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Cauldron and Candle
Issue #58 -- April 2005

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  #58 -- April 2005

           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
     * A Few Words on Pope John Paul II
     * Cauldron and Candle Submissions Needed
[02] Cauldron Challenge: April
[03] Cauldron News
     * Technical FAQ
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Reviews
     [05-1] The Outer Temple of Witchcraft
     [05-2] Book of Magic
     [05-3] Book of Thunder
     [05-4] Book of Earth
     [05-5] Egypt: Child of Atlantis
     [05-6] L.O.S.T.
     [05-7] My Romantic Spell
     [05-8] Don't Die, Dragonfly
[06] Articles:
     [06-1] How to Use Book Reviews Effectively
     [06-2] A Practicum on Spell Banners
     [06-3] Universal Meaning of Celtic Knotwork
     [06-4] April -- The Month of Venus
     [06-5] What Your Daydreams Reveal
[07] Columns
     [07-1] Kitchen Witchin
     [07-2] Humor: The Monastery
[08] Pagan Webcrafting
     [08-1] Your Website Hurts My Eyes
     [08-2] Content Management Systems (CMS)
     [08-3] The Psychology of Color in Web Design
     [08-4] Cheap Web Hosting Report: April 2005
[09] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[10] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

    +++April Issue Submission Deadline: April 25, 2005+++
  Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

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

===== A Few Words on Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II died Saturday, April 2nd at age 84, having led
the Catholic Church for 26 years -- the third longest Papal reign
in history. Why am I mentioning this in a Pagan publication?
There are several reasons.

First, John Paul II was a major figure on the world stage. He
revitalized the Catholic Church with his open style even as he
angered more liberal Catholics with his conservative views on
many church issues. He was one of the people most responsible for
the fall of Communism dictatorships in Eastern Europe. He
traveled the world and brought his message directly to the
people. He did not ignore political leaders by any means, but his
travels were not to isolated summits carefully protected from
real people, but were to see and interact with the masses, the
people that many political leaders ignore except at election

Second, while his conservative views on many church issues upset
more liberal Catholics, he wasn't a raving "my way or the
highway" fundie-type, as unlike fundie Protestant leaders (and,
sadly, some fundie Pagan leaders I've met), he did not kick
everyone who disagreed with him out of his church. Also, he was
willing to admit that the Catholic Church had made errors in the
past -- and even to issue apologies for some of those errors.
While I personally think such apologies are pointless as neither
the people who suffered from the errors nor the people who made
the errors are alive, they seemed to please many people.

Third, he was truly a good person. He really cared about other
people -- even people of different religions and people within
his own religion who disagreed with him. Many leaders pretend to
care about the average person to get votes or to be popular, but
it was obvious to just about everyone who paid any attention that
John Paul II was not putting on an act.

Pope John Paul II was one of the few religious or world leaders I
could really respect over the long term -- and this was in spite
of my strong dislike of some of the positions he took on specific
issues. The world is a poorer place for his passing. I hope his
God receives him with the honor he deserves.

I think the world would be better off if more religious leaders
tried to emulate John Paul II -- not his policies, but his
caring, his openness, and his ability to disagree without hatred
even on issues he considered dear to his heart. It is possible to
have firm and even unpopular views and not be a jerk about it,
Pope John Paul II demonstrated this every day of his reign. May
he rest in peace.

===== Cauldron and Candle Submissions Needed

We still need submissions.  We did receive several nice articles
last month -- thanks to those were wrote them! We even have one
the Tarot for next month, but the submission folder on my drive
is just about empty, otherwise, so if you have an idea for an
article, your newsletter needs you.

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


Book Review Submission Form:



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========= by Star

April's Challenge is based on the saying, "April showers bring
May flowers." When something bad happens in your life or that of
someone close to you, your Challenge is to see what kind of
potential the situation has to bring about something positive
(for you, for someone else, just in general -- doesn't matter).

What I'm not going for here is simply seeing the silver lining or
getting all Pollyanna and seeing the bright side of everything
even though the "bright side" can sometimes be artificial and
irrelevant. What I am looking for is, perhaps, related to another
saying as well: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." I'm
wanting people to try to see ways in which bad situations can be
used to bring about positive things, building on the current
situation and making it better.

So -- what are you going to take and make better?




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

===== Technical FAQ

Star has written a Technical FAQ explaining some of our message
board's features and hope to use them. She has done a great job.
If you are new to our message board -- or would just like to
learn more about how to best use it, you will want to take a
look. You'll find the Technical FAQ in the "Cauldron
Announcements" folder on our message board, or you can follow
this link:




        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.

=== Spending Money On Your Religion?

What does your path say about spending money in regards to your
religion/religious practices?

I mean we all know that the $900 'mystickalle' wand with the 9
carat diamond on the end isn't going to magically make you a
witch( or whatever) but there are certainly some things that I've
spent some serious money on for my practice.

Now these expenditures, for me at least, aren't required but they
are things that I see as signs of respect for my deities that I
am happy to scrimp and save to give in honor of them. I'm a firm
believer of never buying anything for practice that I will be
unhappy about the amount of money I have spent(I feel it lends a
negative energy to the item if you resent it's cost.) But on the
other hand I think that, when you can afford it, getting
beautiful and sometimes expensive things with which to use in
worship/ritual/whatever is a sign of respect.

That doesn't mean, of course, that if Witch A could only afford
to spend $50 on her tools and Witch B could afford $150 on her
tools that Witch B is a better witch or is showing more respect.
'From each according to his ability, to each according to his
needs' right? I guess it's like donating. If someone who is poor
donates $100 to a cause and someone who is rich donates $100 to a
cause - well who donated more.

I mean I know it's not required, I don't think money or the
expense of something is the end all be all... but on the other
hand, I think there is an amount of respect tied in with the
amount you are willing to spend in reference to the amount you
can spend for your worship.

Does that make any sense? What does everyone else think?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Goal of Your Religious Path?

What is the ultimate goal of your religious path? If you don't
necessary consider yourself "religious" is there a universal
goal, like for the good of the universe type stuff, or is it
simply for the good of self improvement?

I am considering creating a written record of what I do and feel.
I know my goals have changed over the years, and I no longer
believe as I use to. So I really am curious of what your current
views are, not what they use to be or what they changed from.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Indoors or Outdoors?

Do you perform your rituals indoors or outdoors or both? Which do
you prefer, and why? And most importantly, does the
content/outline of the ritual change if you do it outdoors
instead of indoors or vice versa?

I'm asking because last night's Full Moon was my first outdoors
ritual in a long while (for obvious weather reasons). The
sensations I got were all different, the things I wanted to do,
and say, and chant, and pray for, were all different, so I've
been wondering.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Healing Animals?

I was wondering if anyone new some types of spells useful for
wounded animals. You see, I live in north Florida, USA, and last
night we were pelted with hail the likes of which I have never
experienced. Walking about today, surveying the damage, I found a
small sparrow who was apparently struck and wounded in the storm.
He could still fly, and I suppose he didn't need any help from
me. Nevertheless, I still made a prayer in my own way for the
little creature, and offered it.

This started me to think though, that it would be nice to be able
to heal or at least ease the pain of creatures wounded in the
wild. As a child I heard many stories about druids, wizards, and
thaumaturges loosening deer locked in hedges, healing birds, and
such things like that. Any help you have would be appreciated.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Meditation Before Practicing?

At 21, I feel I still have a lot of the "angst" and anger from my
teenage years. Luckily I'm not as intolerable. LOL! But in
seriousness, I feel it would better for me to just study and
meditate for a good 6 months to a year before I actually begin
practicing. I want to rid myself of my hangups, insecurities,
misinformation, and negative thought patterns before I embark on
such a religious journey.

Has anyone else gone this route? How often did you meditate? Did
you chant mantras or simply use creative visualization and
controlled breathing (or maybe a combo of both)? Do you feel this
effected your outlook towards how you practiced? Do you think
studying and taking notes a good year before actually performing
a ritual is a good way to go?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Thrifty Witches?

I am often amazed at what some folks will get rid of these days,
and even more amazed at how much of it ends up in our local op-

I recently picked up a small brass dish that has a primitive stag
hunt stamped into it...for .50 cents!! It's going to look amazing
on my altar when I get one, hmmmm, methinks I see another trip to
the op-shop in my future!

I was curious, what is your best/most amazing op-shop find?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== When is it Blasphemy?

One board I visited for several months didn't really like to
discuss religious issues or questions at all. Usually someone got
snarky and accused the other of blasphemy to their god or goddess
or something.

Which brings up a question I could not get anything but an
emotive answer to there: Is it possible to blaspheme something
you personally do not hold holy? I know I am likely getting this
phrased wrong, but just for instance, every time pagans discuss
Christ, and say they don't believe in him...or don't worship him,
is that blasphemy? Is it blasphemy to recite some mythology which
a believer of that particular pantheon believes is an inaccurate
version? I find this a difficult concept; maybe its the cynic in
me, but it seems this would lead to a complete inability to talk
about anything verging on religion. Help!!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Gender Expectations and Your Religion

Being on the dating scene allows me to talk to many different
guys. So this guy struck a conversation with me and not before
long I found out that he has two kids. He asked me if I liked
kids. I told him, "not really." He thought that was harsh and it
seemed as though I had insulted him. Makes you wonder why he even
asked. It is as though because I am female and of course my
biological clock must be ticking, I should be really maternal and
love kids -- all kids.

