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Cauldron and Candle
Issue #68 -- March 2006

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  #68 -- March 2006

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

In this Issue:

[00] Editorial Notes
[01] The Cauldron's New and Expanded Message Board
[02] Cauldron News
   * 2006 February Donation Drive A Big Success
   * New Feature: Member Map
   * Cauldron Cookbook Updated
   * New Feature: Gardening Section
   * More Pagan Supplies
[03] Cauldron Events
[04] Cauldron Discussions
[05] Cauldron Reviews
[06.1] Feature Article: Correcting Wrong Feng Shui Advice
[06.2] Feature Article: Origins And History Of The Tarot
[07] Software Gadgets: The Column
   * Keynote -- A Tabbed Tree-Organized Notebook
   * ArtRage -- A Fun Paint Program
   * Save Web Pages with ScrapBook for FireFox
   * Great News -- RSS Feed Reading Made Easy
[08] Support The Cauldron
[09] Newsletter Information
              (Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)


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[00]
=========
========= EDITORIAL NOTES
=========

Welcome to the March 2006 issue of Cauldron and Candle. You
are receiving this issue because you subscribed. To learn how to
unsubscribe, see the last section of this newsletter.

This issue finds The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum in much better shape
than we were a month ago. Thanks to a successful Annual February
Donation drive our main web site's hosting bill has been paid for
another year. As you know if your read our special mid-February
issue, we moved to a new and much faster board. This move has
brought a number of members back who just could not stand the
slow board of January and early February.

New features for both our web site and message board are on the
way later this year, watch this newsletter for announcements.

Randall Sapphire
Editor and Publisher, Cauldron and Candle
Co-Host, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum


[01]
=========
========= THE CAULDRON'S NEW AND EXPANDED MESSAGE BOARD
=========

[This is a slightly updated version of the information originally
published in our special 2nd February issue.]

The Cauldron has new message board, it is located at:

  http://www.ecauldron.net/mb/

As mentioned in the February issue of this newsletter, Bob's new
server ran the 0.6 branch of the Beehive Forums software (the
code that runs our board) very slowly. Testing and over two weeks
of usage shows that the old 0.5 branch was much faster.
Unfortunately, there is no way to turn a 0.6 branch board into a
0.5 branch board, so we had to start over. Our original board is
now available read-only format so the 180,000+ messages now there
are available for reference. This archive board is located at

  http://www.ecauldron.net/ab/

Unfortunately, restarting the board means all the members of our
original board (now called the Archive Board) will have to create
a new account (if you had an account on our old board, please see
"Important Re-Registration Information" below for important
instructions), recreate their sig and profile, etc. We apologize,
but there was no way to avoid it. However, we have taken
advantage of having to restart to reorganize the board. The
Cauldron now has two separate forums (TCMAIN and TCSOCIAL) and
our folders are split between them.

This gives us room for more folders with less confusion. The
social side of TC has benefited from this the most as we now have
a number of folders to be social in instead of having to cram
everything not a religious discussion into 3-4 folders.

You can move between the two forums either via the link to the
"other" forum in the top (white) bar or via the "Forums" item in
the top menu bar. Note that the numbers listed for messages and
last visits in the "Forums" item are not always accurate (nor are
the numbers the "Stats" panel in the second forum -- found at the
bottom of the message pain) due to bugs in the 0.5 branch code
that were never fixed by the Beehive team.

=====
===== NEW FOLDERS
=====

As mentioned above, the new version of The Cauldron's message
board splits TC into two forums. Here is a list of the names of
folders the new board will have and which forum they will be in:

===
=== MAIN FORUM
===

Discussions here will be mainly oriented on Religion or at least
be viewed from a religious POV.

Folders whose names start with "S:" have special rules in effect
for that folder.

Folder List:

Board Announcements
Chat, MUX and Forum Support
Introduce Yourself!
Pagan Religions
Eclectic Paganism
Non-Pagan Religions/Interfaith
S: New to Pagan Religions
History, Mythology and the Gods
Worship and Ritual
Magic and Divination
Philosophy and Metaphysics
Faith in Everyday Life
S: Pagan Teens
S: Prayer and Healing Requests
S: Special Topics and Tutorials
Religion in the News
Miscellaneous Discussions

===
=== SOCIAL FORUM
===

Discussions here will be less about religion and more about "off-
topic" discussions between friends.

