[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #56 -- February 2005

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


Return to Cauldron and Candle Archive

C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E  #56 -- February 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
     * Annual Cauldron Donation Drive
     * Cauldron and Candle Submissions Needed, As Always
[02] Cauldron Challenge: February
[03] Cauldron News
     * Message Board Software Upgraded January 6th
     * New Folder: New to Pagan Religions?
     * New Folder: Teen Refuge
     * Cauldron Wiki
     * Member Poetry moved to the Cauldron Wiki
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Reviews
     [05-1] Pocket Guide to Celtic Spirituality
     [05-2] Pocket Guide to Crystals and Gemstones
     [05-3] Taliesin
     [05-4] Witchcraft and the Mystery Tradition
     [05-5] The Complete Guide to Psychic Development
     [05-6] Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon
     [05-7] Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt
     [05-8] If You Want to Be a Witch
[06] Articles:
     [06-1] On Eclecticism, Syncretism, Multiple-Path, and other
     [06-2] Pa-Kua Feng Shui Basics
     [06-3] Grieving Spell
     [06-4] February -- The Month of Purification
     [06-5] Lord Bag of Rice
[07] Columns
     [07-1] Kitchen Witchin
     [07-2] Humor: 20 Ways To Not Get Invited Back To A Circle
[08] Pagan Webcrafting
     [08-1] Is Your Website Too Hard?
     [08-2] Diabolical Design
     [08-3] How to Create Columns with Div's 
     [08-4] Cheap Web Hosting Report: February 2005
[09] Support The Cauldron by Volunteering to Help
[10] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

  +++March Issue Submission Deadline: February 23, 2005+++
  Guidelines: http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/submissions.php

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

===== Annual Cauldron Donation Drive

Our annual web hosting bill for ecauldron.com (the main web site
with our articles, reviews, newsletters, etc.) is due this month,
so it is time for our annual Cauldron Donation Drive. Our
February donation drive last year had the needed money in less
than a week. While we do not expect a repeat of that, if those of
our members who can afford to contribute $5, $10, $20 or more in
the next couple of weeks would do so, we'd probably have all the
money needed. Since our last donation drive, we have received
enough additional donations to cover about 25% of this year's
bill -- so we are already 25% of the way toward our goal.

Don't worry, if we don't get enough donations, the main web site
will not disappear. Lyric and I will scrap up the money needed,
so there's no "if you don't donate the web site will disappear"
nonsense some other sites have been known to do. We just
appreciate all the help we can get as we are rolling in money any
more than you are and a large bill in one month can really work

Donations can be accepted via PayPal or the Amazon Honor System.
Paypal is slightly better as they take a slightly smaller fee out
of what is donated. If you want to be personally credited and
thanked for your donation, be sure to use PayPal. (Amazon
donations are anonymous so we can't email you our thanks).

You'll find a large white box near the top of The Cauldron's main
web page with donation links or you can use these:

Donate via PayPal


Donate via Amazon.com

You can check on the progress of our donation drive in this


===== Cauldron and Candle Submissions Needed, As Always

As I said last month, submissions really dropped off in December.
Unfortunately, they did not improve much in January. If you have
an idea for an article, now would be a great time to write it up.
I'd like to thank Darkhawk for the great article on eclecticism
we are publishing this month.

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:



                      SEND A PAGAN POSTCARD

       You can send a Pagan Postcard from the menu of any
       of our web pages at http://www.ecauldron.com/. If
       you haven't tried our postcard site, give it a
       try. It has quite a few nice features.


========= by Star

It's time to announce the next Challenge. I got the idea for this
one from my calendar, which says that the week of Valentine's Day
is "Random Acts of Kindness" week. I thought, why limit it to one
week? Random acts of kindness are always good! So your Challenge
for February is to perform random acts of kindness. Keep an eye
out for those little (or not so little) things you can do to help
make the world a better place for someone. Do them. :)  Then come
back here and tell us what kinds of things you're doing! Perhaps
you'll inspire someone else to do something similar.




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



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

===== Message Board Software Upgraded January 6th

Since we moved from DelphiForums last April, our message board
software has a slightly modified version of Beehive Forums 0.4. A
new version of Beehive Forums was released in December. Since its
release we have been modifying it for our needs and testing those
modifications. This afternoon, Bob upgraded our message board to
this new (and slightly modified) version of Beehive Forums
software (version 0.5).

This new version has many new features -- and allows attachments
to work correctly on our server. The most obvious change is the
menu bar. The old Preferences and Profile items have bee replaced
with a single "My Controls" item that will take you to a framed
set of sub-menus where you can set options and modify your
profile. Like in the current version, we have modified the menu
bar to add a few items of our own, but even these look better.
Another noticeable new feature is graphic emoticons for messages

Our modifications added our menu items (Chat, Rules, and Extras)
and disabled a few of the items added in the official Beehive
0.5. For example, we removed the server-side spelling checker
because it was implemented via a MySQL database and would
overload the database on a busy forum like ours (causing the
board to slow to a crawl when it was very busy). As free client-
side spelling checkers are available for IE, Opera, and FireFox
on most platforms, this feature should not be missed by many

There is one known minor problem with the new software, Beehive
Forums 0.5 corrected a very large scale problem with storing
single and double quotes in the database which means that
material posted with the 0.4 version we have been using may be
subject to slightly erroneous display (e.g. \' displayed where a
' should be). There are probably a number of other minor problems
that have not been discovered yet, but in general the upgraded
message board software seems to be working nicely.

===== New Folder: New to Pagan Religions?

We have a new folder on our message board: New to Pagan

Our message board often has discussions and debate on the various
Pagan religions at a fairly advanced level and members tend to
assume in these discussions that those participating are at least
fairly knowledgeable in the basics. This can be fairly
intimidating for those who do just starting out and do not yet
have that basic knowledge or who realize after reading this
message board for a few days or weeks than much of what they have
learned from some of the "101" books they have read simply may be
incorrect. The New to Pagan Religions folder will to provide a
place where people asking questions are assumed to be beginners
(instead of assumed to be knowledgeable).

This folder has special rules in additional to our normal rules.
They can be viewed via the link below:

===== New Folder: Teen Refuge

We have another new folder on our message board: Teen Refuge.

Teens -- and teen Pagans in particular -- often have a lot of
issues to discuss that are different from those of adults. The
Teen Refuge folder a place for The Cauldron's teen members to
discuss teen issues with their peers -- and with some positive
input from those of our adult members who still remember what it
is like to be a teen. Teens certainly are not required to confine
themselves to this folder, but it is provided as a spot that is
definitely friendly to teen issues.

While we usually do not have moderators assigned to particular
folders, Teen Refuge is an exception. Sine is our Teen Refuge
folder moderator.

This folder has special rules in additional to our normal rules,
these special rules can be found via the link below:
===== Cauldron Wiki

Another new feature has been added to the menu of The Cauldron's
web site and the top menu bar of our message board -- a wiki.

A wiki is a set of user editable web pages (edited via a much
more simple set of markup than HTML code). Cauldron Wiki is set
up so that message board guests and those viewing our web site
cannot modify its pages, but members of our message board (in
good standing) who are logged in to our message board can edit

There is not a lot there now, but it is a place for members to
publish their articles on Paganism, poetry, etc. We have set up a
very minimal set of pages to show what can be done (see the
Member Poetry section).

For more info on Wikis, see this article:


Note that all normal rules from the message board and chat apply
to Cauldron Wiki and that vandalizing the Wiki is a bannable

===== Member Poetry Moved to the Cauldron Wiki

Our Member Poetry section has been moved to The Cauldron Wiki so
we could standardize on one system for member-entered material on
The Cauldron's web site. Since moving to the Wiki, we've had
another member some of her poetry to the web site. Here is a
direct link to the new Member Poetry section of our web site.

===== Doxy's Bazaar Moves from eBay to The Cauldron

As most of you may know, the forum hosts have a small "store"
where they sell -- at "bargain" prices -- extra used copies of
Pagan books (with the occasional divination deck and non-Pagan
item thrown in) from our their collections and from items they
find on rare occasions at used books and garage sales.

This store has been on eBay. It moved to The Cauldron's web site
because eBay is raising their store fees (by 60%) to the point
where the hosts just can't afford to keep it there -- especially
as they operate it more as a service to Cauldron members and the
Pagan community instead of a way to get rich. It's not quite as
easy to order now (you email the hosts for a quote with shipping
instead of push buttons on eBay that sends them an email), but
the service on their end is still the same.

There are over 40 books in Doxy's Bazaar now. Check out our new
home at:




        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.

=== On Tacking On "With Harm To None"

So I set off on my Wiccan path years ago armed with all of Silver
Ravenwolf's books. As anyone who's read her work knows, she's big
on ending spells, "With harm to none, so mote it be."

I'm wondering, what is you all's opinion on the effectiveness of
this "clause," for lack of a better word? I'd rather not someone
drop dead because of a money spell, for instance. Do you think
this will do the trick?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== When to Use Magic?

There's been a lot of spell requests and discussions about the
hows of magic, recently ...

So, let's get into the whys. Why do you use magic, and when? Is
it a regular part of your daily life, something you use for
emergencies... what? Are there any situations in which magic is
either useless or downright dangerous?

What do you do and why?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Gender Roles and Your Religion

Does your religion have anything to say about gender roles? Are
there certain things that women "should" do or are considered
better suited to, and other things that are reserved for men for
the same reasons? Is there a specific directive that requires men
and women to be treated equally and tasks/duties assigned
regardless of physical gender? Or is there not really anything
about this subject in your religion's teachings?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== A Synod or Council to Define Official Wiccan Beliefs?

Almost every major religion on the planet in their early stage
underwent a stage where multiple literatures about them existed.
Christianity for example when it grew increasingly popular had so
many different books testifying the life of Jesus (up to twelve
in all if I heard correctly, do not ask me for sources on this,
but I do know that recently the Gospel of Thomas surfaced).
Buddhism in the first twelve years upon Buddha's death had so
many variants that some sounded no different from Jainism.

Wicca is currently at the same stage. Of the NeoPagans we are the
most successful. Of the NeoPagans we are also the first to have
crossed the cultural divide. In the process we had an original
Wicca somewhere that grew, exploded outwards and suddenly we have
so many different variants it becomes scary and has become known
as Neo-Wicca by some?

Do you think that eventually as Wiccans the moment we can
organise ourselves will form something equivalent to the Synod of
Carthage or the First Council will occur? Finally for once a
definition, a compilation of acceptable Wiccan materials and in
the process a definition of what makes a Wiccan?