This recent conversation got me thinking. All these gender
expectations, how do they play a role into your faith and
ultimately into your life? Do they even have a role? Are they
just stereotypes and misconceptions as far as you and/or your
deities are concerned?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
=== Pagan Teens and You

Being not quite 17, there's a personal side to this thread, of
course. It just seems to me that there is an itty-bitty
patronizing element in the way teenagers are treated, especially
by 101 authors, but also by older Pagans in general.

Sure, I can't say that it's not deserved a few times
(sometimes...quite a bit of the time...most of the time), but
there are teenagers with a more mature approach to Paganism (whom
I can't name right now, but as soon as I find one I'll let you
know). So, without further rambling...

1. How do you view Pagan teenagers?

2. Does your tradition have any specific way of dealing with
   Pagan youths?

3. Do you think there's a difference between teens attracted to a
   Pagan path and teens born into Paganism?

4. If you are working or worshiping in a group, what percentage
   are teenagers?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== All This "Fluffy Bunny" Stuff?

I was just curious why some people feel the need too identify
others as "fluffy bunnies", it seems very adolescent too me ,
like being in high school and accusing one of your peers as being
a "poser" because they are not quite on the same social or
intellectual level as you.

Now, I do understand some of the ramifications of an author who
publishes false info, i.e. someone may pick up the book and read
it without realizing not everything in the book is based on
historical fact or the author, for whatever reason decided to
publish a bunch of made up nonsense, and now this someone has
some wrong ideas about Paganism. BUT, who is too say that some of
these so called "fluffy bunnies" won't go on too discover the
real truth and beauty of Paganism, maybe at this time on their
journey the watered down version is all they are capable of
learning at the moment.

Besides I bet there are a lot of us out there that started out as
"fluffy bunnies" but are too proud to admit it. I mean everyone
has to start somewhere, many of us (Pagans) were not born into
this we had too search for the knowledge ourselves and if, in our
search we encounter a few "fluffy bunnies" along the way than so
be it! I say live and let live! I don't consider it my place too
judge others and what they believe.

Lighten up! Why waste the time and energy on authors like Silver
Ravenwolf, if you don't agree with what she writes about don't
read her books, spend that same time and energy on authors that
you do agree with!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:



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

Most of The Cauldron's book reviews are now written by Mike
Gleason. If you would like to contact Mike with comments about
his reviews (or about books you would like to have reviewed), you
can email Mike at:


========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

The Outer Temple of Witchcraft: Circles, Spells, and Rituals	
Author: Christopher Penczak
Trade Paperback, 442 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
List: US$17.95 
ISBN: 0738705314
Amazon Link:

Christopher Penczak is one of those rarities in the field of
Pagan/Wiccan authors. Like many authors, he tells the reader to
experiment to find what works for the individual. Unlike many
authors, however, he admits to many initial doubts when he began
his studies. Too many authors say something like "I knew right
away.", and even though I can empathize with that position, it is
not the most common response. It is far more common to question
the reality of what is experienced; to dismiss successful
spellwork as coincidence; to see unsuccessful rituals as "proof"
that magick isn't real.

Unfortunately, one of my personal bug-a-boos rears its head in
this book once again -- typographical errors. Now, I realize that
I am not reading these books for a living, but if I were I would
want each book to be as free of errors as possible, and there are
way too many mistakes to gloss over. Most of them are simple, but
that is no excuse. By no means the first (nor the last) such
error is on page 215, in "Psychometry". The second sentence
starts out "The reader holds and object." when it should be "The
reader holds an object." Every time I come across such an error,
it jars me out of my rhythm. There are other instances where a
word has been dropped and, while that is not a problem for an
experienced individual, it could be a cause of confusion for the
less knowledgeable.

Christopher supplies plenty of examples when he assigns
exercises. And, most importantly in my opinion, he explains his
reasons for doing things the way he does while still encouraging
individual experimentation.

Christopher provides a lot of information which is available in
any number of other sources. However, he also provides
alternative information if that doesn't connect for you. He also
provides a lot of encouragement for the beginner to experiment
and find the connections that work for the individual student.

While I don't always agree with his statements and beliefs (we
have had widely differing training and experiences), I do have to
acknowledge that he presents a unified, consistent system. Unlike
many authors, he makes no attempt to do it all in one book. This
is the second book in what, I assume, is intended to be a five
volume series. This allows him to devote plenty of time and space
to explaining his reasoning. Each volume is capable of standing
on its own, but they do form an interlocked chain which should,
in my opinion, produce well-trained, well-grounded practitioners.

He provides a self-administered test in the first appendix. While
there are no right or wrong answers here (most of the questions
center on feelings and opinions), taking this test will help you
to define your understanding of the Craft. Whether you are
reading this book as part of your own training, or simply to see
how another person feels about the topics covered, this text is a
valuable resource.

Appendix Two provides some sample chants for the seasonal
rituals, while the Bibliography is wide-ranging enough to be
valuable to almost anyone. It isn't terribly extensive, but it
runs the gamut from Laurie Cabot (Christopher's first teacher) to
Donald Michael Kraig -- and believe me that is quite a gamut.

He has created a CD companion to this work (which I have not
heard). It provides the individual with an opportunity to have an
audible guide through many of the meditations and exercises in
this book. It is available from Llewellyn (ISBN 0-7387-0532-2) as
a four CD set for $24.95. While I can't recommend it, since I
haven't heard it, I suspect it would be a useful companion to
this book.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Book of Magic
Author: John Peel
Trade Paperback, 191 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: 9-12 
List: US$4.99, C$6.50 
ISBN: 0738706159
Amazon Link:

The third book in the "Diadem: Worlds of Magic" series finds the
three youngsters (Score - from Earth, Helaine - from Ordin, and
Pixel - from Calomir) once again facing dangers from Sarman,
whose goal is to rule all of the Diadem worlds.

For those who have not read the first two books in the series (I
really recommend that you get and read them, however), a short
explanation of the backgrounds of the three heroes might be

Score is a street-wise young man from the street of New York.
Helaine (who used the alias of Renald to conceal her gender, and
thus hide her interest in "boy's work" from her disapproving
noble father) is a young lady with desires of being a warrior
(and who is a better warrior than many of the young pages in the
castle she grew up in on the planet of Ordin). And finally, Pixel
is a young man with NO experience in the real world before he
started this series of adventures. He grew up on Calomir, where
everyone lives in a virtual existence. He had only just ventured
out of his home for the first time when his life spun out of
control and he found himself off world and fighting for his life.

With each chapter of each book in the series the youngsters learn
more about controlling their magic. They make friends of the most
unlikely creatures - trolls and goblins and unicorns, Oh My! More
importantly they learn about themselves and the power of
friendship. Many of the creatures they befriend have little use
for humans, and less for magic users. The youngsters learn to
trust their instincts, and teach others to be more open and

There are seven books in the series (at least that is how many
are listed), so this book brings us nearly halfway through the
series. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The trio defeats Sarman, the source of all their problems, so
that should be the end of it, right? Or was he the real source?
It turns out that there is a source behind the source, and they
manage to deal with that. Now their problems are over right?
Don't bet on it.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Book of Thunder
Author: John Peel
Trade Paperback, 174 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: 9-12 
List: US$4.99, C$6.50 
ISBN: 0738706140
Amazon Link:

Book Four of the "Diadem: Worlds of Magic" series finds Pixel
(the virtual recluse from Calomir), Score (the street-wise kid
from Earth) and Helaine (the warrior girl from Ordin) back on the
planet Dondar where their friends (the unicorns Thunder, Nova and
Flame) are in grave danger.

Having just set the magic of Sarman and The Triad to the business
of regulating the magic which keeps the Diadem worlds functioning
smoothly, they had hope to earn some rest and a chance to
consolidate their friendship with the unicorns. Alas, this was
not to be.

Former antagonists of theirs, Oracle and Shanara, combine to try
to offer some assistance to the trio. They aren't able to offer
physical assistance - the laws governing magic on the Diadem
worlds prohibit it. But they offer guidance, even if it turns out
to be incomplete, and thus misleading.

As the youngsters progress through their various adventures they
are forced to mature far more quickly than normal. In the course
of little more than week they go from three very independent,
self-absorbed children to a tried and proven group of young magic
users who have come to appreciate the value of friendship, and
who have learned to accept that the universe is a far stranger
and more wonderful place than any of them could have imagined.

I really like this series and I heartily recommend the four books
currently available. I expect that the remaining three books will
be available by the middle of 2005 (Book of Earth [#5] is due out
in December of 2004, Book of Nightmares [#6] is due in March of
2005, Book of War [#7] should be out in June of 2005). This is a
series which young readers (ages 9 to 12, approximately) should
find very enjoyable. It is pure magical escapism. It is well
written with enough challenges to engage the older readers
without it being too deep and heavy for the younger ones. I could
easily envision this series as becoming one of those which, like
the "Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis, will be remembered fondly as
children mature. It reinforces the ideas of cooperation, trust,
and careful consideration of circumstances.

Like all good cliffhangers, the ending leaves you wanting more
and eagerly awaiting the next installment.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Book of Earth
Author: John Peel
Trade Paperback, 173 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: 9-12 
List: US$4.99, C$6.50 
ISBN: 0738706132
Amazon Link:

For once we find our trio of intrepid magic-users-in-training on
familiar ground, at least for Score. He grew up on Earth. Helaine
and Pixel, on the other hand, might be forgiven for being a bit
confused. Imagine, if you will, a young lady from a medieval
world confronted with skyscrapers. How about a young man who
lived most of his life alone or with a couple of friends on-line,
suddenly encountering a busy New York street full of pedestrians
and vehicles? As you can well imagine, there were lots of reasons
for this confusion.