Folders whose names start with "M:" are NOT visible to GUESTS,
but only to members who are logged in -- providing a place to
post semi-personal stuff that you really don't want everyone on
the Internet to have immediate access to.

Folder List:

TC: Social Forum Announcements
Home and Garden
Family Life
Pets
Food and Recipes
Books, Music and Media
Computers and the Internet
Games and Gaming
Art, Poetry and Writing
Crafts and Hobbies
Humor and Quizzes
Miscellaneous Social Chatter
Pagan Webcrafting
Science and Technology
General News and World Events
Political Discussions
M: Cauldron Community

One Request: Messages cannot be moved between forums like they
can between folders, so it is important to put discussions in the
proper forum. The message board staff does not want to be thread
nazis, but they will be enforcing this.

=====
===== OTHER MAJOR CHANGES
=====

"Settings" (in the top menu) is where you go to modify your
personal settings (nickname, email address, forum options, etc.).
This was called "My Controls" in the original board.

"PMs" in the top menu will take you to your PM Inbox where you
can read and send personal messages.

"Chat" in the top menu will bring up our Flash Chat area, log in
with your message board User ID and password. Note that's your
user id, not your nickname.

"Rules" on the top menu will bring up a section with all of our
forum and chat rules and some FAQs that might prove helpful

"Extras" on the top menu will bring up a lot of "extra" features,
some examples: a links section, information on our MUX
(CauldronMUX), our new Nember Map (see Cauldron News for more
info), etc. You'll want to check this area often aws this is
where most new features will appear as they become available.

=====
===== IMPORTANT RE-REGISTRATION INFORMATION
=====

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you had an account on our old board, you will
need to follow this procedure to successfully log in to our new
board:

1) Go to the New Board: (http://www.ecauldron.net/mb/). Note that
your username and password will probably be in the logon box. If
they are, ignore them as you are not really "there" until you
register. Click on the Register link and register -- using the
same username and password you use on this board. (Or a
completely different username, although this will confuse people
-- just don't use the same username as the old board with a
different password). Be sure to use a working email address that
you get email from.

2) When you finish, you should be logged in (You'll see a top
menu with "Logout" instead of "Login" if you are). Log out
completely. Try to log back in. You should be able to. If you get
some type of "Session" or other weird error, close your browser
down, go directly to the new board and try again.

3) The folders are split between two forums: the Main Forum and
the Socuial Forum. It is easy to move between these two forums
via the "Forums" menu in the board or via the link in the top
(white) area of the message board. You will need to add your sig
and fill out your profile on each forum as these are forum
specific.

=====
=====  NEW BOARD ADDRESS
=====

Again, The Cauldron's new message board is located at:

  http://www.ecauldron.net/mb/

and the old board (now a read-only Archive Board) is available
at:

  http://www.ecauldron.net/ab/

[02]
=========
========= CAULDRON NEWS
========= by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum Staff
=========

=====
===== 2006 February Donation Drive A Big Success
=====

Our Annual February Donation Drive was a big success. Our
ecauldron.com web hosting is fully paid for another year and we
have money left over for some expansion. The Hosts would like to
thank everyone who contributed. A 2006 Sponsors web page will be
going up later this month.

=====
===== New Feature: Member Map
=====

One of our members pointed out a neat web site call Frappr! that
lets you set up a free group map where your members can pinpoint
their location on a zoomable world map and even post a picture in
their "bubble." As of this writing, 45 Cauldron members have
added themselves to our Member Map. Note that you may need to
scroll the map left or right a bit to get the dots for members in
the South Pacific to actually appear.

You can view (and add yourself if you wish) our Member Map when
you are logged in to our new message board by selecting the
"Extras" item from the top menu and then the "Member Map/Photos"
item from the next menu screen. Please remember that our Member
Map is a third party site and that TC is not responsible for this
site's security or business practices.

=====
===== Cauldron Cookbook Updated
=====

Late last year, our members contributed a large number of their
favorite recipes for our Cauldron Cookbook. LyricFox has added
them all to the Cauldron Cookbook on our web site. We'd like to
thank everyone who contributed recipes!

You'll find the Cauldron Cookbook at:

  http://www.ecauldron.com/cookbook/index.php

=====
===== New Feature: Gardening Section
=====

Gardening is a popular activity for Pagan households. Not only
does it provide beauty and food, but if helps the ecology. We've
added a section on gardening to our web site that features a
growing collection of gardening articles.

