[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #89 -- December 2007

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


Return to Cauldron and Candle Archive

C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E #89 -- December 2007

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

In this Issue:

[00] Editorial Notes: Cancer in the Family
[01] Cauldron News
   * The Cauldron's TENTH Anniversary
[03] Interesting Recent Cauldron Discussions
   * Your New Year's Day?
   * Homegrown Solstice Traditions
   * Earth-Based? What and Why?
   * Who Are You When You Die?
   * Representing Paganism
   * What If the Gods Never "Find" Me?
   * Role of Belief in Magic
   * Personalities, With or Without Cults
   * Judging?
   * Element/Direction Correspondences?
[04] Flamekeeping: Conflict
[05] Support The Cauldron
[06] Newsletter Information
(Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

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Welcome to the December 2007 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.

You probably noticed that there was no newsletter in November and
that this December issue is very thin with few of our usual
newsletter features. I wish I could say that I was just lazy and
was taking a break from doing the newsletter. Unfortunately,
that's not the reason.

At the end of October, my wife (and co-Host of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum) Donna (aka Lyricfox) was diagnosed with oral cancer
in her tongue.  We have been scrambling to get her treated ever
since. This is made harder as we are one of the 40 million plus
people in the US who have no medical insurance (as it would
"only" cost about three-quarters of our monthly income).

LyricFox will be going in for surgery to remove the cancerous
part of her tongue (and some lymph nodes in her neck just to be
safe) on December 20th -- the earliest date in December that her
doctors could get an operating room. She will be in the hospital
3 to 4 days and then will need several weeks to recover. At this
point, they are not sure how much of her tongue they will have to
remove so they can't predict how much trouble she will have
eating and talking.

Newsletters will probably be very irregular for the foreseeable
future. Our presence on The Cauldron's message board has already
been greatly reduced and will be almost nonexistent for two or
three weeks starting on the 18th or 19th of December. We will try
to make updates to Donna's Cancer Diary at


when we have something to report.

If you would like to help, there are a couple of things you can

1) Prayers and Healing Thoughts/Magick -- LyricFox welcomes all
   prayers, healing thoughts, healing magick, etc. regardless of
   your religion or path.

2) Post messages and start interesting threads on The Cauldron's
   message board to help keep it active and interesting while the
   boards' active Co-Hosts are away dealing with medical issues.
   We'd really like to come back to an active, thriving board.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and prayers.

Finally, I'd like to apologize to those who have submitted
articles to this newsletter only to have to wait to see them
published due to my family's medical issues. And I'd like to wish
everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

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

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

===== by Randall

Ten years ago on 13 December 1997 -- after three frustrating days
when only Elspeth, Ann (Empireone), and myself could post -- The
Cauldron: A Pagan Forum opened its doors to the general public on
the Delphi online service. This was before it was known as
Delphiforums and back when user forums, then known as "Custom
Forums" had a presence on both the paid Delphi Online Service (in
wonderful a pure text/command line like environment) and on their
new free Web forum version. The forum was an instant success with
60 or 70 messages posted that December and hitting 1000 messages
within six months or so.

The Cauldron was started as a Yule gift from me to Elspeth -- you
had to pay Delphi for forums back then (six months in advance).
It was staffed by Elspeth, Ann, and myself with an able assist
from our friends from the dying GEnie Online Service. We started
a web site for the forum in the web space I got with my Delphi
account in January of 1998, although we did not get domain name
for a couple of years.

Our forum has done well in the ten years that followed, although
we have had to move around a lot. From Delphi to a mailing list.
Then back to Delphiforums (Delphi's new name). When Delphi's poor
service and pricing got to be too much to much in early 2004, Bob
offered us server space and we moved to our own site. First with
Beehive's Delphiforums-like software (two incarnations), then
(very reluctantly) to SMF early this year when it became apparent
that Beehive software just could not meet the needs of this

It has been an interesting ten years. Lyricfox and I met through
TC and married over three and a half years ago. We all made many
new friends via TC. It's also been a lot of work. Work which has
been shared with our staff members -- without them, this forum
would not be here today. However, the reason it is still here
isn't the Hosts or the staff, it's our members: the wonderful
people reading this message. Without you, this forum would be a
barren wasteland.

