing. One company developed proprietary processes to
ensure that chocolate retains as many flavanols as possible.
Those chocolate products are marked with the Cocoapro? logo, and
it can be found on both milk and dark chocolate products.

More information can be found at http://www.cocoapro.com/.

========= USDA Educating Pet Owners About Bird Diseases

According to the U.S. census, birds are the third most popular
pet in the United States behind cats and dogs, beating out
hamsters, fish, and reptiles. While most bird owners take great
care to look out for the well-being of their animals, many are
not aware of how susceptible their pets and backyard flocks, such
as pigeons and chickens, are to illnesses such as exotic
Newcastle disease (END) and avian influenza (AI).

Because of this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has
launched a campaign called Biosecurity for the Birds to inform
people who raise their own poultry or who own exotic birds about
the symptoms associated with these diseases.

"We must be vigilant in educating people on how to better protect
their birds so that future outbreaks of serious poultry diseases
such as END are eliminated," said Dr. John Clifford, deputy
administrator for USDA's veterinary services. "This program will
help greatly in our animal disease prevention, detection, and
eradication efforts."

This campaign came about as a result of the outbreak of END in
California and other western states in 2002 and 2003. This highly
contagious and fatal disease cost the states and federal
government more than $170 million to eradicate and it cost
countless bird owners their livelihoods and, in some cases, their

Biosecurity for the Birds informs bird and poultry owners about
the signs of serious poultry diseases, asks them to report sick
birds and gives them information on practicing backyard
biosecurity to keep their birds safe and healthy. Signs to watch
out for in birds include:

* Sudden death without clinical signs

* Lack of energy and appetite

* Decreased egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs

* Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks

* Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs

* Nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing

* Lack of coordination

* Watery and green diarrhea.

For additional information or to report sick birds, bird and
poultry owners can contact their veterinarian, a local extension
agent, the state veterinarian or their federal area veterinarian
toll-free at (1-866-536-7593) or visit

========= 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
newsletter via your web browser at:


Or you can unsubscribe via email by sending a blank message to


Be sure to send this message from the email account actually
subscribed to the newsletter. If you have trouble unsubscribing
by email, please use the web browser method mentioned above.

If you need to change your subscription to a new email address,
unsubscribe your old email address and subscribe your new email
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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