[Cauldron and Candle Illo]


Cauldron and Candle
Issue #83 -- May 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 #83 -- May 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

             This issue is dedicated to the memory of
                    longtime Cauldron member

                          Chavi Revanna
		    (Cathlene Patricia McKenna)

                who lost her battle with cancer on
                          April 1, 2006

In this Issue:

[00] Editorial Notes: It's May
[01] Cauldron News
   * Standard Membersgroups and their Privileges
   * Full Membership Requirements
   * Terms of Service and Rules Modifications
   * Special Interest Groups
   * Walkofthefallen.com
   * New Staff Members: Celtee and Moon Ivy
[02] Interesting Recent Cauldron Discussions
   * Structure vs Fluidity?
   * Dealing with Doubt?
   * Dislocation and Getting to Know Your Local Environment
   * Your Book of Shadows/Grimoire/Journal/Blog?
   * Pentagram vs. Pentacle?
   * Spectacularly Bad Info on Pagan Religions?
   * Altar Pictures
   * Secrecy and Your Religion?
   * Secrecy/Surprise in Initiations
   * I was a Pagan Wack-Job
[03] Articles
   * How to Keep Your Coven from Being Destroyed: Part III
   * Is It Time For a "Reformed" Hellenic Paganism?
   * Why We're Touchy About Defining Paganism
   * Review: Wiccan Wisdomkeepers
   * Review: Circle, Coven & Grove
   * Review: Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess
   * Review: And Banish With Laughter
[04] Flamekeeping: Dreams of Perfection and Ego
[05] Software Gadgets: The Column
   * Site Mapping Tool -- Generate a Site Map of your Web Site
   * SmartStartMenu -- A Start Menu Replacement For Keyboarders
   * Documeron -- Recent Documents Superpowered
[06] Grimoire: To Ease Pain and Renew Hope
[07] Recipe: Milkmaid's Blessing
[08] Support The Cauldron
[09] Newsletter Information
(Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

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Welcome to the May 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.

It's May. You may be wondering what happened to the April issue.
You didn't miss receiving it, we just did not get it out due to
real life and moving to the new message board.

The message board move has gone fairly smoothly although it is
very hard to get used to the new format after years of
Delphi/Beehive style boards. Staff and old timers are managing
the most part while many new members don't see why we are having
so much trouble. After about 60 days, the new board has over 550
members and 13,800 posts in over 950 topics. If you haven't tried
out new SMF board, you might want to join us.

This issue has the usual articles and major features -- just more
of them as we missed an issue. We hope you
enjoy them.

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

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

===== Cauldron Message Board Info:

There are current four standard non-staff membergroups, each of
which has a certain set of privileges in our community areas.


(Viewers who are not logged in)

Guests can

* view most community areas
* view most public boards (but cannot post)
* can access CauldronMUX as a Guest

Guests see community area ads.


(Register to get a Regular membership)

Regular members can

* can view most community areas
* can view most public boards
* can post messages on boards in the About the Cauldron and
Cauldron Basics categories
* can chat in Flashchat
* can comment on member blogs
* can suggest links for our Link list
* can contact other members privately
* can select an avatar from those available on the server
* can request an account on CauldronMUX
* can ignore specific members and specific boards

Regular members see Community area ads


(Meet requirements and request a full membership)

Full membership has all the features of Regular membership PLUS
the following:

* can post in all public areas of the board
* can view and post in the Full Members private board
* can play games in our Arcade area
* can rate links in our Link area
* can link to an avatar on their own server
* can have a member blog
* can edit their own comments on member blogs

Full members do not see Community area ads


(Make a donation of $25 or more to TC -- valid for one donation

All the features of Full Membership PLUS the following:

* can view and post in the Cauldron Supporters private board
* can edit/delete comments made to their member blog
* can add links directly to our link area
* can assign their own custom title
* can use more BBCodes (colors and fonts)

Cauldron Supporters do not see Community area ads.

=== Post-based Membergroups

At the moment, none of these membergroups give any special
privileges, they just give members a fancy title for having made
a least a certain number of posts:

Apprentice -- 16+ posts
Journeyman -- 100+ posts
Master Member -- 250+ posts
Adept Member -- 750+ posts
High Adept Member -- 2500+ posts
Grand Adept Member -- 7500+ posts

The above is subject to change.

===== Cauldron Message Board Info:

When you register for The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's message
board, you become a what SMF board software calls a "Regular
Member." Regular members on The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum have
limited posting rights: they can only post messages on boards in
the About the Cauldron and Cauldron Basics categories. Regular
membership gives full posting access to those areas of our board
specifically designed for newcomers. This gives new members a
chance to show that they understand and will follow our rules and
guidelines while giving them a chance to get used to this board's
style and attitude in fairly "safe" areas of the board.

The default regular membership may satisfy many members --
especially those new to Pagan religions and magic. There is no
requirement to qualify for Full Membership.  However, doing so
will open up the all the public areas of the board for posting
and provide access to many additional features of our community
areas. See the Standard Membersgroups and their Privileges
message for a list.

To be eligible to apply for a Full Membership you must:

* Be at least 18 years old

* Fill out at least the following fields in your profile: Bio,
  Birth Religion, Birth Year, Gender, Country, Religion.

* Show by your posts that you are willing and able to follow the
  Cauldron's rules and guidelines.

* Show by your posts that you are not a clueless newbie with
  respect to Pagan religions and magic. We have nothing against
  complete newcomers (and have several boards set up just for
  newcomers that any member can post in), but this forum is aimed
  at those who are no longer complete newcomers. Once you have
  moved beyond the "clueless and/or misinformed by bad 101 books"
  stage, you will be ready to think about posting in Full member
  parts of our board.

* Have a post count of at least 15 posts -- good solid posts. (So
  don't post just to increase your post count, your request will
  just be rejected.) OR if you were a regular member of our old
  Beehive board have made at least 25 posts on the Main Board of
  our old Beehive Forum.

* Have been an active member of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's
  message board for at least one week.

Please read the this message to find out how to apply for Full
Member status.


===== Cauldron Message Board Info:

A minor modification has been made to the Terms of Service
members agree to when they register for our forum:


      You specifically agree to read the Cauldron Community Rules
      and Policies post on the Rules and Regulations board before
      making any post on this forum.

Read the full Terms of Service here:

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=117.0

A minor modification has been made to the Cauldron Community
Rules and Policies.


      DO follow instructions/suggestions from staff members and
      hosts about how to post and/or behave on The Cauldron
      (quoting, formatting messages, etc.). Staff members have no
      interest in hearing why you would rather not do it the
      standard TC way.

You can read the Cauldron Community Rules and Policies here:

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=16.0

Also, our Research Guidelines have been updated with the
following note.  I would think it obvious, but apparently some
people don't think using PMs and/or Email sent from this board to
contact members to take their research surveys is using this
board for research.

      NOTE: While I would think it obvious, these rules apply to
      sending members PMs and Email from the board with research
      oriented surveys and questions. If you are using this board
      in any way to question/query our members for research, you
      must obtain permission first. Trying to avoid getting
      permission by sending PMs or Emails to members from the
      board is rude and annoying behavior.

You can read our Research Guidelines here:

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=34.0

===== Cauldron Message Board Info:

Now that The Cauldron's message board has a different
organization, we have added "Special Interest Groups" area to our
message board. This is a place where members can request a topic
for focused discussion/activity on a subject of special interest
to a group of  our members. Special Interest Groups need not be
directly related to Paganism or even to religion -- but those
that aren't may require good reasons for the staff to approve and
set them up.