Because it is now becoming obvious as Wicca moves out from the
religion of just a hundred people to probably a million worldwide
if not more there will be increasing call ( and ability ) to form
physical organisation for us to gather, to study. In the process
there will be a definite move to define Wicca and what are Wicca
text. Do you think that eventually we will have something like
the Synod of Carthage or the First Council?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Paganism and Men

I just wonder how many people here think that in some cases
modern day Paganism unfairly denigrates men. If we look beyond
the facts that male dominated institutes are responsible for most
of the worlds wars and environmental destruction isn't there a
sense that "mainstream" Paganism blames all men for these
actions. At the same time I think there is a need for a stronger
masculine pagan spirituality. This doesn't necessarily equate
with violence but it does represent inner strength and
confidence. With this in mind what are various peoples
relationships with male deities like ? Do they seem as strong as
the Goddesses or Goddess or do they seem like an aside at times?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Questions on the Foundations of Wicca

Over the last few days I have read in a lot of places that the
Gardnerian tradition is fairly new and I had read in another post
that there aren't many "Wiccan Grandmothers" because it is so
new. This concerns me. I had gathered the conclusion (which may
be totally wrong) that the pagan/Wiccan path was an ancient one
predating Christianity and that Christianity sought to wipe out
the Pagans/Wiccans with their New Religion.

From an observationist perspective, what is the difference then
between Gardner and the Mormon guy Joesph Smith? Aren't they both
then just altering perceptions to fit their own needs? And what
about before Gardner, what were the pagans/Wiccans doing then?
Were they all dead? (That is not meant to sound sarcastic - it's
an honest question.)

Honestly I haven't read much about Gardner because my first
impression of him was that he manipulated an "old religion" to
suit his needs. That may be incorrect assumption and I would be
happy to learn more.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Truth and Evangelism

Follow me into a thought experiment. Imagine, if you will, that
the Wiccan view of the universe IS the right one. It IS the "One
True Way." (I pick Wicca because it has a fairly well-defined
theology, which will make discussion of my question somewhat
easier, at least to start off.) There is a God, and a Goddess,
and that's that. They are distinct and separate, and do not
appear with 8 zillion other faces. (IOW, you can't weasel out of
my question by saying Yahweh is an aspect of the God or Brigid an
aspect of the Goddess - that's not what I'm really after here.)
The universe, the afterlife, everything, function exactly as
described by Wiccan theology (you may pick your own particulars -
what I'm after is the part where it's TRUE).

Now Wicca is not an evangelizing religion (I know it's a more
Christian-specific word but I can't spell proselytizing reliably,
so forgive me that one), as I understand after my years here. It
doesn't actively seek converts; it is not MEANT to be for
everyone but only for a few called to Wicca and to the priesthood
of Wicca.

So what I don't get - and what, after my 6ish years of
association with Pagans, puzzles me the most about many Pagan
religions - is WHY there's no evangelism.

Christians, Muslims - they have a pretty clear view of their
goals in the world. They each believe they possess the Truth, and
because it's the Truth, they want to share that with everyone and
have everyone become thus enlightened by the Truth. (And I think
we can all agree in the abstract that this is a Good Thing, that
we'd rather know the truth and be fed lies; that truth is
objectively a better thing to know and believe than untruth,
whether that comes to science or politics or religion.) Judaism-
qua-Judaism is traditionally only open to tribal members (and
certain converts), but Judaism also has a "plan" for the Gentiles
to follow Yahweh (as Noahides) and a desire to have the world
recognize Yahweh as God. Hinduism is less evangelistic than
Christianity and Islam, but also has a particular view of Truth
that they believe all people should know.

So if Wiccans held the One True Way, knew how the universe
functioned, and the Gods worked, and so forth - why would they
not share this Truth with all people?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Chaos Magick and "Pretending" to Believe

I've only recently been introduced to Chaos Magic, so I may be
misunderstanding (and please correct me if I am) but its my
understanding that a Chaote is free to use any system which they
want/feel will be beneficial in fulfilling their magical goals.

One basically acts as if they were a believer for the period of
time of the magical work. One doesn't have to believe in the
system and the system doesn't even have to be based in "reality"
to work for the user.

What are your thoughts on how god(s)/goddess(es) might feel about
someone "pretending" to ascribe to their worship for the short
term to perform magic? For those with a close report with your
gods/goddess(es), have you ever asked them about such a topic?
For those Chaotes out there, is my general understanding correct
and what are your thoughts?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
=== What's Wrong With Cunningham?

After three years of being a generic Pagan and avoiding Wicca
because of its popularity, I finally decided to stop reading
Wiccan books for background info and start reading them as a
serious would-be practitioner. I read Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide
near the beginning of my path, but I started rereading it
recently with new eyes. I was surprised to find I agreed with a
lot of the beliefs and practices he called Wicca (and the list
Sine posted in another thread). At the risk of sounding cliche,
it's like coming home again.

However, I'm not new to the Pagan community, and I'm aware that
some people have issues with Cunningham and don't recommend him.

The self-dedication/self-initiation argument is a point on which
I disagree with Cunningham; initiation requires separation from
the community, a change, and a return to the community, a
sequence impossible to perform alone. You can dedicate yourself,
sure, but not initiate. Also, you can't reveal the Mysteries to

Other than this, what problems do people have with Cunningham?
What does he have all wrong?

On a related note, if I'm really interested in Wicca, should I
bide my time with books until I can study with a coven, or is it
possible to be a Witch alone? Is it "heresy" to say I'm studying
Wicca but not particularly interested in the priesthood aspects
or learning the Mysteries? In conversation should I qualify
myself (say, as "neo-Wicca") or just expect flamewars and
accusations of fluffdom when/if I bring it up?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

=== Is It Wrong To Be Eclectic?

Earlier today I was talking to a new friend of mine at school and
she brought up the topic of religion. She was pretty interested
in my being pagan. I tried to explain to her how I am an
"eclectic witch" and I kind of pick and choose which concepts
make sense to me from many of the denominations of
paganism/wicca. She couldn't seem to understand how I can do that
and she said I am "wrong" to think I can pick different things
from separate religions to believe in.

Is she right? Should I just pick one denomination and stick to
it? In which case which denomination is right for me?

I guess I'm kind of afraid that the god and goddess might get
angry that I 'mix'?

* 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

Pocket Guide to Celtic Spirituality
Author: Sirona Knight 
Trade Paperback, 110 pages 
Publisher: Ten Speed Press 
Publication date: 1998 
ISBN: 0895949075
US Retail Price: $6.95
Amazon Link:

Ms. Knight has written books on a variety of topics ranging from
biographies of modern- day Witches to Celtic Druidism and Faery
Magick; as such she brings wide experience to the topic of Celtic
Spirituality. She is a practicing member of the Celtic Gwddonic
Druid Tradition and a Third Degree Craftmaster.

This book contains an overview of Celtic folklore and mythology,
the spiritual teachings of the Celtic peoples; it explains the
yearly observances, the rituals and ceremonies and divination
tools and practices. Some of her assertions may be regarded with
suspicion by many readers (e.g., the ability of Druids to assume
the form of various animals), but depending on how such
assertions are viewed, there might be truth within them.

Her perception of the meaning of "dark" patterns within life
strike me as wrong. She appears to be saying that negative is
also destructive and life destroying, and therefore should be
avoided at all costs. However, without a balance of positive and
negative, light and dark, etc., chaos results.

Her assertion that the Celts used the Tarot as a divination
system seems unlikely since the Celtic culture, as such, was
pretty well extinct by the time of the appearance of the Tarot.
Individual Celtic families may have held on to their heritage
until that time, but the wholesale use of the Tarot by the Celts
seems unlikely.

More than other books in this series, this particular book
appears to be less about the reality of the topic, and more about
how modern individuals perceive it to have been. I have enjoyed
other books by Ms. Knight, but I was moderately disappointed with
this one.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

Pocket Guide to Crystals and Gemstones
Author: Sirona Knight 
Trade Paperback, 95 pages 
Publisher: Ten Speed Press 
Publication date: 1998 
ISBN: 0895949474
US Retail Price: $6.95
Amazon Link:

Sirona Knight has written numerous books on a variety of topics.
I do not know what her experiences with gemstones and crystals
have been but her overview, presented in this book, is certainly
of value.

The first chapter gives background on the similarities and
differences between crystals and gemstones. It is concise and
goes into an appropriate amount of detail to cover the topic
without overwhelming the reader with too much detail.

The following chapters cover how to choose crystals and
gemstones, how to care for them, traditional and contemporary
uses, and rituals and ceremonies associated with them.

The final chapter is devoted to the healing and spiritual
properties associated with about 50 crystals and gemstones. While
it is by no means exhaustive, it covers most of the easily
available crystals and stones.

She clearly illustrates the various layouts for healing,
meditation, and chakra working with simple drawings.

She differentiates between scrying and crystal gazing (which she
explains as imprinting a crystal with "particular sensual or
energetic purposes"). I've never heard crystal gazing described
that way, so I was a bit nonplussed at seeing that. I'm still not
sure if I agree with that distinction or not.

For someone with no exposure to the subject, this book would be a
good starting point. Even for someone with moderate experience
(such as myself) she offers some insights and inspirations.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman
Author: John and Caitlin Matthews 
Second Edition 
Trade Paperback, 376 pages 
Publisher: Inner Traditions 
Publication date: 2002  
ISBN: 0892818697
US Retail Price: $16.95
Amazon Link:

John Matthews is a long-time student of the Celts (thirty years)
and is acknowledged internationally as an authority on Grail and
Arthurian legends. He currently resides in England and teaches
throughout Europe and America.

Mr. Matthews has written more than 40 books on Arthurian and
Celtic themes, while Caitlin Matthews has authored nearly as
many. Between the two of them, the amount of scholarship on
Celtic themes is most impressive.

This is a second edition, and benefits from the increased
research and scholarship which a decade has provided. It is not
the final word on the subject of Taliesin, nor is it the most
scholarly. It is a welcome addition to the field in that it
provides an easily understandable overview of a subject which is
too little spoken about by any but those who have proclaimed
themselves experts. The Matthews accomplishments in this field
speak for themselves.

The subtitle of this work may be a little misleading, since there
have, obviously, been other shamans since Taliesin's time.
Perhaps "The Last Great Celtic Shaman or "The Greatest Celtic
Shaman" might have worked as well (or better).

I knew very little about the work of this Celtic bard and shaman
besides generalities. I had never read more than extracts of his
work, so I wasn't sure what I was letting myself in for when I
requested this volume.

This book consists of new translations of his poetry, as well as
commentaries by the author. The Select Bibliography consists of
over 300 entrees and is most impressive all by itself.