You'll find the new Gardening section of our web site at:

  http://www.ecauldron.com/garden/index.php

=====
===== More Pagan Supplies
=====

Our Pagan Shopping Affilate Store has grow quite a bit in the
last month with new categories of items and many new items,
thanks to a major expansion by the folks at Pagan Shopping.
Remember, we you buy your Pagan supplies from our Pagan Shopping
Affiliate Store, TC gets a commission!

You'll find our store at:

  http://www.ecauldron.com/esesf.php


[03]
=========
========= CAULDRON EVENTS
========= by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum Staff
=========

=====
===== MARCH CAULDRON CHALLENGE
=====

March's Challenge is another one of those shake-up-the-routine
variety. This month, you are challenged to try a new food. This
could mean any number of things--you could go to a new
restaurant, order something new in a restaurant you already know
and love, eat a new dish that someone else (friends, family,
etc.) has made, try making a new dish yourself, or even just try
out a new ingredient. The possibilities are endless!

So--what culinary adventure are you going on this month?

  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncsocial.php?m=60.1


[04]
=========
========= CAULDRON DISCUSSIONS
========= Recent Discussion Topics on our Message Board
=========

In an average month, over 200 new discussion topics are started
on The Cauldron's message board. Here are a few of the more
interesting recent discussions. 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.


=====
===== Faith and Therapy
=====

As some of you may know, I'm a psychology student, currently
doing an internship. As part of my internship, I'm doing a little
project concerning religion and therapy. I know there are horror
stories to be told about psychiatrists and psychologists
completely dismissing religion, or even considering them
delusional. I, on the other hand, figure it's a source of
strength, and as such, should not only be respected in therapy,
but might even be something I can "use" to help someone. So I've
a few questions:

1) To what extent would you expect a therapist to take your
religion into account?

2) Are there any taboos or such in your religion that your
therapist should consider? Are there certain types of treatment
that would be right out for you, for example? How would you
expect a therapist to deal with that?

3) What are the strengths of religion that you think could help
you when in a situation that requires therapy? Do you consider
them any of your therapist's business?

4) Have you met or heard of therapists who got this totally
wrong? What did they do that was so wrong? What are the things I
want to avoid?

I'm really looking for any kind of information here, so feel free
to brainstorm, go off on tangents, etc.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=167.1

=====
===== Following Nameless Gods
=====

It seems there's a few of us around here that are following
nameless and/or previously unknown deities. Besides me, Jenett
and Tana, are there any more of you out there?

How did you know your deity wasn't any of the traditional Gods?

What makes Him or Her unique?

Do you worship in the framework of an established tradition or do
They request something entirely new?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=155.1

=====
===== Taking On Your Deity's Personality Traits?
=====

How many of you, when working with a particular diety or spirit,
start taking on bits and pieces of their personality? Or some of
their quarks?

The only "Gods" (spirits, really) I've worked with are Loa and
the Orisha; and two in particular, Papa Samdi and Yemaja. As I am
slowly switching my focus from Samdi to Yemaja, I've noticed the
traits I recieved from Samdi (the loud, obnoxious, drunk side)
has lessons greatly while certain feminine traits from Yemaja
have reared their ugly head.

So, I'm just wondering if their works with the other pantheons
out there. I hear this is very common in Loa and Orisha, who are
though to sit in your head and thus their influences are always
there. I've never really heard of it from other pantheons, except
from people who've drawn down and didn't get it out of them
fully.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=131.1

=====
===== Free Will?
=====

I'm currently trying to develop my ideas as a Stoic and I've been
thinking a lot about the issue of free will and personal
responsibility. My personal belief is that very little of what
happens to us is under our control. Even on an entirely
materialist view, we are just one cause amongst an infinite
number in the universe. The Stoic argument is that everything in
the universe is caused (or the world would be entirely
unintelligible), and therefore that everything that happens is an
inevitable result of its causes. Everything that occurs is
therefore fated and inevitable.

While I agree with this argument to some extent, I have found
that it reaches uncomfortable conclusions if pushed to its
logical extremes. On a modern view, our thought processes are
physical, a result of the firing of neurons in the brain. As a
physical process, thought is a result of its causes... and
therefore inevitable. Thus, we have no control over what we
think.

At this point I had to give up my contemplation, as it literally
hurt my head to think that I might not be in control of my
thoughts. It felt like one step away from madness.