Special Interest Group topics are for focused discussion and
thread drift will be less tolerated than it is most places on the
message board. Each SIG will have a SIG Leader (Or SIG Leaders)
who will have limited moderator authority to keep the thread on
topic and to enforce minor rules violations.

Special Interest Groups will start with a single topic in our
general Special Interest Group board, but may add a few other
topics if needed as time goes on. Popular and active SIGS may
eventually get their own child board. SIGs with their own child
board may have additional rules specific to their child board.

Additional Rules for threads in the Special Interest Group Board:

1. Thread drift is unwelcome. Posts in threads in this board need
to be clearly and directly related to the thread's topic as
described in the first post of a thread. If a discussion sparks
questions or ideas outside the narrow focus of the discussion,
feel free to start a new topic in elsewhere on the message board.

2. SIG topics are primarily for members of the particular SIG.
Non-members (e.g. those not actively participating in the
work/activities of the SIG) are normally welcome to ask
questions, but not to tell SIG members how to do things, what to
believe, etc. That is, SIG threads are not normally a place for
outsiders to debate with SIG members.

3. Any adult, active Cauldron participant in good standing rules-
wise can request a SIG topic and it will normally be granted
provided that other members show interest in participating and
the purpose of the group is obviously related to Pagan or other
religions. Non-religion-related SIGs and SIGs for teens require
Co-Host approval. SIG Topics cannot be started until a good first
post explaining the purpose and scope of the SIG is provided to
staff so they can create the topic. SIGs topics (or child boards)
that are not active or those cause problems may be shut down
without notice. SIG leaders serve at the pleasure of the Co-

=== Current SIGS

The following SIGS have already been established:

=== Cauldron Cill

The Cauldron Cill is a Brighidine Flamekeeping group, where
members tend Brighid’s flame in rotating shifts. This SIG board
is a place for Keepers to share their experiences during shifts,
collaborate on projects, and share poetry, artwork and prayers,
amongst other things.

* http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?board=61.0

=== Otherkin SIG

This is a special interest group for Otherkin and 'Kin friendly
members of TC. This is a place to discuss those "Other" things
that we may not have felt comfortable talking about in other
sections of the forum. Everyone is welcome here as long as they
are respectful of others' beliefs and experiences.

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=388.0

=== Reformed Celtic Polytheism SIG

The Reformed Celtic Polytheism SIG is a "reformed recon"-oriented
board focused on Celtic Polytheism and related ancient beliefs
and is developing a modern Celtic Polytheistic religion that is
strongly informed by academic information on ancient beliefs but
does attempt to strictly reconstruct ancient practices.

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?board=63.0

=== Reformed Hellenic Polytheism SIG

The Reformed Hellenic Polytheism SIG is a "reformed recon"-
oriented board focused on Hellenic Polytheism and related ancient
beliefs and is developing a modern Hellenic Polytheistic religion
that is strongly informed by academic information on ancient
beliefs but does attempt to strictly reconstruct ancient

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?board=60.0

=== Reformed Kemeticism SIG

The Reformed Kemeticism SIG is a "reformed recon"-oriented board
focused on Kemeticism and related ancient beliefs. The primary
purpose of this SIG is to develop a modern Kemetic religion that
is strongly informed by academic information on ancient Kemetic
beliefs and practices but does not attempt to strictly
reconstruct ancient practices.

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?board=62.0


Many longtime members will remember Cyn (LABYRS on our old board)
and her Walk of the Fallen, a labyrinth dedicated to soldiers who
have lost their lives in the current Iraq (and Afghanistan) War.
She and her son have finally created a very nice web site for it

  * http://walkofthefallen.com/


Moon Ivy will be on our message board staff where her primary
duty will be working with our new SIGs: helping members start
SIGS and helping SIG Leaders run them.

You can congratulate Moon Ivy in this thread:

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=992.0

Celtee is also joining our message board staff in a more general
capacity: helping to oversee our message board.

You can congratulate Moon Ivy in this thread:

  * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=991.0

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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

===== Structure vs Fluidity?

How much structure do we have in our beliefs? How much structure
do we need in our beliefs? A Pantheon? A Ceremony? Ritual?

What makes me an effective massage therapist is that I am very
intuitive - my hands are constantly asking questions, and the
client (equine or human) is answering in one way or another. That
is how I practice my Spirituality - always asking, and waiting
for the answers. It's organic, like tree roots that follow the
water, and grow along the path of least resistance.

This does lead to problems; I am at once trying to keep up with
some Internet forums, write a novel, build a massage clientele,
and working a 48+ hour per week job. Sometimes the tree needs
pruning, or at least trimming.

So instead of a grid, or formal structure of any significant
scale, I have fluidity. Anyone's beliefs are valid to them, and I
respect that. In the case of Osama bin Laden and other fundies, I
don't agree (in that they are detrimental to society as a whole),
but I still respect these views as being truth from a certain
point of view.

What structure I do have is on a very small scale, sort of like
the grains of sand in an oyster; these grains being along the
lines of all life is sacred, even tasty life such as deer and
apples, or everyone has something to teach me, even if it is
negative in nature, or if I'm not enjoying myself, I need to
examine my intent.

Certainly lack of structure has hampered me in some ways. I
accept this as an imperfection, but I hardly expect myself to be
perfect. Being effective is much more important. Perhaps more
structure in some aspects of my life would help me be more
effective, but that is something that will have to grow,
organically, once I give it permission.


* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Dealing with Doubt?

How do you deal with doubt? What happens when you suddenly think
"What if I'm just making this up?" and what do you do to get on

I'd post an answer if I had one.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Dislocation and Getting to Know Your Local Environment

I have trying to become more in tune with my environment as it
relates to my practice--noting when the leaves come out, when
they fall, when the first snow comes, the first blistering hot
day of summer and so on. I would like to incorporate these things
into my practice, and set up a more "localized" calendar that
will help me feel more in tune with the earth.

The thing is, I'm a little displaced. I am a student living in
Philadelphia, PA who originally hails from (and returns to in the
summer and winter breaks) San Antonio, Texas. As might be
inferred, the climate is quite different in Texas than Philly--
for one thing, we have no fall, and summer lasts from April to
November. In Philly, there is such a thing as fall and such a
thing as snow, and there is such a concept as "fall weather

My question is: Are there others in my position, and how do you
reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing
climate? Do you try to adapt to the environment you're
temporarily in? Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel
"at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does
anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of
Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and
widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my
"seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here. But
Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected,
because my family and my "hearth" is there. When I am in Philly,
I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here
temporarily, I'm not here to stay. How do I stay connected to a
"home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the
year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like
fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am
at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Your Book of Shadows/Grimoire/Journal/Blog?

What, if anything, do you keep to record your path, experiences,
spells or whatever it is that you feel the need to record?

I have a private wiki myself. Kinda geeky, I know, but it's
working for me so far.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Pentagram vs. Pentacle?

have been a solitary Wiccan for almost 5 years now and one
specific topic continues to puzzle me. The usage for the terms
pentagram and pentacle.

-Some people say that Pentagram is used for Satanism and a
Pentacle is used in Wicca.

-Some say the Pentagram is inverted and a Pentacle is upright.

-Some say the Pentagram is simply the term for the 5-pointed star
and a Pentacle is the 5-pointed star in a circle and that's
all that make them different.