There are villains a plenty in this book - a New York street
gang, mobsters, wannabe magicians, and more. And they all want
Score. Their reasons differ, but their desires are all the same.

Then there is the crippled young lady with the massive computer
set-up. What is her part in this whole thing? Who is she? What is

Score is dying, Helaine is missing her weapons, and Pixel, well,
his only real problem is that he misses the natural blue color of
his skin.

This far away from the Diadem, magic works poorly. It still
works, but it is a pale reflection of what the three of them are
used to working with.

Of course, since this isn't the end of the series all of the ends
are not tied up nicely and neatly when the last page arrives.
Score and Helaine arrive safely on Treen only to discover that
Pixel and his captor have gone elsewhere - to Zarathan, also
known as the Nightmare World (and the scene of the next book in
the series, Book of Nightmares).

This is a fun series of books so long as you are looking for
simple escapism fiction. There is no attempt made to be true-to-
life, or to teach "proper" magical methods. It is a series
written for fun. Enjoy it for what it is.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Egypt: Child of Atlantis: A Radical Interpretation of the 
   Origins of Civilization	
Author: John Gordon
Trade Paperback, 294 pages 
Publisher: Bear and Company 
Publication date: 2004 
List: US$20.00, C$29.95 
ISBN: 1591430232
Amazon Link:
Warning: Speculative History

The author's Theosophical leanings become evident very early in
this work (which is not surprising, as he is a Theosophist
lecturer). He brings together data from a variety of sources both
within and without the scientific community. This results,
depending upon your personal belief system, in an extremely
valuable approach or utter rubbish. He places a heavy reliance on
the writings of H.P. Blavatsky (founder of the Theosophical
movement) whose writings were dismissed at the time of their
publication, but which have, albeit reluctantly, given more
credence as more information has come to light.

For those individuals who are primarily interested in Atlantis,
its culture and its history - this is not the book for you. For
those individuals primarily interested in Egyptology, this is not
the book for you. If, on the other hand, you have a basic
understanding of, and interest in, Theosophical thought as it
relates to an interpretation of the history of the world during
the past 25,000 years or so, this IS the book for you.

Many of the references used in this book date back 100 years or
so. At the time they were written they were dismissed as mere
fantasy. Today some of them are getting a serious second look,
while others continue to be dismissed. Unfortunately, the author
(in many cases) tries to use negative arguments to make his case
(i.e., scientists have not disproven this conjecture, so it must
be true). It is not up to science to disprove his conjectures, it
is up to him to offer proof. Conjecture and speculation,
regardless how many examples and sources are cited, do not
constitute proof, even in the field of "ancient mysteries."

Amongst the more than 100 books I have reviewed this year, this
is one of the ones which required the highest degree of
concentration. Each chapter, indeed each paragraph, deserves to
be read with total commitment to absorbing the information
contained therein.

If you are tired or distracted do not read this book. Whether or
not you agree with the proposals and conclusions of the author,
you will need your wits about you to make the most of what is
contained within the covers of this book.

The $20 price tag is insignificant when weighed against the sheer
amount of data assembled by Mr. Gordon. Frankly, I expected a
much "lighter" book (in tone) for the price. I was pleasantly
surprised by the sincerity with which it was presented.

           This review is available on our web site at
========= REVIEW: L.O.S.T.
========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Author: Debbie Federici and Susan Vaught
Trade Paperback, 326 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: Young Adult 
List: US$9.95, C$13.50 
ISBN: 0738705616
Amazon Link:

How often do you meet the hero of a book who tells you right off
the bat that he has ADHD, and who started his (unplanned)
adventures without his medication, but with a full bladder?

The story is told, alternately, by Brenden (Bren) and Jasmina
(Jazz). He is a soon-to-be high school senior. She is Queen of
all the Witches (let's not get into that discussion. This is a
novel, after all). This is not a story about Wicca. This
Witchcraft if not the reality we have all encountered, but rather
the Witchcraft of ages past.

Live Oak Springs Township (the "L.O.S.T." of the title) is, like
a magic circle, a place which is not a place and a time outside
of normal time. It is a place where all is not as it seems, and
which figures prominently only in the beginning and the ending of
the story.

Jasmina Corey (now, where have I heard the name "Corey" before in
reference to Witchcraft?) is the descendant of a powerful Witch
couple. Her father is dead, her mother is missing. Although this
is purely a fantasy work, she is aware of and abides by (most of
the time) the Wiccan Rede.

If you have read the Diana Tregarde novels by Mercedes Lackey,
you may have a feeling for what this novel is like.

Bren is a young man who starts off not believing in anything
except the concrete realities of the day-to-day world. His ADHD
provides him with a convenient excuse for not being able to do
magic, when he is exposed to the idea that magic is real. As he
spends time with Jazz he finds his magical abilities expanding,
even though he conceals this information from her (for reasons he
can't even explain to himself).

Jazz is frustrated through his, apparent, lack of progress in
learning magic. She has her own set of issues, many of which she
refuses to face. She is frustrated by the level of responsibility
which is hers by right of birth.

This book ends with a bittersweet taste, unlike many books aimed
at this age group. Brenden must make uncomfortable choices, and
Jazz must learn what it is to lose, and by losing - win.

I doubt if this is the start of a series, it is pretty neatly
tied up at the end, although I could see ways for it to be
expanded for another couple of books, at least. I guess we will
have to wait and see what happens.

           This review is available on our web site at
========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

My Romantic Spell	
Author: Rodney Robbins
Trade Paperback, 148 pages 
Publisher: Awesome Possum Press 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: Young Adult 
List: US$12.95 
ISBN: 1411610695
Amazon Link:

It is nice, once in a while, to read a book where you can truly
identify with the characters and/or the setting. Living in and
near Salem, Massachusetts for almost two decades, I could easily
visualize the setting of this novel. Of course, there are
creative differences between the real Salem and this fictional
one, but the tone and textures remain true to the inspiration.

The story is that of a typical (??!!) hereditary Witch family
trying to find their feet after the death of the husband. The
teen daughter wants to see her mother happy again, so, against
advice given by those more experienced in the Arts Magickal, she
decides to do a love spell to pair her mother with a man she
thinks is perfect for her. Needless to say, things aren't always
as they appear.

She recruits help from a young man who is completely unschooled
in the ways of Witchcraft and Magick. But, he trusts her and is
willing to learn. He does a little research on his own; makes a
mistake or two along the way; and is, in all ways, a typical
young teen male. He is also making adjustments in his life,
having just moved from Pittsburgh (a big city) to Salem (a small

The pacing is good. The characters are true-to-life. The
situations are believable. The writing is smooth and enjoyable.
And, on top of all that, there is just the right blend of
mystical and mundane.

If you are looking for a good Yule gift for the young Pagan teen
on your list, this is the book to pick up a copy of this book. I
recommend it heartily.

           This review is available on our web site at

========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Don't Die, Dragonfly
Author: Linda Joy Singleton
Paperback, 269 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
Ages: Young Adult 
List: US$4.99, C$6.50 
ISBN: 0738705268
Amazon Link:

Ah the joys of being psychic, and a teenager: To know the future,
but to be powerless to influence it. Wanting to fit in, but
fearful of standing out.

This is the start of a series (The Seer #2: Last Dance is the
next one due out), which I hope will be well received. There are
few authors who are producing quality fiction which is "New Age"
friendly, and Ms. Singleton is one of the better ones.

The gods know that young readers will be able to identify with
Sabine Rose, the heroine of this series, even if they aren't
psychic themselves. She suffers all the pains and uncertainties
shared by teenagers in general, amplified by being "the new kid"
and being sure that if anyone knew their "dark secret" they would
be rejected and even more outcast. And, of course, someone
accepting you is a cause of even more paranoia.

Imagine Sabine's surprise when she discovers a few others who
aren't freaked out by her psychic abilities. Then imagine her
astonishment at finding an occult shop (in every sense of the
word) in the most unlikely of places. Then there is her
developing family secret, and the fact that an outsider knows
more about it than she does.

There is no neat resolution of this story, since it is designed
to carry your interest forward. It is well written and enjoyable.

           This review is available on our web site at



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

========= by Jenett

It's hard to figure out which books are worth reading. Sometimes
we're looking for facts and information. Other times, we're
looking for inspiration for ritual or personal work. We may want
to read a book (even if we expect to disagree with it) because
it's well-known or currently popular. We may just want to know
what's out there. How do we find out?

===== Library Resources

Many libraries make their decisions based on reviews in
professional publications such as Booklist, Publisher's Weekly,
or Library Journal. Reviews focus on a book's usefulness and
appropriateness to a library collection. As a result, works with
a wide appeal are more likely to be reviewed in these sources.
The reviewers are often generally familiar with the topic, but
not always aware of specific issues.

These publications can be hard to find if you're not a librarian,
so why do we care about their reviews? Well, amazon.com and
bn.com (Barnes & Noble) both include reviews from these sources.
They're grouped together under the label "Editorial reviews" or
"From the Critics" (as opposed to customer reviews.) They don't
always include the same editorial reviews: it's worth checking
both sites.

Library-focused reviews tell me a few things. First, this book is
somewhat more likely to appear on library shelves. It may be more
available to more people. I may want to read it to see if I'd
suggest it. Books reviewed in these sources also tend to have
good bookstore distribution.