To help me develop my ideas, I was wondering what other people's
views are on free will and personal responsibilty? What are the
philosophical/psychological arguments that back up your beliefs?
I know this is a HUGE topic, and if it needs to be narrowed down,
I am particularly interested in how far we are in control of what
goes on in our own heads.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=122.1

=====
===== Is Initiation Forever?
=====

The tradition in which I was trained and in which I continue to
practice teaches that because an initiation, if done properly, is
a life-changing experience, we as a tradtion cannot undo an
initiation once it had been given. We cannot take away from that
person the experiences which he or she has undergone, so we can't
revoke an initiation. The best that we can do is to revoke
someone's right to act and style themselves as a priest or
priestess of our tradition.

But recently, I've seen some things happening that suggest to me
that even if we cannot revoke an initiation, the person to whom
it was given CAN walk away from it.

I'll discuss some things that relate to this in more detail
later, if it seems necessary. For the moment I'm interested in
people's initial reactions to the question.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=53.1

=====
===== Combining with Christianity
=====

Well, combining with Christianity among other things. I have
noticed that some people on these boards (and even more so on
others) seem to have a problem with those who combine thier pagan
practices with Christian ones.

So what about Voodoo, Santarie, Candomble, etc.? These relgions
are combinations of Catholic and African (And sometimes South
American Haitian, or Cuban as well!) practices. Hoodoo combines
practices from Jewish mysticism, European witchcraft, African
witchcraft, and who knows what else! Is this ok? These religions
and practices have been around awhile and established themselves
firmly, so we don't complain.

But why attack the Christian Wiccan? Perhaps two-hundred years
from now this will be a popular religion! What about a Catholic
who believes in reincarnation instead of Heaven? Have you ever
met a Celtic-Recon who aslo practices Chaos magic? I bet there
are a few out there.

My point is this, today's herisies are tomorrows standard
practice, if we can accept established "odd-fellow" pairings,
then why should the new ones bother us so much?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=40.1

=====
===== Religion is a Drug?
=====

On another forum (where I serve as an Admin), the comment was
made "religion is the opiate of the people", which is so often
taken out of context it makes me twitchy. The context of the post
isn't that important, but it was clear the reason for the post
was to suggest that religion = bad. (The person making that
statement stopped posting at all once I pointed out that we don't
make blanketing derisive statements about religions - it's a rule
and such.)

Another user, seemingly in defense of the other person, posted to
the effect that religion *is* a drug, for good or ill.

Now, I don't know about you folks, but I still took exception to
that. To me, the effect of a drug is an altered state from one's
'norm' as it were. And I tend to be the same person whether I'm
doing something involving my spirituality or not. I know the
whole thing about using a drug to acheive higher consciousness
and I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is the
seeming insinuation that religion takes things out of one's
control, in a sense.

Am I making any sense? And am I simply seeing red because this
person decided to try to undermine my reprimand to another user?
What does that statement (religion is a drug) conjure for you?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncmain.php?m=34.1

=====
===== Introduce Yourself!
=====

We've periodically had threads where we all re-introduce
ourselves for the benefit of those who are new since the last
such thread. It's often a lot of fun, because you can talk to
people all day and just totally miss major info about them, and
this gives us a chance to fill in the blanks. I thought that
perhaps the move to the new forum structure would be a good point
at which to do this again.

So -- introduce yourself, even if you've been here forever and
think everyone knows you! Who are you, what's your religious
outlook, what are your interests, where are you, how long have
you been at TC -- tell us as much or as little as you like!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:
  http://www.ecauldron.net/cncsocial.php?m=14.1


[05]
=========
========= CAULDRON 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:

   gleason.mike@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com

There are no book reviews this month.


[06.1]
=========
=========  FEATURE ARTICLE:
=========  CORRECTING WRONG FENG SHUI ADVICE
=========  Copyright 2006 by Ken Toh
=========

Feng Shui is an amazing science and the number of masters,
disciples, practitioners are growing at an amazing rate. As it
gets more commercialized, many of us encounter a lot of
conflicting advice and the correct usage of items gets lost
through marketing hype. We start seeing items being described as
being able to increase wealth, health, prosperity, fame, and
solving world hunger at the same time. There is NO item or remedy
that will do this. Learn about the common "advice" given and how
they are wrong. Many sources of Feng Shui will claim to be
"authentic", but hopefully this article will allow you to see
through them. You dedicate your resources to this beautiful art
and you have every right to know when a source is pretending to
be "traditional" for the sake of a sale.