-Some say that the term Pentagram is used to describe a 2-D
design such as on paper and Pentacle is used for a 3-D design of
the same thing such as a necklace.

-Some say the circle doesn't have anything to do with the
terms...some say it has everything to do with it.

I am just so confused when it comes down to this. I encountered
one Wiccan who had tattoos of a 5-pointed star in a circle. She
called it a pentagram because it was drawn.

Another that I ran into was offended that I called her tattoo a
pentagram because it was obviously a pentacle because of the
circle encompassing the star.

HELP!! I am tired of offending people.

I myself have Wiccan tattoos and have always referred to them as
pentagrams regardless of the circle or not...because I always
followed the 2-D/3-D version of terminology. I need a hand with
this one!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Spectacularly Bad Info on Pagan Religions?

Sifting out accurate information on Pagan practices and beliefs
can be hard -- especially given the reams of dreck that fill
bookstore shelves. What is your favorite (favorite, of course,
being a relative term) bit of bad information on Pagan religion?
Not simply somewhat misinformed or misguided, or a vague over
generalization, but spectacularly, laughably wrong? Give it some
bonus points if actually attempting to use the bad information
will result in deep embarrassment, grievous bodily harm, or the
enraging of various deities.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Altar Pictures

There is another thread in Pagan Religions 101 where people are
describing the altars they have at home. I enjoyed reading these
descriptions, but pictures would be even better. If you have
pictures of your altar(s) and would not mind sharing them here,
please do. I'll start with a a picture of the simple bookcase
altar I have to Asherah.

It is for offerings (coins and other small "treasures" which go
into the vase). It is also a focus for prayers and meditation. It
does not contain any of the common pagan symbols or intentionally
include the four elements. I have another altar that is more
general. This one is specifically for Asherah.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Secrecy and Your Religion?

What role does secrecy play in your religion? Why? What happens
if people find out information they're not "ready" for? What
determines readiness?

If you can answer without breaking oath, what is the shape of
things that is hidden and why? (names of gods, initiation
rituals, specifics of what happens in rituals? Other things?)

If this information is risky for people to find out in the wrong
order, what is the result of screwing up?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Secrecy/Surprise in Initiations

In paths requiring initiations, is it important that an
prospective initiate does not know exactly what will happen at
the initiation ceremony? I have this idea that the "element of
surprise" is important, but I can't remember where I picked it
up, or if I subconsciously invented it, so I'm wondering what you
all think. Does "surprise" matter? And if so, why? I would guess
it increases emotional impact, but I'm sure there could be other

Along the same line, if the initiate is not supposed to know the
initiation ritual, what happens if they somehow find out early?
Does this render them ineligible, or do you create a new one, or
something else?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== I was a Pagan Wack-Job

Pagan wack-jobs. They troll our boards and steal our TV time,
living in their own little worlds. We all like to pass around a
good story about self-proclaimed witch queens and Atlantean
Dolphin Masters. But I sometimes wonder exactly how many of us
have been there.

I say this because I myself was once totally, completely,
straight up batshit crazy. Ok, well, maybe that's a harsh way of
saying it, but I was definitely living in my own little world,
designing personal epics to make myself feel special. Just like
the "what if this is all a dream?" or the "what if I'm gay?"
question, I think there comes a time in every person's life when
they ask themselves, "what if I'm the second coming of Christ?"
Only for me, it was, "what if I'm the last incarnation of Vishnu?
Vishnu's much cooler than Jesus..." And my self-esteem was just
low enough that I decided to go ahead and run with that. It
didn't matter that I was female, raised Catholic, and Puerto
Rican. I needed to believe.

I did constantly question this belief throughout, which I guess
could mean that I wasn't deluded in the traditional, clinical
sense - and that might be the difference between someone like me
(who eventually came to her senses) and someone like the Heaven's
Gate leader. But still, it was a bad place to be in.

So I wonder how many here may have been in a similar place, and
how they got themselves out of it. Was it an adolescent thing
that you grew out of? Did someone, mortal or divine, snap you out
of it? Does anyone have any similarly ridiculous stories to
share? I mean...I can't be the only one, right? ::laughs

(Pre-emptive Note: This isn't meant as a criticism of the Pagan
community...however, I do think that certain New Age ideas (like
how everyone has a spirit guide and everyone has a special
purpose on earth) can have a tendency to feed our egos in the
worst ways, producing countless ex-Cleopatras and Second Comings.
Not that other religious systems don't have similar traps to fall
into. Tibetan monks must be willing to "risk madness and death"
to follow the Buddha...and I think the same might be true for the
rest of us.)

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

========= ARTICLES

===== Part 3 (of 7): Troll Philosophy
===== by Eran

This series has been exploring how to deal with destructive
people in Pagan Covens. There is a class of people who are driven
to tear others down and to break apart the things which others
build. I've called these people "trolls", utilizing the very
powerful and very old European image of these destructive chaotic
forces. Destructive and powerful, yes - but easily outwitted, and
almost comic, once you understand what drives them, and where
their weak points are.

Trolls love to use vital Pagan principles inappropriately to
cover their own destructive actions. This technique is often
quite effective, because it can make their actions sound
reasonable, even to their victims. This makes it harder to
justify ejecting a troll from your group, even when the troll is
blatantly tearing everything apart. These problems are
particularly troublesome in larger umbrella organizations, where
you have to use formal procedures to kick out a troll. A troll
can manipulate Pagan principles to get a few people actually
defending the troll's actions, and can cause dissension and
outright warfare within the group of people trying to figure out
what to do.

There are aspects of Pagan philosophy which trolls find it easy
to manipulate to their advantage. Once trolls are uncovered, they
often will defend themselves with inappropriate recourse to
concepts such as subjective realities, perfect trust, the Wiccan
Rede, running one's own recovery, constructing one's own ethical
code, counter-accusations of authoritarianism, and so on. The
excuses trolls come up with can sometimes sound very convincing.
They can be convincing to other Coveners, to other members of the
local Pagan community, and to other members of larger Pagan
umbrella organizations. They can even sound convincing to you, as
their target. They can cause you to hesitate or to be unsure of
yourself at a time when what you need is self-confidence.

=== Twisting Principles

Here are some sample strategies which trolls will use, some
examples of the way trolls twist Pagan thought to defend or
explain away destructive or unethical behavior:

* Catch a troll in a lie, and the troll will go on about
  subjective realities, and how things "felt" a certain way to
  the troll, and you have no right to impose your personal
  perceptions of reality upon those of the troll. Don't Pagans
  value the subjective perceptions of all people?

* You'll also be told not to impose your ethics upon the troll.
  Don't trolls have as much right as you do to create their own
  sense of ethics? Don't Pagans value the idea of encouraging
  individuals to construct their own ethical guidelines, their
  own means of contact with Divinity?

* If you're reluctant to accept the word of a troll who's lied to
  you in the past, you'll be accused of not approaching that
  troll with the level of love and trust you really should have.
  Don't these ideals mean you must accept what the troll tells
  you? Don't they mean you must forgive and forget?

* Consider ejecting a troll from your Coven, and you'll run afoul
  of the Rede's admonition to "harm none." How dare you do such a
  dreadful thing to a poor troll? Aren't you causing harm, and
  interfering with the will of another person?