The author provides translations of Taliesin's poetry, both those
made by him and by others. He freely acknowledges that there is
no way to determine, accurately, the original form and content of
these poems through the intervening centuries. What he offers are
his interpretations of what these poems most likely conveyed at
the time of their origin.

He also takes the time and effort to provide background on the
Celtic life and customs, as we understand them. He does not
insist that his translations are better or more accurate. In
fact, he uses the work of others to present different

Throughout the book he makes assumptions which vary from those
which have become "traditional" or accepted, but he takes pains
to point these out as his own assumptions and how they differ
from the more accepted ones.

The last 50 pages or so of this book consists of translations of
the major mythological poems attributed to Taliesin, along with
commentaries upon them. Most of these translations (there are a
total of 27 poems translated, with excerpts from 3 more) are new
translations by the authors. I'm not a Welsh scholar, so I can't
comment on the accuracy of these authors' translations.

Speaking as someone with minimal familiarity with the subject to
begin with, I found the book engaging and easy to understand. It
was clearly written and obviously aimed at the non-specialist.
Mr. Matthews clearly knows his subject matter, yet still retains
the ability to speak to, rather than down to, someone without his
wide background.

Those who specialize in this field may not find it as valuable as
I did, but for the individual who is beginning his or her Celtic
studies, I feel it would be a valuable addition to their library.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

Witchcraft and the Mystery Tradition
Author: Raven Grimassi 
Trade Paperback, 288 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
ISBN: 0738705969
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

Whatever your feelings about Raven Grimassi's writing on Italian
Witchcraft, there is no doubt that he is a prolific author on the
subjects of Witchcraft and Wicca in general. He has written
numerous books and has been involved in the public aspects of the
Craft for many years.

Before I had even started to read this book I noticed an editing
glitch. The title on the cover does not match the copyright
notice and inner title (Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition on the
cover vs. Witchcraft and the Mystery Tradition on the inside).
Obviously, this is a problem with the publisher and is not
Raven's fault.

This book is designed for multiple readings. It is written on
many levels and every time you read, you will find something new
and different. Raven appears to subscribe to the philosophy
expressed years ago by the Pagan magazine Earth Religion News:
"Guard the Mysteries - Reveal Them Daily." He believes that a
person will learn what they are ready for. If someone isn't ready
for certain information, they won't recognize it.

Throughout the book the author repeats themes, although in each
case it is rephrased. In this he follows the dictum of "Tell them
what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them
what you've told them." This type of repetition is amongst the
most durable methods of teaching, since it insures that important
information is conveyed and retained.

This book is, most definitely, not a "how-to" book. It explores
meanings, symbolism, and background of thoughts, but never
mentions the mechanics of the worship. You won't find
invocations, directions for casting circles or making amulets, or
correspondence charts here. It is a book which is valuab le at
every level of experience. And will become more valuable with
each reading. The novice will benefit from the overview it
provides, while the more experienced reader will find connections
they may have missed. Pick it up for another reading after a year
or so, and you are liable to find yourself asking "How did I miss
that the last time I read this book?"

I take exception with some of Raven's positions. For instance, he
says (in the Preface): "There are many solitary witches who may
not have the means of finding an experienced teacher or of being
initiated." While I can accept the latter part of that statement
(they may not have the means of being initiated), with the
explosion of Craft teachers and resources on the Internet and in
big cities, I find it hard to believe that one can't find a
teacher. I did it over 30 years ago without access to the
Internet or big cities. It may not be easy to find a teacher, but
the search can be a learning experience in itself.

The final chapter serves as a recap of all that has gone before,
in broad outline. It helps to "set" the information and to make
it more permanently a part of your memories. However, as I said
earlier, this is a book designed to be read more than once. Don't
just read it and stick it on a shelf. You will find plenty of
stimuli contained here.

Raven Grimassi has produced a book which moves well beyond the
"Wicca 101" books which are so common today. Whether you are a
Seeker just starting your search, or an Initiate with decades of
experience, you will find valuable thoughts and insights between
these covers. Do yourself a favor - Buy (and read!) this book.

           This review is available on our web site at

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

The Complete Guide to Psychic Development: 
   100 Ways to Tap into Your Psychic Potential
Author: Cassandra Eason 
Trade Paperback, 338 pages 
Publisher: Crossing Press 
Publication date: 2003 
ISBN: 1580911501
US Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Link:

Ms. Eason makes the statement in her introduction (page 7):
"Blindly following the rules of others as I used to do, no matter
how expert those established rituals may seem, stifles personal
creativity.", and "Leave the pages of this and any other book as
soon as possible and follow your natural instincts." This is the
sort of advice which cannot be given too often, especially in
such highly personalized pursuits as psychic development.

Ms. Eason is a prolific author, and has produced books on a wide
variety of topics, ranging from divination to general psychic
development to children's books.

Over half this book is dedicated to various forms of divination,
before branching into out-of-body experiences, magic, magical
alphabets, ghosts, etc. It is obvious that the author has a lot
of experience in the field of divination. Her understanding of
other occult fields is also extensive.

Unfortunately, her description of creating a dream catcher is
woefully inadequate. There is a technique for the creation of
this item, which she is obviously unfamiliar with. Part of the
construction technique includes the individuality of the pattern
which is created, yet she mentions the use of old badminton
rackets, old fruit bags (with a net pattern), etc.

Her approach to magic is similarly simplistic but, in this case,
represents a valid approach to folk magic (as opposed to
Ceremonial or Wiccan). She continues to stress the need to use
your feelings and intuition, and not to rely on the words of
others. Folk magic works based on personal need or desire. She
gives the reader some ideas to get started with, and then leaves
you to your own devices.

Throughout the book, her approach to accomplishing things remains
very common-sense and down-to-earth. She goes out of her way to
avoid making things mystical. She doesn't shy away from mystical
experiences; she simply couches them in day-to-day terms and
references. She doesn't espouse any particular style of training.
Nor does she over-emphasize the possibility of negative results.

Once you move beyond the sections on divination (about the first
half of the book), you will find a wide variety of topics
covered. In her usual style, each of the chapters can stand
alone, so you can pick and choose what you want to learn in
whatever order appeals to you.

Once again, in my opinion, the recommended reading list is a
little thin. The book is divided into 29 chapters (in eight
sections), but the Further Reading list only includes 42 titles.
Given the range of topics, I would have expected a list of at
least twice this length. On top of that, seven of the books (one
out of every six) are by this author, which seems to be a
disproportionately high percentage to me.

Because of the way I was trained, I have a problem with her
suggestions for absent healing. I was always taught to obtain
permission from the person being worked for (with a couple of
specific, restricted, exceptions) and I thus fins her suggestion
of healing people you hear about on radio or television, or see
in the newspaper, without getting their specific permission, not
to be appropriate. As I say, this is a result of the way I was
trained. Others may not find this a problem. It is up to the
individual to decide what is appropriate.

           This review is available on our web site at

=========         BELTANE TO MABON
========= Reviewed by Mike Gleason

Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon: Lore, 
   Rituals, Activities, And Symbols
Author: Ashleen O'Gaea 
Trade Paperback, 256 pages 
Publisher: New Page Books 
Publication date: 2005  
ISBN: 1564147320
US Retail Price: $14.99
Amazon Link:

Once again, Ms. O'Gaea takes on four Sabbats in one volume. This
time it is the light half of the year being given the once over.
The Preface and Introduction to this volume are nearly identical,
both in tone and length, with that of the earlier book.

She has written several other books and has been active in the
Pagan community for more than a decade and has helped to found
her own tradition of Wicca. She has published books on raising
(and teaching) Pagan children, as well as the previous volume in
this series. I've always enjoyed Ashleen' s style of writing. It
reminds me days and evenings spent sharing cups of tea with a
friend and sharing ideas - no pressure, no right or wrong way of
doing things, just a pleasant chat between friends. If you are
one of those people who want to be told how it was and how it
should be, you probably won 't enjoy this book

By dividing the year into two parts, as did our ancient Celtic
ancestors, she accomplishes several different things: giving
herself space to discuss each Sabbat and she can make it easier
to compare rituals, symbolism, and activities among the Sabbats.
Doing it this way also makes it more convenient for the reader -
at nearly 200 pages each book is a convenient size.

The arrangement of this volume is identical with that of the
first volume. Dedicating 40 to 50 pages to each Sabbat - its
lore, rituals, activities and symbols, allows for an adequate
development of a feeling for the Sabbat while still leaving a
thirst for more. It is that thirst which impels the personal
development of Witches and Wiccans. Too little information
frustrates and too much stifles individual creativity. Ashleen
seems to have found a happy medium in this book. While there are
no startling revelations, it is not a lot of rehashing of other
authors. What you have here is Ashleen's personal take on the
topic. Whether you agree with her or not, you have to respect her
desire to share her own experiences and knowledge, as well as her
ability to convey that knowledge clearly.

The rituals contained in this book, like the preceding volume's
contents, are usable by groups or solitaries, amongst other
Pagans or with groups which include non-Pagans, by adults and
with mixed-age groups. The only requirement for its use, in my
opinion, is a desire to enjoy the Sabbats.

I would recommend that you get both volumes of this series at the
same time, if you can. It will make it easier to compare the
notes and rituals for each of the Sabbats and allow you to see
how they balance each other across the Wheel of the Year.

She wants to plant ideas in your mind and allow them to grow
within you. I think she does this very well. Her suggested
activities for each Sabbat are fun (and that is, after all, an
important connection to the gods) and easy to do. They can
involve all ages.

This is not the final word on Sabbats. As Ashleen says in the
conclusion "By this time next year, you and I both will be able
to say more about the Sabbats, and how we celebrate them, than we
can right now." It is, however, a good start. If the second book
is as good as this, and I have no reason to doubt that, they will
form a good basis for learning about the relationships among the

She includes suggestions for casting an indoor circle and
suggestions for conveying age-appropriate information to children
about the Sabbats, as well as a short list of correspondences in
the appendices. All of these, as she reminds us, are simply
suggestions, and need to be viewed through our own experiences.
She also includes some delicious recipes which are not terribly
complicated. And, unlike many of the recipes you may encounter
elsewhere, you don't need to worry about your cholesterol levels
with these recipes. Ashleen and her family are health-conscious
with becoming obnoxious about it.

She makes sure to explain the procedures for making the various
crafts she suggests, going so far as to include photos when they
will make it easier to understand. Those crafts she suggests can
add to the enjoyment of the Sabbats.

Once again, she has written a thoroughly enjoyable book which
gives enough information to make it interesting. It leaves enough
unsaid to inspire further research, but provides enough answers
to be satisfying.