WRONG: Southeast is your Wealth Corner to enhance
RIGHT: Find your Wealth/Success corner by getting your Kua number

  Most people's personal Wealth/Success corner will differ, and
  don't allow broad generalizations to tell you what is right. We
  were all born unique, and real Feng Shui knows this. For those
  whose Kua number is 8 or females with a Kua of 5, Southeast is
  actually your Total Loss Direction (the most inauspicious
  direction). If we were to follow the numbers/ratio calculation,
  1 out of 2 people will have Southeast as a bad direction (e.g.
  Mishaps, Five Ghosts, Six Killings, Total Loss) that should not
  be stimulated. Placing a windchime in the Southeast will
  actually do more harm than good for you. Yes, following the
  Later Heaven Sequence, Southeast can be considered to be a
  Wealth corner, but it's not meant for individuals or normal
  households.

WRONG: Enhance your way to wealth and happiness first
RIGHT: Identify and remedy the bad sources of Feng Shui first,
then only enhance

  Proper traditional Feng Shui Masters from Asia will agree on
  one thing: you work on defence and remedies for your life/home
  first, and then only think about enhancing. Though in this day
  age, it's perfectly fine to want to enhance, you should keep in
  mind the best way to start is by going for remedies that can
  play dual roles (protective and enhancing). Crystals are great
  enhancers and in small quantities will benefit the user. I've
  met a client who was a big fan of Feng Shui and crystals,
  through her passion she placed many crystals in her NorthWest
  sector of home and this triggered and amplified the Illness
  Star in her home bring about sickness to her whole family.
  Items like Kuan Kong, Chung Kwei, Fuk Luk Sau are great items
  for protection that will play a secondary role in bringing in
  benefits to your home.

WRONG: Red is the color of Wealth to always use
RIGHT: Red is to amplify and signifies the Fire element. Use in
moderate amounts

  Red is an amplifier and should be used in moderation as well as
  careful consideration. They are also great for enhancing or
  activating metallic items, but again, they are used in small
  quantities. I've had a client who was told red was wealth, and
  thus painted her entire home office red. Unfortunately, this
  was her Mishaps direction and for that year, the Conflict Star
  was in that section. By having too much red in one area, will
  upset the 5 Wu Xing Element cycle, and when there is no
  balance, there is bad Feng Shui. The only times a lot of red
  will do good is for the first few days of events that welcome a
  new beginning. This could come in the form of a store opening,
  Lunar New Year and marriages.

WRONG: No clutter and a super mess-free/clean home is good Feng
Shui
RIGHT: Organized and well kept is good Feng Shui, but your home
must have character.

  While having a clean and clutter free home is good Feng Shui,
  don't overdo it. Yes, you want chi to be able to flow freely in
  your home. Yes, keeping things clean and in good order is good
  Feng Shui. But you SHOULD have some forms 'clutter' to make it
  your home. Many of us will have a dislike for many reasons, but
  part of it is because it's so sterile, clean and to a point
  'faceless' that we cannot relate to it or see it as an inviting
  place. You want your home to be 'lived in' and yours. Many so
  called Feng Shui Masters will say to keep your home as clean as
  possible, but having your baby daughter's soft toys on the sofa
  and her bedroom lying about is actually very good Feng Shui.
  It's HER home and her place of comfort and happiness. Many will
  consider her toys as 'clutter', but it's actually nice to have
  them around. The house is happy and alive with good vibes from
  her and her items, and this will make the flowing chi around
  your house the same. Organized and well kept is good. Too clean
  is bad.

WRONG: Brand new and polished items are best
RIGHT: Earth buried items are more potent because they have more
knowledge

  In traditional Feng Shui in China, items that have 'matured'
  are considered to be much more potent compared to the 'shiny
  and new' items. This is why that many items have been purposely
  buried in earth/soil so that they are given time to mature and
  absorb the energies before serving the owner. This is why you
  will find many earth buried items (ranging from coins to brass
  figurines) to be a bit more pricier compared to newer versions.
  Many of us have seen the famous I Ching Coins or Imperial Coins
  which look new/nice and go for more affordable prices. But if
  you want them to have more effectiveness, go for earth buried
  versions of them.

Of course there are many more misconceptions, but this is a good
start by identifying the biggest offenders. Though almost
everyone is guilty to a certain extent of adding a marketing spin
to their products and services, remember to always take it with a
grain of salt. Behind each rule and application in Feng Shui,
there is always a solid explanation behind it. Learn the logic
behind it and empower yourself with this knowledge. Next time you
read or hear a source saying they are offering "traditional" or
"authentic" Feng Shui, you'll know better.