* Some trolls are well versed in the language (but not the
  meaning) of 12-step programs. Tell a troll to desist in
  destructive behavior, and you'll be told not to "interfere" in
  the troll's "recovery program." Aren't Pagans tolerant of all

* Tell a troll that certain destructive behaviors are simply not
  tolerated in your Coven, and you'll suddenly become
  authoritarian and inflexible and overcontrolling. Pagans are
  opposed to authoritarianism, aren't they?

* If you express an opinion the troll doesn't care for, you'll be
  labeled a One-True-Wayist and possibly even compared to an
  Inquisitor or Pope or some such. Pagans are opposed to enforced
  dogma; how dare you push your ways onto others?

Of course, in all cases, the troll uses these Pagan principles as
excuses and as ways to avoid accepting responsibility for his or
her own behavior. (Isn't the troll trying to avoid the
consequences of the Threefold Law?) Such arguments are used
merely to distract you (and whoever else is involved) away from
the real, central issue - which is the actions of the troll, the
actions which the troll is trying to mask behind an inappropriate
appeal to misapplied principles.

In no case should you argue these points with a troll. It will
serve no purpose. Once you are completely convinced that it is a
troll you're dealing with, arguing these things will accomplish
nothing. In fact, it only plays into the troll's hand. Arguing
about matters of principle - rather than paying attention to the
troll's actions - is exactly what the troll wants you to do,
because it is a distraction. Besides, the troll can use your
arguments to claim you are opposed to these very common and very
basic principles of Pagan philosophy. If there's anyone listening
to the conversation, it will, inevitably, make you look bad.

=== Responses

Here are some counter-arguments, which you can use within
yourself. Again, don't bother to make these counter-arguments to
the troll. Use them to encourage yourself to take the actions you
know must be taken. Use them to shore up your confidence. Use
them to shut out the distractions which the troll is trying to

* If the troll claims privileges based on subjective realities or
  personal ethics, or any of the other Pagan principles which
  rely on the sanctity of the individual, always keep in mind:
  those principles apply to you as well. The perceptions of the
  individual matter, and are valued, and each person must act in
  ways consistent with that person's sense of ethics and of
  contact with the Gods. Which means you, too, have the right to
  act upon your perceptions and ethics. If you perceive someone
  as dishonest and untrustworthy and destructive, then act in
  ways appropriate to those perceptions, and to the ethical
  principles you value. Do not let the troll dictate perceptions
  or ethics to you.

* The love and trust we're "supposed" to feel toward each other
  is not supposed to be blind. It needs to be appropriate, and
  precisely in keeping with the nature of whatever you're dealing
  with. You may have perfect love and trust for a rabid mongoose.
  That doesn't mean you'll treat it as you would treat a
  housecat. It means you'll treat it as a perfectly rabid
  mongoose, and take the steps which are perfectly appropriate in
  dealing with it. You'll trust it to act like a mongoose. If
  someone lies to you repeatedly, you are being cruel - to
  yourself, to your Coveners, to your Gods, and, ultimately, to
  the person - if you refuse to treat that person as a habitual

* The Rede says to "harm none" - and that includes you. By
  allowing the lies and manipulations of a troll to damage you,
  you're actively participating in the harm being done to you, to
  your Coveners, to your Tradition, and to anyone else being
  affected by the troll. If you refuse to eject a troll from your
  Coven, you are responsible for the harm done to your Coven from
  then on.

* By allowing the troll to continue harmful actions without
  consequences, you're engaged in what 12-step programs call
  "enabling". Sometimes, someone addicted to drugs or alcohol is
  protected by friends and family members - they might make
  excuses for the person at work, or bail the addict out of jail,
  or, through a sense of love and loyalty, they might try to
  protect the addict from the harmful effects of his or her own
  actions. But this only encourages self- (and other-)
  destructive behavior to continue. And that does more harm. Yet
  you don't really want to impose your will on others else by
  attempting to control their actions. The solution is
  straightforward: "You can act however you want - but not around
  me." If a troll tries to spring 12-step jargon on you, just
  invoke "tough love" and tell the troll to take his or her
  recovery program elsewhere.

* Is this authoritarian? Certainly not. No one is required to
  stay in your Coven. People who are there, are there by choice.
  Consenting adults and all that. As a Coven Leader, you have
  every right to run your Coven however you feel is proper, and
  other people have the right to participate or not, as they feel
  is proper. Authoritarianism can only happen where there is some
  means of compulsion. There can be no authoritarianism where
  there is assent, and no one stays in your Coven unless they
  personally choose to do so. You don't have the right (or the
  power!) to control others. But as a Coven Leader, you do have
  the right (and the responsibility!) to set the ground rules for
  your Coven. On the other hand, a troll has no right to force
  you to allow the troll to remain in contact with you, or with
  your Coveners. A troll has no right to dictate what behavior is
  acceptable in your Coven, and what behavior is not. Those are
  rights which you hold.

* Are you a One-True-Wayist simply because you express an
  opinion? Of course not! Charges of authoritarianism or One-
  True-Wayism are simply absurd in any Pagan context. We have no
  way of enforcing belief, nor of compelling practice. Any Pagan
  who doesn't like the beliefs of practice of someone else is
  always free to go elsewhere, or to stop associating with the
  person with whom they disagree. A person who makes public
  accusations of authoritarianism or One-True-Wayism is, beyond
  doubt, a troll who is simply trying to stir anger toward a
  target. Ignore such tactics when directed at others, and when
  they're directed at you, don't give them a thought. Charges of
  One-True-Wayism are made simply in an attempt to embarrass you
  and get you to shut up. Indeed, they are examples of the troll
  trying to force his or her opinions onto others. The troll is
  trying to silence a point of view with which he or she
  disagrees! Who is the actual One-True-Wayist here?

=== Healthy Self-Doubt

It is healthy and it is important to question yourself. A Coven
Leader who never doubts his or her own actions and decisions is a
dangerous person whom it would be wise to stay away from. But a
Coven Leader who allows self-doubt to prevent effective and
necessary action is equally dangerous. Yes, re-examine your
understanding of ethical issues, frequently and deeply. Don't
assume you're always right, lest you cast yourself into the role
of an infallible Pope willing to burn others for mere
disagreement. (In fact, a refusal to question oneself is one of
the hallmarks of a troll!) But equally, don't refuse to make
decisions, just because others might disagree with them.

Coven Leaders have the responsibility to take what steps are
necessary to protect their Covens. That's one of their primary
jobs. Coveners rely on them, and expect them, to do this. It is
not a power seized unjustly or arbitrarily; it is a power granted
by the Coveners, by virtue of them asking to join - and to remain
in - the Coven. If you let a troll manipulate you by playing on
your self-doubts, you're falling down on your responsibilities to
people who have trusted you with their spiritual growth. Indeed,
this inappropriate manipulation of healthy self-questioning is
yet another example of trollish misapplication of important Pagan

What you need here is to be clear on these principles in your own
mind. Give careful thought to these issues, and do your best to
understand them thoroughly. But the time to engage in such
introspection is not during a period of crisis. Solve these
questions in your own mind before they become issues argued by a
troll. "Solving" does not mean you never come back to them. It's
useful and productive to come back to these issues again and
again, and to let your view of them expand and grow as time goes
on. But when there's someone actively tearing your Coven apart,
it's time for direct action, action based on preparations and
understandings you've already achieved. Afterwards, there'll be
time to reassess and improve your understandings further. People
grow by making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. Don't
be afraid to let yourself make some mistakes. Take the actions
you feel are right, and then learn from them.