Second, books reviewed in these sources usually have a strong
general appeal. While there isn't a direct correlation, the books
that show up in the library professional journals are more likely
to get ‘buzz' about them in the Pagan community as a whole.

The reviews are usually a paragraph or two. They give a general
idea of what the book's about and who the intended audience is.
These reviews don't have enough space to point out specific
details, but they will sometimes mention whether an author
handles historical or factual issues well or badly.

This often isn't enough to make me decide to buy a book. I
usually want more information. We might also wonder whether
professional resources really understand a book in Pagan context.
(Even if the reviewer is Pagan themselves, they may not be fully
familiar with a given path, perspective, or culture.)
Fortunately, there are other resources.

===== Pagan Reviews

Pagan magazines and publications often include reviews. If you
generally like a magazine's feel, you may well find their reviews
to be useful. However, you still need to keep the reviewer's
background and perspective in mind (as discussed below).

These days, we can find lots of online reviews. Two well known
reviewers are Mike Gleason and Daven. Both include specifics and
details, as well as what they liked and didn't like about the
book. They also both have a general knowledge of the Pagan
community, and are aware of their own biases. They've also
reviewed a wide variety of books.

Mike Gleason's reviews are online at the Cauldron's book review
section (http://ecauldron.com/bookstore.php will get you there if
you haven't already found it) The Cauldron also includes other,
similarly detailed reviews from other reviewers. It's where I
usually start when I'm book browsing. Daven's reviews are online
on his website, at http://davensjournal.com/

Another source for information about books (though not reviews)
is the Witch's Voice website. They have a section on books at
http://www.witchvox.com/xbooks.html (which also includes links to
some other review sites). Much of the information about books is
either individual reviews (discussed below) or material from the
publishers (who obviously want to make the book sound good).
However, once you know specific titles, it's a lot easier to look
for detailed reviews or ask for opinions.

===== Individual Reviewers

Much of what we find online are individual reviews. These include
customer reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's websites as
well as comments in online forums and discussions. It's important
to read all reviews (even the published ones) carefully.

First, I look at some superficial information. How long is the
review? Two sentences won't tell me much. I also look at how the
review is written. A few typos are no problem, but I've generally
found that reviews from reviewers who've taken the time to write
standard English and proofread are more useful. Reviews that say
"i liked this book. it was gr8!!!" don't tell you much.

Second, I look for information (or clues) about the reviewer's
background. How knowledgeable are they about the general subject
of the book? What's their perspective? Often, people won't say
outright, but you can make some guesses if you're familiar with
the subject.

Perspective is particularly important. You sometimes see reviews
of Wiccan classics complaining that the book is too complicated
or involved, or that some of the practices (working skyclad and
binding in particular) are outright wrong.

There's two problems with this. First, you need to keep their
perspective in mind. If you don't want the same things they do,
their recommendation may not be of any direct use. The reasons
they disliked a book may actually make it very useful to you.

Second, time passes. While many of the classics aren't the first
books I'd recommend to someone starting out today for various
reasons, they still have valuable information. It is, however,
important to take them in context. A book published in the early
80s was published for a community with different needs. Attitudes
and approaches may have changed since then. If you're a
discerning and thoughtful reader, these books are often still
very useful.

Finally, people often recommend or comment on books as part of
discussions. You often know more about the background of the
person recommending the book. They also often recommend it for a
specific reasons ("I think you'd find X book useful because...").

This is a very time consuming option (since you need to find
discussions that suit you, and spend time participating or
reading them.) However, it's also one of the best ways to get
specific advice about which books can help you or which are
helpful for a specific path or topic.

===== Using Reviews

There are two ways to use reviews. One is to decide between books
on a topic. Another is to help you keep up with new and
interesting books. This second part is easy: you just want some
information about the book. Deciding, however, is often harder.
Here's some tips that should help you.

Many review sites use a rating system. The 1 and 5 star reviews
from sites with many reviewers (such as Amazon or bn.com) tend to
be poor reviews (in terms of providing information.) Some of them
are overly emotional, many are short, and others simply don't
give specifics.

I focus on the 2 and 4 star reviews (you can sort by the number
of stars on Amazon). They more often mention individual factors
or issues. These reviews also tend to give more detail about the
reviewer's background in ways that help me evaluate the review.

A useful review gives you more information about the book, not
just the reviewer's preferences or biases. They're specific. They
give examples and details that support what they liked or didn't
like, or why they recommend it. They give you an idea what
material is covered, and some idea of the tone. This is why short
reviews aren't much use: they simply don't tell you much.

A good reviewer can talk about good and bad points in the book
without making it personal. (Or, if they do, it's carefully done:
they talk about why they liked or didn't like the book rather
than why you should.) While some idea of the reviewer's
preferences and background is helpful, hateful or nasty reviews
aren't very useful: the good stuff gets lost in the emotion.

Useful reviews also keep the focus of the author and book in
mind: if the book is clearly talking about a specific tradition
or set of practices, the review shouldn't take it to task for not
including other options. Likewise, if all the negative reviews
are from people who obviously find that path (or practices)
distasteful, but positive reviews are from people who follow that
path, that can tell you a lot. If the reviewer wants to talk
about whether practices are useful, there are usually better ways
to do that than in a review.

Finally, useful reviews are realistic. Titles are often
determined by the publisher, not the author. The marketing copy
also often isn't under the author's control. If you think you're
potentially interested in a book, look beyond these things. Look
at the table of contents, material from the author, or reviews
from people who've actually read the book. You'll get a better

In brief, use reviews to become aware of specific issues
discussed in a book. Look at the reasons for reviewer's
recommendations or rating, not just the rating itself. Once you
have that information, you can decide which things matter most to
you, and focus your time (and book budget) better.

========= by Anthony Ford

===== Abstract 
Spell Banners are long bands of paper with a spell cast upon
them. When allowed to flow in the wind, the spell banner releases
the effects of its spell slowly but surely. Spell Banners are
popular in many eastern forms of magic. Often, they are used for
prosperity and/or luck, and are displayed shops and other places
of business. Mistaken for decor, the Spell Banner works its magic
bringing good fortune to the user. Spell Banners have a plethora
of other uses beside commercial prosperity. In Cunningham and
Harrington's book, Spell Crafts, an operation for creating Spell
Banners is outlined. In performing this magical operation, this
author modified the procedure to help fit the modern (and frugal)
===== Preparation for the Procedure 
A Spell Banner has two basic material components, paper and ink.
These two ingredients are inherently inexpensive, and can be
found anywhere in the modern world. While Spell Crafts recommends
water-based poster paints I decided to use a common Sharpie
marker. Not only inexpensive, but a single Sharpie could feasibly
make hundreds of banners. As for the color of the ink, Spell
Crafts recommends using different colors for different purposes
for the banner. While some people hold that the color of your
spell components is important, during my operation with this
ritual I used the same color ink for every Spell Banner I made.
Different colored inks absorb into paper just like any other, so
go with your preference. If you have the extra cash to buy
different colored Sharpies, you might as well buy ink and a
As for the paper, Spell Crafts recommends paper measuring 8 ½ x
22 inches, or two sheets of office paper end to end. However,
because specialty paper can be more expensive and harder to find,
I calculated the length to width ratio of the paper in the
operation, and found it to be 0.3863. Other dimensions which
maintain this ratio are 11 x 44 inches, for a larger banner, and
4 ¼ x 11 inches, for a smaller banner. Conveniently, 4 ¼ x 11
inches is the size of a standard sheet of office paper cut in
half lengthwise. This size is the one I used for my Spell
Banners. Since 500 sheets of paper can cost as little as $5.00,
and each piece of paper can make two Spell Banners, each Banner
will only set you back half a cent! Factoring in that Sharpie
markers are the only other material overhead, an investment of
only about $6.50 will provide you with all the Spell Banners you
will ever need!