For more information on remedies, don't forget to visit our
website at: http://www.smilingbamboo.com/

===
=== About the Author
===

Ken Toh is the co-founder of Smiling Bamboo
(www.smilingbamboo.com) and strives to preserve the true
traditions of Feng Shui amidst all the marketing hype of today.
Having spent his life surrounded by Feng Shui and living in both
Eastern/Western cultures has given him a firm understanding of
bridging the gap of this beautiful science.


[06.2]
=========
=========  FEATURE ARTICLE:
=========  ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF THE TAROT
=========  by Sandra Johnson
=========

The origins of the Tarot are surrounded with myth and lore. It is
hard to know for sure what the facts are. The Tarot has been
thought to come from places like India, Egypt, China and Morocco.
Others say the Tarot was brought to us from the Sufis or the
Jewish Cabbalists. Still others contend that the origin of the
tarot was from Moses. In the library of Alexandria, in Egypt,
there were scrolls that were based on the Book of Thoth, an
ancient book that came from Egypt's mystery schools. One theory
is that the illustrations on the Tarot cards are secret teachings
of the Book of Thoth hidden in the innocent pictures.

It seems that wherever there was a secret 'word of mouth'
tradition handed down from teacher to pupil, it was hailed as the
origin or beginning of Tarot. A large group believed it was the
Gypsies who brought the tarot to Europe, the word gypsy being a
corrupted version of Egyptian. That is highly unlikely, since
evidence points to gypsies not using Tarot until the 20th
century. Before that, palmistry was their preferred method of
fortune telling.

===
=== The Historical Evidence Behind the Origins of the Tarot
===

It seems the only evidence there is to the origins of the Tarot
can be found in the cards that were made in Italy, around 1420.
The symbolism of the trumps can be found in the European art of
the time, with some drawings being exactly the likeness of those
found on Tarot cards.

History tells us that a scholar named Marziano da Torona, who was
secretary to the Duke of Milan, may have invented the Tarot deck.
Marziano was a scholar and an expert astrologer. The young duke,
Filippo Maria Visconti instructed Marziano to create a game,
using a deck that would replace the common suits of swords,
coins, staves and cups. The duke wanted the new deck to have
cards that represented virtues, riches, pleasures and purities.
Marziano went on to create the card deck that Visconti wanted. He
wrote a companion book to go with the deck of cards. It is on
display in the Paris National library. In the book, there are no
divine meanings to the cards, but no real rules for a card game,
either. The book focuses on the symbolic meaning of the pictures
and the different ranks of the depicted characters. Michelino da
Besozzo is the Italian artist credited with painting the cards.

Is it plausible that the origins of the Tarot as the curious card
game invented by Marziano da Torona? If so, why doesn't the book
that accompanied the deck refer to the divination of the cards?

===
=== The Mystery Continues About The Origins of the Tarot
===

Where did the word Tarot come from? It has been called a Hebrew,
Latin or Egyptian word. Is the word Tarot really an anagram,
which when solved explains the mystery of the cards? Once again,
the historical evidence of the origins of the word points to
where the cards first appeared - in Italy. The cards were called
Carte da trionfi, which is Italian for "cards of the triumphs".
Later, a new card game was introduced, called Trumps or Triumphs.
As it was played with different cards, the original Carte da
trionfi became tarocco. In French they were called tarot.

What are these cards that are shrouded in mysterious beginnings
used for? Are they good or evil? The Tarot is basically a set of
symbols, which are printed on a pack of 78 cards. Regular playing
cards have hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds as suits. Tarot
cards have different suits, with meanings. The Wands (also known
as staves or rods) point to creativity and energy. There are the
Cups (or vessels), relating to emotions and friends; Swords cover
the area of challenge and thought; the Pentacles (coins or disks)
relate to money and security. The cards are placed in a
particular pattern. A Tarot reader uses the cards as an oracle
that can answer questions from the past, present or future.

The philosophy behind the Tarot is that the future is subject to
change. If you are given enough notice, you can avoid the event
you are being warned about. The Tarot makes you think, make you
take steps that you might not have considered. When you ask a
question of the Tarot that relates to the future, you'll be shown
what will happen if you don't change anything. Many consider the
Tarot cards as more of a counselling guide than a divining tool.
Tarot readings can provide flashes of inspiration where otherwise
the problems the person may be facing may seem insurmountable.