Have frequent discussions within your Coven about matters such as
this, so your Coveners understand the issues as thoroughly as you
do. If a troll begins to present misapplied principles as excuses
for unethical behavior, you want your Coveners to see through
those tactics as well. Again, don't argue these points with the
troll. In a Coven situation, that only prolongs the pain. Get rid
of the critter, and then afterward you'll have all the time you
need to de-brief with your Coveners.

In larger settings - formal churches and umbrella groups - things
get a little more complicated, because you usually have to
present a case to some council or governing board in order to get
rid of a troll. There, it's possible for the troll to bollix up
the works by raising these issues, and insisting they get argued
out before an expulsion vote is taken. Handling his situation is
a topic for anther time; for now, just keep in mind that any
Pagan organization should 1) discuss these issues long before a
crisis takes place so they're already thoroughly understood, and
2) have rules of procedure in order to stay on topic during
discussions about possible disciplinary actions.

Next time, I'll talk about some aspects of Paganism which make
Pagan groups particularly vulnerable to trolls, and particularly
attractive targets for destructive people. It's important to
understand our weak points, because these are the very places
where troll attacks are likely to come.

=== About the Author

Copyright (c) 2002 David Petterson
May be recirculated as long as this information is included

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===== by Randall Sapphire

=== Why Reconstructionist Religion Does Not Always Work

I'm going to say something that is going to upset a number of
people, but after much thought, I've come to the conclusion that
Reconstructionism can be a dead end for certain types of
religion: specifically more highly organized state religions --
like the religion of ancient Greece.

The main reason should be obvious. The highly organized state
religions of ancient civilizations cannot really be recreated
without large numbers of people in one location with a lot of
money to spend building temples, supporting the priests of the
Gods who maintain those temples, and recreating the often lavish,
state-supported festivals of those religions.

There is also the problem of context. In ancient Greek religion,
each city-state had somewhat different important deities and
festivals tailored to the history (both mythological and real) of
their city. Detailed records only survived for Athens so most
Hellenic recons focus on Athens for their religious calendar and
festivals -- even though they do not live there and some of the
festivals held in Athens really only make sense if you live in
ancient Athens.

A third problem is difference in culture between the classical
era and the twenty-first century. It's not just obvious things
like the fact that men and women are equal today while women were
definitely second class citizens in most of ancient Greece, it's
seeming minor things like not having anyone home for many hours
during the day to safely keep a home fire burning or the rigid
work schedule of work weeks and weekends that makes holding a
large number of religious festivals during the work week almost
impossible for most people.

For years I've watched recon-oriented Hellenic groups try to do
the nearly impossible: recreate ancient Hellenic religious
practices with a tiny membership scattered across the world. Why
do these groups try for the near impossible? I honestly do not
know, but I think it is because to do otherwise isn't "recon
enough." Doing less would be slipping toward Hellenic-favored
Neo-Wicca or something else obviously not Recon.

Therefore, from what I've seen, you end up with a large number of
people interested in Hellenic Paganism and in worshipping the
Gods of Ancient Greece joining one of the various Hellenic Recon
groups. Most members drift away after a year or two because these
organizations generally offer only a place to talk and the hope
of some type of regular (and practical) religious observances
sometime in the future.

Does it have to be this way? If one is trying to recreate the
religion of classical Athens, I suspect it does for all the
reasons listed in the first few paragraphs of this editorial. But
what if one were to drop this somewhat unrealistic goal and try
to create a Hellenic religion for the modern world? I'm talking
about a middle road between trying to reconstruct an ancient
religion and grafting the Hellenic Gods on to some generic neo-
Pagan ritual. There is a lot of area between those two extremes,
after all.

=== Reformed Hellenism -- Off the Top of My Head

I started thinking about this idea yesterday and I have already
thought of a way to start a practical Hellenic religion that
would work without the need for large groups or lots of money for
festivals, that would work without requiring its members to
become scholars of Classical Greek Religion to do anything, and
yet try to remain true to the spirit of Ancient Greek religious
belief and practice. If I can come up with an outline of
something minimal, but workable in 24 hours, I suspect that with
a bit of effort some type of "Reformed Modern Hellenic Paganism"
in the middle ground between strict reconstructionism and generic
neo-Paganism is quite possible.

Here's the basic outline:

Major Festivals (One a month, normally on a Sunday)

There are 12 months in a modern year and 12 Olympic deities, so
have one festival a month honoring each of the Twelve. These
festivals would start simple, but could be added to as the
religion grew. They would be feasts (very true to ancient Greek
practice) with some type of sacrifice to the deity being honored
and the reading of some of the myths about the deity and/or the
hymns to the deity. Perhaps part of the day could be dedicated to
activities in the deities areas of interest as well. These
festivals could be done by a family or a small local group (if
there are enough Hellenic Pagans in the area). No need for lots
of people and lots of money.

Minor Festivals (3 or 4 a month, the Sundays not a Major

1) Minor feast with sacrifice/libation to deities important to
2) Study of Hellenic myths and/or philosophy.

Daily Practice:

1) Prayers
2) Some type of home fire to Hestia (perhaps real while someone
is home and symbolic when no one is home?)
3) Libations to a different deity each day.
4) Divination when needed

I agree that this is simple, but I think it is better to start
with something simple that can be done by just about anyone truly
interested in worshipping the Greek Gods than something so
complex that it scares people way. After all, as time goes on,
one can always add to a simple start.

Is this one "one true way" to do a modern Hellenic religion? Of
course not. The fact that it is just a very basic outline I
thought up in 24 hours should make this obvious. But it is a
starting point. A starting point that is actually doable instead
of a wish and a hope for "someday" (when there are large numbers
of members of our religion in every city so we can recreate
Athenian festivals without looking silly).


1) I realize that the lists of the twelve Olympians vary. The
exact deities and which month their major festival would be is
something that would have to be decided.

2) Sunday was picked for festivals because it is one of the two
weekend days that most people are likely to have off from work
and because it seemed more appropriate to honor the Gods on the
first day of the week (Sunday) than on the last day of the week

=== Discuss this Article

You can discuss this article on our message board:


=== About the Author

Randall is a Hellenic Pagan and a Co-Host of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum.

===== by Star

"A Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or
Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan."

This is the standard definition of Paganism put forth by The
Cauldron, as stated in our Pagan Primer.  It's amazing how much
controversy has sprung up on the forum, both over this one little
sentence and around the act of trying to come up with a
definition at all, over the years.  Newcomers to the forum often
stumble into it unawares, either by bringing up issues with our
standard definition or by stating the definitions they use, which
often don't coincide with the one listed above.  They may not
even touch the definition issue itself directly, but instead make
an incorrect assumption about what Pagans are or do based on
their current knowledge of Paganism, and find themselves the
recipient of a hostile response they do not understand the reason
for.  Even people who have been here for some time may not grasp
the driving forces behind these reactions.  It is my hope, in
this article, to give some insight into the history of this issue
on the Cauldron.  I hope that this will make the general reaction
to it more comprehensible.