===== The Operation 
For the ritual itself, Spell Crafts calls for a bowl of pure
water, a dish of salt, a candle, and some incense. The candle is
recommended to be of a certain color, along with the ink. Again,
I do not put much stock in the idea that only certain colored
objects are permissible. Find your favorite candle in your house.
The personal energy you have invested in it is more important
than its color. Additionally, while many believe that lighting a
candle is the only way to release its power, if you are in a
situation where starting a fire is not prudent or legal, don t
feel obligated to light it. It is a symbol of fire, who is to say
that it cannot symbolize fire sans flame? It is up to your
beliefs and preferences.
As for the incense, it is used as a symbol for the power of air
which is paramount to this ritual. However, if you are in a
situation where you do not want to buy incense or you cannot
start a fire (as before), feel free to find an alternative symbol
to represent the power of air. Again if you are in a place where
starting a fire is a hazard, do not feel obligated to light your
incense, and make sure you use your better judgment when
partaking in any magical operation. The alternative symbol for
air I used was a white crystal. I even placed it in my censor to
further enhance the symbolism of air.
Before your first Spell Banner is wrought, it needs to have a
purpose. Spell Crafts includes 7 Norse runes to place onto your
Spell Banner to symbolize various purposes for said banner. I
have two problems with this. First, seven is a dismally low
number of runes to provide, there are many more that could have
been added to the book. After some research, I found several more
runes (13 more, in fact) that should've been included with this
operation. My second problem was that Spell Banners are an
artifact of eastern forms of magic, namely from China. However,
the authors somehow felt it prudent to include Norse runes as the
symbols to be drawn on the banners. I have nothing against runes;
I feel that they are an excellent symbology to draw from in
magic. There are hundreds of books about runes out there; I
would've liked to have learned a little about what the Chinese
people who came up with Spell Banners used. The operation itself
piqued my interest about Chinese culture and magic, but I found
nothing about Chinese history in the operation besides the basic
premise. Using symbols in Mandarin, or using some other form of
Chinese language would have been interesting and welcome in the
magical operation. I suppose overall the choice of symbols was my
only real criticism with this operation.
Regardless of what symbol you choose to put onto your banner,
make sure it means something to the tune of what you need the
banner for. I wouldn't hold anyone to use a specific language,
besides for their historical interest, but make sure the symbol
can be looked upon later as meaning something to the banner. Even
if you decide to draw a shield for a protection banner, just make
sure the symbol fits the cause. You may want to practice drawing
your selected symbol (or symbols) before you begin. Draw in
single and defined lines, make each stroke purposeful and
separate. Lift your pen or brush totally off of the paper after
each line, as each line is distinct and important to your spell.
Now that you have a goal in mind, a symbol picked, your materials
gathered, and your practice completed, we are finally ready to
begin our operation. As the book Spell Crafts is copyrighted, I
will only provide the basics of the ritual, and leave the rest up
to the reader to rightfully purchase. However, each portion of
the ritual could easily be rewritten in your own words. So, if
you have an endeavoring spirit, you could write your own Spell
Banner ritual right from this practicum. Since Cunningham and
Harrington s rendition of the ritual is in their copyrighted
book, I will take you through the ritual only in general terms.
You should create a magical working space before the ritual.
Place the water, salt, candle, and censor in a circle around this
area. Make sure all of these ritual tools are properly cleansed
and ready for your working. Once your working area is prepared,
each component of the Spell Banner you are about to create must
also be cleansed and make ready. Wave the paper, ink, and brush
(or just Sharpie for ink and brush) over your circle of tools,
making sure to properly instill them with the elements these
tools represent. With every component of the banner cleansed and
consecrated, assemble them in the middle of your working area. At
this point, instill your components with some group energy.
Reinforce that this paper and ink are becoming more than the sum
of their parts. Once you feel that the paper and ink are ready to
become a banner, begin drawing you symbol. As you draw, say
something. You are pushing more power into this banner with the
act of drawing; this creative spark instills the banner with the
beginnings of a purpose. Once your symbol is drawn, wave it over
your work are and name your request aloud. Repeat as much as you
would which. Once you have given the banner its purpose simply
look over it and concentrate on the purpose. Once you feel
confident that the spell is ready, hang it proudly where it can
do its job. Or, put it away for later.
===== Conclusions 
This operation works well. Besides the sociocultural issues, the
ritual is well presented by Cunningham and Harrington. With some
adaptation, this operation can fit any language, location, and
budget. Not only can Spell Banners serve hundreds of magical
purposes, but with Spell Banners as cheap as only half a cent
each, who can go wrong?

========= copyright 2005 by Marc Choyt

In the spring of 2003, I spent three weeks in the city of
Chennai, formerly known as Madras, located in Southern India.
Each morning, walking before the heat of the day, I was amazed to
see intricate knot work patterns drawn out free hand with flour
in front of the driveways and gates of homes. These artistic
scrolls, I was told by an Indian friend, were offerings to local
gods, and were part of a tradition that stretched back into the
ancient past.

I have seen knot patterns in my travels throughout many parts of
the world. In Islamic countries where iconography is prohibited,
the mosques are heavily decorated with knot-like patterns. Stone-
carved knot work motifs can be found on ruins from the Americas
to the Hindu iconography of Bali, Indonesia. In Tibet, the
"eternal knot" is a common symbol representing the endless cycles
of existence.

The knot work most familiar in the West is from Celtic
iconography. Though the Celts, before the Roman Empire, were
spread throughout much of Western Europe, we're most familiar
with their designs remaining today in England, Scotland, Ireland
and Wales. On the moors, surrounded by winding rock walls and
ancient neolithic bridges, this knot work carved in stone
transcends time. We know from the writings of the Romans that the
Celts believed strongly in the sacredness of place. Similar to
the beliefs of many in South India today, the land anchored a
particular god or goddess that was meant to be honored, though we
do not know whether the knot work designs were made as offerings.

The broad spectrum of knot work designs found in many cultures
suggests that the motif is both universal and rooted in ancient
mystery. From the most general perspective, knot work iconography
can be viewed as a metaphor for our own unique tapestry of
experience. On a macrocosmic level, the knots express
metaphorically that life on earth is deeply interconnected, as
illustrated in the Spider Women's web or the Great Hoop of Life
in Native American stories. As one Native woman told me, if you
move a pebble on top of a mountain, you can change the course of
a mighty river. This is also expressed slightly differently in
the Biblical aphorism, "We reap what we sow," which is similar to
the Eastern understanding of karma. Even physics today speaks of
a "unified field."

Yet it is also true that individual elements of knots hold
specific meaning from the perspective of sacred geometry. Look
around you at different geometric forms. Why is the earth, our
eyes, the trunks of trees circular instead of square? How does
the circle function in the world verses the triangle and what
does that mean in terms of knot work that uses circular patterns?
Here are a few hints to help you with these blueprints.

We speak of a circle of friends and live in circular cycles, such
as the day and the season. Native cultures throughout the world
hold ceremonies in protective circles. A knot work pattern with
circles or variations of circles certainly has some important
keys to relationships and community.

A square knot motif concerns structure and stability, which is
why buildings use the shape of a square foundation. Numerology
has always played a part in ancient cultures and there are many
books on the subject. The number five, for example, represents
the four directions and the center point, or the five senses.

We also often see knot work shaped like an oval, which is the
shape of an egg. The oval has something to do with generative
creativity and birth. Planets circle the sun in an oval. And if
you squeeze an oval together you get the lemniscates, the symbol
for infinity which is very prevalent in knot work motifs.

Many knot work motifs also deal with vectors that travel in a
certain direction. If you look at the shape of an arrow, it's
easy to understand why a triangle might connote movement.

Another common motif is the knot work depicting a trinity. In the
Celtic tradition, many deities had three forms. The Mother
Goddess was understood to the maiden, mother and crone. The
universe was viewed as heaven, earth and otherworld. We are born,
we live and we die. Certainly the trinity knot also illustrates
the One being dividing off into the masculine and feminine, or
the mother and son-- a mystical truth contemplated in many sacred

The cross is also a symbol rich in meaning. From a simple point
of view, two lines crossing symbolizing a connection or meeting
which can be a point of creativity. Some mystics speak of the
horizontal axis representing the earthly plain, while the
vertical axis points toward the heavens.

While the above guide for understanding knot work is not
necessarily based on any scholarly or anthropological text on the
meaning of knots, it does provide a starting point that is based
on a universal perspective. Most knot work designs are going to
have some variation of these shapes. Spending time contemplating
the motif may yield some insight.

Lastly, there's an essential reason why the knot work is so
prevalent, and that is beauty. I will never forget Jaisalmer, an
ancient town in the desert of Rajasthan. This ancient city, where
caravans used to stop and trade, is made from sandstone. Many of
the buildings are carved with intricate knot work patterns.
Strangers walked up to me and said, "How do you like our
beautiful city?" I could see clearly how art is life-giving and
the need for beauty is something fundamental. In the middle of
the desert, the beautiful knot work in golden stone brings joy to
the heart.

===== About the Author

Marc Choyt graduated from Brown University in 1984 with a degree
in English. In 1995, he received an MA degree in Humanities from
St. John's College. In 1996, he and his wife, Helen Chantler,
founded Reflective Images, a designer jewelry company
specializing in contemporary Celtic jewelry.
http://www.celticjewelry.com Please send email requests to

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

This month of April has only thirty days, which is the number
said to have been given to it by Romulus. The king who came after
him gave it only twenty-nine, but Caesar, when he altered the
calendar, gave it thirty again.

The name April comes from the Latin word aperire, which means "to
open", and the month was no doubt so named because it is during
April that the earth, which has been bound by the sharp frosts of
winter, once again opens beneath the warm rays of the sun; the
withered sheaths fall away from the ripened buds, which, opening
out, disclose to our eyes their long hidden treasures of
beautiful colour.

We find that the month was sacred to Venus, the Roman Goddess of
Beauty, and some people think for this reason that the name April
comes not from aperire, but from Aphrilis, which in turn comes
from Aphrodite, the name given to the Goddess of Beauty by the

Venus is said to have sprung from the foam of the sea, and to
have made her way to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, where,
because of her wonderful beauty and grace, she was welcomed as
the Goddess of Love and Beauty. All the gods fell in love with
her, but she scorned them all, and Jupiter, to punish her for her
pride, ordered her to marry Vulcan, the God of Fire, who was
deformed and very rough in his manner. He had been thrown from
the top of Mount Olympus by Jupiter in a fit of anger. Had he not
been a god, he would, of course, have been killed by the fall,
but he escaped with a broken leg which made him lame for the rest
of his life. He now lived on the earth, and spent his time at the
forge making many wonderful and useful things from the metals
which he found buried in the mountains. He built gorgeous palaces
of gold for the gods, which he decorated with precious stones,
forged the terrible thunderbolts used by Jupiter, and also made
the arrows used by Venus's son, Cupid. Vulcan was naturally
worshiped by all blacksmiths and workers in metal, and a great
festival called the Vulcanalia was held in his honour.