It's been a great ten years. Here's hoping the future will be as
good -- or even better!

Join the TC Anniversary Party in this thread:

* http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=3911.0


There have been a number of changes in our chat schedule
recently, you can view the current schedule here:


(You will need to join the above two lines into one before
pasting it in your browser's address bar.)

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========= 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 Feedburner, 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 Feedburner's free news delivery via the form at the end of
the site "News and Updates" section of The Cauldron's main web

===== Your New Year's Day?

This may be an odd question to a lot of people. But a lot of
different religions and belief systems consider new years to be
on a different date. For example some of my wiccan friends
celebrate Samhain as New year's eve. To them night of Oct 31st is
new years eve. I on the other hand consider the spring equinox
(the beginning of spring) to be new years. So what date do you
consider to be new years?

Also I would like to know what the significance of the solstices
are to you. Start of a season, mid-season, whatever it is.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Homegrown Solstice Traditions

I'd like to hear how others incorporate their newer (to most
families, at least) Pagan traditions with older Christian-
oriented family traditions. In our house we've noticed the most
meaningful family traditions had nothing much to do with
Christianity to begin with. So mincemeat pastries continue to be
served in this household without abatement and the customs of my
parents' respective families have been combined in ours (his:
mincemeat pies with dinner, hers: cinnamon buns for breakfast,
and ours: mincemeat buns for dinner and breakfast). Every year
now we hold a solstice vigil party at which we serve a big
crockpot full of hot mulled wine which becomes integral in a
sumbel-like drinking rite around midnight. Hats are filled with
treats for our Santa figure (haven't worked that out yet) and
left under the altar, to be found in the morning filled with all
our gifts. (We don't happen to do a tree in our household,
although a potted rosemary cone makes an annual appearance.)

In an old is new again twist, we don't give many gifts, but the
one we give to my parents' household from each year out is a
goose ala Scrooge. This year it's just the one goose because
finances are tight, but the plan is to grow the tradition by
giving a Christmas goose to all the various households we
exchange gifts with plus a pair of geese (or substitute) to the
needy either directly to a family hitting a rough patch or
through Heifer Project.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Earth-Based? What and Why?

Occasionally we have the thread or poster who finds it very
important to inform TC's members that all pagans are earth-based.

What makes a religion earth-based? What are the defining factors?
What happens if you have five festivals held to pray for a good
harvest interspersed with 30 festivals that have nothing to do
with any agrarian function? Is that an earth-based religion and,
if so, why?

And, further, why is it important that all pagans BE earth-based?
Does this act as some unifying feature? Does this have some

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Who Are You When You Die?

Let's say we don't just vanish when we die. There's an afterlife,
be it the Summerland or Hades or Heaven, etc., and we go there as
humans rather than some ball of energy or something.

Who is that 'self'?

Is it just the self you were when you died?

Is it a younger self, maybe you as a child or some other point in
life? If so, why that particular self?

Is it a composite of all the selves you were during your life?
But what if you had vastly conflicting views and traits during
your life -- how would they be reconciled in your new spirit

If you believe that we aren't human-like in the afterlife, then
what are the differences between the afterlife self you believe
in and our mortal self?

Finally, a more concrete question. How would your views on the
afterlife resolve this issue -- a man marries a wife, she dies,
then he marries again. Once they're all dead, what's their
relationship with each other like?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Representing Paganism?

I have a question for all of the pagans out there. Paganism isn't
exaclty the most accepted religion out there, right now. We all
know that. Were facing a whole bunch of promblems because of
this. So I have to ask you, in light of this, How do you think we
should represent our religion?

Alot of pagans dress 'goth' or are just 'off' in some way or
another. We just never seem to be 'normal'. I'm not saying that's
wrong and I agree it's fun to dress 'goth'. Alot of the things
most pagans wear, are freakin awesome. However, you have to think
about how that looks to the outside world...