There is, to begin with, a general history of people in various
venues attempting to describe Paganism as "earth-based" or
"earth-centered".  Generally, this means that the Earth is held
sacred by Pagans or is central to Pagan religion in some way,
and/or that the religion's festival dates are determined by the
cycle of the seasons.  This is an ongoing problem for many
posters at The Cauldron because this is not an accurate way to
describe their religions.  While the Earth and the seasons may
play a significant role in many of the Wicca-based religions that
dominate Paganism in the public eye today, there are also many
faiths in which they hold no significance at all.  In some
religions, there are harvest festivals and the like which may
seem tied to the seasons and thus might appear to qualify them as
"earth-based", but often they are only a few festivals among
many.  There are earthy deities, but generally they have other
spheres of influence as well and again are in the minority.  A
few earth-centric qualities does not an earth-centric religion

I speak of the "earth-based" problem here because it's a handy
example.  It is certainly not the only point of controversy, just
one of the most prominent ones.  However, any time a more
specific definition than our standard one is brought up, the
result tends to be the same.  There is always at least one person
on the forum, and usually more, whose religion doesn't fall under
the definition given.  They see yet another person in a long line
of people trying to tell them (as they see it) that they don't
count, that they don't know what their religion "really" is, or
that they have no right to use a term they feel describes them.
Tired of being told these things, the "excluded" poster responds
in frustration and probably with some anger or sarcasm.  The
proposed definition never does quite work out, and everyone
involved is left with raw nerves from the incident.

An interesting thing to note is that although we currently focus
on who is being excluded by a definition, that was not
necessarily how things started out.  Earlier in the history of
this issue, more specific definitions such as those including the
term "earth-based" (or similar) were not always seen as
exclusionary.  Rather, the assumption--apparently on both sides
of the argument--was sometimes that everyone involved had the
same right to the term, and everyone was included under the
proposed definition.  Thus, terms such as "earth-based" were not
seen as exclusionary in these cases, but rather as attempts to
define people's religion for them.  When a definition was brought
forth that said Pagans were earth-based, it was seen as an
attempt to tell people using the label "Pagan" that they really
were earth-based whether they thought they were or not.  If you
have ever been told by a fundie that as a Pagan you "really"
worship the devil even though you yourself know you don't, you
can probably sympathize with the frustration people felt over
this.  In some ways it was even more upsetting than simply being
excluded, because it wasn't just telling a person they didn't
belong; it was telling them they didn't know the reality of their
own religion.  When discussing definitions of Paganism on The
Cauldron, this is something that is very important to keep in
mind.  For those of us who remember these older discussions, this
is part of the history of the issue and something that will color
our responses to any new messages on the subject.

As hard as it might be to believe, that's the short version.  To
really understand the history of this issue at The Cauldron,
though, you probably need to go back to March 2002, when we had a
run-in with an American political group called the Pagan Unity
Campaign (PUC).  If you have a few hours to sit around and read
archives, there are two threads on our old Delphi board you might
want to check out:

  Pagan Unity Campaign

  New Definition of Paganism

=== Discuss this Article

You can discuss this article on our message board:


=== About the Author

Star is Message Board Coordinator of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum which regularly puts her in these discussions.

===== by Mike Gleason

Wiccan Wisdomkeepers: Modern-day Witches Speak on
  Environmentalism, Feminism, Motherhood, Wiccan Lore, and More
by Sally Griffyn
published 2002 by Weiser Books
Paperback 144 pages
ISBN: 1578632579
See this book on Amazon:

Sometimes I wonder how I manage to miss books for as long as I
do. For years I have been bemoaning the scarcity of books devoted
to the people of Witchcraft instead of just the basic "nuts and
bolts" (the "101" books). This book has been on the market for
years and I just discovered it.

The Introduction to this book gives some of the basics people
should know to have a basic understanding of our religion. The
rest of the book, however, is more in the nature (if you'll
pardon the pun" of short biographies/philosophies of a dozen
different Witches running the gamut from Doreen Valiente to
Patricia Kennealy Morrison. Some of them are household names in
the Pagan community and some are lesser-known individuals.

In every case, the individuals are careful to make clear that
they are not trying to indicate how others should see the Craft,
or how they should practice. What they are conveying is how they,
as individuals, see and practice their Craft.

It was a real pleasure to read the thoughts of the individuals
contained here. I was already familiar with some of those
philosophies, but I found myself learning a great deal. It is a
good chance for people to learn how others think about the Craft.

===== by Mike Gleason

Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
by Deborah Blake
published 2007 by Llewellyn
Paperback 253 pages
ISBN: 0738710334
See This Book at Amazon:

This book is definitely a "101" book.  It is designed to provide
basic ideas and structure for a year's worth of rituals.
However, unlike many books of basics, this one supplies ideas for
New and Full Moons attuned to each month.

Of course, the author makes sure to state early that the reader
is not bound by the ideas contained in the book.  As she points
out, she has presented to concept of a "rebirthing" ritual as
appropriate for an April Full Moon, but if you feel the need for
such a ritual at some other time of the year it may be used
whenever you need it.

She provides some basics of Wiccan philosophy and history and,
very importantly in my opinion, some basics of Circle etiquette.
She claims that this chapter "may well be the most important
chapter" in the book.  I agree fully with that statement.  It is
nice that she provides some correspondences and some definitions
and all the rest, but Circle etiquette is the lubrication which
allows individuals and groups to work together smoothly.
Although Wicca is a highly individualistic religion, it is
necessary to share come commonalities, and Circle etiquette IS
such a commonality

Some of the ritual instructions are a little strange to me, but
that is a function of the fact that I was trained in a lineaged
tradition and she is Eclectic.  I have no doubt that her
directions and instructions will work and be effective.  She
stresses the importance of listening to your inner voice to
decide what is right for you and your group.

Perhaps my one major objection to the way this book is set up is
Ms. Blake's assumption that, in any given month, the New Moon
will always precede the Full Moon.  That isn't always a valid
assumption; as well know (for example, this month started with a
Full Moon).  While some experienced practitioners can make
adjustments easily, newcomers might find this disconcerting.

The sample invocations and meditations she provides are
doubtlessly effective.  They give a variety of ideas to work with
and can certainly provide some needed inspiration for developing
your own ideas.

===== by Mike Gleason

Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess
by Kathy Jones
Published 2006 by Green Magic
Paperback 530 pages
ISBN 0955290813
See this book at Amazon:

As a general rule, I try to steer away from books which are
extremely radical, as I feel that the "average" reader may have
difficulty relating to such concepts and the "average reader" in
my intended audience.  Many strongly feminist works fall into
this category (witness the use of "herstory" for "history" and
other unconventional terms in the introduction).  However, what
the author of this book has to say is so relevant, and so
important, that I put aside my own personal bias and submerged
myself in what she had to say.

Ms. Jones' use of the feminine form of words to include the
masculine ("priest" as included in "priestess," and "God" as
included in "Goddess" being two examples) takes a bit of getting
used to for more conservative readers, but is quite logical.  It
also avoids the common usage of "priest/ess" and "God/dess" by
stressing the inclusiveness of these concepts.

From the point of view of this author one of the unique things
about the Lady of Avalon, whom she names Avallonia or Nolava, is
that there are no pictorial representations of her.  As well,
there are no myths or legends specifically connected to her.  Her
name is unrecorded, as are her attributes.  This permits each of
her followers to experience her in their own, unique way.  Ms.
Jones does explain how SHE perceives this Lady, but accepts the
fact that her vision may well be unique.

Ms. Jones ties the Nine Morgens (sisters associated with the isle
of Avalon) with a cross-cultural selection of feminine principles
(Valkeries, Furies, faeries, dakinis, etc.).  Personally, I find
this a bit unsettling as each of these principles has its own
characteristics which are not necessarily shared by the others.