Cupid, whom we have just mentioned, was the God of Love; he never
grew up, but remained a little chubby boy, with beautiful wings.
He always carried a bow, and with his arrows pierced the hearts
of young men and maidens in order to make them fall in love with
one another.

Another son of Venus was Aeneas, the great hero who was supposed
to have been the founder of the Roman race. He escaped from Troy,
when at the end of ten years' siege it fell into the hands of the
Greeks, and after many adventures reached a part of Italy, called
Latium, where in later times his descendants, Romulus and Remus,
founded the city of Rome.

The story of Aeneas has been wonderfully told by the Roman poet
Virgil in his great work called the Aeneid. In this book Virgil
wishes to show that Augustus, the emperor of his time, being a
descendant of Aeneas, was also descended from the gods, since
Aeneas was said to be the son of Venus.

Part of the story of Troy, or Ilium, is told in the Iliad of
Homer, the great Greek poet. We read there of the fierce
struggles which took place before the walls of the city, of deeds
of strength and valour, and particularly of the final combat
between the great heroes Hector the Trojan and Achilles the
Greek, in which the Trojan was killed. In spite of many successes
in the field, the Greeks were unable to gain an entry into the
city, nor were the Trojans able to drive the Greeks from the
shore, and it seemed as if neither side would ever secure the

At last Ulysses, a Greek prince who was renowned for his cunning,
formed a plan for entering the city and thus finally bringing to
an end the war that had lasted for ten years. The Greeks built a
wooden horse of such size that a number of men could be hidden
within its hollow sides. This horse, filled with fighting men led
by Ulysses, was left on the shore, while the army embarked in
their ships and sailed away as if tired of the endless struggle.
The Greeks also left behind a cunning slave, named Sinon, who was
to play an important part in the plot. The Trojans, overjoyed at
the departure of the Greeks, flocked down to the shore and
crowded round the enormous wooden horse, full of wonderment at
its strangeness. Many wished to drag it into the city at once,
while some were filled with suspicion and urged their companions
to distrust anything made by their enemies. Sinon, when
questioned by the Trojans, pretended that he had been ill-treated
by the Greeks, and spoke with hatred and anger against them. He
explained that the horse was an offering to the sea god, Neptune,
whose help the Greeks would need on their journey home, and he
advised the Trojans to seize it and take it into the city. In
spite even of those who suggested that armed men might be hidden
in the horse, the Trojans dragged it into the city with great
triumph, pulling down part of the wall to admit it, since it was
too large to go through the gates.

Then followed a night of feast and revelry; the Trojans in their
excitement laid aside their armour and their weapons, and gave
themselves up to wild merrymaking. The smoky flare of the torches
lit up a scene of mad delight. Suddenly shouts of alarm arose on
every side, followed by the clash of weapons. Armed men poured in
on the astonished Trojans, and in a short time Troy was in the
hands of the Greeks. Under cover of the darkness and the noise
Ulysses and his companions had crept from their hiding-place, had
overpowered the careless sentries, and opened the gates for the
Greek army, whose ships had returned in the night. Thus, through
the help of the clever Ulysses, the Greeks overcame the army that
had so often beaten them in the field, and by a trick brought to
a victorious end the great Trojan war, for which the Goddess
Venus had been responsible, as we shall read in a later chapter.

The Old English name for the month of April was Oster-monath or
Easter-monath, because it was the month sacred to Eastre, or
Ostara, the Goddess of Spring; the same name is still kept by the
Germans, who call it Ostermonath. The time of year known as
Easter is named after this goddess, and though Easter is now a
Christian festival, it was in the first place a feast held by the
Saxons in honour of their goddess Eastre. It was the custom for
the people to give one another presents of coloured eggs, because
the egg is supposed to represent the beginning of life, and the
feast was held in the spring-time, when Nature awakes to a new
life from the death of winter. The custom, which we still have,
of sending Easter eggs to our friends, is therefore a very, very
old one indeed.

========= by Joi Sigers

Let's take the most common type of daydream first: worry. We all
know this one on a first name basis. Your loved one is 15 minutes
late and your thoughts run to negativity like a moth to light. If
he or she were an hour late, anyone would be concerned, but if 15
minutes is all it takes to call out the negativity patrol, it
would pay to take a closer look at yourself and why this is so.

Does the above scenario sound a little too familiar to you? If it
does, I would almost bet that you've experienced a tragedy in
your life that really hit close to home, one that was completely
unexpected. Actually, if 15 minutes is an accurate measure, it's
safe to say you've endured more than one such disaster. Nothing
can bring about insecurities about your present and future quite
like your past. (Once bitten, twice shy = once hurt, twice
cautious). Sometimes just realizing this will quiet the fears and
negative thoughts.

Next time the 15 minute mark hits (or any trigger, for that
matter), tell your subconscious that you know why it's "going
there" and then replace the negative, worrisome thoughts with
positive ones. Focus on how great it'll be, for example, when
he/she does show up!

If you tend to spend a lot of time daydreaming about far away
places, you may need a change of scenery. People tend to
fantasize a lot about beaches, especially in the winter - but
before you call for a U-Haul, realize that you probably just need
to mix things up a little. Sometimes a trip to a nearby town will
do the trick. (Take it from someone who lived on the beach, even
beachcombers fantasize about far away places - snowy mountains
and houses with fireplaces are just as enticing!)

Do you tend to think really negative thoughts, just out of the
blue? For example, while doing a household chore, do you start
imagining worst-case-scenarios? If you answer in the affirmative,
you're to be commended for realizing it and owning up to it. You
certainly aren't alone! This type of daydream indicates that
something is missing in your life. While you probably aren't
full-fledged depressed (which could be treated with a trip to the
doctor), there is something that you're not getting. Whether it's
enough attention or love from your loved ones or appreciation for
what you do, there are negative forces around you and they're
manifesting themselves in your thoughts. Sometimes it's as simple
as feeling bad about yourself: feeling old, unattractive,
overweight, etc.

When things are going well, most of a person's thoughts will be
positive. When they aren't going well, the opposite is true. Have
a heart to mind talk with yourself and see where the negativity
is coming from, then do what you can to remove it. If the talk
points to feelings of self-depreciation, do something about it -
get a new hairstyle, color your hair, change make-up, get a new
top, get in shape....whatever it takes to make you feel better
about you.

If the talk indicates that the problems stem from someone else,
it's not quite as simple, but it's also very manageable. Simply
talk to those around you. Not confrontationally, of course. Just
open the lines of communication up.

Another common daydream is one of grandeur. We either save a
life, shoot below par, look like a child spawned by Rita Hayworth
and Rock Hudson, or tell our boss off in spades (or all four on a
really good day). They're harmless little escapes from the toils
and troubles of daily lives. The biggest difference between these
daydreams and the first ones is the fact that they are positive.
You're focusing positive energy as opposed to negative energy -
and that's always a very good thing. It's so much more healthy
for your mind and even body.

You must be cautious, however, not to live in these sorts of
daydreams. It's sort of like the ESCAPE key on your keyboard.
It's absolutely necessary sometimes, but where would you get if
you kept one finger on it at all times? Not far!

===== About the Author

This article is one of many featured at
http://www.dreamprophesy.com, a website dedicated to the world of
dreams and the study of dream interpretation. Feel free to e-mail
the author at joi@dreamprophesy.com

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

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

===== Orange Liqueur
===== submitted by Cyn


Zest of all the oranges...no white pith. (You can grate it off
  with fine grater, just take the very thin colored skin.)

8 c orange pulp (usually 10 or twelve oranges) I peel the
  oranges, then slip the pulp out of the inner membranes, yes it
  is time consuming, but oh so very worth it!

1 qt vodka (this is the time to use up the rather raw stuff
  someone gave as a gift... you won't taste the raw edge over the
  orange and the sweet)

2 c honey (prefer raw honey, not the corn-syrup amended store


You need a gallon jar, glass and with no metal in contact with
the ingredients that will go inside. Put all the orange zest in,
and the de-membraned pulp... sort of macerate it up somewhat: I
use one of those handy long-necked Braun mixer/smusher electric
toys. Add the vodka, lid tightly. Put it someplace cool, but not
in the fridge... shake it up every couple days. After one month,
set up a colander and line it with cheesecloth or a jam bag...
place this over a good deep bowl. Pour your mixture through, and
squeeze the pulp to extract all the liquid you can. This will
make the result a bit cloudy, but its not a big deal later... as
you will see.

Warm your honey up gently... I usually put a glass jar or
measuring cup in a pan of warm water over very low heat. You just
want it warm enough to pour easily. Mix this into the
vodka/orange mixture back in the cleaned out gallon jar. (If you
don't like honey... make a sugar syrup with about 1 1/2 times the
sugar (more than honey) to about 1 1/2 c of water. You will have
to bring it to a boil to create the super-saturated solution..and
then cool it down before use) I put this on the kitchen cabinet
for a couple days... and stir it to make sure the honey isn't too
thick to stay mixed. Then, if it does seem to be staying all
correct, I let it settle for a week. Now you want to very gently
decant off the liqueur into smaller bottles... I dip it out of my
jar with a ladle being careful not to disturb the sediment on the
bottom. I put it in pint bottles, then I have lots of gifts for
Samhain guests and loved ones. When I am down to the sediment
clouded last... usually a pint or less, I stop. Store the bottles in
the dark until Samhain.