Alot of the time, when paganism is mentioned in the media, we are
potrayed as 'different' and out there. This isn't really helping
our case to becoming closer to the mainstream or at least more
accepted... So what should we do?

I'm all for freedom of expression and everything. It's just,
should we consider changing ourselves (making ourselves a little
more normal), so that we can gain the benifits, that comes with
fitting in?

The rest of the world isn't going to come to us. So should we
change - just a little?

And if so, what should we change?

If not, what can we do, to become more accepted?

Should we be more accepted?

Have you done anything, personally to make Paganism more

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== What If the Gods Never "Find" Me?

I'm afraid I won't ever get that special bond with the higher

I feel that there's something wrong with me, that I'm not special
enough, because when I try to pray and talk to a deity it feels
like I'm screaming into a big void... I feel so alone...

What do I do? How do get in contact? Or how do you make it
easiest for them to come into contact with you? I know I can't
MAKE them do anything, but is there any hope if I change myself
and the way I live?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Role of Belief in Magic

Do you think belief has any role in magic, and if so, what is
that role? For example, is belief a crucial component, or simply
icing on the cake, or not useful at all?

If belief has a role to play, whose belief does it have to be:
the practitioner's, the target's, both, neither, Other? Does it
matter if the subject is inanimate?

And belief in what, exactly -- yourself, your spell, your

If belief is indeed a criterion placed on something, for example
magic, does that somehow make that thing less 'real'? Take a
psychosomatic disorder, for example, where the body gets ill
because the mind is deluded about something. Is that disturbance
somehow not 'real'?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Personalities, With or Without Cults

ow important are individual religious leaders to your religious

Is there a tradition founder, a guru, someone with particular
contact with the gods, or something similar that you have to deal
with? Do you know that individual personally? (Shadow, stop
laughing.) Do you believe that person is due some particular
reverence because of their status as founder or whatever?

Are there people in any of your religious organisations who are
particularly significant? (High priest/ess, perhaps?) What
difference does their status make?

Do you think there is a problem in your path with people behaving
inappropriately towards Big Name whoevers? Is this likely to show
up with overfamiliarity, lack of granting adequate respect for
seniority, bowing and scraping?

How do you judge when someone's individual persona is doing its
job as a religious leader and when it's leading to inappropriate
relationships or causing problems in the religious community?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Judging?

Every now and then, we end up discussing whether or not we have
the right to judge. There are some portions of the Pagan
'community' that assert that we don't have the right to judge
others. Sometimes this is phrased as 'so long as they aren't
hurting anyone else, who are we to judge?'

Do you believe that you have a right to judge others? Why, or why
not? Do you base this on theology, common sense, or some other
basis for your approach?

If you believe that it's a variable issue (It's ok to judge when
X, but not when Y), what effects whether you feel it is right to
judge an issue?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Element/Direction Correspondences?

For those of you who use element/direction correspondences:

I was talking to an eclectic friend of mine about the directions
for different elements when casting a circle. I use the earth-
north, air-east, fire-south, water-west system. However, he
suggested that it might be appropriate to change the
correspondences depending on local geography. His reasoning
(which I'm not sure of historically), is that those
correspondences come from western Europe, where the sea is to the
west in most places, the Sun is predominantly in the south, etc.

He suggests that where we are, on the east coast of the US, he
would use water in the east (for the ocean) and air in the west.
From that it also follows that perhaps someone in the southern
hemisphere might swap earth and fire because the Sun is
predominantly in the north (or toward the equator).

Does anyone know of the historical reasoning behind the
element/direction system I mentioned above, and if you have heard
of anyone else who alters it based on local geography?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

========= CONFLICT
========= by HeartShadow

HeartShadow is following her own religious path. She calls it
FlameKeeping. This regular column will present articles on
FlameKeeping, many taken from HeartShadow's FlameKeeping blog at:


===== Conflict

Conflict is a natural state of life. We all face conflicts with
ourselves, with each other, with the world in general. We have to
learn how to handle conflict with grace and dignity, and how to
fight problems without fighting people. ItÆs not an easy issue.
ItÆs very easy to personalize conflict, to claim that the problem
is the other person, not the situation. IÆm going to refer to
interpersonal conflict, but the same issues exist in conflict
within the self or against nature.