Admittedly, this is not a topic to which I am personally drawn
(although perhaps the arrival of this book is an indication that
I should look deeper into the topic), and therefore was not
something which immediately caught my attention and drew me in.
I did find it kind of slow going in the beginning.  Still, I
resolved to give it a fair hearing

The exploration of the Lady of Avalon, and the experience of
becoming one of her servants must be approached via the
imagination since there is no documentation, no paintings or
carvings, no songs or myths or legends to serve as a template.
Ms. Jones and her compatriots are creating (rather than re-
creating) a way of life which has been missing from our world for
a very long time.

Although the Isle of Avalon is mythical its physical presence in
our world has, for a very long time, been embodied in the
physical location of Glastonbury.  There are many sacred sites in
the vicinity, representing various mythic cycles, both Pagan and
Christian.  The presence of these sites is capable of stirring up
emotions, and revealing insights for many people, of various
religions and philosophical backgrounds.  Each individual
receives their appropriate revelations in terms they can
understand and relate to.

Ms. Jones is an excellent story teller.  Her "Creation Herstory
of the Isle of Avalon" is fascinating and compelling.

This book is not one to be approached lightly or in an off-hand
manner.  You need to be able to devote some time and energy to
this book.  Such devotion, however, will be more than amply

===== by Mike Gleason

And Banish With Laughter
by Soror Diotima
Published 2006 by Konton Publishing
Paperback 267 pages
ISBN 4903462056
See this book at Amazon:

Please understand from the very beginning that Diotima is, among
many other things, a chaos magician and that (simple) fact colors
her perceptions and her presentations.  If you are one of those
individuals who have a craving for the logical and "scientific"
approach to things, you may find this book difficult to

Diotima strives, how successfully is for the reader to determine,
to make one think.  She isn't interested, as far as I can tell,
in readers thinking like her; she just wants them thinking.  And,
since most folks don't do that too often, it may be a novel
experience for many.

In spite of the image the title may conjure up, this is not a
particularly humorous book.  It is a provoking book.  Its intent
is to provoke thought, which it does quite nicely, in my opinion.
Along the way it may, depending upon your personal understanding
(or "take") of the various topics under discussion, also provoke
outrage, indignation, and/or confusion.  This is not,
necessarily, a bad thing.

This is a collection of essays with only a couple of connections
throughout. The most obvious connection is, of course, the
authorship.  A corollary to that is the mindset of the author
(i.e., being a Chaos magician).  But as you read these short
essays you mind find other connections.  I say "may" because some
readers will see such connections (whether they exist in
"reality" is a moot point) and some won't.

As I add books to my library I try (how successfully is open to
debate) to place them in categories (e.g., Wicca, magick,
fiction, non-fiction, reference, etc.).  Some books, and this is
one, are harder to place.  I finally ended up placing it in my
"philosophy" sections, although it doesn't fit neatly into any
one category.

If you want to stretch your mind, or if you want to look at
things from other folks' perspectives, this book will start you
on that path (or help you continue along the way).  This book is
not only for reading.  It is for discussing - with friends, with
coven- mates, and with your own individuality.

========= 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:


===== Dreams of Perfection and Ego

We all carry multiple selves with us. The Hero. The Lover. When
we interact with other people, each person has a self that
speaks, and hears, and obscures the truth behind idealizations.
The Winner. The Loser. We all do this, to an extent, and we
treasure those dreams of ourselves, both the good and the bad.
The Pious. The Sinner. When we find ourselves without masks,
without a role to play, we are often struck silent with fear or
confusion. The Strong Man. The Hermit. Seeing a true picture of
ourselves, or even a truer picture than previously seen, can be
frightening in its intensity.

Yet we are shackled by our illusions. They hold us in ways that
keep us from truly changing, truly becoming better. "I am the
Hero, I don't need to worry about ethics, I can't help but do
what's right." "I am the Powerless, everything happens around me.
I have no control and do no harm, for I do nothing." The more we
use these illusions in our lives, the more they become our lives,
and the harder change becomes. People expect certain attitudes,
certain behaviors, and we act the part we've given ourselves to
keep the peace and keep ourselves from seeing dissonance in our

As children, we learn certain feelings and actions are not
acceptable. As we grow older, we incorporate both the spoken and
unspoken norms of our society, holding to those beliefs and
attitudes that cause us the least dissonance with ourselves. We
find ways to make our actions fit our image of ourselves, no
matter what the necessary justification to ourselves, and assume
that other people see us as we see ourselves or as we desire
ourselves to be seen. Even though the pieces don't always match,
and the masks slip and stretch to cover us as we wish to be seen
and not as how our actions brand us, we hold to the beliefs that
we are what we wish to be and have no need to grow and change.

We cannot change our true self, and become better people, until
we realize who we are and how other people see us. Yet we fear
our true selves. They are vulnerable, the reason for the masks in
the first place. We can never fit completely into the proper role
our society sets for us, the role we feel we should play yet do
not. Do not show fear, weakness, ignorance, or anything else that
does not fit the role we are to play in society. Especially to
ourselves, we cannot show our true nature, for that nature does
not match the nature we wish it to be. Our true selves cannot
help but be weak, cannot help but have fear, cannot help but be
ignorant. Not always, of course, but no one knows everything,
fears nothing, and is undefeatable. It simply does not exist. So
we hide our weaknesses with masks and shields, lying even to
ourselves that we do not fear, or believing that no one will
notice our fears.

When we come to religion, to the Divine, we come with our masks,
hoping to hide behind them, be accepted for them. But the Divine
sees no masks, only the truth of each person. For many people,
this is a terrifying experience, even as it is freeing. No masks,
no illusions, no questions, just the real person standing there
without covering before the Divine. And we find fear, both of
ourselves and of the other, because we don't know how to live
without our masks, and we don't know how to face the power of the
Divine without the safety of our masks. All the thoughts of the
masks, seeking to hide that which we dislike, pretend to be that
which we are not, stills, and we find ourselves quiet, and alone
with ourselves. There, quiet with ourselves, we find the Divine
waiting for us to turn to It.

Until we face ourselves, and see ourselves without our masks, we
cannot easily face the Divine, because what we see is our own
masks looking back at us, coloring everything we learn.

=====  Questions

  * What are the masks you wear and why?
  * What dissonance do these masks cause in your life?
  * How do you drop your masks? How do you live without them?

========= 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 three of the programs listed recently. Many
more were listed and you'll find more gadgets like these added
every week at the Software Gadgets Blog at:



Site maps are a formatted listing of all the public pages of your
web site. Even you do not want to post a full site map on your
web site for your visitors, they are useful for search engines
like Google and Yahoo as they allow the engine to easily find and
index all the pages on your web site no matter how deeply buried
they are. There are a number of high priced programs that will
generate a site map for you -- or you can use AuditMyPc.com's
free Site Map Generator. It's a Java program that runs from their
web site and spiders your web site to create a site map. It's not
quite click and go, but the generator's web site gives clear
instructions on what the various options will do.

From the Site Map Generator's web page:

    You'll love the report that is generated by this site mapping
    and orphan url tool which includes the following:

    * Table of contents - Site information and timestamp that the
      sitemaps were created.
    * Broken Link Report - Web pages that link to or contain
      links to pages that do not exist
    * Listing of non http links - these include links such a
      javascript links, etc.
    * Yahoo Sitemap Generator - Provides a list of URLs in HTML
      or Plain Text which can be used for submitting to search
      engines such as Yahoo.
    * Sitemaps for websites - Creates sitemaps that can be
      included into your website for bots and visitors.
    * Mimetype URL stats - Includes items such as image type and
      count, text, html etc.
    * Sitemaps Stats - URLs by results, such as current state of
      page, skipped, etc.