Do the cards that are used today, all over the world come from
the deck Marziano da Torona created in the 1400's? Is the reason
the origins of the Tarot are so shrouded in mystery owing to
Anima Mundi? The Anima Mundi or soul of the world is seen as the
vital force that presides over the growth and continuity of all
living things. Like a Universal library, it contains the entire
human races' memories and wisdom from the past, present and
future. It can be summoned with deep thought. Imagine all the
basic figures one could find in all religions, myths, legends and
folklore. When combined, this wealth of knowledge is a
powerhouse. To understand this more one can look at the Empress
card of the Tarot. The very essence of femininity is represented
in the Empress - she is the great mother Goddess of the world.
She represents 'the eternal feminine', in myth and psychology.
Does working with the images of the Tarot somehow allow our
unconscious to connect with that human collectiveness? Does the
Tarot become a porthole to the storehouse of answers to any
question any of us has ever had? Perhaps it is because of the
mystical Anima Mundi that we can't pinpoint the origin of the
Tarot with certainty.

We may never really know the true history or the origins of the
Tarot. Nevertheless, we continue to be attracted to the Tarot's
wisdom, symbols and story.
===
=== About the Author
===

Sandra writes for Tarot Lines - providers of live tarot readings:
http://www.tarotlines.com/


[07]
=========
=========  SOFTWARE GADGETS: THE COLUMN
=========  Interesting Items From The Software Gadgets Blog
=========  http://softwaregadgets.gridspace.net/
=========

The Software Gadgets Blog aims to present a different "software
gadget" every weekday. A software gadget is a program or addon
that is both interesting and useful -- and often free. This
column highlights four of the programs listed this month. Many
more were listed and you'll find more gadgets like these added
every week at the Software Gadgets Blog at:

   http://softwaregadgets.gridspace.net/

=====
===== KEYNOTE -- A TABBED TREE-ORGANIZED NOTEBOOK
=====

Keynote is a free notebook/organizer. It allows you to store all
your notes and ideas in a single well-organized file. No need to
remember search your drive for note files, with tree-type notes,
Keynote gives you a three-dimensional notebook: storing many
notes within one file and multi-level, nested pages within a
single note.

From the Keynote web site:

    KeyNote was written to overcome major limitations in other
    popular information managers, both free and shareware.
    KeyNote is the only information manager that offers a
    combination of simple and tree-type notes, rich text editor,
    ability to mix freely many notes of different types in a
    single file and secure encryption. This makes KeyNote the
    most flexible and one of the most powerful applications of
    this kind currently available. Some functions, such as
    "virtual nodes", per-file configuration settings, multiple
    backups or WordWeb integration are unique and, to my
    knowledge, not supported by any other notebook program,
    freeware or shareware.

    With powerful text formatting capabilities, easily navigable
    interface and additional features such as styles, macros,
    plugins, and templates, KeyNote is has become the favorite
    note keeper, diary, outliner, knowledge base and information
    manager for thousands of users.

    What is KeyNote useful for?

    In general, any structured of free-form information,
    especially the kind of information which lends itself to
    hierarchical representation, such as lists or outlines.
    KeyNote's powerful search facility quickly locates
    information you're looking for.

    The ability to store many notes in a single file means no
    hunting for files scattered all over your computer. For many
    users it will be enough to create just one KeyNote file and
    add notes to it, with each note covering a separate topic
    (e.g., "To do", "Addresses", "Bookmarks", "Finances", etc.)

    Built-in strong encryption allows you to secure your files
    against unauthorized access or modification.

    The "virtual node" feature additionally allows you to pull
    together many files and edit them all within a single KeyNote
    file, while the original files remain on disk (so there is no
    need to perform any conversion).

Keynote is no longer being developed, however, it is open source,
so it's possible than some other programmer will pick the protect
up and extend it. Besides, Keynote is a very useful program as it
is now. It is every bit as useful as some of the commercial
tabbed notebook programs. I've been recommending it to friends
and clients for years.

Rating: 4 Stars
Operating System: Windows
License: Open Source
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Web Site: http://www.tranglos.com/free/keynote_main.html

=====
===== ARTRAGE - A FUN PAINT PROGRAM
=====

Too many graphics programs are serious and very complex. They are
great for people with talent and time to learn them, but not so
great if you just want to doodle. ArtRage, while powerful and
useful (especially in its full-featured pay edition), is fun to
use. It is great to doodle with in your spare time -- like during
meetings that never seem to end and have little or nothing to do
with you.