The first issue in conflict is how the entity one is in conflict
with is seen. It is very easy to see the other person as all bad,
as evil, as an enemy forever and always. When we start seeing the
other person as something other than a person, we lose a grip on
our own humanity.

Conflict is when two or more people strive against each other. It
is a natural outcome of scarce recourses, of the fact that there
is always more to be desired than to go around. It is not the
nature of conflict that is the problem, but how it is approached
and what the desired outcome is. It is very easy to turn from a
natural competition of recourses to an unnatural feeling of anger
and hatred of the people competed against. We must recognize the
right to strive against each other for the same goal while only
striving for that goal, and not simply for the desire to strive
against the other. We should only compete for needed items or
equally-desired items, and for those things which are not needed,
only wanted, we should compete much less strongly. (When fighting
for oneÆs life, I do not feel capable of saying what one can and
cannot do. For anything less valuable, however, one should and
must use moral judgment. Do not do anything one would not do to
the Divine, for that is who you are striving against, even as
that is who you are striving for).

We must learn to handle conflict in a mature manner. While it is
an inevitable part of life, we still need to handle it with
dignity and grace, and be sure that the conflict we enter is one
we need to be in. When we fight simply for the sake of fighting,
we belittle ourselves and the Divine. When we strive only when we
need to and for those things that are worthwhile, we enrich the

===== Questions

  * What things are worth striving for in conflict? What things
    do you find yourself in conflict over that arenÆt worth it?

  * How do you handle conflict with grace and dignity?

  * How do you see those things you are in conflict with? How
    should you?

========= Cauldron Info

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum was founded in December 1997 to
provide a friendly but serious discussion area for Pagans on the
Internet. We've grown a bit over the years. We now have an active
message area, a large web site with around 700 pages of
information (including over 300 book and divination deck
reviews), and a monthly email newsletter. To continue to provide
and expand these services, The Cauldron needs lots of volunteer
help from our members and supporters.

Here are some of the things members and supporters can do to help
The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum thrive:

===== Actively Participate In Our Message Board

While our new message board welcomes readers, we encourage
members to actively participate by posting their comments and
views in our discussions. One of the easiest ways to help The
Cauldron is to actively participate in our message board. The
staff especially appreciates members who start new topics for
discussion based on their own questions, opinions, or interests.


===== Articles! Essays! Tutorials!

We are in constant need of original, well-written and accurate
articles, essays, tutorials, and other written items for both our
web site and for our Cauldron and Candle newsletter. There's no
real limit on length for web site articles. Here are a few areas
in which we always need articles:

* information on the beliefs and theology of the various Pagan
  religions, especially non-Wiccan religions

* information on holidays and festivals of the various Pagan
  religions, especially non-Wiccan religions

* recipes for oils, incenses, and food for the various Pagan

* magick, spells, and ritual information

* herbal information

* positive articles on dealing with other faiths

* information on historical pagan cultures

* editorial/opinion pieces

Non-Wiccan material is stressed not because we don't want Wiccan
material but because good non-Wiccan material has been hard to
find. We have a web form you can use to submit an article for
consideration: http://www.ecauldron.com/bnbarticleform.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/bnbbkreviewform.php

===== Graphic Assistance

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is purposely a low graphics site as
we value page download speed over flashy graphics. However, we
are always willing to talk with artists who have ideas for
well-designed small graphics (small in both physical dimensions
and file size) that might enhance a specific article or page.