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

Sacred Sexuality in Ancient Egypt
Author: Ruth Schumann Antelme and Stephane Rossini 
Trade Paperback, 240 pages 
Publisher: Inner Traditions 
Publication date: 1999 
ISBN: 0892818638
US Retail Price: $24.95
Amazon Link:

In all honesty, I had not planned to review this book until I was
challenged by a reader of my reviews to tackle it. Egyptology is
not one of my strong suits, and I'm not particularly interested
in reading about sexuality, which made this book a challenge for

The author, Ruth Schumann Antelme, is an Egyptologist, a former
professor at the Ecole de Louvre, and an emeritus researcher of
the CNRS in France (National Center for Scientific Research), and
the illustrator, Stephane Rossini, has illustrated other books on
the subject of Egyptology. Some of the illustrations have been
"restored", based on other samples.

Some of the images contained within this volume (there are over
150 black-and-white illustrations and 20 color plates) are the
ones familiar to the reader on the subject of Egyptian religion.
The majority of them, however, are definitely not of the G-rated
variety. For those who are used to thinking of the life of Egypt
in the sanitized form we learned about in school, there are
shocks in store.

As should be obvious to anyone who stops to think about it, a
region such as Egypt (which is obviously dependent upon a
fertility religion because of the climate) must have included
images of fertility and procreation among its religious artwork.

The notes refer to some extremely specialized publications which
will be unfamiliar to most readers (as they are to me). This,
however, only serves to expand the field of exploration for those
interested in continuing their education on this topic.

Where uncertainty exists in regard to the meaning of a given
drawing, carving, or other illustration, the author is not
hesitant about admitting that uncertainty. Where uncertainty
exists about the actual content or form of a given illustration,
she points it out.

The appendices include an extremely simplified chronology of
ancient Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period (circa 300 B.C.) to
the Byzantine domination (circa 400 A.D.); a list of the deities
mentioned in the current work; Egyptian place names; some
hieroglyphic examples; and a glossary.

I am glad that this book was suggested to me. I wouldn't have
ordered it on my own, but it was a pleasure to read. I probably
won't be reading a lot more on the subject, but that is simply
because of my many more pressing interests (although if I take
some time off from reviewing, I may change my mind).

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

Author: Edain McCoy
Trade Paperback, 188 pages 
Publisher: Llewellyn 
Publication date: 2004 
ISBN: 0738705144
US Retail Price: $9.95
Amazon Link:

If you are a fan of Edain McCoy, I am afraid we will have to
agree to disagree. Works of her which I have read previously have
not particularly impressed me.

If you feel that everything she writes is worthless, on the other
hand, we will also have to agree to disagree. Her scholarship may
be brought into question (and has been by others more qualified
in the field), but anyone who has been involved in the
Wiccan/Witch/Pagan community for 20+ years has experiences and
personal insights to share which can benefit the larger

I don't always agree with her conclusions, but so long as she is
clear that they are her conclusions, I must accept them as valid,
just as I would expect her to accept my conclusions as being a
valid expression of my own beliefs.

This book is, admittedly, a "Wicca 101" book, aimed at those who
are not yet members of the religion. Therefore, it needs to be
judged by that standard. In some ways, that is a harsher standard
than would be applied to a book for a more experienced reader.

It is incumbent upon Ms. McCoy to be very clear about
differentiating between fact and opinion, and this is not always
the case. It is also necessary, in my opinion, to work extra hard
to present the best possible image of the membership of the
religion, and that shows in small ways. I have come to accept
spelling errors in everyday situations, but a professional writer
should know the difference between "their" and "there" or
"rights" and "rites." Ms. McCoy fails in this. To her credit, she
acknowledges some of her shortcomings. It is rare to see an
"authority figure" admit that they were in error, but it is a
sign of the growing maturity of the community as a whole.

If you are one of those who is tired of beginner books, you will
want to give this book a pass. It is designed to help individuals
decide if Wicca is for them. It succeeds in provoking thought.
She offers ideas and options, not dogma. Since she makes it clear
that this is eclectic Wicca being discussed, there is no right or

One thing I really appreciate is her giving pronunciation guides
to words not likely to be encountered in the "outside" world. It
is a nice acknowledgement of the fact that things aren't always
pronounced as they are spelled.

Some of the authors she recommends will grate on people's nerves
(e.g., Silver RavenWolf, Laurie Cabot), while others have been
recommended by many others (e.g., Raymond Buckland, Scott
Cunningham, Stewart and Janet Farrar). Of course, as she reminds
the reader, there are many books to read and decisions to be made
on a personal level.

           This review is available on our web site at



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

========= On Eclecticism, Syncretism, Multiple-Path, and other 
=========    Combinatorics
========= by Darkhawk

The subject of eclecticism is one of those powderkegs in the
pagan community, with tremendous potential for degenerating into
a messy flamewar as various people express their dearly held
positions on it.

Eclecticism in various forms (especially syncretism) has an
extensive history. †While religions were often specific to
nations, localities, tribes, families, or other groups, those
groups would rub up against other people and, over time, adopt
some of the parts of those other groups' religions that they
found appealing or useful. †Conquest would often lead to forms of
assimilative syncretisation in which the local gods were either
equated with the conquerors' gods in some way or declared related
to them (often as wives or children). †Suppressed religions often
reappeared in modified forms that adopted some aspects of the
acceptable religions in the area. †Places in which multiple
religions lived together sometimes developed creolised religious

There have also always been opponents of eclecticism. †Some have
been trying to preserve their culture in the face of assimilation
(which can lead, eventually, to dissolution). †Others have had
what they felt was a handle on truth and were unwilling to
tolerate it being contaminated from other sources. †Some have
resented their conquerors' attempts at taking the things that are
precious to them and turning them into public commodities.

Historically speaking, eclecticism is generally a fairly organic
process, caused by the growths and flows of cultures, including
their dominance over each other. †The exceptions tend to be
theophanic in origin: someone (or a group of someones) encounters
a new vision of the divine and attempts to build (or inspires the
building of) something in response to it; if the vision is
compelling and/or the structure effectual, these develop into new
religions. †(Examples of this are Siddhartha Gautama, Jesus, and
Gerald Gardner.)

Given that various forms of eclecticism are, historically, quite
common, and are in fact critical to the development of some of
the most popular forms of neopaganism, why in particular are so
many people so irritated at the concept? †Eclecticism is very,
very easy to do badly or in a manner that comes across as
disrespectful or offensive; it is extremely difficult to do well.

These are common difficulties that I have seen come up with
eclectic practices; these are not laws of nature, but rather
common mistakes that eclectics make or issues that are specific
to eclecticism. †It is not going to be a completely exhaustive
list; however, I think that someone who can, with self-judgement
in good faith, respond to all of these is entirely likely to be
fully capable of responsible, intelligent eclecticism.

* Magpie Syndrome -- a tendency to acquire the shiniest, most
  appealing objects in the vicinity and pile them up into a heap
  rather than assembling them into a coherent whole or exploring
  the full depths and potentialities of the pieces already
  acquired. †Often comes with a tendency to respond to
  difficulties by acquiring new shiny objects rather than seeing
  if any of the ones already acquired will help with the problem.

* Avoidance -- a complete religious system will include portions
  that are work. †Those will not always be the same parts for all
  the practitioners of the religion in question, but there will
  always be something that demands growth and development,
  something that is uncomfortable to deal with, or something that
  is, simply, just hard to do. †Eclecticism poorly implemented
  can enable someone to very neatly avoid any sort of boundary-
  pushing by only choosing to use parts of other systems that are
  comfortable to them.

* Shallowness -- just because one has chosen to use a piece of a
  system does not mean that one will actually get all that's
  there out of it. †Some aspects of some religions are weighted
  with particular meanings or resonances for the practitioners
  thereof. These will require some effort to learn about and
  apply to their fullest depth; simply utilizing them does not
  guarantee that level of knowledge.

* Appropriation -- taking what's not yours to keep. †This is an
  especially common issue with indigenous religions of whatever
  region; people claiming parts of their traditions for their own
  can easily come across as offending interlopers. †This is
  especially the case when the outsider doesn't know the full
  details of what they're taking; they can, very easily, make
  themselves look incredibly foolish to someone who is more aware
  of their cultural context. These things often have very
  specific importance and very specific meaning; rather than
  being generally available, they are much like family heirlooms.

* Dilution -- related to appropriation. †There are religions that
  have very specific things that are part of their definition --
  certain beliefs or certain practices that are considered
  essential to be a member of that religion. †Traditional Wicca
  is one of these; many of the reconstructions have similar
  precepts. †The fewer of these things a person does, the less
  secure they are in claiming to be a member of that religion;
  eventually the drift is far enough that it would be a matter of
  politeness to come up with a different name. The
  reconstructions in particular are extremely touchy about
  influence from the modern-origin neopaganisms, as there are so
  many more people whose practice derives from Gardner than in
  any of the reconstructions; getting Wiccan ritual practices
  confounded with recon practices will get, at best, a cranky

* Rewriting history -- while poor scholarship is one of the
  plagues in the pagan community, actual historical revisionism
  is strongly associated with eclectic tendencies, for two
  reasons. †First of all, it is much easier to get infected with
  the pagan equivalent of kid-dying-of-cancer-wants-postcards e-
  mail forwards when one is working on one's own and specifically
  looking for what to believe. Counterfactualities like 'the
  universal ancient mother goddess cult' or 'nine million women
  and cats burned at the stake' drift around largely unchallenged
  and, indeed, unchallengeable; for every website that has good
  information there are hundreds with the bad, generally in
  blinky text.

  The second popular form of revisionism is the Unsubstantiated
  Personal Gnosis, in which gods who were envisioned in
  particular forms and were known for particular acts and
  preferences emerge transformed in a blazing glare of, "Oh, She
  told me She was never like that, that's just human error."
  (See also that warm and snuggly goddess figure, Kali. Just
  airbrush out the skulls.) †Having personal experiences of the
  divine that run counter to all of the lore and knowledge of how
  those gods have interacted with humanity in the past is more
  likely to be a case of "Sorry, wrong number" than complete
  personality transformation.

* Unreconciled issues -- ideas come with baggage. †Various
  systems have particular axioms, presumptions, and outcomes in
  their native format; pieces of those systems will also have a
  greater or lesser share of those basic worldview issues. Very
  few of those systems fit together naturally; while some may
  indeed show signs of being compatible with comparatively little
  effort, the "comparatively" is a critical portion of the
  phrase. †There will always be choices to make, of what parts to
  assimilate and which to discard, of which axioms to use, which
  to reinterpret in a way they were not used in the original,
  which to throw away. †Putting together things that appear to
  work on a superficial level and not doing any of the work at
  the deeper levels will produce a result that does not go any
  further than the surface; those choices have to be made
  consciously for a good synthesis.