Now that sediment layer... you can bottle it and put it in the
fridge to flavor things. OR you can make something like tiramiso
cake... only orange instead of coffee. I soak lady fingers in
this sedimenty liquor, layer orange zest and chocolate nib
enhanced marscopone cheese between, and top it off with a bitter
chocolate sauce heavily orange flavored.


We begin this even before Beltane... it needs a good six month
age time before drinking; it is the most lovely color; that
perfect golden-orangey harvest shade for the last harvest fest of
the year. Now my favorite orange is the blood orange... deep red
fleshed (also called Moro orange), but if you don't want to look
like you are committing slaughter you may use regular Valencia
type oranges.

========= Author Unknown

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow
of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one
exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted
to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at
the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. "It has been ten
years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would
like to speak?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk. 

"I see," replied the head monk. 

Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk's office. "It
has been ten more years," said the head monk. "What are the two
words you would like to speak?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk. 

"I see," replied the head monk. 

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the
head monk who asked, "What are your two words now, after these
ten years?"

"I... quit!" said the monk. 

"Well, I can see why," replied the head monk. "All you ever do is

============    PAGAN WEBCRAFTING

Many Pagans have or would like to have a Pagan oriented web site.
Unfortunately, many of the thousands of Pagan web sites are
poorly designed and/or very hard to read. (Hint: A black
background makes even white text hard to read, but a black
background with a dark text is almost impossible to read.) This
section of Cauldron and Candle is devoted to articles about web
sites and web design. Some are written specifically for Pagans,
but most will be more general and anyone interested in putting up
a web site may find them useful.

Please note that each article is written from the author's point
of view and goals, and therefore even completely opposite advice
can be sound -- in different situations, of course. These
articles should not be taken as "law" but rather as things to
think about and consider while you are creating and maintaining
your web site. Some articles have a "business" slant, but the
information they contain really applies to all types of web

For more information and articles on web crafting, see the Pagan
Webcrafting section of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's web site.


========= Your Website Hurts My Eyes:
=========    7 Reasons to Tone Down Your Advertising
========= Copyright 2005 by Dina Giolitto

So you're on the computer, as usual. Your eyes are smarting. Your
back hurts. You want to jump in the car and sail down the highway
with all the windows down and your hair flapping in the wind. But
before you call it quits for the day, you have to look up just
one more thing. Maybe it's web marketing, maybe you want to buy
some artwork to hang in your office. Off to Google you go.

You type in the magic words, whatever they are, and watch as a
list of websites flows down the page. You click on the first one,
and it's an instant assault on your eyeballs. Ten glaring
banners, flashing like Vegas at midnight. One of those annoying
hover ads that follows you as you scroll and won't let you read
anything until you click the corner. Some sparkly things
"snowing" down the page. Frantic messages screaming things like
a grinning guy who reminds you of your creepy Uncle Lester.

You click away. Not today, not any day. You don't care what that
guy is selling or even if he's giving something away, because his
presentation is god-awful. Just when you thought you'd escaped
the mayhem, a sneaky little window pops up: "WHY DID YOU LEAVE
THIS SITE? Please fill out this quick survey!" Are they kidding?
You consider typing something offensive in the "Leave Your
Comment" box, but figure it will only encourage someone to spam
you with unwanted offers.

We're all familiar with this web-surfing experience. It's
downright unpleasant. What's your opinion of someone who pitches
their company in such a loud and desperate manner? Do you believe
all of their pie-in-the-sky promises? Do they strike you as
company run by people who are intelligent, honest and reliable?
Are you going to whip out your credit card because they tell you

Of course you're not. Being the loudest, the brightest, the
busiest and the boldest may attract attention, but it does not
bring sales. That's something to remember when you're creating
your own company website. What DOES attract and keep new
customers coming back? A simple, tasteful web design. An easily
navigable site. Copy that's crisp, clean, and interesting.

Here are 7 reasons to tone down your advertising:

1. Flash is just too flashy. A flash presentation can be creative
   and unique, but is it really needed for what you offer? Will
   that kooky winking clown-head in the corner really make the
   sale for you? Even if you find a really excellent designer who
   can put together an incredible high-tech Flash feature,
   consider the harried web surfer. She's been clicking all day;
   do you really think she has the patience to stand for one more

2. Too many messages cancel each other out. Ever try to read one
   of those pharmacy circulars when you're tired? All of those
   big red words emblazoned across the page. Headlines crammed in
   beside blown-out price points and cheap photography. It isn't
   easy! If you try to cram a whole bunch of words on your
   website, guess what? Not one of those messages is going to be
   read, let alone remembered. The eye doesn't know where to
   look! Try a visual whisper instead of a scream. Make your
   point as best you can, but take care to leave whitespace so
   the eyes have a resting place where they can digest what
   you've said.

3. Movement is distracting. Think about the last time you visited
   a website with "magical stars" sprinkling down over the words.
   Were you able to read and understand it? Mind the weary web
   surfer; be kind to his eyes! You stand a much better chance of
   holding a customer's interest with words that aren't flying
   off the page, but rather standing still in one spot, waiting
   quietly for someone to read them!

4. The mighty click is all-powerful. You know what it is to be
   that web hunter. The mouse is in your hand; you're in total
   control! Now think of that other person palming the mouse,
   surfing YOUR site. If your website is a frenzy of color and
   confusion, all it takes is one CLICK and you're forgotten!
   Don't want them to click away? Here's how to make them stay.
   Keep it clean and simple!

5. Your empty promises are lost on the skeptical consumer. Think
   about your own web-surfing experiences. Did you believe that
   guy who told you he'd make you a millionaire if you just SIGN
   UP TODAY? You're better off being honest and optimistic, than
   crazed and fanatical about what you can offer your customer.

6. Pop-ups are really annoying. Have you ever been so intrigued
   by a pop-up ad that you bought whatever they were raving
   about? My guess is no. Do you appreciate it when you're trying
   to get some work done on the computer and fifteen pop-up ads
   crowd your screen and overload your hard drive? I certainly
   don't! If you don't like such rude interruptions, then don't
   impose them on somebody else. I don't care how many times that
   marketing guru tells you it will improve your search engine
   ranking. Search engine stats might give you exposure, but
   click rates mean nothing if the customer's not buying.

7. No one reads really long sales letters. Ah, how brilliant of
   those copywriting experts to convince you that a six-page
   letter is going to bring in big bucks for your company.
   Especially if you're paying them by the hour or word! A two-
   page letter will do the same thing as a six-pager, and more.
   The 'more' being that it will hold your reader's interest the
   whole way through. Brevity is the key to great writing. If you
   can make a great argument in five words or less, you've got it
   all over the next guy. Keep that in mind before you put the
   Magna Carta on your web portal.

Want to design and write website content that attracts and
captivates? Want to bring your visitors back for seconds, thirds,
fourths, and the ultimate purchase? Then keep the above
"distractors" to a minimum. Really try to put yourself in the
other person's shoes... the one who is searching the Internet for
what you have. Think about all of those things that prevent you
from enjoying your web surfing experience, and then take care to
remove them from your own company website! Offer tasteful, subtle
design, eloquent headlines, and clear, informative copy. Be
honest about what you sell and how it can make a difference for
your potential customer. Speak softly, and watch the sales roll

===== About the Author

Dina Giolitto is a New-Jersey based Copywriting Consultant with
nine years' industry experience. Her current focus is web content
and web marketing for a multitude of products and services
although the bulk of her experience lies in retail for big-name
companies like Toys"R"Us. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for
rates and samples.

========= Content Management Systems (CMS):
=========    What They Are And Why We Love Them...
========= by Maarten Van Ruitenburg

There is a buzz in the online community about a technology that
empowers the average computer user with the ability to create and
maintain their very own web presence. In the past, individuals
who took interest in having and operating their own websites were
burdened with the task of learning HTML, DHTML, and other web-
based technologies such as JavaScript and CSS. The only
alternative to this was, unfortunately, to pocket the expenses
and costs required to pay a web developer to build and maintain
it for them.

This dilemma is one of the primary reasons that small to medium-
sized businesses did not begin to emerge on the worldwide web for
several years following the corporate dot-com rush. Many business
owners were terrified at the thought of having to learn
complicated programming languages and server languages in order
to create 'do it yourself' websites. Fortunately, that was then
and this is now!

Due to the evolving demand for businesses to have a presence on
the web, a new application has emerged in order to help business
owners and employees create and sustain a professional-looking
site without the worries of coding and technical applications.

What do we call this innovative technology that lessens the gap
between the IT professionals and ourselves? Content Management
Systems (otherwise known as CMS). Simply put, Content Management
Systems are applications that implement easy-to-use web-based
tools in combination with a database and web templates in order
to effortlessly construct, and update a website's content. Hence
the name, Content Management System. Content Management System
applications are ideal for businesses and sites that require
ongoing updates and additions.

The simplicity lies in the fact that through the utilization of
the web-based tools, Content Management Systems completely
separate the updating and creation of the site's actual content
from the site's design and layout. Therefore allowing a person
with no knowledge of HTML to go in and alter/add content to the
site's pages without making structural changes to the site's

What are a few of the benefits associated with using a Content
Management System over traditional web-design?

Well, to begin with, Content Management Systems are developed in
a way so that even a novice user has the power to maintain and
update the site. The content input/update areas are designed to
offer a very user-friendly interface, appearing much like a
common word processing application that so many of us are
familiar with. This makes it possible for any person or staff
involved in document creation to easily and efficiently maintain
the content on the company's website.