===== Invite Your Friends

If you have friends or acquaintances who you believe would find
The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum useful, please tell them about our
site. If you are active in our message board and have friends who
might enjoy them or have information to contribute, please invite

===== Link To The Cauldron

If you have a web site where linking to The Cauldron: A Pagan
Forum would be appropriate, simply providing a link to this web
site is a big help. Our Link to this Site page explains how you
can do this if you need help or want some simple graphic buttons
to use: http://www.ecauldron.com/linktous.php

===== Donations

As The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum uses as many free services as
possible, our need for money to operate our site is currently
lower than our need for the many items we list above. However, if
you have a few dollars to spare, we would be honored to have your
help in paying for our web site. You can donate by using either
PayPal or the Amazon Honor System links below (we get about 85%
of what you donate).

Donate via PayPal
Donate via Amazon.com

===== Amazon Purchases

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum also receives a small percentage
(usually 5%) from most items purchased from Amazon.com when you
go to Amazon.com from one of the links to Amazon on our web site.
If you purchase a lot of books, CDs, and other items from
Amazon.com as many members do, going to Amazon.com through one of
our links when you are going to make a purchase there is a
painless way to help fund this web site.


If you are a regular user of the US version of Amazon, you can
help The Cauldron by replacing the URL of your ebay bookmark in
your browser with the above link so that TC gets credit every
time you visit Amazon.com.

To do this in Internet Explorer or Firefox, find Amazon in your
bookmark list. RIGHT click on it and select Properties from the
popup menu which will appear. A dialog box describing your
bookmark will appear. You'll see the standard Amazon url --
probably http://www.amazon.com/ -- in an edit box (labeled
"Location" in FireFox and "URL" in IE). Erase that url completely
and replace with one listed above, then click on OK.

If you use Amazon UK, you can use this address


If you use Amazon Canada, you can use this addess:


===== Ebay Purchases

Are you an Ebay user? Ebay has a new program that pays
affiliates a small percent of the winning bid if the winning
bidder enters ebay from an affiliate link (some like how our
Amazon.com affiliate program works). So if you visit the US
version ebay via the following link, the Cauldron will get credit
for your bids:


If you are a regular user of the US version of ebay, you can help
The Cauldron by replacing the URL of your ebay bookmark in your
browser with the above link so that TC gets credit every time you
visit ebay.

To do this in Internet Explorer or Firefox, find ebay in your
bookmark list. RIGHT click on it and select Properties from the
popup menu which will appear. A dialog box describing your
bookmark will appear. You'll see the standard ebay url --
probably http://www.ebay.com/ -- in an edit box (labeled
"Location" in FireFox and "URL" in IE). Erase that url completely
and replace with one listed above, then click on OK.

===== Have Questions or Suggestions?

If you have specific questions, proposals or other ideas we
haven't mentioned here, please email them to
rssapphire00@ecauldron.GETRIDOFEME.com. (Unfortunately, Randall
has to answer general "Tell me more?" type questions with a
request for a more specific question. He's not trying to be rude,
he just can't think of anything general and useful to say that
isn't said here.)

========= (Including how to subscribe and unsubscribe)

Cauldron and Candle is a free publication of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum. The Cauldron intends to publish this newsletter once
a month and often actually succeeds in doing so. We tried to
publish it twice a month for a while, but real life interfered
too often.

This issue of Cauldron and Candle as a whole is copyright (c)
2007 by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum. Copyrights on individual
items in this newsletter are retained by their author, please
contact the editors if you need to contact an author for
permission to reprint an article and the editors will do their
best to put you in touch with him or her. The opinions expressed
herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily
reflect the views of newsletter, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum, or
its staff. Publication of an article in this newsletter is not an
endorsement of the authors position or any products and companies
mentioned therein. No one involved in producing this newsletter
has any money to speak of so suing us if you don't like something
we do is a waste of time and money.


You are receiving a copy of this newsletter because you signed up
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The Cauldron and Candle web site contains information on this
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If you have Pagan friends who you believe would be interested in
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You are also welcome to forward a copies of this newsletter to
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Don't forget that your suggestions for this newsletter are always
welcome, either posted on the message board or via email to
LyricFox (lyricfox01@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com) or Randall
Sapphire (rssapphire01@.ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com). Typos are, as
usual, courtesy of the Goddess Eris.

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