* Self-Centredness -- it's worth being aware of the criteria
  one's using to make the choices in a system. †While the
  questions of "What is the best system" and "What do I like
  best" or "What do I find most aesthetically pleasing" are not
  entirely disjoint -- aesthetics are important to the value of a
  system -- getting the emphasis right can be tricky. †This is
  especially important if the system constructed is going to
  involve other entities, who will almost certainly have a
  different set of pleasures and aesthetic preferences.

* Personal limitation -- nobody's infinite. †It is exceedingly
  difficult for one person to imagine all the possible stresses
  and failings that might reveal flaws in a religious system,
  even those that they need to have addressed for their own
  personal spiritual needs. A community of co-religionists can
  provide the support and assistance one might need to address
  those problems -- further, an established religion has a decent
  chance of already having these bugs worked out from people who
  had the same problem before, or at least a similar enough one
  that some of the work can be copied over.

  (I tend to think that this problem is liable to be worse for
  pure eclectics who are working from the ground up; for
  syncretic eclectics such as myself, there is at least some
  level of community for each of the structures I'm working in.
  There may be nobody doing what I'm doing right now, but there
  are other people working within the systems that I'm studying,
  not to mention that there are other people who're seeing some
  of the same problems and working on solving them in their own
  way. †This does come with the price of extra need to work at
  reconciling and resolving worldview differences, though, and
  the worry that those communities with concerns about
  appropriation and dilution will close themselves.)

* Clarity of thought -- purely individual religion may not have
  all of its tenets and thought patterns clearly articulated. I
  know that I not only think more clearly when I can lay out
  where I'm coming from but often find bugs in what I'm doing by
  doing so. If there is no religious community, there is no
  intrinsic need to go through this process, so muddy thinking
  may be perpetrated and thus mean that spiritual development
  gets stalled. †Now, this can be done with communities of
  sympathetic people who don't share the specifics in the
  discussion, but that makes it less likely that the sounding
  board will know all the basics that are underlying the process
  and be able to make intuitive leaps and/or actively contribute
  to the development process with new insights.

* Transmissibility and generalization -- my definition of
  "religion" includes the possibility that it might be shared
  with others. It is possible for an eclectic vision to be so
  tuned to the personal that it has nothing to offer the
  universal, or is encoded in such individual language that it
  can't be understood beyond the particular individual. Pure
  subjectivity can also be intellectually dishonest; somewhere
  things interact with the observable world, and have to meet
  that challenge.

* Ritual meaning is hard -- well, it is. It's possible to take
  actions invested with meaning (or actual religious actions and
  ritual pieces) and synthesis them into something new that can
  then start accruing its own meaning; this is the easy way.
  Developing a new structure that can hold its weight requires
  some pretty keen insight into the way the human mind works. †It
  is, to say the least, heavy lifting. †Further, many people have
  noticed that ritual actions are more powerful when they are
  shared -- by other people in the ritual space, by other people
  around the world, by other people over the course of history;
  trying to build a new ritual that partakes of that energy is
  effectively impossible. †Adapting extant rituals is easier, but
  if they differ too far from their original place they will lose
  that resonance and not be notably different from completely
  original creations.

Now, as I said, all of these things can be overcome -- with
skill, with vision, with the assistance of a community (whether
of other people who are trying to do the same thing, or the
partially aligned and sympathetic, or even just a crew of helpful
debuggers), with sheer bloodymindedness. This is where new
religions and new insights are born, in the people who are doing
this sort of work.

And it's possible to be responsibly eclectic without going to the
full lengths I've listed here -- even ranging to a secularly
eclectic spirituality. †Not everyone is interested in developing
an actual religion, something that can be shared with others, for
example. Responsible development does, in my opinion, require
acknowledgement of these issues; further, it requires an
awareness that the result will probably be purely personal in
many ways, as an eclectic spirituality is not necessarily built
to the same standards of robustness as a religion that has at
least the potential of being adopted by a number of people.

Now that I've thoroughly called into question the practice of
eclecticism by highlighting the many ways it can go wrong, I'd
like to spend some time on the sorts of reasons that people take
eclectic courses through religion. †These are ones that I have

* Religious Multiplicity -- some people have a calling to
  practice more than one religion. †Any religion will have a
  range of beliefs and practices; a person practicing more than
  one will have to find the space in the range of each religion
  that has an overlap. Some of these systems will lead to a new
  religion developing from the space intersecting between the
  originals. †(I do not find the belief that a person can only
  have one religion any more sensical than the belief that a
  person can have only one god; this informs my eclecticism
  significantly. †While it is not common in the West, this is a
  well-known attitude in parts of Asia.)

* Layers and Overlays -- there are religions that can be viewed
  as a particular outlook on the world, and thus can be practiced
  as a modification to another system or as independent
  structures of their own. †The most well-known and mainstream of
  these is Buddhism; while there are many Buddhists, there are
  also a number of people who have adopted some portion of
  Buddhist philosophy and attitudes towards the world. †Among
  pagans, both Discordianism and Satanism can be treated as
  interpretational overlays.

* Fostering -- sometimes a god to which a person is dedicated
  will make it clear that their follower should enter,
  temporarily, into the service of other gods, for reasons of
  personal development, skill acquisition, or the sort of arcane
  reasons that gods have that they don't actually tell mere
  mortals about. †(All of the people I know who have had this
  happen have been primarily in service to Celtic deities. †The
  Celts practiced fostering, and often sent their children to
  grow up in other households, thereby creating inter-familial

* Cross-Training -- similar to fostering. †Sometimes a practice
  common in one religion has value or connection to a practice in
  another one; practitioners of each might spend some time
  training with the followers of the other in order to broaden or
  deepen their skills with people who have different areas of

* Designated for Assignment -- similar to fostering and cross-
  training. †A god -- usually an established patron, someone who
  the person in question considers to have some authority --
  tells their worshipper to go somewhere else to study or work,
  while maintaining their extant practice. †(In my case, I was
  told that in order to honor Set properly, I needed tools that
  Egyptian reconstructionism could not provide me that would
  enable me to overcome certain difficulties. †He told me where I
  could acquire those tools, and left me to decide whether or not
  I would do it.)

* Patching a Gap -- this is especially common among the
  reconstructions. †There are places that the available knowledge
  does not address; even things that were known to exist are not
  always well-recorded. †Someone who is interested in having
  those lost practices in their reconstruction will not be able
  to do so from a historical basis; they have to extrapolate,
  interpret, and possibly acquire from elsewhere the required
  pieces. †For example, people who wish to incorporate trancing-
  type interactions into their reconstructions have turned to
  both the work of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and the
  possessionary African Diaspora religions for the training they

* Flaw Correction -- any religious system will have places where
  it falls down for someone. †A person may find a system almost
  entirely satisfactory, but have issues with certain points of
  theology or feel a need to supplement the material with other
  things that are out there. †This quest may eventually lead them
  to conversion to a new religion that does not have that flaw;
  it may also, however, lead to the adoption of some portion of
  another system that is both consistent with the original
  religion and resolves whatever was the source of the

* Ancestry -- many, many people have in their heritage people
  from a number of different regions, and thus, potentially, a
  number of different ethnic religions. †While it is not required
  to follow the gods of one's ancestors, or even a subset
  thereof, some people feel a need to acknowledge some portion of
  their heritage in their religious practice. †This may be an
  outgrowth of those religions that practice some form of
  ancestor worship, a result of encounters with the gods or
  spirits who associated with those ancestors, or simply a matter
  of personal preference.

* Ecumenicalism -- as many recons will complain, it can be very
  difficult to maintain a clear sense of what a religion is all
  about in a community containing a huge variety of other ideas.
  This can be a problem, if one is trying to work with a specific
  system; on the other hand, it can be viewed as the natural
  result of what happens if one takes a huge number of worldviews
  that were normally separated by thousands of miles and put them
  in the same small area. Eventually, bits and pieces of each
  will rub off and redistribute and new forms will appear.

* Task-focused worship -- some people have a strong affiliation
  to a particular role or task in the world. †These folks may
  wind up dealing with the gods who are associated with that
  particular role, regardless of their cultural background, and
  wind up incorporating acknowledgements of all of Them into the
  system that they practice.

* Pure Synthesis -- some people are unsatisfied with the existing
  religious systems or feel a calling to construct something all
  their own. †They may not have found anything out there that
  works for them, or feel a need to build something of their own.
  More power to 'em, that's a wicked lot of hard work they're
  setting themselves up for.

* I don't know, man, I didn't do it -- sometimes a motley
  assortment of gods shows up in someone's life and makes it
  clear that They don't intend to go away. †At this point, the
  poor pagan is left to figure out how the heck they're supposed
  to deal with this confounding pile of miscellanea.

Being responsibly eclectic -- whether for one of these reasons, a
combination of them, or for some entirely different reason -- is
a lot of work. †If someone has established commitments and
obligations to gods, other people, or religious organizations
those may have to be renegotiated. †(When I decided to take Set's
advice, I checked with the other gods to whom I have specifically
pledged to see if any of Them had problems with it; one assigned
me a minor practice restriction to be sure that I was certain to
maintain my allegiance to Her.) †The work required to do a good
job of it can be immense -- ranging from the spiritual equivalent
of doing a skin graft through to organ transplants (and getting
all those tubes hooked up right) to the work of the notorious Dr.

If that is the way you're feeling a need to go, I can only hope
that the rewards you find are commensurate with the work it will
require to get there.

========= by Steven M. Ng

===== Feng Shui Basics

Feng Shui (literally "Wind and Water" in Chinese), is all about
balance and harmony between us and our environment. Just like the
Yin and Yang energies, Feng Shui is about balance. Where there is
light, there will always be darkness; where there is fire, there
will always be water; and so forth.

Feng Shui teaches that every individual interacts differently to
their environment. Sometimes, a particular environment - such as
a house or office - is so suited to you that you find that
everything in your life is great. However, if you have troubled
relationships or financial woes, it is quite likely that there is
some discord or imbalance between yourself and your environment,
manifesting in your daily life.

By subtly modifying your environment, you will be able to restore
this balance, and consequently improve your life. Modifying your
environment can be as simple as changing the angle or position of
your work desk, or by buying Feng Shui items such as mandarin
ducks and placing them in proper locations in your home or

There are many systems of authentic classical Feng Shui. This
article describes the Xuan Kong (pronounced "Shu-en Kong")
system. Xuan Kong (literally "Mysterious Void" in Chinese) is a
complete system which includes complicated formulae to calculate
optimal positioning and composition of an environment.