ArtRage 1 was a freeware program. I had a lot of fun with it.
ArtRage 2 comes it two editions: one pay and one free. The
freeware version is basically version 1 with bug fixes and a nice
speed boost. The pay version gets all the new features, but
that's okay. Version 1 was great for spare time doodling. The
free edition of ArtRage 2 lets you work with oils, pencils, pen,
chalk, and crayons. It lets you trace other images,pick colors
and canvas texture, save and load your work, and import and
export images. That's more than enough for "fun" usage -- it
beats doodling in Windows Paint!

From the web site:

    ArtRage 2 lets you get right in to painting, just open the
    app and itís all there! The paint tools are easy to get to,
    and it turns your screen in to a canvas so you can get on
    with the fun parts without worrying about documents, windows,
    or menus. Better still, the tools have been designed to feel
    real, so you don't need to learn how to use them to get
    something that looks good, you can just pick them up, and off
    you go, whether you've painted with real tools before or not.

Rating: 4 Stars
Operating System: Windows 2000 or XP (also Mac OSX)
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 2.05 (Freeware version)
Web Site: http://www.ambientdesign.com/artrage.html

=====
===== SAVE WEB PAGES WITH SCRAPBOOK FOR FIREFOX
=====

There are times I just have to save a web page. Not just the text
of a web page, but the formatting, graphics, and everything else
I see. I'd like to be able to easily view the saved page in my
browser in the future as well. Searching my collection of saved
pages would also be useful. The ScrapBook extension for Firefox
does all of this and much more. This extension makes it easy to
save web pages (or entire web sites) and organize them for future
reference. This extension allows you to maintain an archive of
web pages on your computer. The major features are summarized at
the ScrapBook web site as follows:

    Save Web page
    Save snippet of Web page
    Save Web site (In-depth Capture)
    Organize the collection in the same way as Bookmarks tree
    Highlighter, Eraser and various page editing tools
    Full text search and quick filtering search
    Text edit feature resembling Opera's Notes

However, the full description of ScrapBook's features that three
pages on the web site. This is one of the few extensions I have
installed that I probably could not live without.

Rating: 5 Stars
System: Mozilla Firefox Extension
License: Open Source
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 0.18.5
Web Site:
  http://amb.vis.ne.jp/mozilla/scrapbook/index.php?lang=en

=====
===== GREAT NEWS -- RSS FEED READING MADE EASY
=====

While browsers are beginning to handle RSS feed reading, their
services are fairly basic. With FireFox, for example, I never saw
the point of looking at the RSS feed rather than just going to
the web site. Then my wife, a news junkie, discovered Great News,
a free program designed for reading RSS feeds and displaying them
in a nicely formatted manner. As the web site says, "GreatNews
displays full pages of news articles across rss feeds, optimized
for fast reading. So you can skim through pages in seconds, and
pick interesting ones to dig in." This basic statement, while
accurate, does not do justice to Great News.

Great News can highlight news items you are interested in based
on rules you create. It can save news items so you can read them
offline. It supports all major RSS feed formats, including RSS
0.9x, 1.0(rdf), 2.0, Atom 0.30 and 1.0 -- and popular extensions
like dublin core, content:encoding etc. It is integrated with
Bloglines.com. It supports Unicode and has a full texrt search.
It can import and export the list of feeds you read so that you
can back them up or move them from system to system.

While I don't yet use Great News as much as my wife does, the
program has made a believer out of me. It's updated every 4 to 6
weeks with bug fixes and new features, which is a nice bonus.

Rating: 5 Stars
Operating System: Windows 2000 or XP
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0 Build 360
Web Site: http://www.curiostudio.com/


[08]
=========
========= Cauldron Info
========= SUPPORT THE CAULDRON BY VOLUNTEERING TO HELP
=========

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum was founded in December 1997 to
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Here are some of the things members and supporters can do to help
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As The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum uses as many free services as
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The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum also receives a small percentage
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If you purchase a lot of books, CDs, and other items from
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If you are a regular user of the US version of Amazon, you can
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To do this in Internet Explorer or Firefox, find ebay in your
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=====
===== 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.)


[09]
=========
========= 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
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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)
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=====
===== SUGGESTIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME
=====

Don't forget that your suggestions for this newsletter are always
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LyricFox (lyricfox@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com) or Randall Sapphire
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courtesy of the Goddess Eris.
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