This brings us to yet another factor that makes Content
Management Systems so helpful. Because more people have access to
updating and maintaining the website, the information is
generally much more accurate and recent. Updating older pages
manually in order to keep them relevant to changing information
cannot only be frustrating, but also repetitive and time
consuming. In today's competitive online market, up-to-date
information is crucial to your business's credibility and

Content Management System un-complicates this task by making
global (site-wide) changes through the alteration of a single
file. Because all of the site's information is stored in a
central location, when that information is altered, every page on
that site which contains that specific info is updated
immediately. Just like that! This allows the editors or the
website's author to write, edit, and publish information to the
website without having to submit all of the material to the
Webmaster. No inconsistencies, less proofreading -- less work

Another tremendous advantage to using a Content Management System
is link maintenance. Many times, even Webmasters make the mistake
of deleting or moving content that is linked to multiple areas
within a site. When this occurs, the links that are not removed
then become broken links because the file to which they refer is
either deleted or in another location and the reference is
invalid. When a person using a Content Management System deletes
or updates the location of a file, each of the links relative to
that file are automatically updated, therefore eliminating any
risk of orphaned links and that nasty little 'page not found'
experience for the site's visitors.

Overall, it is quite obvious that the implementation of a Content
Management System is ideal for a wide variety of websites. From
news sites to corporate sites -- all the way to small business
sites and personal web pages, using a Content Management System
combines the convenience of ease of use along with the
professionalism of clean web design and up-to-date material.

===== About the Author

Maarten Van Ruitenburg is the owner of Visual Developments. To
get a professional website design or a great forum or CMS skin,
visit http://www.visualdevelopments.com/

========= The Psychology of Color in Web Design
========= by Lala C. Ballatan

Persons engaged in website design, here’s a scoop for you! Would
you just like to know that by understanding the basics of
cognitive psychology around color and patterns, we could further
improve our Web design!

Designing a Web site does not only concentrate on making web
pages of a certain site interesting and impressive. This skill
and talent must also be used to ensure the user-friendliness of a
certain site and must strive to reach the widest range of users

So what’s this about psychology? It simply implies that by
understanding the capabilities of the human eye, we can produce
Website designs that are more user-friendly. Being user-friendly
means that our website design will not only cater for normal
sighted Internet users but also to those partially sighted, blind
or estimated 8-10% of men with red-green colour blindness.

If you don't know anything about vision and colorblindness and
their reaction to various designs, then you must start learning
now! 'Normal' vision is subject to huge variances. Even the size
of elements will affect an individual user's perception of
colour. The colors and the intensity of shades you choose to use
in your Website design will be discerned differently by every
individual who visits your Website.

Inconsistencies in color patterns are affected by changes in the
ambient lighting levels. It’s like changes in your hair color
depending on the amount of lighting it was exposed. Some people
even see blue colors in some objects like clothing wherein others
do not perceive. These persons just happen to have more blue
sensitive cones (photosensitive cells which convert light energy
into nerve impulses) in their retina. They seem to view the world
with 'blue-tinted spectacles'. As a web designer, you have to be
aware that these conditions are the reasons why your perception
of your Web design may be different to other people and certainly
are not the same with everyone else's.

The key aspect to contemplate to achieve accessibility, aside
from impaired vision, is by being aware that your design might be
manipulated by assistive technology. Screen readers or magnifiers
are examples of this. They are software the physically disabled
employ to enhance their experience of user interfaces. Some Web
users can only read a certain combination such as yellow text on
a black background, which allows no room for greyscale.

In order to have good legibility for users with certain visual
difficulties and impairments, strong contrast can be a main
ingredient in your design. Test the effectively of this by
manipulating screenshots of your design in a program like Adobe
Photoshop. Try converting the image to greyscale then make the
screenshot monochrome to see how it might be viewed using the
most extreme visual manipulation -- do this by increasing the
contrast level to +100. This is a particularly useful
approximation of difficulties colour blind users may experience
in discerning one colour or shade from another.

You can start adjusting your color application now and keep in
mind that your designs will not be considered impressive if few
people could discern them.

===== About the Author

Lala C. Ballatan is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate.
Book reading has always been her greatest passion -- mysteries,
horrors, psycho-thrillers, historical documentaries and classics.
Her writing prowess began as early as she was 10 years old in
girlish diaries. With writing, she felt freedom -- to express her
viewpoints and assert it, to bring out all concerns -- imagined
and observed, to bear witness. For comments and inquiries about
the article visit http://www.ucreative.com/

========= Cheap Web Hosting Report: April 2005
========= 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 April 2005

These are the top five general purpose cheap web hosts selected
for April 2005. 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.

Customer Ratings: Beginning with the April 2005 report, The Cheap
Web Hosting Report rankings factor in customer ratings --
weighted heavily toward customer opinions of the web hosts'
reliability and customer support. Customer ratings are listed in
the description and range from a low of 1 to a high of 30. A
customer rating of NR means not enough customers responded for a
statistically meaningful rating. Note that Cheap Web Hosting
Report rankings are not determined solely by customer ratings,
staff evaluations can add or subtract up to 10 points so our
rankings will not always be in customer rating order.

=== #1 Dreamhost

Price: 1m: $9.95 2y: $7.95
Setup: 1m: $49.95 2y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB (Sale to April 24: 120 GB)
Disk Space: 800 MB (Sale to April 24: 2400 MB)
Mailboxes: 600
Customer Rating: 29.0 (out of 30)

Comments: Dreamhost has long been -- and still is -- listed as
the best affordable web host for unusual content (as they will
host just about anything legal) in the Special Needs Hosting
section of this report. Improvements in their plans in the last
year have made them very competitive in terms of bandwidth, web
space, and features offered for the price, and they are extremely
well-rated by their customers. New and improved features are
announced in the Dreamhost newsletter almost every month. Their
customer support is the best we've seen in the low cost hosting
industry. If you are looking for low cost, high quality web
hosting with truly excellent tech support and very friendly
people, check out Dreamhost. Dreamhost offers a 97-day money back
guarantee, see their web site for details. The bandwidth and disk
space listed above are triple their normal allotments due to a
sale which ends April 24th. (The Cheap Web Hosting Report hosts
with Dreamhost.)

More Information: 

=== #2 NetFirms

Price: 1y: $9.95
Setup: 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 100 GB
Disk Space: 2000 MB
Mailboxes: 100
Customer Rating: 25.9 (out of 30)

Comments: Founded in 1998, Netfirms rapidly acquired a reputation
for affordable, reliable web hosting. Although aimed at business
hosting, Netfirms hosts sites of all types" personal, hobby,
business, weblog, and more. Their Netfirms Advantage plan is full
of useful features and should handle almost any personal or small
business web site. Netfirms offers a 30-day money back guarantee,
see their terms of service for details.

More Information: 

=== #3 HostRocket

Price: 3m: $11.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: Free 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 50 GB 
Disk Space: 1000 MB  
Mailboxes: unlimited
Customer Rating: 24.4 (out of 30)

Comments: Founded in 1999, HostRocket is a popular web hosting
company that is well-rated by its customers. They greatly
expanded their offerings in 1994 and are now very competitive in
bandwidth, disk space, and features. HostRocket often runs very
nice short-term specials, check their web site for details.
HostRocket offers a 30-day money back guarantee, see their terms
of service for details.

More Information: 

=== #5 Lunarpages

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95
Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB
Disk Space: 1000 MB
Mailboxes: Unlimited
Customer Rating: 24.6 (out of 30)

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. Disk Space Note:
Lunar Pages is now advertising up to 3000 megs of web space,
however, if you read the fine print in their Acceptable Use
Policy all you initially receive is what we list here. There are
a number of restrictions and hoops to jump through to get more.
Lunarpages offers a 30-day money back guarantee, see their web
site for details.

More Information: 

=== #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
Customer Rating: 22.6 (out of 30)

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. In mid-2004, PowWeb 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) and
in late 2004 they doubled their disk space to 2 gigs. PowWeb
often run specials (usually extra months free if you prepay for
one or two years). PowWeb offers a 30-day money back guarantee,
see their terms of service for details.

More Information: 

===== 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: $49.95 2y: Free
Bandwidth: 40 GB (Sale to April 24: 120 GB)
Disk Space: 800 MB (Sale to April: 2400 MB)
Mailboxes: 600
Customer Rating: 29.0 (out of 30)

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.
The even have a 97 day money back guarantee. The bandwidth and
disk space listed above are triple their normal allotments due to
a sale which ends April 24th. (The Cheap Web Hosting Report hosts
with Dreamhost.)

More Information: 

=== 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
Customer Rating: NR

Comments: Easy CGI provides Windows 2000 servers instead of the
standard Unix servers. Their accounts come with ASP and one
Access Database. They are one of the most affordable and most
popular Windows hosting providers. Customer service reports are
spotty, however. Most people report excellent service but
minority report major problems.

More Information: 

=== Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (Root Access)

Price: 1y: $9.95	
Setup: 1y: Free
Bandwidth: 5 GB
Disk Space: 500 MB
Mailboxes: 75
Customer Rating: NR

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: 

=== Dedicated Server Hosting

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

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: 

=== Notes

The information in this report was checked for accuracy on
March 31, 2005. Web hosting companies, however, can change
their pricing and plans at any time so the information may no
longer be accurate when you read this report. Gridspace is not
responsible for errors nor for what use you may make of this

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

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


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



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

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


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

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