===== Eight Mansion (Pa-Kua) School of Feng Shui

There are a few sub-schools within the Xuan Kong system,
including the popular Flying Stars school. The descriptions in
this article are based on the Eight Mansion school, also known as
the Pa-Kua school. In the Pa-Kua technique, the compass is
divided into eight directions, each of which is depicted by a
trigram. Each of these directions have different significance.
For example, one of the Pa-Kua directions is the personal or
relationship direction, which will be of the most interest to
someone with troubled relationships. Furthermore, the
significance of each direction differs for each individual.

To find out how each Pa-Kua direction affects you personally, you
will need to calculate your Kua Number. You can do this by using
the Kua Calculator at:


The calculator will provide you with your Kua Number, and more
importantly, what each Pa-Kua direction means to you. In short,
four of those directions will be positive and favorable to you,
while the other four will have negative connotations for you.

The eight Pa-Kua directions can be briefly summarized as follows:

Sheng Chi (Life Generating) - This Pa-Kua direction is your
prosperity and wealth direction. You would focus on this
direction if you are interested in financial strength.

Tien Yi (Heavenly Doctor) - This direction is your health
direction. You would focus on this direction if you are
interested in health and physical matters.

Nien Yin (Relationships) - This direction is your relationships
direction. You would focus on this direction if you have troubled
relationships and would like to improve your love life and/or
your marriage.

Fu Wei (Stability) - This direction is your stability and
knowledge direction. You would focus on this direction if you
want to achieve tranquility and knowledge.

Ho Hai (Mishaps) - The first negative Pa-Kua direction is your
accident or misfortune direction. You would focus on this
direction if you want to reduce unforeseen accidents or loss.

Wu Gwei (Five Ghosts) - This direction is your financial loss
direction. You would focus on this direction to prevent theft and
other financial woes.

Liu Sha (Six Killings) - This direction is your "evil" direction.
You would focus on this direction to ward off malevolence against

Chueh Ming (Total Loss) - This direction is your loss and death
direction. You would focus on this direction to reduce physical
loss and death around you.

For more information on the Nien Yin (Love and Relationship)
corner, you can read:


===== About the Author

Steven maintains the Mandarin Duck Feng Shui website at
http://www.mandarin-ducks.com. It provides information on how
mandarin ducks are able to help improve relationships using Feng
Shui principles.

========= by Melissa (W0lfsangel)

Recently a friends mother passed away. †Her family was in major
grief and could not understand that she was now in a better place
and pain free (she was 94).

I understand the grieving process quite well, for many different
reasons. †However, there was nothing I could do to help her and
her family, so I turned to the spirits to help me help them. †I
created a grieving spell to help eliminate most of their pain.

It was a great success and I would like to share it with others,
as I have not found anything similar in any of my books or on the
web, so here it is....if you wish to post this for others to use
that would be great!

Items needed:

  2 white candles
  1 blue candle
  sage and burning bowl (raw sage)


Light one white †candle and purify your working area. Light the
blue candle and ask for healing, Light the other white candle to
send the energy.

In the bowl light the sage and feather it towards the candles.


  May you find the light of the sun's rays
  To guide you through the days.

  May you find the light of the Moon full bright
  To protect you though the night.

  May you find the comfort of your minds eye
  To remember the goodness of the souls flight.

  May you find the courage to see
  the goodness in the soul that flee's.

Continue to feather the sage to the candles and concentrate on
those who are grieving. When you feel you energy has reached the
intended, snuff out the sage and the candles in reverse order.

Repeat for 3 days.

This spell helped the family in miraculous ways. †They had no
idea I was doing this, but they reported to me (the days after I
completed the ritual) that particularly at night they felt a warm
'blanket' over them. †They were sure is was the person who passed
coming to them to let them know she was †in a better place.

So, if you wish to share this with others, please be my guest!

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

This month did not always hold its present position, but was
originally the last month in the year. The name is taken from a
Latin word, februare, meaning "to make pure".

In the Palatine Hill, another of the seven hills of Rome, was a
cave dug in the rock, and in it stood an image of the god
Lupercus covered with a goat's skin. Lupercus was the God of
Fertility or springing into life, and on the 15th of February a
great festival was held in his honour. Sacrifices of goats and
dogs were made; then the priests cut up the skins of the goats,
twisted the pieces into thongs, and ran through the city striking
all who came in their way. As in the very earliest times it was
the shepherds who held this festival, it is thought that this
running about with thongs meant the purifying of the land. The
idea of the whole festival seems to have been one of purifying,
of a new life, so the name chosen for the month in which it was
held was one formed from a word meaning "to make pure".

There are some who think that Lupercus was the same as Pan, the
God of the Shepherds. Pan was said to have been a son of Mercury,
but he was not like the other gods; his body was covered with
goat's hair, and his feet and ears were also like those of a
goat. He was very fond of music and dancing, and spent most of
his time in the forests playing with the wood nymphs--beautiful
girls who lived among the trees. One day he saw a wood nymph,
named Syrinx, with whom he fell in love, but she was frightened
and ran away from him, and when Pan pursued her she prayed to the
gods for help. She was at once changed into a clump of reeds, and
Pan, in his disappointment, broke off seven pieces of the reed,
bound them together, and so made an instrument of music, which
was called the Syrinx after the beautiful wood nymph.

The invention of the Syrinx by Pan has been wonderfully described
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in a poem which begins:

  "What was he doing, the great god Pan,
     Down in the reeds by the river?
  Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
  Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat
  And breaking the golden lilies afloat
    With the dragon-fly on the river."

This story of Pan and Syrinx reminds us that the Greeks and the
Romans imagined the mountains, the valleys, the woods, and the
rivers to be peopled with lesser gods and goddesses, whose task
of caring for the trees, the flowers, and the grass was appointed
them by Jupiter. The woodland gods were known as Satyrs, and like
their leader, Pan, were half man and half goat. Another famous
satyr was Silenus, who was put in charge of Bacchus, one of
Jupiter's sons, and the God of Wine. Silenus taught Bacchus, and
accompanied him on his travels on the earth. The God of Wine rode
in a chariot drawn by wild beasts, Silenus following him on an
ass, and with them a merry company of nymphs and satyrs crowned
with ivy leaves, who danced and sang and made music in praise of

  "And as I sat, over the light blue hills
  There came a noise of revellers; the rills
  Into the wide stream came of purple hue--
    ĎT was Bacchus and his crew!
  The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
  From kissing cymbals made a merry din--
    'T was Bacchus and his kin!
  Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood
  Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood,
    With sidelong laughing."

Many stories are told of the wood nymphs, as the Goddesses of the
Woods were called. One of the most famous is that of the nymph
Echo, who fell deeply in love with the beautiful Narcissus, whom
she met hunting in the forest. Narcissus, however, took but
little notice of her, and Echo's love soon turned to hatred and
anger. She prayed to Venus, the Goddess of Love, that Narcissus
might be punished for his hard-heartedness, and then sorrowfully
hiding herself among the mountains, pined away until only her
voice remained, and in lonely places the voice of Echo still
answers those who call.

Meanwhile Venus sought an opportunity for punishing Narcissus by
making him suffer in the same way as Echo had done. One day
Narcissus, hot and thirsty with hunting, came to a shaded pool,
and, as he stooped to drink, saw in the clear water the face, as
he thought, of a water nymph. So beautiful was she that Narcissus
was filled with love for her, and eagerly stretched out his arms;
but no sooner did his hands touch the water than she vanished. He
drew back in surprise and waited anxiously till the ruffled water
became smooth, when again he saw the beautiful nymph. He spoke to
her, and her lips answered him, though he heard no sound; he
slowly put out his hands towards her, and her hands came to meet
his. Sure now of her love, he tried a second time to clasp her in
his arms, but, as before, she vanished. Again and again he strove
to seize the nymph, but, each time she escaped his grasp. Amazed,
Narcissus sank down by the pool and gazed upon that lovely face,
which seemed to mock him, and yet held him there. Apollo and his
chariot sank into the Western sea, but the Goddess of the Moon
shone on the water and showed the nymph still answering his words
and holding out her arms to him. The days passed, and Narcissus,
unable to tear himself away, grew pale and weak, watching the
face, which also grew pale with despairing love. Thus was Echo
avenged, for Narcissus slowly starved himself to death through
love for his own image! The gods, however, took pity on him and
changed his body into a cluster of flowers, which have ever since
borne his name.

We have associated Pan, the God of the Shepherds, with this
month, and his name is found in a very familiar word in our
language. He took a great delight in frightening travellers by
creeping up behind them in the dark, and the fear with which he
filled them was called "Panic".

It is interesting to note that just as the Romans held a ceremony
of purification during the month of February, so the Christian
Church holds the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary on
the second day of the month. The feast is called by Roman
Catholics, Candlemas, because it is the custom to have a
procession in which candles are carried, and it is on this
occasion that the candles to be used in the church during the
year are consecrated.

The weather at Candlemas is said to show what the weather will be
like during the year, and an old proverb says:

  "If Candlemas is fair and clear,
  There'll be twa winters in the year".

The Old English name for February was Sprout-Kale, since the
cabbage begins to sprout at this time of the year. It was later
changed to Solmonath -- sun month -- because it is the time when
the sun rises higher in the sky and begins to drive away the
chill of winter with its glowing rays.

========= LORD BAG OF RICE
========= (from Japanese Fairy Tales)
========= by Teresa Peirce Williston [1911])

A SOLDIER in Japan was once about to cross a bridge near a lake
when he saw a huge snake coiled on the bridge so that no one
could pass. Now, do you think that this soldier turned and ran
away, as many others had that day? No, indeed! He knew that a
bridge was not the place for a snake, so he walked up and stamped
on its head.

As he stepped on him, the snake was gone. Only a dwarf stood
before him, who at once began bowing his head to the ground with

"Now, at last I have found some one who is not a coward!'' cried
the dwarf. "Here I have been waiting for days to find a man who
was brave enough to help me, but none dared cross the bridge.
Everyone turned and ran at the sight of me. But you are strong-
hearted. Will you do me a great kindness and save many lives?"

The soldier answered:

"I am a soldier of the Emperor, and I am here to save life and
right wrong. Tell me your trouble and I will see what can be done
to help it."

"There is a terrible centipede," said the dwarf, "and he lives in
the woods on the mountain. Every day he comes down to the shore
to drink. He dips his thousand poisonous feet into the beautiful
water, turning it all foul and dirty. It kills all the fishes in
the lake, too. I am the king of the lake, and I am trying to find
some way to save my fishes."