If you have a web site, and do not have a current site map, visit
this tool's web page now and get one.

Rating: 4.5
Operating System: Any with current version of Java
License: Free
Price: Free
Version: 1.42
Web Site: http://www.auditmypc.com/site-maps.asp


If you prefer the keyboard to the mouse or dislike the apparently
random nature of the Start Menu, SmartStartMenu may be for you.
It's an "address bar" like area for your taskbar (or desktop)
that lets you start programs and other items in your start menu
by typing their name (or even a few letters of their name if you
set things up that way). You can even have it scan other folders
if you don't keep everything in your start menu. It is a
replacement for both the start menu and the run box.

Here's the feature list from the SmartStartMenu web site:

    * FREE world class product with no hooks or marketing
    * User configurable file types and locations that allows you
      to choose what gets scanned.
    * Specific support for .lnk (shortcuts) and .url (favorites)
      file types so the working folder, arguments, and other
      options are used when launched.
    * Type-ahead support to instantly show you what items match
      your criteria.
    * Run system commands and programs found on the PATH.
    * Open folders using ‘drive letter', UNC, and URL based
    * Implemented as a toolbar to cleanly integrate with your
      desktop. (Allows resizing and floating!)
    * ‘Start', ‘Word Start' and ‘All' Sub-string matching modes.
    * ‘First', ‘MRU', ‘MFU' Auto-Selection modes integrated with
      the system's ‘User Assist' data.
    * Optional History listing supported for commands launched
      but not found in the scan.
    * Optional Folder listing supported for paths typed as
    * Manual scan refresh and option to auto-refresh at startup.
    * HTML style Windows help file with access via F1.
    * Global hot-key (can be disabled) for fast access via the
    * Explorer context menu extension that gives you CopyPath and
      Open in DOS box menu items.
    * Runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP (32bit & 64bit), and
      Windows 2003 Server.
    * Requires less than 2 megs of disk space.
    * Full featured (MSI) install and uninstall support.

Personally, I still prefer Find and Run Robot, but the taskbar
integration is very nice. This keeps the program always
available, but out of the way.

Rating: 4.0
Operating System: Windows 2000, XP, 2003
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version: 1.53
Web Site:

===== Documeron -- Recent Documents Superpowered

Have you ever been able to remember working on a specific
document on Tuesday or Wednesday three weeks ago -- but had no
idea what you called the document or what directory it ended up
in? And did you need that document right now because a client or
your boss is breathing down your neck? Did you feel like a fool
madly bring up directory after directory hoping one of the file
names would ring a bell in your mind?

Documeron can help end such frustrating experiences. This program
runs in the Windows system tray and acts like a superpowered
Recent Documents. It stores references to all the documents you
open in a database. Then when you need to find a document, it
presents you with a list of documents sorted by time. It's easy
to search for a document you created on the last Monday in
February, for example.

From the Documeron web site:

    Documeron constantly traces the documents you work. A link to
    every document is placed in a list. It is possible to perform
    operations, such as classifying, filtering by a date and type
    of the document, exporting, and many others. Documeron "bears
    in mind" even deleted documents. The product has a document
    list emptying function and password security to browse and
    launch Documeron.

Documeron isn't perfect and it isn't a program everyone needs,
but if you work on a lot of different documents every day and
sometimes need to find one you worked on a few weeks ago quickly,
this program may be exactly what you need.

Rating: 4.0
Operating System: Windows 98 - Windows Vista
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version: 2.1
Web Site: http://www.tamedos.com/

========= From the Spell Grimoire:

This spell can be performed to ease the pain of a broken
relationship, divorce, death of a loved one or other painful
circumstance and to build and renew a sense of hope in the
future. The ingredients you will need are:

One Black Candle
3 Pieces of Amethyst
Vetivert Oil
One White Candle
3 Pieces of Rose Quartz
Lotus Oil

At Sunset on the night of the Full Moon, take the Black Candle
and inscribe with a short description of your problem, i.e.
divorce, break-up, death, etc. Annoint the Candle with Vetivert
oil and charge it. Set the candle in a holder on your altar. Take
the three pieces of amethyst and hold in your hand. Visualize
your pain and pour it into the stones. Place the stones in a
circle around the base of the candle holder and light the candle.
Visualize the pain leaving you. Allow the candle to burn down one
third of the way and then extinguish. Take one of the pieces of
amethyst outside. Hold it into your hand and again see and feel
your pain transferring to the stone. Then take the stone and
throw it from you with all your might. Never take this stone up
again. Repeat this spell for the next two nights, until the
candle has completely burned down, and the amethyst stones are
gone. Take any remaining wax from the candle and bury off of your

At Sunrise on the morning of the New Moon, take the White Candle
and inscribe with the word "hope". Annoint the candle with Lotus
oil and charge it. Set the candle in a holder on your altar. Take
the three pieces of rose quartz and hold in your hand. Visualize
a positive future for yourself. See yourself living, laughing,
and enjoying life. Place the stones in a circle around the base
of the candle holder and light the candle. Visualize and feel a
strong sense of hope and expectancy coming to you. Allow the
candle to burn down one third of the way and then extinguish.
Repeat this spell for the next two nights, until the candle has
completely burned down. Take the rose quartz pieces and place one
in your purse, pocket, medicine bag, or amulet to be carried with
you. Place another by a window sill in a sunny room. Take the
last piece and bury it by a tree in your yard as an offering. If
you don't have a yard, you may bury it in a flower pot or plant
in your home or place outside the entrance of your home.

Be patient...it takes time for pain to come to an end, but this
spell will set you well on your way.

=== About This Spell

This spell is taken from The Cauldron's Spell Grimoire, a
collection of basic spells available on The Cauldron: A Pagan
Forum's web site. You'll find more spells at:


========= From the Cauldron Cookbook:
========= submitted by Cyn

=== Ingredients

3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup soft goat cheese
1-2 T honey
1/2 tsp cardomom

=== Directions

Blend all this together well and mound in a pretty dish. Put it
on the table with an assortment of crackers and veggie sticks.

=== About This Recipe

This recipe is taken from the Cauldron Cookbook, a growing
collection of recipes submitted by members of The Cauldron: A
Pagan Forum. You'll find more recipes at:


========= Cauldron Info

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

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

===== Actively Participate In Our Message Board

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


===== Articles! Essays! Tutorials!

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

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

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

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

* magick, spells, and ritual information

* herbal information

* positive articles on dealing with other faiths

* information on historical pagan cultures

* editorial/opinion pieces

Non-Wiccan material is stressed not because we don't want Wiccan
material but because good non-Wiccan material has been hard to
find. We have a web form you can use to submit an article for
consideration: http://www.ecauldron.com/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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Or you can unsubscribe via email by sending a blank message to


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The Cauldron and Candle web site contains information on this
newsletter and an archive of back issues.



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

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


Don't forget that your suggestions for this newsletter are always
welcome, either posted on the message board or via email to
LyricFox (lyricfox01@ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com) or Randall
Sapphire (rssapphire01@.ecauldron.GETRIDOFME.com). Typos are, as
usual, courtesy of the Goddess Eris.

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