"I do not know that I can help you," said the soldier, ''but I
will gladly go with you and try. "

The dwarf took him to his home in the bottom of the lake. It was
a beautiful house, all made of coral and pearl. His servants, the
crabs and sunfishes, brought them rice, fruit, and tea, served on
tiny green leaves. The tea looked like water and the rice looked
like seafoam, but they tasted all right, so what matter?

Just as they were in the middle of their feast they heard a
mighty roaring and rumbling. It sounded as though a mountain were
being torn up.

''There he is!" he cried. "That is the noise of his thousand feet
as they crunch on the stones of the mountain side. We must hurry
or he will get to the water and poison it again. "

They hurried to the edge of the lake and saw the centipede
already very near. He looked. like an army marching with colored
lanterns, for each one of his thousand legs glowed with many
beautiful shades of crimson and green and gold.

The soldier drew his great bow and let an arrow fly at the
monster's head. He never missed his aim, and the arrow struck the
ugly head of the centipede, but bounced away. A second arrow
flew, but that, too, bounced away.

He had but one arrow left and the monster was almost at the
water's edge.

Suddenly he remembered that when he was a boy his grandfather had
told him that if you wet the head of an arrow in your mouth it
will kill any monster.

It took just a second to wet the head of his last precious arrow
and send it whizzing at the centipede. It struck him on the
forehead and he fell over dead.

Suddenly the soldier found himself back in his own house, which
was now changed into a castle. Before him were five gifts, on
each of which he read, ''With the loving thanks of the Dwarf."

The first of these gifts was a huge bronze bell, on the outside
of which was told in pictures the story of the centipede. The
second was a sword which would always give its owner the victory.
The third was a suit of armor so strong that no swords or arrows
could go through it.

The last two were the most wonderful of all. One was a roll of
silk of any color he wished, and the more he used of the silk the
more the roll grew. The other was a bag of rice which never grew
less, although he used all he wished for his friends and himself.

This last gift seemed so wonderful to the people that they called
him Lord Bag of Rice from that day.

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

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

=== Honey Almond Cheesecake
=== Submitted by Chavi

You will need a 9" springform pan.

1 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers  
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds (I like toasted, but not required)  
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
1/2 cup butter, melted  

3 eggs  
3 8oz packages of cream cheese  
1 lg can 14oz sweetened evaporated milk. NOT condensed.  
1 tablespoon honey  
1/2 teaspoon almond extract  

3/4 cup whipping cream  
2 tablespoons honey  
3/4 cup to 1 cup slivered toasted almonds  


Heat oven to 375

First part crust: Simply combine nuts, crumbs butter in bowl till
blended. press against the bottom of the spring form pan set

Second part Cake: In large mixing bowl break up cream cheese into
chunks. Slowly add evaporated milk, beating on low until
"fluffy". Add extract and eggs and continue to beat until fluffy.
Finally add honey, blend. Pour into pan. Bake at 375 for 50-60

Last part topping: After removing finished cheesecake allow to
cool either in the pan or on a wire rack. I so recomend in the

In small sauce pan combine slivered almond and honey on low to
med low heat. You just want to candy coat the almond. Slowly stir
in cream this should come to a light syrupy consistency. Spoon
over, or drizzle onto your cheesecake, cover with plastic wrap
and chill 4 hours to overnight. Enjoy!

You can have a just as lovely cheesecake without doing either the
topping or the same crust. I have several time gotten the pre-
made and just scattered some almonds on the bottom for this

========= Author Unknown

 1. Take the ritual sword from the alter and make sounds like
    Darth Vader..."Luke, I am your father!"...and start making
    light saber noises.

 2. Start skat-singing when chanting.

 3. Take the ritual athame from the alter and start cleaning your
    nails with it.

 4. When taking a sip of the ritual wine, act like a wine snob
    and comment on it.

 5. When doing the spiral dance, make a conga line.

 6. Call down the Goddess with "Get your ass down here, Big

 7. Call down the God with "Our father,who art in heaven..."

 8. When chanting the names of the Goddess, randomly include
    Pokemon names.

 9. When being smudged, complain about second-hand smoke.

10. In a drumming circle, laugh insanely and start drumming the
    beat to "Wipe Out".

11. When in a skyclad circle, randomly point and laugh.

12. When the ritual wine goblet is passed to you, chug it and ask
    for more.

13. Invoke Satan.

14. Take out a bible and start evangelizing.

15. Light up a cigar.

16. Bring a cute furry creature and offer it as a blood sacrifice.

17. Talk a lot about casting spells for revenge against people
    who have offended you.

18. At a handfasting say "Thank God! Maybe now i'll get some

19. When in circle, answer your cell phone.

20. Respond to "So Mote it Be!" with "Amen!" 

============    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.


========= Is Your Web Site Too Hard?
========= by Roger C. Parker

Is your website too hard?

Take the "Easy Test" to see if your website is as visitor
friendly as it should be! Websites often fail to produce the
desired results. This can be because visitors find them too hard
to understand or navigate. Here are some potential usability
problems to avoid.

1. Hard to find 

Is your website easy to locate? Do you promote it everywhere,
(i.e. business cards, invoices, envelopes, etc.) and is your site
search engine friendly? Do you promote the benefits of visiting?
Is your site address easy to remember and easy to type? Does your
url contain easily misspelled words? Is it complicated by
repeated letters, i.e. "theentity?" Are there numbers, which can
cause confusion, i.e., "1shopping" or "oneshopping?"

2. Hard to engage

Do you make it easy for visitors to understand why they should
read on? You have only a few seconds to persuade visitors to
begin reading your message. Unless your home page immediately
provides an obvious "why buy from us?" benefit, visitors are
likely to leave -- wasting the time and money you spent attracting
them to your site.

Home pages should begin with headline that immediately
communicates you are familiar with your visitorís problems and
can help them achieve their goals. Time-consuming animations,
vapid "welcoming" statements, and "brag and boast" claims,
usually turn visitors away.

3. Hard to decide

Do you make it easy for visitors to decide what to read next? The
best web sites have a clear and immediately identifiable focus
and sequence. Many home pages, however, offer so many navigation
options that visitors are paralyzed and choose to leave.

Studies have shown that, if you offer grocery store visitors an
opportunity to sample 6 jams, 30% of customers will eventually
buy one. But, if you offer 16 samples, response drops to 3%!

4. Hard to return

Do you make it easy for visitors to register for your e-mail
newsletter, so you can invite them to return? Unless you obtain
your visitorís e-mail address and permission to contact them in
the future, you'll probably never see them again! Many web sites
offer visitors an opportunity to sign-up for their e-mail
newsletter, however, only a few offer a meaningful incentive to
sign-up. Without an incentive, without showing or describing the
benefits of registering, why should visitors sign up? Most e-mail
in-boxes are already filled with unread newsletters!

5. Hard to read

Is your message easy to read? Easy reading is more critical
onscreen than in print. Problems that might be overlooked on
paper are critical online.

* Long lines of text are difficult to read and make it easy for
  visitors to lose their place at the end of each line. Limit
  line length to 2/3íds the width of the screen.

* Keep sentences and paragraphs short, and add extra space
  between paragraphs.
* Frequent subheads break body copy into short, bite-sized
  chunks. Each subhead "advertises" the following text and
  provides an additional point for visitors to begin reading your

6. Hard to print 

Do you make it easy for visitors to print important articles and
descriptions? Links to "printer friendly pages," correct line-and
page breaks -- add perceived value to your message and make it
easier to share and read your message offline. You don't need to
offer a printer-friendly link of every page, just key articles or
important products or upcoming events.

7. Hard to share 

Do you make it easy for visitors to pass-along important articles
to others? An "E-mail this to a friend or co-worker" link can
expose your message to others who may join your opt-in e-mail

8. Hard to contact you

Do you make it easy for visitors to contact you? Do you include
full contact information on every page, i.e. phone, fax, e-mail,
and postal address? Avoid a single "contact us" link that only
loads the visitorís e-mail program. Give visitors multiple
chances to call, fax, or mail a letter!

===== About the Author

Roger C. Parker knows the secrets to promoting your business one
page at a time. Find out the simple way to keep in constant touch
with your customers, while saving you time and money. Visit
http:/www.OnePageNewsletters.com/ for your three free reports.

========= Diabolical Design
========= Copyright (c) 2004 John Calder

You can find guides and tips on good web site design everywhere.
In 1998, Vincent Flanders co-authored a book with a unique twist.
It was called "Web Pages That Suck", and Mr. Flanders followed
that with a similar co-authored book in 2002. In that spirit,
we'd like to offer you our top five tips on diabolical design -
how to create web pages that look like h-, well, you know.

1. Use javascript and Flash. Lots and lots of it. Make sure you
   ignore the fact that my browser isn't 100% compatible. If you
   can, try to crash my browser. It's not always 100% compatible,
   and I really like the color in that little Windows error box

2. I like a lot of gratuitous graphics too. Include lots of large
   files that take a while to download, especially over dialup. A
   long while. It would be an especially nice touch if you can
   have some heavy zig-zag and grid backgrounds, something that
   blends in with your text for that nice, unified look. And
   whatever you do, don't forget the little animated GIF files!
   They're cute, and especially distracting, so I'd like a lot of
   those too, please, all around your page.

3. If I do manage to get to one of your pages, please be certain
   that you've fixed the font sizes with CSS. Make them, oh,
   about 8 or 9 pixels high, bolded. That should do it - well,
   except use lots of different colors and font styles, just to
   prove to me you can. While you're in the CSS file anyway, try
   to get rid of some of that extra white space by adjusting the
   line height (the space between lines of text) so that it's
   only 1/2 it's normal space. There's no use in my having to
   scroll down the page - make sure it's all above the fold, OK?

4. Wait a minute - I forgot about the links. Can you use your CSS
   skills to turn off the underlines in your links, plus make
   them the same color as the rest of your text? They stand out
   too much if you don't do that. But, when I hover my mouse over
   them, I want you to give me a further display of some cool CSS
   tricks by making the link text turn to italic and get a LOT
   bigger. Enough to make the other text on the page move around
   a bit. I've never seen anything like that before.

5. Now to some good stuff - your colors. Be daring here. Forget
   about the old dark-on-light and light-on-dark basics. Try
   something like black text on a dark green background. Or maybe
   purple on red? Either way, just be different. And I don't see
   any reason to stick with complementary or contrasting colors.
   Nah, give the old color wheel a spin & see what turns up. Pick
   'em and use 'em in 1-2-3 order, it won't matter. If you're
   using tables, it's nice to change the background color of
   every single cell. That will prove to me the level of tireless
   effort you've put into your site just for me.

Bonus tip: If you will put menus and other navigation elements in
different places on each page, and not be clear on where a click
will take me, that will make me look over each page more
thoroughly, and I will want to click on all those links, just
because I want to know where they lead. Really I will.

By the way, we hope you know that these tips were all in good
fun, and very sarcastic. If you didn't know that, please buy Mr.
Flanders' book, or any good book on design. Your visitors' eyes
will thank you!

===== About the Author

John Calder is the owner/editor of The Ezine Dot Net. Subscribe
today and get real information you can use to help build your
online business today! http://www.TheEzine.Net RSS feeds are

========= How to Create Columns with Div's 
========= by Shruti Gupta

When we at Ecommerce Partners (http://www.ecommercepartners.net)
started using divís rather than table for web page layout, the
most daunting experience for me was how to create columns using
divís. So, here is the solution for all those website developers
who are struggling to use divís for web page layout.

The div tag can be defined as the division in a web page. It is a
block level element. This implies that the default behavior of
divís is to stack up one above the other. This serves the purpose
of using divís for a simple web page layout where all the
elements stack one above the other. When we have a columnar web
page layout (which happens to be the most common layout for
majority of the websites), we need to know how to use divís to
create two or more columns in a web page.

The following method will cause divís to stack up side by side
rather than one above the other.

Letís say that we have two divís:

Now, in the stylesheet declare the following rules. #div1 { float:left; width:50%;} #div2 { margin-left:50%; width:50%;} The result will be two columnar divís. You may use this method to create as many columns as needed on the web page. Now, if you need these two columnar divís to expand vertically equal to each other you can use the following method. First create a background image that if tiled vertically will look like two columns. For reference, please visit http://www.ecpgroup.net. Here, background image (http://www.ecpgroup.net/images/content_bg.gif) has been used in the container div that holds the body and the footer of the web page. This background image must be 1 pixel high and as wide as the container that contains all the elements of your web page. In the html document:
Declare the following rules in the stylesheet: #container { background: url(the_Url_Of_The_Background_Image.gif) repeat-y 0% 0%; } #div1 { float:left; width:50%; } #div2 { margin-left:50%; width:50%; } The result will be the appearance of two columnar divís expanding vertically equal to each other. So, although we cannot extend a div vertically equal to another div, we can make it appear so. This is exactly the method used at http://www.ecpgroup.net. ===== ===== About the Author ===== Shruti Gupta works for ECommerce Partners.net (http://www.ecommercepartners.net) - a website design company in New York. We pride ourselves in developing search engine friendly and standard compliant websites. Email: info@ecommercepartners.net [08-4] ========= ========= Cheap Web Hosting Report: February 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 February 2005 ===== These are the top five general purpose cheap web hosts selected for January 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. === === #1 Dreamhost === Price: 1m: $9.95 2y: $7.95 Setup: 1m: $24.95 2y: Free Bandwidth: 40 GB (February Sale: 120 GB) Disk Space: 800 MB (February Sale 2400 MB) Mailboxes: 600 Comments: Dreamhost has long been -- and still is -- listed as the best affordable web host for unusual content (as they will host just about anything legal) in the Special Needs Hosting section of this report. Improvements in their plans in 2004 have made them very competitive in terms of bandwidth, web space, and features offered for the price, so they have moved onto and then rapidly up our "Top Five" list. New and improved features are announced in the Dreamhost newsletter almost every month. Their tech support is the best I've seen in the low cost hosting industry. If you are looking for low cost, high quality web hosting with truly excellent tech support and very friendly people, check out Dreamhost. Note: The bandwidth and web space listed are for Dreamhost's New Year's Sale and are therefore triple the normal 40 GB bandwidth and 800 megs web space. Sign up during January or February 2005 and get the tripled bandwidth and web space for as long as you have the account. (The Cheap Web Hosting Report hosts with Dreamhost.) More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zdreamhost.php === === #2 midPhase === Price: 3m: $11.95 1y: $7.95 Setup: 3m: Free 1y: Free Bandwidth: unlimited Disk Space: 1500 MB Mailboxes: unlimited Comments: midPhase is a young hosting company (launched in late 2002). They offer a strong hosting package with many features at a reasonable, although not super-low, price. It has grown quickly -- and, thus far, without a lot of complaints from their customers over service. If they can continue to provide good service, expect them to rise on our list in the future. At the end of August, they switched to unmetered bandwidth for most sites (60 gig limit for download sites and image galleries). While unmetered bandwidth sometimes causes hosting companies problems, midPhase says that they have been planning this switch for months and do not expect any problems. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zmidphase.php === === #3 iPowerWeb === Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95 Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free Bandwidth: 40 GB Disk Space: 1000 MB Mailboxes: 500 Comments: iPowerWeb is only a few years old, but it already hosts over 200,000 web sites, has won numerous awards for its service, and has successfully managed rapid growth with only a few visible customer service hiccups. The company and its offerings are not perfect, but they provide featureful, reliable, low cost web hosting -- and do so very well from the point-of-view of the average customer. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zipowerweb.php === === #4 Lunarpages === Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95 Setup: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free Bandwidth: 40 GB Disk Space: 1000 MB Mailboxes: Unlimited Comments: Lunarpages has over 5 years experience in shared web hosting and hosts over 50,000 web pages. While they have not pushed for the huge growth of some of the other low cost web hosting companies, Lunarpages customers seem generally very happy with their service and appear to this reviewer to be more loyal to their hosting company than the customers of other hosting companies. This speaks well for Lunarpages. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zlunarpages.php === === #5 PowWeb === Price: 3m: $7.77 1y: $7.77 Setup: 3m: $20.00 1y: Free Bandwidth: 5 GB /day Disk Space: 1000 MB Mailboxes: 650 Comments: PowWeb has been in the low cost web hosting business since 1999. They are best known for their one-size fits all web hosting plan. They have recently raised their bandwidth limits from 45 gigs a month to a whopping 5 gigs a day (but you get an email warning at 4 gigs in a day according to their policy). We have seen a few more customer complaints over performance and customer service recently, which has caused this web host to drop a bit in our rating, but they are still a good choice for many. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zpowweb.php ===== ===== Special Needs Cheap Web Hosting ===== If you have special hosting needs, one of the following cheap web hosting solutions may meet those needs better than one of the above plans. While the following companies generally do not offer as much bandwidth and disk space as the Top Five Cheap Web Hosts listed above, they provide more than enough of both for most sites and their special features, if you need them, will more than make up the difference. === === Fewer Content Restrictions === Dreamhost Price: 1m: $9.95 2y: $7.95 Setup: 1m: $24.95 2y: Free Bandwidth: 40 GB (February Sale: 120 GB) Disk Space: 800 MB (February Sale: 2400 MB) Mailboxes: 600 Comments: In an effort to avoid arguments and complaints, most web hosting companies are fairly restrictive on questionable content -- to the point that some will terminate a site for displaying a picture of a classical (but bare breasted) statue from ancient Greece. Dreamhost not only has an excellent, cheap web hosting package but is far more liberal than most web hosts on acceptable site content. Basically, if your content is legal in the US, Dreamhost will probably have no problems hosting it. Note: The bandwidth and web space listed are for Dreamhost's New Year's Sale and are therefore triple the normal 40 GB bandwidth and 800 megs web space. Sign up during January or February 2005 and get the tripled bandwidth and web space for as long as you have the account. (The Cheap Web Hosting Report hosts with Dreamhost.) More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zdreamhost.php === === Windows Hosting === Easy CGI Price: 1m: $9.95 1y: $7.96 Setup: 1m: Free 1y: Free Bandwidth: 50 GB Disk Space: 3000 MB Mailboxes: 50 Comments: Easy CGI provides Windows 2000 servers instead of the standard Unix servers. Their accounts come with ASP and one Access Database. They are one of the most affordable and most popular Windows hosting providers. Customer service reports are spotty, however. Most people report excellent service but minority report major problems. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zeasycgi.php === === Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (Root Access) === Jumpline Price: 1y: $9.95 Setup: 1y: Free Bandwidth: 5 GB Disk Space: 500 MB Mailboxes: 75 Comments: Jumpline uses special technology to provide each account with its own virtual server. You have your own Apache web server, your own email servers, your own database server, etc. and you have root access to the virtual machine running them. These types of accounts can be more stable and provide better control, but are best used by Unix experts who understand the ins and outs of running servers. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zjumpline.php === === Dedicated Server Hosting === ServerPronto Price: 1m: $29.95 Setup: $149.00 Bandwidth: 200 GB Disk Space: 40 GB Mailboxes: unlimited A dedicated server gives your site its own physical computer as a server. The upside is that you have full root access so you can install whatever software you want on it and have very few restrictions on scripts (even if they hog CPU time). The downside is that you have to maintain the system yourself. ServerPronto has some of the most affordable dedicated server prices we have seen, although there are many options that can increase the monthly price or the setup fee. Windows and Windows 2003 dedicated servers are also available at higher prices. In mid- September, ServerPronto started a special offer of $80 off the above listed setup fees on several plans. The length of this offer is unknown, but it was still going at the end of October, so check their website for more information. More Information: http://www.ecauldron.com/zserverpronto.php === Notes The information in this report was checked for accuracy on January 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 information. Looking for even more hosting options or more information on web hosting? See the Cheap Web Hosting Report web site at http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/ [09] ========= ========= Cauldron Info ========= SUPPORT THE CAULDRON BY VOLUNTEERING TO HELP ========= 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. http://www.ecauldron.net/ ===== ===== 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 holidays * 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 them. ===== ===== 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 http://www.ecauldron.com/donatepaypal.php Donate via Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/paypage/P3903JRFVQVDN ===== ===== 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. http://www.ecauldron.com/amazon.php ===== ===== 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.) [10] ========= ========= NEWSLETTER INFORMATION ========= (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. ===== ===== HOW TO SUBSCRIBE OR UNSUBSCRIBE OR CHANGE EMAIL ADDRESS ===== You are receiving a copy of this newsletter because you signed up to receive it. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter via your web browser at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cauldronandcandle/join Or you can unsubscribe via email by sending a blank message to cauldronandcandle-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com Be sure to send this message from the email account actually subscribed to the newsletter. If you have trouble unsubscribing by email, please use the web browser method mentioned above. If you need to change your subscription to a new email address, unsubscribe your old email address and subscribe your new email address. Note that you have to make these changes yourself. Yahoo Groups does not allow the list owner to make them for you. ===== ===== NEWSLETTER WEB SITE AND BACK ISSUE ARCHIVE ===== The Cauldron and Candle web site contains information on this newsletter and an archive of back issues. http://www.ecauldron.com/cnc/ ===== ===== PLEASE INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO SUBSCRIBE ===== 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 newsletter. ===== ===== SUGGESTIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME ===== 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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